"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The devil made them do it

When the Feds have to lie again, they can just blame it on Nathaniel Heatwole this time.
Deputy TSA [Transportation Security Administration] Administrator Stephen McHale said Monday's court action "makes clear that renegade acts to probe airport security for whatever reason will not be tolerated, pure and simple."

"Amateur testing of our systems do not show us in any way our flaws," McHale said. "We know where the vulnerabilities are and we are testing them. ... This does not help."
You see? Nat (the "amateur") made them (the "professionals") lie about their flaws -- which, er, they don't have!

Some background may be in order. Heatwole is a 20-year old college student who breached airport security six times -- without ever getting caught -- in an attempt to show authorities just how easy it is to get past them. It wasn't merely an attempt. He succeeded! And authorities in charge of such matters would probably not have known anything if Heatwole himself had not sent an e-mail to the Transportation Security Administration on September 15, including his name and telephone number. In the e-mail, he informed them of items he had left aboard planes, including modeling clay "made to look like plastic explosives" (which, I suppose means it was simply shaped into a block as opposed to being molded into a likeness of Hello Kitty or something), box cutters, and a small amount of bleach, the last two of which are banned from being taken aboard flights in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

The charges against Heatwole could put him in jail for 10 years. What these charges actually are attempting to hide is just one more embarrassment about the fact that the conditions that allowed nearly 20 hijackers to board passenger jets on September 11, 2001 and crash them into the Pentagon and World Trade Center towers have not been improved one bit by things like the Patriot Act and shoe checks. Can you say "scapegoat"?
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