Honestly now, how many Americans think that this isn't the way this should have happened? How in the hell did we get this far off course? It sounds from the story that the thing they're most upset about is missing an opportunity to lock down the whole airport while they dressed up as storm troopers and traipsed about in their armored doohickeys pretending to save the world. I think we're voting on all the wrong stuff this November.
(1) ...That works because we've had that technology since 1947.
The possibility that they would have locked down a major airport, stranding thousands of travelers and generating millions of dollars in lost revenues would have been a true farce. How many armed guards could you hire, trained to HELP as well as protect, for the cost of a $100 Million lemon defense system? At least we would be helping solve the unemployment problem, rather than pumping countless millions into the coffers of international defense companies like Raytheon.
Sorry, but no. They're covering miles of outdoor perimeter. The problem is that there are very few technologies that can reliably detect things like people, while ignoring things like various animals (or heat from jet engines, etc.).
(1)I think you could buy them commercially at least as early as the 70's
In fact, I rarely hear of new deployments considering these technologies (though I'm sure there are plenty of them, as the companies are still in business).
If a 100MM taxpayer funded system can't tell the difference between a jet engine heat output and a person's heat signature, then someone should be criminally liable for defrauding us.
And as far as differentiating a deer from a human, it should have detected the moving object, sent the images to a person sitting in front of a computer, and he/she could have classified the object.
JFK is a complex airport, I'm not aware of the specific length of the perimeter they are covering there, but it's likely between 8 and 15 miles of perimeter fence line. You need something with a high degree of reliability and false alarm immunity to make this work. This is especially true because the fact is that the probability of a real terrorist incursion is pretty low. So, the guards aren't going to stay actively engaged with reviewing alarms for very long if essentially 99.9% of what they see are all false alarm/no-action events.
Video analytics can be very reliable, but you can't rely on humans to weed out the false positives very effectively. I've heard of (heard of, as in been involved in replacing them) video analytics systems that generated hundreds of false alarms per night on similar sized deployments. Any human operator is going to quickly become immune to the alerts when they happen at that rate.
Nothing much happened to him, as the Prime Minister was not there at the time.
> Immediately there should have been an armed response. Heavy weapons,
> armored cars to the area that the perimeter was breached. The
> airport should have been locked down.
Arresting the guy is a crime against humanity, and shows the complete lack of moral authority or common sense held by the various paranoid autocratic and senseless state and federal agencies within the US.
The guy making the comment about a military response involving armored cars and heavy weapons is completely insane and should be removed from his position. He is a danger to the public.
It appears he was already fired, some allegations about fabricating evidence. He's a private investigator now.
I wonder which technique was deployed here? (The article actually doesn't give it away, but I'd be willing to bet...)
> Arresting the guy is a crime against humanity
> The guy [...] is completely insane and should
> be removed from his position. He is a danger to
> the public.
> Arresting the guy is a crime against humanity, and shows
> the complete lack of moral authority or common sense
> held by the various paranoid autocratic and senseless
> state and federal agencies within the US.
2. The charges will never stick, even if they decide to push
them through the system (and if they do, I'd like to see a
campaign against all of those involved in that decision --
e.g. prosecutor, attorney general, etc).
3. The guy lost his ID,etc when his jet ski sunk, so it's
understandable that he was at least initially arrested.
> The guy making the comment about a military response
> involving armored cars and heavy weapons is completely
> insane and should be removed from his position. He is a
> danger to the public.
2. The 'heavy weapons' and 'armored cars' bit is likely a
justification for the police presence there. If they aren't
flashy the few times that they're needed, then the public
won't be reminded of why they are there. If that's really
the case, it's a bunch of political posturing BS that is
wasting taxpayer money.
Also, it's a matter of practicality/trade-offs. A lot of airports are isolated, and it takes less money to secure an airport perimeter than it does to secure (using your example) Times Square. There is a middle ground. The attitude doesn't have to be "we can't protect everything from suicide bombers, therefore we should attempt to protect nothing."
According to the article there is a one hundred million dollar security system in place that is supposed to prevent people from just wandering in. That system failed in a public and embarassing way.
The hundred million dollar electronic security system is likely part of this - obviously there is no need for razor wire (or guns held by pilots in cockpits, something many pilots want) since the electronic system from the defense contractor that costs tens or hundreds of millions will save the day.
Even if they manage to fight their way into the airport, planes would be grounded and outside forces alerted before the attackers could do anything useful.
> "I have a hard time believing they will be storming the airport
> with artillery and automatic weapons."
Considering all of the privacy violated in the name of airport security.
Considering that it's considered okay to fly across the world to and assault someone's house in an armed chopper because they may have been accessory to copyright infringement.
I don't think an armored car is too much to ask when someone actually could have terrorized an airport with no resistance.
> Considering that it's considered okay to fly
> across the world to and assault someone's house
> in an armed chopper because they may have been
> accessory to copyright infringement.
The parent post to mine implies that the arrest of Kim Dotcom was akin to the assassination of Osama bin Laden (i.e. the US flew a US-owned helicopter manned by US Navy Seals into a foreign country to assault the compound of a foreign national).
Are you claiming that the US led the assault and had full operational command? Are you claiming that the US made the decision for the NZ government? Are you claiming that money changed hands somewhere?
Do you have proof of anything beyond, "This is a shocking turn of events, and I don't like it?"
Here are a number of other posibilities:
1. The NZ authorities don't have a lot of experience with assaulting a multi-million dollar compound to make an arrest.
2. The NZ authorities saw this as an excuse to perform a paramilitary operation.
3. The NZ authorities saw this as an excuse to justify the budget for their 'toys.'
4. The NZ government did this favor expecting to be able to ask the US for a favor later.
If NZ wanted an excuse to walk their toys then there's never a shortage of drug dealers
and other obvious targets with better publicity.
Why would they go ballistic over bagging an overweight computer-fraudster?
There is no plausible explanation other than somebody demanding special effects.
1. The FBI flew across the world to NZ.
2. They performed an assault on the Dotcom house with an armed chopper.
Not saying that you are wrong, but the posters sentence was textually correct.
> 1. The FBI flew across the world to NZ. 2. They
> performed an assault on the Dotcom house with an
> armed chopper.
1. The FBI (+ other US government offices) convinced the NZ government to arrest Kim Dotcom.
2. It's unclear if the decision to make this arrest so over-the-top was made independently by the NZ officials or influenced by the US.
3. The FBI were there at the assault, but everything that I've read states that the assault team were NZ authorities. The reality is that the FBI were probably there as observers (seeing as this arrest was being made to extradite Kim Dotcom to the US).
It amounts to "Hey, can you arrest this guy for us and can we be there to watch the arrest?"
This may or may not be excusable depending on your persuasion, but attempting to say that the "US assaulted Kim Dotcom with an armed helicopter" is horribly misleading. It draws up images of some US cowboy operation where a bunch of FBI agents piled into an assault chopper, flew to NZ, and just started attacking the Dotcom compound out of nowhere (possibly unloading heavy machine guns and missiles on the compound... it is an 'assault helicopter' after all).
Oh, I know this one. It could be upgraded to actually detect intruders. I'm a taxpayer. I want a freakin' refund. I don't want a "congressional review" or "hearings". It didn't work. Give the money back.
However, I guess it doesn't sound so nice in the "tough stance against terrorism" as a "state of the art" defense system.
Also, are there really no exemptions to trespassing laws to account for emergency situations like this? It seems that if you're stranded at sea you shouldn't have to find a public beach to get out of the water.
In a perfect world, he would've been detected, units would've been dispatched to receive him, and he would've cleared port authority by explaining himself.
In actuality, security was notified far past the point when he actually could've caused some real trouble, and in a move of double reverse CYA, security took the hardest line possible on the guy, as though it would somehow undo some of their complete incompetence.
“All his IDs, his money, his car keys — they’re all gone.
They sunk with the jet ski,” Cowan said.
The episode has brought out an angry Port Authority
police union, whose chief told the Post JFK's electronic
surveillance system "is an expensive piece of junk with
no value as a security deterrent."
> Meanwhile, they've beefed up water patrols around the airport and are policing the perimeter.
So the response to their non-response of the non-terrorist breach of security is to respond with overwhelming security to no actual threat. Do they really think they're fooling anyone with this security theater?
There's no evidence presented in the article that there's an actual security threat.
There's ample evidence posted in the article that Castillo presented no threat.
There are undoubtedly plenty of other avenues by which airport security could be breached. Most likely by securing access as a contractor through one of the various service providers to the airport -- including potentially as a security provider. By comparison, among the largest threats to NATO forces in Afghanistan presently are "green on blue" attacks by Afgan police/army forces.
The emperor continues to have no clothes. This is no longer security theater, it's a security pole dance.
I agree with the general hatred of security theatre, but given what it is they obviously had to be seen to fix the hole rather than just leave it wide open where any terrorist could get through it.
This line of logic is going the exact wrong way. In the case of a website, there are known exploiters out there stealing data and money continuously. If you have a hole it will be found and exploited with near 100% certainty. Further, fixing your hole doesn't hurt anyone and usually doesn't even inconvenience them.
Airport "security", on the other hand, is against a threat that never seems to materialize  and is massively inconvenient to everyone who uses the system. This sort of thing is just shadow chasing. "Oh noes! If terrorists could somehow weaponize rats, they would be able to utilize the sewer system! We better spend billions to lock down the sewers, ASAP!". This hole has been open for how long? And yet, no terrorist attacks. It's not worth investing the resources it would take to fill the hole because statistically there's no reason to believe it will ever be exploited by a terrorist.
 Relative to internet attacks, which are constant, terrorist attacks against the US are statistically non-existent. There are probably more cyber attacks on US websites in a single day than terrorist attacks committed on US soil in its entire history.
Typically when a website is hacked it isn't because they opened up a vulnerability the day before, it too has been around a while before anyone malicious found it.
The rest of your argument is all about the general security theatre situation, where yes, I agree they are going over the top against very little threat. My point was that, given this policy, they had two choices here - either close the security hole ASAP, or say "to be honest, this whole security thing's a bit of a joke, let's all go home".
I'll add on top of his points:
- Online security presents a different threat model, in that your front door is immediately accessible to the entire world. Meatspace targets are inherently limited by geography and local access. Theoretical attacks on Internet infrastructure are far more likely to become actual attacks, once recognized, and automated patrolling for vulnerabilities is commonplace.
- By contrast, a massed, armed assault on any given piece of infrastructure requires planning, materiel, and forces. Outside of active combat / conflict regions (Iraq, Afghanistan, areas of the Middle East, Pakistan, India, and disrupted regions in Africa), the ability to effectively organize and marshal even a very small force (2-12 persons) has had a very low success rate. 9/11 was carried out by 20 persons, one of whom was intercepted (and several of whom were subject to surveillance and really should have been caught, see the Minnesota FBI offices investigations of Moussaoui). London's July 7, 2005 bombings were carried out by 4 individuals against a very soft target (52 deaths, ~700 casualties). The Madrid March 11, 2004 bombings, also against a soft target, (191 dead, 2050 injured) resulted in 29 arrests.
In the US an UK, since 9/11 (and excepting the 7/7 London attacks), there have been a smattering of incidents labeled "terrorist", of which most in the US were letter or pipe bomb, or single gunman mass shootings. Several plots (most consisting of 1-2 persons) were discovered and thwarted in early planning stages, presumably through communications surveillance. Several (the underwear bomber, two New York City car bombing attempts) reached execution but failed to succeed. And a few odd one-offs (small plane flown into a Texas office building).
In the UK, the bulk of incidents were domestic terrorism related to IRA splinter groups.
What you're proposing is a vast expenditure to address a potential, but in all evidence low-likelihood security hole, by a means that's much less effective than broader preemptive measures (comms intercepts, infiltration) or mitigating responses, while a target-rich environment full of far softer targets (other transport systems, schools, movie theaters, religious centers) which are being actively exploited remain.
It's a very, very poor resource allocation strategy.
It's also one that pits billions of dollars of response to thousands of terrorist planning, for no effective change in outcome.
The key take away is that there are plenty of holes like this all over the place. Yet none of those holes have been exploited...
Is this a "felony" charge in the US and would it stick?
Anyway, I imagine this will make it to Schneier's list as the latest piece on security theater...
As somebody else said, having him arrested at all was probably an over reaction for him making them look stupid.
Even if this were a legitimate attack, isn't this sort of response a bit overkill? I have trouble thinking of a threat to a large airport on US soil requiring "heavy weapons" and "armored cars" as a response.
Any and all passenger screening would be worthless if you could just walk on the tarmac and have access to the planes fuselage and or fuel tankers.
It already is, because the system leaks information that would make it trivial to find a way to sneak guns/bombs/etc. onto a plane. All you need is a sufficient number of people willing to go to jail (and actual terrorists are willing to die for their cause). You just keep throwing different approaches to packaging/disguising your bomb/gun/whatever at the TSA checkpoints until you find a reliably repeatable mechanism. Game over.
It gets better though... you could cut down on your search costs by taking advantage of the fact that - at some airports -the screens the X-Ray machine techs are reading, are sometimes (such as O'Hare, Terminal 3, last Friday night) aimed so that anybody inside the secure area can see them. So, just send somebody through, and have them film a chunk of TSA screening with a cellphone camera, and send it back. Once you know what the TSA goons are seeing, it should help you figure out how to craft a package that won't attract their attention.
Never mind that there are about a zillion other ways to get a package into the secure area of an airport, which don't involve going through security screening. Like, pay off a TSA agent (how much do they make, again?), or an airplane mechanic, or somebody else who has access to the inner workings of the airport.
PS I did not get lucky with google and ninja baine. Is that some new hipster meme?
The mention of my concern refers to the subjective feeling I have about personal safety only. That is simply because risk has in fact been greatly reduced beyond the gate, but in many airports around the world, not before that point.
As to not catching all scenarios, I know a spook who trains in the fight against bad guys, and he got through a number of security checks before being pulled up in transit at a US airport with something standard issue. He forgot he had it in his carry on.
I'm aware of the potential of breaches. However, terrorist acts are often designed with a view to terrorising. This leads me to a different calculation of probabilities.
Events like this one are problematic because they can have an affect on public confidence. I may be wrong, but I think that might be just as much a consideration as failure of purpose in this situation.
> the ninja baine reference was an admittedly
> weak attempt at alliteration
If we learned anything from 9/11 it's "they're going to crash this into a building, might as well take them on - there's 100 of us, they can't shoot us all before we get to them.
You can't make security policy decisions based on hypothetical horror stories alone. If you don't balance fear with reason you end up with ridiculously expensive policies that do absolutely nothing to increase safety.
Exactly! I've seen 500+ people at security checkpoints at Chicago O'Hare. A couple people with AK-47s could likely kill far more people than a shoe bomb on a plane.
That this sort of thing hasn't happened seems an indication of just how impotent Al Qaeda is these days.
Responses like car searches coming into the airport with guns pointed at you and other things that will make our current wait on getting to an airplane look like a distant dream. And picking people up at the airport will become more painful than a dentist visit.
India has a history of terrorist attacks from islamic extremists (largely originating in pakistan). The US has no such history.
It also implies that these people are dishonest and could probably be bought for a not-overly-large investment. Why even try to smuggle your bomb through the TSA checkpoint when you can have a TSA agent hand deliver it to you?
Not to imply that the jet skier was a terrorist - he wasn't - but that the action of AlQaeda is in the over-reaction to any "terror threat", real or imagined, by the US.
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedin to the furthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.
This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahedin, bled Russia for ten years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat... So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy."
From OBL speech, full text at
Ironically few people oppose reasonable measures, yet even in a post-911 world of extreme paranoia, we find that many of the overwrought systems so urgently put in place are worthless.
Most notably the TSA has been proven to be worthless, in spite of having wasted billions of dollars worth of productive time and on track to waste billions more.
It's unfortunate that these things are run by the government. We're getting the prison food version of security and it's horrible.
Amusing that you're mentioning prisons, that precisely come as a nice example of things going awry after government handed back management to private contractors. The same thing applies to disasters such as Blackwater military activities in Iraq, etc.
My complaint here is about the corruption of government. And yes, corrupt officials arrange deals with "private" firms that exist only to get such deals and which hire retired officials as lobbyists, etc.
In the prison example, corruption exists across the arbitrary public/private line that you are drawing. In California, the prison guards union is a lobbying group that supports criminalizing nearly anything, in hopes that stricter laws will lead to more inmates and more job security for guards.
Oh, and getting at the airport a half hour before the flight leaves, but still making the flight. I miss that the most. :-)
I don't go Jet-skiing with friends, but I would imagine that thing to do isn't to abandon-ski, swim to shore, climb a fence, walk a couple of miles. Surely his friends should have noticed at some point that he was missing.
I guess this guy went Jet-Skiing alone? I wouldn't do it, but as mentioned, several people like water sports enough to do them on their own.
" he was out jet skiing with friends on an inlet near the airport and had a mishap"
"Casillo’s adventure began at a Rosedale watering hole, where he was hanging out with friends when they decided to go out racing their watercraft.
But Casillo’s ride broke down in the dark waters of Jamaica Bay at around 7:45 p.m. — and his pals didn’t notice they had left Casillo behind.
With his craft taking on water, he called Cowan in a panic.
“He said, ‘I’m stuck!’ and told me to call his friend Albert to come out and tow him in,” Cowan, 28, recalled.
But help didn’t come, and the stranded Casillo swam three miles toward the only thing he could see — the lights of Runway 4-Left, which sticks out into the bay.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/beach_of_security_...
> isn't there an affirmative defense for emergency/neccessity?
Put him in a court room, have any half decent lawyer explain the situation, and the prosecutor would say... that he should have just drowned?
There's definitely no real case here--I would imagine that the charges are standing only because the "security" team is dumbfounded by its own failure.
Respectfully, my question was not really about the emotional response of the jury. I'm curious if there is an affirmative defense for neccessity/duress/emergency/whatever in federal criminal court.
I did, however, take several criminal justice courses. Although I have no particular familiarity with New York law, the affirmative defense of "necessity" does indeed appear to be supported in that state (according to a brief Google search).
My original response was not meant to derail the conversation, only to point out that I highly doubt any prosecutor would let the case get anywhere near a court room in the first place.
I don't think NPR is unreasonable to be shocked at the lapse in security despite their colorful language.
At this point most "bad security" articles regarding airports have been of the "TSA fails to..." variety, not "Perimeter security doesn't actually exist" variety. Point being: most people seem to assume that perimeter security is sufficient.
Further, by analogy: It is like saying "guys, we have this input checking thing covered, read 'smashing the stack', while discussing XSS.