National Security

News Flash: Edward Snowden Is a Kook

By on 7.8.13 | 9:19PM

From the moment I began researching Edward Snowden's biography, there were hints that the NSA leaker was kind of ... eccentric. Weird. Flaky.

A lot of computer geeks are kind of flaky, but Snowden's flakiness is exacerbated by the fact that he dropped out of school in 10th grade and much of his education since then has been autodidactic. And it is this self-taught 29-year-old nerd who decided to leak top-secret information about the National Security Agency's surveillance program because ... he's a kook.

Can We Trust an Agency That Hires Weirdos Like Edward Snowden?

By on 6.16.13 | 11:09AM

It took a few days, but America is starting to get a few answers about the guy who leaked details on the National Security Agency's highly classified surveillance programs. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have published lengthy biographical profiles of Edward Snowden, and the questions we should be asking are: "Who hired this weirdo? And how many more weirdos like him have been entrusted with top-secret clearance?"

TSA Employees Exceed Airport Staff in Charlotte

By on 12.3.10 | 2:55PM

Following the Transportation Security Administration body scan and pat-down policy furor, we've heard some airport administrators say they would like to replace the agency's personnel with outside contractors to handle security (although they'd still have to follow TSA procedures). Count Charlotte (N.C.)/Douglas International Airport Aviation Director Jerry Orr as one of those who would like to fire TSA. Why? Carolina Journal reports:

If it were up to Orr, far fewer travelers would be subjected to x-ray machines and pat-downs.

"We spend an awful lot of time putting an awful lot of people through things that are obviously unnecessary," he said. "The process from the very beginning has been to look for things - and typically the things they look for are yesterday's threat ... we need to be looking at people with intent."

Orr said security guards should be allowed to evaluate passengers "based on a number of criteria" and determine which of them should be selected for extra screening.

The TSA Can’t Help Being Annoying

By on 11.15.10 | 2:38PM

With the holiday travel season approaching fast, public anger at the federal Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) increasingly invasive airport passenger screening procedures - full body scans and pat downs - seems to be growing louder by the day. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano argues that these measures are necessary to maintain an adequate level of security for the nation's air travel.

Indeed, some types of safety measures, including passenger screening, are needed for air travel safety. The problem with the current security regime is its structure. In a way the TSA can't help annoying travelers with petty, intrusive rules. It is in its nature, as a top-down, government regulatory bureaucracy. By design, it's good at promulgating and enforcing rules, not so much at turning on a dime to react quickly to potential threats, which have an annoying habit of turning up unexpectedly and be ever shifting.

Carly Commits Cardinal Sin

By on 6.7.10 | 3:58PM

That would be former Hewlett-Packard chairwoman Carly Fiorina, Republican candidate for Barbara Boxer's senatorial seat in California, by calling "climate change" the "weather," that is, in the eyes ofUSA Today (and presumably ABC's Bill Blakemore).