Feeling insecure?

May 19, 2006

Terri Hardin over at MISoapbox asks if anyone’s heard any jokes about Homeland Security lately. Well, Terri, not exactly. But I did find this site to be pretty funny. Called “The National Scrutiny Agency” and topped with a quasi-official-looking logo, it asks readers to send in their burning questions. Like:

    Q: Where’s Waldo?
    A: We’re still looking, but you can trust that we’re following up on many excellent leads.
    Q: Where did I leave my keys?
    A: Inside pocket of your gray jacket (it’s hanging in the front closet).

It won’t help with all the travel restrictions and requirements that make participants sometimes loathe to fly to meetings, but it gave me a laugh, anyway.
What’s not so funny is this article in Wired:

    Newly released government documents show that even having a high-level security clearance won’t keep you off the Transportation Security Administration’s Kafkaesque terrorist watch list, where you’ll suffer missed flights and bureaucratic nightmares.

    According to logs from the TSA’s call center from late 2004 — which black out the names of individuals to protect their privacy — the watch list has snagged:

  • A State Department diplomat who protested that “I fly 100,00 miles a year and am tired of getting hassled at Dulles airport — and airports worldwide — because my name apparently closely resembles that of a terrorist suspect.”
  • A person with an Energy Department security clearance.
  • An 82-year-old veteran who says he’s never even had a traffic ticket.
  • A technical director at a science and technology company who has been working with the Pentagon on chemical and biological weapons defense.
  • A U.S. Navy officer who has been enlisted since 1984.
  • A high-ranking government employee with a better-than-top-secret clearance who is also a U.S. Army Reserve major.
  • A federal employee traveling on government business who says the watch list matching “has resulted in ridiculous delays at the airports, despite my travel order, federal ID and even my federal passport.”
  • A high-level civil servant at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
  • An active-duty Army officer who had served four combat tours (including one in Afghanistan) and who holds a top-secret clearance.
  • A retired U.S. Army officer and antiterrorism/force-protection officer with expertise on weapons of mass destruction who was snared when he was put back on active-duty status while flying on a ticket paid for by the Army.
  • A former Pentagon employee and current security-cleared U.S. Postal Service contractor.
  • Also held up was a Continental Airlines flight-crew member traveling as a passenger, who complained to TSA, “If I am safe enough to work on a plane then I should be fine to be a passenger sleeping.”

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