DHS Boss Calls For More Fear, Less Encryption

from the Frightened-States-of-America dept

The Trump administration is rebranding the country: Make America Fear Again. In response to a national crime wave that doesn’t exist, the head of the DOJ is rolling back police reform and replacing it with extra “toughness.” Under the new regime, law enforcement officers will have the full (and, apparently, unconditional) backing of the White House.

The DHS is joining the DOJ in flexing its new muscle. DHS Secretary John Kelly has already stated he’s looking to turn requests for visitors’ social media/email account information into demands, which would include the mandatory relinquishment of account passwords.

Both agency heads have expressed a desire to do battle with US citizens by revitalizing the fed’s war on marijuana, despite legalization referendums being passed by popular vote in several states.

Kelly… course-corrected on a previous statement he made regarding the dangers of marijuana.

Calling it “a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs,” Kelly vowed that DHS personnel would continue to investigate and arrest those involved in illegal trade of the drug.

That comes after Kelly on Sunday told “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd that marijuana was “not a factor” in the war on drugs, arguing that solving the nation’s drug problem does not involve “arresting a lot of users.”

These comments came during Kelly’s first major public speech since taking office. His “course-corrected” statement echoes DOJ head Jeff Sessions’ take on marijuana, a drug only found dangerous by agencies whose budgets rely on marijuana being viewed as a threatening “gateway drug.”

Both are also looking to toss more immigrants out of the country, theorizing that stricter immigration control will somehow curb drug cartel violence — almost all of which is contained completely in other countries. Kelly mentioned Salvadoran drug cartel MS13 in passing, claiming it was responsible for acts of violence and stateside human trafficking.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was even less kind in his appraisal, delivering comments that made it sound as though the only thing standing between the US and societal collapse was American law enforcement:

When we talk about MS-13 and the cartels, what do we mean? We mean criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent citizens and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders. Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings.

It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.

The DHS head is also capitalizing on Trump’s dark — and deeply-inaccurate — view of national security. His speech portrayed the country as being under ceaseless attack from innumerable evil forces.

“We are under attack from people who hate us, hate our freedoms, hate our laws, hate our values, hate the way we simply live our lives. And we are under attack every single day,” he warned. “The threats are relentless.”

Kelly covered a wide swath of issues — from transnational criminal organizations to cyberattacks to homegrown violent extremism, often using graphic descriptions of human suffering to illustrate the dangers.

The speech harkened back to President Trump’s inaugural address to Congress, in which he described “American carnage” outside of the Beltway.

No agency benefits more from the perception of an insecure homeland than the Department of Homeland Security. But the trickle-down effect of fear-based policy-making helps other agencies as well.

In his speech, Kelly tacitly aligned himself with the only Obama holdover Trump seems to like: FBI director James Comey.

He warned that proliferating encrypted communications technology would soon make it “impossible” to track terrorist threats.

Kelly had more to say on that subject in relation to Trump’s still-unseen cybersecurity executive order. Supposedly, an updated version of the draft released in February is due any day now, and no matter what’s in it, Kelly fully supports it.

“I’m standing by with bated breath,” Kelly said when Frank Cilluffo, director of the university’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, asked if there was any news on the order. “I can’t wait.”

Presumably not referencing the FBI’s counterterrorism sting operations with the phrase “homegrown terrorism,” Kelly again pointed to encryption as being part of the problem.

“What’s feeding homegrown terrorism is the Internet. They publish revolting how-to manuals,” Kelly said. “Thanks to proliferating encryption devices, these individuals are becoming harder and harder to detect. Our nation’s youth are prey to these predators.”

Between John Kelly, AG Jeff Sessions, and CIA head Mike Pompeo, the administration seems interested in sacrificing citizens’ freedoms and protections on the altar of national security. All three are hoping loaded, hyperbolic language will convince more Americans to give up these protections willingly. Those who don’t will probably be viewed as enemies of the nation — and that includes any legislators who appear reluctant to give these agencies everything they want. Kelly again:

“If lawmakers do not like the laws they’ve passed and we are charged to enforce — then they should have the courage and skill to change the laws. Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines,” Kelly said, to a burst of applause in the auditorium.

This is wonderful stuff if you’re a fan of authoritarianism. Shut up and show your support. It’s a message that’s been sent several times by the new president. Now, it’s being echoed by his top officials.

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Comments on “DHS Boss Calls For More Fear, Less Encryption”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“We are under attack from people who hate us, hate our freedoms, hate our laws, hate our values, hate the way we simply live our lives.”

So apparently it is obvious. We just need to change the way we live, our laws, values, and give up our freedoms. At least this seems to be the logic these morons are suggesting.

I suggest we quit acting like cowardly bullies. Go back to living life without all the bull shit TSA cavity searches. Bring most of the troops home and tell the terrorists they can fuck off.

Sure, a few terrorists might make successful attacks, but I am betting it wouldn’t be that many. Plus we would not be making so many new terrorists.

I especially find TSA to be a total joke. I mean seriously, all we need is bomb detectors. There is zero chance of someone hijacking a plane now. The passengers will beat the shit out of anyone who even thinks about trying to take over a plane now.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Remind me again, who gave Kelly, the head of the DHS his current position? Who nominated Sessions, the head of the DOJ for his position? Who made the statement talking about how wrong the ‘anti-police atmosphere’ was and how he would end it?

If Trump doesn’t agree with what they’re doing then he’s quite capable of speaking up and pointing out how they’re not doing what he wants them to, but given he nominated them I don’t see that happening any time soon, so yes, he most certainly shoulders a good chunk of the blame.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Of course, because as everyone knows political representatives always act in accordance with what their constituents want (you know, like they did with the recent killing of the FCC privacy rules), meaning if they voted him in it’s because the american public wanted him to have the position.

In any case though at most they confirmed him to the position, a choice that wouldn’t have even been on the table had Trump not nominated him for it.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So, a bunch of people, who aren’t Trump, say and do a bunch of things, yet "somehow", Trump did it. Talk about paranoid.

A lot of other people have responded to this to point out how silly it is, but they’ve missed another reason why your comment is particularly ridiculous. The post does not say "Trump" did anything. It says his administration did. And his cabinet is absolutely his administration.

So, yeah.

That One Guy (profile) says:

"The only thing you have to fear... is EVERYTHING! The world is terrifying, and only we can protect you!"

“We are under attack from people who hate us, hate our freedoms, hate our laws, hate our values, hate the way we simply live our lives. And we are under attack every single day,” he warned. “The threats are relentless.”

Well, he’s half right there, there are most certainly ‘relentless’ threats to the american public, threats that hate our freedoms, the laws, and ability to live a fear-free life… but the vast majority of those ‘threats’ are very much internal, already in the country, and more often than not those ‘threats’ seem to have badges and significant positions in the government.

Se Habla Espol says:

Re: "The only thing you have to fear... is EVERYTHING! The world is terrifying, and only we can protect you!"

“We are under attack from people who hate us, hate our freedoms, hate our laws, hate our values, hate the way we simply live our lives. And we are under attack every single day,” he warned. “The threats are relentless.”

But they were somehow duly elected…

Paul Clark (profile) says:

Security is the Ultimate Product

Security is the ultimate capitalistic product. It is fully consumed when you use it (just because you are safe yesterday, you are not safe today), it cannot be resold, and you can never have 100% security. Since the US privatized prisons, intelligence gathering, and some security, there is a lot of money in keeping America scared. I would love to know if Trump has investments in security companies or if his backers do.

ECA (profile) says:


BUT who is feeding all these agencies with BS, its pretty ripe and good quality…

The American White person has a tendency to NOT understand Local or TIME very well..
The hysteria of CANDY with needles and razor blades in them SCARED the WHOLE of the USA..(and if it really happened) it was in a LArge city and done by Idiots and psychopaths.
It did NOT happen in any other place and it SCARED the WHOLE nation..from that time, KIDS dont go far, and dont GET TONS of candy..and candy prices are thru the ROOF, again..

For SOME AWFUL reasoning, anything we see on TV/Internet, we dont isolate to a LOCAL..we consider it HAPPENED NEXT DOOR.
As to TIME frames..its also interesting that MANY forget history, and what has happened BEFORE NOW..WHY and WHEN certain laws were put into force. WHY some are Obsolete. But MANY were JUST STUPID IN THE FIRST PLACE.. National medical has been on the books since about 1900 and teddy R. Look up the CORP BP, and learn its history and NAME CHANGES.. SCREW the right to be forgotten. its ALL we have to estimate what is to come. AND WE GET WHAT WE CREATE…AND IF WE DONT FIX THINGS(NOT OTHERS, YOU AND ME) we might as well SIT in the back and watch this nation FALL in the pit..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

To stop piracy:

1. Install mandatory RDP client in device firmware. (Intel AMT??)

2. Forbid installation of unsigned software. (Secure Boot.)

3. Log all software installations back to the cloud. (Steam, Windows Store, iTunes, etc.)

4. Mandate Real ID logins. (Facebook, G+, etc.)

5. Authenticated Users and Authorized Systems required by law for any form of internet access. (Give it a few years. It’ll happen.)

6. Automated Monitoring and police dispatch for violations. (Not built. Yet.)

As for the secure backdoors, that’s not mathematically possible but, the government was never concerned with security to begin with. Only “security” in the form of maintaining and expanding their own power. So insecure backdoors will be mandated instead. (Have fun. 🙂 )

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t think anyone here is unaware that the terrorist threat is blown way out of proportion. I am gonna put a few numbers up anyway:

Heart disease fatalities in the US(2014):614348
Cancer fatalities in the US(2014): 591699
Accidents fatalities in the US(2014): 136053
Suicides in the US (2014): 42773
Traffic fatalities in the US (2015): 35092

Number of people killed by terrorists in the whole world (2015): 28328 (highest on the statistic that went from 2006-2015 was 2014 with 32763 deaths).

I am not saying terrorists aren’t terrible, but compared to so many other things that we have lived with forever, it shouldn’t make us too scared to be free.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Want more numbers??
For 3000(?) people killed in 9/11..
WE killed over 15 years..
100,000 Taliban and ISIS around the world..NOT just in the areas we fought.
Over 200,000 innocent bystanders..
COST= Over $5 trillion, $5,000,000,000,000..
MOST of that money was/is CUT from Federal services, LIKE THE FDA, Agriculture dept, FSIS AND CDC..they can now only cover 8% per year of all farms, Production facilities, and restaurants..(how many poison outbreaks??)

Number of Taliban and isis killed PER DOLLAR..
Insurance on the towers?? a 40+ year old building..

Anonymous Coward says:

Our National Cancer Metastasize

Back in ’01, I expanded my FBI and Secret Service files by writing an e-mail directly to “W” before he signed the USA PATRIOT act. I told him that we aren’t a nation of cowards, who preferred to yield civil liberties and privacy in exchange for [false] guarantees by the government of safety and security. My bad…majority rules.

Bergman (profile) says:

Gateway drugs

Tobacco is the biggest gateway of them all. After all, can you think of a more unnatural act than putting a foul-smelling, foul-tasting weed in your mouth and lighting it on fire in order to feel better?

Sure, people do the same thing with marijuana, bur the fact that tobacco is regulated but legal and socially acceptable in a lot of places makes it the true gateway here. Especially since you can EAT marijuana to get its effects, but eating tobacco will just make you really, really sick.

That all completely ignores the fact that the feds only have the authority to interdict smuggling of intoxicants into states that prohibit them — the authority to actually prohibit a substance lies solely with the states (and aside from the brief years of Alcohol Prohibition, always has).

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Gateway drugs

Unfortunately, I suspect that the courts would (and, in fact, may already) interpret the Commerce Clause to grant the authority to regulate commerce in illegal goods just as much as in legal ones – and the Wickard v. Filburn decision, ruling that growing and consuming your own crops affects the interstate market for those crops, means in effect that the federal government has the authority to regulate all vaguely-commercial activity in this country regardless of where its participants are located.

Consequences like that are part of why people continue to argue that Wickard v. Filburn was wrongly decided, but it’s been established precedent for a long time now, which makes it ever less likely for the Supreme Court to decide to overturn it.

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