The Paris Attacks Were An Intelligence Community Failure, Not An 'Encryption' Problem

from the let's-put-the-blame-where-it-belongs dept

Over the past few days, we've been highlighting the fever pitch with which the surveillance state apologists and their friends have been trampling over themselves to blame Ed Snowden, blame encryption and demand (and probably get) new legislation to try to mandate backdoors to encryption.

And yet, as we noted yesterday, it now appears that the attackers communicated via unencrypted SMS and did little to hide their tracks. On top of that, as Ryan Gallagher at the Intercept notes, some of the attackers were already known to law enforcement and the intelligence community as possible problems. But they were still able to plan and carry out the attacks. Even more to the point, Gallagher points out that after looking at the 10 most recent high profile terrorist attacks, the same can be said for each of them:
The Intercept has reviewed 10 high-profile jihadi attacks carried out in Western countries between 2013 and 2015..., and in each case some or all of the perpetrators were already known to the authorities before they executed their plot. In other words, most of the terrorists involved were not ghost operatives who sprang from nowhere to commit their crimes; they were already viewed as a potential threat, yet were not subjected to sufficient scrutiny by authorities under existing counterterrorism powers. Some of those involved in last week’s Paris massacre, for instance, were already known to authorities; at least three of the men appear to have been flagged at different times as having been radicalized, but warning signs were ignored.
Nicholas Weaver, writing over at Lawfare, has a really fantastic article over "the limits of the panopticon" that basically puts all of this into perspective, noting (1) with so many "known radicals" to follow, there is no way for the intelligence community/law enforcement to actually get the information to predict these attacks and (2) there are plenty of ways for people who know each other to communicate, even without encryption, that won't increase suspicion.

First, the sheer volume of “known radicals” –at least 5000—makes prospective monitoring impossible. How does one effectively monitor 5000 individuals and identify who among them will pose an actual threat? After all, most never will. It didn’t matter that Salah Abdeslam used his own name and credit card when booking his hotel room. Abdeslam was simply one of thousands identified as maybe or maybe not posing a threat.

Even reducing the volume of targets may be insufficient. Assuming the authorities were able to focus on 500 or 50 individuals instead of 5000, the communication patterns of a terrorist cell are remarkably similar to those of any family or group. Unless authorities are aware that an individual is actively (rather than potentially) dangerous, electronic monitoring may provide little prospective benefit, unless they can intercept the contents of a communication that makes a threat clear.

But the communication content of an even minimally proficient terrorist provides little value. Human codes are often employed. We now know that final coordination took place using unencrypted SMS, but unless one already has already identified the terrorist cell and at least some basic details of a plot, tracking an SMS that says "On est parti on commence" (which roughly translates to “Let’s go, we’re starting”) provides little actionable intelligence.

In other words, all the calls for increased surveillance and less encryption really seem like a smoke screen by an intelligence community that failed. It's entirely possible that their job is an impossible one, but at the very least we should be dealing in that reality. Instead, the intelligence community that failed is doing everything possible to shift the blame to encryption and Snowden, rather than admitting the fact that they knew who these people were, that encryption wasn't the issue and that maybe doubling down on those policies won't help at all. Of course, it might take some of the pressure off of them for failing to prevent the attack.

Still, as we've noted, almost every case of a "prevented" attack hasn't involved actual plotters, but rather the fake cooked-up plots by the FBI itself. So, we seem to have a law enforcement and intelligence community that is terrible at stopping real plots, but really good at putting unrelated people in jail for made-up plots. And now they want more power for surveillance and to undermine the encryption that keeps us all safe?

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  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Nov 2015 @ 7:43am

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something...

    ... when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” -Upton Sinclair

    Admitting that they had all the data that they needed and still failed to stop the attack might lead to some people asking just why such a failure of a program is still in place. There's only so much you can 'fix' something before it becomes obvious that it's never going to work, and needs to be replaced by something else.

    They know this full well, and they know that if they admit it it's likely to lead to a whole lot of the money and power that they currently enjoy being taken from them, so of course they'll continue to insist that the only possible response is to double down on the same failed programs, to grab more data, get even more hay to dig through.

    Their jobs, power, and money is on the line, why would they ever say anything other than 'We need more'?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 9:35am

    Re: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something...

    The really sad thing is - the NSA probably employs some of the brightest security people out there, and their efforts are just being wasted by invading privacy and civil liberties in the name of programs that don't actually work.

    How awesome would it be if they were actually helping solve the world's security problems instead?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 9:43am

    Re: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something...

    So... follow the money?

    If we did that all the time there would be no corruption in politics? Additionally, has anyone actually watched any election? Following the money is so time consuming no one ever really does it.

    Politics lives & dies on money and nothing else. There is only one way to get rid of that problem... remove it entirely, that is... any person having been elected to a prominent position shall have their entire estate removed and sold on public auction. That alone would resolve far more problems than it would cause.

    Anyone or anything working for the government should literally be treated like a 2nd class citizen in their financial life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 10:06am

    If mass surveillance doesn't stop terrorists attacks then what is it's true purpose? That's the million dollar question.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 10:16am

    Without terrorism they couldn't justify mass surveillance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    PrivateCliff (profile), 19 Nov 2015 @ 10:34am

    Privacy

    We do not need to surrender our privacy to fight terrorism. In fact, privacy is essential to our liberty. Encryption is not even enough. Better to say off the web. Send email p2p by using your smartphone as a mail server. ShazzleMail is a free app you can download in 2 minutes that can do this. If you use it, we are all a little more private

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something...

    How do you propose to pass such a radical reform? Do you think the people who vote on those kinds of things would willingly write such legislation and then vote for it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    ahow628 (profile), 19 Nov 2015 @ 10:49am

    Disagree

    In other words, all the calls for increased surveillance and less encryption really seem like a smoke screen by an intelligence community that failed.

    I'll disagree with this. I don't think it failed. I think they did exactly what they are capable of but the expectations of them are just unattainably high. The same goes for TSA, DHS, and pretty much every police department ever.

    But, I think this is why it is very important to perform cost/benefit analysis on these types of things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Whoever, 19 Nov 2015 @ 10:53am

    The other smokescreen

    The other smokescreen is the origin of the terrorists. Syrian refugees are being blamed, but ALL of the attackers held French passports, so they were not recent Syrian refugees.

    Perhaps the French need to look within their own society and its historical treatment of muslims for the origin of the attacks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 11:27am

    trouble is, it's much easier to blame something/someone else for a failure and almost impossible to get those responsible to actually hold up their hands! that takes balls, not a cover up!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 11:42am

    the expectations of them are just unattainably high.

    This is the problem.

    Quit demanding of them and they will quit being demanding of you. Think of it as an employer/employee relationship

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 11:55am

    my suspicion is the snoop programs are doing exactly what they are intended to do. .they just aren't intended to catch terrorists and such.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Disagree

    it is very important to perform cost/benefit analysis on these types of things.
    They did do a cost/benefit analysis. It crashed with a divide-by-zero error.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Steve (profile), 19 Nov 2015 @ 12:11pm

    While its natural to blame something else for ones stuffups, the fact that Government supports increased sonnping powers is indicative of a fear of the general population.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Nov 2015 @ 12:34pm

    Where's the friggen metadata?

    We have analysis upon analysis about how metadata tells our stories: who's pregnant, who's sleeping with who, who's eating what pizza.

    Where's the foreknowledge that these men were getting supplied with arms? Where's the contact with persons of interest that formulated this plan?

    Or is the intelligence community too busy checking out my dick-pics?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Nov 2015 @ 12:38pm

    I think the problem of cost/benefit analysis

    ...is who exactly does it benefit?

    Certainly not the people being monitored.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    MadAsASnake (profile), 19 Nov 2015 @ 2:33pm

    So they cannot adequately track 5000 people? Or 500 even? Tracking the whole population is nutty in that equation. The core of the problem is not the amount of data, but the quality. Working out a terrorists plan is genuinely hard, the Paris attacks confirm that. The right answer would be to put the resources into the known threats.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    nasch (profile), 19 Nov 2015 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Disagree

    I think they did exactly what they are capable of but the expectations of them are just unattainably high.

    That may be why they failed, but that doesn't mean they didn't fail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Privacy

    sounds legit

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Disagree

    The real problem is that it is difficult and dangerous for them to do the one thing that actually works, infiltrating enemy organizations. Bad guys make it difficult to join by imposing proof-of-loyalty tests, which usually involve doing something seriously illegal. Bad guys have a policy of killing any spy found. Things are not as gentlemanly as in the days of the Cambridge spy ring.

    So what is the intelligence community to do? Answer: Stay away from danger and pretend they can get information by snooping on electronic communications. That means they get to sit at head office and be safe. Much better. They can pretend they are spies without doing any of that dangerous spying stuff. These people are cowardly liars and should be sacked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    @b, 20 Nov 2015 @ 2:53am

    Big Data 101

    First, the sheer volume of “websites” –at least 5000—makes keywotd searching impossibly slow. How does one effectively scan 5000 individual sites and identify relevance? After all, most never are.

    NSA are harvesting our data for future data scientists. They keep experimenting with "the unpredictability of whether" and keep failing, yes. But that's where meteorology stated too.

    You're all correct on privacy.

    I'm somewhat unsure if you're so correct on crime fighting: mobsters, arms dealers, and busting rings of organized criminals.

    I'm sure anybody who thinks they can prevent terror attacks will only be about as successful as those tirelessly trying to prevent lightening touching the ground.

    Peace and love
    oxox

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Klaus, 20 Nov 2015 @ 3:54am

    Excuses...

    "Perhaps the French need to look within their own society and its historical treatment of muslims for the origin of the attacks."

    That's a bit harsh, blaming the French. That kind of thinking could excuse any bad behaviour. Name one part of the world that has not had some kind of turmoil in this century or the last.

    Take Ireland; there are people there who still feel a seething resentment for the Battle of the Boyne, 1690, when the Orangemen defeated James II. Over 300 years, and still vivid and played out in parades & marches. Take The Balkans... well perhaps not. I don't think anyone quite understands The Balkans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    GEMont (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:55am

    Major Typo!

    "The Paris Attacks Were An Intelligence Community Failure, Not An 'Encryption' Problem"

    Shouldn't that read:

    "The Paris Attacks Were An Intelligence Community Success, creating the appearance of An 'Encryption' Problem"

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    ahow628 (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:53am

    Re: I think the problem of cost/benefit analysis

    I was thinking cost/benefit over a broader spectrum.

    At the airport, I think running my carry on bag through an X-ray machine is perfectly acceptable. I think having them check my photo id is perfectly acceptable. I'm ok with walking through a metal detector. I think those are pretty low cost barriers that keep some of the nastier stuff out.

    I don't think that sucking up all our data, crippling encryption, and removing 4th amendment protections are worth the cost at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 1:46pm

    "The Paris Attacks Were An Intelligence Community Failure..."

    they had matching DRILLS at the same time :
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-17/hours-before-the-terror-attacks-paris-practiced-f or-a-mass-shooting

    this is not a failure sheep!

    WHY do you people insist in this asinine idea
    that the "intelligence community" is there to protect you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 2:20pm

    Re:

    every header tries to reinforce the stupid idea:
    -"The Paris Attacks Were An Intelligence Community Failure"
    -"What's The Evidence Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much"
    -"NY Times Gets It Right"
    -"Is There Any Evidence In The World That Would Convince Intelligence Community That More Surveillance Isn't The Answer?"
    -"France Already Expanded Surveillance Twice In The Past Year -- Perhaps Expanding It Again Is Not The Answer?"
    -"Insanity Rules: Disgusting Politicians Push For More Surveillance And Less Encryption... Based On Nothing"
    -"Pathological: Surveillance State Defenders Use Their Own Failure In Paris To Justify Mass Surveillance"

    you keep doing this headers, looking like "controled oposition"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 6:09pm

    They need better geeks.

    They already have a list of these people who are potentially radicalised. They're already hoovering everything that goes across the backbones and through ISP's networks. So, ...
    for each $(slurp list of terrorists) {
    # spit their transmissions appended to $terrorist_name_datafile.txt.
    # grep each file for keywords that look like terrorist plots.
    # for each hit, send a LEO agent around to watch them and see what they're up to.
    }

    Or something like that, assuming they actually want to stop terrorists. What's wrong with their geeks that they're not doing this? Was Snowden the only one they had who had a clue? Run it as a cronjob and mail it out to the dispatch desk every morning. This isn't rocket science. What the !@# are they doing? Just trying to get more funding? It sure looks like it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 6:27pm

    Re: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something...

    Their jobs, power, and money is on the line, why would they ever say anything other than 'We need more'?

    Irrelevant. We elect people whose job is oversight to watch that we're getting our money's worth. They're the ones who're falling down on the job. We need a few R. P. Feynmans to slap these guys around when they fail this badly. Them pointing fingers all around and whining "It's not our fault! Gimme more money and it'll work this time." is hardly what I want to pay them to do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Big Data 101

    How does one effectively scan 5000 individual sites and identify relevance?

    First, don't just dump it into an Oracle db. "Information" goes into the rdb, not raw data. First, spit it into site_datafile.txt, then grep each of those for keywords. If you get a hit, send an agent around to see what's really going on.

    It's amazing how much capability we've lost in recent years. This should be a simple problem. I no longer believe they're even trying to solve this. They're far more interested in padding their budget. Terrorists are their justification for beefing up their budget, not what they're trying to do anything about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    GEMont (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:46pm

    Re: They need better geeks.

    "What the !@# are they doing? Just trying to get more funding? It sure looks like it."

    What they are doing, in a word, is War.

    It is the most lucrative business model ever devised by men of wealth and has the power to transform the world into whatever form the winners choose to create.

    During war, criminals and politicians become millionaires, millionaires become billionaires and the surviving general public labor force gets re-educated to forget all those things it discovered about its leaders and its corporate businesses during peace time.

    Its like wiping the public's memory-slate clean and at the same time, allows the installation of a whole new set of beliefs and morals and truths into their freshly blanked minds, by indoctrinating the wards of the state - dead soldier's children - and the children of the slaves who sell their offspring for survival.

    Politicians and Kings of Industry and Commerce can have all their past misdeeds erased from the memory of the public and all their future misdeeds kept secret from the newly minted public who will have no access to anything the state does not wish them to access.

    Criminal Kingpins can become Presidents and Kings of Industry and Commerce.

    All of the little laws that were made during peace time to protect citizens of little to modest income from the wealthy land lords, are forgotten and the profit margins of all businessmen who participate in the war effort, rise exponentially for the duration of the conflict, whether real or staged.

    Your leaders are merely fulfilling the original Plan For A North American Century - 100 years of war.

    In 100 years of war, the most evil of us will rise up to the top of the food chain, and the world will be once again, as it has been throughout the vast majority of its history, a world of poverty, labor and suffering on the one hand, and debauchery, wasteful decadence and self aggrandizement on the other.

    This tiny period of peace and tranquility and almost democracy we are soon to leave behind, was a mistake of course, an accident, but one which the ancient families and their minions plan to rectify as permanently as they can this time.

    Because this time, unlike all past periods of our history, they have technology and machinery and weapons that rival the abilities of a God and which can be used to insure an Ownership Utopia on Earth for them and an era of slavery and suffering for the rest of us.

    Mind you, they won't be needing a whole lot of us non-blue-bloods anymore as they plan to replace the unwashed masses needed to keep the machinery running, with never-bitching, never-hungry, never-sleeping, bio-tech entities, so in truth, there will be far less human suffering than in any other normal period of earth's history, because there will be far fewer humans.

    At least, that's the plan, man. :)

    ---

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  31. icon
    GT (profile), 21 Nov 2015 @ 12:15am

    Re: Re: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something...

    The really REALLY sad thing is that people actually believe that 'the NSA employs some of the brightest security people out there'.

    There is almost no part of that phrase that is not horribly wrong. The entire intelligence apparatus - the alphabet-soup of agency acronyms - is staffed at every level above entry-level, with second-tier talent. The work environment is basically hostile to talent. To the extent that there is such a think as an intelligent patriot (the lack of intelligence required to believe in nonsense like the indispensability of the nation into which you were born, almost makes that a null set), thsoe who enter the maw of the intelligence/national-security-theatre scam quickly realise that it's a rotten barrel, and leave after 2 years.

    Ask yourself this: if these clowns are so 'bright', why is entry-level for the NSA at GS5 ($48k a year) when a good analyst AT LITERALLY ANYTHING can pull in $100k working part-time in a real job?


    Name me one event of geopolitical importance, that the security-theatre has uncovered before it was too late. Go all the way back to the Soviet and Chinese nuclear weapons test; the debacle in VietNam; the fall of the Berlin Wall... September 11, ISIS, the ramifications of 'regime change' in Iraq... these clowns have not got a single important thing right, ever.

    Drop the stupid fiction that the 'intelligence' sector is full of Jedi-Mentats: it's full of triangulating second-raters, who are technically on a par with a middle-ranking second year undergraduate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. icon
    GT (profile), 21 Nov 2015 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Where's the friggen metadata?

    Not only that, @Uriel-238... how is it that with all the supposedly 'gifted' retards looking into literally every byte that travels along any fibre-optic trunk, nobody from .gov can track down (much less prevent) the groups who have undertaken massive data-theft? (e.g., Target etc).

    Anyone who thinks that the failure to protect the financial details of 100 million people has no national security implications, has rocks in their heads.

    And yet recently there have been a dozen large-scale infiltrations of systems and exfiltrations of terabytes of data, and the security-theatre complex has NFI whodunnit.

    The security apparatus is a scam from top to bottom - which should be no surprise since it's part of government, which is a scam from top to bottom.

    A hint as to the low quality of personnel: while I admire Snowden for what he did, when it comes to talent he is on a par with the rest of the security-theatre retards... his educational history screams 'second rate' (which is part of the reason why his 'getaway plan' was so poorly thought out). And the best they can do on the hacker front is third-tier retards like 'Mudge' (he was a third-rate nappie and a laughing stock in the hacker phyles 20 years ago, and being in .gov's gentle arms won't have made him any better).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    GT (profile), 21 Nov 2015 @ 1:36pm

    Re: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something...

    " There's only so much you can 'fix' something before it becomes obvious that it's never going to work, and needs to be replaced by something else."

    You are assuming that the stated purpose of the 'something', is its actual purpose. That's a false premise.

    If you want to spend your entire life completely unsurprised by government policy 'failure', remember two simple sentences:

    ① there are no failed policies: if a policy fails its publicly-stated aims, its actual aims were not those; and
    ② the actual primary aim of every policy is to transfer wealth to the political class and its cronies.

    So guess who was not remotely surprised that ObamaCare led to massive premium hikes for those who would supposedly benefit from lower premiums?

    And when the policy failure results in a call for higher budgets (e.g., public education producing stupid children; war producing more terrrrrrrism; green initiatives producing Solyndra-style scams) remember this third thing (which is tied to ②)...

    ③ it is only possible to 'fail upwards' in a government bureaucracy - because the tax base underwrites the losses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    GT (profile), 21 Nov 2015 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: They need better geeks.

    "... has the power to transform the world into whatever form the winners choose to create".

    There has never been a shortage of men who want the power to transform the world - we call those men megalomaniacs, and they are attracted to political life like flies are attracted to buckets of rotting fish. But their actual underlying aim is not 'national greatness' or any of the other eyewash that is used to gull the public: the aim is self-enrichment and empowerment: they don't give a rat's äss if the world burns, so long as their share of it is increased.

    Generally they spend their entire life on high-end welfare - either in the officer-corps military, or in the bureaucracy... or at the highest-end, in a 'private sector' firm whose entire budget comes from contracting to government. During this time, they tell each other how smart they all are - and this nonsense is repeated unedited by journalists (who, to a man, have only a shallow dilettante interest in their claimed area of expertise: they rely critically on the 'Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect').

    As Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have shown, the political-parasite sociopaths are actually pretty awful at working out how to win things. The victims' resolve plays a large role in determining who 'wins' - as does terrain, supply route vulnerability, and technological change.

    Not that this matters, however: the aim is generally not to 'win', but rather for self and cronies to become rich beyond the dreams of avarice. After all, a bunch of people became fabulously wealthy as a result of all this slaughter (and here's a hint: it's not the trailer-trash whose highest-value use is as a grunt for the Death Machine).

    Look at the list of things that were net-negative for the people in the countries that undertook them, but that enriched a parasitic clique beyond anybody's wildest dreams:

    France in Mexico in the 1800s;
    France in Indochina and the Maghreb until the 1960s;
    the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s;
    England in Afghanistan in the 1830s (and during the Maori Wars in New Zealand);
    Napoleon's march to Moscow.

    There has not been a high-end welfare queen who has failed to be enriched by their war-thirst, since Varus at Teutoberger Wald or Crassus at Carrhae.

    Smedley Butler nailed it in 1935: war is a racket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. icon
    GEMont (profile), 22 Nov 2015 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: They need better geeks.

    "Smedley Butler nailed it in 1935: 'war is a racket'."

    I would amend this only slightly to enrich its point.

    War is the most lucrative racket ever created.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    GEMont (profile), 22 Nov 2015 @ 1:37pm

    Re: The other smokescreen

    Today's Headlines from TruthDig.com

    81 Percent of Islamic State-Linked Suspects Charged in the U.S. Are American

    The Guardian reports:

    Sixty-eight people have been indicted
    because of alleged involvement in
    Isis, of whom 18 have been convicted,
    with an average sentence of 10 years
    three months, according to figures
    published this week by Center on
    National Security at Fordham
    University.

    Yet despite a growing political
    clamour over a perceived security
    threat posed by an influx of Syrian
    refugees, the data shows that only
    three of those indicted in connection
    with Isis was a refugee or asylum
    seeker; none came from Syria.

    Instead 55, or 80.9%, of the
    individuals concerned are US citizens,
    including 44 who were born in America.

    The rest include six born in Bosnia,
    four in Uzbekistan, three in Somalia
    and two in Sudan. Fifty-eight are men
    and 10 are women. The average age is
    26 and around a third are under 21.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Nov 2015 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: The other smokescreen

    AMERICANS OUT OF USA!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. icon
    tqk (profile), 22 Nov 2015 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: The other smokescreen

    AMERICANS OUT OF USA!

    Funny guy. :-) I'd vote for that. All of you bastards, back to Europe and start over. Watch out for the natives this time. They're wise to you and pissed about how they were treated last time.

    However, for those playing along in the at home version of the game:
    none came from Syria.

    Ah. Ah! So all of that paranoia about refugees "cummin ta takes ar jerbs" was just paranoia? Good to know. Take that, neo-Nazi preserve the homeland a-holes!
    Instead 55, or 80.9%, of the individuals concerned are US citizens, including 44 who were born in America. The rest include six born in Bosnia, four in Uzbekistan, three in Somalia and two in Sudan.

    What? No British?!? David Cameron, WTF are you going on about!?!

    "We have met the enemy, and it is us!" History just keeps on repeating itself, damnit!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 23 Nov 2015 @ 8:02am

    Re: Excuses...

    And there I was thinking I could sum it all up in two words: Serbian butthurt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    That One Other Not So Random Guy, 23 Nov 2015 @ 1:22pm

    First, the sheer volume of “known radicals” –at least 5000—makes prospective monitoring impossible. How does one effectively monitor 5000 individuals and identify who among them will pose an actual threat?
    -
    Needle... meet haystack.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 7:50am

    I think it went all according to plan, for some, who are not muslims

    N/T

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 1:34pm

    The attacks are also a press failure owing to this idiotic dogma of political correctness. All this nonsense about "Islamphobia" is getting ridiculous already and people are growing tired of it. What will it take for the people in charge to denounce this cult and its deluded followers -- yes, all 2 billion of them -- once and for all? I don't recall that Pastafarian girl from Massachusetts being one of the attackers, or John Travolta piloting Tom Cruise's Top Gun jet into the Trade Towers in the name of Xenu. The majority of terror attacks in the past 30 years have been from Muslims, and anyone who doesn't renounce this psychotic belief system knowing what it calls for is just as culpable in my opinion.

    Religion doesn't deserve special protections at all, let alone one particularly barbaric and reform-resistant one in particular which gets this pitied status because the left have a revenge-porn fetish for low-income brown people victimized by mean old "Western colonial hegemony." Now the Americans are trying to stick their noses in French policy and all but demanding that they repeal laïcité, because of course it's "alienating" to Muslims and it's mean to do that. Whatever happened to "when in Rome, do as the Romans do"? If they don't like French culture or Western civilization, what the hell are they doing living here in the first place? If they want to live in the 7th century ad infinitum like a perverse version of Groundhog Day, what are they doing carrying around iPhones and using social media to "recruit"?

    Obviously they're much happier in a place where decapitations occur every five minutes versus not having any since 1789, where women must dress like cancer patients in order to appease the moon god's phobia about his hair fetish, and where any semblance of fun is banned under penalty of death. Since Massachusetts is no longer run by Puritans who burn witches alive, why don't they just go live in the Middle East where they can fit in perfectly? Why don't they just GET OUT?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: The other smokescreen

    I love how the press calls them "Frenchmen" or "Americans" as though any of them were named Pierre or Bob.

    Call me a whatever-phobe all you want but "Muhammad" is NOT an "English" person's name no matter how the willfully blind P.C. idiots want to spin it.

    Let's stop ignoring the elephant in the room because feelings might get hurt, shall we?

    Oh, but it's so perplexing and "problematic" that those gosh darned hicks in American flyover country are voting for Trump, and it's only the "racists" who practically want to bring back the monarchy and have Le Pen be the queen. The Kippers are no different from the KKK; Orbán is the incarnation of the Führer, and anyone who doesn't appreciate what Merkel is doing (by letting 2 million Jew haters into the country and making nice with the country responsible for the Armenian genocide) will bring Germany another Holocaust!

    All these people just need to check their privilege and be more respectful of other cultures. Just like those "bigoted" little girls in Rotherham and Malmö learned their lesson about structurally oppressive colonial hegemony...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. icon
    nasch (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: The other smokescreen

    I love how the press calls them "Frenchmen" or "Americans" as though any of them were named Pierre or Bob.

    So one cannot be French unless one has a French name, and cannot be American unless one has an English name? I'm not familiar with French law, they do some kooky things over there, but there are millions of American citizens with non-English names. In fact, you can name yourself or your child absolutely anything you want (except maybe if the government objects based on obscenity or some such), including a completely made up name. If someone is named Muhammed and lives in England because his great-great-grandparents immigrated there, would you say he's not English because he's named Muhammed?

    You're coming across as really racist saying things like that. I don't know if you actually are, but that's how it looks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. icon
    GEMont (profile), 26 Nov 2015 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    Howdy Don.

    Folks, I'd like you to meet Mister Donald "toupee" Trump.

    He wants to be your President.

    He'll show them barbaric brown Muzzelums what for, cuz as POTUS, he'll have nukes galore and the balls to use 'em.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. icon
    GEMont (profile), 26 Nov 2015 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re:

    It is always difficult for those whose heads are under water, to fathom, let alone believe that the men above pumping air down the hose, might want them dead simply for the contents of their wallets, left above in the pumper's safe keeping.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. icon
    tqk (profile), 26 Nov 2015 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re:

    Folks, I'd like you to meet Mister Donald "toupee" Trump.

    I wonder why the word "ass-hat" (asshat?) just popped into my head.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. icon
    GT (profile), 28 Nov 2015 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: The other smokescreen

    Depends on when you start the clock. 'Bob' doesn't sound very American to me - Americans tend to have names like 'Goyakla' and 'Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake': 'Bob' definitely sounds like someone recently off the boat, in the broad scheme of things.

    Maybe you're talking about the names that white invaders of the US gave their "anchor babies".

    Also - not for nothin' - but 'Englishness' or 'Americanness' or 'Frenchness' depends on the geographical location (at the time) of the woman from whose birth-canal you emerged, not on what your parents named you. (There are caveats to this, of course: if the peak-sociopath political vermin of a country have rules about who may and may not enter, and the vagina is attached to someone without authorisation, then you might be born stateless).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. icon
    GT (profile), 28 Nov 2015 @ 12:30pm

    Re:

    Given that the NSA has 1500 analysts in Washington alone, that amounts to 3 'radicals' per DC-based analyst - and taken over the whole team-sheet of the US-Stasi machine, each apparatchik would have to monitor a fraction of a person.

    So maybe you're right... that's WAY too much work for the type of second-rate dimwit whose highest-value alternative is working as an 'intelligence' (HA!) apparatchik.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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