By Steve Scheetz
Since September 11, 2001, the US government has been operating with a demand for the understanding of the people. We, as part of this demand, are to allow certain limitations on our liberty in order to gain a certain level of security. But, given the questionable nature of what are likely exaggerated threats, coupled with Congressional enrichment from these expensive security technologies, the U.S. public is losing both liberty and security, as well as money.
Former director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge revealed details about how the terrorism alerts were used. Among other things, Ridge admits that he was pressured to raise the terror alert to help Bush win re-election in 2004. According to the Associated Press, “He said the episode convinced him to follow through with his plans to leave the administration; he resigned on Nov. 30, 2004.”
Now, since his election, President Obama has made sure that he could also utilize increased terror alerts for his own political ends. Indeed, on October 30, 2010, the president used terror scares involving packages on UPS flights that evidence is suggesting were fabricated. CNN reported:
“Investigators examined two UPS planes that landed at Philadelphia International Airport and another at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, said Mike Mangeot, a UPS spokesman. Authorities later gave the ‘all-clear’ at the airport in Newark, U.S. and U.K. officials said.”
Later, after a presidential press brief, Paul Joseph Watson noted that:
“CNN is running with the headline, Suspicious packages ‘contain explosive material,’ Obama says.”
Video of news can be found here.
Europe is also suspicious of these terror alerts. Last month, the Global Post reported:
“Despite the U.S. State Department’s travel alert — one step below an actual warning — and subsequent alerts by Britain, Japan and Sweden, calm has broken out on the streets of Berlin. The prevailing attitude is that the U.S. … has a tendency to overreact.”
“….Wolfgang Bosbach, chairman of the security committee of the German parliament and a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, said: ‘That is the American reaction to knowledge which we in Europe have had for quite a long time.’”
Just today, the Guardian revealed that a Fake bomb made in the US caused Germany terror alert, which delayed a flight headed for Munich from Namibia for eight hours yesterday. No one in Germany authorized the “security test” nor do they know who planted the “test suitcase,” but Germany did establish “that the device had been manufactured by a US company that specialises in alarm systems.”
DHS uses these “terror threats” to increase its security measures at U.S. airports, and people will be expected to comply with the new TSA procedures, including the naked full body scanners as well as “enhanced” pat downs that amount to sexual assault.
Airport Security Contractors Have Ties to Policy Makers
L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. (not L-3 Communications Corp.) is a defense contractor whose primary interest is creating security scanner devices for commercial airports, detention facilities, postal facilities and government buildings. Many are familiar with their most recent and most controversial product using advanced imaging technology (AIT). Their ProVision scanner can be seen at many airports and in some correctional facilities. While TSA officials claim that images created by the scanners are immediately discarded, according to CNET News, the exact opposite is true. Tens of thousands of images have been stored and transmitted to other agencies.
L-3’s annual sales are in the $14 “B”illion dollar neighborhood, and their primary customer is the US Taxpayer. The board has some very well connected people on it. Lead Director Robert B. Millard receives paychecks from a number of activities. Two of these activities include his seat on private organizations that influence government policy: The Population Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. Through the Population Council, he has access to Justin Rockefeller as well as Senator Jay Rockefeller.
Thomas Corcoran is another director of L-3 Communications. Through his activity as a senior adviser to the Carlyle Group, (the number one donor to Senator Chuck Schumer’s campaign), it becomes clear how L-3 Communications is able to influence members of Congress. As a former Division President of Lockheed Martin, Corcoran is able to increase his influence through their political donation process.
L-3’s current director in charge of compensation is Alan Washkowitz, who formerly served as Managing Director of Lehman Brothers Inc. (which he joined in 1978). At Lehman, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the organization. He is able to continue to influence Lehman Brothers as a stockholder.
Recapping some of L-3’s connections, we have the Carlyle Group, Lehman Brothers, Inc, Lockheed Martin Inc., government advisory councils, and the Rockefellers. And this just barely scratches the surface! It seems, also, that corporate influence and direct contact was not enough for that large of a slice of the stimulus pie, so it should be made clear that L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. has spent millions on lobby efforts, including, but not limited to, highly connected lobbyists like Linda Daschle. The wife of former Senator Tom Daschle has an impressive resume in her own right. In addition to being an FAA administrator during the Clinton Administration, she also lobbies for American Airlines, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and General Electric, as well as L-3, among others.
(On a short side note, Alston + Bird’s lobby arm hired former senator Tom Daschle who was recruited by the former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. Daschle’s salary from Alston + Bird for the year 2008 was reportedly $2 million.)
Meanwhile, as $14 billion dollars worth of security screening equipment was sold throughout the US, the TSA is investigating John Tyner for refusing the “enhanced pat down” encouraged since the late October terror reports.
All of this raises serious questions that need to be addressed:
1. Why would a president say that there were explosives on a plane that the FBI investigated and did not find just two days before an election?
2. Why would the TSA investigate a man who peacefully left an airport once he decided against acquiescing to the enhanced security scans and pat downs?
3. Given the connections of this company that manufacturers the scanners, and the money this company has given to politically connected figures, what reason could possibly be given that would exonerate the Washington Press Corps for the lack of reporting on this issue?
4. The DHS is responding to Muslim organizations demanding that Muslim women not be subjected to these scanners or enhanced pat downs. The DHS will be giving Muslim women a pass through these security measures that are “for your own good,” as Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano has said.
The way things stand, there are connections and there is money. Research into these connections has been collected, and is being placed into a PDF that will be located at http://cz85b.com/l3.pdf. These connections and this money has been used to create $14 Billion dollars worth of sales for a single company. This company’s business is to invade the public’s privacy through the TSA, yet, some of the public will be exempt from these “enhanced security measures.” Meanwhile, tens of thousands have had their imaging photos transmitted from the machines to other agencies.
The people of the United States have to be told that our government, which states that these rights are being violated “for our own good,” is lying. The record clearly shows that our rights are being violated so that those with connections can receive billions in profit. Tell your friends and families that greed is causing our rights to be stolen. These acts are criminal, and we all need to hold these thieves accountable!
Rady Ananda contributed to this report.
Also see Steve’s Nov. 27 post, National Opt-Out Day: Report from Philadelphia International Airport.