WikiLeaks is not the problem

Mark A. Thiessen, an apparently ignorant columnist for The Washington Post says: “You’re either with us, or you’re with WikiLeaks

Some say attacking WikiLeaks would be fruitless. Really? In the past year, the Iranian nuclear system has been crippled by a computer worm called “Stuxnet,” which has attacked Iran’s industrial systems and the personal computers of Iranian nuclear scientists. To this day, no one has traced the origin of the worm. Imagine the impact on WikiLeaks’s ability to distribute additional classified information if its systems were suddenly and mysteriously infected by a worm that would fry the computer of anyone who downloaded the documents. WikiLeaks would probably have very few future visitors to its Web site.

As Matt Honan said, with regard to the above quote, it’s “one of the dumbest things ever written about the Internet.”

Thiessen sounds like a scared little man, afraid to stand up for himself. Afraid that the world he lives in is too scary. So afraid that he’s willing to put all his trust in the same government that has been embarrassed by the documents and videos of WikiLeaks, showing what terrible things the US government is capable of. Thiessen only shows how narrow-minded he is. The discussion should not be about WikiLeaks, it should be about the information the site has brought to our attention.

(via Darring Fireball)

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Could WikiLeaks have prevented 9/11?

WikiLeaks and 9/11: What if?

Thoughtful and intelligent article by Coleen Rowley and Bogdan Dzakovic.

WikiLeaks is good for the US, and your soul

Ex-Intelligence Officers, Others See Plusses in WikiLeaks Disclosures

From the news release:

So shame on Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and all those who spew platitudes about integrity, justice and accountability while allowing war criminals and torturers to walk freely upon the earth. … the American people should be outraged that their government has transformed a nation with a reputation for freedom, justice, tolerance and respect for human rights into a backwater that revels in its criminality, cover-ups, injustices and hypocrisies.

At the very least, if you’re someone who thinks WikiLeaks is harmful, watch these videos first. After that, let’s talk.

Don’t ever talk to the police

I was reading online about a book called The Criminal Law Handbook, by Sara Berman and Paul Bergman. It seems to have some good information in it, but while reading a “Free Chapter” on the http://www.nolo.com website, I came across this:

10. Can it ever help me to answer a police officer’s questions?

Yes. Police officers may be as interested in clearing the innocent as in convicting the guilty. People can often clear their names as well as help the police find the real perpetrators by answering a few straightforward questions. For example, assume that Wally, a possible suspect, can demonstrate that “I was at dinner with Andre” at the moment a crime was committed. Wally both removes himself as a suspect and enables the police to concentrate their efforts elsewhere.

And legal rights aside, the truth on the street is that people often can make life easier for themselves by cooperating with police officers—so long as they don’t have a good reason not to. “Contempt of cop” has resulted in the arrest and even physical injury of more than one innocent person. When innocent people who are pulled over or questioned by police officers stand on their rights too forcefully, events can sometimes get out of control rather quickly.

I’m surprised to see two JDs actually saying—in print, no less—that talking to the police can be a good idea. I’m not saying they’re wrong that it could sometimes possibly help, but I am saying that the risk is to great that, even if you’re 100% innocent, you still may end up screwing yourself by talking to the police. The authors say that “[p]olice officers may be as interested in clearing the innocent as in convicting the guilty.” Well yeah, they may be. What if they knock on your door and tell you they think you’re innocent (which you are), but they just want to rule you out as a suspect. You don’t mind answering a few questions, do you? Only you find out later that they were lying and were really trying to get incriminating information from you. Then, while you’re being questioned, maybe you misremember something or the police ask a bad question and they get confused (see this video for a more exhaustive explanation of why even innocent people should never talk to the police). Do you want to take that risk?

John Pistole just doesn’t get it

ABC News report on TSA civil fines for leaving security checkpoints. Later in the article, Susanna Kim quotes Isaac Yeffet, former head of security for the Israeli airline El Al, talking about why the TSA procedures are ineffective, especially compared to the system used in the Israeli airport:

If there is someone who is suspicious, search that person. The best technology in the world cannot replace a qualified and well trained human being.

Exactly.

Meanwhile, John Pistole is saying things like this:

This technology is not only safe, it’s vital to aviation security and a critical measure to thwart potential terrorist attacks.

But where’s the proof that the naked scanners are 1) safe, and 2) vital to security?

You’re doing it wrong

This is news to me, but did you know that airports are not required to use TSA screeners? One of my favorite parts of the article:

In a May 2010 letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Mica noted that the GAO “discovered that since the program’s inception, at least 17 known terrorists … have flown on 24 different occasions, passing through security at eight SPOT airports.” One of those known terrorists was Faisal Shahzad, who made it past SPOT monitors onto a Dubai-bound plane at New York’s JFK International Airport not long after trying to set off a car bomb in Times Square. Federal agents nabbed him just before departure.

SPOT stands for “Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques,” and is the TSA’s attempt at replicating the successful security observation technique used at some Israeli airports. The problem is—to quote Mr. Mom—you’re doing it wrong.

Job hunting

Admittedly, I took some time off from the job hunt after the little one was born on December 5 last year. However, in the recent weeks I’ve been feeling the pressing urge to start working. After all, I did go to law school and pass the bar, the least I could do is actually practice law.

So I’ve applied to a couple DWI firms here in Austin, but no response. I talked to a friend from law school who works in Houston now, and she said her firm’s San Antonio office might be hiring and that I should send her my resume. Her firm does mostly civil work, but the partner that heads up the SA office still does some criminal defense work (for members of the military–he’s ex-JAG), so I’m a little excited about that. Plus, they seem to hire a lot of St. Mary’s graduates.

The only part I’m not exactly thrilled about is that we’d have to move to San Antonio. It would be one thing if I were single and only renting here in Austin, but I have a wife, kid and house. Not only would it be a big ordeal to move, but we’d have to sell the house and likely buy a house in San Antonio (I doubt we’d rent). I know people do it all the time, but staying in Austin would be so much easier. Plus, I just like Austin better.

It’s not that I dislike San Antonio really. My three years there for law school were fun and interesting, but it just doesn’t have the same feel as Austin. Most of Emily’s family and my family live in the Austin area too, and by leaving we’d be giving up quite a few built-in babysitters–especially my mother-in-law who’s taken care of the little one on short notice several times already.

If it comes down to it, I think we’d all move down to San Antonio. You’ve got to go where the work is, and I’d really like to be bringing in a paycheck soon …