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WikiLeaks has published a pair of internal CIA documents briefing undercover agents on how to dupe security at airports. The two documents — both classified as “Secret/NOFORN” meaning not to be shared with allied security agencies — give spies advice on how to maintain their cover. They also provide a detailed overview of the covert tactics airports use to vet travelers.
Although some of the information in the documents is public knowledge, advice on how to avoid being singled out for secondary screening could be useful to a variety of people. These include tourists and travelers trying to get home for the holidays, but also terrorists, drug traffickers, and common criminals. The first of the documents — titled Surviving Secondary — covers everything from common sense advice about not looking shifty to warnings about more nuanced pitfalls that might turn a random baggage check into a full-blow investigation.
Tag Archives | Airports
While flights across the US have been cancelled due to the deep freeze of the polar vortex, flights in Bremen, Germany were cancelled for an entirely different reason: a UFO.
On Monday night, an unidentified flying object showed up on Bremen Airport’s radar several times over three hours, causing one flight to be cancelled, one diverted and other delayed as police and airport officials investigated the UFO activity.
Bremen police were alerted to potential UFO activity when a patrol car apparently saw the object around 6:30 p.m. Witnesses report that “It looked like a plane. It had lights but was a lot louder.”
A police helicopter was sent off in pursuit, but was unable to track down the UFO. A Bremen police spokesman said, “We still don’t know what it was, but it was there.”
Just the thing these jumped-up mall cops need: firepower. (Speaking of that, every heard of The Mall Ninja?)
The union representing airport screeners for the Transportation Security Administration says Friday’s fatal shooting of an agent at Los Angeles International Airport highlights the need for armed security officers at every airport checkpoint.
“Every local airport has its own security arrangement with local police to some type of contract security force,” said J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents the screeners. “There is no standardization throughout the country. Every airport operates differently. Obviously at L.A. there were a fair number of local police officers there.
The machines are being removed, but the disturbing grayscale images of travelers’ bloated bodies will continue to haunt our nightmares. Via Boomberg:
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will remove airport body scanners that privacy advocates likened to strip searches after OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS) couldn’t write software to make passenger images less revealing.
TSA will end a $5 million contract with OSI’s Rapiscan unit. The agency removed 76 of the machines from busier U.S. airports last year. It will now get rid of the remaining 174 Rapiscan machines, with the company absorbing the cost.
Airline passengers were offended by the revealing images, including those of children and the elderly. The Washington- based Electronic Privacy Information Center sued the agency in July 2010, claiming the scanners violated privacy laws and has called use of the machines equivalent to a “physically invasive strip search.”
In today’s globally interconnected world, terrifying illnesses from across the sea are just a flight away. These are the airports connecting us to them, via Scientific American:
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A new study finds that [JFK and LAX], along with Honolulu International Airport, are the most likely to facilitate the spread of a major pandemic.
Researchers at M.I.T. used real traveler patterns, geographical information and airport waiting times to predict what U.S. airports are most likely to spread an epidemic from its origin.
The surprise is that the key airports are not necessarily the largest or busiest. Previous research had focused on how easily pandemics can spread globally via air travel once they were in late stages. In those cases, the largest and best-connected airports are indeed the deadliest hubs. But the new work shows that in the first 10 days of an epidemic, other travel centers might be the spreading hot spots.
A bill that would criminalize TSA agents who conduct airport patdown searches was scuttled Tuesday night after the federal government threatened to ground all flights out of Texas. The proposed law would have levied misdemeanor charges against security agents who "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [touch] the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touching the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person." An earlier version of House Bill 1937 would have made such action a felony. [Story continues]Fox 7 reports: