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Archive for May 21st, 2010

Govt. Report Says Program to Spot Suspected Terrorists at Airport Not Effective

airport-photoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A behavior-protection program designed to spot suspected terrorists and others who pose dangers at U.S. airports doesn’t appear to be working all that well.

The Boston Globe reports that at least 16 people who were later tied to terror plots passed through U.S. airports without being detected by federal officials who were part of the program created in 2003 by the Transportation Security Administration.

The Globe reported that a General Accounting Office report released Thursday questioned the scientific basis of the program dubbed “SPOT” (Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques).

The report said the Transportation Security Administration “without first validating the scientific basis for identifying passengers in an airport environment.”

“A scientific consensus does not exist on whether behavior detection principles can be reliably used for counterterrorism purposes,” report said.

“TSA has bungled the development and deployment of a potentially important layer of aviation security,” Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) told the Globe. He had requested the report.

To read more click here.

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FBI Pursued Sources of Legendary Columnist Robert Novak in the 1980s

James Novak/meet the press

Robert Novak/meet the press

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Legendary syndicated newspaper column Robert Novak, who was nicknamed “The Prince of Darkness”,  was on the FBI’s radar way before he stepped into a controversy in 2003 by publishing the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

The Washington Post’s Joe Stephens reports that just obtained FBI records show the FBI had launched three leak investigations in the 1980s seeking Novak’s sources as a result of two columns and after a 1983 appearance on the tv show “The McLaughlin Group”.

Stephens reports that agents “conducted interviews, reviewed appointment calendars, requested polygraph tests and considered using an administrative subpoena to obtain phone records, they apparently were unable to confirm the identity of any of the sources.”

Novak, who worked for the Chicago Sun-Times,  died of a brain tumor on Aug. 18, 2009.

To read more click here.

Pres. Obama Nominates U.S. Atty. for Pa. and Tenn.

William Killian/law firm photo

William Killian/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Obama nominated two more U.S. Attorneys on Thursday, this time for Pittsburgh and Knoxville, Tenn.

David Hickton

David Hickton

The nominees are: Private attorneys David J. Hickton for the Pittsburgh post and William C. Killian for Knoxville,  according to a White House press release. Hickton replaces the controversial Bush-appointed Mary Beth Buchanan, who lost Tuesday in her Republican primary bid for a Congressional seat.