When Security is Not Secure

There are wide variations in the quality and security of identification used to gain access to secure facilities where there is potential for terrorist attacks. In order to eliminate these variations, U.S. policy is to enhance security, increase Government efficiency, reduce identity fraud, and protect personal privacy by establishing a mandatory, Government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification issued by the Federal Government to its employees and contractors (including contractor employees). HSPD-12

The Commonwealth of Virginia is the latest state to move to RealID. And again, I ask, why?

For those who have not followed the issue, following the attacks on September 11, 2001, a number of these Homeland Security Presidential Directives were issued. Number 12 forms the basis for the RealID standard. Other documents in this bucket include the CAC/PIV card used by the Federal Government, Passport, Global Entry, and yes, driver’s licenses. And if you have blindly, or even grudgingly handed over your personal information to these agencies, you probably did not think about the actual directive. But since this new ID allows you to board an aircraft, you probably did not blink. But perhaps you should. After all, unless you are issued a CAC/PIV card, what sort of security is this new ID providing?

I will wait.

Still confused? Let me help you. The process likely goes like this. You handed over your old driver’s license, your passport or immigration status card, your social security number, and some proof of residency to a clerk at the DMV (mine had a passing familiarity with English) and boom, you have a RealID card that will get you access to airplanes, military bases, and other government buildings. You may not get past the front door, but you will get inside. And how does this enhance security? There is no background check run. There are no fingerprints, no FBI file. If, like me, you have had your driver’s license more than a week, all they do is check your eyesight and charge a processing fee. Virginia gives you the option to not get one. For a lower fee.

CAC/PIV cards are completely different. They do a background check. With fingerprints, and an FBI file. But not with most of the other documents.

Feel more secure now? Oh, and China called. They are willing to sell you your file back. For less than the processing fee you just paid.

The Credibility Gap

US bars entry of International Criminal Court investigators | WTOP

The United States will revoke or deny visas to International Criminal Court personnel who try to investigate or prosecute alleged abuses committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere, and may do the same with those who seeking action against Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.

The next time the US cries about an international war criminal running free – Julian Assange, Edward Snowden – and asking why they are not being held to account, I am going to point back at this decision.

Words Have Consequences

The white supremacist who livestreamed his Friday rampage at a New Zealand mosque posted a manifesto online that said the attack was partly inspired by Dylann Roof’s 2015 massacre of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina, police said. Washington Post

It is easy to say that these individuals have a screw loose. Or a at least a warped sense of community, but as we continue to suffer under the vitriol spewing forth from arguably one of the most important people on the planet, we continue to see this sort of self-enforcement of views. There are two ways to solve this problem. The first is to realize that the world is changing and that means everything you hold dear (yes, I am being sarcastic) will change with it. The second thing is that using a gun to solve the problem does not actually accomplish anything.

If you are not willing to talk civilly with the person next to you, then say nothing. Just because you disagree does not mean you have to shoot them.

Can I Get The Recipe for That – Scampi

As part of the Italian dinner at the Ristorante Italiano I served last night, we had a lovely Scampi. And for those that liked it, and want to make it themselves, here is the recipe.

Ingredients

4 cloves of garlic, 2 grated, 2 thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Warm crusty bread (for serving)

Directions

  • Whisk grated garlic, salt, and one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium bowl. Add shrimp, toss to coat, and chill, uncovered, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  • Heat remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the shrimp mixture, being careful not to let shrimp or garlic brown, until shrimp is pink but slightly underdone, about one minute per side. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible. Add sliced garlic and red pepper to the skillet and cook, tossing, until fragrant, about one minute. Add wine and lemon juice and cook occasionally stirring, until reduced by half, about two minutes. Add butter and cook, stirring and swirling the pan occasionally, until butter is melted and sauce is thickened about five minutes.
  • Scrape shrimp along with any accumulated juices into skillet. Toss to coat and cook until shrimp are fully cooked through, about two minutes. Transfer to a platter, top with parsley, and serve with bread for dipping alongside.