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.

Where in the World…

Perhaps I am a bit nuts. If you have been reading my posts at all, you probably came to that conclusion a long time ago, but for the new people that just came in, it is a possibility. Then again, you have to be a tad off to stay sane in the world anymore.

To wit, over the next few days, I hope to be taking up a new position that will require a bit of travel. Not that unusual, I have had these sorts of jobs before, but this time, even the Welcome Aboard and Indoctrination is going to require me to travel. I expect that for a while, I will be like Carmen. I will not know where I am, or what I am doing until I get there.

Want to play along? I will see if I can find the time to post some pictures of where I am, and you can try and guess the city. I might even post the famous ones. In the meantime, wish me luck!