Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Always the Middle of the Night

In my last post I mentioned Christopher Soghoian, who deliberately called attention to one of the multitudinous flaws in airport security by putting up a website that printed fake boarding passes. Not that printing a boarding pass, fake or real, is any great accomplishment; people with computers and Internet access have been doing this for years. I’ve printed out my own (legitimate) boarding passes at home before, and printing another copy with an altered name would have been easy.

Still, the government doesn’t like people who point that out. So on Friday the FBI paid Soghoian a visit and told him to take the site down. Which he did. Spooked by his experience, he spent the night at a friend’s house. Here’s what he says happened the next day:
I came back today, to find the glass on the front door smashed.

Inside, is a rather ransacked home, a search warrant taped to my kitchen table, a total absence of computers - and various other important things. I have no idea what time they actually performed the search, but the warrant was approved at 2AM. I'm sincerely glad I wasn't in bed when they raided the house. That would have been even more scary.

The link also leads to the photocopies Soghoian posted of the arrest warrant.

What exactly does the FBI hope to learn by taking his computers? Nothing: they don’t need to look for evidence proving Soghoian’s responsible for the site, since he admitted this to the mainstream media. And I doubt they expect to learn he’s a member of a terrorist cell. No, this is purely an attempt to scare him, nothing more. I don’t know how well it’s working, but Soghoian’s set up a Paypal account and snail-mail address seeking donations for his legal expenses.

It would probably be unwise, at this point, for me to link to the post where I explained how I smuggled six ounces past airport security. If I were fond of clichés perhaps I could say “the emperor doesn’t like it when you notice he has no clothes.” Except that doesn’t fit, does it? Remember what happened in the original story: when the little boy said the emperor had no clothes the emperor pretended not to hear him, and kept on marching.

But that only happens in fairy tales. In real life, when little boys cry that the emperor has no clothes the emperor’s guards show him why it’s dangerous to notice things.


Anonymous Wild Pegasus said...

Thanks for your help, citizen!

- Josh

12:47 PM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

The original story, in any case, is about truth and hiddenness. A hidden truth.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

To make a paypal donation, go to http://slightparanoia.blogspot.com/ then down to the post "Couple things", there's a "Make a Donation" button there.

Jennifer asked in the previous post comments.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

No new posts from Jennifer in four days...did she get carried off in the middle of the night too?

2:14 AM  

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