Since the announcement of Christopher Soghoian’s fake Northwest Airlines boarding pass generator, someone talking with Soghoian via instant message says that Soghoian was visited by the FBI. Wired reports Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) has called for Soghoian’s arrest. ABC News quotes a statement from Markey:
The Bush administration must immediately act to investigate, apprehend those responsible, shut down the website, and warn airlines and aviation security officials to be on the look-out for fraudsters or terrorists trying to use fake boarding passes in an attempt to cheat their way through security and onto a plane.
Calls and emails I made to the 24-year-old computer science student after learning of the reported FBI visit were not returned. An iChat transcript provided to BoingBoing shows Soghoian claimed the FBI was at his door between 345 and 350pm PST. He stopped responding to incoming IM messages at that time, and has not responded to other incoming messages since.
FBI special agent Wendy Osborne declined to confirm whether Soghoian had been visited or if an investigation was taking place, citing FBI policy, but said “We will confirm that he has not been arrested.”
Soghoian’s fake boarding pass generator has been taken offline.
Taking the site offline for exposing the weakness of pseudo-security reminds me of what happened between the ORBZ & George J. Strand, City Manager of Battle Creek, Michigan. Strand’s office’s shameful display deprived the net of a useful resource—ORBZ—which identified email servers that pass on email for anyone, no authentication required. These servers are known as “open relays” and spammers use them to hide there true location. When I get some more time, I’ll move the essays there to this blog for easier indexing.
And what to make of Markey’s linking this site to terrorism? As the site used to say, remember that the 9/11 hijackers didn’t need fake passes to get onboard. Yes, let’s all be on the lookout for the new phantom enemy: the “terrorists”. The US government is busy selling the public lies about how the US’s way of life is under threat from without and within. Both Democrats and Republicans do a horrible job of identifying terrorists (let alone owning up to how there’s no definition for the term that doesn’t also include what the US does). Just ask the Buffalo Six (also known as the Lackawanna Six), The Detroit Sleeper Cell, The Portland Seven Sleeper Cell, or ask about the other “terrorist” operations going on in mythical elaborate cave installations which Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said “there’s not one of those, there are many of those” when he was on NBC’s “Meet the Press”. Rumsfeld was building on the propaganda spread initially by the London Times on November 27th, 2001. Following the publication of that diagram, the US bombed the mountains of Tora Bora and found no underground bunker system, no secret fortresses, nothing that even comes close to the installation Rumsfeld said were numerous.
If you need a refresher on how successful selling fear is, watch “The Power of Nightmares” (DVD, smaller files); the summary of these events and related discussion starts around 20 minutes into chapter 3. If you watch the series from the beginning, you’ll come to better understand the origins of the ideology behind the modern-day pursuit of “terrorist sleeper cells”, you’ll hear a lucid challenge to the existence of Al Queda as a group one can join—Al Queda didn’t exist before September 11, 2001 and wasn’t mentioned by Osama bin Laden until after the plane crashes. My main objection to this series is that it promised to discuss who benefits from motivating by fear but it leaves out some important actors in that regard. I think another chapter could go on to discuss weapons manufacturers and intermediary corporations that ostensibly arrange food, armor, lodgings, and the like for soldiers.