Sunday, January 24, 2010

Crossing the line

The Society of Professional Journalists has issued an important reminder to journalists in Haiti, the earthquake is the story, not the reporter covering the earthquake.
"I think it's important for journalists to be cognizant of their roles in disaster coverage,” SPJ President Kevin Smith said. "Advocacy, self promotion, offering favors for news and interviews, injecting oneself into the story or creating news events for coverage is not objective reporting, and it ultimately calls into question the ability of a journalist to be independent, which can damage credibility."

Al Qaeda behind failed attack

OBL claims credit for Christmas Day attacks. Or at least, he says it's him.

Flight diverted

Flight from Washington/Dulles diverted from trip to Vegas because of a passenger who tried to open the door. He was reportedly drinking, and now getting a mental evaluation.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Those phone records the FBI collected in the name of catching terrorists, turns out the agency did not exactly follow pesky procedures to get the wiretaps.

John Solomon reports
that more than 2,000 DOMESTIC phone calls were recorded between 2002 and 2006 based on "terrorism emergencies that did not exist" or by arm-twisting phone companies.

Gone fishing

Reader Carmen M. writes:
We're enjoying your new blog. Sean wonders if you could include a fishing report, as Gene Mueller is no longer employed by the Times, either. (We no longer receive that paper...we're waiting for them to rehire you.)

Well Sean, we emerged from the Bunker yesterday to enjoy the beautiful weather, and to scout fish, per your request.
The water is still so cold, I could see clear to the bottom.
I stared for hours and didn't see a single fish.
Or crab.
But I'll keep trying, check back later Sean!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tent city?

I wonder if they will use Homestead Air Force Base in Miami to temporarily house Haitian earthquake victims? It was done after Hurricane Andrew. A little bird whispered that in my ear. We shall see.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Lot's of nervous chatter in the last few days from unnamed government sources about new threats of a terrorist attack. This from the NYT:
“They continue to plot, and one of their major goals is to hit the United States,” one official said, adding that he was not authorized to discuss the matter on the record. “Everyone understands that, and we have fresh, credible evidence of it.”
The official indicated that the government had obtained the intelligence in the last few days.
“Our concern about AQAP has intensified,” said a second intelligence official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, referring to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. “The threat from Al Qaeda did not end on Dec. 25.”

The Associated Press is reporting its own sourcesas saying that security is increasing on all flights into the U.S. because of an al-Qaida threat from Yemen.
This in addition to what one of my own Homeland Security sources told me Monday, that 25 similar plots like the Christmas Day incident were already planned and ready to be executed on airlines by AQAP.

How many?

New reports this morning that more air marshals will be assigned to overseas flights.
According to the BBC, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the U.S. is"taking an additional set of aviation security precautions to protect the American people."
"Some of these measures include enhanced random screening, additional federal air marshals on certain routes and adding individuals of concern to our terrorist watch list system," she said."

The Associated Press just sort of threw these numbers out there:
The administration has already added hundreds of air marshals to the existing force of more than 4,000. Napolitano said the air marshals would be assigned to flights on certain routes. There were no air marshals on Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas or on the same flight the following day.

Really? A force of 4,000? That seems misleading...

It's a culteral thingy

Nigeria says it will soon deploy its own air marshals on flights to the U.S. as a security measure after the Christmas day attack by its citizen, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab.
Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Director Harold Demuren said the decision demonstrates Nigeria’s commitment to aviation security, but also noted they are displeased that the U.S. wants more thorough screening for all passengers originating from Nigeria.
“We are very dissatisfied about this and we have made it very clear. We hope that this will be revisited very quickly,” Demuren said.
“We have had 100 percent examination at our airports, we are introducing three-D full-body scanners, we are doing second screening of all hand luggage, we have met all ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) security directives,” he said.
He said the request to put air marshals on U.S.-bound flights came from the Obama administration and Nigeria consented.
Demuren said Nigeria will ask the United States to help train air marshals.

But this article from the Daily Caller
sheds some light on what it's actually like to fly in and out of Yemen. If all the passengers have daggers, will two guns toted by air marshals make a difference in security?
The airline permitted daggers but no firearms, and the scanning equipment was non-existent, so airport personnel patted everyone down but let everyone keep their big daggers. Of course, no one was going to be able to use a dagger to hijack a plane filled with 30 other men who also have daggers, so in a sense the system worked.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ice, ice baby

All that stuff floating in the bay, upon closer inspection, turns out to be ice.
I'm just saying.
But it's a beautiful day outside the bunker, with temperatures screeching out of the 30s and into the 40s, I think I'll go outside. And take a closer inspection of that ice.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stay tuned ...

I"m not missing in action, I'm just
1. Basking in the glory of my book that hit stories Tuesday: "Buried Alive" by Roy Hallums with Audrey Hudson. Roy, who is a retired Naval commander, was working as a contractor in Iraq when he was kidnapped and held hostage for nearly a year before he was rescued by Special Forces. Buy it now, you'll thank me later.
2. Working on an exclusive story/blog on the Federal Air Marshal Service.
3. Working on the resume and applying for jobs. I'm unemployed people! While I enjoy working for free here, a girl's gotta make a living.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Must read

The Daily Caller is a new Internet publication by Tucker Carlson that debuted this week and is making waves in DC becoming a fast must read.
This interview by Jason Mojica is a real eye-opener:
Dubbed the “hate-mail cleric” by British tabloids, Anjem Choudary is London’s headline-grabbing Islamist who wants to see the United Kingdom under Shariah law and the queen under a burqa.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Please remove your underwear

A new poll says Americans are okely dokely with the government using body scanners to check our undergarments for bombs before getting on commercial flights.
Poll respondents appeared to endorse a Transportation Security Administration plan to install 300 scanners at the nation's largest airports this year to replace metal detectors. The machines, used in 19 airports, create vivid images of travelers under their clothes to reveal plastics and powders to screeners observing monitors in a closed room.

According to the USA Today/Gallup poll,
78% of respondents said they approved of using the scanners, and 67% said they are comfortable being examined by one. Eighty-four percent said the machines would help stop terrorists from carrying explosives onto airplanes. The survey was taken Jan. 5-6 of 542 adults who have flown at least twice in the past year.

That takes care of a good percentage of airports in the U.S. But this ramp-up of security, if you recall, is in response to the Christmas Day terrorist attempt by a man who flew to the U.S. from Amsterdam.
Europeans practically had to be forced at gunpoint to allow U.S. air marshals to protect flights from there because they oppose, well, guns.
The rest of the world isn't very keen on many of our other security measures, citing invasion of privacy issues.
Many Americans may think it's okay for TSA screeners to inspect our bare bodies via computer screens, the rest of us better hit the gym.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This week in questionable comments

When it comes to politics, we in the bunker prefer to hunker down and ignore the same old tired rhetoric, foot-stomping and fist-clenching that comes from DC and beyond.
But this week, some reported comments were so remarkable that even we were forced to peek outside and take notice.
Judge among yourselves...
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is said to have said::
He was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one," as he said privately.

Former President Bill Clinton is said to have told the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy:
Just a few years ago, President Obama would have been serving the pair coffee.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said it:
"We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama."

Those of us who were in the U.S. Capitol on September 11 when some hijackers tried to fly a plane up our skirts, beg to differ.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

NORAD, we're having cocktails

There are some things that an air marshal just won’t do.
Dealing with drunk passengers is tops on the list.
Not only does it compromise their undercover status, it also puts them at risk of being attacked by a terrorist while diverted by an inebriated flyer.
As many marshals have explained it to me, a drunken passenger is the airline’s problem, not the Federal Air Marshal Service.
So with that in mind, judge this action:

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, launched two F-16 fighter jets briefly Friday after the pilot of a commercial flight reported a drunken passenger locked in a lavatory.

Yeah, that happened.

What next, Navy SEALS launching a counter-attack from within the commodes?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sleeping at the Holiday Inn Express

The New York Times is reporting that a man claiming to be a lawyer tried to gain access to the Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood shootings.
Security guards, recognizing that the man was not Maj. Nidal Hasan's lawyer, forbade visitation.
Although the man was posing as a lawyer, investigators say he is not considered a threat.

Après terrorist attack

There’s a lot of shock and outrage that several government officials were on vacation when a would-be terrorist tried to blow up 300 airline passengers.
CIA chief Leon Panetta was on vacation in Monterey, Calif., his deputy was also on holiday.
National Counterrorism Director Michael Leiter was off on a ski vacation, although no one is saying where -- Vail, I could forgive, Aspen, not so much.
The president himself was with his family in Hawaii.
That's because, the attack happened on Christmas Day.
For those of you not familiar with holidays, government muckety mucks, many of whom are mere mortals, go on vacation during these days, like Christmas.
Despite their absence, someone from the government showed up, arrested the Nigerian national, questioned him, charged him, launched internal investigations among multiple agencies to find out what went wrong, and wrote up a report for the president.
Anyway, that's the view from the bunker...

A note to Beyonce's publicist

Hannibal Gaddafi, Google it.

United States singer Beyonce was reportedly paid US$2 million for a one-hour performance for the son of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi on a Caribbean island on Old Year’s night.

And controversy ensues...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

And so it begins

Now it's my turn to join the ranks of thousands of journalists laid off from their respectable newspaper jobs and start a blog. Translation, I can keep on writing, just not get paid for it. On the upside, I'm still in my pajamas.