Thursday, July 26, 2007

Worst Case Scenario

I have recently posted some articles about security failures as it relates to computers that can't be accounted for and sensitive digital information transmitted in an unsecured way. That's not to mention the laptop computer that was taken home by a Veterans Administration employee and was subsequently stolen compromising some 26.5 million records. And then we bring into play the complete charlie foxtrot that CITIGROUP has made of the processing of US Passports.

What gives?

I mean, we're talking about a complete lapse of security and accountability here. From one aspect, military personnel not only have to be deployed to war zones, but now they have to worry about their own and their family's identities? That's the kind of distraction that could get someone killed. Shame on you, SAIC.

Then there's the retired military personnel, the veterans, who may not have much in the way of economic stability in the first place, who have to worry about the same issue. Veterans information was exposed once, but TWICE this year. Proud men and women serve their country bravely and their repayment is exposure to potential bad guys. Shame on you, VA.

If all that weren't bad enough, US Passports are back-logged in proportions never before seen. It's one thing when your vacation plans are fouled because your US Passport was delayed until the 12th of Never. It's another thing when you finally get your US Passport, but there are errors like a wrong date of birth, incorrect birth location; but, my favorite is it having the wrong picture (I can't make this stuff up). The kicker is when your US passport application gets lost completely. Your photos, application, application fee, and your birth certificate or previous passport are just gone (POOF!). Shame on you, CITIGROUP.

"OK. All that sucks, but why are you birthing a calf over it?"

Aside from identity theft within the country, which has become a past time for some bad guys, what happens if Al-Qaeda gets their grubby little hands on this information or some of the missing passport applications? They've got their computer geeks too, you know.

Digital and domestic terrorism, that's what happens. This goes far beyond the scope of the Red Cross Scam that targeted the spouses of deployed service members. Who knows how that information got leaked.

Please allow me to present a plausible scenario to you.

The bad guys get the information because it is lost, stolen, or otherwise misplaced. They steal the identities of veterans, military personnel and their families and cause complete economic havoc by running up credit cards and transferring savings to off-shore accounts to fund further terrorist activities. Millions of people become poor and destitute while they wait for the government to "solve the problem". What an incredible horror to know that not only have you lost everything, but that what you lost went to finance terrorist activities.

The second wave comes when military families and other citizens start getting threatening phone calls or suspicious letters containing a "strange white powder". Can you imagine the terror that would be instilled? You get a spooky phone call at three in the morning or open a letter you think is junk mail only to have white powder fly all over you and you rush to the Emergency Room. Now that Federal and Local law enforcement have their hands more than full, the next step comes.

The bad guys get the passports applications that were "lost", replace the pictures and reapply using false ID, which isn't that hard to get. And in the cases where the fees were paid with a money order, the poor person whose application was lost in the first place has now paid for a bad guy to gain access to the country. It's an open back door that anyone can walk right through while authorities are tracking down who was responsible for the first two steps.

The insanity of this is that I just thought of it. Me. A simpleton, for all intents and purposes. If I could dream up a nightmare like this, so can the bad guys. Or maybe the can one up me.

The time has come for us as citizens to start demanding the protection we're entitled to and the protection we were promised. Write your Representatives and Senators. Inundate them with letters, e-mails and phone calls. If everyone gets involved and does this, maybe, just maybe, for one day, a committee of some sort, perhaps the entire House or Senate won't be able to conduct business because of concerned and angry correspondence and phone calls. Then they'll step back and really look. "Why can't we do business today?" could turn into "Who's responsible for the lack of security?" and that could lead to action.

This is our time. Do we wait for the bad guys to come to us? I mean, certain government agencies have all but invited them, right? Or do we kick somebody in the pants to motivate them for our own protection? We elected our government officials and we pay their salaries. It's time they started working.


Da Mommy said...

I could not agree more, and I know too many people who have had their passport applications go gone, POOF!, kapoot...they have the expense of replacing all that was lost and then worrying about who has it and what they are doing with it...identity theft is rampant and scary and is the wave of the future in crime...there's pretty much no way to stop it. The end days are coming folks, better get yourself right with your maker!!!

Attila The Mom said...

Great post!

You know another group who is starting to get hell over security and passport BS is adoptees.

When we were adopted, we were issued a new birth certificate---one that lists our adoptive parents as our legal parents. Our original (with birth parent info) was sealed by the courts in states that have closed records.

In some states, the "new" certificate has a little word on them---"amended". Yikes

So there have now been reports of adoptees denied passports by uninformed beauros who insist on an "original" birth certificate, not our legal "amended" ones.

What a cluster!

Great post!

Scully's Moulder said...

I agree completely. Our family had a hard time getting passports as well. My step-son's application was lost, along with the payment for all 5 applications. I had to replace his birth certificate and copies of my wife's divorce decree and our marriage license. Complete pain.