Schneier on Security
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January 16, 2008
Rudy Giuliani on Terrorism Security
A longish article by Rudy Giuliani on his philosophy to secure the nation from terrorism. I may write a long blog post on the article after I read it, but I wanted to post the link as soon as I saw it.
EDITED TO ADD (2/13): Detailed analysis.
Posted on January 16, 2008 at 2:17 PM
• 51 Comments
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Bruce, it's up to you what you choose to write, of course, but Giuliani is increasingly irrelevant. He came in sixth in Michigan, which is consistent with how he's been doing in other states. He's being rejected by all sides. Is he really worth the typing?
Foo. The man about lost me on the 2nd paragraph. I'm willing to believe that there've been 14 attempted attacks since 9/11 and none have succeeded, but without knowing the number of attempted attacks in the five years or so _before_ 9/11 it's foolish to ascribe the failures to increased vigilance.
Yea, this made me sick about 5 lines in... and it just keeps going... and going... and going...
I see he uses the "nothing has happened so the security measures are working" argument.
Perhaps he should take a course on the scientific method rather than try to exploit 9/11 to further his political ambitions.
On the other hand, perhaps the invisible magic powder which I spread around all obvious US targets has worked in keeping terrorists away...
Just because he isn't considered a presidential front-runner doesn't mean he's unqualified to speak on national security.
Right out of the gate, he cites "14 attempted domestic terrorist attacks", most of which have been simply asserted by the current Administration without many supporting details. "Attempted" makes it sound like something occurred but was foiled, rather than having been some radical's unrealized pipe dream, which is how some of these plots sound when you dig into them.
"The fight against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups will be America’s central challenge for years to come." Not feeding its citizens, not improving our economy or improving foreign relations. Fighting terrorist groups.
Heart disease, auto accidents, and even diabetes have each killed two orders of magnitude more people since 9/11 than died in those attacks, yet I don't see anyone offering a War Against Diabetes.
No, more like he's unqualified because he's a nutjob. Did you happen to read the article? The guy has lost his mind, if it were even there to begin with.
Modern day politicians are *well out of their league. Time for new blood. I wouldn't trust these idiots as line cooks at a greasy spoon, let alone with the hardly simplistic details governing foreign policy and national security. This is an age of specialized people, there are no more renaissance men, and it seems the only things these 10th generation political inbreds have managed to become proficient in is poll data and recycled, sheeple-pleasing BS.
He's an idiot.
"Terrorists have conspired to murder American soldiers at Fort Dix and planned to ignite the fuel lines beneath John F. Kennedy International Airport."
No, those were pipe dreams. Fantasies. The "terrorists" couldn't even come up with their own weapons. And looking at the school shootings since 2001, it doesn't seem that difficult to get weapons.
He's an idiot who is trying to spew fear so he can be relevant today.
"Bruce, it's up to you what you choose to write, of course, but Giuliani is increasingly irrelevant. He came in sixth in Michigan, which is consistent with how he's been doing in other states. He's being rejected by all sides. Is he really worth the typing?"
I don't particularly care about his presidential campaign. If I write something, it would be because I wanted to say something about his article on homeland security.
From the article: "The fight against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups will be America’s central challenge for years to come."
When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
I'm no fan of Rudy Giuliani, but there are some reasonable comments in his article (indeed he makes some points that Bruce has made). Of course there is some rubbish as well, as has been pointed out above
Three reasonable passages from his article:
"Preparing for terrorist attacks and for natural disasters are complementary goals: when cities and states prepare for natural disaster, they also strengthen our response to potential terrorism."
"Though we must make America more secure, we must also show our friends around the world that America is a country open for business, not a closed-door fortress. The best and the brightest should come to America—to study here, to work here, and in some cases to become American citizens."
"It’s also past time to rethink aviation security and to stop frisking toddlers and grandmothers trying to get onto planes.
The federal Terrorist Watch List, which still has incomplete and inaccurate information, needs a serious cleanup."
Overall, the message is "Be Afraid" (so trade liberty for security).
...the opposite of "Don't be Terrorized".
In a sense, his political career is somewhat relevant to discussions of security. As one of his opponents stated, his campaign speech can be summed up as "noun - verb - 9/11".
His alleged expertise in national security is the cornerstone of his (floundering) campaign for the presidency. He doesn't have anything else to run on, so he gets his people to write a long, pseudo-scholarly article about national security.
On a final note, did anyone else find the repeated use of "-Stat" more than a little Orwellian?
All the *stat stuff is just the sales reps of whoever created Compstat talking.
All political whining aside, Giuliani's homeland security position is more systematic and comprehensive than any other candidate's, even if he is a bit threadbare on other issues. Naturally how he talks and looks and acts is dependent on what his advisors tell him, but I wouldn't characterize him as a nutjob.
You look at almost anything, and the people that think they know the most are never the people who do the work. The best quarterbacks can be found in the breakroom on monday morning, the best generals can be found sitting in their recliners at home, and the best people to provide security and fight terrorism are on schneier's blog. And just like the Monday morning quarterbacks and armchair generals, I won't hold my breath for them to suit up and do better.
Come on folks. I agree with some points, disagree with others. That's why we should dialogue and bring together the best points rather than start insulting the guy just because he has an (R) by his name (or a D for that matter). To his credit, he puts his points out there and signs his name to them.
As far as the 14 disrupted incidents, I'd like to know more, but honestly it is probably best if we, the general public, don't. If they have certain methods that they can't tip future wanna be terrorists off to, then that's just something we have to live with. Whether or not there is checks and balances is a topic for another time (and I bet that would get ugly).
Disclaimer: I'll never vote for Guiliani, just in case someone suspects me of advocating for him.
You know more than you'd think about the 14 incidents if you're a regular reader here. Quite a few have appeared on this blog in "lol life imitates teh Movie Plot Contest, except the scary terrorists are horribly inept" columns. Or in columns about Fed informants drumming up terrorists where before there were just pizza delivery boys.
Just more "noun - verb - 911" FUD and shameless plugging of industry pals from his Governor days.
I also give Guillani props for putting this out and putting his name to it. However whenever Guillani brings up his credentials as being the best candidate to protect america all I have to do is to think back to the time he decided that 7WTC was the best location for his "emergency operations center."
One particular aspect of Guiliani's piece that I do like is the concept of resilience. I am not endorsing the way Guiliani might implement it or the other security proposals. But I like the concept of resilience in security planning.
Sometimes security is framed in terms of preventing or pre-empting attacks, accidents, and disasters to exclusion of resilience. 100% safety is not likely and the costs can be steep. Yes, reduce some of the risks but also develop ways of rolling with the punches of all kinds.
The payoffs of improving resilience of a society can be enormous. Better hospitals and response services can address terrorist attacks as well as the more highly likely accidents, natural disasters, etc.
Rudy is going to win Florida, and will win most of the Feb. 5th states. Then he'll win the nomination, and then the presidency. Here's why:
“Mayor Giuliani Inherited $2.3 Billion Budget Deficit And Turned It Into Multi-Billion Dollar Surplus.��?(Steven Lee Myers,“A Deficit Revisited,��? The New York Times, 7/31/94.)
NYC’s crime reduction under Giuliani was THREE TO SIX TIMES THE NATIONAL AVERAGE!
I was in NYC on 9/11 - from great tragedies, sometimes great heroes emerge. Rudy was a hero to all New Yorkers on that day, and in the days that followed.
But you know, all I need to know about Rudy is this: in 1995, NYC hosted a big event at Lincoln Center for various foreign dignitaries. Guess who crashed the party? Yasser Arafat. Rudy’s response? HE THREW THE TERRORIST BASTARD OUT THE DOOR! When the city’s liberal elite cried foul, Giuliani replied, "I would not invite Yasser Arafat to anything, anywhere, anytime, anyplace. I don’t forget."
BE VOCAL, BE LOCAL – let’s get this guy elected! The time to act is NOW!
So what - he wants to be the next terrorist in the white house. How original.
Btw: Mike Gravel is still in the race.
Legal changes to protect the good samaritan? I wonder if this would protect those who warn about genetically engineered farm and ranch products. It would be geat if change was applied across the board.
A lot of VaporWarestat.
Doesn't he also boast about NYC's emergency command center in this article? The one that was built, despite vocal opposition, at 7 World Trade? And subsequently destroyed on 9/11? He was urged to build it elsewhere - away from a KNOWN TARGET - but this was Rudy's bull-headed choice and no one was going to talk him out of it.
And how, exactly, is he the "hero" of 9/11? What did he do that was so heroic? Show up on television a bunch and say "we will not fail"? Yes, he was more visible than Bush or Cheney that first day... but that doesn't make him a hero. Or an expert.
Paragraph 6 alone made me loose any residual image I had of Guiliani as an sort of expert on security or terrorism.
The idea that we shouldn't know about planned attacks or how they were foiled is antithetical to democracy. How can the public make informed decisions in the polling booth if we are refused important information for our own good?
I have yet to hear of a post 9-11 plot that when examined in detail bears any resemblance to a serious threat. If Rudy (who I realize you do not support) is going to campaign on the fact that we have stopped 14 "attacks" then we as voters need to know the details of these attacks and how they were planned and thwarted. I included "planned" because it seems to me that in at least two cases FBI informants actually presented the plans to the supposed terrorists.
In the meantime we fritter away our civil liberties to protect us against these plots that are concocted by those working for our own government!
In such cases do you think that we need this sort of paternalistic "security" in which voters aren't given information to make decisions but are instead simply told that dozens of attacks have been thwarted so we're somehow safer?
Giuliani is entirely wrong about how to create a resilient society, focusing on nothing but command-and-control government solutions. I have a review on Perimeter Grid about this article, and what's wrong with Giuliani's approach: http://perimetergrid.com/wp/2008/01/16/...
... so I chased the link.
It lead to a NYTimes article (1/16/2008) with this quote by Giuliani:
"Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do. You have free speech so I can be heard."
I read this to be "You should be afraid" (continuing the terrorism theme) "and you should let Big Brother fix the problem".
@John: "The idea that we shouldn't know about planned attacks or how they were foiled is antithetical to democracy. How can the public make informed decisions in the polling booth if we are refused important information for our own good?"
In an ideal world, I would agree with you. Unfortunately, this isn't an ideal world. It shouldn't be that difficult to understand why some information can't be disclosed without tipping off our enemies. Similar to how we don't know everything about how police do their job as to not tip off the "bad guys" so to speak.
I wish we could know it all and make decisions accordingly. Unfortunately, that just isn't possible. And if you were the person (and I'm not just talking the president and federal government) responsible for securing something or apprehending criminals, you would likely not share everything either.
"A resilient society depends on active, engaged citizens." I agree, when active and engaged means, as you and others put it, "refusing to be terrorized", rather than "instant global anti terrorism expert". Take, for instance, the response of the Swedish police when called to investigate a humming package. ( http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080117/ap_on_fe_st/... ) A janitor finds a suspicious package, alerts the authorities and lets them handle the threat, rather than going Angus MacGyver and trying to disarm it himself.
"Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do. You have free speech so I can be heard."
Wow. Straight out of 1984. "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."
Benito wannabe. Your friendly neighbourhood fascist.
Oh, well. There's only one decent person among the presidential candidates. The rest are either fascists of different degrees of scariness or socialists with slightly different aptitude to demagoguery.
Turn on your telescreen, sheep.
That was great Bruce. I really appreciate your thought.
Most of the people out there would give the link only in a post. It is really great that you gave the link before the post.
Great. Wholesale surveillance as the answer to terrorism. I hope Schneier will be merciless.
There are other gems like: "One reason New York City was able to withstand the 9/11 attack was that we were prepared to meet twenty-first-century security threats." AFAIK the attack succeeded. We must suppose he says "withstand" as opposed to "collapse into a barbarian society"?
How the hell does Giuliani sleep at night?
Interesting read which reminded me of this quote from my favorite author. "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." -Edward Abbey. It would be interesting to see if you could stand in a capitol and read the Declaration of Independence without going to jail.
The positive points of his 'plan' aren't anything we haven't heard from Bruce and other sensible security advocates long before Rudy set his beady eyes on the Oval Office.
And the heroes of 9/11 were the firefighters, police, and other first responders (as well as union construction workers who turned their tools and know-how to search and rescue) who went into the flaming buildings and were dealing with the real-world impact, not Rudy.
For many years Giuliani raised money for the terrorist organization that tried to murder my family. They also tried to murder Margaret Thatcher and the rest of her Cabinet.
He can hardly claim to be an expert on terrorism if he did not know what the IRA was doing in Northern Ireland, the number of deaths they caused was greater than 9/11, or that the role of NORAID in the IRA was exactly the same as that of the Islamic 'charities' currently being prosecuted for funding Hamas and Al Qaeda.
Giuliani even gave Gerry Adams an award, the Crystal Apple in recognition of his 'humanitarian' work. His expressed goal being to force Clinton to meet with Adams, which the Whitehouse was refusing to do without the IRA renouncing terrorism. A year later the IRA was back to blowing up shopping malls in Manchester.
The establishment media is not going to remind people of any of this - not even the New York Times which reported it all at the time (try Google NORAID Gerry Adams Giuliani).
I took a look at his proposal to stop cyber-terrorism. I do not think he understands it in the slightest.
I eagerly await the follow-up blog posts linking to the positions of Clinton, Obama, Huckabee, Romney, etc. on this same issue.
Why wait for somebody else to do what you can do yourself?
There's a pretty good search engine at http://www.google.com/
Sorry Geoff, but that just doesn't wash, for people are not asking to see any genuinely sensitive intelligence that could be used against you but simply what were these so called foiled attacks. Some we have seen, like the movie plot threat to blow up the airport's fuels tanks, which, once you got beyond the initial hysteria the news caused, wouldn't have done much damage beyond small localised fires at worst, if that. Similarly, as others have pointed out up-thread, many were not so much foiled genuinely planned attacks but agent provocateurs earning FBI dollars while setting up US based muslims and even apparently suggesting possible targets to them. If this is the calibre of the foiled attacks, and so far as we know all are, I think in any democracy the citizens have a right to know what you are sacrificing your freedoms for. Especially as they are quick enough to shout out loud when they have an apparent success. Yet strangely, few of these successes end up in the courts and even when they do it is obvious that often the charge is little more than a thought crime rather than an actual plan of attack. If you are prepared to give up so much freedom on such a flimsy pretext then you really have been terrorised, but not by Al Qaeda. What happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Don't get me wrong, we suffer similar foolishness in my country, the UK, as well so I am not just criticising the US. For even though we have had a number of real attacks in the last few years, some successful some not, the fear of an attack is far out of proportion to the real risk of one. Though like in the US, our government likes to play the fear card for all it is worth for its own purposes as well. Strangely, we survived thirty years or so of the IRA with far less imposition on our freedoms, though there were some, and they were a very real and present danger for most of that thirty or so years and much more capable than anything we have seen from our home grown muslim terrorists so far. In fact, when we have 'foiled' what has appeared to be a genuine planned attack, whatever stage the planning has actually got to, it has generally been down to good old fashioned police work and intelligence gathering rather than the result of any of the new laws curtailing our civil liberties. So, ironically and sadly, we the people have allowed our various governments to do the terrorist's job for them and Bin Laden, if he is still alive, and his cohorts must be laughing all the way to the bank, perhaps literally, while watching many of us cower and surrender our freedoms for what is little more than security theatre.
There are real solutions to muslim terrorism, or at least ones that would reduce them to little more than a very occasional nuisance, however, don't look to Giuliani or homeland security and their ilk for those solutions. If only because their very existence and power depends on manipulating our fear.
14 foiled incidents = anti-terrorism measure are working? Hmm... old gag:
Guy goes for a job as a lumberjack. Supervisor says "You ever worked as a lumberjack before?"
Guy says "Yup. Fastest bestest lumberjack in the world, me."
Supervisor says "Oh yeah? Whereabouts you worked?" (Actually he says "Whereaboats" because this is Canada, but let it pass.)
Guy says "The Sahara."
Supervisor says "But there are no trees in the Sahara."
Guy says "Exactly."
The logicians' title for this sort of faulty reasoning is "post hoc ergo propter hoc" in other words, because B followed A, A must have caused B.
You might as well argue that it was the WTC towers that were behind 9/11 -- see, since the towers were brought down, there have been no major terrorist incidents on US soil. Stands to reason. (Politicians' reason, anyway.)
I'm sorry, but I'm not prepared to put that level of trust in Guiliani or the current administration. I am not aware of any serious, plausible attacks that have been foiled. If they're unwilling to give information or even openly prosecute these people then I have to assume that they haven't prevented anything and we're just lucky.
I'm not asking for any and all information but I am asking for enough information to make decisions. Trumpeting that 14 "attacks" have been foiled when we aren't allowed to know what most of them were makes me think that Rudy is a joke.
"How the hell does Giuliani sleep at night?"
I suspect on a Sleep-stat bed! :)
To be sure he makes a good point here and there, but certainly anything of intelligence has been recycled here (since we've heard and discussed it all before, many times, on this very blog)...
Just a few of my reasons behind the 'nutjob' statement, which I steadfastly stand by:
"Not a single post-9/11 plot on U.S. soil has succeeded to date. That is no accident; it is a measure of our increased vigilance as a nation."
(Oh really? Take that credit!)
"We will achieve victory in what I call the Terrorists’ War on Us only by staying on offense: defeating terrorist organizations and hunting down their leaders, wherever they are; helping Afghanistan and Iraq establish stable and representative governments; aiding the spread of good governance throughout the Muslim world; and defeating militant Islam in the war of ideas."
(This type of thinking arguably helps perpetuate the rise of terrorism directed towards our cock-waiving politicians' go-Christian-country-for-profit administration)
"We must also protect our people and economy, secure our borders, and prevent terrorist attacks here at home."
(the nutjob factor pops in when you look at the fact that we are more in debt then *ever before (most of which owned by China), our economy is in the shithole, we spend over 50% of taxpayer money on the military, and most of it is due to the 'dilligence' with which these idiots have conducted their little 'war on terror')
"Nations that continue in the trade must face the seizure of shipments— or worse."
(someone say world police?)
"The Patriot Act removed barriers to information sharing between the intelligence community and law enforcement, but there is still more to do. [...] And we need to pay close attention to unsettling lower-court decisions that raise the specter of the wall’s reemergence, and to the weakening of the Patriot Act by judicial fiat."
(my all time favorite of the piece, better bust out your Kafka and Orwell prophecies)
"We should also reform liability laws so that individuals who act in good faith, such as those who report suspicious behavior on airplanes, will not get sued for trying to help their fellow citizens. Fortunately, a law authored by Representative Peter King was recently passed to protect Americans who do just that."
(are you #%%!ing kidding me? and to what extent? some of these so-called 'suspicious' events have very nearly taken *completely innocent people* to the brink of gestapo madness for no reason at all, and now the accuser should have full rights and reign to force a pox on anyone they deem 'odd'? War on the unexpected anyone? Also, when does it end? All a pissed off citizen has to do to their annoying neighbor nowadays is cry 'Terrorist' and the boys come running to haul the guy out of his life and into an interrogation cell? WTF? Not to mention the rampant waste of resources... So essentially, I can prank call any law enforcement agency with immunity as long as I cry 'Terror'... Lastly, I don't believe they would be sued for 'trying to help their fellow citizens'... seems more likely they'd be sued for 'interrupting and violating the life and rights of innocent people (including 'fellow citizens') over nothing more than a gut feeling and circumstantial nonsense during a heightened state of paranoia perpetuated by all forms of recent government and media press releases')
"Government should harness the inherent strength of the American people and the private sector in order to build a society that may bend—but not break—if catastrophe does strike."
(read: we should sell our government's responsibilities to the highest bidder, so we can have a real corporate owned country like everyone truly wants, go mega-global-americorp!)
"America should always hope for the best, but we will be safest if we prepare for the worst. A free and open society will never be able to eliminate risk entirely. But we can reduce it and manage it."
(here's a great one, he just left the part out about just how 'free and open' his society will be after his 'reduction and management of risk')
"The opportunities for all young Americans are limited only by their dreams and determination"
(Hahaha, this just makes me laugh, for a number of reasons... is anyone still this deluded? I'd love to believe this pipe-dream again someday, but today is not that day)
"declaring our right to live in freedom from fear"
(And here is the final laugh, after that whole essay, he ends it with a slap in his own face, absolutely idiotic)
The section which calls for "the installation of sophisticated monitoring technology" at the border has to be read in context with allegations that Giuliani had a conflict of interest. He and his consulting company were part owners of SkyWatch L.L.C., a company trying to market such technology.
See today's New York Times:
"Giuliani Had Ties to Company Trying to Sell Border Technology"
@John Harrisson:I'm sorry, but I'm not prepared to put that level of trust in Guiliani or the current administration.
You must have missed the part where I said I'd never vote for him.
@Geoff: You must have missed the part where I said I'd never vote for him.
You must have missed the part where I acknowledged that.
My problem with Giuliani and similar FUDmongers is that their motives are transparent. As high level politicians, they are also high level managers familiar with management theory and time management, so they know MUCH about black box reporting...managers in general want summaries on projects and have no need for the intricate details of subordinate projects not within their field of expertise.
Where am I going with this? The US intelligence infrastructure, as diligent and laudible as it may be, is essentially an employee of the American populace. Sane Americans who are capable of meta-analyzing their own fear responses ought to be able to realize that they are, as a group, essentially the managers of their government and thus entitled to receive only summary information on national security, rather than immense detail. Our inputs are taxes, our outputs ought to be security. But this government for the past 7 years has persisted in "upward micromanagement," revealing every juicy detail about potential threats and efforts...because the goal is to intimidate the people, not to serve them. I have immense respect for people who do intelligence work but it's time for them to overcome their addiction to the spotlight and get back to the quiet background operation they so diligently practiced before 9/11.
The intelligentsia in America is far too large, connected, and collective to submit indefinitely to fear politics, that's just the reality, and that's why the republicans don't stand a chance in November: because their main candidates have embraced this lowbrow strategy, and they cling to it even as it lay dying. Only about 50% of America votes in any given normal election, but the "other half" eventually gets tired of the classic and trite propaganda and the rhetoric, and goes to the polls.
to Andre LePlume" I eagerly await the follow-up blog posts linking to the positions of Clinton, Obama, Huckabee, Romney, etc. on this same issue."
This is a left wing blog. there are rules:
you can never compliment a republican, especially Bush. You will get blasted.
You can never say anything nice about your country, you'll get blasted. But trash it and only a rare person will take exception, and they'll get blasted for taking exception.
left-wing extremists like clinton and obama, who want to socialize the country, are seldom discussed. It's not politically expedient. they are entitled to not be perfect. But if someone at the FBI questions someone who is innocent, then Bush is behind it.
at Eponymous "The intelligentsia in America is far too large, connected, and collective to submit indefinitely to fear politics, that's just the reality, and that's why the republicans don't stand a chance in November: because their main candidates have embraced this lowbrow strategy, and they cling to it even as it lay dying."
Yup, Bush is evil and has too much intelligence. This coming from the same people who always say he should have connected the dots if something happened. If he connects the dots, he's a tyrrant with too much information. If he doesn't connect the dots, he's incompetent. How convenient, someone they hate always loses even when he does what they say they want him to do.
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