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National Security, Needles, and Haystacks
By Alan Lidstone


May 19 2006

We are currently having a national debate about alleged collection by the National Security Agency (NSA) of the phone records of tens of millions of Americans representing billions of telephone calls with the calling and answering numbers and length of the call.

The Administration has put forth hints (but no details) that the NSA will be able to predict terrorist acts.

This is from the Administration that admits:

(1) There are somewhere twelve to twenty million people in the country illegally and we don't know who or where they are.

(2) After 9/11, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), now part of Homeland Security, admitted they had no idea what happened to more than 1,000,000 foreign visitors that overstayed their visas. Bear in mind, the INS had photos, fingerprints, and last known addresses.

(3) The Administration created a Transportation Security Agency to inspect every passenger traveling by commercial air and applying a security fee for every leg of a flight, while stating there was no need to inspect the cargo going in the airplane holds.

(4) The Administration says there is no need or technology available for employers to verify identity and social security numbers when hiring employees. Perhaps they should talk to the banking industry that can conduct a fairly comprehensive credit, employment, residence and date and place of birth check in less than 3 minutes. If Wal-Mart can track every individual merchandise pallet worldwide that they buy, they ought to be able to determine the alien or citizen status of new employees.

(5) It was reported by CNN on 5/18/06 that the Social Security Administration has in excess of 8,000,000 invalid W-2s showing names, address, and employer information. The Administration is willing to process billions of telephone calls, but is incapable of assessing millions of known instances of illegal immigrant status or potential identity theft.

(6) One of the initial suggestions to tighten border security is to assign 6,000 National Guard personnel to border security, stating it is no imposition on the Guard role. The Administration is considering sending 6,000 National Guardsmen for two-week periods, which means they will be sending a total of 152,000 National Guard personnel to watch the border.

(7) The fiasco on port security continues with Congress and the Administration saying individuals who fly must pay for the TSA security costs, while business who transport thousands of twenty and forty-foot cargo containers can't afford to pay the security costs, and the Administration cant afford to pay the security costs, so there is no need to inspect cargo containers.

There appears to be a deliberate refusal to apply existing immigration laws to the flood of illegal aliens. Apparently, the overwhelming lure of cheap labor, along with increased profits and political contributions is enough to for the leadership of the Administration and Congress to say "NOT MY YOB". While many members of Congress are currently talking the tough approach to border security, no one is talking about actually funding and paying for it.

While the NSA efforts may help find a needle in the Terrorist haystack, The USA would do far better to take care of the myriad of haystacks in items (1) through (7) above that are being patently ignored.

I am requesting that the Administration and Congress spend more effort to improve the real status of homeland security. This requires the Administration to inform all appropriate Members of Congress (not just three close friends of the Administration). I also recommend that spending less time handing out tax cuts to their supporters will put us in much better shape to really improve homeland security.

Alan Lidstone
Venice, FL - USA

About: Alan Lidstone is a freelance writer. He and his wife, Barbara write about the RV lifestyle for a number of RV publications and also write and publish Roads 'n Toads - RVing in FLorida. Alan is a retired systems engineer and Naval Reservist.



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