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Sunday, May 21, 2006 

For Whom "The Wall" Profits: II

A continuation of the For Whom "The Wall" Profits series

Back in November of last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new plan, the Secure Border Initiative (SBI) or SBInet, in dealing with the immigration issue. This initiative is to replace the Customs and Border Protection's two programs, Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System and America's Shield Initiative.
The initiative will replace and expand upon previous efforts that failed to materialize, namely the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System and America's Shield Initiative. The difference this time is that DHS plans to develop a comprehensive border security approach that integrates surveillance technology, physical infrastructure, personnel and processes...
It was not until January of this year, DHS unveiled it to the public and realize SBI is not front initiative to line the pockets of BushCo.

Answer.com defines cronyism as: favoritism shown to friends and associates (as by appointing them to positions without regard for their qualifications); in fact, cronyism is associated with the phrase "to the victor goes the spoils." Its no secret Bush has appointed a number of his friends in key positions and SBI is no exception.

Major Players
DHS Deputy Secretary - Michael P. Jackson: Jackson previously served as chief operating officer of Lockheed Martin IMS's Transportation Systems and Services, and as SVP and counselor to the president for the American Trucking Associations. Jackson was recruited by DHS for "his management prowess" according to GovExec.com.
Recruited to Homeland Security for his management prowess, Jackson, 51, is effectively its chief operating officer. "It's one of the best jobs in the whole U.S. government," he says. He's been the daily manager of the secretary's "Second Stage Review" of the department. He also spends a great deal of time working with other agencies, Congress, and the White House on policy questions. He draws on his years of management experience at companies like Lockheed Martin.
Turning to Wikipedia to get a good starting point to understand what are the functions of a chief operating officer, a COO is:.
a corporate officer responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the corporation. The COO is one of the highest ranking members of an organization, monitoring the daily operations of the company and reporting to the chief executive officer directly. The COO in some companies is also the president, but he or she is usually an executive or senior vice president. ... The duties of the COO may reside in certain organizations with a Vice President of Operations.
So in other words, a COO runs the place.

Before he became DHS' Deputy Secretary, he was deputy secretary of Transportation from May 2001 to August 2003. At that position he also served as DOT's COO. During his tenure, Jackson helped create DOT's Transportation Security Administration (TSA). So far, TSA is been riddled with problems and most of it occurred during his tenure at DOT.

According to an OIG report (PDF), in 2005, acting DHS' Inspector General Richard Skinner reported that the Transportation Security Administration was involved in 14 different data transfers totaling more than 20 million records in 2002 and 2003.

And according to Wired News:
The report describes an array of data dumps from airlines to TSA contractors and paints a picture of an agency unable to keep track of its own operations, leading to false denials of data transfers to the media and inaccurate sworn testimony to the Senate.
Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and American, Frontier, Continental and America West airlines -- along with three airline record processing firms, all secretly turned over data directly to the TSA and government contractors.

The data included names, addresses, dates of birth, itineraries and credit card numbers.
The data dumps occurred in 2003 and was first reported by Wired News when JetBlue violated its privacy policy by turning over 5 million records to Torch Concepts, an Alabama-based an Army subcontractor.

In 2004, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that the problem was much worse.
American Airlines has now indicated that it provided over one million passenger itineraries at TSA's request, which raises the question of why agency officials told GAO that it did not have access to such data.

According to press reports, American Airlines authorized its vendor, Airline Automation, to provide TSA with one week’s worth of PNR data on its customers. The vendor then reportedly provided the data to four companies competing for contracts with TSA - HNC Software, Infoglide Software, Ascent Technology, and Lockheed Martin.
Yet, the same four competing companies for CAPPS II testing also happens to be TSA's subcontractors.
Anyone who flew American Airlines during June of 2002 should assume that all information given by them to American Airlines, including credit card numbers, is in the possession of both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the following TSA subcontractors: HNC Software; Infoglide Software; Ascent Technology; and Lockheed Martin. Furthermore, as the passenger records were used to test the CAPPS II passenger profiling system, it should be assumed that the Social Security number, date of birth, as well as the associated credit histories and law enforcement records of many of the 1.2 million customers affected were combined into a single file and are now in the possession of the above-named companies as well as the Department of Homeland Security.
CAPPS II (Computer Assisted Passenger Profiling System) is nothing less than a Soviet-style system of internal border controls. The deployment of the CAPPS II Internal Border Controls, the Department of Homeland Security is slowly turning our country more into Communist East Germany circa 1974.

In 2004, Sherrie Gossett from the conservative media watchdog group Accuracy In Media wrote:
Michael P. Jackson, who also comes from Lockheed Martin, became the Deputy Secretary of Transportation. A Lockheed Martin spokesman had nothing to say about whether ...[if] Jackson would give the company any advantage in securing contracts with Transportation.
It looks like it did and it will again in Jackson's new position as DHS' COO, opps, as Deputy Security.

If Deputy Secretary Jackson was recruited by DHS for his prowess in management performance as COO at DOT, it sure wasn't for public accountability, but rather being accountable for lining the pocket of his former employer.


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  • From Tejas, United States
  • Un Xicano who is tired of the current status quo.
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