Last week two suspicious packages were found in Dubai and the United Kingdom. These packages were supposedly headed for Chicago, Illinois and were addressed to Jewish Synagogues in the city, reported by the Department of Homeland Security. The one package detected in the United Kingdom tested negative for explosive material, while the package intercepted in Dubai was believed to have contained explosive material. The New York Times reported on this issue in a rather critical way of President Obama as well as the Department of Homeland Security. The article entitled “Obama Walks Fine Political Line on Terror Threat” compares Obama’s addressing of this bomb threat to last December’s attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner. The article criticized him for not coming out soon enough to inform the American people of the December bombing attempt because he did not make a statement regarding the issue until three full days after the incident occurred. On the other hand, the article accused him of addressing the most recent bomb threat too early. The article articulates that people believe that he addressed this issue extremely early because of the upcoming mid-term elections, in an attempt to win some votes for Democratic representatives. Some experts, as stated in the article, believed that Obama came out much too early, especially because all of the facts were not entirely confirmed at the time of the press conference. It seems that the mainstream media is reporting the issue from a critical standpoint regarding the way in which the White House dealt with reporting the attempted terrorist threat. However, the blogs seemed to have taken a different approach to this subject matter. The blogs I have read reported the issue using various evidence to prove the validity of the event. They seemed to have taken a more patriotic way of reporting because they spoke of the information behind the terror threat, such as the actors involved and the security measures taken by Dubai officials as well as United Kingdom officials. The blogs, entitled “Smart and Silly” and “Frugal Cafe Blog Zone”took excerpts from credible sources such as The Washington Post, CBS News, Yahoo News, and CNN News. The reports taken from these sources strictly spoke of the background information about the terror threats; for example: where the bombs came from, where they were intercepted, who they were targeting, etc. Nowhere in these blogs was the President or the Department of Homeland Security criticized for the actions they went forward with in relation to the terror threat. The Blogs seem to have played a more informative role in regards to this issue as opposed to the New York Time article that criticized the measures taken by President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security following the discovery of the threat.
The Department of Homeland Security‘s website reported on December 1st that the White House has set up a special committee to deal with the Wikileaks problem and to tighten U.S. national security. The committee will take steps to make classified documents more protected and secret. The revealing information of the Afghan and Iraq Wars has shown the inner workings of U.S. diplomacy and exposed information that the government believed should not be available to the public.
In a Reuters.com article entitled U.S. Initiates post-Wikileaks Security Crackdown, it is clear that intelligence has been more widely shared following the September 11th attacks, which allowed for the release of this sensitive data. Wikileaks is currently under United States investigation for their release of classified government information. In an effort to further condemn Wikileads, Amazon.com has stopped hosting the Wikileaks website after pressure from Joe Leiberman, the U.S. Senate Homeland Security chairman. Following Amazon’s relinquished hosting duties of Wikileaks, the White House announced that each government agency will set up their own security teams in order to prevent the spread of classified information to the public.
In a Politico.com blog article, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said that he believes the person who provided the classified information to Wikileaks should be executed. He believes that American lives have been put at risk due to the leaks and that more money is going to need to spent on further security measures to avoid such an incident from happening again. Huckabee also believes that the New York Times has shown irresponsible journalistic responsibility by providing this information to the public when they knew the leaks were obtained illegally. The bloggers criticized Huckabee’s statement because they believe he is just saying this for national attention to gain support for the next presidential election. One blogger said he is a hypocrite because Huckabee pardoned criminals who killed cops while he was the Arkansas Governor. Some bloggers do support punishment for the person responsible for the Wikileaks, just not behind the voice of Mike Huckabee.
The Department of Homeland Security and Janet Napolitano are taking steps forward to enact stricter security measures in airports across the U.S., which will include Advanced Technology (AT) X-ray, Bottled Liquid Scanners (BLS), Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), Chemical Analysis Devices (CADs), and Next-Generation Explosive Trace Detectors (ETD). These include full body x-ray scans or full body pat down to ensure that nobody is carrying dangerous supplies that could threaten U.S. airport security.
CNN’s article entitled Body Scanners, Pat-Downs Violate Law and Policy emphasized that no other country forces its airport passengers to undergo the screening procedures that Americans are asked to endure. The body scanners will peer through passenger’s clothes and view their naked body to detect harmful objects. Terrorists in the past have concealed weapons that were not found by metal detectors under their clothes and in their shoes. Travelers have described the x-ray process as embarrassing and humiliating because the security guard views their naked body. The pat-down process has been described as sexual assault because travelers are groped from head to toe. Proposals for a national identity card were rejected because the Department of Homeland Security believed that identity cards would not stop people from committing terrorist actions.
The blog at Politico.com talks about how over two-thirds of Americans support the body scanning procedure and how under half of Americans support the pat-down procedure. The American people seem to believe that the x-ray screenings are necessary to avoid terrorism on U.S. airlines. However, they believe that the pat-down procedure is too aggressive and violating. The bloggers were outraged with the article because only 514 people were surveyed to determine these statistics, leaving the millions and millions of Americans without say on the issue. One blogger believes that we are giving up our fourth amendment rights to undergo airport checkpoint procedures. The bloggers do not see any good in these new procedures because no terrorists have been caught and the U.S. government is allowing airport officials to act like Gestapo agents. I support this legislation because I have no problem giving up one of my personal amendments when its purpose is to capture people who are trying to harm others. If people are not doing anything wrong, then why is this legislation such a problem?
The day before Thanksgiving, the Department of Homeland Security warned that the WikiLeaks website was preparing to release secret diplomatic information belonging to the U.S. government that could potentially ruin relations with allies. The documents may contain information that could result in the dismissal of U.S. foreign diplomats from their respective countries. The documents can provide information such as conversations and/or disclosures with U.S. allies and/or dissidents. The WikiLeaks release of the documents was expected to be November 26th.
On November 28th, the New York Times revealed the details of the information that they will be covering in the next few days, following the sunday WikiLeak release of 220 cables. Supposedly, 11,000 of the 250,000 some odd cables that WikiLeaks obtains are labeled “secret”. The White House announced that they castigate this unauthorized exposure of private information because it can threaten the lives of diplomats that are abroad and create obstacles for the United States’ foreign policy interests. The cables provide various intelligence, ranging from nuclear and terrorist threats, to scandals and confusion within the U.S. federal government. Army Intelligence Analyst Private First Class Bradley Manning is accused of downloading 260,000 cables from the State Department that contain information from embassies across the world.
The Politico Blog had some interesting things to say about this subject matter. The bloggers seem to be very conservative because they criticize the liberal nature of the New York Times. The bloggers agreed that the New York Times had lost it’s credibility years ago and that the newspaper acts hostile toward our country. One blogger said that the New York Times would have leaked the Normandy Invasion of France in 1944 during World War II if they were able to obtain the information. As we can see, the New York Times is reporting on the issue as if it is a good thing for the people to know and the bloggers are disagreeing with it, believing that the New York Times has poor credibility and ethical standards.
The top story of the day on the Department of Homeland Security’s website on November 29th, 2010 was a briefing that reported a missing package that contained radioactive material. The report was from November 26th, 2010. Apparently a package that was being shipped from North Dakota to Tennessee contained radioactive material known as “GE 68”. When the package arrived at its destination, the “GE 68” was missing and was found to be detached from its original package. The message assured that there is no threat to public safety, unless the package was tampered with.
CNN reported the same information on November 26th, but went even further to tell its readers that the package with the “GE 68” that was detached from the original shipment was found. The spokeswoman for FedEx, Sandra Munoz, said that no employees were exposed to the radiation and even if they were, no harm would have been done because the package contained a very low concentration of radiation. The exposure would have had to last over 1,000 hours to cause as little damage as skin blisters.
The bloggers on CNN (scroll to the bottom of the CNN link above) were very cynical about the article regarding this issue. Many bloggers questioned the worthy of the news of late because of the meaninglessness nature of the story. Everyone wanted to know why the media would even bother reporting this issue if the contents were found and no harm was done. Their posts questioned if there was any ‘real’ news out there. The bloggers knew that the radioactive material was as strong as an x-ray, so they continued to question the worthiness of the report. One blogger joked that the worst thing that could have happened would have been if a terrorist used the metal “GE 68” metal rod to beat someone to death.
The Department of Homeland Security was proud to announce in June that they have been protecting our borders in the past year, deporting nearly 393,000 illegal immigrants. About half of these immigrants were convicted criminals as well, further proving this claim to be very successful. The New York Times reported on this issue last month in an article entitled Deportations from U.S. Hit a Record High, which further explained the issue. Apparently, about one-third of the convicted illegal immigrant criminals had committed serious crimes, such as murder, rape, and major drug trafficking in the United States. Additionally, the immigrants that were deported who were not convicted criminals were either of illegal status or fugitives from immigration courts. The article is very patriotic because it takes pride in deporting these immigrants who they have portrayed to be causing trouble in our country. The article also criticizes the Obama administration for not taking strict action on the subject, especially after the Department of Homeland Security has been presented very successfully. The mainstream media reported this issue as a very patriotic one, trying to be perceived as tough on illegal immigration, which appeals to many Americans.
The blog article from the Los Angeles Times Blogs expressed the issue as very patriotic and one-sided as well. It actually seems that the blog was more critical of the Obama administration on the issue as well as more critical and disrespectful of illegal immigrants. The blog article mentions a dissenting organization who said that the deportation and crime numbers were misleading, and then proceeded to disregard that claim by citing sheriffs in Texas and Virginia whose respective counties have convicted a combined 21,000 illegal immigrant criminals. The bloggers who commented took the subject even further by suggesting more harsh sanctions upon employers who hire illegal immigrants. Other bloggers supported the progress, but mentioned that the deportation numbers are not high enough and that all the illegal immigrants must be deported before they cause any trouble. The mainstream media and the blogs seemed to have similarly broadcasted the case of illegal immigration. When a patriotic issue is at stake, it seems the American people rally behind it, including the mainstream media, who are strict gatekeepers of what information the American public is exposed to.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Blog reported that Barack Obama has urged American citizens to help guard against cyberattacks. He said that the cyberattacks are a serious threat to economic and national security.
Last month the New York Times reported that President Obama approved of the use of military expertise in computer network warfare and the Department of Homeland Security would direct the work in order to prevent electronic espionage. The goal of this operation is to prevent cyberthreats on American networks while being able to balance violations of civil liberties due to newly permitted military intervention on this issue. The Pentagon reported that a team of lawyers would be assembled to oversee possible violations of civil liberties against the American people. The article seemed to have attempted to comfort the American public by reporting the positives of the new policy as well as the dynamic objectives. The website E-week.com elaborated on the issue a bit more objectively because the website’s article described the advantages and disadvantages of the new policy.
The E-week.com article described this newly enacted policy more seriously than the New York Times did, by informing readers that this is the only other instance in which the government can deploy troops on American soil, aside from occurrences of natural disasters. The blog article also included that it is still very hard for the government to detect a cyberattack or who is actually attacking. It is also not even entirely clear as to what a cyberattack actually is. Additonally, the Pentagon has been discussing the issues of cyberwar, cyberattacks, and hostile intent, but unfortunately there is no consensus within the government on what these expressions actually mean. The bloggers commenting on the article reacted very skeptically on this issue because they do not trust the actions of big government possibly infringing the people’s civil liberties. The E-week article not only spoke of the provisions and advantages behind the new policy, but it also reported on the inconsistencies and disadvantages as well.