Questioning Surveillance’s Role in a Post-Boston Bombing World

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While the world’s eyes locked on one set of brothers, the conversation surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing quickly shifted to Big Brother, and surveillance’s role in preventing acts of terror. We’re here to parse the opinions, and say why everyone is right — and wrong.

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We’ve all received junk text messages from our service providers telling us about an update or a service change, or spam from a phone number we’ve never seen before. It’s typically just a minor annoyance that leaves us wondering how they got our number in the first place. But unlike the rest of the junk texts, this is a story about the first and (likely) only time that a random spam message brought some good to the world.

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Airport Security Lines

This holiday season, more and more people have expressed disapproval towards the Transportation Security Administration’s increasingly invasive body scanning procedures. Investigations have shown that x-ray images the TSA claims to be instantly deleted upon inspection have been found to be saved, and in some cases, leaked to the public. In the face of this public outcry, questions have been raised as to what the US government can do to ensure safety without invading privacy.

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Naiz Khan, a Manhattan coffee cart operator currently under 24 hour FBI surveillance

Naiz Khan, a coffee cart operator in Manhattan, is currently under 24 hour surveillance after the FBI was able to possibly tie him to another terrorist named Najibullah Zazi. Zazi was at the center of an alleged bombing plot. Khan let Zazi stay at his home on the night of September 10th and he was also in Pakistan with Zazi at the same time. When police raided Khan’s apartment they found several suspicious black book bags and a small scale which they believed could be used to measure bomb ingredients.

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smadiA terror suspect accused of the attempted bombing of a Dallas skyscraper was arrested Thursday in a FBI sting operation. Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, the accused 19-year-old Jordanian, planned to blow up a vehicle at the base of the iconic 60-story Fountain Place office tower.

The FBI had been monitoring Smadi’s activity through an extremist chat site where the FBI stated that “Among many others in the group who espoused and endorsed violence, Smadi stood out, based on his vehement intention to actually conduct terror attacks in the United States.”

FBI agents then posed as members of an al Qaeda sleeper cell contacted Smadi to determine the probability that he would actually go through with a full blown terror attack. After months of talks, the FBI determined that Smadi was both capable and committed to a violent jihad against the United States. Smadi described himself as a soldier for Osama bin Laden.

FBI agents provided Smadi with a dummy explosive that he drove into the parking garage under the skyscraper and attempted to activate the bomb by dialing a number on his cell phone. The number belonged to an undercover FBI agent and when the cell phone rang, that’s when FBI agents moved in and arrested Smadi.

Charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, Smadi faces either death or life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

(Via CNN)

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