Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘terrorism

Taking Cyber Command

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Happy Friday.

Well, as happy as you can get about this week.

I’m still sending warm, fuzzy sangria and tapas thoughts out to all mi amigos in Barcelona. One of the world’s great cities, and if I could transport myself Star Trek style I’d be trekking down Las Ramblas in solidarity with my Spanish friends this very evening.

Instead, I’ll knock back an Estrella later and dream of Gaudi buildings.

In the meantime, the cyber world moves on, and Politico reported some interesting news earlier today out of the Trump Administration.

President Trump announced today that U.S. Cyber Command has now been elevated to a "Unified Combatant Command," putting it on equal footing with other organizations that oversee military ops in the Middle East, Europe, and the Pacific.

In a statement, the president said the following:

"This new Unified Combatant Command will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense. The elevation of United States Cyber Command demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries."

TechCrunch elaborated in its own coverage that "whatever happens" with this change, it will be "welcomed by many" and that "there is a sense that we are being outplayed by cyber operatives in countries and organizations all over the world, from Russia to IS."

Ya think??!

Written by turbotodd

August 18, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Thinking West

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Greetings from lovely White Plains, New York.

I’ve been up here a few days, having flown up to New York City on Monday for a series of meetings.

No sooner had I accompanied my colleague down to baggage claim at JFK than I saw the first reports emerging about the bombings in Boston.

Not long after we heard about the ricin letters.

And then this morning I woke up to the news about the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.

It made me sick to my stomach, and my heart goes out to the folks in West.

I drove through there just last weekend on my to Lake Whitney just west of West to play some golf with my father.

Many of the people who live there are of Czech descent, and are known for both their hospitality to travelers and for their scrumptious kolaches.

So I wanted to pass along this “Things You Need to Know About West” list, for I and my colleagues are feeling a little homesick at the moment being up here in the Northeast while all this is going on back on our doorstep in central Texas.

Thankfully, I’ll be heading back home later this afternoon, which means I’ll likely be in a JFK queue instead of reporting on IBM earnings, as I’m normally wont to do on earnings day.

I’ll be sure to do an earnings post when I get back to Texas.

Written by turbotodd

April 18, 2013 at 9:22 am

Mumbai

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My heart goes out to the citizens of Mumbai, India.

Once again, they are apparently under attack by terrorists, this time with three bomb blasts in three different locations around Mumbai, including Dadar, the Opera House, and the Zaveri Bazaar areas.

I’ve been attempting to follow the #mumbai and #mumbaiblasts streams on Twitter, but honestly, they’re moving by faster than what I saw with the Egypt protests in January, so it’s difficult to get much info there (at least on TweetDeck).

I’ve been following New Delhi TV (ndtv.com) and also the Times of India (timesofindia.com).  CNN and MSNBC have also finally clued in.

Reports now have the first bomb going off at south Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar, near the Mumbadevi temple, and where there are also a number of jewelry stores.

The second was in a taxi in the Dadar area of Central Mumbai, and the third at the Opera House in south Mumbai, just after 7 pm.

The Times of India reports all three are busy commercial and residential areas, and were bustling with people and traffic during Mumbai’s evening peak hours when the explosions occurred.

NDTV is reporting Lashkar -e-Taiba may likely have been involved, as they were in 2008.  AP reporting at least 8 dead and 70 injured.  Sadly, those numbers could likely grow as more reports come in.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the good people of India.

Written by turbotodd

July 13, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Posted in terrorism, twitter

Tagged with ,

Geronimo Is KIA

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So they finally got Osama Bin Laden.

And they got him in Pakistan.  Down the street from the Pakistani equivalent of West Point.

In a McMansion with twelve foot walls.

Steve Coll, New Yorker writer and author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2011, a great if bulky tome about the roller coaster history of Afghanistan, had this to say: “It stretches credulity to think that a mansion of that scale could have been built and occupied by bin Laden for six years without it coming to the attention of anyone in Pakistan’s Army.”

No matter whom you believe, Coll also points out that the CIA’s Langley-based Bin Laden unit had gone deep and long on trying to understand other long international fugitive hunts, including studying the tracking down of Medelin Cartel leader Pablo Escobar, way back in 1993, to try and arrive at some lessons learned that could be applied in the search for Bin Laden.

Coll writes that the analysts looked for clues from those other manhunts — where did the breakthroughs come from? what were the clues that made the difference and how were the clues discovered?

But they also engaged in pattern recognition, analyzing relationships among terrorists, couriers, and raw data collected in the field, and also piecing together what they found with a breakthrough that came from detainee interrogations, including from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Sounds to me no matter how you add it all up, it was just some dogged, perservering, and good ol’ fashioned intelligence work.

As for how it all went down yesterday in Abottabad, this tick tock, found on the Politico web site, is a heart stopper.

Remember those scenes from all those movies where you’re inside the Situation Room waiting for the raid to go down, and everyone’s on pins and needles, including the President?

I’m guessing it was a little something like those scenes in the White House Situation Room yesterday afternoon.

Me, I’ve also been reading the first hand Twitter accounts from one Sohaib Ahtar, whose Twitter ID is @ReallyVirtual.

Sohaib is an IT consultant who was apparently taking a break from the rat race and hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, blogs TechCrunch Europe’s Mike Butcher.

He unwittingly provided play-by-play action of the raid, which occurred around 1:00 AM local time in Abbottabad, having no idea what was really going down in his new mountain respite:

Sohaib’s first Tweet: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).”

Yeah, more rare than you ever could have known.

Then, not too much later: “A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S”

Guess it depends on how you define nasty.

Finally, NBC’s Chuck Todd informed us via Twitter this morning that Osama’s code name for this raid was “Geronimo,” and that the call came in as “Geronimo is KIA” (killed in action).

There are some parallels between the renowned Apache leader and Bin Laden.

Like Bin Laden, Geronimo was once surrounded by U.S. soldiers in the Robledo Mountains of southwest New Mexico, hidden in a cave from which he seemingly never came out.  But somehow, he escaped, both from the cave, and from the clutches of U.S. soldiers.

A story that is, of course, eerily reminiscent of Bin Laden being similarly trapped in caves in the mountains of Tora Bora in December 2001, from which he also escaped.

But not this time.

This time, making smart, productive use of intelligence on the ground from the field — connecting the dots, if you will —  is finally what did “Geronimo” in.

Written by turbotodd

May 2, 2011 at 4:12 pm

All Hail King Turbo!

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Greetings, and I hope this blog post finds your holidays happier than ever, and your travels hassleless.

Well, as hassleless as they can be in light of recent circumstances surrounding air travel in these United States.

Today, I went in search of the new TSA rules to make sure I was hearing them directly from the source.  In the process, I found a loophole that I’m figuring out how I can try to apply to myself.

More on that at the end of the post.

Currently, TSA Security Directive SD 1544-09-06 is scheduled to be in effect only through December 30 of this year, but I suspect it’s a sign of things to come — once we put these measures into effect, they seem to become permanent.

(Mind you, I try to maintain a sense of humor about these measures, being a frequent flyer and all, but I also recognize the serious nature of the threats that lead to them, so please keep both in mind as you read the rest of the post!)

First, at the boarding gate, TSA employees are instructed to perform thorough pat-downs of all passengers, concentrating on “upper legs and torso.”  They’re also instructed to “physically inspect 100 percent of all passenger accessible property” prior to boarding.

Okay, but didn’t the Nigerian dude who tried to light his foot on fire board at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam??  Why didn’t somebody inspect him!??

In flight, the restrictions get even more serious.

First, passengers have to remain in their seats beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at their destination.  That means no trips to the bathroom, no trips to the galley to flirt with the flight attendants, no trips to the cockpit to chat with the pilots.

You also can’t access your baggage starting 1 hour prior to arrival at said destination.  That means no reaching for your book, your iPod, your Kindle, gummy bears…nada.

But we’re going to make it even more fun.  We’re also going to disable “aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems” so that you’re bored out of your frickin’ mind because you can no longer access the Interwebs.

Rock Paper Scissors?  Anybody?

How’s that?  Is that something special in the air?  You loving the way we fly?  Is flying these skies really that friendly??

But wait, there’s more!  “While over U.S. airspace, flight crew may not make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks.”

I can’t wait for this announcement:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking.  I’d like for you to ignore that massive hole in the ground off to your left that looks something like the Grand Canyon, because acknowledging said hole might prematurely reveal our position in these friendly skies and give us away to the terriers.”

And finally — and with all due apologies to Linus from Peanuts — no blankies or pillows may be used starting 1 hour prior to arrival at said destination.

Does this mean flight attendants will come stomping through the cabin, the Blankie Policia, yanking away pillows and blankies from the kids mid-slumber?  I assume this includes for the sleeping kiddoes that, heretofore, were perfectly quiet in their slumber but will now turn promptly into screaming helions?

Wonderbar!

However, as with any good bureaucratic policy, there’s always an exception to the rule…and I found it!

Ladies and gentleman, from here on, I would like you to please address me as “His Substantially Absurd Majesty the Turbo, King of the Sovereign TurbotoddLand.”

You can find my country via the Internet at turbotodd.com.

You see, the new travel restrictions allow our government to exempt certain individuals — namely, passengers who are Heads of State or Heads of Government — from the new safety measures.

Now, could somebody please go find my court jester?!

It’s good to be the king!

Written by turbotodd

December 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm

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