Terrorism

Before We Know Much of Anything About Brussels Attack, Encryption Fears Already Invoked

Rep. Schiff raises the issue in a statement.

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Brussels attack
AP

We know right now that at least 30 are dead from two terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, in explosions at an airport and a subway train.

We know very little else, and that vacuum of knowledge tends to get filled with speculation, knee-jerk solutions, and "question-raising" designed to draw attention to a pet issue.

In that last category comes Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) of the House's Intelligence Committee. We have no idea if communication encryption played any role in planning these attacks, but Schiff wants to have it both ways by bringing it up as an issue while not trying to speculate the facts. From The Hill:

The top House Intelligence Committee Democrat on Tuesday emphasized that officials are not sure whether encryption helped terrorists plan the Brussels bombings that have killed at least 34 people.

"We do not know yet what role, if any, encrypted communications played in these attacks," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

"But we can be sure that terrorists will continue to use what they perceive to be the most secure means to plot their attacks," he added.

It doesn't appear that Schiff's statement is in response to questions asked of him but rather a proactive positioning. Schiff's attitude has been that he wants law enforcement to get access to communication but has openly worried that without some sort of "limiting principle," government will regularly be calling on tech companies to break their security to assist in investigations even for small crimes.

It's possible that Schiff is actually trying to get ahead of somebody else attempting to assert early on that encryption is to blame, but it ends up looking like he's the one attempting to blame encryption, without committing in the event that he's proven wrong.

And it's possible that encryption wasn't a major player in the attack. The information coming out of Paris from the investigation of last fall's violence indicated the terrorists primarily relied on disposable burner phones, not encrypted communication, to pull off the attacks. If today's attack turns out to be related to the Paris attack, we may end up seeing some of the same strategies.

And in case you missed it last night: The Justice Department may have figured out how to access San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook's work iPhone without forcing Apple to help them.

NEXT: Bernie Sanders Skipped AIPAC, But Gave a Middle East Policy Speech Anyway

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  1. Well his statement obviously made the news, so as far as any politician is concerned, that’s a win.

  2. “We do not know yet what role, if any, encrypted communications played in these attacks,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

    We also do not know yet what role, if any, fuckhead security state Representatives played in these attacks. See, I can play this game too!

    And of course we do not know yet what role, if any, the Nightman played in these attacks.

    1. If we didn’t have all this damn freedom we’d be safe.Must control nail polish remover.

    2. We do not know yet what role, if any, Episiarch’s terrible commenting history played in these attacks. But I am prepared to demand he pay the troll toll anyway.

      1. Well, I *do* want to get into the boy’s hole. I mean soul!

    3. We do not know yet what role, if any, STEVE SMITH played in these attacks,

  3. Better than talking about…uh…you know… the people who may have done it. Let’s not jump to conclusions or anything.

  4. I don’t care if this happens twice a day for the next year. You can’t have my information.

    1. “How can I put this? Imagine if the Holocaust happened every four years like the Olympics. I would rather that happened than your rock opera.”

    2. What do you have to hide comrade?

    3. Yeah, because it’s people duty to die in a terror attack so you can have a secure phone.

      1. Just you Nikki,just you.

      2. “it’s people duty”?! What have you done with the real Nicole?

      3. I’ll admit that I haven’t been around much recently, so it’s likely I’m missing a joke here. Is this response meant to mock somebody? Because it sure isn’t serious.

          1. Ah. Should have known.

            1. Yes, conflating a proposed security measure with no history of reducing terror attacks (mandatory decryption) with one that actually does have such a history (closing borders to people coming from known sources of terror attacks) is totes legit.

              I’m convinced!

      4. It’s not their “duty”, but it is a necessary and acceptable consequence of living in a free society.

        1. Well, maybe not “necessary”, since these types of attacks aren’t nearly that frequent. But it is necessary to accept some risk even now.

  5. Fuck off slaver.

  6. We do not know yet what role, if any, Adam Schiff’s penis played in these attacks.

  7. I bet they were on spice. Or PCP.

    1. He who controls the spice controls the universe, after all.

      1. He who can destroy a thing,controls a thing.

        1. Get in the pain amplifier.

          1. I can be all places at once ,find me bitch.

    2. Spice extends life and expands the mind.The spice must flow.

  8. Maybe the fact that PC dogma prevents people from publicly talking about the actual cause of these events, Islam, makes it easier for people like this guy to talk about phony causes of these events. If we could have an honest conversation about Islam it would likely be harder for supporters of a police state to have a dishonest conversation about encryption and privacy.

    1. You’re totally right. I never see people talking in public about how Islam is a problem.

      1. This is the first I’ve heard of it.

        1. This is a thing? Huh, who knew.

      2. People talk of it. Although the media and certain politicians do tend to downplay it.

      3. I hear random people talking about how Islam is a problem, but whenever politicians are asked about the subject I mostly hear that Islam is a religion of peace and should not be blamed for any terrorist attacks ever, no matter how frequent said attacks may occur.

        People in actual positions of authority in politics and the media seem to think Islamophobia is a greater threat than actual terrorist bombings, based on how much of a lather they work themselves into about the former.

        1. I assume you’re saying this because there are black Muslims.

          1. It is Irish, after all.

      4. Which part of “honest conversation” do you not understand? We never have an honest conversation about this issue. We have bullshit conversations about how Islam is the religion of peace and the real threat is red necks with Godsend flags.

        If you don’t like guys like this having the floor, then too bad. If doing anything about Islam is off the table, and you have made it clear you think ti should be, then expect other people to offer different solutions.

        1. We never have an honest conversation about this issue.

          In your specific case, I can believe it.

          1. I keep the faith that one of these days you are going to have something to say beyond cheap insults. You have to think something. Your head can’t be this empty of thought and reason.

        2. We never have an honest conversation about this issue.

          Is that like how gun control proponents have never had an honest conversation about that issue?

          1. Yes, exactly how gun control proponents have never had an honest conversation about that.

        3. Godsend flags

          Gadsden flag.

          It was made by humans, not God-sent?

    2. We are at war,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday. “We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war.

      Really Mr. Prime Minister? Who exactly are you at war with? That piece of information is really important to the troops.

      http://www.foxnews.com/world/2…..tcmp=hpbt1

      1. Not Islam, that’s for sure.

      2. All human beings are individuals. Therefore, they are at war with the suicide bomber. Which means they won. Yay!

    3. Even if Islam is the problem, what are you gonna do about Islam, John?

      And when you respond, I’ll try to keep in mind that you’re the only one around here who really cares about religious freedom.

      1. Even if Islam is the problem, what are you gonna do about Islam, John?

        Continue collecting those sweet DHS checks while fucking off here- and likely watching porn.

        1. IS that you Mary?

      2. Even if Islam is the problem, what are you gonna do about Islam, John?

        Maybe you don’t let more Muslims into the country? If that idea is too shocking for you, then maybe you should consider concentrating law enforcement efforts against that community?

        If your answer is “that is just how it goes”, then you can expect people like this guy to offer other solutions that you are going to like even less. The bottom line is “you have to put up with being terrorized because Muslims have a right to come here” is not an answer the public is ever going to accept no matter how much such an answer appeals to you.

        1. Not letting more potentially dangerous terrorists into the country from a region that’s rife with terrorism and anti-Americanism seems sensible to me.

          But you’ve still got 1.2 billion Muslims in the world and more than 3 million American citizens who are Muslims–if Islam is the problem, then what are you going to do about that?

          1. if Islam is the problem, then what are you going to do about that?

            If they commit murder, rape, assault, or theft, then they get tried before a jury of their peers, the same as any person.

            The idea that any particular class of citizens merits a particular policy agenda from the government should have died a long time ago.

            1. The idea that people of a certain religion should be singled out should have died with the First Amendment.

              1. But if the tenets of a particular teach their faithful to act in a criminal way, then that group deserves more scrutiny BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY BELIEVE.

                Not all, of course, but there’s a critical point. When 20% of more of Muslims living in Britain believes it’s OK to kill apostates, then I think there’s a problem to public safety.

            2. What are you? Some kind of informed and sensible adult?

              I do think it’s bizarre that for some reason they decided terrorism had to be it’s own crime. As if murder, vandalism, destruction of property, and/or possession of explosives, and/or hijacking wasn’t enough. Did anyone believe that killing 50 people wasn’t a crime before 9/11?

          2. But you’ve still got 1.2 billion Muslims in the world and more than 3 million American citizens who are Muslims–if Islam is the problem, then what are you going to do about that?

            The locals? I wouldn’t do anything until they break an actual, legitimate law.

            The foreigners? Well, I wouldn’t ban Muslim immigration, I’d ban immigration from countries that have active radical Islamist movements. Sadly, at this point that may include a number of European countries and England.

          3. It would be nice if the community believed that turning Mecca and Medina into craters (with a fair bit of forewarning — the goal is to attack ideas, not bodies) was on the table if they didn’t reign in their worst members.

            And it should be on the table. At the very least, it would raise some major questions in the minds of the faithful. Why would their god allow that to happen? Is he angry with them? Does he exist? It might not stop everyone from being a bastard, but it’s got to give you pause when the only thing you’re being offered for fighting is a swanky afterlife.

            1. Or, just maybe, they would all swarm like explosive ants when you threaten to nuke their holy artifacts. Or, alternatively, you nuke their holy artifacts and they swarm like explosive ants. Seems like a lose/lose proposition, really.

  9. That’s it: I need everyone’s front door key, security system password, phone password, and all of your financial information. It is the only way to keep you safe. Trust me.

    1. That won’t make us secure. Send me naked pictures of your children. THAT will secure our borders and put us on a path to prosperity.

    2. Here, you almost forgot my ATM card. The PIN is written on it in laundry marker, per IRS and DEA instructions.

  10. Congress is weighing several approaches that could give law enforcement greater access to secure data.

    Hey, how about going with the ones that are constitutional? I’m just kidding, y’all. You do what you need to keep us safe.

  11. Fear mongers gonna monger.

  12. When you want a hammer really, really bad, every problem can be turned into a nail.

    . . . which has absolutely nothing to do with my excellent solution to terrorism–getting rid of the income tax.

    1. I like the way you think.

    2. And all of you who don’t want to get rid of the income tax–even as the Brussels victims are still bleeding and screaming and dying–you’re all a bunch of terrorist sympathizers.

      When’s your next ISIS meeting anyway?

      1. Do you have a newsletter I can subscribe to?

  13. Fuck this guy.

  14. my buddy’s step-mother makes $89 /hr on the laptop . She has been fired for seven months but last month her income was $19439 just working on the laptop for a few hours. you could check here

    ? ? ? ? http://www.ReportMax90.com

  15. So… what does the Senate Stupidity Committee have to say about Mr. Schiff’s brilliant deductions?

  16. Rep. Schiff is his usual two-sided self. He wants to appear pro-surveillance and pro-privacy at the same time. The only thing he has committed to is expanding the Rim Trail series of parks around the San Fernando Valley. Anything controversial and he sits on the fence waiting for the dust to settle before safely taking out a position. A Democrat first and last.

  17. The answer always seems to be more spying on American citizens and more Gun Control.
    It doesn’t really matter what the question is.

  18. As far as encryption goes, you have to know the phone numbers involved. That’s why burner phones are so popular. The only drawback to them is getting your new phone number to your opposite number.
    Years ago, one bright soul noted using Google Docs, where all you need is a username and password to access an editable online document, is not tracked, because those pages are not web-indexed, as they are not published nor emailed. Terrorists aren’t stupid, just evil (and hypocritical, since they reject the modern world but use is tools to destroy it.)

    1. That’s the beauty of their ethos: the ends justify to means.

  19. Plus, nothing substitutes for on-the-ground intelligence, and Salah Abdeslam hid in the Moslem neighborhood in Brussels and No One said anything. A perfect example of a fish in a human sea.

  20. Before we know much of anything about the Brussels attacks, what would happen if we stopped killing people in the Middle East and invested in rebuilding, creating thriving societies where people want to live instead of social rubble, death and destruction that sends refugees, migrants and revanchists to Europe?

    1. “Imagine there’s no heaven”……

  21. It has the tells of a false flag already……

  22. Until I read this article, it never even occurred to me to think “Did the terrorists have encryption?”

    That’s because that’s incredibly stupid and peripheral.

    It’s pretty easy to tell when someone’s trying to force events into a narrative.

  23. How about the seeming incompetence on the part of the governments of the countries involved?

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