A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004 :::
A Scandal Spreads, and A New Annoyance from Computer Hackers

The indispensable Wall Street Journal today gave a name to the rapidly spreading scandal over memos on just what and what is not legally permitted in interogating enemy prisoners. (See yesterday's post for a long discussion.) They quoted one career officer who said in "the Building" it is known as the "Revolt of the Professionals." So what we are seeing is a massive coordination of leaks. Count this as something else the Administration should have planned for. No Administration has escaped it.

There is one detail missing from yesterday's posting on it, the first extended commentary on it anywhere, it should be noted. That detail is this: the April, 2003, memo that is causing such a furor suggested that, as the law could not circumscribe the "Commander-in-Chief authority," whatever that is, then any officer of the United States could simply say that he was following orders, and he would get off scott free. Nevermind that US law specifically forbids that defense, as does the International Convention on Torture.

Now, the Administration says that it has not followed these memos, and if it can prove that is true, the scandal will simply become why so much time was spent trying to find ways to circumvent one very short, very clear section of the Constitution. It sounds like something David Souter would do.

New wrinkles in hacking. A Mind That Suits was IM-ing a friend, complaining about some spyware that had gotten into his computer. A "websearch" page, which was really a set of links to a few online stores, would fill the screen with no "close" button to be found, necessitating the rebooting of his aging Gateway. In discussing it, he realized that it only occurred when something had triggered Windows Media Player. So he did a file search for Media Player, hoping to open the program files and see something that didn't fit. Only the computer could find no Media Player files. The spyware had completely deleted the software and put itself in as a substitute. A click on the Windows MP icon revealed that indeed was the case, and a click or two on the Microsoft website downloaded a new Media Player file and got rid of the program. But how scary.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 10:31 AM



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