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Dick Cheney Had Implanted Defibrillator Altered To Prevent Terrorist Attack 242

Posted by Soulskill
from the didn't-want-to-wake-up-his-heart-by-accident dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to the Washington Post, 'Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he once feared that terrorists could use the electrical device that had been implanted near his heart to kill him and had his doctor disable its wireless function. Cheney has a history of heart trouble, suffering the first of five heart attacks at age 37. ... In an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, Cheney says doctors replaced an implanted defibrillator near his heart in 2007. The device can detect irregular heartbeats and control them with electrical jolts. Cheney says that he and his doctor, cardiologist Jonathan Reiner, turned off the device's wireless function in case a terrorist tried to send his heart a fatal shock.' More at CBS News."
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Dick Cheney Had Implanted Defibrillator Altered To Prevent Terrorist Attack

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  • Terrorist? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How can anyone who kills Dick Cheney be a terrorist?

    • It's Dick Cheney - that person paying for a pack of gum with pennies is a terrorist.

    • Re:Terrorist? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @09:37AM (#45174361)

      Terror is a strategy, not a value judgment.

      Don't let the propagandists redefine words to suit their purposes.

      I'd much rather be terrorised from time to time - indeed, England was for quite a while, and my father almost got killed in one bomb blast - than be aerial bombarded back to the Middle Ages.

      • Re:Terrorist? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by couchslug (175151) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @10:23AM (#45174709)

        Precisely. There is only "war" of different kinds and at varying levels.

        "Terror" is pretty effective though. Nations which lose hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed to socially acceptable causes (smoking, obesity, auto crashes) can easily be terrified into implementing structurally toxic changes by the trivial loss of a few thousand killed in one small location. I wouldn't want to be under a massive bombardment either, but once upon a time nations knew they could take massive casualties yet not only survive but triumph.

        Give the Mamayev Kurgan monument some thought. Stalingrad cost more Soviet dead than the US lost in all its wars, but they refused to lose. Commies or not, they had balls.

        • Re:Terrorist? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Skiron (735617) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @11:13AM (#45175021) Homepage

          Stalingrad cost more Soviet dead than the US lost in all its wars, but they refused to lose. Commies or not, they had balls.

          Well, in essence, it was Hitler's fault. The original plan was to take the Ural oil fields and the German machine was unstoppable it doing it - until Hitler decided on a detour to take Stalingrad on the way (he thought it would destroy the Russian hearts and resistance) ~ bad move.

          If he didn't do the detour, I think the outcome of WWII would have been different.

          Mind you, that doesn't take away what the people of Stalingrad did to resist and destroy the German eastern front.

          • Nonsense (Score:3, Informative)

            by happyhamster (134378)

            You are mixing things up, and you are incorrect. The plan was to take the Caucasus oil fields [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Caucasus], not Ural. There was no way Germans could take Ural in 1943, and there was no oil there anyway.

            The real story is that Hitler needed to take Caucasus oil to keep his war machine running. He had to take Stalingrad to keep his flanks safe. Look at the map [http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dd/Eastern_Front_1942-05_to_1942-11.png]. It wasn't a detour,

    • by mellon (7048)

      A->B != B->A. Just because someone kills Dick Cheney doesn't mean they are not a terrorist.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 19, 2013 @09:38AM (#45174367)

    Breaking News : Dick Cheney has a heart !

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 19, 2013 @09:42AM (#45174407)

    Extra Extra!
    Read all about it!
    Dick Cheney revealed to have a heart!
    Progressives outraged over use of resources!

  • Since, clearly, he does not have a heart.

  • Hmm.. I wonder if this wasn't the inspiration of the previous season's NCIS episode "Need to Know" where the victim was killed in exactly that manner.

  • by waddgodd (34934) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @09:51AM (#45174473) Homepage Journal

    Okay, given Cheney's historical level of paranoia (this is nothing compared to some of his hijinks as SECNAV), I can TOTALLY see Cheney not understanding something and therefore assuming it's going to be used by people out to get him. Both "not understanding something" and "worried about trivial crap" are WELL within Cheney's persona. Having said that, whose wise idea was it to make a defibrilator that can be remotely accessed wirelessly in the first place? If nerd history has taught us anything, it's vulnerable shit eventually gets broken into, and wireless protocols are by definition vulnerable.

    • by Ihlosi (895663) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @11:02AM (#45174933)
      Having said that, whose wise idea was it to make a defibrilator that can be remotely accessed wirelessly in the first place?

      Probably someone who thought that sticking a cable through your chest to change the things configuration is an even worse idea.

    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      Hold on a second, Morty Zuckerman's US NEWS and World Report ran a cover touting Dick(head) Cheney as a "tough guy".

      Are you doubting Morty Zuckerman? He is on the Trilateral Commission, after all......
  • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @09:55AM (#45174499)

    My sis has an implanted defibrillator. It's a weird experience to be sitting in a doctors office when a technician comes in with a machine to test the installation.

    "I just need to turn up your blood pressure and heart rate for a minute" says the tech, as casually as ordering a cup of coffee.

    A couple of button presses later, the look of shock on my sister's face as she realized that she was not, in a very literal sense, in control of her own heart is something I'll never forget.

    She needs her implanted defibrillator but, holy shit, the power she must cede to Miss Random Device Technician by having it in her body is scary as all hell.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @10:03AM (#45174569) Homepage

      Do you crinkle in fear each time a car comes at you from the opposite direction? Every time you get on a plane?

      Lots of potentially dangerous actions in your life, many other people can terminate it accidentally or on purpose. Hell, that dodgy iPhone charger you bought off of eBay - do you really trust it?

      • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @10:34AM (#45174787)

        Do you crinkle in fear each time a car comes at you from the opposite direction? Every time you get on a plane?

        Lots of potentially dangerous actions in your life, many other people can terminate it accidentally or on purpose.

        At least if a car going the opposite direction crashes into you, or the airplane pilot crashes the plane their life and property is in serious jeapordy as well.

      • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @11:02AM (#45174945)

        I was being specific, not general. Here's what I mean -

        Do you crinkle in fear each time a car comes at you from the opposite direction?

        I'm sure I was quite afraid the first time I drove. However, I quickly learned that the danger was minimal, there were postive steps I could take to minimize it, and if something did go horribly wrong there was only a vanishingly small chance that someone was deliberately causing a problem. I got used to it, obviously, since they don't bother me now. I don't remember exactly, but I feel sure I actually got used to it before I finished my first drive.

        I understand that all of life is potentially dangerous. That was not my point.

        Prior to the implanted defibrillator, my sis had a pacemaker. It was just under the skin and checking it required placing an electronic puck of some sort directly on the skin over the pacemaker. That was how it was connected to a testing console. Making changes to the way it worked was a bit complicated, took some time, and required the cooperation of the patient (at minimum, to just sit there and let the work happen).

        The defibrillator was very different. There was no puck and it could be accessed from a vastly greater distance. Also, the technician could instantly, with a few keystrokes, turn my sister's heart up or down whether my sister was cooperating or not. In my first post, I was relating that this was the first time we realized that the implanted defibrillator required her to trust her life to a technology that could be so easily abused. Now that she's gone through it, she accepts the risk.

        However, it's a case of believing "I'm not a target/security through obscurity" that allows her to accept this situation. She really is completely defenseless against anyone close by who can send the right wireless signals. She accepts the risk in exchange for the rewards but the initial shock at realizing the risk existed (and having it so clearly, offhandedly demonstrated) was NOT unjustified. I feel sure that if she were a public person like Cheney, she, too, would have wanted wireless access disabled.

      • by spitzak (4019)

        Do you crinkle in fear each time a car comes at you from the opposite direction?

        Every time I drive in England, yes.

    • by rwyoder (759998)

      My sis has an implanted defibrillator. It's a weird experience to be sitting in a doctors office when a technician comes in with a machine to test the installation.

      "I just need to turn up your blood pressure and heart rate for a minute" says the tech, as casually as ordering a cup of coffee.

      A couple of button presses later, the look of shock on my sister's face as she realized that she was not, in a very literal sense, in control of her own heart is something I'll never forget.

      She needs her implanted defibrillator but, holy shit, the power she must cede to Miss Random Device Technician by having it in her body is scary as all hell.

      You are describing a *pacemaker*, not a defibrillator.

      A defibrillator does nothing unless it detects the heart has gone into V-fib, then it applies a shock which momentarily stops the heart, enabling the heart to reset its self back to normal rhythm.

      • You are describing a *pacemaker*, not a defibrillator.

        Not in this case.

        My sister has an implanted cardiac defibrillator that also functions as a pacemaker. It was my understanding that all implanted defibrillators have this functionality.

        Of course, I could be completely wrong about that. The defibrillator she has replaced a previous pacemaker that was just a pacemaker. We were not informed if there was actually such a thing as a defibrillator that was just a defibrillator because such a device woul

        • by rkww (675767)

          ICD = Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator [bhf.org.uk]

          Pacing - a series of low-voltage electrical impulses (paced beats) at a fast rate to try and correct the heart rhythm

          Cardioversion - one or more small electric shocks to try and restore the heart to a normal rhythm

          Defibrillation - one or more larger electric shocks to try and restore the heart to a normal rhythm

    • by argStyopa (232550)

      Of course, you don't have control over your heart ANYWAY (which, Darwin decided long ago, is probably the best way).

      Seriously, I can raise your pulse rate and blood pressure or heart rate remotely:
      (for those attracted to boobs!): http://acidcow.com/pics/20131017/gifs_01.gif [acidcow.com] (pg-13) or http://www.everyjoe.com/wp-content/gallery/bouncing-breasts/bouncing-boobs-gif-17.gif [everyjoe.com] (pg-13 since acidcow is down? but really, the first one is better)
      (for those attracted to !boobs): http://25.media.tumblr.com/46b3d32d263012 [tumblr.com]

  • by Nephrite (82592) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @10:17AM (#45174667) Journal

    Killing a politician with subtle electronic sabotage is not appealing to terrorists. It is not dramatic. It is quiet. Terrorists would rather blow a city block with TNT to kill a politician. Killing somebody using defibrillator suits spies or other government agents.

    • Re:Will not happen (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mbone (558574) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @10:35AM (#45174793)

      Killing a politician with subtle electronic sabotage is not appealing to terrorists. It is not dramatic. It is quiet. Terrorists would rather blow a city block with TNT to kill a politician. Killing somebody using defibrillator suits spies or other government agents.

      And my guess is that that is what he was really worried about.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      That was Old School terror designed to target proles who are the equivalent of Star Trek redshirts. It works, but the elites don't fear it and in the case of 9/11 even exploit it!

      New School, like the brilliant whacking of Alfred Herrhausen by a precision explosive charge or US drone attacks, reaches out to specific high-value targets. For those specific targets the threat is real and coerces them to defend against it. Such attacks don't require an attacker be on the scene making them a logical way to go. So

    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      Brilliantly and most logically articulated, good citizen Nephrite! Are you related to Sherlock Holmes or Batman? Seriously, great comment!
  • Danger still there (Score:4, Insightful)

    by naasking (94116) <naasking AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday October 19, 2013 @10:26AM (#45174733) Homepage

    Disabling wifi doesn't remove the danger. Directed energy weapons, like RF guns, can still target and disrupt the device in various ways since it contains electronics.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @10:27AM (#45174745) Journal
    Cheyney obviously watches Homeland, in which the Vice President is killed by remotely acessing his pacemaker.
  • Based on his history it seems more likely that he was worried that the "organs of state security," or even some of his corporate sponsors, might do this to him, to make sure that various secrets stayed, well, secret.

  • While I know this is far fetched I still hold out hope some day Cheney and friends will held to account for lying to his own people and the world to start a war and war crimes.

    Perhaps by some unexpected political change or a fateful visit to the wrong country where that government has the balls to follow thru on perusing charges.

    It also has to be meaningful if Cheney and pals only live for a year in jail and then die of old age it is far from an ideal situation.

    • by mbone (558574)

      I predicted in 2003 it would take until at least 2016 to bring these guys to trial. Still haven't seen any reason to change that yet.

  • by JThaddeus (531998) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @11:20AM (#45175081)
    One of my favorite headlines fromThe Onion:
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-heart-device-allows-cheney-to-experience-love,2294/
  • I wonder if the wireless thing ever turned on properly after he woke up?
  • by Chewbacon (797801) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @11:36AM (#45175159)

    Classic case of the dumbasses we put in charge who go sticking their fingers in things they know absolutely nothing about. Cheney strikes me as a prepper and we need to keep dipshits like that out of office.

    These devices have to be "woken up" with a sensor placed on the chest. Then it'll communicate with the interrogation equipment which can induces shocks via a defribillation test. The range is limited to about 15 feet. Despite the wireless option being turned off, anyone with the device used to interrogate can still induce a shock with the chest sensor.

    Still, a shock could still be induced without the tech by causing artifact in the leads. Inappropriate shocks have been reported in people operating heavy equipment like jackhammers and chainsaws. So shake the shit out of him and he may get an inappropriate shock. Worst that would happen there is induction of ventricular fibrillation which would only cause an appropriate shock.

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      Cheney a prepper? Hardly. If there's anyone who represents the cigar-smoking, brandy-swilling high-living fat-cat, it's him. If there's any prepping around him, it would be because he pays a staff to do it for him.

  • You can disagree with Cheney's politics- I certainly do.

    But this is entirely reasonable for him to take. It prevents assassination and blackmail attempts being launched in a potentially trivial fashion. As was said above, why would you want an off switch? And if you or I can personally justify it, we'd probably not be able to as vice president.

  • Anyone who offed Dick Cheney would be a hero of democracy and humanity, not a "terrorist"!
  • A possible movie concept, and game:

    The transmitter was put back in the pace maker. It is tuned so that every time one passes by a Red Box the pace maker starts playing "Poker Face", acustic version, by Lady Gaga; downloaded from The Pirate Bay.

    This turns out to be the reason why Snowden left the NSA, which is verifiable on WikiLeaks.
  • by powerlinekid (442532) on Saturday October 19, 2013 @05:13PM (#45177253)

    Terrorists obviously know the best way to terrorize Americans is to keep people like Cheney alive.

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