TSA: Doing Nothing ... Instead of Something

Via Borepatch comes an unexpectedly candid and honest assessment of airline security, from none other than the security boss of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport

Airport security boss calls time on tech
Marijn Ornstein said: "If you look at all the recent terrorist incidents, the bombs were detected because of human intelligence not because of screening ... If even a fraction of what is spent on screening was invested in the intelligence services we would take a real step toward making air travel safer and more pleasant."

Can't argue with her on that. Bruce Schneier has been saying the same thing for quite a while. He uses the term Movie Plot Threats to describe the type of situation our 'security' revolves around preventing. But, as he pointed out (back in 2005), Terrorists Don't Do Movie Plots:
The problem with movie plot security is that it only works if we guess right. If we spend billions defending our subways, and the terrorists bomb a bus, we've wasted our money. To be sure, defending the subways makes commuting safer. But focusing on subways also has the effect of shifting attacks toward less-defended targets, and the result is that we're no safer overall.

Terrorists don't care if they blow up subways, buses, stadiums, theaters, restaurants, nightclubs, schools, churches, crowded markets or busy intersections. Reasonable arguments can be made that some targets are more attractive than others: airplanes because a small bomb can result in the death of everyone aboard, monuments because of their national significance, national events because of television coverage, and transportation because most people commute daily. But the United States is a big country; we can't defend everything.

One problem is that our nation's leaders are giving us what we want. Party affiliation notwithstanding, appearing tough on terrorism is important. Voting for missile defense makes for better campaigning than increasing intelligence funding. Elected officials want to do something visible, even if it turns out to be ineffective.
As I mentioned earlier, I won't be flying anymore unless absolutely necessary precisely because of this massive loss of liberties with a negligible increase in security.



Comments

November 16. 2010 16:36

I stand by my statement support full screening of passengers boarding commercial flights. After being made a villain over it let me restate my position.
We are dealing with factions of tourists groups that will not hesitate to use any and all means at their disposal to kill Americans; including the weaponization of children.
My disagreement yesterday with on twitter @victoria_29 , lead to her calling me a child molester because I said even children should be screen when boarding a flight. I stand by my statement.
If you have never dealt first hand with these people you do not know what they are capable of and maybe you should drive or walk because I do not want you on a plane.
Yes, we need better screening methods, HOWEVER we must Have Screening.

GOD Bless you if you have never traveled abroad or fought in a combat zone were children and the other innocents are used BUT do not stand in judgment of those of us who have and know what can and will happen if we allow it.

All passengers boarding a commercial flight should be screened  



  

We the People   of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Terry Samples

November 18. 2010 00:02

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