Thursday, August 11, 2011

Is the TSA actually listening for once?

It may sound like a fairy tale, but it's reported that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may actually, at long, long last, be listening to its critics! Wired magazine reports:

For years, [Bruce] Schneier, the well-known security gadfly, has blasted the TSA for its brain dead approach to passenger screening: the “security theater” of naked scanners and slipped-off shoes; the focus on terrorist weapons instead of the terrorists themselves; the one-size-fits-all security protocols, instead of measures driven by the latest intelligence. For years, the TSA ignored his critiques.

But late last month, at the Aspen Security Forum, TSA chief John Pistole opened his mouth — and Schneier’s words came tumbling out. Pistole said it was high time to “recognize that the vast majority of people traveling every day are not terrorists.” To “try to apply some more common sense to the process,” even.

Forget patting down kids and telling people with top secret security clearances to take off their shoes. “I think we can do a different way of screening children that recognizes that, in the very high likelihood, they do not have a bomb on them,” he said.

Besides, he added, “the best layer of security we have … is intelligence.”

Clearly, Schneier had figured out some way of getting into [the] TSA administrator’s head. The man was some kind of Charles Xavier type.

Or maybe — just maybe — Pistole, after a year on the job, was finally feeling comfortable enough at the administration to make the changes he’s been itching to implement from the start.

. . .

The TSA chief is promising even more changes ahead. Children won’t get felt up quite as often. TSA officers may get more flexibility to bend those maddening rules about which items are banned from a flight. The focus is going to be on stopping those weapons that can actually bring down a plane, not just nick a stewardess.

There's more at the link.

I find it almost impossible to believe that the TSA is actually capable of learning. Its incompetent, surly, jackbooted thugs have thrown their weight around for years, ignoring well-known truths and hard-learned lessons about security. The agency has implemented a system of controlling passengers that can (and will) do nothing whatsoever to prevent a well-trained terrorist from carrying out his plans.

I know this to be true from my own experience. I was the Civil Defense Sector Officer for a large area of a major city's Central Business District, facing a very real terrorist threat, during years when our preparations included simulating a major terror incident in a high-rise building, the hijacking of an airliner at the nearby international airport, the take-over of a nuclear power plant not far from the city, and other incidents. I know more than a little about security measures. I'm here to tell you, it's been my experience that the TSA doesn't!

No. I'll believe they have any intention to improve (never mind the capacity to do so) only when I see it . . . and even then, I'll wait for independent confirmation. I trust the TSA, individually and collectively, just about as far as I can throw them.



trailbee said...

At times we do the overkill routine because we have no idea where the threat MIGHT come from, which then snowballs into insanity. Our threat is still alive, but we have changed administrations with all its ongoing flap.
My personal view has always been on the side of super caution until new rules can be worked out. Unfortunately, that is still a future dream, but at least we're working on it.
My big thanks will always go to Juan Williams and his statements on Fox/O'Reilly and his fueling of the firestorm. It was HIS political incorrectness that got him fired from NPR which also pointed out what the TSA's groping and patting was all about. Our political correctness, while making some people feel better, will be our death.

Dad29 said...


Never, ever, forget the ability of an upcoming election to focus the "mind" of candidates.

Look for more feints toward common sense from various Agencies in the next 15 months.

And a "never mind" when the election's over.

Notice how quickly the "farm-tractors are actually interstate-commerce vehicles" idea disappeared?