30 December 2009

Security Theater

I'm sitting in the AA lounge at Logan, waiting for my flight back to London and pondering the ridiculous reaction of the government and the public to the Crotch Bomber. Maureen Dowd's op-ed captures the "be afraid, be very afraid" mantra of modern air travel, even when it is repeatedly demonstrated to be extremely safe.

Two failures happened in this incident:
  1. Intelligence on the suspect wasn't distributed widely enough to flag him to airport or immigration authorities.
  2. His crotch bomb made it on the to the plane undetected.
The first is a problem, and should be addressed. It is the only lesson we can learn from this incident. Trying to adjust airport screening approaches to the last attack is a pointless waste of time and resources. Focus on the bad guys and let the rest of us bring our toothpaste on planes without being hassled.


errhode said...

My favorite commentary on this (and I wish I could remember the source): "If someone sang 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' and then tried to blow up a plane, the TSA's response would be to ban all singing of nursery rhymes."

Scott said...

Ditto. I wonder whether the bureaucrats responsible for the new security measures acted because they believed their job security would be dependent on taking broadly visible actions.

MRhé said...

I can't believe you spelled "theater" in the American style.