Sunday 27 December 2009

Terrorists' objectives

Can we reject the null hypothesis that Osama's crew have agents inside the TSA and that their whole objective is to give these agents reasons to make travelers' lives hell?

Radley Balko:
Seems to me that what this, Flight 93, and the Richard Reid incident have shown us is that the best line of defense against airplane-based terrorism is us. Alert, aware, informed passengers.

TSA, on the other hand, equates hassle with safety. For all the crap they put us through, this guy still got some sort of explosive material on the plane from Amsterdam. He was stopped by law-abiding passengers. So TSA responds to all of this by . . . announcing plans to hassle law-abiding U.S. passengers even more.
Andrew Leigh:
Huh? Are attempts to bring down planes more serious in the last hour of flight than the first? And has anyone who writes these rules ever travelled with a baby or a child?

This of course follows the US TSA’s decision to waste thousands of passenger hours in requiring shoes to be removed for baggage screening, despite the fact that there is nothing you can hide in your shoes that you could not also hide in your underwear.
And, of course, Bruce Schneier, who, in a sane world, would have immediately been appointed head of the TSA DHS on Obama's inauguration:
And what sort of magical thinking is behind the rumored TSA rule about keeping passengers seated during the last hour of flight? Do we really think the terrorist won't think of blowing up their improvised explosive devices during the first hour of flight?
For years I've been saying this:
Only two things have made flying safer [since 9/11]: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.
This week, the second one worked over Detroit. Security succeeded.
So, is it then:
  1. The TSA are in it with the terrorists to create maximum inconvenience for travelers and augment the TSA budget
  2. The TSA are complete idiots
  3. There's nothing the TSA can really do, but idiots demand they do something and the only something that passengers can observe is how much they're being inconvenienced?
I lean towards the last one, with a slim chance of the first one.

Blogging continues to be very light over Christmas. On the plus side, the (unheated) pool is now cleaned and ready for the two months of service we can expect from it, given the weather here. Ira's been greatly enjoying runs into the ocean as well - he especially likes it when waves almost splash his face. We really need to learn to carry swim gear whenever we leave the house with him; odds are he'll lead us to the beach, and if Ira gets to the beach, chances are he'll want to get into the water. Last time, my shirt served as his towel....

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