Friday, January 8, 2010

on Airport Security...

A would-be terrorist tries to board a plane, bent on mass murder. As he walks through a security checkpoint, fidgeting and glancing around, a network of high-tech machines analyzes his body language and reads his mind.

Screeners pull him aside.

Tragedy is averted.

As far-fetched as that sounds, systems that aim to get inside an evildoer's head are among the proposals floated by security experts thinking beyond the X-ray machines and metal detectors used on millions of passengers and bags each year.

On Thursday, in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing attempt over Detroit, President Barack Obama called on Homeland Security and the Energy Department to develop better screening technology, warning: "In the never-ending race to protect our country, we have to stay one step ahead of a nimble adversary."

The ideas that have been offered by security experts for staying one step ahead include highly sophisticated sensors, more intensive interrogations of travelers by screeners trained in human behavior, and a lifting of the U.S. prohibitions against profiling.

Some of the more unusual ideas are already being tested. Some aren't being given any serious consideration. Many raise troubling questions about civil liberties. All are costly.

"Regulators need to accept that the current approach is outdated," said Philip Baum, editor of the London-based magazine Aviation Security International. "It may have responded to the threats of the 1960s, but it doesn't respond to the threats of the 21st century."

Here's a look at some of the ideas that could shape the future of airline security:


J. Tyler Ballance said...

If this so-called, terrorism were investigated as a typical crime, the first question we would ask is, "Who has a motive to do this?"

Prior to 9/11 the national debate was how we were going to drastically cut the Defense budget and how we would then spend our, "Peace Dividend."

Then, we have been told, a mystery man living in a cave in Afghanistan, mounted a coordinated attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, using our own airliners.

Ignoring what the idiot box told you, who had the motive to mount such an attack, designed to cause America to rearrange its defense priorities and to spend massive amounts on high tech defense systems?

1. We can rule out some guy living in a cave in Afghanistan. Why pick a fight with the world's largest defense establishment, who also had recently played a major role in freeing Afghanistan from the Soviets.

2. Our own military industrial complex. They surely have motive and the capacity to stage an ongoing terror campaign.

3. China. China wants to displace the United States. They hate our guts and would love to see the USA reduced to third world status. They could use Muslims to wage a proxy war against the US, just as they have used North Korea and North Vietnam in the past.

It is either our own defense establishment or China. Perhaps the least likely perpetrator is some guy in a cave.

Americans need to look beyond what is being offered by their beloved TV.

Anonymous said...

Ugly chick, nice rack.

Bubby said...

I flew on the Israeli airline one time and they had profilers questioning everyone in the waiting area. They also had dogs. It appeared to be designed as much to pick up on nervous and anxious behavior as anything. If they didn't like the answers they seemed to be very good at politely digging through your bags.

However, I believe we rely too much on gizmos, and too little on human perception. My mother would have made a great airport security guard. She could sense dishonesty a mile away!

Essentially, when I pack onto a airliner and start breathing the same air as 300 other souls, I don't have much expectation of privacy, and would really like to have a high expectation of landing in one piece.

I've been through one of these whole body x-rays. They also blast you with air and sniff you. The experience should prompt more people to hit the gym and take a bath!