Q 'n A with Bruce Schneier on the TSAs "Security Theater"

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Excellent put-down of the TSAs laughable attempts at security for airline passengers. From Popular Mechanics:
Security and Terrorism Expert Bruce Schneier: TSA Scans "Won't Catch Anybody"
Since 9/11, cryptology expert and security consultant Bruce Schneier has been one of the most pointed critics of the government's anti-terrorism security programs. In his 2003 book "Beyond Fear," he coined the phrase "security theater" to refer to measures which are undertaken not because they will be effective at thwarting attacks, but because the agencies carrying them out need to appear to be doing something useful. We spoke to Schneier about the recent controversy involving the Transport Security Agency's use of invasive scanners and full-body pat-downs.

Q -- What is really being seen by these machines?

A -- Bruce Schneier: In theory, it sees stuff that isn't part of the body. So if you've got a stapler in your pocket, it will show up. The thought is that it will see stuff that a metal detector won't detect, like a ceramic knife. But this doesn't seem to be borne out by reality.

Q -- The machines have shown up in the wake of the so-called underwear bomber, who tried to blow up a plane with chemicals stored in his briefs. Would this technology have stopped him?

A -- The guys who make the machines have said, "We wouldn't have caught that."

Q -- So what kind of attack will this prevent, that otherwise might be successful?

A -- There are two kinds of hijackers. There's the lone nutcase, like someone who will bring a gun onto a plane because, dammit, they're going to take the whole plane down with them. Any pre-9-11 airport security would catch a person like that.

The second kind is the well-planned, well-financed Al Qaeda-like plot. And nothing can be done to stop someone like that.
The top level management of the TSA is populated with morons. They have no grasp of what they need to be looking for and their "ideas" are based on the previous attacks. Richard Reid tried to detonate his shoes back in 2001 and if I book a flight tomorrow, I will still have to take my shoes off for inspection. The nutless wonder Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab burned his manhood off trying to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 back in 2009 and I bet we will be having our genital areas searched in one way or another for the next ten years. Given fifteen minutes, I can come up with ten solid ways to sneak an explosive package on board an airline flight. Was talking to some people Friday night about this. There is real security and there is this charade that passes for security -- yet another well run government operation. We are heading down to Jen's family in California for Christmas. We are driving. Given the cost of lodging in San Francisco, the rental car, the airline flight, it makes sense to spend the two days each way driving the Ford Truck..

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on November 20, 2010 9:29 PM.

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