April 3, 2010

Back To The Drawing Board, Leonardo!

“Now,” say Barack & Company, “let’s try this…”

The Obama administration is replacing an emergency order that has required extra airport screening of passengers from 14 terrorism-prone countries with a system that will vet all U.S.-bound passengers against a broader array of intelligence sources, two senior administration officials said Thursday.

Do tell.

The new system will treat all passengers flying into the USA the same way, regardless of nationality, said the officials, who were briefed on the policy. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the policy is not being announced until today.

The policy is the Obama administration’s latest effort to tighten international aviation security since a Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, boarded a flight in Amsterdam allegedly carrying explosives in his underwear. Authorities said Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up the jet, which landed safely in Detroit.

Yes, but no thanks to our last set of policies.

In early January, the administration required foreign airports to give extra checkpoint scrutiny to anyone flying to the United States from one of 14 countries or who is a citizen of one of those countries.

Islamic groups such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council assailed the policy as profiling because most of the countries, such as Algeria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, are predominantly Muslim.

What part of “So are terrorists!” don’t they understand?

The policy being phased in this month will use intelligence snippets about terrorists whose full names are not known.

Authorities will put together information such as a terrorist’s partial name, facial features, recent travel history or home country. U.S.-bound passengers who match those descriptions will face extra checkpoint screening at foreign airports, according to one of the administration officials.

Hmmm, I can see a real quagmire coming here. They went from profiling, which apparently worked, to not only not profiling, but also going the opposite way and harrassing little old ladies and one legged deaf mutes, while (witness the case of the underwear bomber) giving the benefit of the doubt to those who were indicated as “possible” Islamic “radicals”.

Now they’ll really confuse things, KISS principle be damned. Career bureaucrats and simple common sense are like matter and anti-matter, as they just don’t mix very well.

The system is tailored toward intelligence information and possible threats, rather than stopping people of a particular nationality, the official said.

One of the officials acknowledged shortcomings of the January order, calling it a blunt tool that is not as effective as it was initially because terrorists figured out how to circumvent it.

Very good, very, very good. So a couple of guys who fit the profiles of tangos earmarked for a specific terrorist Op are put through the works and cleared, then they stop the profiling in time for the real bin-Ladenite to cruise on through.

I’m still waiting to see how many years and how many terrorist successes or near misses it will take before they finally get it right, and instead of placing know-nothing, obtuse political appointees in charge of security venues, they actually hire some real, live security professionals.

Let’s not hold our breaths.

On another note entirely, don’t the Democrats have anybody in their “employment pool who doesn’t have any baggage on the order of lies, corruption or downright felonious behavior in his background?

by @ 12:43 pm. Filed under Homeland Security, Security, Terrorism
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6 Responses to “Back To The Drawing Board, Leonardo!”

  1. BB-Idaho Says:

    OK, I’m no security expert, but “Authorities will put together information such as a terrorist’s partial name, facial features, recent travel history or home country. U.S.-bound passengers who match those descriptions will face extra checkpoint screening at foreign airports, according to one of the administration officials.” Sounds like it meets the KISS principle. Ya know, ‘if it walks like a terrorist, quacks like a terrorist…’
    ..as far as the ‘real live security professionals’, one would think they are already gainfully employed..
    CIA, FBI, ASA, etc & etc. The nature of such work precludes listing successes (although Cheney suggested considerable without detail). Since I know little of security, I (perhaps naively) suspect terror-ops to
    target simpler, less protected things like subways,
    tunnels, population centers…thinking ’soft target’.
    But, then again, I can see they got to get here first.
    But, then again, it looks like they have ‘turned’ even
    native born citizens like those two women in the news.
    I guess my question for you experts would be: what percent should we rely on human factor, and what on

  2. Seth Says:

    BB –

    …a terrorist’s partial name, facial features, recent travel history or home country…

    Rarely are there any such descriptions generated of people expected to execute terrorist attacks, either authorities know who they are, or they don’t. In the former case, the bits and pieces approach is guaranteed to tie up a whole lot of security assets for naught (look at that poor kid who, from 2 years old and still thus challenged, the mistake uncorrected, at what, 9 years old?, has been wanded and treated like a terrorism suspect every time he passes through an airport with mom and dad, and all he’s guilty of is having the wrong name!). Now imagine some of these same airport security boneheads being armed with partial descriptions and abstract vital stats.

    What’s needed at screening level is a sufficient amount of personnel who are experienced at dealing with tangos first hand and know what to look for in terms of manner, moves, facial expressions… as well as having studied the pics and dossiers of known/suspected (don’t blame me, while seeming oxymoronic, that’s an operational phrase!) terrorists. Where there is doubt, racial profiling, in conjunction with any other visual characteristic (see above) needs to be considered acceptable procedure, simply because human lives are at stake, and protecting human life is infinitely more important than the consideration of possibly offending somebody.

    Muslims are well aware that it’s their people who are solely responsible for all the upped security at airports, that it’s their people who commit 99.99999% of terrorist acts in the world today, and those that protest being profiled are more than likely sympathetic to their terrorist brethren (and brethrenettes), anyway, or they would be more understanding.

  3. BB-Idaho Says:

    It is becoming apparent that one method of sorting passengers is airline policy: charging extra for baggage, carry-ons and even using the bathroom facilities. I suppose we will see take-off fees, exit
    costs, altitude charges and a surcharge if you take a seat rather than stand for the flight. “If you want a plane that has regular maintenance, you will have to pay a ’safe flying charge’. One disadvantage of being too old is recalling the days when free enterprise meant serving the customer. Air Alaska had great meals. Really! (of course in-flight movies hadn’t been invented yet)

  4. Seth Says:

    BB –

    The good old days of customer service, I miss ‘em so.

    I still blame Freddie Laker for the product of today’s airlines. It used to be that if you couldn’t afford to fly and didn’t have a generous boss to pick up the tab, you took the train, the ‘Hound or you drove. Planes were more expensive in regard to the economies of the times.

    Then along came Freddie with his cheap, “no frills” policy, eventually creating the need for other airlines to compete with his.

    Down went the prices, along with the service, included meals (except for 1st Class, where the ticket price more than covers things) and drinks and still, prices rose…

    As grimace-provoking as such eventual developments may seem, you may well be forecasting accurately.

    Mayhaps placing the burden of security on the airlines, who after all can only raise the ticket prices so much and stay in business, might be a good idea: They would certainly be more likely to hire real pros to do the job than the government bureaucracies — the private sector, having more to lose in their enterprises than the government does in its liability should a tragic event occur, would surely make its public sector counterparts look like the buffoons they are.

  5. BB-Idaho Says:

    Got to thinking about hiring security professionals like those that can spot a suspicious person sneaking about the terminal (and quickly determine whether they
    have diarrhea or a cellphone bomb). Seems logical; good idea — but, is there a pool of such? If there were, wouldn’t that leave a big hole in their former
    security jobs? If there isn’t a pool, which I suspect,
    shouldn’t there be a training program? Such programs would seem to require substantial training..I’m thinking of those FBI profilers..the ones who predict that a serial bomber will be found wearing brown socks,
    grey shoes and bifocals..with a predilection for cheap beer. I understand where you are coming from, what I
    can’t figure out is how we get there.

  6. Seth Says:

    BB –

    There are a lot of freelancers hanging about who have hands-on anti-terrorism experience, folks who would have no interest in permanent employee status but who would undoubtedly take on training roles on contract.

    There are also our friends and allies (unless O runs ‘em off entirely), the Israelis, who have people who are past masters at mingling in airport crowds and spotting suspicious actors. We continuously brush off their offers of help in that area when we could just as easily avail ourselves of it.

    Any way you look at it, profiling plays a role and is necessary as such.

    Also, please note that in our present climate, a first rate security professional is worth a hell of a lot more than a lawyer or a politician where asset value to society is concerned. It would be well worth paying him/her enough money to make it worth his/her while to get on the payroll.

    The talent is out there.

    OTOH, I know a few qualified people who would probably say no (like me) to an offer simply because they won’t work for an employer that allows politics and PC as grounds for micromanagement of their work, because they don’t much enjoy the thought of being told to do things the wrong way by a bunch of career bureaucrats, then being blamed when disaster strikes.

    It may be that we’ll just have to wait until the idiots in DC finally grow brains and realize that you can’t play politics with security procedures.