Government always strikes hardest at who it views as the real enemy
Posted by aogThursday, 18 November 2010 at 19:41 TrackBack Ping URL

The best policy question concerning the current TSA full body searching is — is it OK to engage in the same level of search on anybody captured in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Comments — Formatting by Textile
AVeryRoughRoadAhead Thursday, 18 November 2010 at 22:17

The traveling public is the real enemy?

How so?

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 19 November 2010 at 01:34

The bitter clingers from flyover country.

Rob Friday, 19 November 2010 at 17:59

Good to see you popping up some posts.

My comment ont he subject is here.

Enjoy

Hey Skipper Friday, 19 November 2010 at 18:15

In defense of the TSA, it is worth noting the problem they are trying to solve: barring explosives of sufficient quantity and energy from airplanes.

Since it seems the major contribution of Islam to modern civilization is ever more inventive means of splodeydoping, the consequence is increasingly detailed searches.

Imagine the consequences of a half dozen airliners brought down on the same day. The casualty count wouldn’t be nearly 9/11, but the economic and civil fallout would be just as bad, if not worse.

The bitter clingers from flyover country.

Hard to see how this affects those bitter clingers more (and by definition it must be less) than anyone else.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 19 November 2010 at 18:40

Yes, but none of their efforts have actually worked, and there’s no good reason to think it will be different this time. As many have noted, they are attempting through thuggery and technology to solve political and legal problems while making no effort to be professional about it. For instance, the joking around after exposing a women’s breasts to the airport general public. No apologies, no contrition, just mockery.

Hey Skipper Saturday, 20 November 2010 at 13:15
Yes, but none of their efforts have actually worked …

I think it is safe to conclude (although not know) exactly the opposite.

The TSA’s efforts undoubtedly complicated splodeydope planning, as did reinforced cockpit doors, sky marshals, armed pilots and aware passengers, and the knowledge among splodeydopes that they had to strictly limit communications.

Which has forced them to rely upon ever more inventive (and, so far, failure prone) means to their immolations.

That is my theory for why there haven’t been any Western aircraft lost to splodeydopes since 9/11, and why I don’t think your assertion is safe.

SFAIK, the rapiscans will detect all explosives outside the body, and anything that could serve as an ignition source.

Issues of professionalism are entirely separate from deciding what is appropriate from a technical and risk standpoint to prevent getting explosives on an airplane.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 20 November 2010 at 15:14

If in fact the TSA was doing something useful, they would (at least on occasion) catch someone who hadn’t quite updated their procedures. Yet this, as far as I know, has never happened. I think that’s very strong evidence of ineffectiveness.

I think the other things you listed have had far more of an effect.

Issues of professionalism are entirely separate from deciding what is appropriate from a technical and risk standpoint to prevent getting explosives on an airplane.

I strongly disagree. If we really wanted to prevent crashing airliners, we could simply outlaw them. Yet we don’t, because the economic benefits of air travel outweigh the costs, even with splodeydopes. The professionalism of the TSA directly impacts the economics and is therefore quite relevant and inseparable.

Even if you ignore that, however, the professionalism has a large impact on cooperation and support from the American Street, and those in turn have a large impact on the success and sustainability of security procedures.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 20 November 2010 at 15:26

Security expert says scanning won’t catch any splodeydopes.

Money quote:

The guys who make the machines have said, “We wouldn’t have caught that [the underwear bomber].”

Hey Skipper Monday, 22 November 2010 at 22:20
Security expert …

That reference would be much more persuasive if he didn’t traffic in reasoning that would cause my dog to raise a Spockian eyebrow:

If they did catch someone, especially during the Bush years, you could be damned sure we’d know about it. And the fact that we didn’t means that there weren’t any.

Since 9/11, all airliners have intrusion resistant cockpit doors. Also, the hijack training for pilots has completely changed.

There have been no hijacking attempts since 9/11. Which means, according to your security expert, there haven’t been any, and, therefore, the IRCDs and training changes have been completely useless.

Bollocks.

The panty bomber was relying upon that strategem because TSA efforts are ineffective?

(BTW, I after plowing through 20 pages of results on [“Rapiscan Secure 1000” explosive detection], I couldn’t find anything definitive that wasn’t a manufacturer claim to the contrary.)

I strongly disagree. If we really wanted to prevent crashing airliners, we could simply outlaw them. Yet we don’t, because the economic benefits of air travel outweigh the costs, even with splodeydopes.

You have fallen prey to the same approach I have seen almost everywhere else on this subject: you haven’t really specified what it is you want to prevent. Until you do quantified the risk you are willing to tolerate, then any discussion about the prevention cost is sterile.

Without any explicit mention, the US (and just about all other countries) has completely revised the allowable risk for hijackings. Pre 9/11, pilots were trained to accede to hijacker demands in order to preserve passenger lives.

Not anymore.

It doesn’t matter how many passengers are getting killed in back, the pilots will put that plane on the nearest suitable piece of pavement, then disable it.

Obviously, that leaves the splodeydope problem untouched. There are two questions: How willing are we to lose an airplane over some period of time? And, how intrusive does an inspection regime need to be in order keep the risk of that loss where we want it? Look at it differently. What do you suppose the knock-on effects of losing four airplanes in a day would be? How much passenger screening are you willing to tolerate to prevent that?

In order to rationally answer those questions, the first thing we need to know is how much explosive of what type in what configuration is required to bring an airliner down (as opposed to killing some passengers, a risk we are accepting now).

I am purely guessing here, but I suspect that a body scanner will detect an amount of explosive in the proper configuration (it matters) required to cause structural failure, if outside the body. Further, I suspect that any explosive in body cavities will be of insufficient quantity to yield enough net energy to cause structural failure.

Consequently, I suspect that body scanners will sufficiently complicate the execution end of a splodeydope plot as to make it operationally prohibitive.

Just as IRCDs have done for hijackings.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Tuesday, 23 November 2010 at 04:44

How much passenger screening are you willing to tolerate to prevent [losing] an airplane over some period of time?

I do believe that that very question is fixin’ to be answered by the traveling public over the next year. Or at least, we’ll find out how much screening they’re willing to tolerate until another airplane is lost.

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