Friday, November 19, 2010

TSA Backlash Week: OK, Smart Guy, What Do We Do Then?

Mother Jones' Nick Baumann talks to security experts about how to make flying safe without making security procedures so damned invasive: "All three experts favor scrapping most of the security measures that people hate—and not necessarily replacing them with anything. Ideally, the money that was saved wouldn't be spent on airport security at all: it would be spent on trying to stop terrorists before they got to the airport. That means better-funding law enforcement and intelligence."

A couple of suggestions in Baumann's piece -- which, really, read the whole thing -- caught my attention. One is that airport lines actually need to move much more quickly, because those stagnant queues are themselves a pretty good target for an airport attack. The other is to introduce truly randomized screening of passengers:
That means that while the majority of passengers wouldn't face the invasive security checks they face now, every passenger would face the risk of a thorough search. Terrorists can't avoid or plan for truly random enhanced searches, like they can with protocol-, background-, and profiling-based searches. You don't want terrorists to be able to plan their way around your security. You want them to have to get lucky.

That's probably not as race-based as Charles Krauthammer would prefer, but still.

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