Orlando Airport's CLEAR Program
Orlando Airport is piloting a new pre-screening program called CLEAR. The idea is that you pay $80 a year and subject yourself to a background check, and then you can use a faster security line at airports.
I've already written about this idea, back when Steven Brill first started talking about it:
My primary security concerns surrounding this system stem from what it's trying to do. In his writings and speaking, Brill is very careful to explain that these are not "trusted traveler cards." He calls them "verified identity cards." But the only purpose of his card is to divide people into two lines -- a fast line and a slow line, a "search less" line and a "search more" line, or whatever....
The reality is that the existence of the card creates a third, and very dangerous, category: bad guys with the card. Timothy McVeigh would have been able to get one of these cards. The DC sniper and the Unabomber would have been able to get this card. Any terrorist mole who hasn't done anything yet and is being saved for something big would be able to get this card. Some of the 9/11 terrorists would have been able to get this card. These are people who are deemed trustworthy by the system even though they are not.
And even worse, the system lets terrorists test the system beforehand. Imagine you're in a terrorist cell. Twelve of you apply for the card, but only four of you get it. Those four not only have a card that lets them go through the easy line at security checkpoints; they also know that they're not on any terrorist watch lists. Which four do you think will be going on the mission? By "pre-approving" trust, you're building a system that is easier to exploit.
Nothing in this program is different from what I wrote about last year. According to their website:
Your Membership will be continuously reviewed by TSA's ongoing Security Threat Assessment Process. If your security status changes, your Membership will be immediately deactivated and you will receive a notification email of your status change as well as a refund of the unused portion of your annual enrollment fee.
Think about it. For $80 a year, any potential terrorist can be automatically notified if the Department of Homeland Security is on to him. Such a deal.
Posted on August 8, 2005 at 8:03 AM • 37 Comments