Secure Flight Suspended
The TSA has announced that Secure Flight, its comprehensive program to match airline passangers against terrorist watch lists, has been suspended:
And because of security concerns, the government is going back to the drawing board with the program called Secure Flight after spending nearly four years and $150 million on it, the Senate Commerce Committee was told.
I have written about this program extensively, most recently here. It’s an absolute mess in every way, and doesn’t make us safer.
But don’t think this is the end. Under Section 4012 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, Congress mandated the TSA put in place a program to screen every domestic passenger against the watch list. Until Congress repeals that mandate, these postponements and suspensions are the best we can hope for. Expect it all to come back under a different name—and a clean record in the eyes of those not paying close attention—soon.
EDITED TO ADD (2/15): Ed Felton has some good commentary:
Instead of sticking to this more modest plan, Secure Flight became a vehicle for pie-in-the-sky plans about data mining and automatic identification of terrorists from consumer databases. As the program’s goals grew more ambitious and collided with practical design and deployment challenges, the program lost focus and seemed to have a different rationale and plan from one month to the next.