Schneier for TSA Administrator
It’s been suggested. For the record, I don’t want the job.
Since the election, the newspapers and Internet have been flooded with unsolicited advice for President-elect Barack Obama. I’ll go ahead and add mine.
And by “revamp,” I mean “start over.” Most security experts agree that the rigmarole we go through at the airport is mere security theater, designed not to make us safer, but to make us feel safer by making it increasingly inconvenient to fly. TSA’s approach to security is too reactionary—too set on preventing attacks and attempted attacks that have already happened. And please, whatever you do, resist the temptation to let TSA workers unionize. Security from terror attacks should not be a federal jobs program. You need the authority to fire underperforming screeners quickly and effortlessly. Three game-changing possibilities to head up TSA: security guru Bruce Schneier, Cato Institute security and technology scholar Jim Harper, or Ohio State University’s John Mueller.
Although I’d be happy to see either Jim or John with it.
I don’t want it because it’s too narrow. I think the right thing for the government to do is to give the TSA a lot less money. I’d rather they defend against the broad threat of terrorism than focus on the narrow threat of airplane terrorism, and I’d rather they defend against the myriad of threats that face our society than focus on the singular threat of terrorism. But the head of the TSA can’t have those opinions; he has to take the money he’s given and perform the specific function he’s assigned to perform. Not very much fun, really.
But I’d be happy to advise whoever Obama choses to head the TSA.