Entries Tagged "full-body scanners"

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Me on Airport Security

Yesterday I participated in a New York Times “Room for Debate” discussion on airline security. My contribution is nothing I haven’t said before, so I won’t reprint it here.

A short history of airport security: We screen for guns and bombs, so the terrorists use box cutters. We confiscate box cutters and corkscrews, so they put explosives in their sneakers. We screen footwear, so they try to use liquids. We confiscate liquids, so they put PETN bombs in their underwear. We roll out full-body scanners, even though they wouldn’t have caught the Underwear Bomber, so they put a bomb in a printer cartridge. We ban printer cartridges over 16 ounces—the level of magical thinking here is amazing—and they’re going to do something else.

This is a stupid game, and we should stop playing it.

The other participants are worth reading, too.

I also did an interview in—of all places—Popular Mechanics.

Posted on November 23, 2010 at 6:11 AMView Comments

TSA Backscatter X-ray Backlash

Things are happening so fast that I don’t know if I should bother. But here are some links and observations.

The head of the Allied Pilots Association is telling its members to avoid both the full body scanners and the patdowns.

This first-hand report, from a man who refused to fly rather than subject himself to a full-body scan or an enhanced patdown, has been making the rounds. (The TSA is now investigating him.) It reminds me of Penn Jillette’s story from 2002.

A woman has a horrific story of opting-out of the full body scanners. More stories: this one about the TSA patting down a screaming toddler. And here’s Dave Barry’s encounter (also this NPR interview).

Sadly, I agree with this:

It is no accident that women have been complaining about being pulled out of line because of their big breasts, having their bodies commented on by TSA officials, and getting inappropriate touching when selected for pat-downs for nearly 10 years now, but just this week it went viral. It is no accident that CAIR identified Islamic head scarves (hijab) as an automatic trigger for extra screenings in January, but just this week it went viral. What was different?

Suddenly an able-bodied white man is the one who was complaining.

Seems that once you enter airport security, you need to be subjected to it—whether you decide to fly or not.

I experienced the enhanced patdown myself, at DCA, on Tuesday. It was invasive, but not as bad as these stories. It seems clear that TSA agents are inconsistent about these procedures. They’ve probably all had the same training, but individual agents put it into practice very differently.

Of course, airport security is an extra-Constitutional area, so there’s no clear redress mechanism for those subjected to too-intimate patdowns.

This video provides tips to parents flying with young children. Around 2:50 in, the reporter indicates that you can find out if your child has been pre-selected for secondary, and then recommends requesting “de-selection.” That doesn’t make sense.

Neither does this story, which says that the TSA will only touch Muslim women in the head and neck area.

Nor this story. The author convinces people on line to opt-out with him. After the first four opt-outs, the TSA just sent people through the metal detectors.

Yesterday, the TSA administrator John Pistole was grilled by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on full-body scanners. Rep. Ron Paul introduced a bill to ban them. (His floor speech is here.) I’m one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit to ban them.

Book for kids: My First Cavity Search. Cover seen at at TSA checkpoint.

T-shirts: one, two, and three and four. “Comply with Me” song parody. Political cartoons: one, two, three, and four. New TSA logo. Best TSA tweets, including “It’s not a grope. It’s a freedom pat.”

Good essay from a libertarian perspective. Two more. Marc Rotenberg’s essay. Ralph Nader’s essay. And the Los Angeles Times really screws up with this editorial: “Shut Up and Be Scanned.” Amitai Etzioni makes a better case for the machines.

Michael Chertoff, former Department of Homeland Security secretary, has been touting the full-body scanners, while at the same time maintaining a financial interest in the company that makes them.

There’s talk about the health risks of the machines, but I can’t believe you won’t get more radiation on the flight. Here’s some data:

A typical dental X-ray exposes the patient to about 2 millirems of radiation. According to one widely cited estimate, exposing each of 10,000 people to one rem (that is, 1,000 millirems) of radiation will likely lead to 8 excess cancer deaths. Using our assumption of linearity, that means that exposure to the 2 millirems of a typical dental X-ray would lead an individual to have an increased risk of dying from cancer of 16 hundred-thousandths of one percent. Given that very small risk, it is easy to see why most rational people would choose to undergo dental X-rays every few years to protect their teeth.

More importantly for our purposes, assuming that the radiation in a backscatter X-ray is about a hundredth the dose of a dental X-ray, we find that a backscatter X-ray increases the odds of dying from cancer by about 16 ten millionths of one percent. That suggests that for every billion passengers screened with backscatter radiation, about 16 will die from cancer as a result.

Given that there will be 600 million airplane passengers per year, that makes the machines deadlier than the terrorists.

Nate Silver on the hidden cost of these new airport security measures.

According to the Cornell study, roughly 130 inconvenienced travelers died every three months as a result of additional traffic fatalities brought on by substituting ground transit for air transit. That’s the equivalent of four fully-loaded Boeing 737s crashing each year.

Jeffrey Goldberg asked me which I would rather see for children: backscatter X-ray or enhanced pat down. After remarking what an icky choice it was, I opted for the X-ray; it’s less traumatic.

Here are a bunch of leaked body scans. They’re not from airports, but they should make you think twice before accepting the TSA’s assurances that the images will never be saved. RateMyBackscatter.com.

November 24 is National Opt Out Day. Doing this just before the Thanksgiving holiday is sure to clog up airports. Jeffrey Goldberg suggests that men wear kilts, commando style if possible.

At least one airport is opting out of the TSA entirely. I hadn’t known you could do that.

The New York Times on the protests.

Common sense from the Netherlands:

The security boss of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is calling for an end to endless investment in new technology to improve airline security.

Marijn Ornstein said: “If you look at all the recent terrorist incidents, the bombs were detected because of human intelligence not because of screening … If even a fraction of what is spent on screening was invested in the intelligence services we would take a real step toward making air travel safer and more pleasant.”

And here’s Rafi Sela, former chief security officer of the Israel Airport Authority:

A leading Israeli airport security expert says the Canadian government has wasted millions of dollars to install “useless” imaging machines at airports across the country.

“I don’t know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747,” Rafi Sela told parliamentarians probing the state of aviation safety in Canada.

“That’s why we haven’t put them in our airport,” Sela said, referring to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, which has some of the toughest security in the world.

They can be fooled by creased clothing. And remember this German video?

I’m quoted in the Los Angeles Times:

Some experts argue the new procedures could make passengers uncomfortable without providing a substantial increase in security. “Security measures that just force the bad guys to change tactics and targets are a waste of money,” said Bruce Schneier, a security expert who works for British Telecom. “It would be better to put that money into investigations and intelligence.”

I’m quoted in The Wall Street Journal twice—once as saying:

“All these machines require you to guess the plot correctly. If you don’t, then they are completely worthless,” said Bruce Schneier, a security expert.

Mr. Schneier and some other experts argue that assembling better intelligence on fliers is the key to making travel safer.

and once as saying:

Security guru Bruce Schneier, a plaintiff in the scanner suit, calls this “magical thinking . . . Descend on what the terrorists happened to do last time, and we’ll all be safe. As if they won’t think of something else.”

In 2005, I wrote:

I’m not impressed with this security trade-off. Yes, backscatter X-ray machines might be able to detect things that conventional screening might miss. But I already think we’re spending too much effort screening airplane passengers at the expense of screening luggage and airport employees…to say nothing of the money we should be spending on non-airport security.

On the other side, these machines are expensive and the technology is incredibly intrusive. I don’t think that people should be subjected to strip searches before they board airplanes. And I believe that most people would be appalled by the prospect of security screeners seeing them naked.

I believe that there will be a groundswell of popular opposition to this idea. Aside from the usual list of pro-privacy and pro-liberty groups, I expect fundamentalist Christian groups to be appalled by this technology. I think we can get a bevy of supermodels to speak out against the invasiveness of the search.

On the other hand, CBS News is reporting that 81% of Americans support full-body scans. Maybe they should only ask flying Americans.

I still stand by this, also from 2005:

Exactly two things have made airline travel safer since 9/11: reinforcement of cockpit doors, and passengers who now know that they may have to fight back. Everything else—Secure Flight and Trusted Traveler included—is security theater. We would all be a lot safer if, instead, we implemented enhanced baggage security—both ensuring that a passenger’s bags don’t fly unless he does, and explosives screening for all baggage—as well as background checks and increased screening for airport employees.

Then we could take all the money we save and apply it to intelligence, investigation and emergency response. These are security measures that pay dividends regardless of what the terrorists are planning next, whether it’s the movie plot threat of the moment, or something entirely different.

And this, written in 2010 after the Underwear Bomber failed:

Finally, we need to be indomitable. The real security failure on Christmas Day was in our reaction. We’re reacting out of fear, wasting money on the story rather than securing ourselves against the threat. Abdulmutallab succeeded in causing terror even though his attack failed.

If we refuse to be terrorized, if we refuse to implement security theater and remember that we can never completely eliminate the risk of terrorism, then the terrorists fail even if their attacks succeed.

See these two essays of mine as well, from the same time.

More resources on the EPIC pages.

What else is going on?

EDITED TO ADD: (11/19): Lots more political cartoons.

Good summary of your legal rights and options from the ACLU. They also have a form you can fill out and send to your Congresscritter.

This has to win for DHS Quote of the Year, from Secretary Janet Napolitano on the issue:

I really want to say, look, let’s be realistic and use our common sense.

The TSA doesn’t train its screeners very well. A response to a letter-writer from Sen. Coburn. From Slate: "Does the TSA Ever Catch Terrorists?" A pilot’s story. The screeners’ point of view. Good essay from the National Post.

Fun with the Playmobil airline security screening playset.

Meg McLain, whose horrific story I linked to above, lied. Here’s an interview with her.

EDITED TO ADD (11/20): I was interviewed by Popular Mechanics.

Woman forced to remove prosthetic breast. TSO officer caught saying “heads up, got a cutie for you” into his headset to the other officers. Complication news video of TSA behavior.

Here’s an alert you can hand out to passengers at security checkpoints where there are backscatter machines.

EDITED TO ADD (11/21): Me in an Associated Press piece on the anti-TSA backlash:

“After 9/11 people were scared and when people are scared they’ll do anything for someone who will make them less scared,” said Bruce Schneier, a Minneapolis security technology expert who has long been critical of the TSA. “But … this is particularly invasive. It’s strip-searching. It’s body groping. As abhorrent goes, this pegs it.”

President Obama comments:

“I understand people’s frustrations, and what I’ve said to the TSA is that you have to constantly refine and measure whether what we’re doing is the only way to assure the American people’s safety. And you also have to think through are there other ways of doing it that are less intrusive,” Obama said.

“But at this point, TSA in consultation with counterterrorism experts have indicated to me that the procedures that they have been putting in place are the only ones right now that they consider to be effective against the kind of threat that we saw in the Christmas Day bombing.”

TSA sendup on Saturday Night Live yesterday.

EDITED TO ADD (11/22): The thing about Muslim women being exempt seems to be based on a misreading of this press release. What they seem to be saying is that if you’re selected because you could have something under your hijab, then they only need to just pat down the area the hijab covers. It’s not a special exemption.

TSA Administrator John Pistole comments:

We are constantly evaluating and adapting our security measures, and as we have said from the beginning, we are seeking to strike the right balance between privacy and security. In all such security programs, especially those that are applied nation-wide, there is a continual process of refinement and adjustment to ensure that best practices are applied and that feedback and comment from the traveling public is taken into account.

EDITED TO ADD (11/23): Fantastic infographic. Excellent poster image. This, too. And another political cartoon.

Yesterday I participated in a New York Times “Room for Debate” discussion on airline security. My contribution is nothing I haven’t said before, so I won’t reprint it here. The other participants are worth reading too.

More from Nate Silver, on public opinion and the likely TSA reaction:

It is perhaps foolish to predict how the T.S.A. will respond this time—when they have relaxed rules in the past, they have done so quietly, rather than in response to some acute public backlash. But caution aside, I would be surprised if the new procedures survived much past the New Year without significant modification.

CNN’s advice to the public.

Things are definitely strained out there:

Through a statement released by his attorney Sunday night, Wolanyk said “TSA needs to see that I’m not carrying any weapons, explosives, or other prohibited substances, I refuse to have images of my naked body viewed by perfect strangers, and having been felt up for the first time by TSA the week prior (I travel frequently) I was not willing to be molested again.”

Wolanyk’s attorney said that TSA requested his client put his clothes on so he could be patted down properly but his client refused to put his clothes back on. He never refused a pat down, according to his attorney. Wolanyk was arrested for refusing to complete the security process.

From the same article:

A woman, identified by Harbor police as Danielle Kelli Hayman,39, of San Diego was detained for recording the incident on a phone.

That’s much more worrying.

Interview with Brian Michael Jenkins, a senior advisor at the RAND Corp. and a former member of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security.

Here’s someone who managed to avoid both the full-body scanners and the enhanced pat down. It took him two and a half hours. And here someone who got patted down, and managed to sneak two razor blades through security anyway.

How the TSA will deal with people with disabilities. How the pat downs affect survivors of sexual assault. (Read also the comments here.) Juan Cole on how airport security has shifted from looking for people with guns and traditional bombs to looking for people with PETN. And TSA-proof underwear.

EDITED TO ADD (11/24): Information on the health risks of the backscatter machines. And here’s a woman who stripped down to her underwear before going through airport security. This comes from a perspective I generally don’t buy, but it’s hard to dismiss his writing. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, but I do think it’s a trend. “This Modern World” has a comic on the topic. Slate on the lack of guidelines. Why the TSA should be privatized.

EDITED TO ADD (11/25): I was on Keith Olbermann last night.

Posted on November 19, 2010 at 5:37 AMView Comments

The End of In-Flight Wi-Fi?

Okay, now the terrorists have really affected me personally: they’re forcing us to turn off airplane Wi-Fi. No, it’s not that the Yemeni package bombs had a Wi-Fi triggering mechanism—they seem to have had a cell phone triggering mechanism, dubious at best—but we can imagine an Internet-based triggering mechanism. Put together a sloppy and unsuccessful package bomb with an imagined triggering mechanism, and you have a new and dangerous threat that—even though it was a threat ever since the first airplane got Wi-Fi capability—must be immediately dealt with right now.

Please, let’s not ever tell the TSA about timers. Or altimeters.

And, while we’re talking about the TSA, be sure to opt out of the full-body scanners and remember your sense of humor when a TSA officer slips white powder into your suitcase and then threatens you with arrest.

EDITED TO ADD (11/8): We’re banning toner cartridges over 16 ounces.

Additionally, toner and ink cartridges that are over 16 ounces will be banned from all U.S. passenger flights and planes heading to the United States, she said. That ban will also apply to some air cargo shipments.

Other new rules include:

  • International mail packages sent to the U.S. must be screened individually and certified to have come from an established postal shipper;
  • Cargo shippers, such as UPS, Federal Express, and DHL, have been encouraged to report cargo manifests to Homeland Security faster, prior to departure, to aid in identifying risky cargo based on current intelligence.

There’s some impressive magical thinking going on here.

Posted on November 8, 2010 at 10:21 AMView Comments

Is the Whole Country an Airport Security Zone?

Full-body scanners in roving vans:

American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, has sold U.S. and foreign government agencies more than 500 backscatter x-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles to see their contents, Joe Reiss, a vice president of marketing at the company told me in an interview.

This should be no different than the Kyllo case, where the Supreme Court ruled that the police needed a warrant before they can use a thermal sensor on a building to search for marijuana growers.

Held: Where, as here, the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of a private home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a Fourth Amendment “search,” and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.

Posted on August 27, 2010 at 7:58 AMView Comments

Bringing Lots of Liquids on a Plane at Schiphol

This would worry me, if the liquid ban weren’t already useless.

The reporter found the security flaw in the airport’s duty-free shopping system. At Schiphol airport, passengers flying to countries outside the Schengan Agreement Area can buy bottles of alcohol at duty-free shops before going through security. They are then permitted to take these bottles onto flights, provided that they have the bottles sealed at the shop.

Mr Stegeman bought a bottle, emptied it and refilled it with another liquid. After that he returned to the same shop and ‘bought’ the refilled bottle again. The shop sealed the bottle in a bag, allowing him to take it with him through security and onto a London-bound flight. In London, he transferred planes and carried the bottle onto a flight to Washington DC.

The flaw, of course, is the assumption that bottles bought at a duty-free shop actually come from the duty-free shop.

But note that 1) it’s the same airport as underwear bomber, 2) reporter is known for trying to defeat airport security, and 3) body scanners would have made no difference.

Watch the TV program here.

Posted on March 19, 2010 at 12:58 PMView Comments

German TV on the Failure of Full-Body Scanners

The video is worth watching, even if you don’t speak German. The scanner caught a subject’s cell phone and Swiss Army knife—and the microphone he was wearing—but missed all the components to make a bomb that he hid on his body. Admittedly, he only faced the scanner from the front and not from the side. But he also didn’t hide anything in a body cavity other than his mouth—I didn’t think about that one—he didn’t use low density or thinly sliced PETN, and he didn’t hide anything in his carry-on luggage.

Full-body scanners: they’re not just a dumb idea, they don’t actually work.

Posted on January 22, 2010 at 7:28 AMView Comments

Christmas Bomber: Where Airport Security Worked

With all the talk about the failure of airport security to detect the PETN that the Christmas bomber sewed into his underwear—and to think I’ve been using the phrase “underwear bomber” as a joke all these years—people forget that airport security played an important role in foiling the plot.

In order to get through airport security, Abdulmutallab—or, more precisely, whoever built the bomb—had to construct a far less reliable bomb than he would have otherwise; he had to resort to a much more ineffective detonation mechanism. And, as we’ve learned, detonating PETN is actually very hard.

Additionally, I don’t think it’s fair to criticize airport security for not catching the PETN. The security systems at airports aren’t designed to catch someone strapping a plastic explosive to his body. Even more strongly: no security system, at any airport, in any country on the planet, is designed to catch someone doing this. This isn’t a surprise. It isn’t even a new idea. It wasn’t even a new idea when I said this to then TSA head Kip Hawley in 2007: “I don’t want to even think about how much C4 I can strap to my legs and walk through your magnetometers.” You can try to argue that the TSA, and other airport security organizations around the world, should have been redesigned years ago to catch this, but anyone who is surprised by this attack simply hasn’t been paying attention.

EDITED TO ADD (1/4): I don’t know what to make of this:

Ben Wallace, who used to work at defence firm QinetiQ, one of the companies making the technology, warned it was not a “big silver bullet”.


Mr Wallace said the scanners would probably not have detected the failed Detroit plane plot of Christmas Day.

He said the same of the 2006 airliner liquid bomb plot and of explosives used in the 2005 bombings of three Tube trains and a bus in London.


He said the “passive millimetre wave scanners” – which QinetiQ helped develop – probably would not have detected key plots affecting passengers in the UK in recent years.


Mr Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The advantage of the millimetre waves are that they can be used at longer range, they can be quicker and they are harmless to travellers.

“But there is a big but, and the but was in all the testing that we undertook, it was unlikely that it would have picked up the current explosive devices being used by al-Qaeda.”

He added: “It probably wouldn’t have picked up the very large plot with the liquids in 2006 at Heathrow or indeed the… bombs that were used on the Tube because it wasn’t very good and it wasn’t that easy to detect liquids and plastics unless they were very solid plastics.

“This is not necessarily the big silver bullet that is somehow being portrayed by Downing Street.”

A spokeswoman for QinetiQ said “no single technology can address every eventuality or security risk”.

“QinetiQ’s passive millimetre wave system, SPO, is a… people-screening system which can identify potential security threats concealed on the human body. It is not a checkpoint security system.

“SPO can effectively shortlist people who may need further investigation, either via other technology such as x-rays, or human intervention such as a pat-down search.”

Posted on January 4, 2010 at 6:28 AMView Comments

Me on Full-Body Scanners in Airports

I’m very happy with this quote in a CNN.com story on “whole-body imaging” at airports:

Bruce Schneier, an internationally recognized security technologist, said whole-body imaging technology “works pretty well,” privacy rights aside. But he thinks the financial investment was a mistake. In a post-9/11 world, he said, he knows his position isn’t “politically tenable,” but he believes money would be better spent on intelligence-gathering and investigations.

“It’s stupid to spend money so terrorists can change plans,” he said by phone from Poland, where he was speaking at a conference. If terrorists are swayed from going through airports, they’ll just target other locations, such as a hotel in Mumbai, India, he said.

“We’d be much better off going after bad guys … and back to pre-9/11 levels of airport security,” he said. “There’s a huge ‘cover your ass’ factor in politics, but unfortunately, it doesn’t make us safer.”

I’ve written about “cover your ass” security in the past, but it’s nice to see it in the press.

Posted on May 20, 2009 at 2:34 PMView Comments

Kip Hawley Responds to My Airport Security Antics

Kip Hawley, head of the TSA, has responded to my airport security penetration testing, published in The Atlantic.

Unfortunately, there’s not really anything to his response. It’s obvious he doesn’t want to admit that they’ve been checking ID’s all this time to no purpose whatsoever, so he just emits vague generalities like a frightened squid filling the water with ink. Yes, some of the stunts in article are silly (who cares if people fly with Hezbollah T-shirts?) so that gives him an opportunity to minimize the real issues.

Watch-lists and identity checks are important and effective security measures. We identify dozens of terrorist-related individuals a week and stop No-Flys regularly with our watch-list process.

It is simply impossible that the TSA catches dozens of terrorists every week. If it were true, the administration would be trumpeting this all over the press—it would be an amazing success story in their war on terrorism. But note that Hawley doesn’t exactly say that; he calls them “terrorist-related individuals.” Which means exactly what? People so dangerous they can’t be allowed to fly for any reason, yet so innocent they can’t be arrested—even under the provisions of the Patriot Act.

And if Secretary Chertoff is telling the truth when he says that there are only 2,500 people on the no-fly list and fewer than 16,000 people on the selectee list—they’re the ones that get extra screening—and that most of them live outside the U.S., then it is just plain impossible that the TSA identifies “dozens” of these people every week. The math just doesn’t make sense.

And I also don’t believe this:

Behavior detection works and we have 2,000 trained officers at airports today. They alert us to people who may pose a threat but who may also have items that could elude other layers of physical security.

It does work, but I don’t see the TSA doing it properly. (Fly El Al if you want to see it done properly.) But what I think Hawley is doing is engaging in a little bit of psychological manipulation. Like sky marshals, the real benefit of behavior detection isn’t whether or not you do it but whether or not the bad guys believe you’re doing it. If they think you are doing behavior detection at security checkpoints, or have sky marshals on every airplane, then you don’t actually have to do it. It’s the threat that’s the deterrent, not the actual security system.

This doesn’t impress me, either:

Items carried on the person, be they a ‘beer belly’ or concealed objects in very private areas, are why we are buying over 100 whole body imagers in upcoming months and will deploy more over time. In the meantime, we use hand-held devices that detect hydrogen peroxide and other explosives compounds as well as targeted pat-downs that require private screening.

Optional security measures don’t work, because the bad guys will opt not to use them. It’s like those air-puff machines at some airports now. They’re probably great at detecting explosive residue off clothing, but every time I have seen the machines in operation, the passengers have the option whether to go through the lane with them or another lane. What possible good is that?

The closest thing to a real response from Hawley is that the terrorists might get caught stealing credit cards.

Using stolen credit cards and false documents as a way to get around watch-lists makes the point that forcing terrorists to use increasingly risky tactics has its own security value.

He’s right about that. And, truth be told, that was my sloppiest answer during the original interview. Thinking about it afterwards, it’s far more likely is that someone with a clean record and a legal credit card will buy the various plane tickets.

This is new:

Boarding pass scanners and encryption are being tested in eight airports now and more will be coming.

Ignoring for a moment that “eight airports” nonsense—unless you do it at every airport, the bad guys will choose the airport where you don’t do it to launch their attack—this is an excellent idea. The reason my attack works, the reason I can get through TSA checkpoints with a fake boarding pass, is that the TSA never confirms that the information on the boarding pass matches a legitimate reservation. If all TSA checkpoints had boarding pass scanners that connected to the airlines’ computers, this attack would not work. (Interestingly enough, I noticed exactly this system at the Dublin airport earlier this month.)

Stopping the “James Bond” terrorist is truly a team effort and I whole-heartedly agree that the best way to stop those attacks is with intelligence and law enforcement working together.

This isn’t about “Stopping the ‘James Bond’ terrorist,” it’s about stopping terrorism. And if all this focus on airports, even assuming it starts working, shifts the terrorists to other targets, we haven’t gotten a whole lot of security for our money.

FYI: I did a long interview with Kip Hawley last year. If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend you do. I pressed him on these and many other points, and didn’t get very good answers then, either.

EDITED TO ADD (10/28): Kip Hawley responds in comments. Yes, it’s him.

EDITED TO ADD (11/17): Another article on those boarding pass verifiers.

Posted on October 23, 2008 at 6:24 AMView Comments

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.