All New TSA Silliness

Bruce Schneier is exactly right — the new TSA rule about staying seated for the last hour of flight is completely silly.

And what sort of magical thinking is behind the rumored TSA rule about keeping passengers seated during the last hour of flight? Do we really think the terrorist won’t think of blowing up their improvised explosive devices during the first hour of flight?

For years I’ve been saying this:

Only two things have made flying safer [since 9/11]: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.

This week, the second one worked over Detroit. Security succeeded.

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149 comments

1 Mr Pancakes  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:07:17pm

I agree.......

They already have me taking off my shoes, and I can't bring a bottle of Tapatio through.

2 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:09:23pm

After every terrorist attack the innocent travelers are subjected to more and more invasive and bothersome security measures. Many of them futile as the inventiveness of the terrorists knows no end. Others like this are nonsense because of bureaucratic ineptitude, as is common in any area the government is running the show.

3 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:09:41pm

100% correct. Our TSA is largely a sham that provides no real security. The typical TSA officer is obsessed with matching your name on your ID to the name on the ticket - as though that will do anything. Most of the 9/11 hijackers had legitimate state-issued ID's. When they ask questions, they aren't looking you in the eye to see HOW you react, not what you say. The areas around x-rays are crowded and often the TSA staff is chatting with each other.

In Israel there are agents putting dummy devices in carryon bags every day. Miss it once, you're suspended. Miss it twice, you're fired. You can't fire a TSA worker because they're part of the union. It's infuriating and pathetic.

4 Mark Pennington  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:09:58pm

I agree too...

I feel totally safe flying next week without all this nonsense.

5 Summer Seale  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:10:30pm

I agree: we need to start profiling people. Not based on race - Israelis don't base profiling on race as they have caught some blonde-haired and blue-eyed girls in the past who were unwitting walking bombs for their "boyfriends". If it was based on race, those girls wouldn't have been caught.

The fact is that we just have to get smarter about how we perform security and accept the fact that there are different threat levels for different kinds of people - no matter their race or religion.

Right now, we're completely unsafe apart from the fact that passengers appear to be more aware than TSA workers in general.

That has to change.

6 Dancing along the light of day  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:13:12pm

Someone posted yesterday that TSA stood for "Thousands Standing Around" and I have to agree. Imagine a long trip with children, can't go to the bathroom for the last hour of the flight? PLEASE, it's just not a useful rule.

7 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:15:08pm

re: #3 Cineaste

100% correct. Our TSA is largely a sham that provides no real security. [...]

100% correct.

Soon we will find out how the government does with healthcare.

8 political lunatic  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:17:28pm

It sounded to me like they would keep you on the plane after landing for an hour, the way I was reading it. How stupid is our government? I realize people are out of work, but can't the gov't take some of the more pointless TSA jobs away and create more useful jobs instead?

9 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:17:30pm

Let's think about what this guy did and the various TSA restrictions we've heard about:

1) No walking around during the last hour of the flight - this guy wasn't walking around when he attempted to detonate the device, he was in his seat. Besides, he just as easily could have detonated it at any point during the flight.

2) Nothing on your lap during the last hour of the flight - he didn't have anything in his lap either - it was concealed in his pants.

3) No electronics during a flight - he didn't have any electronics to detonate the device.

I mean WTF? The TSA is just flailing about, pretending they are doing something when, in fact, they are accomplishing nothing. It's insane.

10 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:17:39pm

re: #5 Summer

I agree: we need to start profiling people. Not based on race - Israelis don't base profiling on race as they have caught some blonde-haired and blue-eyed girls in the past who were unwitting walking bombs for their "boyfriends". If it was based on race, those girls wouldn't have been caught.

The fact is that we just have to get smarter about how we perform security and accept the fact that there are different threat levels for different kinds of people - no matter their race or religion.

Right now, we're completely unsafe apart from the fact that passengers appear to be more aware than TSA workers in general.

That has to change.

Quite Concur. Not going to happen, though. Sadly, in this country the word profiling is too closely linked to racism. It doesn't matter how well we structured the profiling, the pressure groups would hammer it into the ground.

11 Mark Pennington  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:18:25pm

Not to say that this shouldn't be covered, but the type of 24 hr, speculative, incessant coverage that's occurring really helps stir up fear and timidity about flying which is part of what terrorists want. And the TSA is just participating in security theater. It's ridiculous.

I just wish the US was a little more realistic about our security and place in the world - these things will happen and they suck and things need to be done about them - but most of the responses and extra security measures aren't the things (better intelligence, quicker communication connections/channels, better training for flight attendants, etc.) that will help prevent the next one.

12 Mich-again  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:18:47pm

They already made you stay seated for the whole descent before all of this. From 35,000 feet it's probably about 30 minutes to descend and land.

13 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:18:56pm

re: #9 Cineaste

Let's think about what this guy did and the various TSA restrictions we've heard about:

1) No walking around during the last hour of the flight - this guy wasn't walking around when he attempted to detonate the device, he was in his seat. Besides, he just as easily could have detonated it at any point during the flight.

2) Nothing on your lap during the last hour of the flight - he didn't have anything in his lap either - it was concealed in his pants.

3) No electronics during a flight - he didn't have any electronics to detonate the device.

I mean WTF? The TSA is just flailing about, pretending they are doing something when, in fact, they are accomplishing nothing. It's insane.

Agreed. The next time I need to take long trip I'm going to take the train. I can stand longer transit times in exchange for less insanity.

14 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:19:26pm

re: #7 Bagua

100% correct.

Soon we will find out how the government does with healthcare.

Really? You want to take it there? Come on...

How about how the government does with NASA or the military? It does some things well, it does some things poorly, TSA it does poorly but I wouldn't turn this into some political rant about the rest of government.

15 darthstar  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:23:34pm

When breast milk is outlawed, only outlaws will drink breast milk.

16 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:23:58pm

re: #11 beekiller

Not to say that this shouldn't be covered, but the type of 24 hr, speculative, incessant coverage that's occurring really helps stir up fear and timidity about flying which is part of what terrorists want. And the TSA is just participating in security theater. It's ridiculous.

I just wish the US was a little more realistic about our security and place in the world - these things will happen and they suck and things need to be done about them - but most of the responses and extra security measures aren't the things (better intelligence, quicker communication connections/channels, better training for flight attendants, etc.) that will help prevent the next one.

The problem is that the government can't talk about better intel. Even if they make major changes and do much better at spotting terrorists, it'll be years before the public hears about it. Better communications take a long time to implement, given the sluggish nature of government bureaucracy. Better training I can't speak to.

17 Mark Pennington  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:24:01pm

I guess if you have a weak bladder, you should wear some Depends just in case.

18 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:26:02pm

re: #14 Cineaste

Really? You want to take it there? Come on...

How about how the government does with NASA or the military? It does some things well, it does some things poorly, TSA it does poorly but I wouldn't turn this into some political rant about the rest of government.

The TSA is an example of governmental run enterprise. It is entirely fair to use it as an example of why I do not trust expansion of government run agencies.

NASA is a highly specialised unit with a very unique funtion. The military gives endless cautionary tales of waste, sluggishness and mistakes.

It is not a "political rant" to connect this to healthcare as that is the major policy now on the table.

19 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:27:14pm

re: #16 Dark_Falcon

The problem is that the government can't talk about better intel. Even if they make major changes and do much better at spotting terrorists, it'll be years before the public hears about it. Better communications take a long time to implement, given the sluggish nature of government bureaucracy. Better training I can't speak to.

I'd settle for the government at least putting someone on a terrorist watchlist when the terrorist's father walks into an embassy and turns his own son in.

20 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:29:13pm

re: #19 Cineaste

I'd settle for the government at least putting someone on a terrorist watchlist when the terrorist's father walks into an embassy and turns his own son in.

Agreed. The speed at which agencies communicate should be improved. The other reason such listing updates take so long is that the government wants to make sure it can justify its decision if they get sued.

21 Summer Seale  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:32:04pm

re: #18 Bagua

I agree with you in part, but the difference with healthcare is that you're relying on trained people who have lots of business education and acumen to make decisions about, basically, paperwork. And if somebody makes a mistake, you can try again. Whereas the TSA relies on a lot of people with little training to make decisions that affect the life or death of hundreds of people at the time, and there is no trying again if somebody makes a mistake

I don't want to turn this into an elitist point, however, as I know almost all people in the TSA are really trying their best. But we've all read stories about how many of them are badly trained and/or motivated with little guidance.

Look at Israeli security: they train their operatives very hard. We could do the same. It would cost us more, but we'd have better security.

22 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:32:13pm

Last hour doesn't make much sense structurally. That's when the aircraft is in descent. Simple solution is to make automated xray scans mandatory as opposed to voluntary like they do at EHAM.

23 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:32:50pm

re: #20 Dark_Falcon

Agreed. The speed at which agencies communicate should be improved. The other reason such listing updates take so long is that the government wants to make sure it can justify its decision if they get sued.

One really wonders how long we will be able to maintain the sort of rights and dignities we have come to accept as standard and universal in the face of terrorist attacks like this. What will be the mood should the next ones succeed?

24 darthstar  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:33:09pm

Looks like it's all President Obama's fault:

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) said Sunday that it is fair to blame the Obama administration for the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.

Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Select Intelligence Committee said that the administration has not taken the threat of terrorist threats on the U.S. seriously.

Asked by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace if it is fair to blame the Obama administration for the attacks, the Michigan Republican replied "Yeah, I think it really is."


Washington Monthly

Of course, not wanting to be outdone, Peter King claimed that President Obama's not giving a press conference was like Bush not going to NOLA after Katrina...mmm...okay...

Still waiting to hear what conspiracy Beck/Palin come up with to link this Nigerian, who got his visa from the Bush administration, to President Obama. (not that it's President Bush's fault either...it's just one guy who decided to roast his testicles above Detroit--but you have to love the predictability of the teabagger-sect of the opposition)

25 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:33:21pm

re: #21 Summer

excellently stated

26 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:34:03pm

re: #21 Summer

Thanks. I also agree with you.

27 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:34:47pm

re: #24 darthstar

well you know the president is supposed to personally pat down each passenger entering the US...

/as if I need to...

28 justin42  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:34:56pm

So my question all day about the TSA is who do we complain to about these asinine rules, and would the very act of complaining have the effect of causing a response of "Oooooh, you don't like our rules? You must have something to hide! We're putting you on the no-fly list!"? Because until we can speak up and complain about this, the rules will just get dumber and dumber. I mean, c'mon, a plane where everyone is in a straightjacket, in a medically induced coma, and locked to their seat for the duration of the flight would be absolutely attack proof!

The shoes off rule was dumb, but the "no walking around for the last hour" rule is just absolute security theater with absolutely no realistic effect.

Meanwhile, some terrorist somewhere is laughing themselves silly with what a boneheaded response the TSA brings to this.

29 darthstar  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:36:07pm

re: #27 Cineaste

well you know the president is supposed to personally pat down each passenger entering the US...

/as if I need to...

Well, Nigeria IS a city in Kenya after all.
;)

30 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:37:39pm

Well there is an old joke in statistician circles:

How do you guarantee that your plane won't have a bomb on it? Bring your own bomb, the odds that a plane would have two bombs on it is just too remote!

Next asinine rule from the TSA? Everybody must bring a bomb on the plane!

/

31 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:38:44pm

re: #29 darthstar

Well, Nigeria IS a city in Kenya after all.
;)

You're an idiot. Nigeria and Kenya are both cities in the country of Africa! ///

Wish I had more than one upding for that...

32 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:39:07pm

re: #23 Bagua

One really wonders how long we will be able to maintain the sort of rights and dignities we have come to accept as standard and universal in the face of terrorist attacks like this. What will be the mood should the next ones succeed?

Probably we will not be able to maintain them in such a case. People will demand action, and government has to take visible action. Selective targeting or profiling will be proposed, but it will either be rejected or litigated to death.

33 What, me worry?  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:43:08pm

Doesn't it bother anybody with all this emphasis on what WE should be doing? I'm paying $600 for a cross country ticket and I'm supposed to be their defense against terrorism?

Single girl growing up in the big city, I've always paid attention to my surroundings. I've reported luggage left unattended and if I thought someone was doing something funny, I have no problem saying something. My husband is the sort that would jump someone trying to light an explosive, but I'm very uncomfortable with this talk, especially saying that passengers know how to handle terrorists, so what? God bless him, but that Dutch fellow was burned badly for taking this guy down.

The idea is not to get them on the plane in the first place. Are they going to figure out what they did wrong with the Nigerian?

34 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:43:18pm

And to be clear, my suspicions about bureaucratic inefficiencies would vary from field to field. In general, one would expect a properly trained professional such as a doctor or a scientist, or an engineer, to do his job professionally regardless of whether it was a public or private facility.

The problems with the NHS for example, are not the quality or work of the doctors or nurses, rather it is the massive bureaucratic waste that leads to the inefficiencies such as large waiting lists.

35 Escaped Hillbilly  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:47:08pm

re: #34 Bagua
Beauracracy is the ultimate evil. At times it seems necessary, and that is when it is at its worse.

36 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:47:23pm

re: #32 Dark_Falcon

Probably we will not be able to maintain them in such a case. People will demand action, and government has to take visible action. Selective targeting or profiling will be proposed, but it will either be rejected or litigated to death.

True. But we ignored the obvious after his father warned the US Embassy. How would profiling have changed that after we received a warning from a family member?

37 Killgore Trout  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:47:54pm

I'm pretty sure that the last hour of the flight rule is because you're more like to be over a populated area. It keeps some jihadi from running up to the cockpit door on approach, even this last dickhead tried to down the plane as it was landing and over a populated area. They don't just make up these rules out of thin air. It's probably from gathered reliable intel.

38 Escaped Hillbilly  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:48:41pm

re: #36 Gus 802

The profile is a: flying alone b: one way c: father reported he is studying with wackos in Yemen and may have become a danger to himself or others. Check, check, check. Yep, fits the profile

39 Ajaxlikid  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:48:50pm

Add a third thing to what works: sky marshals. El Al prevented several hijacks with their help.

40 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:48:54pm

re: #34 Bagua

The problems with the NHS for example, are not the quality or work of the doctors or nurses, rather it is the massive bureaucratic waste that leads to the inefficiencies such as large waiting lists.

Medicare covers 45 million people and doesn't have large waiting lists... Hospitals love it. They pay in 30 days and you don't have to haggle with them. Private insurers take months to pay and then fight over every penny causing the hospitals to spent huge sums arguing their case and ultimately accepting less than promised. So given the option of getting paid $100 in 30 days or being promised $125 but actually receiving $110 after a year or haggling, it's better to deal with Medicare.

41 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:49:08pm

re: #36 Gus 802

True. But we ignored the obvious after his father warned the US Embassy. How would profiling have changed that after we received a warning from a family member?

It wouldn't have. The government was sluggish and the Embassy did not have a quick response scenario mapped out.

42 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:49:19pm

re: #36 Gus 802

True. But we ignored the obvious after his father warned the US Embassy. How would profiling have changed that after we received a warning from a family member?

To me that sounds like one of the those bureaucratic inefficiencies I was alluding to.

43 Escaped Hillbilly  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:50:12pm

re: #37 Killgore Trout

Yes they do.

44 Mark Pennington  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:50:17pm

re: #24 darthstar

Looks like it's all President Obama's fault:


Washington Monthly

Of course, not wanting to be outdone, Peter King claimed that President Obama's not giving a press conference was like Bush not going to NOLA after Katrina...mmm...okay...

Still waiting to hear what conspiracy Beck/Palin come up with to link this Nigerian, who got his visa from the Bush administration, to President Obama. (not that it's President Bush's fault either...it's just one guy who decided to roast his testicles above Detroit--but you have to love the predictability of the teabagger-sect of the opposition)

My favorite is Pete Hoekstra flapping his gums about it. Mr. Leaker of sensitive intelligence information to the press.

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/12/26/obama-focus-yemen/

45 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:50:20pm

re: #37 Killgore Trout

I'm pretty sure that the last hour of the flight rule is because you're more like to be over a populated area. It keeps some jihadi from running up to the cockpit door on approach, even this last dickhead tried to down the plane as it was landing and over a populated area. They don't just make up these rules out of thin air. It's probably from gathered reliable intel.

You are giving them far more credit than they deserve I fear. The cockpit doors are reinforced so charging it at any point is a futile endeavor.

46 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:50:39pm

re: #38 Escaped Hillbilly

The profile is a: flying alone b: one way c: father reported he is studying with wackos in Yemen and may have become a danger to himself or others. Check, check, check. Yep, fits the profile

That should have been enough. But we failed. This was a specific target and we failed. How do we go from there to a random target?

47 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:52:12pm

re: #45 Cineaste

You are giving them far more credit than they deserve I fear. The cockpit doors are reinforced so charging it at any point is a futile endeavor.

Agreed. Reinforced cockpit doors are one of the few air security measures that has actually worked well.

48 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:52:26pm

re: #41 Dark_Falcon

It wouldn't have. The government was sluggish and the Embassy did not have a quick response scenario mapped out.

Apparently the information did get shared around and sent back to the US - it just wasn't reliable enough to move this guy from the list of 500,000 persons of interest to the actual 18,000 person no-fly/additional screening list. Not sure why everyone on the 500,000 list isn't on the additional screening list...

49 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:53:33pm

re: #48 Cineaste

Apparently the information did get shared around and sent back to the US - it just wasn't reliable enough to move this guy from the list of 500,000 persons of interest to the actual 18,000 person no-fly/additional screening list. Not sure why everyone on the 500,000 list isn't on the additional screening list...

Laziness.

50 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:53:35pm

re: #40 Cineaste

The massive problems with the NHS do no make it certain that a US system would have similar problems, just as the problems with the TSA are not proof that the gov will screw up health care as well. Rather these are consideration worth pondering.

I would argue the Medicare is an example of Governmental waste as well, but would prefer to leave that to when it is on topic.

51 Escaped Hillbilly  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:55:03pm

re: #46 Gus 802

shrug

52 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:55:18pm

re: #50 Bagua

I would argue the Medicare is an example of Governmental waste as well, but would prefer to leave that to when it is on topic.

Deal!

53 Dancing along the light of day  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:57:17pm

IF
we ever get serious about airline security we need to be prepared to expand upon what Israel has done.
[Link: en.wikipedia.org...]

Big IF. At least today...

54 Raryn  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:57:18pm

[Link: xkcd.com...] should be the first place to look to see about TSA guidelines ;)

55 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 10:58:32pm

re: #51 Escaped Hillbilly

shrug

I know but it's true. It's like when a trucker forgets to check the lugs on his wheels. Laziness. In large part this is also a labor issue. I'm pretty sure that security at Schiphol was feeling extra tired. I doubt they x-rayed this guy.

56 Silvergirl  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:00:13pm

re: #17 beekiller

I guess if you have a weak bladder, you should wear some Depends just in case.

They'll pass out Depends with the peanuts.

57 Killgore Trout  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:00:14pm

re: #45 Cineaste

You are giving them far more credit than they deserve I fear. The cockpit doors are reinforced so charging it at any point is a futile endeavor.


Bullshit. Some binary explosive (mixed in flight to avoid electronic sniffers and dogs) mixed with ceramic shrapnel (which will pass metal detectors) will easily disable a cockpit and its crew. Like I said, they just don't make up these rules to be douchebags. There's a reason for this stuff.

58 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:00:18pm

re: #54 Raryn

[Link: xkcd.com...] should be the first place to look to see about TSA guidelines ;)

This was outside TSA jurisdiction.

59 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:00:51pm

re: #55 Gus 802

I know but it's true. It's like when a trucker forgets to check the lugs on his wheels. Laziness. In large part this is also a labor issue. I'm pretty sure that security at Schiphol was feeling extra tired. I doubt they x-rayed this guy.

They don't x-ray people, that is the problem. They do have some advanced devices that can image below the clothing, but they are not widely distributed at this point. I expect that will change now.

60 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:01:55pm

re: #59 Bagua

They don't x-ray people, that is the problem. They do have some advanced devices that can image below the clothing, but they are not widely distributed at this point. I expect that will change now.

Exactly. And that's my point. They have to make the automated scan mandatory for all. And they have to be on their toes.

61 Killgore Trout  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:03:10pm

re: #57 Killgore Trout

BTW, if you really had to deal with the draconian measures that would insure jihadi free flying you'd never bother to fly again. Quit bitching and go along with the few safety measures they're willing to enforce. Is it really so difficult?

62 Escaped Hillbilly  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:04:48pm

re: #57 Killgore Trout

They do adopt rules that make no sense based on OLD intel. He doesn't need to get out of his seat to do that. They don't need to get into the cockpit to disable a plane. Getting into the cockpit is for hijacking. And you can't hijack a plane you've blown a hole in. This recommendation made the rounds immediately after 911 when the fear was flying planes into buildings, not blowing them up. I get what youre saying about blowing them up over population centers, but that can be the last 15 minutes or first 15 or halfway into the flight.

63 ryannon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:05:29pm

re: #46 Gus 802

That should have been enough. But we failed. This was a specific target and we failed. How do we go from there to a random target?

Simple: if you can't even see the target, just shoot at anything.

64 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:05:31pm

re: #57 Killgore Trout

Bullshit. Some binary explosive (mixed in flight to avoid electronic sniffers and dogs) mixed with ceramic shrapnel (which will pass metal detectors) will easily disable a cockpit and its crew. Like I said, they just don't make up these rules to be douchebags. There's a reason for this stuff.

But if the goal is to breach the cockpit why do you care about the last hour only? A flight coming from Europe and landing in Detroit would have been over North America for the last two hours... Picking the last hour is arbitrary and, looking at the history of hijacking, has no relationship to real areas of risk. The vast preponderance of terrorist actions on planes happen early in the flight. Frankly, this is just about the only time I've heard of an attack being tried near the end of a flight.

65 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:06:27pm

re: #59 Bagua

They don't x-ray people, that is the problem. They do have some advanced devices that can image below the clothing, but they are not widely distributed at this point. I expect that will change now.

Sniffers would have picked up PETN. The government doesn't want to pay for them.

66 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:06:43pm

re: #61 Killgore Trout

BTW, if you really had to deal with the draconian measures that would insure jihadi free flying you'd never bother to fly again. Quit bitching and go along with the few safety measures they're willing to enforce. Is it really so difficult?

Would a changing room be draconian? That is. Make the PAX change over to flight gear?

67 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:07:00pm

re: #61 Killgore Trout

BTW, if you really had to deal with the draconian measures that would insure jihadi free flying you'd never bother to fly again. Quit bitching and go along with the few safety measures they're willing to enforce. Is it really so difficult?

Why should we? I'd much prefer an aggressive profiling regime coupled with for air marshals. That would seem adequate to deal with the threat.

68 Killgore Trout  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:07:22pm

re: #64 Cineaste

But if the goal is to breach the cockpit why do you care about the last hour only?


Because if you choose your flight correctly the approach will be over a populated area. This is not rocket science.

69 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:07:27pm

re: #67 Dark_Falcon

Why should we? I'd much prefer an aggressive profiling regime coupled with more air marshals. That would seem adequate to deal with the threat.

PIMF

70 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:08:16pm

re: #61 Killgore Trout

BTW, if you really had to deal with the draconian measures that would insure jihadi free flying you'd never bother to fly again. Quit bitching and go along with the few safety measures they're willing to enforce. Is it really so difficult?

Bullshit. I fly El Al and it's hardly draconian. The lines at Ben Gurion Airport aren't even longer than most US airports. The reason to complain is that most of what we're doing is just rearranging deck-chairs and not actually making the system safer.

71 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:08:38pm

re: #70 Cineaste

Bullshit. I fly El Al and it's hardly draconian. The lines at Ben Gurion Airport aren't even longer than most US airports. The reason to complain is that most of what we're doing is just rearranging deck-chairs and not actually making the system safer.

Quite Concur.

72 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:09:09pm

re: #60 Gus 802

My mistake, they have had the full body scanner at Schiphol Airport since 2007 on a voluntary basis according to this article. I haven't been there in a couple years.

But to be clear, it is not the same as x-ray, which is a different technology and only used occasionally.

73 Dancing along the light of day  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:09:46pm

re: #61 Killgore Trout

Personally, I would GLADLY see Israeli style draconian measures taken.
But, that's just me.

74 Escaped Hillbilly  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:09:46pm

re: #61 Killgore Trout

BTW, if you really had to deal with the draconian measures that would insure jihadi free flying you'd never bother to fly again. Quit bitching and go along with the few safety measures they're willing to enforce. Is it really so difficult?

When you leave Iraq you wear ballistic vest, helmet, and flame resistant gloves. You wear earplugs and have to sit on your gear. You have ALL your bags, carry on and checked, gone through with a fine tooth comb.--And nobody turns down the ride.
half//

75 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:10:20pm

re: #68 Killgore Trout

Because if you choose your flight correctly the approach will be over a populated area. This is not rocket science.

But if you want to bring the flight down and you have a binary explosive, why do you need to breach the cockpit?

76 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:10:56pm

re: #72 Bagua

My mistake, they have had the full body scanner at Schiphol Airport since 2007 on a voluntary basis according to this article. I haven't been there in a couple years.

But to be clear, it is not the same as x-ray, which is a different technology and only used occasionally.

Right. Which means both are rarely used. I still think we found a hole and it's at Schiphol. We need to plug that hole.

77 Dancing along the light of day  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:11:01pm

re: #65 Cineaste

Sniffers would have picked up PETN. The government doesn't want to pay for them.

Um, you are the govenmnets funding vehicle.......

78 Killgore Trout  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:11:45pm

re: #75 Cineaste

But if you want to bring the flight down and you have a binary explosive, why do you need to breach the cockpit?


Because it's the easiest way to disable the aircraft.

79 Escaped Hillbilly  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:12:27pm

re: #78 Killgore Trout

Nope. Blowing a biss ol hole in it does a fine job.

80 Dancing along the light of day  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:13:27pm

re: #77 Floral Giraffe

Spelling FAIL!
Governments.
Spellcheck would have been my friend....

81 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:13:30pm

re: #78 Killgore Trout

Because it's the easiest way to disable the aircraft.

Wait - you're saying that sitting in a window seat and blowing yourself up - thus blowing open the side of the plane - is harder than charging the cockpit, setting a charge and blowing open the cockpit door and storming the cockpit?

82 Silvergirl  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:13:43pm

In the comments:

How long before we are flying naked, sedated, wrapped in shrinkwrap and stacked like cordwood?

83 shipper  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:13:47pm

re: #3 Cineaste

100% correct. Our TSA is largely a sham that provides no real security. The typical TSA officer is obsessed with matching your name on your ID to the name on the ticket - as though that will do anything. Most of the 9/11 hijackers had legitimate state-issued ID's. When they ask questions, they aren't looking you in the eye to see HOW you react, not what you say. The areas around x-rays are crowded and often the TSA staff is chatting with each other.

In Israel there are agents putting dummy devices in carryon bags every day. Miss it once, you're suspended. Miss it twice, you're fired. You can't fire a TSA worker because they're part of the union. It's infuriating and pathetic.

Well said, thank you!

84 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:14:33pm

re: #65 Cineaste

Sniffers would have picked up PETN. The government doesn't want to pay for them.

I expect this event will help push along deployment of the advanced equipment.

85 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:14:42pm

re: #82 Silvergirl

In the comments:

The airlines would like that. They'd save money.

/mostly kidding

86 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:15:10pm

re: #81 Cineaste

Wait - you're saying that sitting in a window seat and blowing yourself up - thus blowing open the side of the plane - is harder than charging the cockpit, setting a charge and blowing open the cockpit door and storming the cockpit?

Yep, that would be the easiest way.

87 Killgore Trout  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:15:38pm

re: #79 Escaped Hillbilly

Airplanes fly with big holes all the time. The easiest and most sure way to bring down a pane it to take out the cockpit and the people in it. Jihadis would prefer to do this over a populated area which means shortly after takeoff or shortly before landing. I'm getting a headache dealing with this so I suppose it's time to turn in.
Namaste, Y'all

88 Silvergirl  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:16:03pm

re: #85 Dark_Falcon

The airlines would like that. They'd save money.

/mostly kidding

And they'll charge us for the shrinkwrap.

89 Bob Dillon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:16:20pm

[Link: www.theatlantic.com...]

NOVEMBER 2008

Airport security in America is a sham—“security theater” designed to
make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can
get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of
prohibited items—as our correspondent did with ease.

90 Killgore Trout  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:16:50pm

re: #81 Cineaste

Wait - you're saying that sitting in a window seat and blowing yourself up - thus blowing open the side of the plane - is harder than charging the cockpit, setting a charge and blowing open the cockpit door and storming the cockpit?

Epic stupid. See #87, I just can't cope with more of this tonight.

91 offensive_username  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:17:26pm

New policies to be implemented immediately:

1) Profiling by gender, among other things. Men 16-65 must sit in the aisle, where they can be attacked by each other.

2) New radiation machine that detonates every known type of explosive. Each passenger must walk through it before boarding. Good luck with that rectally inserted C4.

3) TSA policymakers must spend 50% of their working time flying on randomly chosen routes, in coach, as part of their job description.

92 Dancing along the light of day  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:18:20pm

re: #90 Killgore Trout

{{KT}}
Hang in there.
You need some time away from Hot Air, IMHO....
{{KT}}

93 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:19:01pm

re: #90 Killgore Trout

Nice insult Killgore. Worthy of a downding.

94 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:19:13pm

re: #76 Gus 802

Right. Which means both are rarely used. I still think we found a hole and it's at Schiphol. We need to plug that hole.

I think you will find that hole quite common, I've not seen one of those machines yet in any of several major airports.

Perhaps someone knows how many airports have them available for even a fraction of passengers?

95 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:19:26pm

re: #87 Killgore Trout

Airplanes fly with big holes all the time. The easiest and most sure way to bring down a pane it to take out the cockpit and the people in it. Jihadis would prefer to do this over a populated area which means shortly after takeoff or shortly before landing. I'm getting a headache dealing with this so I suppose it's time to turn in.
Namaste, Y'all

I beg to differ. A 20" hole in the hull took down Flight 103 and took out numerous people on the ground - and wasn't on during the last hour of the flight. I still maintain the last hour prohibition is largely irrellevant.

96 Escaped Hillbilly  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:19:47pm

re: #87 Killgore Trout

What planes have you been flying on? I fix these things for a living. Why would you want to go through a hardened door when you can take out the softer sides and underbelly, not to mention the softest part of the plane...the passengers. Big boom make people go away. Planes may fly with small holes, but not gaping blast holes. Then there's the question of tens to hundreds of gallons of fuel which ignites only at high temps but burns hot enough to melt human flesh within seconds. This I also know from real world experience. Fire is bad which is why I am concerned with people thinking an incindiary device is somehow less threatening than an explosive device.

97 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:20:00pm

re: #87 Killgore Trout

Airplanes fly with big holes all the time. The easiest and most sure way to bring down a pane it to take out the cockpit and the people in it. Jihadis would prefer to do this over a populated area which means shortly after takeoff or shortly before landing. I'm getting a headache dealing with this so I suppose it's time to turn in.
Namaste, Y'all

You're assuming full collateral damage. If you take out an airliner over a populated are the chances of causing large casualties on the ground are very minimal. Best case scenario would be at cruising altitude at or above 35 thousand feet. You pop a bomb at 10K and all you'll get is a hole at best and 2 or 4 casualties.

98 Bob Dillon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:20:27pm

BTW ... Interestingly, or apparently, Air Canada has revised their statements
-- their website as of 1730 ET yesterday no longer mentions anything about "sitting for the final hour" that we saw earlier yesterday. For all we know, that was just TSA being over-protective in their recommendations to foreign carriers.

99 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:22:07pm

re: #94 Bagua

I think you will find that hole quite common, I've not seen one of those machines yet in any of several major airports.

Perhaps someone knows how many airports have them available for even a fraction of passengers?

Just make it mandatory is the best I can say. The "voluntary" provision is just what some would call, bullshit.

100 Escaped Hillbilly  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:22:08pm

re: #90 Killgore Trout

Goodnight. Fun tossing it around with you.

101 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:23:26pm

re: #100 Escaped Hillbilly

Goodnight. Fun tossing it around with you.

it was fun until he started with the insults.

102 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:24:03pm

re: #95 Cineaste

I beg to differ. A 20" hole in the hull took down Flight 103 and took out numerous people on the ground - and wasn't on during the last hour of the flight. I still maintain the last hour prohibition is largely irrellevant.

There you go. Perfect example. 31,000 feet.

103 sagehen  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:24:13pm

re: #28 justin42

about this, the rules will just get dumber and dumber. I mean, c'mon, a plane where everyone is in a straightjacket, in a medically induced coma, and locked to their seat for the duration of the flight would be absolutely attack proof!


They can lock each of us in a pet carrier, with a water bottle and a superabsorbant cushion, we'll send our luggage by FedEx the day before.

As a bonus, those carriers are stackable; just think how many more people they could fit in the plane!! Might even bring ticket prices down.

104 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:24:22pm

re: #99 Gus 802

Just make it mandatory is the best I can say. The "voluntary" provision is just what some would call, bullshit.

I expect we are moving in exactly that direction. The question being, are we going to do it now or wait for a successful terrorist atrocity?

105 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:26:19pm

Hey, Matrix. I see you're around tonight. How are things?

106 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:26:31pm

re: #104 Bagua

I expect we are moving in exactly that direction. The question being, are we going to do it now or wait for a successful terrorist atrocity?

Got me. I think it's the least we can do. We all submit to automated scanning regardless.

107 sagehen  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:27:05pm

re: #34 Bagua

The problems with the NHS for example, are not the quality or work of the doctors or nurses, rather it is the massive bureaucratic waste that leads to the inefficiencies such as large waiting lists.

From what I hear, the problems with the NHS are under-funding and under-staffing.

108 TheMatrix31  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:28:07pm

re: #105 Dark_Falcon

Pretty good man, thanks for asking. Hope all is well with you.

109 Escaped Hillbilly  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:30:33pm

Time to turn in. Goodnight all

110 Cineaste  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:30:37pm

I'm out - night all...

111 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:30:56pm

re: #108 TheMatrix31

Pretty good man, thanks for asking. Hope all is well with you.

Things are good. I got to have lunch with my parents and my sister before she went back to Pennsylvania. Any thoughts on this latest terrorist mess?

112 Bob Dillon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:31:34pm

[Link: www.birdstrikenews.com...]

Speaking of holes in aircraft ...

11,000 feet and the pilot walked away.

Last month's bird strike involving an Ameriflight Beech C-99 aircraft (N330AV) near Show Low, AZ was a fairly dramatic one involving a windshield penetration, copious amounts of blood and guts (the bird's) in the cockpit, and an injured pilot who brought the plane in for a safe landing.

113 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:32:14pm

re: #107 sagehen

From what I hear, the problems with the NHS are under-funding and under-staffing.

A tremendous amount of money is wasted on the massive bureaucracy involved with running the NHS. Throwing money at it doesn't correct its deficiencies, though not for want of trying. The working conditions and income limits also make staffing problematic. It is a model of Governmental inefficiency.

114 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:32:22pm

Night folks. Just remember, we won this time. We'll figure it out.

Have faith.

115 TheMatrix31  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:32:58pm

re: #111 Dark_Falcon

I just think people need to realize just how freakin' close we were to having a Christmas Day terrorist attack on our soil, and how that would have been two terror attacks in two months.

This country needs to sack up.

116 Gus  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:33:58pm

Later.

117 Bagua  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:34:18pm

re: #115 TheMatrix31

I was just going say it was a Christmas miracle. We certainly do have a problem on our hands.

118 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:36:28pm

re: #115 TheMatrix31

I just think people need to realize just how freakin' close we were to having a Christmas Day terrorist attack on our soil, and how that would have been two terror attacks in two months.

This country needs to sack up.

What does "sack up" mean in this context?

119 TheMatrix31  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:41:21pm

re: #118 Dark_Falcon

I have no idea, I'm not the expert. I just feel like you have to do whatever is possible to ensure that this stuff doesn't even have a CHANCE of happening. You see the guy is on lists and people have complained about him, why was he even allowed in the airport? Why weren't our authorities on him to begin with? Why, why, why? Too damn close for comfort.

120 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:43:30pm

re: #119 TheMatrix31

I have no idea, I'm not the expert. I just feel like you have to do whatever is possible to ensure that this stuff doesn't even have a CHANCE of happening. You see the guy is on lists and people have complained about him, why was he even allowed in the airport? Why weren't our authorities on him to begin with? Why, why, why? Too damn close for comfort.

Just found this on Frontpagemag. Two stories on the attempted terror attack, but the other one is b Robert Spencer, and thus should be avoided:

What the Near-Tragedy in Detroit Revealed – by Daniel Pipes

121 Bob Dillon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:46:55pm

re: #120 Dark_Falcon

One report from a passenger indicates he may have boarded the flight without a passport. That's a whole nuther can of worms.

122 Bob Dillon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:48:35pm

re: #121 Bobibutu

[Link: www.mlive.com...]
Flight 253 passenger: Sharp-dressed man aided terror suspect Umar
Farouk Abdul Mutallab onto plane without passport (MLive.com exclusive)
By Sheena Harrison %P% MLive.com
December 26, 2009, 2:22PM


Kurt Haskell
Kurt Haskell's boarding pass for NWA Flight 253

A Michigan man who was aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 says he
witnessed Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab trying to board the plane in
Amsterdam without a passport.

123 Dancing along the light of day  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:50:46pm

Monty Python's Silly Walks....
Beware!

124 Bob Dillon  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:52:45pm

Nite all. Rest well.

125 stayfrosty  Sun, Dec 27, 2009 11:55:51pm

I totally agree. A completely stupid rule, if true. Do they really think a terrorist isn't going to just detonate his device 10 minutes before the "remain seated" hour starts? Gimme a break.

And another thing: I've seen on the news they're now taking bottles out of baby's mouths and testing the milk. Do you really think it's likely an American mother of four with a baby in her arms is planning to blow up the plane? Or an elderly American couple? Let's be real here. This political correct nonsense is making us less safe.

126 iceweasel  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 2:27:57am

re: #125 stayfrosty


And another thing: I've seen on the news they're now taking bottles out of baby's mouths and testing the milk. Do you really think it's likely an American mother of four with a baby in her arms is planning to blow up the plane? Or an elderly American couple? Let's be real here. This political correct nonsense is making us less safe.

I agree that this "remain seated" rule is useless, but have to object to this paragraph. I have no idea why you think political correctness (whatever that means) is playing any role here. First, they have to prohibit all liquids. But you can't have a baby on a long flight without a bottle, so of course they'll have to test the milk.
As for the bolded bit-- it's not as though women haven't been suicide bombers before. And it's not as though Americans haven't become radicalised before. (BTW, I'll also direct you to Summer's comment at 5 about the worthlessness of profiling based on perceived race.)

Let's be real here. It's a rightwing meme to claim that 'political correctness' somehow inhibits the war on terror. It's not happening. The bigger problem is that so many of our security measures, such as this proposal about remaining seated, are purely reactive and after the fact rather than proactive. Seems like we're always playing catchup and scrambling to plug security holes after an attack or attempted attack has revealed them. By the time we implement the measure AQ has already moved on to something else. And that's worrisome and disturbing as hell.

127 pyrodoctor  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 3:26:16am

Now they are talking about not letting us take electronics on board. I would go absolutely MAD without my iPod, particularly on longer flights. They may reduce the number of people trying to blow up planes but they would likely increase the number of people trying to open the doors mid-flight and get off.

128 pyrodoctor  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 3:28:16am

re: #122 Bobibutu

A Michigan man who was aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 says he
witnessed Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab trying to board the plane in
Amsterdam without a passport.

Just like the typical kneejerk reaction of authoritarians. Rather than kick some butt for the system we have not being implemented, they'd rather punish the whole class for one kid chewing gum. Or wearing explosive underwear.

129 iceweasel  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 4:32:52am

re: #127 pyrodoctor

Now they are talking about not letting us take electronics on board. I would go absolutely MAD without my iPod, particularly on longer flights. They may reduce the number of people trying to blow up planes but they would likely increase the number of people trying to open the doors mid-flight and get off.

Yeah, I read that they're thinking of prohibiting the use of all electronics devices (laptops, dvd players, ipods). Also that for the final hour of flight you may not be allowed to have anything on your lap-- no book, no pillow.

I don't have a problem with them prohibiting all electronic devices. Let's face it, ten years ago having a laptop, dvd player, or ipod wasn't even an option.
Here's one problem I have though: with all of that prohibited, and a prohibition about having anything on your lap (no books??)-- on long flights I'll be more likely now to just take something to knock me out. I bet others will have the same reaction. And ironically, if everyone is asleep or zonked out, a potential terrorist is more likely to be undetected or stopped by fellow passengers. Not good.

130 Doggiewoggie  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 5:20:33am

Wouldn't it be illegal to keep people from using the restroom? What if they are ill?

131 theliel  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 6:09:23am

"I don't have a problem with them prohibiting all electronic devices. Let's face it, ten years ago having a laptop, dvd player, or ipod wasn't even an option."

Only because the ipod didn't exist, but I sure as hell could have my walkman, and flying BA in '99 to england buisness class had power outlets for laptops.

There are several accounts of retired policed and other security professionals dealing with the TSA. We have the same problem we have with the boarder patroll - they don't get paid enough to attract the highly motivated workers that they used to. If someone is that motivated they'll go to various police agencies or the FBI or other TLA that actually does active investigations.

The best response would be to scrap all TSA contracts (for the sub-contracted grunt work) and offer more than $10/hr to screeners, after a lengthy background check and 'academy'. have fewer of them, working smarter not harder.

Then basically quadruple the airmarshall service. Between the two changes you'll be able to take bottled water onto a flight again.

Also, someone above asked how long we can keep our freedoms. We can keep them indefinitly if we do two things:

one - like NASA and the military accept that security of planes is not a zero-chance situation. Something will eventually go wrong. What we want to do is minimize this chance, but know that it's going to go wrong

two - accept that things going wrong, the bad guys winning a battle or 'getting away with it' is the price of liberty. Everyone needs to nut up and know that 6 of every million or so flights might be attacked, and that's the price you pay for the government not runing your life 100% of the time.

132 DaddyG  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 6:28:41am

re: #27 Cineaste

well you know the president is supposed to personally pat down each passenger entering the US...

/as if I need to...

That is right next to "check Christmas tree ornaments for communist dictators" on the job description.

133 Sacred Plants  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 7:04:07am

"Dear passengers, welcome to this flight under our new rules which will ensure your total security. You will now be handed our security pills which will make sure noone can do no harm or be done no harm during this flight. As agreed upon purchase of the ticket, swallowing your pills is mandatory, and failure to do so will lead to waterboarding. Please watch your neighbours closely so that no pill is left behind, and report any suspicious observations to our flight attendants."

/

134 emcesq  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 7:06:47am

Don't tell me system worked:

Why did he get visa? Son of an Nigerian banker - this would be attacked under Bush administration as being pro-business doing favors to a businessman. Present administration DOS-fail. TSA had nothing to do with this: Schiphol security-fail. If the accounts are only 60% correct, the flight was lucky because of bombers incompetence. PETN (still question) needs a detonator. It this case the inspections succeeded because electric detonator would have been detected thus it was not used. Resulting "changes" in security policy - laughable. Here TSA-fail.

Another case where one individual screws things up for everybody. When will we learn?

135 Ojoe  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 7:34:38am

I would just love the chance to jump an activated terrorist on an airplane & all my guy friends feel the same way.

136 astronmr20  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 7:54:25am

Left or right, Republican or Democrat, this is another example of the utter failure of knee-jerk government agencies such as the TSA.

While I do respect the men and women given the job of screening passengers, let's evaluate:

How much money have both the US and the Netherlands spent on airport security? Machines, people, huge bureaucracies, etc. Let's assume it's in the billions.

Despite all of that, it was the passengers that saved that airplane and themselves. The taxpayers.

And now despite the fact that it was the passengers that had to jump to their own defense, they are not no longer allowed to "jump" anywhere during the last hour of flight.

This is jacked up on so many levels, and I'm damn sure most Americans can see that.

137 Cineaste  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 8:08:10am

re: #134 emcesq

Why did he get visa? Son of an Nigerian banker - this would be attacked under Bush administration as being pro-business doing favors to a businessman.

I doubt that. The father in question actually walked into a US embassy a year ago and told them his son should be on a terrorist watch list.

138 jordash1212  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 8:18:41am

Some of these complaints remind me of a 2600 magazine article I read some time ago about a guy with way too long of a layover who stumbled around the airport looking for its security vulnerabilities. He found quite a few places that he believed terrorists would enjoy high positions with good visibility and a nice range of fire. The TSA guards were sometimes absent from their posts, and doors that led to off limits areas were sometimes only blocked by a rope with a sign "Do Not Enter."

Let's not forget that after 9/11, the TSA implemented a rule against getting up within the last 30 minutes of any flight headed to D.C. I must admit that one hour seems a bit extreme. I can't wait to find out what that's like in a few days when I fly back from Israel.

Speaking of Israel, they provide a good example for proactive security. The United States continually updates its security policies base on reactions to recent events. While it is true that terrorists won't discard one method of terror after they use it (they certainly have an affection for airplanes), they will not stop looking for new ways to sneak weapons and explosives across security. That said, we need better intelligence to find out what terrorist cells are planning, and we as American citizens need to be more diligent and attentive like the Israelis. The analogy isn't entirely valid, but we certainly could take a few tips in being aware of our surroundings from the Israelis.

139 astronmr20  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 8:32:17am

re: #97 Gus 802

You're assuming full collateral damage. If you take out an airliner over a populated are the chances of causing large casualties on the ground are very minimal. Best case scenario would be at cruising altitude at or above 35 thousand feet. You pop a bomb at 10K and all you'll get is a hole at best and 2 or 4 casualties.

Gus,

The physics of a pressurized cabin at that altitude beg to differ. Small explosions on a plane can cause big trouble.

140 Nervous Norvous  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 8:32:55am

I wonder how many people demanding that flying in an airplane become a completely risk free activity play the lottery?

I wonder how many of those same people wear their seatbelt when driving or wear a helmet if riding a motorcycle?

141 elizajane  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 8:51:35am

One problem is with information and communication. This man started his flight at an airport with lesser security--as did the 9/11 attackers. At that airport he bought a one-way ticket with cash and checked no baggage--like them. But since he was only transiting at Schiphol (like they were at JFK) nobody noticed these red flags. Surely it would not be so difficult for information about the ticket etc. to be passed from airport to airport by the airline? Transiting passengers should be scrutinized at their secondary airport for signs of unusual behavior.

As for the famous El Al passenger interviews, these are already performed at Schiphol, at least for Delta/NW/KLM flights to the USA, like the one this guy was on. I flew 3 weeks ago from Amsterdam to Seattle and every single passenger was interviewed. Presumably this guy was too; somehow, he managed to convince his person that he was legitimate. Highly-educated, well-spoken, middle-class fellow, right?

As for the new flight regulations, didn't they say they were only until Dec. 30? I think they're just interim measures until they come up with better plans. Or possibly they were expecting a string further exactly related attacks? Remember how after 9/11 there were a few days when you were allowed NOTHING in the cabin? I had a friend who had to fly home from Africa without even a paperback to read. Once the dust settles, better measures will be sorted out. I hope!

142 Egregious Philbin  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 9:00:59am

As a retired airline employee, and as a frequent passenger with a small bladder, this will not ever work. Once someone leaks all over a seat and a lazy union flight attendant refuses to clean it and the entire plane smells like urine....

TSA is a joke, I fly all over the world, to 3rd world ratholes, and the dumbest, most incompetent airport security is always in the USA. TSA = Turkeys Standing Around

143 recusancy  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 9:05:40am

re: #140 PT Barnum

I wonder how many people demanding that flying in an airplane become a completely risk free activity play the lottery?

I wonder how many of those same people wear their seatbelt when driving or wear a helmet if riding a motorcycle?

Or wear a rubber anti-lightning suit during a thunderstorm because per Silver: "you could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning."

144 truth stick  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 9:12:45am

re: #135 Ojoe

I would just love the chance to jump an activated terrorist on an airplane & all my guy friends feel the same way.

I think there are a great number of people that fly, that share your opinion. I know for me the hardest part would be keeping the sumbitch alive for the authorities to question upon landing

145 truth stick  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 9:22:26am

Most of the airports I pass threw still have the standard take off shoes and put everything PSP, wallet, keys ect in the plastic tub and walk towards the gatekeepers. After leaving Indianapolis, and using the stand in X-Ray machine is the best way to go. Some people complain about what the can see with them, but I'm not hiding anything, and will galdly give them a racy pic, for the privelidge of not having to empty my pockets and take off my shoes.

146 Rexatosis  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 9:35:47am

The guy was on a terrorist list and Dept. of State gave him a visa. The obvious solution to this type of problem is Not to give terrorists visas to travel into the United States.

147 marsl  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 10:24:42am

re: #146 Rexatosis

The guy was on a terrorist list and Dept. of State gave him a visa. The obvious solution to this type of problem is Not to give terrorists visas to travel into the United States.

If the US does that, how Dinnerjacket enters the US to speak at the UN?

148 Cineaste  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 10:37:06am

re: #146 Rexatosis

The guy was on a terrorist list and Dept. of State gave him a visa. The obvious solution to this type of problem is Not to give terrorists visas to travel into the United States.

To be precise, he had the US visa BEFORE his father turned him in. He was not on a watch list when he got the visa.

149 Sabba Hillel  Mon, Dec 28, 2009 12:24:14pm

Actually, the system did work. The pat down, no-fly lists, carry on luggage restrictions, and air marshals are actually diversions from the real security process. The TSA has magicians manning checkpoints at various airports who cast spells to disable the detonators. That way, they can arrest the terrorists for actually trying to carry out a terrorist act without falling afoul of the politically correct crowd who will whine that there would have been no terrorist acts anyway. The fact that the detonator fizzled meant that the spell was successfully cast and the terrorist was not aware of it and did not have countermeasures in place.

We also see that the TSA counter-spells are working as no airplane has explodied upon being hit by an enemy spell.


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