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Monday, December 28, 2009

Flying the friendly skies—the illusion of security.

If the Salahis can crash the White House, are you really surprised terrorists tried to blow up another plane? (Northwest Airlines Flight 253.) The tone of this post aside, I really am upbeat for the coming New Year, and normally I’d pass on posting this kind of story. It’s just that when government officials tell me everything’s fine, I get a wee bit krazy, especially when I think the real problem is being overlooked.

Whether it’s an incident at a school with a gunmen or disgruntled employee in an office building, the first thing you hear after a tragedy almost always comes from the perpetrator’s inner circle. The circle of friends and coworkers who line up on CNN to say, yep, the signs were all there:

“I knew it all along.”

And yet, those freaks never say anything to anyone, or if they do, nobody acts on the information. We’re great at figuring out what happened after the fact, but when it comes to preventing stuff ahead of time, we seem to get it wrong. Really wrong.


Because as much as commentors from both political parties want to blame the other side in this case, it’s not a Republican thing or a Democrat thing—it’s a bureaucrat thing. Usually, any kind of attempt at preventative action ahead of time means going through bureaucrats for approval. The definition of the word sums up the potential problem though, donnit:

bureaucrat: noun [ an official who works by fixed routine without exercising intelligent judgment. ]

Without exercising intelligent judgment.

In deference to any and all who handle security in the domestic airline food chain, this one ain’t on them. That’s like blaming the cashier at McDonald’s for the food being fattening. Granted, we never hear about the incidents that security prevents; we only hear about the ones that actually get carried out. (Thankfully, in this case, almost carried out.)

Sure, would-be terrorist and now Eunuchbomber Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab passed through screening with bomb components sewn into his underwear—score!— but the problem started further up the line when his father went to the U.S. embassy to warn them about him—a month before. Even after officials there notified everyone from the FBI to the Justice Department, nothing more was done.

FF >> as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano hits Sunday morning talk shows with her disinformation talking points to say everything happened that should have, and that everyone did what they were supposed to.

I’m sorry, come again?

Filmmaker Jasper Schuringa’s heroic efforts to subdue Mutallab notwithstanding, the overall attempt failed because the execution was faulty, nothing more. Had the device worked, nobody could have stopped him. Barring that however, that it even got to that stage in the first place is the fault of those higher up in the food chain.

When you watch Napolitano, she asserts that to put Mutallab on a No-Fly list would have ‘required specific, credible, derogatory information’ that authorities didn’t have.”

Think about that in the following context:

As a father, I’m here to tell ya, no more further credible information exists than a man willing to turn in his own son, especially because he fears for the safety of others, and especially a son who had already been on a general watchlist.

Again, this isn’t a friend of a friend or some anonymous caller: It was the guy’s own father.

A point which White House press secretary Robert Gibbs quickly sought to deflect criticism over. His rational: The shear number of approximately 500,000 people on a general terrorist watchlist somehow precludes a thorough search and/or background check.

See previous: Come again?

Hey, don’t blame us—you guys set this list thing up.

In this case, all you had to do was put out an alert for one guy, no? What does it take to be taken seriously? I can’t yell “BOMB!” in an airport without a beatdown from a latex glove worn by a $7 an hour hand, but someone with a few too many boxes checked off on the “Could be a terrorist and we may want to pick him up” form gets a pass?

Begs the question if convenience is driving the agenda here or is it safety. That would be > rhetorical. Of course it’s the latter silly! It’s all about one thing:

What’s the best overall level of service the TSA can provide given the number of travelers the U.S. airline industry has to deal with each year.

(When it comes to security, the Israelis don’t seem to worry about convenience dictating things.)

Regardless, airport screeners will likely take the brunt of the media shitstorm this week for missing the bomb components. Forget that Mutallab should’ve been detained off an embassy alert when he showed up to buy a ticket with cash and no passport.

In that case, he’s held for questioning and we aren’t having this discussion. (THE HELL YOU CAN BUY A TICKET WITH CASH FOR AN OVERSEAS FLIGHT ANYWAY—WITHOUT A PASSPORT?)

Seems like concrete evidence to me. Don’t ya feel safer already?

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