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To inspect all shoes after a shoe bomber almost succeeded, or to pat down passengers after the underwear bomber almost succeeded, provides no defense

 
practical brain
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11/17/2010 09:12 AM
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To inspect all shoes after a shoe bomber almost succeeded, or to pat down passengers after the underwear bomber almost succeeded, provides no defense
THE most common sense analysis of airport security:

[link to online.wsj.com]

The Body Scanner Scam

To screen passengers as persons would reduce costs and inconvenience very greatly, because entire categories of passengers could be waived through with a rapid examination of travel documents and a few random checks now and then. These include a variety of easily recognizable groups that not even the most ingenious terrorists could simulate: touring senior citizens traveling together (a category that contains a good portion of all American, European and East Asian tourist traffic), airline flying personnel who come to the security gate as a crew, families complete with children, and more. In each case, the critical procedure would be to ask the group's members to recognize each other as such.

Many individuals could also be included in the document examination plus random check category: frequent travelers who have multiyear travel records with airline alliances, whose travel history could instantly be determined by the TSA. Evidently some travel histories would require further probing, in effect returning those passengers to the general category of travelers. They are the ones whose bodies and belongings would be checked with whatever detectors or manual methods are at hand, but who would also be asked a specific set of nonarbitrary questions laid down by frequently changed protocols. The aim would be to identify innocent travelers as quickly as possible to send them on their way, while being ready to persist with further questions that might even end with the denial of boarding and a referral to police authorities.

With such a system that would discriminate only positively—only in favor of groups and categories of passengers, and never against them—we could have real security at a drastically lower cost in money and inconvenience.

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