Monday, December 13, 2010

Strategy World on security theater

Strategy World:
The main criticism is that many of the security measures adopted since September 11, 2001 have been more for show than for effectiveness. An increasing number of potential passengers are no longer flying because of these new methods, which have, so far, not caught a single terrorist. This is described as a sign of how effective the new measures are. But the new techniques would not have detected the "underwear bomber" of last Christmas, who secreted explosives in his underwear. Moreover, there have been many cases where passengers got weapons past security, usually by accident. ...

Another issue is the small number of terrorist groups actually capable of planning and carrying out an attempt to bomb an airliner. So far, attempts are being caught at the planning stage, which is largely a matter of intelligence and police work. But politicians get little praise for intel efforts, while airport security is very visible. The biggest problem is that airline security is more of a political than security issue. The U.S. is willing to cut intelligence agencies in order to provide more "security theater" for passenger screening. For a politician, it's better for their careers, even if it puts the passengers at more risk.

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