brain_spew: (Default)
I have opinions, man. You're all entitled to them. ([personal profile] brain_spew) wrote2010-11-18 02:59 pm

TSA

So with all the hubub surrounding the "Irradiate or be groped" controversy, I'm going to weigh in on the TSA. Some of you are not going to like what I have to say.

In principle, I think both the TSA and to a certain extent, the HSO, are a good idea. However, I do not believe the conspiracy theory BS that both agencies were dreamed up ages ago ready to be put in place when 9/11 was set off as a deliberate act by internal forces within the US goverment.

Up until 9/11, metal detectors and common sense served us well. Its only in hindsight that we realized that the terrorists use of shaving razors was a hole no one had ever thought of because quite frankly, why should we? There had not been an attack on our soil by forgien agents since Pearl Harbor and that was a massive all out effort by a known hostile with the capability to pull it off and against a military target. So, 9/11, accomplished by a small team and with shaving razors against civilians basically hit us blind.

Our goverment panicked, there's no other word for i,t and decided to unify both antiterrorist and airport security efforts. I agree with this attempt. But they were concieved in blind panic and in haste and desperation, so the idea was sound. The execution was not.

Internal defense of America is normally in the hands of the FBI and National Gaurd, with the Armed Forces backing them up. However, there's also the US Marshals, NSA, CIA, Secret Service, Military Intelligence, Justice Department and probably a few others. Plus, State Police, Federal Prisons, and then going down to county sherriffs and and city police. That's a lot of data and records running around. Plus support staff, officers, and agents, all having to talk to one another. Things get confused, or lost, or worse. On top of all that, we're a big country. There's a lot of ground to cover.

A central, unified hub where data and defense and countermeasures can be planned, analyzed, and directed is a good thing. But in its haste to get things set up, HSO was given broad powers by the goverment. Too broad and with little oversight. Nobody really knew what to do or how to proceed, and again, there was a panic. What we got is an inflated goverment office that jumps at everything and makes a lot of people feel like they've already been convicted of being themselves.

The TSA is also a good thing. In principle. Material science is getting better, particularly in the field of plastics and ceramics. Things metal detectors don't pick up. Plus, air travel is at an all time high. A central office overseeing the nation's airports and holding them to a set of standards as well investigating new technologies is a good thing. We're going to need something better then metal detectors. If not now, then soon.

But, as with the HSO, the execution is sloppy. The TSA was even more poorly concieved then the HSO, if that's possible. Air Travel is not something to fuck around with. Air Marshals on random flights. Excellent. Arming pilots? Good. Virtually untrained men and women on guard at the gates with no oversight and broad powers? Very bad. Reacting to any threat or new hole with technology or more regulations? That's what we have now.

While the HSO needs to be reined in and put under the thumb of Congress or the Supreme Court, the TSA needs to be gutted and rebuilt from the ground up. Properly, this time.

At least six to eight weeks of training before they're sent to the gates. Ironclad and brutal punishments for sexual harrasment. Procedures and training for dealing with handicapped passengers, those with medical issues, and small children. Plus intelligent, common sense based and efficent screening procedures. Import some Isreali experts and have them give us tips and training.

We're not going to catch every single terrorist. Sooner or later, one is going to slip through the net, no matter how tight, and there's going to be a loss of life. That's the way it is. But if we do what we're doing now, forting up, allowing fear and panic to influence our choices, our thinking, and our neighbors, then we're doing nothing to protect ourselves. At all.
flemco: (Default)

[personal profile] flemco 2010-11-19 01:22 am (UTC)(link)
But the point I keep having to hammer into the ground over and over is: The TSA have never, ever caught a terrorist. Not once. They cost billions, and do NOTHING to fight terrorism.