Friday, 1 January 2010

US security

In the wake of that guy who tried to blow up his underpants on Flight 253, a former CIA intelligence operative writes about how terrorist tip-offs are processed within the CIA:

Ultimately, there are simply so many managers and administrators, in so many separate and loosely organized chains of command, that acquiring the intelligence is a stroke of luck, and getting it to where it needs to go, on time, is almost impossible.

Maureen Dowd complains:

We seemed to still be behind the curve and reactive, patting down grannies and 5-year-olds, confiscating snow globes and lip glosses.

Instead of modernity, we have airports where security is so retro that taking away pillows and blankies and bathroom breaks counts as a great leap forward.

If we can’t catch a Nigerian with a powerful explosive powder in his oddly feminine-looking underpants and a syringe full of acid, a man whose own father had alerted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, a traveler whose ticket was paid for in cash and who didn’t check bags, whose visa renewal had been denied by the British, who had studied Arabic in Al Qaeda sanctuary Yemen, whose name was on a counterterrorism watch list, who can we catch?

We are headed toward the moment when screeners will watch watch-listers sashay through while we have to come to the airport in hospital gowns, flapping open in the back.

Thanks to Justin Taylor for both links.

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