Foiled Again!

There is a high likelihood that [the bomb] would have been detected had he boarded a flight in the United States.” Does Big Sis really have THAT much confidence in the “thousands standing around” at airport security checkpoints across the United States? Pretty bold statement, but I don’t believe she was in much a position to say otherwise. But a top law-enforcement official insisted, “They would not have gotten him” (source). We have no further information as to who this official was, based on the details of this case, as we know it, I agree this underwear bomb would have successfully made it through.

With the dog and pony show infringing on our rights at our nation’s airports, it won’t take much more for screening procedures to be revised again when it comes to how travelers are screened prior to entering a “sterile” area at the airport. I have yet to read a story in which TSA actually deterred or prevent an act of terrorism at an airport, but this latest attempt could have Big Sis rethinking procedures.

For metallic items, like guns and knives the old x-ray machines and now backscatter machines are acceptable. We have seen a few You Tube videos including a detailed example from Jonathan Corbett who runs TSA Out Of Our Pants. Unfortunately individuals like Richard Reid, the show bomber in 2001 and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber in 2009 both failed at their attempts, but this time a a CIA informant was the individual chosen for the suicide mission. Unfortunately, “current technology is not good enough to find nonmetallic explosive devices like the newest underwear bomb.” Thankfully the bomb is now in the hands of the U.S. authorities as we wait for further details to emerge.

Here is another example of how government agencies foiled a terrorist plot and NOT the TSA. Contrary to what Big Sis thinks and states on the record TSA screeners would not have have suspected this underwear bomb. “This bomb was put into the equivalent of briefs, so it was much tighter and form-fitting and harder to see” (source). How would an intrusive pat-down, using the back of your hands detect something sewn into a pair of briefs? The AIT machines would have been worthless in detecting this. “The only surefire way to detect nonmetallic explosive devices is using bomb-sniffing dogs, but that’s impractical at crowded airports.”

So score another victory for our alphabet agency, the CIA. As for the TSA, it’s time to review current procedures. Terrorists groups, like Al Qaeda are continuing to revise and improve their bomb making techniques and looking at delivery systems. This time, the U.S. dodged a bullet. What about next time? How long before travelers are submitting to further invasive touching or probing in order to make sure we are not a delivery device.

Have you been violated today?

I guess a day does not go by that the U.S. moves a step closer to a police state. The creation of the DHS was just the initial move after the government sponsored terrorism that struck Washington D.C. and  New York City. “Big Brother” along with “Big Sis” are just trying to make you “more secure” and raise your awareness when it comes to safety. Unfortunately some of their tactics they are implementing potential violate your 4th Amendment Right.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In a blog today from Forbes, “uncovered documents show that as early as 2006, the Department of Homeland Security has been planning pilot programs to deploy mobile scanning units that can be set up at public events and in train stations, along with mobile x-ray vans capable of scanning pedestrians on city streets.“Though Freedom of Information Act you can read the 173-page report that includes Rapiscan (promoted by former DHS front man, Michael Chertoff), Seimens and Northeastern University.

Scanning technology would include mobile x-ray vans that  could scan people on the street, while others reports have the DHS “a walk through x-ray screening system that could be deployed at entrances to special events or other points of interest.” We saw something of this nature prior to the Super Bowl this year in Irving, Texas where all individuals were scanned before entering the event.

Of course the TSA has denied this, “TSA has not tested the advanced imaging technology that is currently used at airports in mass transit environments and does not have plans to do so.” I fear to think what would become of a daily commute on the trains in the bay area. We have seen these tactics employed on a “test basis.”

In a USA Today report, Clark Kent Ervin, the Department of Homeland Security’s former inspector general says ,”Mass transit systems are much less secure than the aviation sector or certain key government buildings.” The nation’s vast network of more than 3,200 stations and more than 20,000 miles of track combined with the impracticality and cost of screening every passenger leave U.S. subways and rails exposed to the type of terrorist attacks 22 other nations have experienced the last five years  (source).

DHS will continue to push a majority of funding and development to the security at aviation. Will we see further precautions taken to make our railways and subways safer? I don’t feel we will see it immediately (5-7 years). My guess it will be another knee jerk reaction by our government in response to some sort of terrorist event domestically that will heap new security procedures and regulations on the railway industry as a whole.