Well, one could hope it is. Patrick Smith of Salon.com has a few points to make about terrorism theatre…
For example, how is it that our sworn protectors manage to spend tens of billions of dollars each year, yet failed to stop an extremist saboteur whose own father had contacted officials to alert them to his son’s behavior and potential violence?
Well, it’s partly because the government’s list of known or suspected terrorists — the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE — contains more than half a million names. Abdulmutallab himself had been added to this list, but at a certain point a database this vast and unwieldy does more harm than good.
And although he’d been added to TIDE, Abdulmutallab had not been placed on any active watch lists or the so-called no-fly list — a failure of government intelligence sharing eerily reminiscent of the FBI-CIA disconnect that helped facilitate the 9/11 plot.
Here we are at a point where innocent preschoolers or entertainers (Cat Stevens) are denied boarding because of confusion over names, but somebody like Abdulmutallab steps onto a plane with no trouble. Our overzealous obsession with terrorism, together with bureaucratic bungling, has, predictably, bit us in the rear end.
Speaking of predictable, down on the front lines, our beleaguered Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rushed to action. The agency’s first mandate was a nonsensical and short-lived requirement that all passengers on flights over U.S. soil remain seated for the final hour of flight, with no personal belongings (personal computers, etc.) in their laps or on tray tables. The thinking here was difficult to fathom. Presumably a bomber can only act while standing up? And presumably he would call off the attack if he had to detonate, say, 70 minutes from landing instead of 60, or out over the ocean? Funny, I remember Pan Am 103 exploding in the first hour of flight, not the last.
[Click to continue reading Ask the Pilot – Salon.com]
Does the TSA do more harm than good? Is the agency’s existence just to feather the nest of security consultants and corporations such as Chertoff’s good buddy, Rapiscan?
Since the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports.
What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. The relationship drew attention after Chertoff disclosed it on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question.
[Click to continue reading Ex-Homeland Security chief head said to abuse public trust by touting body scanners – washingtonpost.com]
Especially since jerk-store politicians like Rudy 9-11 Giuliani deny that any acts of terrorism even happened when a Republican was in the Presidency! Rudy G must actually believe that 9-11 is a joke in his town.
Rudy Giuliani on one of the morning shows today:
On “Good Morning America” Friday, the former New York mayor declared, “We had no domestic attacks under Bush; we’ve had one under Obama.”
Hmmm. He didn’t misspeak, I don’t think. It’s likely quite intentional. It’s entirely of a piece with the the whole “we kept America safe” line that Cheney and others were trumpeting as the Bushies left office, trying to think of one positive thing they could say about an administration that ruined the country in most important respects.
The idea being implanted here is that 9-11 somehow didn’t count; that it was some kind of gimme. Because it was first, and it was a surprise, and unexpected. But as we know there were plenty of warnings, and plenty of signs that were ignored. The argument takes cynical advantage of the fact that flying planes into buildings was a complete shock to your average person. But it was not a shock to the people who are paid to think about these things.
It’s quite remarkable the success this line has enjoyed, though. You’ll see a fair number of pundits on TV and the like nodding in earnest assent that the Bush administration “kept us safe after 9-11” as if 9-11 was a freebie.
[Click to continue reading 9-11 Doesn’t Count | Michael Tomasky | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk ]