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It’s a Gray Area:

Further discussions about terrorism

November 28, 2009|By James P. Gray

Quite a few people responded to last week’s column about whether the airport screening program is a good utilization of resources in fighting against terrorist acts.

As you who read the column will recall, I questioned whether, for example, taking off our shoes to board an airplane and other similar measures are worth the cost in both money spent and time wasted.

This is a particularly important question because any even semi-intelligent terrorist could, without too much difficulty, come up with many other ways to bring down a civilian airplane.

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Here is one of the responses I received to that part of the column, which I will quote verbatim so that you can consider what the writer said first hand: “In response to your article (I work in airport operations at an international airport), it is all what we call ‘eye candy’ to make the public feel safer. Internally, we’ve said for years that if someone really wants to get an aircraft, they can. The checkpoints are not going to stop them.

“It’s like having locks on your front door. As a judge you know that’s only to keep the honest people out.

“The TSA has not made us any safer than the security companies before 9/11. They fail just as many tests, and have almost the same amount of turnover among personnel. They have created a whole lot of high paying jobs for some people.

“They don’t try to hire the best qualified personnel available, they restrict most jobs to people who are already in the agency (and who is going to take the low paying screener jobs to start with?).

“The TSA is just another bloated government agency. It’s kind of like watching Barney Fife (fumbling for his bullet) guarding the front door.

“Anyway, what you wrote is correct ... just wish more people would listen. But maybe this is what most people want, they don’t want to know the truth ... just give them the appearance of being more safe.”

Instead of spending so much money on the airport screening programs, last week’s column suggested that the two most effective ways of combating terrorism, in addition to a strong military, are effective intelligence and undercover activities, and using our insights to anticipate and protect society’s most vulnerable areas.

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