why the terrorists have already won

Here’s the cover of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula english language magazine.

It brags that the scheme cost them only $4200 and:

… the work of “less than six brothers” over three months. “This supposedly ‘foiled plot,’ ” the group wrote, “will without a doubt cost America and other Western countries billions of dollars in new security measures.

That is what we call leverage.” …

NY Times

We can only speculate the next series of low cost failed terrorist plots designed to INSPIRE more expenditures by the American government.

This was linked from the best single article I’ve seen on how the USA is bungling their National security.

(via Daring Fireball)

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airport security theatre – the movie

Coming soon.

Please Remove Your Shoes is a revealing documentary about broken airport security and the TSA.

Please Remove Your Shoes examines the period before 911 and the current situation nine years later and asks the questions that make Washington squirm: Are we really any better for all our money spent? Or is it safe to say that nothing has changed?

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.

Looks alarmist to me.

The real story is that we could spend 10% of what we spend now in airports and on air marshals, and still be just as safe. Safer than the drive to the airport in our cars.

The rest of the money could be used for something useful. … Education, Health … or preventing terrorism through other means.

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airports – Waste of Money and Time

A short history of airport security: We screen for guns and bombs, so the terrorists use box cutters. We confiscate box cutters and corkscrews, so they put explosives in their sneakers. We screen footwear, so they try to use liquids. We confiscate liquids, so they put PETN bombs in their underwear. We roll out full-body scanners, even though they wouldn’t have caught the Underwear Bomber, so they put a bomb in a printer cartridge. We ban printer cartridges over 16 ounces — the level of magical thinking here is amazing — and they’re going to do something else.

Take all the money spent on new security measures and spend it on investigation and intelligence.
This is a stupid game, and we should stop playing it.

It’s not even a fair game. It’s not that the terrorist picks an attack and we pick a defense, and we see who wins. It’s that we pick a defense, and then the terrorists look at our defense and pick an attack designed to get around it. Our security measures only work if we happen to guess the plot correctly. If we get it wrong, we’ve wasted our money. This isn’t security; it’s security theater. …

read more from Bruce Schneier in the NY Times

Even if airport security did work, are you going to put in the same measures at every public space?

This photo released by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office shows Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia and a resident of Corvallis, Oregon who has been arrested in connection with a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb at the Portland Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Pioneer Square in Downtown Portland, November 28, 2010. UPI/Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Photo via Newscom

Kudos to those who pulled the sting operation on Somali American Mohamed Osman Mohamud. That’s a much better expenditure of time and money than what’s being spent at airports.

Some claim he was entrapped. I don’t buy that.

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no touching junk in Canada

Airport theatre in Canada is currently far less intrusive than in the States. And it’s going to stay that way.

That’s one reason to fly via a Canadian airport, rather than an American, if you can.

Transport Minister Chuck Strahl announced ….

… the government will not institute aggressive U.S.-style pat-downs. He also said the full body-scan machines Canada is using “do not pose the same health risk [as those in the United States] because they use a millimetre wave technology rather than X-ray technology.”

“So passenger security is extremely important, and our government is committed to balancing that by ensuring that passengers are treated respectfully and properly,” he said….

Globe and Mail

The oddest part of the story is the sound bite the opposition leader gave the press:

“People touch my private parts all day long,” Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff told reporters when asked about the U.S. situation and Mr. Strahl’s announcement.

Mr. Ignatieff noted that his job requires that he practically live in airports, and he accepts the security measures.

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TSA strip searching a young boy

Clearly he was a terrorist risk.

A cell phone video taken Friday at a Salt Lake City International Airport security checkpoint is fanning controversy over Transportation Security Administration search methods.

The video, posted on YouTube by Utah Valley University student Luke Tait, shows a young boy being patted down while he is wearing no shirt. The filmer, Luke Tait, wrote that “the boy was shy so the TSA couldn’t complete” the search.

The child was physically resisting agents, Tait said.

“Twice before the video starts, his dad had to hold him and pulled his arms up in a V-shape to allow the TSA agent to continue,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune.

The father pulled the boy’s shirt off “in frustration,” prompting an agent to shout, “Sir, sir!” Tait said.

In a statement posted late Sunday to the TSA’s blog, a spokesperson wrote that the father removed the boy’s shirt “in an effort to expedite the screening.”

“No complaints were filed and the father was standing by his son for the entire procedure,” the blog states. …

Salt Lake Tribune

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Is this “security”? … Or did we traumatize this poor kid for nothing?

(via Daring Fireball)

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what happens if you refused to be groped?

November 13th in Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport.

This is the guy, John Tyner. His blog. His personal account of what happened.

… began to explain that he was going to do a “standard” pat down. (I thought to myself, “great, not one of those gropings like I’ve been reading about”.) After he described, the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment.

We both stood there for no more than probably two minutes before a female TSA agent (apparently, the supervisor) arrived. She described to me that because I had opted out of the backscatter screening, I would now be patted down, and that involved running hands up the inside of my legs until they felt my groin. I stated that I would not allow myself to be subject to a molestation as a condition of getting on my flight. The supervisor informed me that it was a standard administrative security check and that they were authorized to do it. I repeated that I felt what they were doing was a sexual assault, and that if they were anyone but the government, the act would be illegal. I believe that I was then informed that if I did not submit to the inspection, I would not be getting on my flight. I again stated that I thought the search was illegal. I told her that I would be willing to submit to a walk through the metal detector as over 80% of the rest of the people were doing, but I would not be groped. …

read more – TSA encounter at SAN

You know the story.

The new part to me was that he was not allowed to leave the airport after refusing the pat down. Unbelievable. Click through for the details.

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“American Traveler Dignity Act”

I was wondering what politician would go on attack against the widely criticized new airport security requirements in the US of A.

Click PLAY or watch Ron Paul talk some sense.

Texas Representative Ron Paul introduced H.R. 6416, the American Traveler Dignity Act.

Said Paul in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday:

“My legislation is simple. It establishes that airport security screeners are not immune from any US law regarding physical contact with another person, making images of another person, or causing physical harm through the use of radiation-emitting machinery on another person. It means they are subject to the same laws as the rest of us.”

… read more on Gadling

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