Tag: airport security

Captain Underpants vs. Professor Poopy-Pants?

Marc Lynch has a new post at Foreign Policy, Don't Let Captain Underpants Bring Back the GWOT, on the mass over-hysteria about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his failed bomb plot on the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

But is too much to ask that the national discourse over the failed bomber be more mature and analytical than "Captain Underpants vs Professor Poopypants "?

Lynch cites with approval this WAPO op-ed, "Don't Panic, Fear is Al Qaida's Real Goal," which is well-worth a read. He also correctly notes: [More...]

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Scanning Companies See Stock Rise After Xmas Day Attack

OSI Systems, which owns Rapiscan, which makes the Rapiscan WaveScan 200 I described here, just got a new 10 year contract with Puerto Rico for its cargo imaging system, called the Rapid Eagle. But Puerto Rico says it's not for terrorism, but crime, including tax evasion:

Director of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, Mr. Alvaro Pilar-Vilagran, stated that "the Puerto Rico Ports Authority is implementing this unprecedented scanning program....The program aims to eliminate the import of drugs, illegal weapons and other contraband into Puerto Rico, while affording the Ports Authority a mechanism to fight tax evasion.

In the last three months, the company's stock has grown 67%, from $17.03 to $29.07. I doubt it's peaked yet. And this is interesting: The company's CEO is Deepak Chopra. According to the company on December 30 (Dow Jones Newswire, subscription, no link): [More...]

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New TSA Screening Rules For Certain Countries

Politico reports the TSA announced new security rules for passengers coming to the U.S., and heightened security for those coming from or through certain countries.

All travelers flying into the U.S. from foreign countries will receive tightened random screening, and 100 percent of passengers from 14 terrorism-prone countries will be patted down and have their carry-ons searched, the Obama administration was notifying airlines on Sunday.

The TSA announcement is here.

SA is mandating that every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening. The directive also increases the use of enhanced screening technologies and mandates threat-based and random screening for passengers on U.S. bound international flights."


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Chertoff Argues for Whole Body Scanners

Former HSA Secretary Michael Chertoff has jumped into the fray over whether to use full body scanners with an op-ed in the Washington Post. He urges that Congress fund "a large-scale deployment of next-generation systems."

Most airport security checkpoints use metal detectors. Al-Qaeda has shown that it knows how to avoid detection by using an explosive device that contains little or no metal, such as PETN, or pentaerythritol tetranitrate, used by Abdulmutallab and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid in 2001.

It will only be a matter of time before terrorists figured out how to avoid detection with these machines as well. One reason: The Government's publicly available list of which machines have been purchased for airport use. Each one carriesthe name of the company that makes them, and the company's website has all the particulars about the machine, including in some cases, what a particular machine doesn't screen. [More...]

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The National Counterterrorism Center May Have Dropped The Ball

The New York Times, in reporting on the security failures responsible for failing to detect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his failed bomb attempt, focuses on the National Counterterrorism Center -- and discloses there was electronic surveillance:

That's the agency that supposed to act as a fusion center, connecting dots in information received from various agencies, so that the failures in intelligence gathering associated with 911 don't happen again.

The remedy, proposed by the Sept. 11 commission and passed by Congress in 2004, was to place a single director of intelligence over the nation’s 16 spy agencies. At the core would be the National Counterterrorism Center.

...Intelligence analysts from one agency now routinely serve for a time in another agency, to develop personal ties. Databases of suspected terrorists are far more complete and accessible. The ban on hoarding data is strictly enforced.

So what's the problem? Maybe we're wiretapping so much and accumulating so much information, much of which is useless, it's not possible to accommodate it all and isolate the information that matters. [More...]

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Airport screeners miss most fake bombs

You may have seen this story in the USA Today, `Most fake bombs missed by screeners`.

Despite 9/11, nothing has changed.  Those in the field of EOD and bomb investigation have known this since, well, forever.

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