Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Ridiculous. The American Transportation Safety Administration couldn't be perfect at anything. All that is asked is that they be some degree of capable. Sadly, THEY AREN'T.

Besides the fact that they federalized a bunch of local security operators with no real understanding of how to do aviation security...

Besides the fact that they refuse to use basic methodology to screen and target risks...

Besides the fact that more often than not intelligence information supplied by National and Police agencies seems to reach the inspectors in the field after the threat has acted...

Besides the fact that the largest capital investments in screening technologies are driven not by efficacy but by political lobbyists getting big money for their clients...

Besides the fact that the TSA has criminalized non-compliance with what is obviously a Fourth Amendment violation they are committing against U.S. air travellers...

Besides all of that...

... these morons (And I Don't Use That Term Lightly) seem to think the correct answer to any problem is over-reaction. cf:

Japan Post to comply with the closure of the US Mail to any international package weighing more than one pound (453 g). No period or end-date announced.

Apparently, the TSA thinks this is such a good idea that they are making it a world-wide ban:

Post Offices in the Caribbean are also preventing shipment of packages over 400 grams to the U.S.A. until 10.December and there are no commercial alternatives there as the other mail delivery companies there have also been ordered to cease shipments.

If there is enough intelligence to determine that there is an imminent threat, then there is almost certainly enough intelligence to determine risk. I'll go so far as to allow that a reasonable person would likely not question an interruption of package mail originating in Yemen (and yes there is such a ban right now). But an all-origins ban?




Thank you's and addenda:

Thank you to Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection for posting about this. He also kindly links to this article in The Atlantic on this matter as of today.

More thank you's to Chiefio, Irons in the Fire and Israel Matzav for citing this in their links back to Legal Insurrection. Getting the word out is a very good thing.


Marie said...

There doesn't seem to be any end in sight to their idiocy. Are they trying to stop all and any commerce??? Great move guys!!

L.Douglas Garrett said...

Follow up:

Nothing up about this at the US Embassy Toukyou website yet, either... so that means anyone who didn't see what little report this got in local media gets a hell of a surprise when they walk in to the Post Office to send their holiday packages.

Mr. Bill said...

It may be a small point, but a sizable handful of the recently-elected Republican senators & representatives are sounding moderately isolationist in interviews, pre-112th Congress.

It's a bad combination, I fear.

I am appreciating, though, some news & opinion broadcasters highlighting the Israeli experience with security. Sadly, we may not be able to implement their methods and policies because they have a population of mandatory-service ex-soldiery to draw from. Granted, there are a lot of American veterans looking for jobs, but I don't think we have nearly the manpower required.

L.Douglas Garrett said...

@Mr. Bill

I've heard only a little of your first concern, but I'd offer that an existing faction (R. Paul, TX, and followers) is where most of that has come from in the past.

However, your second matter is far more important. Yes, the ability to draw from a significant pool of veterans is there, and would help. Sadly, the TSA local-hires generally and without the kind of Veterans preference most Federal jobs have.

I'm a huge fan of the Israeli system and have seen it work, but one bit of fair warning: the scale problem is really serious. Israel has nearly a single point-of-entry/exit by air and no domestic flights to speak of. Scaling up what they do to the US domestic and international traffic levels is in excess of a thousand-fold increase... arguably tenthousand-fold. The numbers of competent staff and proper training just aren't available to do that given the way the TSA has been spending its budget. That's why the experimental SPOT program is still a tiny part of US Aviation Security.

They'd sure have more money to improve things if they stopped wasting it on the idiotic Security Kabuki they are running now.