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Air travelers, mark your calendar. An activist opposed to the new invasive body scanners in use at airports around the country just designated Wednesday, Nov. 24 as a National Opt-Out Day. He’s encouraging airline passengers to decline the TSA’s technological strip searches en masse on that day as a protest against the scanners, as well as the new “enhanced pat-downs” inflicted on refuseniks...

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/national-opt-out/

A movement afoot.

nl
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Air travelers, mark your calendar. An activist opposed to the new invasive body scanners in use at airports around the country just designated Wednesday, Nov. 24 as a National Opt-Out Day. He’s encouraging airline passengers to decline the TSA’s technological strip searches en masse on that day as a protest against the scanners, as well as the new “enhanced pat-downs” inflicted on refuseniks...

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/national-opt-out/

A movement afoot.

nl

Gaaahhh! That's the day we are flying to Maui! Coach!

Count Uptoten
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that's why they chose it
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I wish this would have a bigger impact that I expect it to have, but the bottom line is there just aren't enough people that care about this yet. For everyone that's outraged by this, you can find at least one sheeple that's willing to get in front of a camera for his once a year flight and state "I'm ok with whatever will make us safer from the tewwowists."

I do hope this movement starts to educate enough flyers though about the real security issues that are ongoing. Unless we reign in this out of control agency they'll continue to perpetuate security theater and the myth that all of this passenger screening is making any of us safer when we step onto an aircraft.
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No. of Recommendations: 21
What do they do in Israel or countries that have been getting bombed for decades? How hard would it be to copy that? I'm sure it doesn't involve techno-nudity. I think they TALK to passengers "where are you going? For how long? What's your mom's birthday??" Pop quiz. I've heard they're good at spotting liars, figity, nervous people.

Probably doesn't involve taking away your nail clippers either.

In France there's dudes with machine guns at the airport. But I didn't take off my shoes. Different.

Why can't we LEARN from other countries? From their experience??
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What do they do in Israel or countries that have been getting bombed for decades? How hard would it be to copy that?

Here's a summary of what Israeli airport security is about. Why it won't happen here: time, money, profiling.

http://www.forward.com/articles/122781/

--fleg
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I think this nonsense is really hurting our economy.

I hate air travel now and will do almost anything to avoid it.

I am sure others have similar feelings.

Not only does that cut down airline revenue, it obviously cuts into tourism/travel industry revenues.
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What do they do in Israel . . .I think they TALK to passengers "where are you going? For how long? What's your mom's birthday??"

Although the Israelis are understandably secretive about their security methods, I think it's pretty clear that if you're a single 21 year old man traveling on an Yemeni passport, you're in for a lot more questions than the 79 year old grandmother going to a bar mitzvah. The abhorrence of "profiling" is leading us to the insanity of treating eight-year olds, or senior citizens with artificial joints, or pilots as potential terrorists.

martybl
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Although the Israelis are understandably secretive about their security methods, I think it's pretty clear that if you're a single 21 year old man traveling on an Yemeni passport, you're in for a lot more questions than the 79 year old grandmother going to a bar mitzvah. The abhorrence of "profiling" is leading us to the insanity of treating eight-year olds, or senior citizens with artificial joints, or pilots as potential terrorists.

That's true. In Israel they have no compunction about treating you differently depending on your race or nationality. That goes not only for airport security, but also for getting loans, starting a business, or deciding where to live. Notice anything?

We have a different culture, and in some areas that has drawbacks.

For the record, Israel has significantly less air travel than the US, even on a per capita basis. Ben Gurion Airport is the busiest airport in the country, with about 10 million passengers a year. That's much less than two months worth at O'Hare. Now think about Atlanta, LAX, LaGuardia, Logan, DFW, and all the rest.

There are few feeder airports in Israel unlike the US, where we "hub-and-spoke" to every town with a grocery store it seems. The two systems are not remotely comparable, but having every passenger interviewed is a frightfully high cost. It's one that Israel accepts because they live in a cocoon of crazy. In the US, attempts to institute any kind of security were met for decades with cries of "interfering in business" until it was demonstrated that "business" couldn't/wouldn't taken care of the issue. Even now the complaints grow louder, but the TSA is just trying to improve things and keep passengers flowing at some reasonable cost.

I'm not defending or criticizing them, I'm just pointing out that you can't just say 'Well, it works for them, why not us?' The why not is that it's different, very very different.
 
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Yes, sheer numbers of passengers and the enormous diversity of our society compared to that in Israel would preclude the kind of often lengthy questioning of travelers as done there. In addition to just questioning and a ton of other techniques, they actually follow up on individual answers to questions. So, if you claim to be going on a business trip, they sometimes call your boss to confirm- can you imagine that happening in the US?

At its heart, this is really a political question requiring a new consensus on the part of the American public- a consensus that is not on the horizon. People in small town USA who travel maybe once a year are just absolutely terrified of terrorism. They are bombarded almost nightly by televised images of hooded gunman doing what are really just basic training or high school athletic activities- how many times have we seen them swinging from parallel bars or just firing an assault rifle? Yet, they are made to seem like supermen. Then we have "breaking news" because someone has found white powder someplace.

Unless we want to continue to act like idiots at a horrendous cost to the economy, we have to accept that bad stuff happens- sometimes very bad stuff. The primary weapon in our arsenal is intelligence and all that goes with that- including a certain amount of profiling. One need not profile by religion or appearance- doing so is very unproductive anyway. You profile based on intelligence- information that a male of a certain age and general description will be traveling holding a Middle East passport should lead to increased scrutiny of people fitting that description- even if there are thousands of them. That is not profiling.

So, if we continue to live in fear and cannot absorb occasional acts of violence, we must do most of the screening that now is in place. I don't like it either and I think much of it is stupid. But, if we are going to freak out over the failed underwear bomber, we have to check underwear!
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One need not profile by religion or appearance- doing so is very unproductive anyway. You profile based on intelligence- information that a male of a certain age and general description will be traveling holding a Middle East passport should lead to increased scrutiny of people fitting that description- even if there are thousands of them. That is not profiling.

OK. Now comes a report that women are being used to hide explosive materials. So in addition to "men", you now have "women."
http://gizmodo.com/5505499/female-terrorists-explosive-breas...

Now comes a report that dogs were used to hide explosive materials. So in addition to "men" and "women" you now add "dogs."
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1327052/Kamikaze-can...

Now comes a report that a white woman, later to be known as "Jihad Jane", was involved in a terrorism plot (to be carried out in Sweden). Add "white women" to the list.
http://dailycaller.com/2010/03/10/a-list-of-american-jihadis...

Oh, and John Walker Lindh white male of American descent, and David Headley, American citizen foreign born, both charged with some form of association with, or aid to foreign terrorists. Add them, too. And there's Daniel Patrick Boyd and Daniel Gadahn, Al Qaeda American militant, who with a shave and a fake ID could walk right onto a place without raising an eyebrow.

Suddenly the "don't bother anybody but intelligence-profiled parties" looks pretty thin. You let through two-year olds, and the occasional grandmother. Maybe.
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In the US, attempts to institute any kind of security were met for decades with cries of "interfering in business" until it was demonstrated that "business" couldn't/wouldn't taken care of the issue. Even now the complaints grow louder, but the TSA is just trying to improve things and keep passengers flowing at some reasonable cost.

The "nationalize to professionalize" movement that resulted in the TSA has all kinds of FAIL stamped all over it. But that's not really its fault. The American public is not ready for risk managed security which takes a lot longer to explain than "shoes off, belt off, assume the position". By catering to the people so deathly afraid that some funny looking terrorist could be getting on the same plane, they've instituted a costly, ineffective bureaucracy that now has as its primary mission self-preservation and mission creep.

This is why we now get the occasional news blast of TSA drug seizures (don't we already have federal agencies tasked with that?), TSA screeners interrogating political activists on how much cash they're travelling with domestically (hello Steve Bierfeldt), TSA jackboot show of force (hello VIPER teams!) and security theater operations.
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No. of Recommendations: 4
<<<Oh, and John Walker Lindh white male of American descent, and David Headley, American citizen foreign born, both charged with some form of association with, or aid to foreign terrorists. Add them, too. And there's Daniel Patrick Boyd and Daniel Gadahn, Al Qaeda American militant, who with a shave and a fake ID could walk right onto a place without raising an eyebrow>>>>

And they can do so right now; it's what they carry with them that is the issue.

I think my post was misunderstood. None of the examples given would be overlooked or excused from intensive security measures.

Look, I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that the twin criteria for issuing threat alerts based on intelligence are that the information be "credible and specific." The US receives on a daily basis thousands of threats coming from all over the world. In addition to specific threats are the many "wannabe" claims and other miscellaneous information that may or may not be threat related. Yet, action is only taken on a fraction of those reports.

The same should be true for air travel security. The information could well fit a Headley, a Lindh, or any other individual. If specific and credible, those who could match the information could be singled out for intense, Israeli style scrutiny. Everyone else would still have to be screened at some reasonable level. To the extent both approaches fail (specific targeting and random screening), passengers and hardware modifications (cockpit doors) will have to suffice. Again, though, we would need to be able to handle the (hopefully) rare failures and just accept them to the point that we accept 45,000 deaths per year in auto accidents. The fact is our successes since 9/11 have been based on intelligence, passenger response, and ineptitude, not screening. The examples given by Goofyhoofy prove my point- the bad guys will just keep coming up with new ways to accomplish their goals. Intelligence is the way to prevent them from being successful, not a continual search for the least common denominator approach to finding a needle in a haystack.
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