It was a surprise to see the biggest news on Christmas was that a Nigerian terrorist managed to get on a plane coming to Detroit from Amsterdam with some sort of explosive strapped to his leg.
AND – the alleged terrorist was on the NO-FLY LIST. Just think about this for a moment. A recent paper from the Naval Postgraduate School on Homeland Security estimated that the costs of the no-fly list, since 2002, range from approximately $300 million (a conservative estimate) to $966 million! And after spending over $300 million, the terrorist is able to get right on the plane, WITH EXPLOSIVES STRAPPED ON, and fly to the U.S.
Besides being a risk expert, I was mom who didn’t let her boys have toy guns. So imagine my shock at THINKING (to myself) that maybe we should let certain
Cleared passengers fly PACKING.
The passengers on the flight under discussion are the ones who subdued the perp, and I have a feeling that US airlines passengers would all be happy to take over their own security while flying the un-friendly skies.
Despite spending billions on patting down the grannies and business travelers along with 9 year old girls – someone can still board a plane and fly right into the U.S. with
explosives strapped on.
A simple risk formula applied to this entire passenger screening program shows that the entire TSA passenger screening program is too expensive for the results they are getting. The biggest cost waster is the idea that every single air traveler is treated exactly the same way. This is the elephant in TSA’s conference room. Every traveler is NOT the same. The most simplistic metrics show that:
1) Terrorists are more likely to be men.
2) Women over 60 are not likely to blow anything up.
3) Small children and federal employees are unlikely to be
Smuggling in explosive devices.
As the noted expert, Stephen Flynn, pointed in his book, America the Vulnerable, this policy creates huge cost, creates inefficiency and does not stop the dedicated terrorist.
Instead of being run as a gigantic stimulus program for the underemployed, TSA should sharpen it’s focus and began to start a true profiling program. A profiling program doesn’t have to target certain groups or type of individuals, but it should work towards automatically EXCLUDING the large groups of people who are unlikely to be a threat; let them opt for “cleared” status by completing a background check, and if these many individuals were automatically cleared, it would leave the TSA screeners more time to MORE RIGOROUS checks on potentially dangerous individuals, and ENSURE THAT PEOPLE ON THE NO-FLY LIST — DO NOT FLY!
Sounds obvious doesn’t it, but instead, the U.S. budget is being squandered on thousands of unnecessary screens, while the potential targets are not getting the indepth, and in-airport screenings they need to have.
These inane policies are not just indefensible – they are dangerous – and the latest incident just proves the point.