A Backhanded Way to Protect Americans

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just before leaving for Christmas with my family in Massachusetts, I realized I didn't have a quart-sized bag for the liquids in my carry-on luggage. I tried to shove them in a sandwich bag, which promptly broke. So I said screw it, none of it's worth more than a few dollars, I'll just leave them out in the bag and if they say anything, I'll gladly throw them out and buy new ones when I get there.

Security didn't say a word.

So when I heard an Al Qaeda operative managed to smuggle a device on board a plane and light light it on fire, I wasn't exactly shocked. As Andy Borowitz tweeted, "Next time you want to sneak shampoo onto a plane, just hide it among some bomb-making supplies."

Look, I don't care exactly what procedures the Transportation Security Administration wants us to go through as we get on board the plane. I'll recite the Pledge of Allegiance on my tiptoes if it'll get me to my plane more securely and quickly.

But security officials seem more determined to prevent the last attack than the next one -- having us take off our shoes to defend against the Shoe Bomber and giving us pat-downs to defend against the Crotch Bomber. A friend told me at least the TSA agents use the back of their hands to pat down your groin. Let's face it: If someone has to backhand your junk before you can get on a flight, the terrorists have already won.

The real problem remains communication:
Abdulmutallab had been refused entry to Britain and placed on a security watch list after he applied to study at a bogus college, Britain's Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, said Monday. But earlier, from 2005 until June 2008, Abdulmutallab had studied mechanical engineering at the high-ranking University College London.

Johnson said authorities are trying to establish what communication if any occurred between Britain and the U.S. He said security agencies are trying to determine what sort of activities Abdulmutallab engaged in while in the U.K., and when he became radicalized.
As The Daily Show pointed out a couple of weeks ago, the TSA has shown signs of bumbling and hasn't had an administrator since President Obama took office, thanks to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

Backhanding random crotches won't catch the next terrorist. Getting the TSA an administrator -- one who'll ensure proper international & inter-agency communication -- just might.