From Joe Huffman, on the TSA’s new attention on powders aboard aircraft:
I wonder ifÂ my post contributed to that. I know it got some attention by “government employees”.
If it was my fault I’mÂ not going to say I am sorry. One of the ways you get people to rethink their security systems is to overload them with false positives. If I could only demonstrate that it were relatively easy to bring down a plane by grinding up you hair into a fine powder and making an improvised explosive device out of it using a couple coins as tools…
What Joe is getting at is there’s really no way to adequately protect against the level of threat TSA is trying to protect against. It’s quite impossible to successfully screen for these kinds of items without a body cavity search. It was pointed out by science fiction writer David Brin not too long after 9/11:
Despite the yammerings on TV, a lack of security measures did not cause this tragedy. No, the failure on 9/11 was almost entirely one of DOCTRINE — a policy on how to deal with hijackers that was taught to pilots, flight attendants and the public for forty years.
He goes on to suggest what did work that day — individual initiative — that it was the passengers abroad flight 93 that changed the doctrine within an hour of the WTC attacks after they heard of it on their cell phones.
The doctrinal transformation â€“ or change in the rules of engagement â€“ took place swiftly and decisively, without deliberation by sober government agencies or sage committees. Three average men changed it upon hearing news via their own â€˜intelligence networkâ€™. They acted as soldiers, heroes, without waiting for permission. Itâ€™s called initiative, a civic virtue, part of our national character that doesnâ€™t get enough attention. Not from leaders and certainly not from our enemies.
You can’t defend against the level of threat Joe speaks of, and it’s probably not even worth it to try. Â TSA should concentrate on the obvious threats, that can be easily screened for, and not worry so much about the threats you can’t screen for. Air travel is already miserable enough with all the security theater. The last thing we need is more of it.