Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Underwear Bomber

My only response to this is that, given a choice, I would prefer to pass though airport security completely naked than have to be separated from all my stealable and smashable personal electronics every time I board someone else's airplane.

25 comments:

amulbunny said...

And on a TATL or TP flight, anyone with a watch could figure out when you're over land.

And I wonder if any of those politicos who wrote the first set of knee jerk reactions ever sat with a restless child on their lap for 1 hour?

Happy New Year,

Grant (Falcon124) said...

It's a classic example of knee jerk reactions and further demonstrates that the TSA is doing more harm to the USA than it is preventing.

There is no way in hell I'm putting my laptop or other expensive gear in checked luggage where it has a high chance of being smashed or stolen (thanks TSA, ever done anything to solve those problems? No? Funny that)

If carry on items are to be banned, my partner cannot fly due to needing access to her medication. Even a "short hop" one hour flight means 2-3 hours separated from checked luggage - longer if you get a tarmac stranding.

RIP USA, please do not take the rest of us with you when you go :(

GPS_Direct said...

I've always been the type to smirk at those who see conspiracy in everything... But, I'm starting to wonder as these incidents happen and the inevitable knee-jerk rules - obviously 99% ineffective to even the most casual of (thinking) observers - continue to sap our freedoms.

Just about the time we've calmed down, and they're thinking about doing away with the liquid limits, this comes up. Forget regular sized tooth pastem, and even better no carry-ons and lock down for an hour... WTF? This guy may have been a complete schmuckatelli, but even he could have tried this scheme 1 hour and 5 minutes before landing!

And while we're at it, let's spend $42 billion more dollars we don't have getting those neat pseudo-x-ray body scanners. You've heard about the bomber in Egypt with the bomb hidden where the sun don't shine, right? Think that shows up on a body scan?

Hollywood is in on things too. While the big O is in Hawaii, the TFR over the island even bans hang gliding! Because, of course, TSA has seen a Bond movie or two...

We're doomed... Socialism from the left and Police-State from the right!

Sarah said...

The Underwear Bomber... sure. I like "Mr Fizzy Pants" better.

As usual, the TSA reaction is useless theatre, aggravating and oppressing travelers for no purpose. No, I'll never "check" a laptop. And I guess I'd better not bring my 396 GPS along to play with again or I'll find myself in Guantanamo.

A more useful response would be chemical trace sniffers, and sadly, millimeter wave passenger inspection. Better that than naked pax ( I don't want to see a planeload of naked typical American passengers!

word verification: "jigling".

Aviatrix said...

word verification: "jigling"

No way!

Chester said...

Personally it wouldn't bother me if someone was scanning my naked body for explosives etc, as this would be their job all day, so I can't see the people in this position taking advantage of people in a dirty way.

It all boils down to what you feel comfortable with, if you don't want to be scanned, then you get searched, simple as that.

Safety is paramount.

dph said...

Don't forget that with many of these carriers, you pay an extra 20 bucks for the privilege of checking the baggage that you can no longer carry on (at least I haven't heard that any of them are waiving this fee given the additional restrictions and limitation)

Sarah said...

Yes, really, Aviatrix. Sometimes the verification word is eerily appropriate, but I think it's just the fortune-teller ( aka I Ching ) effect. You can find significance..

For example, my current one is "pawin" as in "pawin through my luggage".

@dph, I could have sworn AC wasn't going to charge for bumped carry on bags. But I can't see it now.

Personally, I wouldn't mind a permanent enforced limit to one+purse for carry on bags. I'm tired of people cramming the overheads making the "deplaning" a crowded slow process. I check a big, heavy bag and don't have to lug it through the terminal.

nec Timide said...

GPS Direct, I think you have the right idea. At least I've been thinking the same way. We have to remember, their goal insn't to kill americans, it is to destroy America. 9/11 was effective, but nothing like what the US had done to itself with stupid travel security policies, not to mention the real estate derivative mess.

The running shoe, and this letest incident are probably more effecive for having "failed" and left us to imagine OMG what could have happened.

jk said...

Richard Reid attempted to detonate an explosive in his shoe and failed. Because of this all airline passengers (in the U.S.) must remove shoes for screening.

Now Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempts an attack using the same type of explosive in his underwear and fails. Shall we expect to preemptively remove underwear and place it in the bin now as well?

Here's a thought experiment: Its fair to assume a terrorist will sacrifice their own life and be willing to endure pain to achieve their goal. Why not take the above examples a step further and surgically implant an explosive? I doubt that this is beyond the means or reach of an advanced and/or educated group of terrorists.

Given this I think it is more healthy to adopt a mindset of (1) accepting the use of technology (that is proven to be safe on the passengers!) to examine what they have on and in them, and (2) to *accept* that a sophisticated group of attackers will occasionally succeed in bringing down an airplane.

Rhonda said...

Oh joy, and I'm going to the US for work in a couple of weeks. And I'm changing planes to get there, with what, last week, was a perfectly reasonable layover time.

Rhonda said...

Sarah: AC is not charging for excess baggage up to 3 items total. Third paragraph.

Rhonda said...

(Ok, that's strange... I click on the link I just posted and it takes me to the main news page for AC. But on my other computer, where my travel agent sent me an email with the link, the advisory still shows.)

dpierce said...

Rhonda ... Their site likes to do a lot of redirections based on your URL referrer, country of origin, and default language, which is lovely for people trying to share information. The 26 Dec travel advisory from here should get you to it.

Rhonda said...

dpierce: thanks. The advisory wasn't even showing up in the advisory list when I checked earlier. I got a direct link in an email from my travel agent.

word verification: probe. What I hope to avoid on my next trip. Eep!

dpierce said...

Well, when you click your link, AC actually redirects you to the *news* page, which is bad because your original link is for a *travel advisory*. If they're going to redirect you, they'd be better off sending you to my link, because you end up confused when you don't see the travel advisory you want listed on the resulting news page.

nec Timide said...

The more extream checking (at least so far) is limited to international flights entering the US. There are reports of people taking the train from Toronto to Buffalo and then encountering only the pre-Christmas security checking. If crossing the border on the surface is an option it might be worth it until things settle.

nec Timide said...

This article by Bruce Schneier at CNN is worth reading.

Sarah said...

@nec Timide thanks for that link. Curiously appropriate coming from your moniker. Nec Temere, Nec Timide.

That article is brilliant.

"The more we undermine our own laws, the more we convert our buildings into fortresses, the more we reduce the freedoms and liberties at the foundation of our societies, the more we're doing the terrorists' job for them."

Anonymous said...

Since the shoe bomber's plot, there have been 4.5 billion passenger trips on airlines in the US. How much of everyone's time and money has been wasted? At least $4.5 billion worth of our collective time, I would guess, and I don't know the TSA's budget but I bet there's some added cost to having more screeners and building bigger checkpoints because of the slowdown of everyone having to take their shoes off. And how much is the monetary damage of one successful terrorist attack on an airplane? I'd guess around half a billion, between the passengers and the plane itself. Was the tradeoff worth it? Would not having to take our shoes off have caused terrorists to blow up 10 or more planes? Almost certainly not.

Critical Alpha said...

This news item just appeared on the ABC in Australia. It puts an interesting "insiders" slant on the screening frenzy: http://bit.ly/8h6MmC

The people who try to undertake these awful acts have as their sole goal the economic harm of the country they are targeting. Sure they do this by terror and fear but ultimately they are seeking economic harm.

Unfortunately many western countries, the US chief amongst them, have taken it upon themselves to do more economic harm than you could possibly imagine with these frenzies of screening. This is called self harm -;)

A great pity.

MathFox said...

I do think that the security checkpoint has a function in keeping unwanted items off planes, preventing small groups from doing anything serious. Consider a group of four friends that have obtained guns, the security checkpoint is a serious obstacle in their plan to hijack a plane. It may be part "theatre", but dissuading or stopping amateur terrorists is useful in itself.
There is one improvement that should be made to the current generation of security checkpoints: an effective check for explosives. (People have been blogging about the possibility of carrying explosives on your body through a metal detector for years.)

Effective security requires planning; knee-jerk reactions do more to waste money than that they add to security.

Aluwings said...

One the other hand (to contrast with the previous complaints about security) how much security screening would you prefer for the flight your most precious people are taking tomorrow? (think child, grandchild, spouse, etc..).

Also from an economic standpoint, the average traveller doesn't have much idea of what works or doesn't work with security screening. But they do need something to make them "feel good" about their safety as they get on the plane. Otherwise they don't travel and the economic harm is done.

Ironically, SECURITY is the opposite of FREEDOM.

Jerry said...

Did you see his burned up bikini? It's pretty ridiculous.

http://doodiepants.com/2009/12/30/al-qaeda-crotch-bombers-underwear-revealed-ouch/

GPS_Direct said...

@nec Timide - Yes, it certainly seems we are doing more to ourselves. While traveling by road/rail/sea hasn't had this happen, if I'm flying out of the country now in a GA plane, I have to file paperwork to leave. That may not bother some folks, but to me it is shades of the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall... And this TSA threat / subpoena against bloggers doesn't help their case.

@jk - No surgery required. They think the guy in Egypt had the explosives in a condom shoved up his hiney. These fancy body scanners won't see that, and the wiring could be done up in the lav whilst in flight. A sniffer might stand a chance...

@MathFox and Aluwings - I agree that some measure of security is reasonable, and obviously everybody wants to protect their loved ones. Heck, I'm even for protecting somebody else's loved ones. But to expect or try to achieve 100% success against a foe that is willing to kill themselves (sometimes en masse) is a bit far fetched. Life is risky - 647 pax dead from terrorism vs 450,000 automobile deaths (in the US alone) - means we should focus our efforts where?