A continuation of the conversation between the TSA and its critics
BY Anthony Melé, MA, Diplomacy, Conflict Management
The Towers, Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania were crashed into due to multiple failures by the US government, not because of one security guard or a razor blade.
Aviation security can be achieved without the abuse of our Constitutional rights or sensibilities. For instance, not one single of the measures our passengers endure would have stopped any of the 9-11 hijackers.
The traveling public has been unaware that it was the policy of the FAA and U.S. Government that pilots were instructed to cooperate with hijackers. The rash of AMAL/PLO terrorists’ sky-jacking became such an epidemic throughout the 1980’s, T.W.A came to mean: Travel With AMAL.
All a hijacker had to do was threaten to harm someone or say he planted a bomb, and the plane would be diverted to Cuba, Beirut or Entebbe. Al-Qaeda 9-11 planners exploited this policy and that was how they took over these aircraft.
The TSA employee’s have a tough job without question, but it is the policy and techniques that are unquestionably egregious, invasive and in reality, ineffective. Every procedure is a primarily a search for explosives, disguised as something else or laden underneath a person’s clothes or in their shoes. Firearms are countered by armed security personnel in proximity to the screening area.
The reality is a terrorist willing to blow themselves up will do it just as readily on board the aircraft as they would standing on line with literally hundreds of passengers. The TSA employee that is searching routinely for such an explosive device is completely unprepared to cope with it if they find it.
An explosion at the screening area, with hundreds of people present, will have the same debilitating effect on the industry as it would on the plane. The electronic strip search may detect an explosive, but it does nothing to neither deter nor stop it from detonating on the spot.
I personally surveyed Domodeveo Airport outside Moscow, where the terrorist brought their luggage to the arrival area, placed it down, walked away, and detonated it with a cell phone from the safety of their parked car at the drop off area. I participated with a Global Security Group, consisting of security experts from every technical field, which published a white paper, we submitted to the Committee during the “Underwear Bomber” hearings.
They described evasive countermeasures; for instance a pilot captain could take at their own discretion, such as flight controlled turbulence, employing the laws of aero-dynamics, centrifugal forces and power of gravity, that would incapacitate anyone who is not buckled into their seat, until such time they are subdued.
The mutual consensus is it was not the fault of private security that 9-11 happened, nor will replacing them with a programmed, predictable response beauracracy, out-think a thinking enemy. The terrorist plotter’s exploited the policy of cooperation and surrender. The TSA has faced many accusations and criticisms, but they will never be accused of out-smarting a determined, well planned attacker.
Aviation security world wide is achieved by a multi-dimensional approach; intelligence sharing, technology, profiling and a benign interview process employing trade secrets that I will not divulge here.
The U.S. government should not be in the abrogating the Bill of Rights for the illusion of safety business. Responsible and effective, holistic approaches, using trade secret techniques will protect the flying public. Benjamin Franklin warned us; “Those who surrender liberty for security, will have neither.” Such is the case here.
The TSA should be replaced with innovative security professionals without surrendering, liberty nor security.