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Security Theater

 
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jbartas
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Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 133
Location: Cupertino, California, U.S. of A!

PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:33 pm    Post subject: Security Theater Reply with quote

Having just come back from my first plane flight since spring water was declared a WMD , I want to review the concept of "Security Theater".

I even heard this phrase recently from Kip Hawley , who is (at least for now) assistant secretary of "homeland security", commenting on the change of heart about Allowing air passengers to carry disposable lighters. So remember: Water: bad, fire-starting fluids: OK

Wikipedia defines Security Theater as "security measures which have little real influence on security whilst being publicly visible and designed to demonstrate to the lesser-informed that countermeasures have been considered"; "lesser-informed" being a euphemism for "stupid" or maybe "Bush voter".

Fortunately I had read about this before going to the airport. While standing in a long line to have security thespians shred my carry-on bag, it gave me a great topic for conversation with my fellow extras. A suprising number of them were already aligned with my views, and nobody disagreed. The security guards glared at me, but since I'm a clean shaven white man they can't arrest me unless I actually suggest we do something, like storm the x-ray machine and lynch the TSA supervisor.

Credit for this meme seems to go to Bruce Schneier. Thanks, Bruce.

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Last edited by jbartas on Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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KimCooper



Joined: 08 Oct 2005
Posts: 247
Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does make you want to ask them how many actual terrorists they've found that way, but you wouldn't get an honest answer anyway....



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jbartas
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Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 133
Location: Cupertino, California, U.S. of A!

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The deserves an update in the aftermath of the Xmas day 2009 "underpants bomber". Of course this clown waltzed right past the security theater, only to be stopped in the usual way - by alert passengers.

The best serious write-up on this is here:

http://www.papersplease.org/wp/2010/01/08/lessons-from-the-case-of-the-man-who-set-his-underpants-on-fire/

Also, providing some entertainment value for your tax dollars, there's this:

RPT-UPDATE 6-'Explosive' at California airport found to be honey
Tue Jan 5, 2010 9:28pm EST

By Dan Whitcomb and Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Authorities shut down a California airport on Tuesday after a suspicious amber liquid in a passenger's bag tested positive for explosives -- only to ultimately determine that the substance was honey.

Francisco Ramirez, a 31-year-old gardener who had been visiting family in the central California city of Bakersfield, was allowed to return home to Milwaukee.

"The substances in the bottles did turn out to be honey. They tested negative for all explosives and narcotics. It is nothing but honey," FBI spokesman Steve Dupre told Reuters.

The security scare came as jitters gripped the U.S. travel industry in the aftermath of an unsuccessful Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound commercial flight from Amsterdam using explosives smuggled on board.

Meadows Field Airport in Bakersfield, about 100 miles (160 km) north of Los Angeles, was shut down and evacuated for hours and flights diverted after the incident, which began when Ramirez' bag set of an alarm in a luggage-screening machine.

U.S. Transportation and Security administration screeners turned up five Gatorade bottles full of what they called a "suspicious-looking liquid." Swabs of the bag and bottles tested positive for the explosives TNT and TATP.

When the bottles were opened, two of the screeners smelled a strong chemical odor, complained of nausea and were rushed to a local hospital, where they treated and released, Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Michael Whorf said.

Kern County Sheriffs deputies, fire crews, FBI agents and members of a "joint terrorism task force" responded to the scene and spent the day questioning Ramirez before further tests showed that the liquid was honey.

After the all clear was given, officials said they were trying to determine why the honey tested positive for explosives and made the screeners so ill that they would need medical attention.

"There are some questions I think are going to have to be followed up on," Dupre said. He said that Ramirez was "free to go" and would likely be home in Milwaukee by Wednesday.

Ramirez, who Whorf described as "very cooperative," had originally been booked on a flight from Bakersfield to Milwaukee with a connection through San Francisco.

In an unrelated incident halfway across the country on Tuesday, a bomb-sniffing dog detected what was thought to be explosives in a piece of luggage at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, prompting an evacuation of a terminal and delayed flights there.

No explosives were found in the bag. (Editing by Alan Elsner)


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