Flysikkerhet?

I USA har det nylig lekket en rapport fra Transportation Security Administration (TSA) som viser at de nå utfører mye strengere testing av sikkerhetskontrollene på flyplasser enn før:

When covert agents test how well airport security screeners find homemade bombs, they pack a detonator, timer and battery inside a cluttered toilet kit, stuff it into a suitcase and carry it through a checkpoint.

Agents also hide fake sheet explosives in briefcase linings. They stash watch timers inside hollowed-out books. They cram detonators in back braces and smear plastic explosives on shoelaces.

The Transportation Security Administration’s special operations division devised the testing to raise the stakes for airport screeners and test whether they can spot bomb parts hidden as a terrorist might try to get them on an airplane, according to a classified TSA report obtained by USA TODAY.

The testing in the past year is far harder than it was before and shortly after the TSA took over airport security in 2002, agency spokeswoman Ellen Howe said. In earlier tests, covert agents would put a gun or a large assembled bomb in an otherwise-empty briefcase, she said.

Nå har jeg lenge ment at de strenge kontrollene på flyplasser i stor grad bare er myndighetenes forsøk på å berolige oss passasjerer, uten at det har noen betydelig reell effekt. Hvis noen vil sprenge eller kapre et fly, vil de alltid klare å få sneket inn et våpen eller eksplosiver. Det siste årets ekstra forbud mot flasker og beholdere som kan romme mer enn noen centiliter væske, er vel kanskje toppen av idioti, spesielt når eksperter strides om denne metoden for å lage eksplosiver på flyet er praktisk gjennomførbar i det hele tatt.


Men la oss se hva TSA sine tester viser. Hvor god er egentlig kontrollen av håndbaggasje?

Howe said the increased difficulty explains why screeners at Los Angeles and Chicago O’Hare airports failed to find more than 60% of fake explosives that TSA agents tried to get through checkpoints last year.

The failure rates — about 75% at Los Angeles and 60% at O’Hare — are higher than some tests of screeners a few years ago and equivalent to other previous tests.

Yup, 3 av 4 terrorister ville klart å komme gjennom kontrollen med eksplosiver hvis de ønsket det. Jeg er ganske sikker på at terroristene er fullt klar over dette, og konklusjonen må derfor bli at viljen til å drive denne form for terror er forsvinnende liten og ingen reell trussel i vårt samfunn, kontroller eller ingen kontroller. Det eneste disse kontrollene hindrer er nok noen psykopater som vil sprenge seg selv og flyet for å hevne seg på kjæresten som har gått fra dem (“nå kan du se hva du forårsaket, bitch!”), men oppegående terrorister med store ressurser vil lykkes i sitt mål uansett. Heldigvis ser det ikke ut til at det er så alt for attraktivt å sprenge seg selv på fly lengre. Og husk, hvis terrortrusselene virkelig var så stor som myndighetene vil ha oss til å tro, så kunne terrorister sprengt seg selv på tog, busser og båter hver eneste dag, fordi her er ingen kontroll i det hele tatt!

Men TSA-testene er litt merkelige. Hør hva de gjør:

At San Diego International Airport, tests are run by passengers whom local TSA managers ask to carry a fake bomb, said screener Cris Soulia, an official in a screeners union. “It’s nobody we would ever expect,” Soulia said.

Som Bruce Schneier påpeker:

Someone please tell me this doesn’t actually happen. “Hi Mr. Passenger. I’m a TSA manager. You know I’m not lying to you because of this official-looking laminated badge I have. We need you to help us test airport security. Here’s a ‘fake’ bomb that we’d like you to carry through security in your luggage. Another TSA manager will, um, meet you at your destination. Give the fake bomb to him when you land. And, by the way, what’s your mother’s maiden name?”

How in the world is this a good idea? And how hard is it to dress real TSA managers up like vacationers?

Jeg vil konkludere med å sitere Schneier igjen:

But you’re playing a game you can’t win. You ban guns and bombs, so the terrorists use box cutters. You ban small blades and knitting needles, and they hide explosives in their shoes. You screen shoes, so they invent a liquid explosive. You restrict liquids, and they’re going to do something else. The terrorists are going to look at what you’re confiscating, and they’re going to design a plot to bypass your security.

Og:

We need to defend against the broad threat of terrorism, not against specific movie plots. Security is most effective when it doesn’t make arbitrary assumptions about the next terrorist act. We need to spend more money on intelligence and investigation: identifying the terrorists themselves, cutting off their funding, and stopping them regardless of what their plans are. We need to spend more money on emergency response: lessening the impact of a terrorist attack, regardless of what it is. And we need to face the geopolitical consequences of our foreign policy and how it helps or hinders terrorism.