Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Unclear of the Concept: TSA Retires the Trophy

Posted by MEC on May 14, 2008

WTF

Last year, Congress finally passed a law requiring that air cargo go through a security screening.

So, how is the Transportation Security Administration implementing this law?

By requiring the people who pack the cargo to do the screening.

That’s right. The cargo will be checked for explosives by the people who have the opportunity to put explosives into the cargo. Oh yeah, that’ll work.

How will the companies be screening their employees to make sure none of them is, for example, on the terrorist watch list? And even if the screening ensures that the cargo is safe when it leaves the warehouse, what safeguards are there to keep the cargo from being tampered with while being transported from the manufacturer to the airport?

TSA isn’t alone in being unclear of the concept. Only cargo that’s being shipped on cargo planes must be screened. Cargo being loaded along with luggage onto passenger planes doesn’t have to be screened.

Okay, here’s a thought experiment. You’re a terrorist. You want your act of terrorism to have maximum effect. What target are you going to choose, a plane full of packages or a plane full of people?

It’s enough to make a thinking person think that all the emphasis on Security has some other purpose than keeping people safe.

7 Responses to “Unclear of the Concept: TSA Retires the Trophy”

  1. Stormcrow said

    If you needed any evidence whatsoever that the TSA is run by amateurs and posers and complete hopeless incompetents, there you have it.

    You probably know that until I was laid off in December, I used to do information security work for a bank for more than seven years. A fairly major bank, BTW, in the mortgage lending business, which was why I got laid off. But I digress.

    The VERY FIRST THING this job taught me was the idea of “separation of duties”.

    This was also the VERY FIRST THING that my study in preparation for the CISSP exam told me, when I came to the auditing piece.

    Using the same people to audit a task that you use to perform it is insane on so many levels that I can hardly enumerate them all.

    The “pure security” aspect is one thing. This situation practically sit up and begs for systematic abuse. Which means that when the flat rocks are finally overturned after this imbecilic regime has been on place for a few years, what’s underneath will be stomach-turning.

    Another aspect is the “same set of eyes” problem. Even if your workers have all the integrity you could ask for, you still do not want to have them self-audit, because they’re going to miss things. That’s why you ALWAYS have a separate group do things like code review, for instance, in an IT situation.

    I am becoming increasingly convinced, as we watch the progression of the clown circus that the entire DHS has turned into, that it is so far gone that mere reform is not going to be enough to fix it. We’re going to have to break it up into pieces on the floor and rebuild from scratch.

    It almost goes without saying that anyone and everyone in DHS who was placed in a supervisory capacity during the Bush regime should stand in serious risk of losing their job, one way or another. The odds that they are patronage turkeys are far too great to ignore.

  2. MEC said

    The irony is that this is the same Homeland Security gang who imposed the rule that American citizens can’t get their passports from the same government office where they got a copy of their birth certificate. Because, you know, separation of duty. Can’t give the clerks an opportunity to give some illegal immigrant a phony birth certificate and a passport based on that certificate. Nope. Instead, anybody who acquires a phony birth certificate will just have to mosey along to the next-nearest government office and present it to a clerk who will give them a passport because the clerk won’t have a clue that the birth certificate isn’t valid. All the stupid rule does is inconvenience law-abiding people who live in areas too sparsely populated to have more than one government office.

  3. jo6pac said

    This makes sense to me after all HLS and others were created to stop those that disagree with the King. I’m sure it has nothing to do with bad guys. Oh that’s right that’s me
    jo6pac
    Everything is on schedule, please move along.

  4. Charles said

    Good luck on cleaning out DHS, Stormcrow. Civil service rules apply.

  5. Older said

    No, the problem is not that civil service rules will prevent “cleaning out.” Civil service rules work quite well. The problem here is that civil service rules will not be applied.

  6. MEC said

    I think it will be easy to purge the government agencies of Busheviks. Just set clear and specific standards for work performance and hold them accountable for doing the work as it needs to be done. Then stand clear of the doors so you don’t get trampled when they flee.

  7. Charles II said

    Older, I’m not hostile to the civil service or the rules. They protected James Hansen and other heroes who upheld the truth and the law against the Bushevik’s lawlessness.

    But there’s a long history here. At the end of Bush I, members of the radical right “burrowed into” the civil service. It’s how we ended up with such wonderful personalities as Linda Tripp (though I think she stayed on for venal rather than ideological reasons).

    There has long been a problem with people who are fundamentally hostile to the mission of the agency in which they are serving staying on after the change of Administration. With DHS, I don’t think we can afford that.

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