Cravaack’s Office Says New Airport Security Rules For Military Shouldn’t Mean Reduced Screening

Carlton Purvis

But other than the fact sheet, Cravaack’s office didn’t have many recommendations on how TSA should alternatively screen military members or assess the risk level of individual travelers.

Bars said Atwater’s incident is an example of TSA’s existing layered security process and that any alternative screening processes would have to be comparable. The elimination of pat downs for military members and their families wouldn’t exempt travelers from full body scanners, for example.

The law gives TSA 180 days to come up with a plan.

In November TSA began a pilot program at the Monterrey Regional Airport using military ID cards to streamline security screenings for military personnel. The pilot tested the technology necessary to verify the status of U.S. service members. There was no change in physical screening. There is also the possibility that Armed Forces members will be incorporated into TSA's trusted traveler program.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the United States House Committee on Homeland Security, released a statement congratulating passage of the bill, despite saying the military was being infiltrated by terrorists just one month earlier.

The likelihood of an attack by a “trusted insider” or member of the military is an emerging threat as terrorists continue to infiltrate the United States Armed Forces, King said at a Dec. 7 Committee on Homeland Security hearing.

photo: U.S. Army


Screening for Military

The fact that screeners found the smoke grenade but missed the C4 speaks volumes. It's also relevant that the C4 was packed in carry-on luggage with no apparent attempt to conceal. Screening is not going to detect an explosive device broken into component parts. It's not going to detect PETN in a body cavity. Full body scanners are not going to detect plastic explosives disguised as a body contour. The USA is throwing 8 billion dollars a year at the TSA -- money much more wisely spent on intelligence, law enforcement, and disaster response. And all this to counter a threat that very nearly approaches zero by any rational measure. Whatever rationale that exists for airport screening applies equally to shopping malls, sporting events, subways, buses, and tunnels. Are we going to bring the country to a standstill by strip-searching rail commuters? TSA  was thrown together in a blind panic by Congress one month after 9/11 and, as GAO consistently points out, there is virtually no "rigor" to their obsessive approach to "security." I'd add that the checkpoint itself is a target-rich environment for a suicide bomber or shooter. As Bruce Scnheier has pointed out, exactly two things have made us safer post-9/11: hardened cockpits and the willingness of passengers to fight back. You know, other countries, notably UK, have sustained horrendous assaults on their public transit system and their response was to be vigilant, track down the terrorists (in that case IRA) and, above all, to carry on

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