Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Israel's model

I repeatedly heard a line of argument last fall when the TSA scanner controversy erupted: We should do as the Israeli's do. I think it is naive to expect that if only the right people and/or policies are in place in a government bureaucracy, that everything will be fine. It is the nature of bureaucrats and bureaucracies to be inefficient, ineffective, and power-grubbing.

But... It turns out that Israel's airport did install the scanners last fall. At the same time that people were quoting an Israeli security expert ("That's why we haven't put them in our airport"), Ben Gurion Airport installed and began using the scanners (apparently only as secondary screening).

Last week, the scanners were used to catch a woman smuggling iPhones. Last fall they caught a man smuggling pills. Sounds like Israeli "security" is about enforcing smuggling laws, not about protecting airline passengers from harm.