Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The TSA's security model

I don't know much about the website this is on, and I don't endorse all that the writer of this piece says, but I do like his overarching analysis. An excerpt:
But the TSA's breast milk and baby follies are a side effect of a law enforcement culture which is less concerned with public safety, than it is with public order. Where public safety works to identify threats, public order concentrates on enforcing the rules. Public safety looks for the wolf in the fold, public order treats everyone like the wolf....
After September 11 everyone knows what the stakes are. There are no more illusions about being taken hostage. Or about obedience equating to survival. But the government's approach to airline security still uses the obedience is survival model. Comply with the authorities and we'll protect you. But everyone knows the authorities can't protect them. Only the people can protect themselves. The TSA attempts to maintain order by imposing absolute control over the environment. But control is an illusion. Every security system has its flaws and given time those weak points will be found and exploited. You can look through people's clothes, but you can't look into their hearts.
The first and final layer of defense is still the people. That was true 10 years ago and it's still true today. But it's an obvious fact that the authorities have done their best to obscure and deny. As flawed as the official model of national security is, it's the only one that they will admit even exists.
Read the rest...