Monday, August 29, 2011

Has the TSA made us safer?

A friend asked me the other day if I knew of any evidence to show that the TSA has not stopped any terrorist attacks despite their overzealous intrusions into the privacy of innocent travelers. Of course there is: if the TSA actually stopped an attack, they would issue a press release and the media would parrot the press release for days on end.

My proof is based on the behavior of the TSA and media in the past year. This month, the TSA finished its trial of the cartoon-image software upgrade for the naked scanners and started installing them at airports around the country. I get a Google News alert of all things related to naked scanners and I can say that daily - or more frequently - there is an article on a local news website touting the software upgrade that is forthcoming at a specific local airport. These articles are more or less verbatim, with changes to the airport location and passenger interviews (if any). Moreover, the software upgrade has been the top story on the TSA homepage.

Contrast this to things that may reflect badly on the TSA. For example, the media never has information in advance about the schedule for installation of new naked scanners at a particular local airport. There are only fuzzy details like (paraphrasing) "airport administrators do not know when the scanners will be installed," or "officials state that scanners will (or will not) be installed before the end of the year." Yet, somehow, magically, the media knows exactly which airports are getting the software upgrade and when. It is abundantly clear that the TSA is sending local media outlets press releases with this information.

So, do you really think that the TSA would keep a foiled terrorist plot under wraps? Of course not!

What we do know, however, is that the TSA has helped catch non-terrorist "criminals."  This presumably includes the arrest of Kurtis Blow, Montel Williams, and MeMpHiTz, all for minor drug or weapons charges.

We also know that virtually all of the terrorist plots since 9/11 have been hatched and encouraged by the FBI itself. And, yet, when they "catch" one of the poor saps that they entrap, it is all over the news. The media certainly does its job as favorite government mouthpiece!