Friday, August 12, 2011

Wool pulled over his eyes

Noah Schachtman has a column on Wired that references a subscription-only column in the Wall Street Journal. And it's just plain silly. For example:
Clearly, Schneier had figured out some way of getting into TSA administrator’s head. The man was some kind of Charles Xavier type.
Or maybe — just maybe — Pistole, after a year on the job, was finally feeling comfortable enough at the administration to make the changes he’s been itching to implement from the start.
The first paragraph there is supposed to be obviously ridiculous. It's not that Schneier is telepathic. So is Schachtman then saying that the next paragraph is a likely scenario? Give me a break! If Pistole were not comfortable in the administration, he would have sat back and let the TSA continue on autopilot for awhile. Instead, he actively requested money for more naked scanners from Congress, actively promoted the "enhanced pat-downs" that leave passengers feeling molested, and has repeatedly appeared on TV not-apologizing for one abuse after another.

Furthermore, Pistole's statements that somehow convince Schachtman that things have changed are so much political fluff:
But late last month, at the Aspen Security Forum, TSA chief John Pistole opened his mouth — and Schneier’s words came tumbling out. Pistole said it was high time to “recognize that the vast majority of people traveling every day are not terrorists.” To “try to apply some more common sense to the process,” even.

Forget patting down kids and telling people with top secret security clearances to take off their shoes. “I think we can do a different way of screening children that recognizes that, in the very high likelihood, they do not have a bomb on them,” he said.
Besides, he added, “the best layer of security we have … is intelligence.”
It's buzz words and vague pictures painted. There's no policy change here. But the policy change that Schachtman is swooning over is Trusted Travelers. Who is it that makes the news with respect to TSA mishaps? Old women and children. Are old women and children going to be frequent fliers who are pre-screened by the TSA? No. What this program will serve to do is divide the masses. Frequent fliers will have a relatively nice time at the airport, and will look down on the "whiners" among the infrequent fliers as troublemakers and sore losers. The airlines will stay relatively happy because their biggest customers will be happier, so no need to worry about grandma and little Johnny.

Schachtman - how much were you paid to re-print TSA propaganda? I hope it was worth it!