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Airport security and body scanners – a new paradigm?
During the past seven years, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has taken the position that it knows how to best create the safety and security standards necessary to secure airports across the United States.
So, what could possibly be wrong?
TSA was started by Admiral James Loy, who later admitted that building the TSA was primarily a political stunt to make people believe that flying was safe. Since then, no one has taken the time or taken on the challenge to form a more adequate national transportation security system; more specifically, to actually build a regulatory set of rules to protect the nation’s transportation.
Each TSA Administrator who followed Loy took his system and built upon it. That has led to the destruction of the aviation business, made air travel a nightmare for passengers and crew, and ruined the infrastructure of the terminals at the airports. While doing so, the government has not protected the public interest. Instead, it is left to running around after incidences occur trying to fix the “holes” in the system.
Simple notions like checking people, and not their luggage, were pushed aside for democratic reasons. I am not sure that any security expert who knows how to treat democracy in security.
Instead of building a transportation security system that is based on solid security fundamentals, the TSA has chosen to force people to wait hours in line for a fundamentally useless security screening that only lets people believe they are secure, without making it so.
This is not airport security, and it represents only a half-hearted means through which to try to enforce aviation security.
Unless someone is willing to take the reins of leadership and get politics out of securing America’s aviation industry -- in addition to finding more efficient ways in which the system can be rebuilt, without wasting billions of taxpayers’ dollars -- there will be no security to talk about.
The unfortunate aspect of this all, is that top-of-the-line systems and technologies have been consistently offered to the TSA, which has chosen to ignore them.
Without going into specific promotions of these systems, I can state that there are solutions for US-VISIT, TWIC and airport security that will bring both efficiency and good old-fashioned fun back to flying again. And it can be done with minimal funding effort and with better technology.
The body scanners are an example of this paradigm. They do not solve the whole threat, only a part of it. Such systems make lines longer and no one really knows yet if the radiation emitted is safe.
So, why should the flying public be subjected to the negative ramifications of this problem, a problem could have been solved for about 10 percent of the cost of those recently purchased and deployed scanners?
Unless someone wakes up soon, America will head for another major disaster in aviation or airport terrorism.
Rafi Sela is the president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consulting organization. He served as a senior ordnance officer in the Israel Defense Forces. Sela can be reached at: