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Old 01-04-2010, 04:30 PM   #121
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However, there are some people like myself, who are taking full advantage of the cheap prices on offer because of people who are running scared. We figure as long as the going is good with offers by the airlines we will keep going.

The truth is when you number is up there really isn't much you can do about it. You can sit home in your bubble waiting for death to come and tap you on the shoulder or you can get out there and live life to the fullest.

Truthfully I can't believe the drama that some people seem to be making out of this issue. It's not as if most people spend the majority of their day going through TSA checks and airport delays. You do it, it's over with and you get on with life. As soon as you are thru the line off you go with a smile on your face knowing that a new adventure is in front of you.
I think it would be easier to move on with a smile if the "precautions" being taken were in the least bit effective. They could probably do 2 or 3 things that would actually make the flight safer and very few would complain about it. It's the theatrical waste of time that removes the smile.

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Personally rather than TSA developing new procedures to identify the terrorists, I would prefer if they could identify the morons and put them all through one area together - you know the idiots who stand in line then slowly but surely start putting their numerous carry-ons thru. Then they are totally surprised that they have to take off their shoes even though everyone has. And my belt?? And my phone?? And the change out of my pocket?? After 5 attempts of going thru the security detector they seem pissed off and totally unaware of the looks of death other passengers are giving them.
Thus one of the possible effective measures - a "cleared traveller" list, where a person could apply, get checked out, and allowed to bypass the BS. If you don't want to go through the clearance process, then you are choosing to stand in the lines. Of course even then there could be some serious improvements in the cattle herding process.
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:24 PM   #122
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It has gotten to the point that DH & I fly to see the grandchildren, not the other way around. Flying with kids who require car seats and going through boarding hassles make parents think long and hard about air travel.

Frankly the body scanner is no big deal... not nearly as disconcerting as the shower room after gym in high school. I hear that software is being developed to save some poor TSA employee the boredom of watching a screen with bodies of all shapes and sizes pass by. I frankly wouldn't want to be that TSA agent.. the pressure would be awful if they missed something.

I agree with others who say that more emphasis should be put on the person's character. There should be a visa status check against the database and if anything snarky appears the traveler should be issued a polka-dot boarding pass which will send them through a through review of their person and status. Those databases will contain folks with the same or similar names of honorable travelers, it shouldn't take long to determine if there are issues and send the good folks on their way. The fact that the database is huge isn't a problem, what I suspect is that there are so many matches that they fear it would bog down the screening process. In this instance it was possible to attach a US Visa #, and/or traveler passport # which should eliminate the uncertainty. Remember, often immigration does not always stamp a passport, or the traveler has "lost" a passport that shows travel to places that raise red flags and presents a replacement. Examining that paperwork for 8 hours a day for everyone would be a blur but with scanning technology I would think that potential problem traveler documents could be identified.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:12 PM   #123
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I'm seeing Asian fares to HKG for $600, very tempting to just grab and go. Work out the details when I get there.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:36 PM   #124
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I received by E-mail today a funny joke about a teacher boarding an airplane being arrested. His alleged crime: Sneaking aboard a protractor, slide rule, compass, etc... which have been declared "weapons of math instruction". I thought that was pretty funny. The joke then proceeded to make fun of the current administration.

I decided to search this forum for that joke before sharing it. I was about to cut out the political part to avoid raising a ruckus; I do not want a good joke to go to waste.

Well, as it turned out, I was the last one to get this joke. If you are like me, see Weapons of Math Instruction.

It goes to show something never changes. The guys in charge always get blamed for everything.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:53 PM   #125
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Yes, when I was a kid there was a saying to the effect "Those who DO something are always the target of those who DON'T DO anything".

It is our education system, or our culture, that makes our citizens suckers for marketing yahoos? They have the same sophistication as the folks who are sucked into cults.
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:33 PM   #126
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I like the idea of a "Cleared Traveler Card". Put in your number when booking and get a "Bypass Security" card.

How about a ticket with a barcode that has information like "frequent business traveler" or "this person has travel to Yemen terrorist camps several times" so that the TSA weenie can do his/her Barney Fife routine on the right travelers?

But TSA is totally focused on reactionary methods. If someone tries to ram their head through the airplane's window, I can just see TSA's response. "Every passenger will be required to wear a foam helmet." TSA is very much like the Wizard of Oz.
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:45 PM   #127
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How about a ticket with a barcode that has information like "frequent business traveler" or "this person has travel to Yemen terrorist camps several times" so that the TSA weenie can do his/her Barney Fife routine on the right travelers?
There's a little of this going on now. I've been subjected to "special attention" just for traveling on a one-way ticket.

Hey, I was among those saying it was probably silly for security folks to be applying special attention to those who buy their tickets with cash or who buy one-way tickets. After all, if a person is going to kill himself and invested a bunch of time and effort in planning, why wouldn't they take the extra step of simply buying a RT ticket and paying with a card? And yet, here we have a guy reportedly backed by Al Qaeda who bought a one-way ticket, with cash, and didn't check any bags. So, he should have gotten a little extra attention. I guess we shouldn't come down too hard on TSA for checking the simple (but easily overcome) things, as these extremists are not necessarily very astute. If they were, they wouldn't be toasting their genitals.
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:35 PM   #128
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There's a little of this going on now. I've been subjected to "special attention" just for traveling on a one-way ticket.

Hey, I was among those saying it was probably silly for security folks to be applying special attention to those who buy their tickets with cash or who buy one-way tickets. After all, if a person is going to kill himself and invested a bunch of planning, why wouldn't they take the extra step of simply buying a RT ticket and paying with a card? And yet, here we have a guy reportedly backed by Al Qaeda who bought a one-way ticket, with cash, and didn't check any bags. So, he should have gotten a little extra attention. I guess we shouldn't come down too hard on TSA for checking the simple (but easily overcome) things, as these extremists are not necessarily very astute. If they were, they wouldn't be toasting their genitals.
Except, of course, they didn't catch him. So, they have some procedures in place that could work, but don't because of poor execution. Is it a valid response to then implement more (but less effective) procedures that will undoubtedly result in even less attention being paid to the possibly effective ones? I don't think so. They should kick the @sses of whoever fell down on the job (intelligence agencies in this case), clarify their decent procedures, drop the stupid ones, and possibly secure air travel. IMO.
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:30 PM   #129
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Except, of course, they didn't catch him.
Except, of course, he didn't pass through TSA screening, right? He boarded the flight to the US in Amsterdam. Unless by "they" you're referring to all security officials worldwide.

But I agree with your basic point--we should be concentrating on the folks who appear to pose the greatest threat, and that should be an informed judgment based on all available info (not just previous travels, behavioral cues, and gender--but not excluding those factors, either).

But these are all short-term defensive things. The only effective long-term answer is to defeat the ideology. After all, Marxists, Maoists, Baptists, mainstream Muslims, and atheists aren't blowing up themselves and these airplanes.
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:46 PM   #130
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I agree that we should defeat the ideology but there will always be "Jones Town" folks out there who would feed poison to their children for the sake of their spiritual leader. We need to cut off the head of the snakes who use their adherents as weapons of mass destruction. Notice that none of the leaders send their own sons on suicide missions.

So long as this theology is projected at us we need to make efforts to protect ourselves. I think we should re-screen all international passengers before they board an aircraft destined to the USA.
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:53 PM   #131
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If they were, they wouldn't be toasting their genitals.
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Notice that none of the leaders send their own sons on suicide missions.

So long as this theology is projected at us we need to make efforts to protect ourselves. I think we should re-screen all international passengers before they board an aircraft destined to the USA.
I really think that heavily publicizing "Flaming delicate parts" would make sacrificing one's life for the cause a lot less attractive to the young males of the world!

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Old 01-05-2010, 08:53 PM   #132
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But I agree with your basic point--we should be concentrating on the folks who appear to pose the greatest threat, and that should be an informed judgment based on all available info (not just previous travels, behavioral cues, and gender--but not excluding those factors, either).
And we should probably pay special attention to the ones who's fathers call to rat them out.

Edit: And by the way, Sam, you're right. It wasn't the TSA who was doing the screening. Although Schipol is supposed to be one of the most secure airports in the world, it appears Mutallab wasn't rescreened there after boarding in Nigeria. So without blaming the TSA for this breakdown, I'm still not sure how the new restrictions are going to improve security.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:19 PM   #133
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I like the idea of a "Cleared Traveler Card". Put in your number when booking and get a "Bypass Security" card.

How about a ticket with a barcode that has information like "frequent business traveler" or "this person has travel to Yemen terrorist camps several times" so that the TSA weenie can do his/her Barney Fife routine on the right travelers?

But TSA is totally focused on reactionary methods. If someone tries to ram their head through the airplane's window, I can just see TSA's response. "Every passenger will be required to wear a foam helmet." TSA is very much like the Wizard of Oz.
I already have to register on-line before boarding a flight to the US. Given that I also have to apply for a visa when I arrive, I have always assumed that the submission of information on-line before departure was for security purposes

On my list trip to the US, I had to go through pre-boarding security checks for eight flights. I was pulled aside for a pat down five times. (The two colleagues I was travelling with were never given a pat down.) This has never happened anywhere else.
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:42 PM   #134
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If the likes of me can piece together in a minute ways to end run screening by entering the system at a weak spot then I think the entire boarding process should be re-designed for multi-leg international flights.

Maybe we should have a system where all are required to obtain a visa/'search of person' for air travel to the US unless they have gone through a 'trusted traveler' background check.

There are all kinds of ways to get the word out about the injuries suffered by this fellow. I don't think it should have the imprint of the USGov as it would be treated as yet another insult to their sensibilities. Sometimes what is not said carries the message in large print.

I am perplexed about the position that the perp should be held as an enemy combatant not tried in criminal court. That would imply that when the 'war' is over he should be repatriated. Our criminal laws will put the perp in prison for life without the posibility of parole, the appropriate penalty.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:05 AM   #135
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I am perplexed about the position that the perp should be held as an enemy combatant not tried in criminal court. That would imply that when the 'war' is over he should be repatriated.
Ah, but there's no authority/command structure which can authoritatively surrender to us in this fight, so he could be held a long time. And he'd be an unlawful combatant (no uniform or identifying insignia) caught engaging in an attack that is against many existing conventions (a civilian airliner). So, he could still be tried (within the military system) and repatriated after serving his sentence. Which would be a long time hence.

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Our criminal laws will put the perp in prison for life without the possibility of parole, the appropriate penalty.
Maybe. Eventually. But he has lawyered up, and they are already writing subpoenas for all kinds of government material. He's comfortable (well, as comfortable as possible given his self-mutilation). I'd much rather that he be uncomfortable, isolated from any support or friendly faces, and in fear for his life, crying like a schoolgirl and telling everything about his trainers, handlers, people who provided his logistics, etc. That information would have been really handy if provided right away, so maybe the right folks could act on it before all the roaches in the support network had crawled back under their rocks.

Treating this conflict as a law enforcement problem has been tried.

It is unclear how we have gotten to a stage where a non-US citizen caught trying to kill hundreds of Americans at the behest of a foreign organization is protected by the rights afforded to US citizens by the Constitution. This guy deserves humane treatment--nothing more.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:12 AM   #136
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I am perplexed about the position that the perp should be held as an enemy combatant not tried in criminal court. That would imply that when the 'war' is over he should be repatriated. Our criminal laws will put the perp in prison for life without the posibility of parole, the appropriate penalty.
At this point, if all if the Islamic extremist got together and agreed that were all going to live in one country like Yemen, Sudan, Afghanistan. And they further agreed that as long as we kept modernity (internet, bikinis, democracy, jet airplanes etc etc) out of their country, they'd keep suicide bombers out of the rest of the world, I'd be perfectly happy to ship back their Jihadist wannabe martyrs, like the jockstrap bomber.


This isn't going to happen in my lifetime so it is a moot point. But conceptually I think is better for us to think of these people as enemy soldier/spies rather than criminals.
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:32 AM   #137
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Interesting where this thread has sinuated. So I will go one step beyond the actual TSA/airport security and say this; Our security structure is riddled with incompetence from head to toe. Just read this, and granted it is 3 years old and Kip Hawley has since moved on to run Toys R Us (kidding), but just listen to his thinking. He had no business in that position.

http://www.schneier.com/interview-hawley.html

I particularly like the part where they discuss the fact that the liquids that are confiscated are tossed into a bin just beside all the TSA agents, proving that not a single TSA "really" thinks they might be explosives. So TSA is not confiscating them because they might be explosives, but simple because they made a stupid rule.

And the fact that, if all the TSA is going to do with large bottles of liquid is to confiscate them, then all a terrorist has to do is keep trying till they finally get thru with one. He/she gets in no trouble, just loses a bomb or two.

The article is scary for the fact that Kip Hawley is oblivious to the fact that he is incompetent. And his condescending opinion that "terrorist are in fact not very smart.". I hate to contradict him but the terrorists are PhD compared to him.

A really smart Homeland Security Chief would hire an all Israeli team to run the organization. We'd be much safer and less jerked around.
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:31 AM   #138
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Also, explain the rationale for concentrating on international flights. A terrorist could fly into this country with no explosives, pick some up here, then board a flight from Cleveland to Dallas. That's only slightly more difficult than getting your explosives in Yemen.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:06 AM   #139
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The TSA feels like all puff and no substance. If they were serious about the task at hand would they not be employing staff that look as if they could do the job instead of having a band of employees who look like they were the last ones selected for the softball team.

My experience of TSA at San Diego on a domestic flight. I was not allowed to take a Starbucks coffee through to the boarding lounge, had to throw it out. Person in front of me was flight crew for Southwest, had a large 1 litre bottle of water strapped to her luggage there for all to see. TSA drone asked her if she was flight crew to which she responded yes, so was allowed to take it thru. So I guess being flight crew automatically rules out the possibility of collusion with any terrorist group. I was going to write a letter of complaint but figured if I did I would end up on the **** list and subject to full cavity search each time I flew.

As trainee-investor mentions, us foreigners are made to give all our details before we hope on the flight. Homeland Security can not pass the buck on this one as they knew this guy was on the flight. Who is to say that the TSA checks would have found him anyway.

My husband used to fly a lot for work, many of the trips made at the last moment. Every flight he was flagged for searching, even though there was a consistent pattern of travel, with luggage, on return tickets purchased through a travel agent with a mega corp employer. The time they wasted checking him each and every time perhaps could have been spent actually looking at other more suspicious passengers.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:32 PM   #140
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So, if we all see the flaws in the system, why doesn't TSA?

And T-Al , exactly right! Why target incoming flights? I'm sure that there are quite a few terrorists living in the US who can find one stick of dynamite. All it takes! Don't want to get too graphic but one can imagine how that might be hidden during the security process and extracted once in the bathroom area.

The terrorists have got to be loving this last one. A young guy with a lust for glory burns off his terrorist maker, and the US President is being condemned by the American public, he in turn is publicly torching the CIA, people are calling for heads to roll.

Terrorists could not have hoped for a better outcome.
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