Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Step in the Right Direction

I applaud the president for taking responsibility for the Christmas Day Attack -aka The Boxer Rebellion (he he) - but I fear his proposed changes, absent the ending of a career or two, will simply create more paper shuffling and CYA mentality:

The government will strengthen criteria for putting people on no-fly lists barring them from U.S. aircraft. Authorities will comb databases of people suspected of ties to terrorist organizations and determine whether any of them have U.S. visas. The man accused in the Christmas airliner attack, Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had a visa, even though he had recently been added to a government watchlist.

What was the point of the terror watch list? I heard recently that there might be 500,000 names on the government's terror watch list. 500k isn't a "watch list", its like 50 divisions. If Al Qadea had 500k people they would attempt a conventional combined arms invasion of Egypt, not send some goon to blow up his pants on an airplane.

What I really want is a system to stop somebody from getting on a plane - not a scanner - not a series of questions, but a system whereby a CIA station chief receives a tip - say the name of a foreign national who is reasonably suspected of receiving training in martyrdom operations - and he can quickly - within maybe 1 or two minutes, tops, put out an APB to every entry point to not let someone with the following name, nationality, etc, cross. The technology required to do this is a very sophisticated and expensive piece of technology known as Gmail.

But the level of cooperation between the CIA, DOS and DHS is probably not possible, and the  devolution of authority into the hands of lowly CIA station chiefs (not really a lowly position, but in the mind of some deputy COS in D.C. they are) would cause fits back at both Langley and Foggy Bottom but I believe it is an aspirational goal.

Also, why is a person who is banned from England allowed to enter the U.S.? Anyone barred from entering either the U.K. or E.U. should undergo a extra layer of scrutiny before being allowed entry into the U.S.

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