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Sunday, January 10, 2010

WSJ Pieces, post #1

ACJ3 write:

"I am looking forward to reading your bogging analysis/comments on the two pieces in today's (p. W3) Wall Street Journal!"

undressing the terror threat: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704130904574644651587677752.html
crunching the risk numbers: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703481004574646963713065116.html

I'll be more thoughtful later (and more long winded). Here's a couple of quick thoughts.

First, here's a Daily Show clip from 2006, predicting the underwear bomber:
the point being that attacks like this are hardly a surprise.

Second, I heard Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, live on Meet the Press two days later. Listening to her live, she seemed lost and confused. She was a governor; did she never do a press conference? Did she really think she could contend that the system worked, when the main thing that happened was that the bomb didn't get set up correctly?

Third, One could almost suspect the terrorists of intentionally giving the guy a bogus bomb. Because of this, we are likely to institute the further indignity of full-body scans.  If the bomb had worked and the airliner had exploded, we might not have had a clear idea who had what type of bomb where [on their person, in their carry-on luggage, in checked luggage, in cargo, in the catering carts] and might have responded in a less knee-jerk manner.

Fourth, the TSA is not above doing things oddly -- checking the front door heavily while the back door is unlocked.  I remember boarding the SS Badger ferry to cross Lake Michigan as a bicycle tourist. They very carefully checked the few bicycle tourists. We were not allowed to take some of our stuff (items like Swiss army knifes and similar tools). While that sounds reasonable, I would note that this is a car ferry. Nearly every car on the ferry would have many gallons of explosives in the form of gasoline, with many places to hide detonators for that gasoline.

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