Dept. of Homeland Security offers troubling reassurance

Friday, March 17, 2006 at 06:08 PM

Is there anything worse than an official addressing a troubling report by offering a reassurance that makes you feel worse?

Check out this response by Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Edmund "Kip" Hawley to the widely reported fact that GAO investigators were able to sneak bomb components past the security checks at all 21 U.S. airports where they tried.

Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Edmund "Kip" Hawley said the GAO testing doesn't take into account the many layers of security that occur before passengers reach the screening checkpoint and once they're through. Among them: checking travelers' names against watch lists; analyzing behavior patterns; making security procedures less predictable; and deploying federal air marshals.

While deeming the report "interesting," Hawley said it is "not at all an evaluation of the entire system. It's a data point on that one particular thing."

So.....What?  I shouldn't worry that investigators were able to get "easily purchased materials that could be assembled into a bomb once past security" on board planes at all 21 airports where they tried because airlines check travelers' names against watch lists?  Because security people analyze behavior patterns?  Because there are air marshals aboard the planes (sometimes, maybe)?

Give me a break.  Would it kill these bureaucrats to admit reality every once in a while, just to give the rest of us some hope that they might actually understand the problem and have a prayer of coming up with a solution?

If GAO investigators could get bomb components past security at all 21 airports, the Dept. of Homeland Security should be embarrassed.  Mortified. Ashamed to show its collective face on the media.

If the Homeland Security spokesperson offers up a reassurance this lame, he should be embarrassed.  Mortified.  Ashamed to show his individual face on the media.  And replaced.  Unless he offered this crap under the orders of his superiors, in which case they should all be replaced, and an investigation immediately launched into how they got appointed in the first place.

Isn't it time to subject Homeland Security to some serious behavior analysis?