Friday, February 8, 2008

The one where I crow a little bit because I beat the Washington Post to this by almost three months

Remember all those heady promises of increased airline security so something like the attacks of September 11 could never happen again?

Technology was going to save us! Technology would provide sniffer machines that would detect explosives and biometric data collection systems would be a able to detect a terrorist by his shifty eyes.

Well...Been to the airport lately? Going on seven years after September 11 and what changes have been made? Lets see - I have to take off my shoes. My shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste are treated as weapons-grade materials, and my three year old granddaughter is likely on a terrorist watch list now because of the fit she threw when they took her sippy cup.

Yet GAO investigators had no problem getting real bomb making components past various incarnations of Roscoe P. Coltrain and his deputy Enos.

(Yes, we were three months ahead of the Washington Post - they are reporting today on the findings of a GAO report we read in November.)

The sluggish pace of technological innovation and deployment has left holes in checkpoint security that could easily be exploited by terrorists, according to government officials and outside experts. Congressional investigators reported last year that they were able to smuggle bomb components through checkpoints despite new security measures. Other investigative reports questioned the government's efforts to get emerging technology into the field.

"The snail's pace of deploying new technology is unacceptable," said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "We remain vulnerable because we have not kept up with technological innovation."

The TSA in coming months is expected to begin the government's first substantial investment in new checkpoint security technology since the 1970s, according to officials at the TSA, which plans to spend about $250 million on new devices, up from about $89 million last fiscal year. The machines include upgraded X-ray equipment that will provide multiple views of bags and hand-held scanners that can detect liquid explosives in bottles after they are identified by screeners.

The machines my luggage passed through was the same vintage 70's equipment that was screening luggage on September 10, 2001.

So what happened? Why haven't these wonderful technological advances materialized? Well, the government says that private investment has been anemic and the private sector says the government hasn't done it's part to foster investment.

I get frustrated with such maddening petulance. Sometimes you just suck it up and do what's right - or that's how it's supposed to be. But in America 2.0, Beta it doesn't work that way. Nowadays, the mantra is "Fuck you if I can't make a buck!"

Is anyone else just worn out with this shit? I sure as hell am. I'm so god-damned sick of fucked-up priorities and wrong-headed, selfish behavior that it's all I can do to keep from banging my head on the desk out of the sheer frustration of it all.

Can we have the grown ups back in charge please? I don't like this "Lord of the Flies" reality these juvenile nitwits have created.