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By Walt Boyes, Editor in Chief
In his "Unfettered" (http://community.controlglobal.com/unfettered) blog post, "What do 9/11, the Detroit Bomber and ICS Security Have in Common," Joe Weiss makes a really good point: The result of all governments' responses to the Dec. 25 incident on the approach to Detroit's International Airport has been to stir up the anthill, impose more onerous conditions on the innocent travelling public, and fundamentally do nothing to improve security.
I've been calling this Airport Kabuki or Security Theater. I admit to stealing those names, and I can't remember who said them first.
Why do I call it theater? Because the transportation safety regulations since 9/11 ignore the most important things that you ought to do if you really want to improve security: figure out who's most likely to be a threat, isolate that threat, and contain it.
Instead, in the name of civil liberties and political correctness, we've made everybody conform to humiliating and financially debilitating gyrations for airports, airlines and consumers. "Take off your shoes! Take off your belt! Take off your watch! Take out your laptop!" All you have to do is participate in this kabuki play at any airport to know how the population feels about it. It is clearly nonsense, and everybody knows it.
Yet, because we will not recognize, isolate and contain the threat, the young Nigerian man implicated in the Detroit airplane bombing attempt could quite cheaply throw the travel economy of the Western world into a tailspin (pun intended) on Christmas.
So what do we do?
The same is true, as Joe points out, for control system security (functional security). The federal government is doing little to require utilities and other critical infrastructure industries to go beyond simple compliance to standards that are, themselves, weaker than they need to be.
The same is true for functional safety, where, over a year after the deadly coverup and accident at Bayer Cropscience in West Virginia, no one is being held accountable, not for the improper practices that killed two workers, nor for the coverup. Congress had hearings that then went nowhere.
Leadership begins at the top, Mr. Obama. Leadership begins with your insistence that your departments really work together, not just for airport security, but for functional security and functional safety as well. Let FERC have enforcement over all the utilities. Let DHS really do its job.
Stop Security Theater Now!