January 31, 2005

Schneier reports on DHS committee - hope for Open Governance yet

Even though under NDA, Bruce Schneier reports on on his committee work with DHS' new terrorist / passenger matching system but he "can't give us the details" says Adam. Right. But he's stressed the important points, such as the system being ill conceived, so maybe internal advice can be compatible with open governance.

Especially, "Money spent on security measures that only work against a particular terrorist tactic, forgetting that terrorists are adaptable, is largely wasted." One can't stress enough that terrorists like fraudsters are actually thinking people who ponder our defences. Which brings me to a terrorism question that I have pondered somewhat and never been fully able to answer. It's a hypothetical question, but those who are afraid of controversy or are sensitive to politics should look away now.

If you were bin Laden, would you target the airlines in much the same way as last time, or would you target something different? Assume that both targets are equally costly to attack (that is, for all DHS' efforts, doing an airplane hit is just as costly as before)?

Terrorists / guerillas concentrate on targets of mass morale value. They cannot defeat their enemy on his ground, so they have to sap the will of the people. I think the question swings on whether hitting the same target as last time achieves more angst than switching to another target. What is worse, the feeling that we can't even defend ourselves when we know where they'll attack? Or that they can attack us anywhere, with impunity?

You can look back now. As I say, it's something I can't quite work out.

Posted by iang at January 31, 2005 09:04 PM | TrackBack

Well, if we had the same quality law enforcement they would give the President a week of briefs saying "They are going to do X with Y."

That is, the people who are paid to watch out for insane attackes knew this was coming. There could have been a coordinated thoughful response including arming airline pilots (many of whom have military training) or increasing security or making cockpit doors stronger.

Instead oon at least one briefing Bush and his powerful donors were watching Barney the dog dig holes in the ranch on vacation. Then helpfully he read "My Pet Goat" for seven minutes after the attack.

Our weakness was not the creative brilliant intellligence of our attackers.


Posted by: Jean Camp at February 9, 2005 12:19 AM
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