Fighting The Last (Lost) Battle

My sister pointed out a brilliant piece in The New York Times about airport security that I had entirely missed. The argument is that our airport security system is entirely aimed at preventing the last attack, not the next one.

The writer, an airline pilot named Patrick Smith, suggests that the 9/11 hijackers couldn’t carry out the same scheme today because other passengers would stop them. It’s an excellent point. In fact, the fourth plane on 9/11 never reached its target because the people on board found out what had happened to other three.

So why are we so focused on preventing 9/11 from happening again? The simplest logic suggests that terrorists have moved on to other strategies, ones that will catch us by surprise.

Smith writes

Air crimes need to be stopped at the planning stages. By the time a terrorist gets to the airport, chances are it’s too late.

I’ll continue to defend the TSA agents on the ground because I think they’re trying their best to carry out their mission. But that doesn’t mean they have the right mission, or that airport screening should be our main defense against terrorism.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *