Wednesday, January 07, 2004

So, the latest on airline security is that the French are now seeking someone who failed to show up for one of the cancelled flights from Paris to Los Angeles, who is suspected of having al Qaeda ties. Let's hope for everyone's sake that the information is better than for some of the other suspects on the same flights:

One name matching that of the leader of a Tunisian-based terror group turned out to be that of a child. Another "terrorist" was a Welsh insurance agent. Another was an elderly Chinese woman who once ran a restaurant in Paris. The remaining three were French citizens. Extensive interrogations in the presence of officials from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration revealed nothing sinister, French officials said.

Meanwhile, the added security at airports in Mexico is delaying some passengers for days, as obnoxious security drones search the same bags and ask the same questions over and over and over -- and back home, in a much-blogged incident, airport security tried to detain what they evidently viewed as a terrorist pet fish.

Bear in mind that the security panic at the airports is based on information that Dubya's crew deems reliable. That would be the same crew that was happy to start a war based largely on unchecked rumors about weapons of mass destruction, which seem to have been largely false.

And of course, given the finite resources that security services have, all this attention to airports must necessarily come at the cost of reduced scrutiny elsewhere. Which is something an intelligent terrorist might exploit -- if you're building truck bombs and don't want much scrutiny, send all the cops to the airports. I do hope that there isn't an "informant" in a quiet nook somewhere in Northern Pakistan hanging up a satellite phone and laughing his ass off...


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