Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Air security: Opinion on how system worked, other news developments

Any news development, especially one about security and terrorism, that occurs over a holiday period is bound to receive outsized coverage, especially from electronic media. When you have to report and talk (mostly talk) 24 hours a day about something, anything, and little other traditional "news" is happening, we're bound to hear the same information about the underwear bomber repeated over and over, parsed by talking heads with an axe to grind and who may, or may not, know what they're talking about. But we bloggers are part of the equation so I'm doing my part, with the hope that I can add to your knowledge and not be just another member of the chattering class.

Air security: Opinion on how system worked, other news developments

Any news development, especially one about security and terrorism, that occurs over a holiday period is bound to receive outsized coverage, especially from electronic media. When you have to report and talk (mostly talk) 24 hours a day about something, anything, and little other traditional "news" is happening, we're bound to hear the same information about the underwear bomber repeated over and over, parsed by talking heads with an axe to grind and who may, or may not, know what they're talking about. But we bloggers are part of the equation so I'm doing my part, with the hope that I can add to your knowledge and not be just another member of the chattering class.

The most interesting comment I've seen is on a security blog run by Bruce Schneier, an author and consultant who asserts that the airport system that so many have maligned actually worked because it forced the would-be bomber to use an ineffective explosive device. The comment and reaction to it from readers is the third entry on the Schneier on Security blog (as of noon today). The first entry is also very relevant: A long discussion of why the U.S. doesn't use Israel's airline security system.

Today's roundup of other news includes a report of a White House meeting today of all the administration's security officials to discuss plans to prevent another would-be terrorist from attacking us. Up at Newark airport, they're still trying to find the elusive man who apparently entered the "sterile area" (a TSA-airport term, which doesn't mean the same thing as a sterile operating room, for everything past security checkpoints) and then left 20 minutes later, causing a massive disruption. And USA Today has a short piece on what reduced flying by nervous travelers could do to the already beleagured airlines' bottom line. 

Tom Belden
About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

Tom Belden
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