The following Op-Ed by Rafi Sela, an Israeli airport security consultant, was printed in todays NY Times:
The problem with the Transportation Security Administration is that it is both the regulator and the operator of airport security. In other words, it is required to regulate itself, which cannot work.
The decision to use body scanners is one result of this flawed approach. The fact is, such scanners do not provide more protection and they are invasive.
Israel has a completely different security system. The Israeli regulator (Israel Security Agency) analyzes the threats and vulnerabilities. It then provides guidance to the airports and border crossings on how best to utilize technologies. Therefore Israel is not scanning for liquids, and neither does it have to use body scanners or screen personnel and crew.
American airport security needs a similar strategy. A national security advisory board made of security experts (not only police, F.B.I. and military generals) should define the standards and systems based on an ongoing threat analysis, vulnerability studies and security planning. The majority of the passengers, cargo, workers and crew pose no threat at all, and banned items like water, perfume, toothpaste, nail files and other do not pose any problems if carried by regular passengers.
The current security system in which everyone is a suspect is bound to be ineffective and burdensome. No system can perform efficiently when one is looking for a needle in a haystack by checking each straw individually.
Rafi Sela, president of AR Challenges, is an international transportation security consultant based in Israel.
(Source: NY Times)