You can’t go your own way

Let’s Make a Deal – behind door number one is a no-hassle trip to your airplane, with no guarantee it will be hijacked or bombed. You’ll be flying old school.

Behind door number 2 is a body imager, whereupon your saturated fat bursting self will be viewed in all its unglamorous glory by people you don’t know – there’s even chance your unsexy image will be on YouTube before you are able to get to your plane, have your laptop crushed by the seat back of the insensitive jerk in front of you and the flight attendant gives you your peanut ration. But, your flight probably won’t be hijacked or bombed, that is unless some guy working at the airport, who is able to bypass security, decides to join al Qaeda.

Behind door number 3 is someone you’ve never met asking you intimate details about your travel plans, your personal life, and whether or not you still beat your wife.

Regardless, if you want to fly, you’re not getting out of here without choosing a door

So you choose door number 1, and behind it is a goat. Door number 1 means you’re not flying.

What’s next? If you choose door #2 the electric privacy rights groups will protest that your image is being displayed for all to see. If you choose door #3, the ACLU will protest that your intimate travel plans are “nunya,” as in none ya business.

As the old man in the third installment of Indiana Jones said, “you must choose.”

In a recent USAToday article, the TSA revealed their first major attempt at risk based security. Click here for the article. Whereas passengers have complained about the body imaging devices, now some are complaining about the allegedly intrusive questions that the new TSA assessor program is testing at Boston/Logan. It’s as close a mirror as you can reasonably get to how the Israelis conduct their operation and it’s too early to tell if it’s going to work.

Frankly, if this is done right, it should work. Even special operations personnel and undercover officers will tell you, the last thing you want to do when you’re trying to hide, is talk to someone.

As an upgrade from the TSA’s passive observation program, assessor puts security personnel before the screening process to engage in casual conversation to try to determine if an individual has something to hide. The process itself is time tested (when done correctly). It stopped the bombing of an El Al flight in 1986 out of London/Heathrow; security questioning is still used in airports throughout the European Union, like at the Leonardo DaVinci International Airport in Rome, and was widely used internationally prior to 9/11.

I have an old video clip that shows people being interviewed back in the early 70s, when passenger and carry-on bag screening first started. Back in the day, a plane was just as likely to take a weather delay as it was to get hijacked. We decided we needed to screen passengers for the safety and security of the flight – we used existing technologies and processes at the time. Today, we have another imminent threat and the technologies of the 1970’s are no longer adequate. We need to use the new technologies and processes  – so do you want door number 2 or 3?

If you really object to being questioned about your travel plans, then decide to head for the body imager. Otherwise, if you don’t mind sharing a few travel details, you have the potential to maybe undergo some lesser screening (someday). Regardless, you’re not getting on the plane without one form of screening or another. And frankly, I want you screened if I’m on your flight.

I applaud TSA for putting their money where their mouth is and making an attempt at testing this process to see if a proven technique is really scalable to our aviation system and to see whether it works.

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