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coxta Jul 30, 07 10:05 am

Schneier on Security
Bruce Schneier publishes the first of a five-part interview with TSA Director, Kip Hawley.

"Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist and author. Described by The Economist as a "security guru," Schneier is best known as a refreshingly candid and lucid security critic and commentator. When people want to know how security really works, they turn to Schneier."

From the interview:

Bruce Schneier: By today's rules, I can carry on liquids in quantities of three ounces or less, unless they're in larger bottles. But I can carry on multiple three-ounce bottles. Or a single larger bottle with a non-prescription medicine label, like contact lens fluid. It all has to fit inside a one-quart plastic bag, except for that large bottle of contact lens fluid. And if you confiscate my liquids, you're going to toss them into a large pile right next to the screening station -- which you would never do if anyone thought they were actually dangerous.

Can you please convince me there's not an Office for Annoying Air Travelers making this sort of stuff up?
If you enjoy the opening tone, then read the full first installment.

Loren Pechtel Jul 30, 07 11:10 am

He needs to change his name!

Note the body of the interview--his words are labeled "BS"!

griffinj Jul 30, 07 11:46 am

Am I missing something, or does he more or less admit in this statement that the whole liquid thing is baseless is just theater?

I often read blog posts about how someone could just take all their three-ounce bottles -- or take bottles from others on the plane -- and combine them into a larger container to make a bomb. I can't get into the specifics, but our explosives research shows this is not a viable option.

Flaflyer Jul 30, 07 12:04 pm

Quote of the Day
Kip tells the truth, finally.

Is is just me or would this make a great read on a t shirt or on a Kips Kwart Ziplock Freedom Baggie? It is after all a real quote from the Boss, who appears to be referring to FT in the last part. Wonder if he reads here? (Hi Kip) :D

Kip Hawley: "Screening ideas are indeed thought up by the Office for Annoying Air Travelers and vetted through the Directorate for Confusion and Complexity, and then we review them to insure that there are sufficient unintended irritating consequences so that the blogosphere is constantly fueled."

ph-ndr Jul 30, 07 12:24 pm

In addition to the frequent flyers ranting here you may want to check the talk about the same topic, on, home to Bruce's "home crowd", the nerds. :)

In fact a loot of the topics related to rights on would probably ring a tone with the right concious people in here.

For those not having read debates on /. before, proceed as follows: a) let topic simmer for 12-24 hours, b) mod discussion to level 4 or 5 and get a good few reads out of it.


coxta Jul 30, 07 2:33 pm

/. may be his crowd, but they were late to the punch posting it.

To his defense, he can't share all the information, but his presentation, number-wise is so very soft. It's for them to know, and for us to guess.

DL4EVR Jul 30, 07 2:41 pm

If a TSO finds you or the contents of your bag suspicious, you might get interviewed and/or have your bags more closely examined. If the TSO throws your liquids in the trash, they don't find you a threat.
Um ok Kippy...if they don't find you to be a threat then why can't you take the liquids on the plane?? Wow...what a stupid statement. :td:

Superguy Jul 30, 07 3:04 pm

Originally Posted by DL4EVR (Post 8145140)
Um ok Kippy...if they don't find you to be a threat then why can't you take the liquids on the plane?? Wow...what a stupid statement. :td:

Just more evidence to prove that ...

Kip Hawley is an Idiot.

vassilipan Jul 30, 07 8:27 pm

Assuming the posters commenting on the article are not regulars on FT :p, there are a whole lot of people out there who see through the smoke and mirrors.

Superguy Jul 30, 07 9:00 pm

I can tell Spiff hasn't posted on there yet. :D

flyinbob Jul 30, 07 9:15 pm

Originally Posted by Superguy (Post 8145277)
Just more evidence to prove that ...

Kip Hawley is an Idiot.

This thread absolutely needs it...

"Kippie, you're doin' a heck of a job..." :rolleyes:

coxta Jul 31, 07 11:12 am

And just like the gladiator movies I watched every Saturday as a kid, here is the next installment:

BS: When can we keep our shoes on?

KH: Any time after you clear security. Sorry, Bruce, I don't like it either, but this is not just something leftover from 2002. It is a real, current concern. We're looking at shoe scanners and ways of using millimeter wave and/or backscatter to get there, but until the technology catches up to the risk, the shoes have to go in the bin.

BS: This feels so much like "cover your xxx" security: you're screening our shoes because everyone knows Richard Reid hid explosives in them, and you'll be raked over the coals if that particular plot ever happens again. But there are literally thousands of possible plots.

So when does it end? The terrorists invented a particular tactic, and you're defending against it. But you're playing a game you can't win. You ban guns and bombs, so the terrorists use box cutters. You ban small blades and knitting needles, and they hide explosives in their shoes. You screen shoes, so they invent a liquid explosive. You restrict liquids, and they're going to do something else. The terrorists are going to look at what you're confiscating, and they're going to design a plot to bypass your security.

That's the real lesson of the liquid bombers. Assuming you're right and the explosive was real, it was an explosive that none of the security measures at the time would have detected. So why play this slow game of whittling down what people can bring onto airplanes? When do you say: "Enough. It's not about the details of the tactic; it's about the broad threat"?

DL4EVR Jul 31, 07 11:46 am

The last comment says a lot ^

Just as there hasn't been a second 9/11 in the six years that have passed, there wasn't an attack in the six years prior. Would Kip claim that between 1995 and 2001 we were just lucky? Or there was no threat? Or the existing security, apart from cockpit doors, was sufficient?

doober Jul 31, 07 12:14 pm

I really liked this response by an anonymous poster (emphasis mine):

While Kip Hawley has, by now, revealed himself as a true believer, more or less immune to rational argument, I still have a modicum of faith in the traveling public. The last time I traveled by air (and I no longer travel by air to any destination that I can reach in a day's drive, because even the shortest trip by air now requires about 8 hours) I printed out about two dozen copies of the New York Times article on "Security Theater at the TSA." While waiting around the airport I left copies in areas where people would be likely to pick them up. I left copies on the aircraft in the pouch of the seat in front of me. I left copies on tables in the baggage claim area. In several cases I observed people picking one up and reading the article.

I propose we all engage in this behavior. Every time you travel by air, find the most damning report on the TSA you can find from a credible source. Print two dozen copies, and as you travel sow the copies wherever the traveling public gathers and would be likely to pick one up and read it. Leave them tucked inside in-flight magazines. I don't believe it will be a quick fix, but over time the TSA will fall into such disrepute that Congress will be goaded into taking action.

Almost as good as a national day of civil disobedience - actually, even better.

DL4EVR Jul 31, 07 12:39 pm

Thanks for pointing out that comment doober. I actually have that article sitting by my desk now...I'm definitely going to follow anonymous commenter's lead the next time I fly!!^

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