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Our manufacturing at risk? US carmakers are up in arms over new legislation that would require an inordinate amount of tracking of container shipments, which they deem largely useless in terms of protecting the security of this country. They argue that the new regulations would disrupt “just in time” manufacturing, pretty much the only way our carmakers can actually manage production in a time when consumer whims change at the the drop of a hat (hat tip).

Inspector accidently breaks instrumentation, grounds planes. Then, the astonishing and deeply disturbing story of a TSA inspector who blunders around the outside of a number of planes, only to damage key instruments that, if broken, presents a serious safety risk. The damage is found and the planes are grounded, thankfully. What if they’d made it up in the air? No one should ever be allowed near a plane who doesn’t have the qualifications. Unbelievable. (hat tip)

Watch lists: More silliness with commercial pilots on no-fly or watch lists.

The TSA Blog also responds to allegations that it’s not putting people who don’t have ID on a list. It says it doesn’t.

I don’t get that. About a year ago, I was traveling and forgot that my driver’s license was expired (I had renewed it, my wife had put it aside for me, but I forget to put the new one in my wallet). A screener caught it, and I was sent downstairs and got an SSSS boarding pass (which means that you have enhanced screening).

No problem.

But then my next two trips, I automatically got the SSSS on my outbound boarding passes (not on the return). I must have been on some list.

None of this type of thing would bother anyone, if they felt that the security of our nation was actually being served. But these are obvious and painful examples that we are doing more to hurt ourselves than secure ourselves.

I have no grudge against TSA or border control people. I’ve talked to a number of them, and many of them are decent, good people — really. However, they are in a bad spot, following policies and a culture put in place that does not prioritize how to deal with real risks.

The solution is leadership. Invertebrate committees will always come up with these types of solutions. Someone in Homeland Security has to get in charge and say “Let’s get real about what the security priorities are in this country”. And that person has to have the gumption to take the hits internally in the vast bureaucracy.

Alex Eckelberry

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