New TSA chief John Pistole says the agency has to shift from a threat-driven outfit into an “intelligence-driven” organization. There are some signs that such a move may be afoot.
On the night in late October that Saudi intelligence tipped the American government off to a late plot to blow up planes using explosives packed in printer cartridges, Pistole got a call from White House counterrrorism czar John Brennan. The TSA was then able to give new marching orders to everyone from air marshals to cargo inspectors. An agency team was even dispatched to Yemen, where the bombs originated. It all seemed shockingly logical for an agency that’s generally appears to be anything but. The quick response to intelligence and targeted security measures could provide a partial template for future action. The next step would be questioning passengers and employing high-sensors when travelers’ behavior or specific threats warrant instead of making us all get digitally nude.
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