06/01/07 — Slipping by: Travel warnings did not stop man on list; so why have them?

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Slipping by: Travel warnings did not stop man on list; so why have them?

As scary as the story is about the man with tuberculosis who managed to travel across the world without detection, there is a much scarier aspect of that news item that should result in some introspection and perhaps a firing or two.

The man was on a no-fly list — and still managed to get on an airplane.

Now, anyone who has traveled recently knows that Homeland Security checks are indiscriminate by design. That’s why so many of the passengers pulled for full inspection are the least-likely to fit the terrorist profile — usually 70-year-old grandmothers.

So, if someone who truly was a danger managed to get on a plane, what’s to stop a terrorist from accomplishing that same feat?

Homeland Security is great. It gives Americans a sense of security — that they are somehow protected from another 9/11. And, in fairness, it has stopped a couple of potential attacks.

But as with any federal bureaucracy, the department is subject to the same lackluster enthusiasm and dedication that can be common in this sort of job.

This week’s scare should prompt government leaders to reignite the zeal of the Homeland Security workers — or get some who are more serious about the task at hand.

Otherwise, the only thing no-fly lists and airport check-in regulations accomplish is annoying law-abiding citizens.

And that is certainly not what was intended.

Published in Editorials on June 1, 2007 11:32 AM