Above the Tearline: The Threat Behind Airport Security

2 MINS READNov 23, 2010 | 20:46 GMT
Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton discusses the recent controversy over the Transportation Security Administration's screening procedures and how the media is missing the real story on the heightened security measures. Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy. Hi I'm Fred Burton with Stratfor, in this weeks Above the Tearline we're going to look at what's driving TSA's enhanced screening process. What's driving the elevated concern is very specific intelligence to indicate that a possible flight could be bombed. It's also critical to look at this in context with our threat window. You have a very volatile time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas where we have a tremendous number of traveling passengers. There's a tremendous amount of pressure placed upon the TSA during this time period. And we have the Christmas Day bomber from last year. The other important factor here is TSA concerns for the recent attempts to bomb the cargo flights with a very sophisticated improvised explosive devices hidden inside the toner cartridges. The challenge for the TSA screeners are the guidance that is written out of Washington that's driven down into your basic TSA officer that's checking for improvised explosive devices. These are very specific black and white guard orders where the individual has very little discretion. This is why you see a seven-year-old boy or the elderly grandmother being examined in the same manner. I think it's also important to remember that once this threat window closes once this period of heightened concern goes away, you will see a reduced security screening process. The Above the Tearline aspect here is that the mainstream media seems to be fixated on the privacy issues affecting what TSA is doing and screening. However the real issue at Stratfor as we look at it is the threat that's driving the enhanced screening to begin with. I would encourage you to read my colleague Scott Stewart's weekly on this topic as well.

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