Random security screening won’t stop the suicide bombers

In his blog, Bruce Schneier draws our attention to what Matt Blaze has said about the new system of random security screening at US airports:

“Paradoxically, the best terrorist strategy (as long as they have enough volunteers) under unpredictable screening may be to prepare a cadre of suicide bombers for the least rigorous screening to which they might be subjected, and not, as the strategy assumes, for the most rigorous. Sent on their way, each will either succeed at destroying a plane or be caught, but either outcome serves the terrorists’ objective.”

Schneier also quotes a comment from a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog:

“[T]he terrorist didn’t care if he blew the plane up or not, that he went back to his seat instead of detonating the explosive in the toilet precisely because he wanted his fellow passengers to see his attempt — just in case it failed.”

Remember: to succeed, airport security must stop all suicide bombers from getting through; just one bomber needs to get through to succeed at  his task.  Even if the suicide bomber is stopped in the airport, he hasn’t necessarily failed.  His mere presence strikes terror into the hearts of the public.

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