"Reports from America suggest that Abdulmutallab was on the US Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) list – which contains the identities of everyone American intelligence has ever, even remotely, connected with terrorism.
However, the list is said to contain more than 600,000 names. This is clearly unworkable and inclusion appears to count for little. Indeed, the bomber’s US visa was not rescinded.
Next in the American hierarchy of databases is the Terrorist Screening Database – the TSD. There are a mere 400,000 on this list and most of them would be allowed to fly unhindered to Detroit.
It is only when suspects graduate to two sub-groups within the TSD that alarms begin to sound.
A suitable model might be the international air traffic control system. Countries that want to be part of the international air network have to install professional air traffic control systems to agreed international standards.
Airport security also needs to be run by professionals with clearly agreed international duties, simple lines of command and fast, efficient ways of raising concerns – an efficient local system with robust international links. Unfortunately, rather than this systemic approach, our response to previous terrorist attacks has been little more than a series of knee-jerk reactions."
Sunday, 3 January 2010
This excellent piece by my colleague Tarique Ghaffur appears today and has already been highlighted in the Press Preview on Sky news
Posted by Rani Singh at 00:05