I do apologize to all harmed in this cowardly attack in in Scotland for using it to illustrate something. I felt it necessary to point out this example of why knowing who someone is does nothing for security because it in no way shows what that person plans to do.
British security sources tell NBC News that two of the five suspects in custody in connection with three recent terror incidents in Scotland and London are medical doctors and one may have assembled the bombs. Authorities also said they believe that most, if not all, of the suspects come from Middle Eastern countries, including one from Iraq.
. . .
Britain’s top-selling Sun newspaper identified one of those detained as an Iranian doctor who worked at North Staffordshire Hospital in central England. A spokeswoman at the hospital declined to comment on the case and police would not identify those detained.
I find it very difficult to imagine that being able to identify this doctor very precisely via RFID enabled federally mandated ID would have done anything to predict this attack on the airport prior to the act. Of course, that’s because knowing who someone is doesn’t indicate what that person plans to do. I keep repeating that when discussing the horribly useless Real ID because it seems to be a point that policy makers can’t understand even though it is excessively clear to security folks. Not that any policy workers waste their time here, but perhaps someone who knows a high-level policy maker reads my musings and could pass them along.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said “it is clear that we are dealing, in general terms, with people who are associated with al-Qaeda.” He warned Britons that the threat would be “long-term and sustained” but said the country would not be cowed by the plot targeting central London and Glasgow’s airport.
“We will not yield, we will not be intimidated and we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life,” he said in a nationally televised interview.
Well, OK, so it’s not actually clear that the British are dealing with people who are associated with al-Qaeda. Still, I think that’s probably the safe bet. Of course, the liberals here in America would probably choose this time to criticize me for profiling, which is exactly what this is. The thing is, profiling is not inherently evil – the misuse of profiling is a problem. If you read the full article, I think you’ll find sufficient reason to profile these attackers as probable al-Qaeda associates, even though that isn’t provably true with the information we currently have about them.
I am glad to read the Prime Minister’s intent to not be intimidated. If more people would refuse to give in to the fear the terrorists depend on, they would have to change how they operate. Terrorists depend on fear to get the results they want, and not allowing those fears to alter how we live would do more to slow or stop terrorism than attacking any country ever will. But again – I’m not a high-level policy maker, so my understanding of this is meaningless to anyone but me.
[tags]Cowardly attack on Scottish airport, Airport attacked in Scotland[/tags]