I fly on airplanes a lot for business.

Any frequent flyer could have told you way before the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Flight 253 over Detroit how easy it would be to stuff your skivvies full of ‘splosives if that’s really how you wanted to roll.

The airport security procedures are a sham. It’s nothing but security theater. One guy unsuccessfully tries to blow up his shoe 7 or 8 years ago and now we all have to remove our shoes (at least in American airports or boarding American-bound planes overseas). Each passenger is submitted to a humiliating and confusing process of removing various items of clothing, opening your laptop bag, and offering your private sundries kit after a lengthy wait for “inspection” by a TSA official who looks really bored. Except the ones who are new on the job — they love to re-run bags through the scanners.

None of it — NONE OF IT has made us safer.

If you’re on some sort of list or you forgot/lost your id or even more fun, are “randomly” selected — you may have to go through a secondary screening which uses a more sophisticated scanner that, among other things, blows air on you to detect the kind of stuff that should definitely not be in your underpants.

How many billions of dollars have been spent at Homeland Security and other agencies since 9/11? Why hasn’t more of that money gone to more sensitive scanners in our airports and yes, train stations (Al-Qaeda has hit those in other countries such as India and Italy)? Why am I still partially disrobing and taking apart my luggage everytime I go to the airport? I would much prefer my tax dollars go towards more of the machines used for secondary screening and other higher tech scanners. Had Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab gone through a secondary screening machine, he would have likely been caught before (not after) he boarded that flight. Obviously that would have depended on Amsterdam in this case having better technology. Still, 9/11 involved domestic flights and little has truly changed in how we detect explosives or weapons whether you’re looking at passengers or cargo. Let me break it down for you: any day now, someone could check a big ol’ bag with a big ol’ bomb in it and there is not much in place currently to stop them. That should concern us all.

We should be leading the world in new, safer, faster technology rather than introducing longer and longer lines followed by a ridiculous, pointless and humiliating ritual. Do you know how many senior citizens I have had to help get through security? Some of them truly  have no idea what to do if they haven’t flown in awhile and get really flustered, confused and slow.

When you look at the cascade of serious errors in intelligence & security of late — the now 3rd State Dinner crasher Carlos Allen, the exposure of TSA airport screening manual online, the CIA massacre in Afghanistan and Flight 253 — it’s now clear that the Obama Administration needs to step up to the plate. Big time. Yes, they’ve inherited a very broken system. The weaknesses have become visibly and scarily apparent. And I appreciate that Obama seems to be really focused and serious about this.

But real security here at home and abroad means actually implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. It means taking a really fresh look at our infrastructure, policies, procedures & technology. It means not relying on outdated or just wrong-headed premises from the Bush era. Why do we even have a Dept of Homeland Security? Seriously. What exactly do they do that could not be handled by other agencies? Where has all that money gone? What are all those people working on if it was so damn easy to board a plane with a bunch of plastic explosives in your pants.

And why are we still in a position 8 years after 9/11 and 4 years after Katrina where our emergency responders from different regions — ambulance, fire, police — still can’t communicate effectively with each other over their radios in the event of an emergency????

Too many people have been asleep at the wheel. Too many stupid things have happened on Obama’s watch. Time for someone to lunge over and drag the car back on the road.

Obama has to look strong if he wants to retain the confidence of the American public. He needs to make it clear that he’s got this. Because there are those who will accuse him of being in league with Muslim extremists, African and otherwise. There are those who want badly to say he’s soft on crime and sympathetic to criminals because Obama’s black.

Let’s see a vision of a modernized security apparatus that does not take racial profiling global. Having to arrive 7 hours before your flight to board a plane in Nigeria to the U.S. with physical pat downs of every passenger? Give me a break. That’s going to really improve our national image overseas I’m sure.

People don’t like being treated like criminals. I certainly don’t. Obama — clean your house and then figure out a way to make us truly safer rather than all suspect.

Thanks and good luck.

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