Monday, August 17, 2009

Security starts with common sense

About the incident at Newark where Shah Rukh Khan was questioned for a couple of hours (NYT Lede blog link):

As an American, here’s what bugs me about this incident: Security personnel interrogated the film star for nearly two hours before letting him make a phone call. During that time, our taxes were paying their salaries and they were not looking at hundreds of other passengers.

Shah Rukh Khan is not just a VIP; he is probably better known than Tom Cruise to ethnic Indians. According to the Asian American Federation,
Indian Americans were the largest Asian ethnic group in New Jersey in 2000, with 180,957 people, or more than one-third (34 percent) of the state’s Asian population.(

Detaining him was obviously a waste of time. Any of dozens of passengers or staff at Newark airport could have told Security who he was. Our security databases and procedures are inadequate, and our personnel lack common sense and an awareness of their environment, which is the first principle of security.

Is the TSA the agency that is responsible for this? I feel safer already, traveling in the U.S. under their watchful eye.