Who doesn't wonder when they take a plane whether all that TSA folderol actually accomplishes anything other than to build the world's largest collection of confiscated pocket geegaws with sharp edges? I like to think that TSA is more than the do-nothing federal job creation caricature critics make it out to be, but like a lot of folks, I wonder now and then. The sorry saga of the would-be Christmas Day skybomber on that Detroit flight certainly gives critics of TSA lots of ammunition.
But the real confidence-shaker was the way Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano limped on a single leg from one Sunday morning talk show to another with her other foot planted firmly in her mouth, two full days after the event. It was amazing she could talk at all with her mouth so full. She told CNN the incident demonstrates "the system works." She said the same thing on This Week when I was was watching. I couldn't believe she said what I thought she said and had to turn to the internet to confirm it.
If you take what she said literally, she seems to be advocating an extreme privatization approach to homeland security in the air -- that is, making it the responsibility of individual brave, quick-thinking and resourceful passengers. I doubt that's what she meant. But since it's impossible to figure out what she really did mean, can't President Obama at least reassign her to some distant Homeland Security outpost where she would have no operational responsibility whatsoever and wouldn't have to talk to the press? Someplace like Antarctica?
And while he's at it, he might show some real concern and urgency about ending the track record of hapless security bungling that seems to be taking place on his Administration's watch lately. They shouldn't have gate crashers at the White House, and they shouldn't be letting a person they were warned about board a U.S. plane with pentaerythritol trinitrate taped to his leg.
Update: Now she says the system didn't work after all. Which is it? We haven't seen such an example of complacent cluelessness in public for some time. "Heckuva job, Brownie."