The new, biometric security measures being put in place by the Homeland Security Department won't make America any safer, argues the National Post.That's because there's a "new model" of terrorist. The old, hardened, "reusable" militant is gone. Instead, there are one-time, suicidal, "disposable" bad guys.
Biometrics target identity -- but when militant groups advanced (or regressed) from reusable terrorists to disposable terrorists, identity became moot. Today the acute threat no longer comes from "known" terrorists. Recruits are groomed for a single terrorist act, during which they self-destruct. Before being deployed, disposable terrorists have usually done nothing. They're "innocent" voyagers whose fingerprints and faces appear in no database....Like bees, disposable terrorists die as they sting -- but unlike bees, they cannot be recognized for what they are until they've stung. Machines that compare faces and fingerprints are helpful against reusable terrorists who try to hide their identities, but a disposable terrorist doesn't care if we know who he is.THERE'S MORE: "The effort to invoke high tech in the terrorism problem is symptomatic of American culture--overfascination with high tech and an incomprehensible incapability to deal with the human dimension and cultural underpinnings of terrorism," Capt. Julio Gutierrez, of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, notes over at the Alidade discussion group.
The most effective counter against the disposable terrorist is to develop the HUMINT (human intelligence, or spies) to penetrate terrorist networks and neutralize them where they breed--before they send operatives out on missions. But that takes something which Americans find difficult--learning obscure Middle East and Asian languages to full native fluency and living like those people for years so as to get to know them and understand their weaknesses and strengths. It's actually cheaper to develop well-prepared HUMINT agents and case officers who can operate almost invisibly in the markets of Peshawar or Sanaa (a few hundred million $$) than it is to build multi-billion dollar aerial weapon systems or nationwide airport biometrics machines. However, we seem to always choose to build some highfaluting Rube Goldberg machine that is supposed to detect bad stuff (but cannot really detect bad people).