Scanners,Sensors are Wrong Way to Secure the Subway

We'll spend millions on new technology,恐怖分子会适应的

People intent on preventing aMoscow-style terrorist attack against theNew York subwaysystem are proposing a range of expensive new underground security measures,有些是暂时的,有些是永久的。

They should save their money -- and instead invest every penny they're considering pouring into new technologies into intelligence and old-fashioned policing.

Intensifying security at specific stations only works against terrorists who aren't smart enough to move to another station.Cameras are useful only if all the stars align: The terrorists happen to walk into the frame,the video feeds are being watched in real time and the police can respond quickly enough to be effective.They're much more usefulafteran attack,to figure out who pulled it off.

Installing biological and chemical detectors requires similarly implausible luck -- plus a terrorist plot that includes the specific biological or chemical agent that is being detected.

What all these misguided reactions have in common is that they're based on "movie-plot threats": overly specific attack scenarios.They fill our imagination vividly,in full color with rich detail.Before long,we're envisioning an entire story line,有无布鲁斯·威利斯saving the day.And we're scared.

It's not that movie-plot threats are not worth worrying about.It's that each one -- Moscow's subway attack,the bombing of theOklahoma Cityfederal building,等。-- is too specific.These threats are infinite,坏人很容易在他们之间转换。

New Yorkhas thousands of possible targets,and there are dozens of possible tactics.Implementing security against movie-plot threats is only effective if we correctly guess which specific threat to protect against.That's unlikely.

A far better strategy is to spend our limited counterterrorism resources on investigation and intelligence -- and on emergency response.这些措施并不取决于任何具体的威胁;they don't require us to guess the tactic or target correctly.They're effective in a variety of circumstances,even nonterrorist ones.

The result may not be flashy or outwardly reassuring -- as are pricey new scanners in airports.But the strategy will save more lives.

The 2006 arrest of the liquid bombers -- who wanted to detonate liquid explosives to be brought onboard airliners traveling from英格兰toNorth America-- serves as an excellent example.策划者在他们被捕伦敦apartments,and their attack was foiled before they ever got to the airport.

他们是否使用液体、固体或气体并不重要。It didn't even matter if they were targeting airports or shopping malls or theaters.It was a straightforward,although hardly simple,关于跟踪线索的问题。

Gimmicky security measures are tempting -- but they're distractions we can't afford.The Christmas Day bomber chose his tactic because it would circumvent last year's security measures,下一个攻击者将根据类似的标准选择他的战术和目标。Spend money on cameras and guards in the subways,and the terrorists will simply modify their plot to render those countermeasures ineffective.

人类是讲故事的人,莫斯科的故事在纽约也有明显的相似之处。When we read the word "subway," we can't help but think about the system we use every day.This is a natural response,but it doesn't make for good public policy.如果我们超越简单的平行线,需要用昂贵而诱人的新技术来消除我们的恐惧,并用聪明的方式来对抗威胁,我们都会更安全。

Categories:Terrorism

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