Most people in America want to know how after billions spent, wars fought, sons and daughters, moms and dads killed in action, how a young man could get explosives onto a US airliner headed for the United States. I just happen to know and that answer is priorities.
On December 10 2009 I boarded a flight from Moscow Russia to JFK in New York. What was funny was that I did not find Russian customs that intrusive or a problem. That may be because I had a US Passport and was headed home. The problem started when I arrived at JFK. As I was going through customs, I was taken aside by two homeland security officers and placed in a room to speak to a third officer. That is three officers tied up to "deal" with me. My crime, I had a PFA (Protection from Abuse order, and please just for the sake of agreement there was no abuse and a law suit pending, that was 3 years old.) that is still in the books and they wanted to make sure that I did not abuse this person while I was in Moscow, 10,000 miles from Philadelphia. The homeland security officers had wasted over an hour to see if my fists could stretch 10,000 miles on the ends of my arms. It was an hour wasted with screwed up priorities and a total waste of tax payer dollars on an issue that would not do a thing to make your air travel safe.
Now you might ask how this relates to what Happened on Christmas Day. Very simple. Homeland Security only has a finite amount of resources and manpower to thwart real dangers and if these resources are diverted to such matters as mine, then we are not safe. If eyes trained to spot terrorism are used to investigate impossible actions, then cracks in the system are formed. Think of it like a surgeon trained for brain surgery, but given a job cutting hangnails. He will do the job, but will not be happy, attentive or really care. He will be unhappy just like most Americans at their jobs and in that state, what should have been caught in the spider's web will escape to do damage. Here is how it could play out if I was a terrorist wanting to take out an aircraft.
While plastic explosives are available here in the US, getting them and especially getting them into an airport would be very hard. On the other hand, getting plastic explosives in for example Yemen can easily be done. Getting it onto the plane would require a bribe or another person who hates the US, of which those who hate the US outnumber those who like the US because of our foreign policy, and the explosives are air borne. Next would be some way of detonating the explosives. A small blasting cap will do. In America and other western countries, things that can be used as blasting caps look like transistors and could easily be hidden in a laptop computer as part of the circuitry. They would never be detected. Once you are behind the customs lines at the airport, you are free to move about. The person with explosives and the person with the detonator can then form a bomb and get onto another aircraft and you know the balance of the story.
Americans like an easy answer, the equipment failed or we need better technology to combat this treat. That is all well and good but does little to win the war. The enemy, as the enemy in Vietnam pointed out, pointed out that technology only provides some advantages, but to our disadvantage also provides the enemy with where your weak points are. By the US relying so heavily on technology to combat terrorism, they have learned how to go around that technology and through sheer numbers succeed.
After World War I, the French built the Maginot Line in eastern France to halt any future aggression of the Germans. Any marching army that approached the thousands of guns and mines would be destroyed without any doubt. Hitler knew this and simply marched around the Maginot Line and overran France. The US Maginot Line is our total reliance on technology rather than having humans observing and making the decisions on who is bad and who is good. It is our weak spot that will cost lives and eventually destroy our nation's freedom for travel.
Another weak spot here that is related to what happened in my case is gender discrimination. I am sure that Homeland Security would not dare to question a woman for the same reasons as they did me being a male. As a matter of fact, I am researching how many women get stopped at customs for PFA's in relation to how many men get stopped. My guess, none. This opens another gap in the system. Using women as terrorists. This has become apparent as some of the recent suicide bombings were carried out by women. Think about it, would any man dare to question some woman without the fear of some type of retaliation? I think not.
One more area of concern. When this incident happened on December 10, 2009, I contracted Senator Specter's office to inform them of what happened and how to file a complaint. While I did what they wanted, my guess it has fallen on deaf ears. Additionally, when the Christmas Day incident happened, and this article came to me, I sent out feelers to the major news networks. Many reporters and even some producers contacted me, but once they heard that this involved a "man vs. woman" issue, I could hear their ears slam shut. The problem here is that when we as a nation are afraid of facing issues head on because it might upset some special interest group rather than deals with it and work a solution that benefits all, we have doomed ourselves to destruction. In this case, because of my male status and the issue at hand I was pulled aside for, my bags were never checked or my person because it was a more important, a priority, to see if I told someone while 10,000 miles away that I did not like her haircut as opposed to seeing if my bags contained explosives.