30 December 2009

I can guarantee that this will never happen...

...because it makes too much damn sense.

Boss Mongo came up with a modest proposal for our various law enforcement and intelligence agencies in order to help keep known terrorists out of the US. Unlike other "modest proposals", this isn't sarcastic or over-the-top in the least...it's simple, it doesn't violate anyone's rights, it's unobtrusive, and it's cheap. Which leads me to believe that it won't happen...

Mongo notes that the would-be underwear bomber, named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has an Arabic-based name which, when transcribed into a Latin-based alphabet ("Romanized"), results in all sorts of possible spellings. As Mongo points out, this is the case with many Arabic names (look at the 37 possible spellings of Qadaffi's name). It would be relatively simple for someone to fabricate numerous forms of identification based on multiple spellings, greatly complicating searches for a known terrorist's name in databases.

Mongo's ingenious--and relatively simple--solution involves some knowledge of basic Arabic, and permits one to easily search for multiple spellings for one Arabic-based name. TSA take note: this is a far better security precaution than banning bathroom breaks and Amazon Kindles in the last hour of the flight.


Boss Mongo said...

Of course it'll never happen. I just enjoy thinking stuff like this up because it's the intellectual equivalent of banging my head against a wall over and over, just because I like the color red and know if I keep going, it'll show up.
One small point, and I take full responsibility for not communicating effectively: the system I'm hypothesizing about/recommending here would require zero familiarity with Arabic.
Abdul Amin fills out the card, it gets fed into an optical scanner, and the software does the rest. The scanner could generate a bar-code for paperwork, and an ID number for human consumption. Many institutions in the interagency spectrum assign ID numbers, but everyone seems to have his own system, and the ID numbers don't always add up. Also, as I alluded to, the more different English language variants a cat usess, the more ID numbers he could potentially generate, screwing up the system.
I propose we use HIS spelling of his own name, and then scan it. If handwriting proves too hard for scanners to pick up, we transition to Arabic Keyboards. It took me about 17 minutes to generate that faux Qaddafi form, and I used PowerPoint and a virtual keyboard I got online from Bing. Go figure.
Tie biometrics into it, and we're cooking with gas.

Unknown said...

WAY too easy. Better to spend a billion or two on full body scanners that can’t detect anything inside a body cavity, which strikes me as the one place in the undershorts that AQ hasn’t yet tried to use.

As an aside, I had an 0545 flight to Vegas on 26 Dec. TSA was doing full-body pat-downs of everyone going through security. Funny thing though, the guy with the latex gloves didn’t grope my crotch at all. Good “security theater” but nothing else. By the time I came back on Thursday, they were down to random pat-downs.

At least on the flights I was on, there were no more than the normal restrictions on electrical equipment and movement about the cabin. If they do implement this rule of no electronics during the last hour, the business travelers are going to go insane.

Starbuck said...

If I remember correctly, it was AQ-affiliates in Saudi Arabia that tried to kill the Saudi defense minister with explosives shoved...well...you know. The plot injured a number of people, but didn't kill anyone, save for the AQ operative who eliminated himself from the gene pool.