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intelligence gathering

Napolitano gives first State of Homeland Security address

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01/31/2011

WASHINGTON—For the first time, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano gave an annual assessment of the State of Homeland Security. During the address on Jan. 27, Napolitano focused on the theme of “shared responsibility” and the necessity for everyone to participate in the effort to secure the homeland.

He's 8 and on the watchlist. The TSA just can't win

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

The TSA just can't get a break lately. It's been made very clear to the public by the President and Secretary Napolitano that there needs to be some major improvements to the government's system of gathering intelligence. But the media just can't let it go. Now ABC News is reporting that an 8-year-old boy is on the government's watchlist. Of course, the boy is not really on the watchlist, but rather someone who shares his name, but according to the kid's mom, he has had to undergo secondary screening since he was two.

I agree with the mother (and probably the majority of the American public) that this is pretty ridiculous. This child obviously poses no threat to aviation security and there's really no need to pat the little guy down. However, keep in mind the TSA is only following procedure. Individual screeners don't get to decide whether or not it makes sense to pat down an infant, they just have to do it.

But the system obviously needs tweaking. A TSA spokesman said that the agency is working on cross-checking names with birth dates and gender. We need to keep in mind that the list is long and the database is enormous - there are going to be flaws. But this one, is frankly not that worrisome and is actually a demonstration that the system worked - sort of. I'm sure glad my parents chose to go with the unusual name...