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Bad Guys Working Over The Holiday Weekend?

Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008 4:00 AM

A Happy Thanksgiving to those observing the holiday.

While there are still things to be learned about the coordinated attacks in Mumbai, India, here's the immediate takeaway.

It doesn't matter whether we call it terrorism or not. Any investigation must proceed along traditional lines and answer the questions of means, motive, and opportunity. It is essential that we do not ascribe power to the mujahadeen that they do not, in fact, have. It is vital that we do not let shock tactics overpower our ability to think and approach problems with tested and effective tools.

A case in point is the latest non-warning warning about a possible-but-unsubstantiated threat about an al-Qaeda plot to attack the NYC metro during the holiday season.

Security against terrorism needs to be more than cover-your-ass warnings that do little more than engender low-level panic and anxiety. Especially in New York City.

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano appears to understand the realities of the 'border fence' concept.

"You show me a 50-foot wall and I'll show you a 51-foot ladder at the border. That's the way the border works," she told Associated Press.

Which is simply how humans solve problems - when faced with an obstacle, we look for a way around it. Put up a wall, we'll climb over it, tunnel under it, go around it, blow a hole through it.

Put up a layered defense of detection and patrols, and it's that much more difficult, because the obstacle is not readily perceived or avoidable. And that's something I've been saying for a while, that security needs to be in-depth and flexible. Increase the burden of planning and execution on the part of your challenger, preferably to the point where the cost of beating the system - in time, manpower, gain - simply isn't worth it.

Skywatchers should look towards the southeast around twilight to see the planets Jupiter and Venus in conjunction, to be joined by a waxing crescent moon early next week.

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