What are the Deep Parallels Between Recent Security Failures?

In the case of the Nigerian Plane Bomber, the father's report to the CIA person in Nigeria was given a preliminary analysis to the effect that it was nothing more than a missing persons report. When the cable went to the National Anti-Terror Coordination Center in Washington, that analysis was given complete deference, so the counsel of people examining the cable found it to be of little or no significance. In the case of the publicity seekers, husband and wife, who crashed a formal dinner at the White House, their credentials to get in to the building were found acceptable by a very very junior guard at the outer gate. After that guard had accepted the credentials as valid, all the later checkpoints also accepted those credentials as valid. Must one be a Professor of Logic to see a parallel here? There's too much deference to snap judgments and not enough scepticism at subsequent points of examination and assessment. People think that the first guy did his job, so why do it again? I can take a coffee break. I can go back to counting my paper clips. Why should I do something, that's already been done? A better way might be to assume that all layers prior to one's own layer acted in total error and failure. That one's own layer is the only layer that will make a difference between total system failure and total system success. Another way to express the assumption is "everyone that looked at this before me is an idiot". Let's call this the "prior idiot assumption". Is the prior idiot assumption the safest way to do one's job if one is a link in a chain of security layers? It would appear that if an assumption had been made in the Christmas Plane Bomber case, and in the White House Party Crashers case, those major breaches of security would probably not have occured. Independent assessment by each and every layer in the sequence of security perimeters is absolutely crucial. That means everybody in the chain has to do their jobs, not just the first guy. Each link must work -- do work -- not be slackadocious, out to lunch, asleep at the switch. Working versus sleeping -- sleeping is easier, but working is what they pay you for. We need people in security for whom this is not a tough choice.

Asked By: dolphin314etc - 12/31/2009
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
There are no parallels; the first one appears to be a deliberate security breach by White House Staff. In the case of the Christmas Day terror attempt, that speaks more to a failure of countries to check all travel documents, even of those in transit through that country... More
Answered By: A. E. Moreira - 1/1/2010
Additional Answers (1)
Constitutional law must be restored or else the overthrow of the Nation will be successful via the process you have just described.
Answered By: towwwdothello - 12/31/2009
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