Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


The Two 9/11 Commisson Reports

I’ve just finished the 9/11 commission’s report. (Or use the Pdfhack version, a fine example of what can be done in the absence of copyrights.)

One of the things that stands out for me is the stark contrast between the history and the recommendations. The history is excellent. The recommendations, less so. My largest critique is that after the largest attack on American soil since the civil war, they fail to think big. They spend time drawing lines on org. charts.

Regular readers will note that I spend a lot of time looking at airline security. The recommendations there (around page 383) are clearly weak. More ID cards will not change things. We need to consider broader changes.

For example, they could have considered the drug war. The easiest way to smuggle weapons of mass destruction into the US would be to pack them in cocaine. Perhaps changes there are in order?

I’m not the first to notice this. Elizabeth Drew wrote a long article for the New York Review of Books, and the Center For Strategic and International Studies has an
analysis (PDF) worth reading. An English professor at DeAnza college also caught my eye.