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Screening People with Clearances

Another short, cogent essay from Bruce Schneier, this time on why it makes sense to be Screening People with Clearances:

Why should we waste time at airport security, screening people with U.S. government security clearances? …

Poole argued that people with government security clearances, people who are entrusted with U.S. national security secrets, are trusted enough to be allowed through airport security with only a cursory screening. …

To someone not steeped in security, it makes perfect sense. But it’s a terrible idea, and understanding why teaches us some important security lessons.

This is worth reading just to understand how a U.S. security clearance isn’t quite the concrete thing you perhaps assumed it was, but I think the comments on “subjective agenda” are important too. After all, if the people who make the rules aren’t bound by them, what incentive do they have to make sensible rules? I think it would be fair to guess, for example, that the average lawmaker hasn’t spent a lot of time recently standing in an airport in their stockinged feet with their permitted items in a transparent bag.

(Via Schneier on Security.)