If our leaders can't say no—and there's no reason to believe they can—there are two concepts that need to be part of any new counterterrorism laws, and investigative laws in general: transparency and accountability.
Read More → The FBI and the CIA are being criticized for not keeping better track of Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the months before the Boston Marathon bombings.
But there's a problem with this line of reasoning: mission creep.
Read More → Swedish translation Terrorism causes fear, and we overreact to that fear.
Our brains aren't very good at probability and risk analysis.
We tend to exaggerate spectacular, strange and rare events, and downplay ordinary, familiar and common ones.The Department of Homeland Security is rumored to be considering extending the current travel ban on large electronics for Middle Eastern flights to European ones as well.The likely reaction of airlines will be to implement new traveler programs, effectively allowing wealthier and more frequent fliers to bring their computers with them.They would have to be checked and put into the cargo hold. Read More → News that the Transportation Security Administration missed a whopping 95% of guns and bombs in recent airport security "red team" tests was justifiably shocking.It's clear that we're not getting value for the billion we're paying the TSA annually.This will only exacerbate the divide between the haves and the have-nots—all without making us any safer.In March, both the United States and the United Kingdom required that passengers from 10 Muslim countries give up their laptop computers and larger tablets, and put them in checked baggage.But there's another conclusion, inescapable and disturbing to many, but good news all around: We don't need billion worth of airport security.These results demonstrate that there isn't much risk of airplane terrorism, and we should ratchet security down to pre-9/11 levels.It's an old song by now, one we heard after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and after the Underwear Bomber's failed attack in 2009.Read More → German translation As the details about the bombings in Boston unfold, it'd be easy to be scared.