The Santa Claus Doctrine

by Amy Zidell

Explanations about how the Christmas Day Bomber was able to get on an airplane heading to the United States have focused on the issue of various competing lists. While this terrorist, was one of half a million individuals on a list of people believed to have terror ties, he was not cross referenced with the no-fly list. He also apparently was not cross referenced with the no-American-Visa list either. My goodness, if even the fabled Santa Claus for generations can make his lists and check them twice to see who has been naughty and nice, why, seemingly are the United States departments and agencies including the CIA, FBI, U.S. Military, and Homeland Security unable to do what Santa Claus aided by elves can do?

The Christmas Day Bomber may have, in a twisted silver-lined-cloud sort of way delivered a wonderful present to our collective stocking. There is an inextricable association between Christmas and Santa Claus. Ergo: The Santa Claus Doctrine.

The Christmas Day Bomber exposed, shall we say, holes in current security protocol. The Santa Claus Doctrine can fill those and other holes just as Santa's belly full of jelly fills that red suit.

I propose the formalization and adoption of The Santa Claus Doctrine immediately. Briefly, the Santa Claus Doctrine would:
  • Establish an effective surveillance system
  • Create and maintain a two-list system that would accurately distinguish between the naughty and nice
  • Have in-place policies and procedures that are globally deliverable to local environments
  • Employ appropriate system redundancy and checks
  • Conduct a variety of operations, some with a jolly bold visual presence and others covert, as quiet as a mouse
  • Regularily utilize psychological interviewing screening techniques
  • Deliver actionable harsh consequences to the naughty
  • Maintain a united mission objective with forceful, strong, and clear leadership
Additionally, any meaningful and effective policy must be dynamically adaptable to changing times and technology. The persistence of the Santa Claus Doctrine proves its suitability in this area. The Santa Claus Doctrine has existed for generations and has effectively delivered presents ranging from Tinker Toys to Wii's to good boys and girls across the globe in all that time. As 2010 arrives, authorities must recognize the importance of 'virtual friends.' Online social networking has exploded with the advent of so-called Web 2.0 interfaces that include MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. Millions of people connect everyday across the globe without ever meeting face to face. Eventually, some of these connections do results in real life meetings, abductions, what have you. As unpleasant as it may be to acknowledge, the terrorists are clever and innovative. They are undoubtedly utilizing Web 2.0 technology and interfaces for the purposes of recruitment, radicalization, training, planning, and execution of terror attacks. Welcome to Terror 2.0. Both the Christmas Day Bomber and the Fort Hood terrorist had connected to terrorists online. Santa Claus Doctrine surveillance keeps tabs universally - when they are sleeping, awake, and consequentially texting, indoctrinating, etc.

The principles that make the Santa Claus Doctrine such a successful and enduring policy are effectively captured in a familiar Christmas song written by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots in 1934:

You better watch out,
You better not cry,
Better not pout,
I'm telling you why.
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He's making a list,
and checking it twice.
Gonna find out,
Who's naughty and nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you're sleeping,
He knows when you're awake,
He knows if you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake.

Oh! you better watch out,
You better not cry,
Better not pout,
I'm telling you why.
Santa Claus is coming to town.

Perhaps the fat man in the red suit is better than big brother.

Ho, ho, ho Haaaappy New Year!

[Tags] security policy, air travel, surveillance, passenger screening, christmas day bomber, safety, TSA

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