Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 31, 2011

A self-licking ice cream cone for homeland security?

Filed under: General Homeland Security,Port and Maritime Security — by Christopher Bellavita on May 31, 2011

I had an opportunity last week to travel on the nation’s largest ferry system.

The Washington State ferry system carries almost 23 million people per year.  It is the third largest ferry system in the world.  (I think British Columbia has the second largest system, and Sydney, Australia the first.)

While I was waiting at one of the terminals, I noticed a sign that said the facility was at Maritime Security (MARSEC) level 1: “the level for which minimum appropriate security measures shall be maintained at all times.”


I saw maybe five Washington State Troopers walking outside the terminal.  Two of the troopers had dogs with them as they walked between the vehicles waiting for the ferry.


I saw several signs inside the terminal reminding passengers to be alert for things that looked out of place.


I saw another sign that read “Bags without people don’t make sense.”


That sign was a little difficult to read.  It was hidden behind a vending machine that sold lottery tickets.


I would like to think some of the money the state makes from selling lottery tickets goes to pay – in part –  for the security at the terminal.

Blocking the “See Something – Say Something” poster with a tax revenue generating activity may be the homeland security equivalent of the self-licking ice cream cone.

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