Airport Security

It’s not that the terrorist picks an attack and we pick a defense, and we see who wins. It’s that we pick a defense, and then the terrorists look at our defense and pick an attack designed to get around it. Our security measures only work if we happen to guess the plot correctly. If we get it wrong, we’ve wasted our money. This isn’t security; it’s security theater.

Bruce Schnier on why airport security is A Waste of Money and Time in the New York Times.

16 thoughts on “Airport Security

  1. I really think security should be handled by the airlines, at least for domestic flights. If we have naked body scanners and “enhanced” patdowns at the airports, why not on buses and trains too?

  2. Exactly the problem. Just like a $70 rocket launcher in Iraq can shoot at $70,000,000 helicopter out of the air. You can spend a lot of money on creating the illusion of safety for a lot of people, but the incredible amount of fuss that is created around it… the question is: Is that worth it?

  3. Security is best enforced by individuals, not passed off to others (government). Whenever personal responsibility is shuffled off to others there is no security and shortly thereafter no freedom. The TSA dog and pony show is laughable and protects no one. It only instills fear in the general flying public–fear is an activity not within the federal purview, hence, an illegal activity and de facto unconstitutional as practiced.

  4. It’s all a bit of a joke anyway.
    After you go through security and they take away your knife and bottles of liquid, you go airside where the eateries have all the knives and bottles of liquid you want.
    The easiest way to get something on board an aircraft is to get the cleaning staff to stash it away for you. These security measures only interfere with a spontaneous act of terrorism, not a well planned one.
    It’s probably cheaper and less hassle for the US to change its foreign policy so people stop hating them.

  5. It’s like I tweeted last week. If everyone is suspect then no one is.

    I worked for the TSA for about 6 months in 2002 but left because I couldn’t take the do-as-little-as-you-possibly-can-and-still-get-paid mindset that I saw set into the majority of folks almost immediately after they were hired. I decided government work isn’t for me and went back to the private sector where excellence is appreciated.

  6. Sorry to ruin the fun, but from my perspective its a fiasco in general; they have just got themselves in a party which is just impossible to put the music down and stop dancing so they’ve got the whole country dancing and pancing in the rythm that there decisions have set the way to go. All this terorism story its becoming a bit too much for me in general. From the angle I see it the money they have wasted on the Iraq war is just got to be (brain) washed in to people’s heads and they need a serious argument so they are just making the condition worse and worse for civilians that want to fly with an aeroplane. I don’t mean to be rude to any of the families of the people lost in the War fighting for the task they were sent; or any of the people that have found a job with a security company becasue of the measures but it’s getting a bit out of hand.

  7. Here’s how to shorten your TSA Rub Down. A week or so ago I had to fly to Washington. Coming into the security gates at Dulles, I see Chertoff has lots of his x-ray machines sold to them, so everyone was expected to go through them. I said, “No, sorry, not going through an x-ray machine. You can do the pat down.” So of course the guy gets on his radio and says he has a “non-compliant.” They send an older big guy over, the supervisor, obviously for some kind of intimidation factor. I waited until he got there and explained I was not “non-compliant,” that it was my understanding everyone had a choice of getting an x-ray by an uncertified x-ray technician, or get a pat down, and that I had clearly said they could do a pat down.

    Well, the supervisor leads me over to pickup my stuff, and has some younger guy come out to do the rub down. The supervisor stands by scowling with arms crossed, again clearly going for the intimidation factor. The agent goes through his little spiel about how he’s going to be touching me, and then starts the rub-down, at each point telling me what he’s going to touch next. Finally, very matter of factly, I just said, “Dude, just do whatever it is you have to do. As a gay man, I have no problem having another guy feel me up.”

    The pale creamy complexion of the old guy went to bright red to nearly purple in seconds. I thought he was going to have a stroke right there, and amazingly, I got a very quick pat down, and was sent on my way.

  8. It is all sadly too true. “Modern” airport security has two intended effects. Put on a dog & pony show to help people flying in America ‘feel’ that they are safer due to potential threats, and make the industry that runs and supplies the TSA a lot of money. I mean the government not likely allocates funds for it, but they force passengers and the airlines to pay for it!

    Terrorists totally succeeded in their plans. To almost cripple US air transportation due to unrealistic security practices and unbearable wait times along with constant indignities. I would feel comfortable guessing that we would be in the exact place as we are right now in terms of “safety” as were where pre-9/11 without the TSA.

  9. My guess is: there should be some kind of good people list, people on that list, frequent flyers with a good record could go in a different line.

    First timers should be all scanned.

    I don´t know.