Dec 302007

The New York Times has a great Op-Ed about the foolishness of the TSA security screenings at airports. It points out, as most thinking people have to come realize that this is mostly feel-good theater that does no actual good at preventing another terrorist attack.

They point out the fallacy of our fearless leaders’ claims that the planes of 9/11 were hijacked “using box cutters.” I’ve said all along, as does the article, that the hijackers took advantage of the hijacking template created in the past, where passive resistance was the approach to end a hijacking, and the pointy objects they used as weapons really didn’t matter. Today’s hijackers would face a very different sort of reaction from the passengers and crew.

The article addresses the silliness of the 3 oz. container rule.

The folly is much the same with respect to the liquids and gels restrictions, introduced two summers ago following the breakup of a London-based cabal that was planning to blow up jetliners using liquid explosives. Allegations surrounding the conspiracy were revealed to substantially embellished. In an August, 2006 article in the New York Times, British officials admitted that public statements made following the arrests were overcooked, inaccurate and “unfortunate.” The plot’s leaders were still in the process of recruiting and radicalizing would-be bombers. They lacked passports, airline tickets and, most critical of all, they had been unsuccessful in actually producing liquid explosives. Investigators later described the widely parroted report that up to ten U.S airliners had been targeted as “speculative” and “exaggerated.”

You see, the point is that terrorism needs to be handled by law enforcement and intelligence activities (as it was in the London case). As the authors note, once a terrorist has reached the airport, it’s usually too late. Not only have most of us inadvertently passed through security with “banned” items, but a deadly sharp point can be fashioned from any number of things available once one is on the plane. (Just watch one of these prison documentaries on MSNBC sometime.)

Unfortunately, the government has crafted the system to protect itself and be self-perpetuating. If one protests, you are usually marked for questioning and additional screening, and could wind up on the no-fly list…so no one protests. Recently, they’ve announced silly rules relative to taking along spare batteries. Who knows when the stupidity will end.

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