Patterico's Pontifications

7/26/2007

A Tale of Airport Security

Filed under: Air Security,Buffoons,General — Patterico @ 12:04 am

My mother is visiting for a few days and I picked her up at the airport last night. As we drove home, she told me a little story about her dealings with the TSA at the D/FW airport.

First they took her can of frosting and made her throw it away. (Don’t ask me why she was bringing frosting.)

Next they wanted to seize a fairly expensive bottle of moisturizing liquid. “Liquids must be three ounces or less,” the guy told her.

“But this is a six-ounce bottle and it’s less than half full,” she said.

“We have to go by what it says on the bottle,” he said.

My mom also had with her one of those single-size two-ounce bottles of mouthwash. “Can I just pour out the mouthwash and put the moisturizing liquid in this two-ounce bottle?” she asked.

“It doesn’t work that way,” she was told.

So she threw the bottle of moisturizing liquid away.

But my mom is a frugal lady. My sisters and I spent our childhood in the car, being carted from one store to the next while my mom looked for the best bargains.

So she asked another TSA guy: “My luggage to be checked is right over there. Could I put the moisturizing liquid in it?” He said it was okay. So she dug the bottle of mouthwash out of the trash, went out of security — and went to a bathroom, where she performed the prohibited act of transferring the moisturizing liquid into the mouthwash bottle. Most of it fit into the two-ounce bottle.

She then went back through security. The guy who had told her that she wasn’t allowed to transfer the liquids was still there. A different person looked at her carry-on bag with the liquids, and asked Mr. Don’t Transfer the Liquids if her carry-on bag was OK. “Yeah, I already checked it,” he said, without giving it a second look.

She told me this story as we raced along the 110 Freeway. She added: “But they let me bring some cheese and grapes on board.” I munched on a few of the grapes as she said: “I wonder how they knew these grapes weren’t all little bombs.”

I laughed and munched on a few more grapes.

There was a lull in the conversation as I drove further down the freeway.

Then my mom said: “But they didn’t give me any trouble over my hypodermic needle . . .”

67 Responses to “A Tale of Airport Security”

  1. I remember when I used to be able to show them my razor-sharp open-with-one-hand 4″ lock-blade Spyderco tactical knife I used for military use and carried while in civies… and they’d say that’s fine and I’d just carry it on the plane.

    True story.

    Oh how times have changed.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  2. I should clarify the above was in Canadian domestic airports. And recently after 9/11 I travelled to the U.S. by bus and was given the third degree by a very tough-looking, well armed, on guard U.S. custom’s agent. I expected the same upon my return to Canada, but instead a guard took a couple steps up the stairs of the bus, looked us over, and said, “That’s fine,” and with that, we were through.

    So part of the difference may be cultural between the two countries! After all, Canadian border guards’ practice is to RUN AWAY when a violent criminal approaches the border.

    When I’ve travelled recently internationally, guards in various countries have invariably made a big deal of looking for your clear plastic bag full of organized 100mL or less bottles of liquid. They like me because I have it all ready.

    Then I get on the plane and discover that yes my 600mL bottled water the airport itself handed me while I was waiting online did make it through.

    Oops.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  3. So for how long has your mother been advocating the establishment of the Caliphate as the ordained and destined government of the world?

    nk (1c6c66)

  4. The inmates are running the asylum. If the TSA ever catches a terrorist, it will be because they are secretly profiling passengers while pretending to be buffoons.

    TMAC (0c909a)

  5. If you change planes at Heathrow you have to go through the X-ray thing again. If you forget this fact and buy a bottle of booze at your departure airport (after having passed through security) then you have to either drink it up in the line at Heathrow or throw it away.

    It is unclear what the point of this is other than induce drunkeness is passengers.

    Francis (11bb1b)

  6. P.S. She really did have a hypodermic needle.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  7. Israeli security let me through with a Swiss Army Knife that I showed them.

    The point is to get you accustomed to following orders without question. As I try to point out on other threads, this Administration believes in security through fealty.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (d00432)

  8. As I try to point out on other threads, this Administration believes in security through fealty.

    Are you suggesting that America’s airport security regime is unique? Is there some other first word air travel system with a more evident commitment to individualism and personal liberty?

    Pablo (99243e)

  9. Airport security is security theater – to use Bruce Schneier’s term – it is designed to make people think they are secure, unfortunately there is enough political correctness, and just general bureaucratic incompetence that it remains ineffective.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  10. Well their confiscating those teenie weenie little guns that come with those little toy action figures and those tiny guns would harm a fly i mean ITS HARD TO FLY LIKE A EAGLE WHEN YOUR WORKING FOR TURKEYS

    krazy kagu (06a9a4)

  11. Nobody is talking about the weapon she had. How long was the needle? was the syringe loaded with something? There is still alot of trust out there.

    Tregg Wright (99a432)

  12. Patterico;

    what’s up? No typos in the DEA piece?

    HEADLINE; “latimes passes Patterico’s muster”.

    Semanticleo (539c63)

  13. anywhere i can reach by car or train, that’s the way i’m going there. i’ve had it with flying.

    assistant devil's advocate (fd9d13)

  14. Same thing with me and my 12 year old daughter. TSA made her throw away suntan spray, skin lotion while they let me board with a 5 pack of double edge razor blades. You know the old fashion kind that are wide with two edges. Muhammid Atta would be proud of Mike Chertoff.

    richardb (f7470d)

  15. The last time I flew through Minneapolis-St. Paul, the shops inside the secure area were selling full size containers of toothpaste, shampoo, etc.

    If the issue is that full size containers per se provide a security risk, shouldn’t those be banned?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  16. Ah, look what our educational system has produced: ignorant and no street smarts people!!

    Sue (5e470f)

  17. Prior to 9/11 I traveled with a 3.5 inch Spyderco all the time with no trouble.

    Here is another instance of form over function by the TSA. My guess is that your mom doesn’t look like Mohammed Atta or any of his kin does she?

    MOG (f57a20)

  18. I had a similar experience at John Wayne Airport in Orange County. Not only did they throw away about $35 worth of cosmetics (including a tube of toothpaste), the ziplock bag I had them in was too big and the security person held it up and got everyone’s attention to point out that “this lady’s zip lock bag is the wrong size. Make sure you are using a quart size bag.” She was lucky weapons weren’t allowed. Just kidding, but I was furious.

    Jackie Warner (41f17a)

  19. Are you suggesting that America’s airport security regime is unique?

    No, my last experience with the UK was worse. It was the first day flights resumed after the great chemical scare, and perhaps once they realized how difficult the liquid-mixing scenario was they loosened up. If you read my post all the way through, though, you would see that Israeli[!] security doesn’t confiscate Swiss Army Knives.

    In a certain other context the Bush Remnant are all about triumph through display of unified National Will no matter what are the actual results on the ground. Applying the Green Lantern theory of warfare (addl link) to airport security we get the belief that the shared sacrifice of flying without toothpaste and deodorant strikes fear into the hearts of Al Qaeda in O’Hare. I wonder if the conservative posters here are rejecting this application of their foreign policy because it is manifestly stupid, or because it inconveniences them personally.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (d00432)

  20. The TSA are a bunch of incompetent morons that are led by other incompetent morons.

    thebronze (17f671)

  21. Airport security — and onboard security even more so — is not meant to be a cordon as much as it is meant to be a deterrent.

    Is it physically possible to effectively and efficiently inspect the persons, belongings, and luggage of tens of thousands of travelers departing from hundreds of destinations on thousands of flights every day in this country — many of whom begin their travel in foreign countries — and do all that with a work force of several thousand working under time limits so as to not bring commerce to a grinding halt?

    Of course not.

    The system’s function is to catch what it can catch under its obvious limitations, but more importantly to raise the risk of exposure for those who might seek to penetrate the system for evil purposes. Its the unknown that they fear.

    No system of airport/airline security can be completely effective. There are way too many holes in security at way too many weak points — and those have nothing to do with TSA employees asking you to remove your shoes and empty your pockets.

    So, when you’re being inconvenienced, consider the fact that in many ways that is the point of the exercise. A slight inconvenience for you that puts you at no risk, while the same slight inconvenience for the person behind you — who has evil intentions — might chose to turn and walk away rather than risk exposure.

    wls (c9b89a)

  22. I wonder if the conservative posters here are rejecting this application of their foreign policy because it is manifestly stupid, or because it inconveniences them personally.

    Who’s rejecting anything? We’re making fun of McDonald’s rejects who got an alternative to welfare in TakeScissorsAway. The “party line” is the hobgoblin of the left, not the right.

    nk (1c6c66)

  23. I just watched the first “Die Hard” with Bruce Willis. He’s getting his carry-on down after the flight and his gun flashes to the passenger next to him. “It’s OK – I’m a cop” And that was only 20 years ago. Yippy – ki – Yay, mf’ers.

    I executed the ‘fluids transfer’ move in LaGuardia in full view of security last week, and they didn’t say a thing. They helped me out quite a bit actually, moving things around, filling the bag, etc. Nice guys.

    Despite the inefficiencies, the TSA is just like anything else – good people work well, incompetents tend to generate the funny and horror stories. No different from the bank, Wendy’s or your bartender. Except for the tax-dollars-confiscated-by-force that pay for the TSA, that is.

    carlitos (b38ae1)

  24. in re: Israeli airline security,

    Isn’t it the policy of the Israeli airlines to lock the cockpit in case of a hostage situation? Something along the lines of “we don’t care how many people you slice with your 4-inch Spyderco knife, you’re not getting into the cockpit, and you WILL die once this plane lands”? I mean, they’ve had planes hijacked in the past, and they aren’t going to let it happen again.

    The Israelis are a tough bunch… but I guess they have to be, considering the attitude of the Neighbors.

    Leviticus (f7205b)

  25. Correct me if I’m wrong, by the way…

    Leviticus (f7205b)

  26. wls: in the case that i encountered — security guards taking away your full size bottle of shampoo for ‘security reasons’ but you being allowed to buy the identical bottle from a store that’s inside the checkpoint — it looks more like a scam to ensure the financial viability of airport concessions.

    aphrael (12fba5)

  27. More sensitive metal detectors, chemical sniffers, and those groovy luggage MRI’s are all great additions that one would guess make it harder to sneak any bad stuff on board. However there seem to be some wierd inconsistancies in reaching the goal (safer skies). The latest sign that the gate security at airports had become another ring in the “we really are doing something about the terrorists!” circus is the decision to allow lighters onto planes again. Why allow a means to ignite all the things a terrorist has put into his or her 3 ounce bottles, not to mention any fuel or chemicals smuggled on in the lighter itself? Conspiracy theories abound (lobbying by big tobacco is my favorite, ya gotta let those smokers have their lighters so they can smoke up as soon as they get off a plane…or they might buy fewer cigs or …gawsp! Quit! …. haw haw). But seriously. Why do that?
    Oh, and no sale here on the “we analyzed it and found that fire on a plane isn’t a threat” line from Homeland Security, not yet.

    Ed Wood (aedea5)

  28. Leviticus, I frankly don’t know the Israeli protocol for an inflight hostage situation. There are air marshals on all international flights. (Incidentally, at least when I was there seven years ago, security for intra-Israel flights was fairly relaxed.)

    Andrew J. Lazarus (d00432)

  29. The eternally-quotable Shlomo Dror, a security consultant formerly in the Israeli government, circa 2002: “The United States does not have a[n airport] security system, it has a system for bothering people.”

    (This Galt blog entry seems to have the most extensive quote of the CS Monitor article I’ve seen online. Which is good, because the CS Monitor article itself appears to have vanished…)

    PCachu (e072b7)

  30. And soon Hillary will have those nice, competent government functionaries controlling your medical treatment, and Patterico, they will then for sure get your mom’s hypodermic away from her.

    BlacquesJacquesShellacques (f81c65)

  31. aphrael, the security risk of bottles of liquids and gels is that they could be used to smuggle into the secure area quantities of the ingredients to make some particular improvised explosives that Al Queda has been distributing the instructions to make.

    If you purchase a liquid or gel product inside of the security cordon, then you are not able to use that product to smuggle ingredients obviously.

    The 3 oz limit per bottle, as many bottles as one can cram in a quart ziplock bag, is a compromise limit that seems to me designed to signal to all on an aircraft that if you see someone hauling a bunch of 3 oz tubes into the restroom to start brewing up homebrew explosives, its time to go kick his butt.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  32. the security risk of bottles of liquids and gels is that they could be used to smuggle into the secure area quantities of the ingredients to make some particular improvised explosives that Al Queda has been distributing the instructions to make.

    got a link for that? my understanding was that the issue was that these items *in and of themselves* posed a security risk if combined in certain fashions.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  33. You’re saying the same thing, aphrael. Is your brain addled?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  34. Aphrael, actually I do have a link for the kind of explosives in question but I don’t think its responsible for me to post it. It is not an issue of the actual normal contents of liquid and gel products being a threat but that they might be used to smuggle others.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  35. It’s time to institute full fledged profiling of passengers. In my mind, based upon who was involved in 9/11, the Spanish bombings, the London bombings, etc. … that would rise to a level of at least a reasonable suspicion giving justification for a brief detention for the safety of all other passengers with minimal disruption to grandmothers and small children.

    MOG (f57a20)

  36. Leviticus, I frankly don’t know the Israeli protocol for an inflight hostage situation.

    On El Al, the protocol is to shoot your ass if need be. And every flight has armed security aboard. That’s why they’ve been successfully hijacked just once, in 1968.

    Pablo (99243e)

  37. It is not an issue of the actual normal contents of liquid and gel products being a threat but that they might be used to smuggle others.

    The current allowable limits were decided based on the quantities deemed to be necessary to do significant damage, assuming nasty liquids.

    Pablo (99243e)

  38. Cristoph: i’m not saying the same thing. It may be a subtle difference.

    Robin said that the issue was that people could use the bottles to smuggle in things that could be explosive — eg, that something could be in the bottle which isn’t supposed to be, and that those things could be combined.

    My understanding, based on press reports when the policy was implemented, was that you could combine the *normal contents* of bottles of shampoo, toothpaste, etc, in some specified fashion, and then make an explosive.

    In the former case, selling these things inside security is not a problem; the issue is things, different from the normal contents of the bottles, which are smuggled in.

    In the latter case, selling these things inside security poses the same problem that bringing them in does: the issue is the normal contents of the bottles posing a security risk.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  39. Robin Roberts:
    actually I do have a link for the kind of explosives in question but I don’t think its responsible for me to post it.

    Fair enough.

    It is not an issue of the actual normal contents of liquid and gel products being a threat but that they might be used to smuggle others.

    Thank you. That answered my question precisely.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  40. You are welcome, my apologies for being obtuse about the chemistry specifics. Its not hard to learn the details but I’m more comfortable that no one learn them from me.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  41. “Cristoph: i’m not saying the same thing. It may be a subtle difference.”

    I understand now, aphrael. The comment I was referring to was unclear in isolation, but reading the preceding and subsequent comments shows me you are talking about two different things.

    I’d apologize, but I’ve never seen you do that when you’re wrong so I will skip that step.

    For what it’s worth, I watched a video of Herman Goering who killed himself with cyanide while in prison and who had yet another unused cyanide capsule hid in some type of cream in his cell.

    Anyway, not relevant to bringing down a plane, but could hide things.

    That said, I agree with Pablo. These amounts were chosen based on the liquids themselves.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  42. In fact, it was just such a “chemical composition” bomb that Ramzi Yousef used as a test run for his Bojinka plot. He assembled a small bomb on-board a Phillipine Airlines flight, and then placed it inside a lifevest under the seat. The bomb was rigged with timer, and was set to go off when the plane would be in the air on its next flight. The explosion killed the passenger sitting in the seat, but did not ignite the fuel tank as he had hoped because he was sitting too far forward in the plane.

    An earlier bomb he created was made with nitroglyerin placed into a contact lens solution bottle.

    Its all described in detail in The Looming Tower.

    wls (077d0d)

  43. My 16 year old daughter flew yesterday. She went online and checked the regulations. She got a quart zip-loc bag, 3 oz cosmetics and toiletires. She made sure her carry-on bag was the correct size and weight, that her shoes would slip off easily, and that she had no items on the forbidden list.
    She breezed through the TSA check point and they complimented her organization.

    We are Arab-American. I LOVE the rules and felt my daughter was as safe to fly as possible.

    Denise (9ba280)

  44. Denise – I travel all the time for work, and go prepared much like your daughter. Is it a pain in the ass? Sure. However, we have rules, and I can live with the inconvenience. I hate taking off my belt and shoes, but understand why they do so.

    Can you imagine the outcry if/when the next terrorist act occurs, and it is something like a lighter, bottle of shampoo, or shoes that are used and people complained about the inconvenience of TSA checking these things?

    JD (26b504)

  45. What if the next terrorist hides something in his or her underwear? We all have to go naked?? We’re going to need better ideas for screening.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (d00432)

  46. Here’s the thing with profiling. Sure, the grannies and little kids themselves are unlikely to have packed explosives in their own bags, but if everybody knows that they won’t be searched, the terrorists will certainly plan to sneak stuff past security by quietly slipping it into the little old lady’s carry-on. The terrorist then makes sure he boards the plane right behind grandma, and offers to help put her little bag in the overhead bin. He puts his next to hers, and then grabs the stuff back out of her bag when he’s ready to use it.

    And that’s just one example. I can easily think of many more ways that the terrorists could use sympathetic or just unwitting non-profiled folks to get stuff through security. Even if granny is not willing to be a suicide bomber, she may be willing to smuggle stuff past the security check-point and hide it in the bathroom or maybe a self-storage locker where the actual terrorists can pick it up.

    PatHMV (0e077d)

  47. PatHMV et al.,

    The highly successful Israeli El Al security precautions are not based on looking for the weapons of terrorists.

    Fundamentally, they look for terrorists.

    Often they will open and search someone’s bag (and yes, of course, it’s a real search) to give them more time to talk with someone to screen them.

    A fundamental problem with the U.S. approach is it gives scant attention to people and much too much attention to liquids and so forth.

    Human intuition is well developed for finding negative people… it’s not particularly well developed for 40-hours per week of searching for 105mL bottles.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  48. #45 Andrew J. Lazarus, see my comment above.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  49. AJL – If the next terrorist hides something in their underwear, you can damn well be assured that the Left will be apopleptic that we did not strip search everyone.

    JD (26b504)

  50. Christoph is correct about Israeli security procedures. Besides the scattershot searches and risible rules about contraband, we also waste time with a no-fly list including names like Jones and Kennedy.

    The appearance of security is not security.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (d00432)

  51. Follow-up: I am not criticizing the no-fly list because the names on it are not Arabic, but because they are so common as to be useless.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (d00432)

  52. Ted Kennedy should not be allowed on any type of transportation where Gin & Tonics are served, or that pass over water.

    JD (26b504)

  53. I’m making an educated guess on this one point, but I bet Congress and others spent more time arguing whether TSA should be unionized or not than getting professional objective input as to how to best screen.

    I agree with Denise and JD. I flew a few months ago for the first time since the fluid restrictions came into affect, and checked the TSA website, as directed by the Airlines and Airport sites, on the details of the regs. They are quite clear, even if they do or don’t make sense. I believe the individual limit is actually 3.5 ounces, and yes, 1/2 of a 4 ounce bottle isn’t supposed to go through. All of these regs are for what you have at security clearance, anything you buy after the checkpoint in the terminal is supposed to be OK no matter what the size because of security conditions for the merchandise. Things that are more than 3.5 ounces that are allowed, like infant formula, you need to demonstrate giving it to the baby or trying it yourself.
    BTW, I think there should be a headline to make a point, “Arab-American mother applauds TSA efforts, fair inspection, and lack of anti-Arab descrimination.”

    AJ Lazarus, I’m not sure I understand the point(s) you are trying to make, unless you are simply trying to criticize US, TSA, or “Bush Administration” policies. You comment about how Israeli Security did not take your Swiss Army knife, quip about people hiding things in their underwear, then concur with Christoph’s post that what the Israeli’s do afterall is to critically observe behavior to identify terrorists, rather than look for terrorist materials. I’m not sure if I’m asking a real question, or merely a rhetorical one when I also see this:
    “I wonder if the conservative posters here are rejecting this application of their foreign policy because it is manifestly stupid, or because it inconveniences them personally.”

    Maybe what some object to, be they conservatives or not, is the nonsense* that encumbers rational thought and behavior in the US which has bipartisan effects.
    – we worry more about unionization than job performance
    – we worry about politically correct appearance
    – you can’t profile on background, even if statistically pertinent
    – everybody likes to make PR points
    – (yes, we need to inspect people naked or get detectors that can alert officials to the presence of a 6 inch long composite military knife in the girdle of the older, modestly overweight woman, who isn’t any of the three)
    – litigation defending obviously unusual behavior (the “Minnesota Imams”) is brought up and needs to be defended against whether eventually tossed out or not
    – Can you see the headlines (hyperbole warning)
    “BushHitler officials talk to Zionists about anti-Arab Behavioral Analysis Tactics for ‘Airport Security’; Just another way to trample civil rights, CAIR and ACLU explain in joint news conference”
    – Reportedly the Israeli’s have offered on more than one occasion to discuss with US officials how they do security, but the US has never taken them up on the offer (per Yoni of Yonitheblogger, a Israeli combat forces veteran who is a frequent commentator on hewitt)

    * a polite reference to petty carping and the politicizing of all things for personal selfish gain that gets in the way of meaningful dialogue and accomplishment;
    terms such as d**nable would be appropriate, as petty bickering eventually resulting in human death is worthy of such contempt

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  54. Hmmm… sounds like one of my flights. TSA took away my water bottle and didn’t even notice the large penknife in my purse. Airport security is a joke.

    Meagan (f9efb9)

  55. The French and Italian airports have similar practices to the US and we did have to go through another x-ray machine at De Gaulle when we changed planes there last month. The most serious gap is with parked planes overnight where there is little security. There was a scandal last week at Phoenix airport.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  56. FWIW, my wife has flown thrice with a 3 inch pocket knife in her purse. Two of which were international.

    dave (939719)

  57. Sadly, it’s not just the TSA. I just went through security in Leipzig Germany the other day and they made me throw away a can of lotion even though it was half gone because it was 150 ML and therefore too big. On the other hand, the exacto knife blades I had in my pencil box didn’t even register with them at all. And this is pretty typical of wherever you go.

    Tarina (9c80cc)

  58. A maxim for you: Perimeter security is bad security.

    Lighters, huh. People in general carry so much metal on their persons — piercings, earrings, belt buckles, etc. — that TSA simply cannot set the metal detectors up too high. I just make sure mine is the only thing in that pocket, and sail through every time — the teeny metal windguard isn’t as big as my belt buckle, and that passes easily.

    As wls points out, it’s theater with a point. The problem is that it’s only theater. So long as the airlines can lose a bag, something can be introduced into the system; no hole goes only one way. Until they start thinking “defense in depth” and involving passengers in security, there’s no there there.

    Regards,
    Ric

    Ric Locke (23f454)

  59. It would seen that the new terror target would be the hundreds & hundreds of people squeezed into a confined space with no place to hide standing in line waiting for security checks. Sitting ducks. Was this the intention at Glasgow?

    Stosh (21e5f2)

  60. Yes times have changed.

    1970, just back from Vietnam, two other guys and I were headed home to Minneapolis from San Francisco after processing through Travis AFB. As we got off the bus and headed into the terminal, one asked me, “Can I put this (Chicom) pistol in your bag so it’s not out in the open?”

    I said sure and we rushed to the gate. Once there I thought I should check with the boarding attendant. “Is this OK to carry on or should I check it?” I said, giving her a glimpse into the bag.

    She said, “We’ll hold it up front for you” and then returned it to me when we arrived at MSP.

    T J Sawyer (ea0565)

  61. I went to the airport and it was discovered that my bag was over weight limits. I pulled out my boots (I’m military) and my toiletry bag to be inside the weight standard. When I went through security, they got so wrapped up in the x-ray shot of my laptop, with lots of cables, portable speakers, camera, etc., that they didn’t even think to look closely at my toiletry bag, which I realized later had everything from a pocket knife to a cork screw to razor blades inside. Human nature, I guess.

    Bruce (08ae45)

  62. Science fiction writer and BYTE magazine columnist Jerry Pournelle (www.jerrypournelle.com) says that senseless TSA regulations have the intended purpose of indoctrinating the flying public that we are SUBJECTS, not CITIZENS. As a retired Navy officer with a degree in Physics, I’m more aware than most people that the average TSA goon is generally clueless about the bomb detection equipment that they pretend to operate.

    We are arguably LESS safe from terrorist attack at airports than we were before 9/11/01.

    Ken Mitchell (6a8351)

  63. Recently at the Phoenix airport, I was approached by TSA lady as I stood in line to board the aircraft.
    “Pardon me,” she said. “Can I ask you to do me a favor?”
    “I can’t,” I replied. “I’m married.”
    (pause)
    “No, I need you to step over here for additional, random, screening.”
    There were four of us selected: me, a senior white male, a senior black male, a young oriental woman, and a young Hispanic man.
    Turning to the young Hispanic, I said: “You know, you look closest to being a terrorist of the four they picked.”
    One of the TSA girls said: “There’s no such thing as what a terrorist looks like!”
    “Of course there is,” I replied.”They’re young, Middle-Eastern males with beards named Achmed. Didn’t they teach you anything in TSA class?”

    She wisely didn’t reply.

    This was the same airport, by the way, that caught a man in February 2002 trying to board with a “Ninja-Star” weapon. Further investigation revealed he had personally destroyed over thirty aircraft with the loss of life of everyone aboard. His name was Joe Foss and you can check his amazing life’s story.

    Oh, the Ninja-Star? It was personally handed to him by President Roosevelt.

    Jerry Huling (2d2bfc)

  64. The TSA is a JOKE! Not surprising though. The unfortunate result of 9/11 is a larger, more intrusive (and abusive) Federal Government and a lot more hassles. This is nothing but role play. They’ll take an even larger chunk of our time and of our rights if we are ever attacked again too.

    Bruce (2db6e4)

  65. I recently had a stainless steel bar that is approximately 16 inches long inserted into my leg because of an injury. I was that during a recent trip I never had any problem at airport security. I am glad that I did not have to go through an interagation or anything but I was surprised that such a large piece of metal did not set off the detectors.

    Ross (f7d36b)

  66. Nice blog. Will surely come back.

    Cheers,

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