Apr 28 2008

We can’t explain ourselves, so we’ll distract you with puppy pictures

Published by at 5:53 am under Government

I had high hopes for The Evolution of Security when the TSA first started letting their personnel blog. I was hoping they would be able to explain what, if any, impact the policies currently in place at airports have. I expected to see enlightening posts about how taking off our shoes not only represents a tiny inconvenience but makes us measurably more secure. I wanted something other than cute puppies.

Okay, they are cute. And the article does explain little about what the puppies will be used for. But the main thrust of the post is about how cute the puppies are and how you can adopt one if you live in the San Antonio area (or in prison). Definitely makes me feel safer when I’m flying the annoying skies.

I flew to DC and back last week and I’ve learned how to get through the lines in the least amount of time, barring the use of a Clear card. I wear slip on dress shoes, I leave my keys in my carry-on bag and I leave the knives home on the dresser. I never take my toiletry bag out of my luggage, I’ve never used a 1-quart bag for liquids and I’ve accidentally slipped a knife through over a dozen x-ray machines before it was ever found. So tell me how these security measures which I bypass almost every flight make me safer?

I know there’s a fine line between revealing enough to make cynics like me happy and telling so much that the bad guys are able to come up with countermeasures. But the reality is, someone who’s a bad guy is probably taking a lot more time to examine airport security measures than I am and could come up with a dozen other easy to bypass security measures. As a flight attendant told me last week, if a bad guy really wanted to attack planes, the real security weakness is the flight crew and other personnel, not the passengers. They’re the one’s who have nearly unlimited access to the planes.

Don’t even get me started on ‘passenger engagement‘. Everyone flying is stressed, so a process that relies on observing stress factors by the average TSA agent is just ludicrous. How do you tell stressed because they’re carrying a bomb from stressed because the TSA wants them to try their own baby food?

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