Security Theater in One Lesson
“What are all these people complaining about? It’s like getting an X-ray. I would do absolutely anything if it makes air travel safer.”
“Okay, great. Just one more security measure, then. Would you kiss this picture of Janet Napolitano on your way in?”
“But that won’t make us any safer!”
“Oh.” (Kisses picture.) “Thanks, TSA, I feel better already!”
“Don’t mention it.”
“Now what are all these people complaining about? It’s just kissing a silly little picture.”
In all seriousness, the following might be the most important lines you’re going to read about airline security today. They’re from the Popular Mechanics interview with security expert Bruce Schneier:
Q: The machines have shown up in the wake of the so-called underwear bomber, who tried to blow up a plane with chemicals stored in his briefs. Would this technology have stopped him?
A: The guys who make the machines have said, “We wouldn’t have caught that.”
In fact, the TSA hasn’t caught anything worth catching, as Schneier explains. I especially like his take on the underwear bomber:
Q: Do you think there’s been an over-reaction, on the part of the government and the press, to the underwear bomber?
A: That case was really instructive. Nobody was injured, and the plane landed safely. It was a success! And it was pre 9-11 security that made it a success. Because we screen for superficial guns and bombs, he had to resort to a syringe and 90 minutes in the bathroom with a bomb that didn’t work. This is what success looks like. Stop bellyaching!