I think tight airport security is a necessary evil, but if passengers are jumping through hurdles by practically declothing themselves to get to their flight, how come FAKE bombs in carry-ons are being missed at airports such as Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and O'Hare?
In a recent article by U.S.A. Today recent article, Los Angeles International airport screeners have missed 75% of hidden bomb materials that were hidden in normal carry-ons and Chicago's O'Hare missed 60%. 75% at LAX and 60% at Chicago's O'Hare.
Even though these two airports and San Francisco International were only case studies for the U.S. screening system, if this is failure rate gets any higher, I don't think I will be the only one not trusting my airport's security.
I recently endured a carry-on bag check coming back to Washington, D.C., from Lambert airport in St. Louis when a screener detected "aerosol" in my backpack. It was TAG deodorant spray. What they didn't know is what if I had "inert explosives" inside my MP3 player or my digital voice recorder that the airport handler clearly went over about 2 or 3 times.
Some of the explosives that were carried by undercover agents posing as passengers consisted of "bomb residue on shoelaces, detonator and explosives hidden in briefcase lining, inert explosives inside CD players, and the list goes on...."
According to Transportation Security Administration Chief Kip Hawley, the failure rates are "misleading." In an interview with security expert Bruce Schneier interview, Hawley said that screening systems are still "vastly improving."
Bruce Schneier: People regularly point to security checkpoints missing a knife in their handbag as evidence that security screening isn't working. But that's wrong. Complete effectiveness is not the goal; the checkpoints just have to be effective enough so that the terrorists are worried their plan will be uncovered. But in Denver earlier this year, testers sneaked 90% of weapons through. And other tests aren't much better. Why are these numbers so poor, and why didn't they get better when the TSA took over airport security?
Kip Hawley: Your first point is dead on and is the key to how we look at security. The stories about 90% failures are wrong or extremely misleading. We do many kinds of effectiveness tests at checkpoints daily. We use them to guide training and decisions on technology and operating procedures...Of course there are times that our evaluations can generate high failure rate numbers on specific scenarios. Overall, though, our ability to detect bomb components is vastly improved and it will keep getting better.
Improving? Whatever Hawley. In 2002, a report on TSA tests said that screeners missed 24% of fake bombs, dynamite, and guns. Failure rates, specifically at LAX and O'Hare, more than doubled over the past five years rather than "improved."
This deleted "Friends" scene embodies what American airport security has become and how anal checking somebody's carry-on can and has to be.
I wonder what the future holds for airlines and for their passengers. Instead of weapons and bombs being detected at airports, could it be our behavior?