Tuesday, April 24, 2012

TSA “Security Theater” becomes “Theater of the Absurd”

Three recent events serve as stark examples of the ridiculous level to which the Transportation Security Administration has sunk in its elaborate charade in the name of stopping terrorism.

Let’s start with a visual. This photo shows a TSA security pat down being conducted on an unlikely terrorist [Syriana notwithstanding], actor George Clooney. How silly can it get?

The next two episodes aren’t silly.

A 4-year-old child was fingered as possibly smuggling a gun to her grandmother, who needed a pat down after setting off the metal detector twice. The child had passed through the detector without incident. She went to where her grandmother was sitting and gave her a hug. Because of that, the child was identified as a “high-security” threat and frisked while sobbing hysterically. Remember, she had already gone through the metal detector. She was wearing leggings and a short-sleeved shirt. I suppose she could have been hiding a non-metallic gun in her rectum, but how big a gun could it have been? She was already inside the secure zone anyway. At least a body cavity search was not done.

The third case involves a 95-year-old retired Air Force officer and his 85-year-old friend, who both set off the metal detector due to joint replacements. Pat downs were deemed necessary. The man had $300.00 in bills and potentially incendiary Kleenex in his pocket and was asked to put the items in a bin so they could go through the X-ray scanner. After he was thoroughly searched, the money had gone missing. The entire scenario took over an hour and the pair nearly missed their flight. The TSA has yet to provide an explanation for what happened to the two travelers and their money. Oh, the security tapes were “too blurry” to be of use.

Is there no end to the madness? Couldn’t the personnel and resources wasted on these embarrassing incidents be put to better use?

Here's a similar rant of mine about the TSA from 18 months ago. Nothing has changed.

Acknowledgement: Thanks to @drval and @David_Dobbs for alerting me to the third case.


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Ken & Carol said...

When people realize their jobs are useless some act like this.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

That is certainly possible. It's also a power trip. You can go home and say, " I made George Clooney look foolish today."

Anonymous said...

Interesting to hear the excuse about the videotapes. I had to undergo a pat down a couple of days ago and the officer asked me if I was traveling with anyone that could watch my carry-on items. I told him I did not, so he made me stand there for 15 minutes while we waited for someone else to come over. I asked him about my stuff just sitting there and he told me, with his best attempt at an official sounding tone, that "this is a secure area and there are cameras watching and monitoring everyone at all times".

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Thanks for the comment. It wouldn't do you much good anyway if the cameras were working. If someone steals a bag, would you miss your flight in hopes that the thief is caught? It's a bad situation.

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