Whine Wednesdays: Airport Security Theater


Does the airport security theater makes flying safer or merely makes the flying masses feel safer? I have whined about this issue previously and the latest undercover test proves how ineffective the process is.

TSA Mess

An undercover investigations done by the TSA itself found that mock explosives and banned weapons were not noticed 95% of the time during the airport screening process. Does this make you feel safer?

You can read more about this on ABC News website or watch a video here of which below is an excerpt.

An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nation’s busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials, ABC News has learned.

The series of tests were conducted by Homeland Security Red Teams who pose as passengers, setting out to beat the system.

According to officials briefed on the results of a recent Homeland Security Inspector General’s report, TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints.

In one test an undercover agent was stopped after setting off an alarm at a magnetometer, but TSA screeners failed to detect a fake explosive device that was taped to his back during a follow-on pat down.

Officials would not divulge the exact time period of the testing other than to say it concluded recently.


I doubt that the success rate of detecting prohibited items would be much higher in other countries where lowest cost bidders for the airport often handle the screening process.

There are places were folks manning these checkpoints are more interesting in typing away on their smartphones than actually looking what is going on.

Flying is very safe mode of transportation but you cannot make anything 100% fool proof as the recent accidents with Malaysia Airlines and Germanwings prove. How airport screening is going to prevent the pilot crashing the plane if they so choose?

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