Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yet another bit of TSA stupidity

Every red-blooded American, and especially those with a security bent, has pointed out that the Transportation Security Administration practices what can politely be called “security theatre”. So it was no surprise that I got this message from a friend (edited for clarity):

We bought some very dangerous water globes while on vacation in California, small water globes all in quart ziplock bags. We had purchased similar sized water globes in Disneyworld in Florida without incident. The TSA screeners inform us that they are "too large" and that we have to discard them or put them in checked luggage, now we've already checked everything but my backpack. My daughter doesn't want to part with the water globes either. I ask for a supervisor, 5 min later the screener comes back and said his supervisor said "I am right" meanwhile another screener comes over and says "they're OK". I added that I took similar globes thru Orlando. His answer "this ain't Orlando we do stuff different here". These dangerous items were all of 5" long and contained less liquid then a 3oz bottle of liquid. So I leave 2 kids past security, and go back to the check-in counter, wrap the heck out of the snowglobes, put them in my backpack and check it. Then go back thru security, JUST in time to make the plane. Meanwhile, they missed 2 of the 4 snowglobes that were in my daughter's carry on.

So what can we learn from this?

(1) There’s no uniformity of TSA rules. Heck, we knew that - before Richard Reid, the rules on taking off your shoes differed from airport to airport and day to day for no apparent reason.

(2) The screeners can’t find stuff more often than not. Hey, I rarely bother taking my toiletries out of my carry-on, and 9 times out of 10 they sail right through. Recent studies by DHS itself have shown huge percentages of false negatives (i.e., missing things in baggage they're supposed to find).

(3) Even if they find something, they can’t distinguish 3 ounces of liquid - it’s entirely subjective.

TSA - wasting your tax dollars in new and innovative ways every day.


Blogger Jim Horning said...

Unpacking after a recent trip I discovered a Swiss Army knife in my carry-on baggage, inside a shaving kit that I had apparently on some previous trip packed in checked baggage. It had cleared security at least twice, perhaps more.

I've had at least four of that exact model confiscated when I forgot to remove them from my keychain before various trips. But TSA's never questioned my garottes (a.k.a. neckties).

8:41 PM  

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