Previous “Security Theater” posts

Well, That’s Pretty Stupid 

Friday, March 9th, 2012

This week, Jonathan Corbett posted a video showing how to sneak metallic items through the TSA’s body scanners. That’s right, the same scanners Europe just banned and Israel refused outright. The TSA has spent over a billion dollars on these offensive machines, and it’s clearer than ever just what a waste that was.

The one thing more pathetic than this security loophole may be the TSA’s official response to it. Using carefully chosen words like “crude” and “allegedly”, Blogger Bob Burns attempts to distract from the simple fact that these scanners are less effective and far more invasive than the metal detectors formerly used.

If you’re interested to learn more, see Corbett’s blog. Its name? “TSA Out of Our Pants”.

Homeopathy Isn’t Even the Dumb Part 

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

When homeopathy isn’t the dumbest part of a story, you know there’s a real problem.

A New York airport screener who removed two pipes from a traveler’s bag and set them aside Monday morning prompted a security scare six hours later when the next shift saw the pipes and feared they might be pipe bombs, local and federal officials said.

Several law enforcement sources told CNN the objects were determined to be homeopathic medical devices.

If we’re really being fair to the TSA though, a lone pipe is just a highly diluted form of a bomb.

Europe Bans X-Ray Scanners 

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Readers in Europe won’t need to have their airport security teams meet the resistance, as the European Union has opted to ban x-ray scanners “in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens’ health and safety.”

Meanwhile, the TSA has responded with a fairly meaningless claim:

“Since January 2010, advanced imaging technology has detected more than 300 dangerous or illegal items on passengers in U.S. airports nationwide.”

Would standard metal detectors have found these items? Were these passengers intending harm? Without more details, such a statement doesn’t tell us anything at all.

Semi Non-Violent Protest 

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Should TSA agents be groped while at the airport? No. But then again, neither should passengers. So it’s difficult not to cheer for 61-year-old frequent flier Yukari Mihamae, who may have manhandled a TSA officer. Molestation, or simply a taste of their own medicine?

Also, I’m not sure which is more comical – the headline on the New York Post’s article, or the wry expression on Mihamae’s face.

Fines Terrorize the Terrorists 

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

The TSA claims to have the power to fine travelers who back out of the security process. What exactly is the purpose of this potential fine?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it can fine individuals up to $11,000 for walking away from the airport security process…People in government say the fine is mostly a deterrent so that terrorists cannot back out of a security check once it starts.

Some very stupid things have been said about airport security recently. This is a new low.

Clearly, We Can Trust the TSA 

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

A new Smoking Gun report shows that in January, travelers at Philadelphia International fell victim to the pranks of an on-duty TSA worker. The unnamed security official pretended to discover drugs inside the luggage of at least two travelers, before admitting his “joke” and moving them along. The TSA is tasked with making all modes of transportation safe, so how did other workers react to this perverse display?

As part of its probe of the pranks, investigators spoke with other TSA employees, five of whom confirmed that the officer had tried to trick passengers into thinking that cocaine was found in their luggage. One worker said that they told the officer, “Don’t do that,” when a victim of the prank appeared distraught.

Only one of the workers interviewed, however, informed a supervisor of what was transpiring at the security checkpoint.

“Don’t do that” just doesn’t cut it. I cracked wise when talking about having the TSA meet the resistance, but ultimately, this is no laughing matter. Abuses of authority are a fact of life. We need to avoid giving an agency like the TSA the power to make these abuses cause real harm.

Put another way, would you trust this unnamed assclown with naked body scans of you?

Meet the Resistance

Monday, November 1st, 2010

In an article making its way around the web, Jeffrey Goldberg details his recent experiences with the TSA and their new policy regarding opting out of the new back-scatter machines. In short, if you opt out of the incredibly invasive machine scan, you’ll now be subjected to a very intrusive pat-down instead, wherein the security agent assigned to you will feel up the thighs until he meets “resistance” in the form of your testicles.

Goldberg’s whole article is worth reading, and makes it clear the TSA is attempting to cow the masses into accepting the new back-scatter machines by making any alternative much worse and more degrading. As Goldberg summarizes:

…the obvious goal of the TSA is to make the pat-down embarrassing enough for the average passenger that the vast majority of people will choose high-tech humiliation over the low-tech ball check.

A “crotchal” area feel-up is certainly unappealing, there’s no question about it. However, it seems that perhaps the TSA hasn’t thought this through entirely. Their little game of molestation chicken could just blow up in their faces1.

Think about it – the pat-down won’t be pleasant for you, but the TSA agent-turned-baggage handler isn’t going to be too thrilled about it either. If enough travelers are willing to play ball, as it were, some agents are bound to quit. Those who remain will be overwhelmed by demand for their services. Given enough defiance, the TSA simply won’t have the time or manpower to cop all the required feels. Their policy will have to change2.

So let’s try to put an end to security theatre. Let’s take back our rights, along with our dignity. Let’s remember what Ben Franklin taught us, that those who sacrifice liberty for security (or worse, the illusion of security) deserve neither. Let’s find our balls, and then make them touch ’em.

The next time I fly, I’m going to have the TSA “meet the resistance”. Who’s with me?


  1. Metaphorically speaking, of course. ↩︎

  2. I suppose the other possibility is that the TSA will be overrun with perverts. Of course, given the nature of the images the back-scatter machines produce, that may well happen anyway. ↩︎