If the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could compete for an Emmy, it would definitely win, as its “Security Theatre” has become a cutting-edge soap opera.
And the latest episode is making the biggest headlines yet.
The TSA has sliced and diced a prior position, and is now permitting passengers to carry knives onto planes.
Yes. Those sharp, pointy things that can puncture a pilot’s jugular in a heartbeat, make flight attendants talk like Stephen Hawking, and create pandemonium at 35,000 feet.
But at least the TSA has shown sensitivity by keeping box-cutters banned, despite the steely fact that their blades are but a fraction of those on the permissible knives. Another oxymoron we call “TSA consistency.”
Even more comical is the TSA’s knife criteria. If the blade is no more than 2.3" long and a half-inch wide, it will fly the (un)friendly skies. The blade must also be one that folds, which is, presumably, because the TSA thinks a 2.36" folded blade (which is locked when opened) can’t kill someone. More reassuring, the knife cannot have a molded handle, which should be a huge relief to everyone, except those who actually fly.
Why the change? To be more in line with Europe (no joke), and to alleviate congested security lines because screeners are confiscating thousands of such knives.
Oh. So because druggies and shoplifters create logjams in our courts, we should make their actions legal?
And how exactly will lines be shortened with screeners now using tape measures to ensure that 2.37" knives don’t slip by? Although, truth be told, they could all just emulate the Philadelphia Airport, where everything seems to get through.
The TSA is convinced that a 9/11 hijacking can never occur again because of steel cockpit doors, a vigilant flying public, air marshals, and better intelligence. Which is great, except the parts about the steel cockpit doors, a vigilant flying public, air marshals, and better intelligence.
1) Yes, cockpit doors are strengthened, but since there aren’t self-contained bathrooms in the cockpit, pilots are vulnerable every time nature calls.
2) Are passengers expected to work “fight-the-knife-freak” duty? And how many people are the TSA willing to sacrifice? It’s not just the drunk who stabs the flight attendant because he hated the in-flight movie. It’s a handful of Mohammed Attas coordinating an attack. Sound familiar? It should, since box-cutters were legal on 9/11. When you’re dealing with fanatics who can’t wait to meet Allah and all those supposed virgins, it’s going to be a bloodbath. Employing surprise, terrorists will gain the upper hand immediately.
Can’t wait for the TSA press conference: “Yeah, 300 passengers and crew got stabbed to death. But hey! We didn’t lose the plane!”
And guess what? The economy would collapse anyway.
3) Air marshals? Sorry, they’re only on a small percentage of flights. And for the record, they vehemently oppose the knife policy. Next.
4) Better intelligence. Really? Like the 2010 Times Square bomber who was caught by Lady Luck? He fled to the airport, bought a one-way ticket to the Middle East (in cash), boarded the plane, and almost took off. Best of all, he was on the No-Fly List!
Or the 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber who, only through his sheer stupidity, didn’t bring down a plane. He was also on our watch lists, and his own father repeatedly warned us of his son’s intentions, yet he too almost succeeded.
Out of curiosity, does that “better intelligence” include all the agencies that still wage turf wars and don’t share information?
There is a much better solution. It’s called profiling, and it works really, really well. Just ask the Israelis, who know a thing or two about terrorists. (El Al has only been hijacked once).
But out of deference to possible hurt feelings, we refuse. In fact, because of our affinity for political correctness, we do the opposite. The TSA actually announces that children under 13 don’t have to take off their shoes, and who won’t receive pat-downs (children, the wheelchair-bound, and pretty much anyone who complains). Which is all well and good except that the Brotherhood of Mohammed Atta has no problem sacrificing their kids, so guess on whom they’ll hide their explosives?
In 2007, the then-TSA chief lifted the ban on lighters, admitting that policy was “security theatre.” Nothing has changed, as the TSA continues making the skies more dangerous.
It’s only a matter of time before we see a crash and burn. But in the meantime, in hoping that Security Theatre can jump to the big screen, here are some suggested movie titles. Not sure if the copyrights have expired on these, but here’s taking a stab at it:
"Jagged Edge," "Blade Runner, "Con Air," "Fight Club," "Skyfall," "Airport ’13," and, in honor of when TSA officials fly, "Snakes on a Plane."
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
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