Piercing Airport Security

Godzilla.jpg A few days ago CNN.com reported a story about a woman who was forced to remove her nipple rings before being allowed to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on February 24th.
Wait, did I just write that?
The TSA Blog, called “Evolution of Security”, said that the 4 agents involved (2 male, 2 female) followed the proper procedures, but upon further review those procedures will be modified.
Ya think?
If you want to have a chuckle you should check out the comments, which as of this writing totaled 171. I’d say the sentiment runs pretty strongly against the TSA in this case.
In response to the comments the TSA came out with an official Statement on the incident, which in part says –
“TSA has reviewed the procedures themselves and agrees that they need to be changed. In the future TSA will inform passengers that they have the option to resolve the alarm through a visual inspection of the article in lieu of removing the item in question. TSA acknowledges that our procedures caused difficulty for the passenger involved and regrets the situation in which she found herself. We appreciate her raising awareness on this issue and we are changing the procedures to ensure that this does not happen again.”
I recall a story a couple of years ago about a woman who was arrested for taking her top off at an airport security checkpoint after she set off the magnetometer. I guess it’s OK now as long as it is done during a “private” security screening. Perhaps that’s what the TSA means when it says “The Evolution of Security”. Let’s just cut to the chase and have all passengers completely disrobe and follow their carry on bags through the x-ray machine.
I’m joking of course, because treating physical security like this is a joke, but it’s not funny to those of us who must endure it when we travel. It isn’t the hard metal objects that are a danger to our safety on airplanes, it is those who would use these objects to harm us or others. Richard Reid tries to light a fuse on his Nike’s and we subsequently all take our shoes off for screening. The London crew decides to use liquid explosives in their failed endeavor, and subsequently all liquids must be a certain size and fit into a small baggie. This isn’t evolution; this is reactive, not proactive.
In the wrong hands a pencil is a lethal weapon, and it’s not even metal. Cell phones can be used to set off explosive devices. Following the premise that physical security must keep all dangerous objects off of commercial airplanes to it’s illogical conclusion, it becomes apparent that the safest alternative is to just ban all objects.
It isn’t necessary to invade privacy in order for the TSA to know the airline passengers a little better. The information provided to the airline in their reservation is sufficient. But until we get over the aversion to mingling airline reservations together and utilizing the simple information contained in the airline reservation to help focus the physical security more effectively, we will continue to read stories like the nipple ring incident.

One thought on “Piercing Airport Security

Comments are closed.