Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Favorite Posting: Children Working the TSA Checkpoint

Over the last few days, I have been featuring -- because of the second anniversary of this blog -- the 5 most popular postings.

You might wonder which is my favorite post: It is this one about children manning the TSA checkpoint in Pennsylvania.
Child using ultraviolet light to check the ID of the woman at far right.
Photo (c) 2011 Mike Smith
A few have wondered why I cover the TSA in a blog that is primarily about weather and related topics (like climate). The reason is that much of what I have done in my career is about managing risks related to weather. So, managing other risks is of interest to me.

The U.S. faces a real, and serious, threat of terrorism. Unfortunately, the TSA is a hugely expensive, arrogant, and ineffective agency that puts our civil rights in danger. The TSA is designed for "security theatre" -- the illusion of effective security rather than creating genuine security. If it were the latter they would, for example, subject the workers that service the aircraft to daily ID checks. After all, if a terrorist got a bomb in the baggage compartment of a plane, there is nothing the passengers could do. However, if a passenger gets a gun or knife in the passenger compartment, the passengers can -- and would -- fight back.

Lest you believe the above theoretical, the following is quoted from a security consultant at Delta Airlines:

Less conspicuously, terrorists have started to infiltrate the airlines and airports themselves. Rajib Karim, for instance, worked as an IT specialist for British Airways. But inspired by al-Qaida YouTube preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, Karim offered to help al-Qaida sneak bombs aboard planes at London’s Heathrow airport, and claimed to have support from sympathetic airport workers. The airlines and airports barely conduct employee background checks, Brandt claims — and of course, none of those employees need to go through a “porno scanner,” get a pat-down or have their luggage rifled through.

Consider for a moment: If the threat of aviation terrorism is go great the TSA has to strip search 85-year old women in walkers and detain a pregnant woman and confiscate her purse because the purse had the design of a gun on it, what in the world are children doing working in this "high risk" environment?! To me, the photographs in my original posting showing children checking ID's, working the X-ray, etc., sum up the absurdity that is the TSA better than mere words ever could.

Hope you have enjoyed the "replay" of the most popular postings of the first two years of the blog.

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