More than forty emails on this one. A sampling, including an email–see the last one–from someone in a position to speak with some authority.
From one reader:
Very good question; why do we put up with it? I just came back from a
business trip to LA where an 8 or 9 year old girl in front of me in
the security line failed to take off her rubber flip-flops. Well, for
a moment, I thought she and her parents were headed to high-security
detention and LAX would end up in full lock down. It all got sorted
out, but the ensuing kerfuffle left me agog at the stupidity and lack
of judgement displayed by these people.
“We’re in the eighth year of a Republican administration, for goodness’s sake.”
From a third:
“Smart federal government” would be an oxymoron, would it not?
And from an officer of the TSA:
Dear Mr. Robinson,
I, too, share your frustration with the omnibus approach TSA takes to passenger screening. You see, I’ve been a Transportation Security Officer with TSA since September of 2002 and I’m asked your question (and many other valid questions) on a daily basis. My perspective is wider than most in my position since I am a volunteer in the National Deployment Force that travels on an “as needed” basis to all US Federalized airports. I’m just completing a long-term assignment at Reagan National (DCA) and I believe that this is my 25th airport.
Yes, you are absolutely correct that, “in the eighth year of a Republican administration”, TSA is still using such an inefficient, unfocused method of screening. The answer, my friend, is that we, as a nation, are not serious nor committed to being in a State of War!
You had a reader that hit the nail on the head – “The main purpose is to generate the appearance of security”. That’s why, Mr. Robinson, you see pilots and flight crew going through TSA security – many can access the aircraft by using their encoded badges and thereby bypassing security – yet, the airlines want to assure the flying public of safety by the public display of compliance.
By the way, “pretty good”, very good, and excellent “face recognition” technology fails in the expectation PERFECT results! Rest assured that any failure in the system would occur with a member of C.A.I.R. – let the lawsuits fly!…
I strongly encourage you (and all your readers) to visit http://www.tsa.gov/blog and pose these questions and legitimate concerns there. By the way, the highest level of TSA management monitors this site.