Politics

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
security, state secrets, terrorism, tsa



Whether Or Not The TSA Has Ever Caught A Terrorist Is Apparently A State Secret

from the which-means-no dept

We asked recently if there was any evidence, ever, that the TSA's security procedures prevented an attack on an airplane. Last week the TSA claimed, without any details, that its procedures had stopped 130 "prohibited, illegal or dangerous items" from getting on airplanes in the last year. But it provides no details. And, in a day when a bottle of water and nail clippers are considered "prohibited," it's difficult to judge if this actually means anything.

Over at Slate, Juliet Lapidos tries to dig into the question, but the TSA won't point out a single specific case claiming it's a "national security" issue. Huh? Actually telling us whether or not the naked scans and crotch grabs catch anyone is a state secret? That seems likely to mean that the answer is, no, they have not caught anyone or stopped any attempted attack, and they're just too embarrassed to say so. In fact, Lapidos points out that, in years past, the TSA has publicly announced when it "caught" someone -- as in the one time, nearly three years ago, it found a guy who had enough materials in his (checked) suitcase to make a pipe-bomb. Of course, there wasn't an actual pipe bomb in the suitcase, so it wasn't going to blow up the plane or anything.

So, in effect, it seems pretty clear that the security screening process isn't catching anyone. Of course, supporters might claim that terrorists are too scared off by the screenings, so that's why we're safe. But that makes little sense. As Jeffrey Goldberg showed a few years back, it's quite easy to get things past the security screenings if you really want to. This is security theater, plain and simple. And the TSA must know that. Which is why it's a "state secret."

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2010 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Anonymous Coward what ya say?

    > What we want is safety and security not a left vs right fight no?

    speak for yourself.

    i'd rather have them continue fighting amongst themselves than come together with some bs legislation that gives us some temporary, ineffective "safety & security"

    i am vastly more afraid of the US government than any terrorist organization.

    terrorists cannot take away our rights and freedoms; the government can and will in the name of safety.


    THE LAND OF THE FREE AND HOME OF THE BRAVE


    Apparently this is no longer my Father's America.

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