from the some-sort-of-terrorist-convention...-even-the-letters-aren't-English dept
Hundreds of travelers attempting to fly out of Houston's Hobby Airport were delayed for hours as TSA agents confronted the massive security threat posed by a book. Actually, several books. Several identical books. Carried by several fliers leaving the same event. (via Lowering the Bar)
"We had a large group with a large number of bags to be checked and because of a certain item in those bags there was additional screening necessary," said Bill Begley with Hobby Airport.Nice use of the word "forced." Even if the book appeared suspicious at first, perhaps the inference could have been drawn that other passengers wearing the sorority insignia on their almost-universally red clothing were carrying the same non-threatening book. Or does "Behavioral Detection" -- the TSA's mind-reading initiative that watches for suspicious patterns -- only detect suspicion, not the lack thereof?
A spokesman for the airport says the sorority members were apparently given thick booklets at the convention that could be mistaken for explosives when packed into checked bags. The booklets forced TSA officials to hand check most of the luggage.
Here's the "bomb," as displayed by one passenger during KHOU's televised report:
Better safe than sorry -- the TSA's strangulated way of thinking -- kept this from being pursued logically, as Kevin Underhill points out.
Of course, I suppose it's not impossible that ISIS coordinated an attack plan with the annual Delta Sigma Theta convention. But the chances of that are sufficiently close to zero that I'd feel safe waving these ladies through.Maybe it wasn't ISIS. Maybe it was hundreds of "lone wolves," all wearing red and white clothing and all carrying the same bomb/book!
Instead of seeing this common element as something non-suspicious after the first thorough search, the TSA apparently treated every repeat "incident" as its own particularized threat. Flights were delayed, but not a single one was made any safer by these extra inspection efforts.
So far, the TSA has yet to comment on its actions, leaving that unenviable task to airport officials. Meanwhile, travelers continue to give the TSA more credit than it deserves.
"I'm sure they were doing their best that they could, but it just wasn't enough it wasn't enough," [sorority alumus Cassandra] Tomes said.Their "best" is routinely terrible. And for all the talk about becoming a smarter, more responsive security agency, the TSA continues to brute force its way through the day-to-day business of keeping up appearances.