Kelsey Atherton, for Foxtrot Alpha, on the failures of TSA:
Ultimately, the TSA’s airport screening exists as the second-to-last line of defense for a threat that is astoundingly rare
The actual last line of defense is, according to security researcher Bruce Schneier, “the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.” These changes, more than anything else, are what keep Al Qaeda copycats from turning other airliners into building-bound missiles.
And those changes don’t require us to get to the airport three hours early, cram all of our belongings into overstuffed carry-on bags, remove our shoes, risk further screening for appearing nervous, or subject ourselves to background checks in advance. Instead, we created the TSA, tasked it with a massive task, and hobbled it with bad science, weak funding, contradictory mandates, and a general lack of support, so that we can have the illusion of security in the form of inconvenience.
I really have no reason to complain about the TSA. In the past five years, I’ve boarded a plane maybe three times per year. Still, I can’t help but feel that in and of itself, TSA is a constant reminder and the ultimate realization that after 9/11, Americans traded freedom for security. And, according to Atherton and many others, said security really isn’t that assured, anyways.