I can demonstrate airport security is a huge waste of money and have long advocated we spend that money on something worthwhile. Last month I had another opportunity to demonstrate the inability of TSA to provide security and wrote Bruce Schneier an email in response to his posting about the ban on lighters on planes. He asked me for permission to use my letter and then published in his monthly letter (do a search for ‘Huffman’ to find my email).
Here is what I said, in case you don’t want to go searching in his web page:
From: Joseph K Huffman
Subject: Lighters Banned on Airplanes
One of my hobbies is explosives. I have a ATFE license to manufacture high explosives. I do so recreationally on a fairly regular basis.
I made the explosives for a recent event wearing gloves. Then had to rework some things later and did that without gloves. A few minutes later I handled a rifle case without cleaning up. On April 13th, three days later, that same rifle case went through airport security at Pasco Washington. I watched a TSA agent wipe down the handle and interior of the case and test them for explosives. Everything passed. The rifle case went with me to Albuquerque, New Mexico. On April 16th, that same rifle case made the return trip and again went through a TSA screening without questions. I have numerous stories of this nature. This is only the most recent.
As near as I can determine, airport “security”, from one end to the other, only exists to make people feel better. It does not represent a deterrent to even a moderately skilled adversary. We are wasting something like $1.8 billion per year on this activity to make some people feel better.