Security theater must make people stupid

David Perera must have gone through the scanner a few too many times and his brain turned into crap. He claims that just because someone has a security clearance that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to go through airport security without being subjected to TSA scrutiny:

First, if the ability to go through the expedited line is given to all secret holders regardless of the purpose of their travel, clearance holders would be the recipient of an unfair perk relative to the rest of society. Clearance holders receive access to classified documents – not a badge that permits them to cut in line at the gas station, take 20 items through the 15-item supermarket checkout line or buy 3.2 beer in an Arkansas convenience store on a Sunday.

Just what does he think TSA security is for? It’s not a line at a gas station.

I kept expecting him to explain that the only purpose TSA serves is to harass and desensitize people to illegal searches. If some people don’t go through the desensitization process then TSA effectiveness is drastically reduced. After all, TSA has been insisting that pilots and the rest of the flight crew be searched so what purpose could that serve other than desensitization? Do they think that unless they search the pilot for box cutters he would be able to hijack the plane he was already flying?

But that doesn’t appear to be the case. As near as I can tell he really believes what he says. I can only conclude he has crap for brains. I expect that soon he will insist Air Marshals also go though TSA screening. After all their badges don’t enable them to take 20 items through the 15-item supermarket checkout line either.


7 thoughts on “Security theater must make people stupid

  1. I think a lot of people still honestly think that the TSA goons actually do accomplish something, if only via some kind of deterrent effect. I chalk this up to the fact that most people are mostly law-abiding most of the time, so they figure if it prevents them from doing something then it prevents others–which is true, to a point, but they fail to realize that some people are cleverer than they are, and that a certain some of the cleverer ones (mostly the terrorists who are smart enough to get *other* people to blow themselves up) see these measures as more of a challenge than a deterrent. As a result, they fail to realize the near-total inefficacy of said security measures. This is also why you get these oft-quoted morons on national TV bleating about how if it stops 1 bad guy the whole charade is worth the massive inconvenience. I often wonder what it will take, and whether these people would willingly be herded into boxcars “for the good of the homeland”–when will they ever get the idea that is not what this is about? And as for the rest of us, when will we ever be heard by our self-appointed “betters” in DC?

  2. Oddly enough, my military ID lets me buy beer on Sunday, in Arkansas, on a military base. It should also allow me not to have to get felt up my the tsa.


    To paraphrase Bruce Schneier, if you make a heavily screened slow lane and a lightly screened fast lane, you just invite the baddies to work out an exploit to take advantage of the free-pass that exists for the fast lane. They needn’t compromise the person, they may just need to use the person with security clearance as an unwitting mule for getting materials into the “sterile” side of the airport.

    And, to paraphrase Carlo Maria Cipolla, a person might have all the traits and intelligence required to hold a security clearance and yet be walking around in condition white. He or she might be completely unaware that (s)he has been victim of some social engineering trick that allowed contraband to be secreted amongst his/her effects.

    I know that (pre 9/11) when I transitioned from single poor student with intermittent income to researcher with security-clearance at a federal laboratory, my frequent border crossings became much faster and more pleasant.

    A RAND paper on the topic was reported to have suggested that the high-trust individuals only be subjected to the necessary screening, while the rest of the herd get the whole theatre experience. Why not just eliminate the security-theatre for everyone?

  4. Because getting a security clearance takes a lot of time and investigation. In the military, it can take months to get a security clearance. It is not something done lightly. I had to explain my debt consolidation loan to an investigator even though nothing was negative about repayments.

    Once someone has a security clearance, they should be allowed to move through the low-hassle avenue at the TSA station.

  5. It should be like in some states where once you have your CCW, you don’t have to go through a NICS check for a purchase. It is understood you have already passed an inquiry of equal or greater scrutiny. Saves everyone time and frustration. Or we could keep redoing the same thing over every single time. I’m surprised the TSA has not advertised its expansion as an economy saving jobs program.

  6. I just read the other day that dry ice (up to 5.5 lbs) is ok for carry on.

    But a half pint of milk isn’t.

    5.5 lbs is plenty for a good bottle bomb. 22 lbs from a team of 4 isn’t unreasonable.

  7. There is too much stupid, piled on too many underlying strata of old, compressed and fossilized stupid here. IN an attempt to grind our way down through all the stupid, to the bedrock;

    Where is it written that government should be in charge of public transportation? In a free society, how is our transportation NOT our business and ours alone? I know there is reference to keeping postal routes open, but as a “postal route” the sky is pretty open unless government gets in the way.

    Once you assume and accept the premise that government is properly in charge of your transportation, you have no right to complain about the inevitable transgressions against you made in the name of government’s responsibility to “safety” and the like. So shut the hell up. “Relax and enjoy your shoes.” Suckers.

    What? You think you can play their game and win– You think you can tweak the system that was put up to ensnare you and have it work in your favor? Good luck with that. Suckers.

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