January 28, 2008, - 4:19 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Feel safe? You shouldn’t. Yet another TSA undercover operative gets yet another bomb through security at Tampa’s airport.
CNN tails “Jason,” the middle-aged 40-year law enforcement veteran and TSA “covert tester,” while he gets the small explosive device through. It’s an interesting read. But it begs the question, one I repeatedly ask on this site:
If they can’t catch the bombs, why do they keep making me throw out my lipgloss and orange juice? Why do they make a guy with a 4-oz tube of toothpaste throw that out?
Priorities, priorities. Or more accurately: Incompetence, incompetence:
In Tampa, everything goes smoothly as Jason steps through the metal detector portal. The detector alarm goes off, as Jason expects it to, not because of the nonmetallic device strapped to his back but due to his metal knee.
It’s the perfect tool for ensuring he gets to “secondary,” where more extensive searches are conducted.
Soon Jason is in a posture familiar to air travelers. He is standing, legs apart, with his arms extended. A screener “wands” him with a hand-held metal detector, and it beeps as it passes his metal knee, his necklace and the rivets on his bluejeans.
The screener then pats him down, running latex-gloved hands over Jason’s legs, arms and torso. And he pats down Jason’s back, including the lower part where the device is concealed.
But Jason explains away the back support. He tells the screener that he has a bum back in addition to having a metal knee.
With the patdown over, the screener releases Jason. He picks up his belongings and walks freely into the airport, the fake bomb still fastened to his back.
TSA officials say the Tampa test demonstrates the type of systemic vulnerability that the agency is working to expose and address.
Screeners have cultural sensitivities toward travelers’ handicaps, and they are sometimes hesitant to perform intrusive searches, officials said. Terrorists could exploit that reluctance, they said.
Naw, they’d never do that. Pretending to be handicapped is not nice. And Muslims–especially the terrorists–are very nice. At least, that’s what they taught TSA screeners in sensitivity training seminars.
“Jason” could be at your airport and get through with his fake bomb. But one day soon, it could be Ahmed or Mohammed or Tom the Muslim convert. And then, the only thing that will be fake is the President’s repeated claim that America is safe. That, and the full name of the TSA–Transportation Security Administration. Security has nothing to do with it.
Good luck, America. The reason there hasn’t been another successful attack on U.S. soil–and that fact is debatable: Trolley Square Massacre, Shooting at the Seattle Jewish Community Center, Reza Taheri-Azar driving into students at UNC–has nothing to do with George W. Bush . . . or Michael “Serpenthead” Chertoff.
Tags: America, CNN, Debbie Schlussel Feel, explosive device, George W. Bush, hand-held metal detector, law enforcement veteran, metal detector portal, metal knee, Michael "Serpenthead" Chertoff, nonmetallic device, President, Reza Taheri-Azar, Seattle Jewish Community Center, Tampa, Tampa's airport, Transportation Security Administration, TSA undercover operative, United States