October 19, 2007, - 10:14 am

Safe? HA!: TSA Misses 75%, 60% of Bombs @ Major U.S. Airports

By Debbie Schlussel
As I’ve been saying for a few years, we were safer BEFORE 9/11 than we are now, AFTER it. Now, there’s even more proof behind my statements.
I was away yesterday, flying to a major city to do a TV show. And wouldn’t you know, while I was removing my boots, jacket, sunglasses, and confining my liquid toiletries to a quart bag of 3-oz. containers all for the folks at the Transportation “Security” Administration (TSA), bombs were getting passed TSA screeners at Los Angeles’ LAX Airport and Chicago O’Hare 75% and 60% of the time(!), respectively.
I’d say, “Attention, Terrorists . . . ” with this story. But the terrorists already know. It’s just you, the great American masses–upon whom the joke is–who are in the dark. We’re not safe. The TSA screenings are not just window-dressing. They’re comedy–A waste of time. TSA screeners are Bud Abbott. We’re Lou Costello. Who’s on First? Bombs on Second Plane.


Yup, while I can’t have a tube of toothpaste that’s 4 ounces or an extra tube of lipgloss in my purse, undercover agents got these things through 75% of the time, according to a January 2007 classified TSA report, which excellent USA Today TSA-beat reporter Thomas Frank obtained:

* Detonator and explosive hidden in briefcase lining;
* Inert explosives inside CD players;
* Fake dynamite and timer in toiletry kit;
* Phony plastic explosive and battery inside hollowed-out book; and
* Inert explosives and detonator in back support concealed clothing.

All of these things got through security 75% and 60% of the time. You got 10 terrorists trying this, 7.5 of them will succeed at LAX and 6 of them at Chicago O’Hare.
And USA Today’s Frank reports that, like I’ve said, security is getting worse, NOT better:

A report on covert tests in 2002 found screeners failed to find fake bombs, dynamite and guns 24% of the time. The TSA ran those tests shortly after it took over checkpoint screening from security companies.
Tests earlier in 2002 showed screeners missing 60% of fake bombs. In the late 1990s, tests showed that screeners missed about 40% of fake bombs, according to a separate report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

More details to make you cringe:

Security screeners at two of the nation’s busiest airports failed to find fake bombs hidden on undercover agents posing as passengers in more than 60% of tests last year, according to a classified report obtained by USA TODAY.
Screeners at Los Angeles International Airport missed about 75% of simulated explosives and bomb parts that Transportation Security Administration testers hid under their clothes or in carry-on bags at checkpoints, the TSA report shows.
At Chicago O’Hare International Airport, screeners missed about 60% of hidden bomb materials that were packed in everyday carry-ons ‚Äî including toiletry kits, briefcases and CD players. San Francisco International Airport screeners, who work for a private company instead of the TSA, missed about 20% of the bombs, the report shows. The TSA ran about 70 tests at Los Angeles, 75 at Chicago and 145 at San Francisco.

Yup, private companies always do best what government does worst.

The report looks only at those three airports, using them as case studies to understand how well the rest of the U.S. screening system is working to stop terrorists from carrying bombs through checkpoints.
The failure rates at Los Angeles and Chicago stunned security experts.
“That’s a huge cause for concern,” said Clark Kent Ervin, the Homeland Security Department’s former inspector general. Screeners’ inability to find bombs could encourage terrorists to try to bring them on airplanes, Ervin said, and points to the need for more screener training and more powerful checkpoint scanning machines.
Screeners who miss detonators, timers, batteries and blocks that resemble plastic explosives get remedial training[, says TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe].

Well, that’s great if you’re on the plane that just blew up. No biggie, the TSA guy/chick who didn’t prevent my death will now get remedial training.

The failure rates at Los Angeles and Chicago are “somewhat misleading” because they don’t reflect screeners’ improved ability to find bombs, Howe said.

“Misleading”? I think a 75% failure rate is quite blunt and frank. You don’t need to be Einstein to understand it.
It’s actually quite simple: Terrorists have free reign at our airports, while we’re stuck in long lines getting undressed, felt up, and forced to dump our unopened water bottles.
We’re hassled and degraded, while those who want us dead are not. The terrorists have won.


Muslim TSA Screener Inspects Nun @ Detroitistan Metro Airport

(Photo Shot by Traveler Dean Shaddock)

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9 Responses

An additional caveat: If you fly to Mexico you could be sitting next to someone with tuberculosis. Guns, bombs, disease. “Ask for not whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”
–Ernest Hemingway

Bill Petty on October 19, 2007 at 10:57 am

All my life, since I was a little boy, I have carried a pocket knife. Well, you know how TSA feels about those dangerous items. I have lost several when I have honestly declared them at inspection check points. The last time I flew, back at the beginning of this past summer, I was coming through DFW (Dallas) and I realized I still had my pocket knife in my pocket. I just decided to be quiet about it, and to my surprise, I walked right on through the scanner with no problem. Earlier, on that same trip, I had to take of my stainless steel watch (which is non-magnetic) take off my belt with its non-magnetic small brass buckle, take out all my coins (also non-magnetic) at the tiny Medford, Oregon, airport (obviously a hotbed of terrorist activity). My point is the lack of balance here. In tiny Medford, with very few people passing through, the scanners were set excruciatingly tight; in huge, busy DFW, with many thousands of people passing through, I was able to pass a pocket knife through with no difficulty at all.
It seemed clear to me that this was the bully factor at work. The bullies at Medford had too much time on their hands, so they were amusing themselves by making people jump through hoops. In Dallas, with many, many people to deal with, the bullies were minimizing their work load by making it easy to pass through. I say bullies because this is the sort of job that appeals largely to bullies, people who enjoy ordering other folks around, being the tough guy, searching people, detaining them, etc.
Debbie, you were quite correct when you said that the terrorist have won. We, the American people have also most certainly lost, and lost a lot.

Dr. D on October 19, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    I found your post because they’re still at it in Medford. Nowhere on the list of prohibited items are bike locks, but they made me check my bag because I had one. They also asked my husband if he had any sharp objects. He said no, and they glared at him and yanked out his zucchini bread to re-scan it. It would be funny if it weren’t going to cost me half an hour waiting at a baggage claim.

    Unfortunately, my Google search also found that one of these clowns won TSA “Officer of the Year” in 2008. The TSA wants them to act this way.

    jami on August 9, 2009 at 7:18 pm

That picture of a mooselim screener (if it’s real, which I assume it is) says it all in two words: WE’RE DOOMED!

spiffo on October 19, 2007 at 12:53 pm

The picture of the Muslim screener patting down the nun outrages me in so many ways. Maybe I’m being rascist and xenophobic, but isn’t the tail wagging the dog here? I can’t help but think that if you wanted to pat down the Muslim woman there would be all sorts of outrage in the media. The inmates are running the asylum folks!

Architect on October 19, 2007 at 1:00 pm

As I wrote back when the TSA was hiring personnel after 911,the TSA was and is still hiring welfare recipients and other assorted losers to screen the traveling public.
I had just retired from LE and tried to get hired at the TSA in Los Angeles. I could not even get an interview from the TSA.I was in a patriotic mood after 911 and thought I would get a job with the TSA to do my bit for National Security.
At the time, The John & Ken Radio Show was investigating why highly skilled former law enforcement could not get hired at the TSA at LAX. They asked people that tried to get hired at TSA LAX to call into their show.
The vast majority of the people that called into the show were people with a background in LE or LE related experience.Most had the same experience I did after filling out an application. No telephone call for an interview and when called, nobody could find their application.
It was obvious then that the TSA was going to become the employment agency for the misfits of society and had no intention of hiring Law Enforcement or anyone with half a brain.
The higher ups in the TSA decided they were going to hire from the welfare agencies and did not want anybody getting hired that would interfere with the Peter Principle that our federal Government is famous for instilling into the PC culture of Government work.
I will no longer fly commercial.
One, it is too time consuming. On short flights, I can almost get there as fast as driving in the comfort of my Lincoln not being shoved into a seat that resembles a sardine can and being held hostage in the plane with flight delays.
Two, I refuse to be treated like a common criminal. Going through the idiotic searches reminds me of the way people were treated during Hitlerís reign.
Anyone with LE experience, knows full well that the TSA procedures and searches are a waste of time and money.(40 billion plus)
Papers Please!

ScottyDog on October 20, 2007 at 12:18 am

Wait till the dumb muslims figure out they can use IEDs in America to shut the country down. All they have to do is target government or private employees at a million different bottlenecks. The government will be powerless to stop it; it’ll take We The People to finally deal with these people. I will be laughing when something like that begins.

steve ventry on October 21, 2007 at 9:54 am

You are missing the point. What they did not tell you in the news report is that if they blocked everything you need to make an ied, you would carry nothing into the airport. Yet here we are years after 9-11 and noone has targeted an airplane. Noone has even tried except a few stupid reporters, college students and professors who are trying to prove they can bypass security. I see nothing wrong with a muslim screener. It is the hard core christains we need to worry about.

Bud on August 12, 2009 at 9:38 pm

While I think the picture of the nun being patted down by the hijabed muslima represents the situation to a T I do have my doubts as to its authenticity as the place is absolutely deserted, in complete contrast to the usual scene. Still maybe it was done first thing in the morning so could be genuine.

Bronson on June 1, 2014 at 1:27 am

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