TSA Wants Your Drink

TSA screening liquidsA new low being examined by the TSA. It’s now policy that drinks are no longer permitted to pass through security. Passengers then purchase drinks within the sterile area, yet the TSA believes they need to sample your liquid. “The TSA wouldn’t say what they’re testing for or why they are doing it, but travelers say they have a right to know” the story reads.

It’s another case of our Fourth Amendment Rights being violated by the TSA. Their position, “TSA employees have many layers of security throughout airports. Passengers may be randomly selected for additional screening measures at the checkpoint or in the gate at any time.” It’s bad enough now seeing the TSA harass and assault passengers inside the sterile area. What else will the traveling public be submitting to in the future to make sure air travel is safe?

Some interesting words from Kip Hawley, former Administrator for the Transportation Security Administration and author of Permanent Emergency over on FDL Book Salon:

Bruce S: Kip, your book has the first coherent explanation of the liquid ban I have ever read. For the benefit of those who have not read the book, can you explain 1) which liquid explosive you were concerned about, 2) why you were unwilling to allow a 12-oz. bottle of liquid through airport security but were willing to allow four 3-oz. bottles plus an empty 12-oz. bottle, and 3) what was the security reason for the baggie?

Kip: 1) highly concentrated liquid hydrogen peroxide with a sugar fuel and some other things. An extremely powerful explosive.

2) Our labs found that the mixture was extremely finicky and that mixing it was not simple. Our professional chemists in labs had difficulty making the bomb and found mixing to be problematic. AQ valued bomb-makers and were not sending them out on suicide missions. The times they asked operatives to do minimal bomb-making (Richard Reid & Abdulmutallab), they botched it. It was risk management in the end. A possibility but remote in my opinion.

3) the baggie allowed the liquids to be gathered so officers would’nt have to hunt for them and the vapor lock captured hydrogen peroxide vapor for easy testing.

This discussion board user at TravelUnderground.org sums it up nicely, “They have a procedure that is first and foremost ridiculous on its face, based on an implausible theory, carried out by idiots who don’t even know what they’re doing, managed by morons who either don’t understand the directive or don’t know what’s going on under their own noses, to mitigate a threat that isn’t even feasible.

I fly once a year and have been since leaving the airlines. I still have no desire to use ANY airline and go through the dog and pony show at the security checkpoints. Thankfully I have never been asked to submit to a molestation and hopefully that trend will continue in August when I must fly to Las Vegas.

Bottled Water the New Box Cutter?

I have been thinking all day how I wanted to approach this subject…again! Driving home his morning I caught the first hour of Armstrong & Getty and a sound clip they opened the show with. It was of an air traveler, upset, standing the long security lines in Newark, NJ, but he said that TSA stood for, “Thousands Standing Around.” Hahah…that gave me a great chuckle to start the morning. That does give a great description of what appears to be their said job.

I did not spend any time today following any further events related to the events that continue to unfold in the UK. I did listen to a few minutes of Michael Savage and then Michael Smirconish who was “pinch hitting” for Bill O’Reilly [whom I don’t really listen to on a regular basis. But Smirconish is a smart man, with some great thoughts, so I listened to him for 2 hours driving into work tonight.

While I won’t claim it as my original thought, I do agree that bottled water is the new box cutter when is comes to “perceived” safety for air travelers. The US has followed their counterparts in the UK and heightened aviation security, changing the threat level to orange [or red in terms of international flights], the highest level since 9-11. The “no liquids of any sort” is currently the latest in banned items to be brought through the security checkpoints and into the sterile area [terminal] by travelers. But taking it a step further, you cannot bring any liquids onto the aircraft even if were bought once in the sterile area.

The majority of air travelers are probably understand, at least through the weekend to the “heightened” security procedures around US airports. But just how long are they going to be willing to subject themselves to this further scrutiny? Remember the number of items that were banned from being taken aboard? I always cite the nail clippers example as being asinine part of the security directive banning objects such as these. As I see nearly anything brought on board an aircraft could be used as a weapon, in the hands of a individual who is trained to use it as such. But to not allow simple liquids, like water and coffee purchased in the sterile area is extreme in my book and not preventing a damn thing.

Once you are in the sterile area, you will be subject to a second round of security scrutiny by the TSA and National Guard prior to boarding your flight. They will ask you to open your bag as they look for “contraband” items that are not permitted on board. Why? Again, it is “perceived” security, the only thing this is doing is further frustrating air travelers and delaying the process to get you on board. Do you really think it is successfully thwarting a terrorist attempt? I don’t and furthermore, the traveling public won’t put up with it for much longer.

Passenger loads have recently surpassed those of pre-9/11…finally. That does not necessarily mean any airline is making money, but it means that the public does feel confident and safe [now] to get back to traveling. What many don’t know or don’t recognize are the other areas that are truly lacking in security. I still don’t believe banning liquids is going to prevent any further attacks, especially if those liquids are purchased inside the sterile area. What would worry me more is the fact that barometric explosives could be placed inside cargo that is loaded onto commercial aircraft bound to and from the US and no one would know the difference.

It’s this lack of security that scares the hell out of me. Sort of like the lack of attention on securing the southern border. It is a terrorist attack just waiting to happen. But why won’t the DHS or TSA address this area immediately? The terrorists are smart and I believe it is only time before this hole is penetrated, exposed causing another possibly industry wide shutdown. A “fellow” at some think tank said that the previously mentioned liquids, cargo and possibility of shoulder fired [SA-6] missiles are three areas that pose a threat to aviation security.

All we need to do is go back and look at lessons Pan Am 103 taught us when 12 to 16 oz. of plastic explosives were detonated in the forward cargo hold that led to the destruction of the aircraft. I suggest the Federal Government stop waiting manpower, time and money and direct it towards a huge security hole [cargo] and stop wasting our time confiscating our water and $5 cup of Starbucks and start figuring out how we are going to secure hundreds of thousands of pounds of cargo that is loaded each and everyday onto commercial flights.