How should we improve airport security? *UPDATED*

Over at RedState, there is a post that succinctly sums up the three choices currently facing people who plan to travel to a faraway destination:

Door #1: Have nude pictures of yourself beamed to some video monitor to be viewed by a total stranger where it may or may not be stored; or,

Door #2: Allow yourself to be groped, poked, patted down, felt up, frisked, and squeezed at the hands of some police academy reject in a Smurf-blue uniform; or…

Door #3: Don’t travel.

Of course, those choices don’t arise in a vacuum.  They exist in a travel world that no one imagined prior to the 1970s, when hijackings started, and before the 21st century, when planes started being turned into bombs:  How do we protect travelers?

In the hijacking days, metal detectors made sense, as a fairly unobtrusive way to guard against guns and knives, although that approach failed miserably on 9/11.  But with the creative types at Al Qaeda using liquid explosives, putty explosives, underwear explosives, shoe explosives, etc., traditional machinery doesn’t work.  And as noted above, non-traditional approaches — nude photos and groping — are untenable to the American public.

Which leaves a question:  How do we improve airport security?  I’d love to get your answers on this one.  I hate to fly, and would prefer that my flight didn’t end with my plane exploding.  But I’m also someone who has a large zone of physical privacy, a zone that extends to my family, and I therefore find utterly repugnant the thought of nude photos and public gropes.  So what’s left in a day and age when the terrorists have gotten creative?

I’ll start the conversation with profiling, which the Israelis have used successfully for decades.  This is deep profiling.  They’re not just looking for the guy in Muslim dress.  They’re looking for profound clues about people’s background and behaviors.  I don’t know if we can get that up and running anytime soon and, given the size of our air traffic compared to the Israeli’s air traffic, I don’t know if we can spread this kind of knowledge and insight around.

Now it’s your turn….

UPDATE:  This is an appropriate companion piece to my question above airport security.

UPDATE II:  And another suggestion for non-radioactive, non-groping airport security.

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  • Dennis Elliott

    Just a quick one off the top of my head. Profiling as the Isrealis do it would never work here because back after 9-11 the Democrats required TSA to be made up of unionized federal workers. My limited expeience with these people would indicate that it is the first permanent job many of them have had. Talk of their lack of ability, training  and professionalism is legion and I don’t see it getting any better. If that current system were scrapped and the inspection force were to be made up of professionally trained and led law enforcement agents, the Israeli system would be ideal.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Dennis: I certainly haven’t been impressed by the caliber of the TSA people with whom I’ve intersected.  Many seem to function on the low IQ range.

  • Larry Sheldon

    What we have is a rat-in-a-maze experiment to demonstrate well know folk-medicine adage that to repeat a thing, expecting the outcomes to be different is a sure sign of insanity.  The bar-room bouncer foundation doesn’t work (although it might if we had the certainty-of-retribution thing the bent-noses haver).
    We need a new model and the one the Israelis used looks like a good place to start.
    I think the foundation of the model needs to start with a mission statement that includes notions that the job is to keep the place and its people safe and secure and not to catch somebody trying to repeat a one-time attack mode.
    Yeah, there are some some freedom and rights issues here, and I don’t have ready answers for all of them.
     
    But I remember Dad saying things about stuff like “if you never lie, you don’t have to worry about people trying to catch you in one”.
     
    And I think those are the heart-anchors of their system–believe that their job is security and safety for people in Israel, and paying attention to what people do and what they say and exploiting the lies in their (the bad guys) lives.

  • jj

    Was once standing on line at LAX a couple years back, putting up with the general idiocy, and the guy in front of me looked at the blue-shirted moron and said: ‘hey – three months ago you were on welfare, and now you got a big Gummint job!  Benefits and a pension and everything – how’s that working for ya?”  I figured, great, we’ll be here for the next nine hours, but the woman just smiled and said: “it’s workin’ great!” and more or less waved us on through.  So at least she wasn’t a humorless moron…
     
    That they are morons indeed is patent, but so are most police-type organizations, including far too many of the genuine police.  I don’t know how or why we ever allowed these dimwits to get into a position of any authority over anyone.  (Face it, it takes a certain mentality to want to be a cop.  The first supporters of fascist or socialist regimes everywhere has historically always been the cops.  Following orders with zero input of thought is a specialty.)
     
    Europe, which has been dealing with securing aircraft for a hell of a lot longer than we have considers that our security is an intrusive, annoying, 98% off-the-point ineffective joke.  Sound and fury, smoke and mirrors, signifying nothing except constitutional breakdown and inconvenience.
     
    El Al is the model.  They are not bothered by political correctness, they’re just interested in keeping the goddam airplanes safe.  It doesn’t bother them to profile, and it doesn’t bother them to tell the press to f*** off when they get curious and want to know in what constitutes the profile.  Good attitude.  But requiring far too much on the ball for our semi-bright people, I’m afraid.  I’m at the point where I only fly if I absolutely have to – generally owing to time constraints – and the only place I routinely fly is Hawaii – I can drive everywhere else, and enjoy seeing a lot of country along the way.

  • http://poliwogspoliblog@blogspot.com poliwog

    A strike against the Israeli style, other than the complete inability of current  TSA employees to use it, may be our much larger population. 

    Our diversity also presents a problem in copying many foreign programs, but I suspect that Israel is diverse enough to have worked out those issues.

  • SADIE

    The El Al model is the only way to go, but ….
     
    Unfortunately, the system both electronically and politically cannot/will not accommodate it.  The dirty business of illegal drivers licenses, stolen social security numbers precludes ‘real’ identification. We simply don’t know if the passenger boarding is Mo-ses or Mo-hamed.
     
    Screening must begin before boarding.
    No cash ticket sales – only a credit card.
    Credit history check to be done.
    Travel history, frequency and previous destinations would be a start.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  • Larry Sheldon

    CuteLilFrog–there is exactly the secret.
     
    The Israelis don’t try to process everybody–just the ones that the first step of screening shows might be worth pursuing.
     
    And yes there are privacy and rights issues, but given the choice between being blown up, having my daughters subjected to things that would get their boyfriends shot, or having somebody ask me “where did you get this book?”  “Why did you buy it?”  “Who do you know there?” while everybody else gets on the airplane, choice seems to be one that is easy to make.

  • http://thoughtyoudneverask.blogspot.com/ zabrina

    How should we improve airport security? Privatize it as much as possible.
     
    I groaned when I heard TSA was going to be run by the government. It’s no surprise to me what it’s devolved to, and will continue to get worse and more stupid.
     
    If only airlines could take over the job and assume the responsibility of who flies or doesn’t fly on their equipment, there might be hope for the 99% of us who are law-abiding peaceable travelers. I would not mind being pre-screened by a private airline in order to get somewhere. I would welcome some kind of prescreening certification for myself and my family, eliminating the need for being groped or intrusively xrayed. The problem is the government has intruded, taken over running the show and hamhanded political correctness enforced by the gun has become the primary focus.
     
    In the meantime, we bought a minivan and have put thousands of miles on it traveling around the U.S. (over 9,700 miles last summer). Now that the latest scanning procedures for air travel have started, it will be a cold day in hell before any of us gets on a plane. Seems to me the government has done at least as much to hurt air travel in this country as the terrorists have.
     
     

  • smokincol

    Profile. this simple observation has been the bane of many drug dealers because, there are police officers who are observant enough to figure out that something about an individual is amiss. there is a difference, though, in the talented people who are police officers and those who work with the TSA. the profile should be: middle eastern, youth, with or without facial hair, no luggage, ticket paid for with cash and some element of nervousness. of course, the nervousness would be attributed to the fact that they are about to die and, well, anyone except someone who is totally psychotic would relish the idea of dying, especially in an airplane crash that usually ends of in a huge ball of flames. ouch. yes, there is a way to stop these people but when the government gets involved, the government that detests and hates us, the enemy is named usually by their surname and place of birth, which can be found on any passport. Question:are our elected representatives subjected to the full body scan and groping pat down searches? most likely not and if I were going to fly, which I will not do until there is some semblance of sanity once again in the flying business, I will not allow anyone to look at me in this form of to grope me in places where only I and my mother, when I was a baby, would touch. Profiling is the only answer to airport security.

  • Oldflyer

    Just a word about TSA folks for those who like to paint with broad brushes and throw poorly aimsd stones.
    My sister worked for TSA.  Now she did not do well in school, and has always lacked a bit of confidence when it comes to “intellectual” pursuits. However,  I do not believe that she is a moron, and I know she is not humorless.  I suspect that losing our Mother when she was 12 probably had something do with her school performance, and that along with a  disastrous early marriage probably affected her self-confidence.   But, she is a functional, hard-working, tax-paying citizen.
    While with TSA she was sent on temporary duty to New York, and to work a Presidential Inaugural.  Apparently she was pretty competent. Then she was fired.  She missed an item on a recurrent test.  No second chance.  Supervsors speaking in her behalf had on effect.  Zero tolerance.  I don’t know if the TSA is that stringent with all of their front-line personnel, but I saw first-hand that they can be pretty intolerant of mistakes.  I wonder how many posters  work under that level of pressure.
    My brother-in-law works for TSA.  He is not a humorless moron either.  His wife had cancer, and he gave up his own successful company to take care of her.  At some point in the process he opted to work for the TSA.  Possibly for predictable hours and benefits.  Frankly, I don’t know the whole story.
    The point is that you who are throwing the bricks, don’t know these people.  You only see your frustration and impatience.  You apparently blame them for policies which they do not control. The folks in TSA have a rough job.  As a former Airline pilot I resented the hell out of the process.  Particularly since once we got through the line, we had the fate of our passengers solely in our hands, with or without weapons.  As a private passenger, I frequently get frustrated.  However, most of the time the TSA people are professional and pleasant.  Sure, there are the inevitable exceptions, and bad day episodes.  But, in general terms, this whole thing is not their fault.  Give ‘em a smile; it often works wonders.
    As long as we the government would rather do naked scans and intrusive pat downs than profile or set up an effective pre-screen system for repeat flyers, then we will go through the waits and the indignities.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    “The point is that you who are throwing the bricks, don’t know these people.”
     
    You don’t know these people either, Old. All you know are the people in your family and others with similar close relationships.
     
    If the “rest of these people” are wrong for judging TSA personnel based upon the performance of some of their members NOW, how do you think you are right in judging TSA personnel based upon even fewer examples that occurred in the past?
     
    “As a former Airline pilot I resented the hell out of the process.”
     
    The process in the past has nothing to do with what is going on today. It has been restructured almost entirely from the bottom up through unionized transformation. These things take time to fully develop.
     
    As for airport security, once you are able to achieve 10% to 50% training saturation of the passenger population the threat of any kind of hijacking simply goes away. With 1 out of 10 to 1 out of 2 people in every plane being trained in lethal H2H, you stop the threat at the most efficient point. Even amateurs have been noted, recently, in stopping terrorists on these planes. Those who have had no training other than their natural born instinct not to sit down and wait to die. 10-50% saturation of the passengers on any plane will effectively end the hijacking threat for that airline.
    I even know of a private contractor that can train such people in 2 days. Far more effective than the government training program for FBI, DEA, and CIA combined.
     
    At 10% saturation, what you have is deterrence. At 50% saturation, essentially every terrorist will have at least one person next to them ready to take them out once the threat manifests itself. Terrorists are well aware of the difficulties a Flight 93 situation will have on their effectiveness. If they simply wanted to kill people in planes, there are easier ways to do it. Like say, blowing up the line at the airport. Or doing a gun and run scenario like Mumbai. Much less complicated than trying to hijack an airplane while it is in the air.
     
    Unfortunately, there’s no way the government can create a training program to train even 10% of everyone that flies on a plane. 30 million people of around 300? 10 million if you cut it down using demographics? The government can’t even create one million jobs, let alone train 10 million people. Not even if they had private contractors.
     
    But if you start now, in a year or two you’ll have a pretty large group of people capable of protecting planes without having to search people before they board the planes. Distributed security is always better than centralized security on these types of threats.
     
     

  • kali

    Zabrina, *yes*, privatize.
     
    Make the airports and the airlines solely responsible for screening passengers and grant them immunity from race-discrimination lawsuits. You’ll see a high degree of experimentation, more flexibility, more professionalism, all driven by corporate self-interest.
     
    And keep the no-fly list, but publicize it so that people can challenge their inclusion on it.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    I’ll ask a simple question for those that have doubts on the efficacy of distributed security solutions vs government security. How many real terrorists have been scanned and identified by TSA?
     
    Now ask yourself this. How many terrorist actions were thwarted by the actions of passengers?
     
    At what IQ number do you need to have to recognize the difference there.

  • SADIE

    Privatize? Maybe militarize would be a better option. There must be thousands of returning soldiers, who have been ‘introduced’ to  the screening process. There isn’t an El Al employee who hasn’t served in the IDF, which already gives them an advantage in civilian life. Privatizing invites unionizing.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Oldflyer:

    You make an excellent point about the stigma that attaches to government service.  It’s the same thing that attaches to affirmative action.  Studies show that, if blacks graduate from middle rank colleges and universities, people respect their accomplishments, because they assume they’re earned.

    If they graduate from “posh” schools (Harvard, Yale), however, people assume that they were there merely because of affirmative action.  Even if the person got to that high end school without benefit of affirmative action, so many second rate blacks have been pushed above their level of comfort and functionality that the whole well is poisoned.

    The same holds true for TSA employees.  Because they’re unionized, and because they’re government, the fact is that bad people are never let go.  Once they’re hired, they’ve essentially got life time tenure (with good benefits).  People like your sister, who are solid, hard-working, kind people, are going to be tarred with the same brush.

    If the TSA was private sector, and people could be fired, we’d assume that those who work there are quality employees, rather than assuming the opposite.

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  • Libby

    I agree with smokincol that the only way to fix airport security is to implement terrorist profiling – and to get the FBI and/or CIA terror specialists involved (so it’s not just the entry-level union-constrained TSA folks). Law enforcement does this every day for other crimes , it’s beyond ridiculous that it cannot be used for terrorists. To treat each factor separately – such as.,there was a shoebomber, so now everyone must remove & scan shoes – is madness.
     
    The other fix would be to exempt/limit airlines, TSA and airport terrorist profilers from racial/ethnic/religious discrimination lawsuits. The TSA agents have no doubt been indoctrinated in diversity training and instructed to actively avoid the appearance of discrimination. How else can you explain the random extra searches on toddlers, little old ladies in wheelchairs, etc.
     
    So much of what is done today is knee-jerk reaction to the latest attack and in attempt to avoid the appearance of discrimination. Until we can drop both of these approaches all passengers will continue to be harassed.
     
    One last thought: To get this going, I suggest that everyone be required to abide by the current security rules. No exceptions. All traveling congressmen, VIPs, celebrities, etc. must wait in the same security lines, must be scanned or groped every time (none of this “don’t you know who I am?), even when flying by private jet. And no religious exemptions, either (sorry, CAIR).
     
     

  • SADIE

    A suggestion from Denmark

    Topless bathing probably isn’t a common sight on Pakistani beaches, but in Denmark it is still considered quite normal. I honestly believe that by including a couple of bare breasts in the movie, extremists may have to think twice before deciding to come to Denmark
    Peter Skaarup

    http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/11/13/125974.html

  • jj

    I think it likely that if they didn’t keep behaving like the opposite of quality employees, people probably wouldn’t find that that’s what they are.  You know, if only a few people were of the opinion that you’re a shower of clowns, well, okay – there’s no accounting for taste.  But when 90% of those with whom you interact hold that opinion, then the probability is that you may indeed be a bunch of clowns.

    And it doesn’t help that they’re always fighting yesterday’s war.  As Libby points out, once upon a time a loony tried to light up his shoes – so for the rest of time everybody has to take their shoes off?  Is there someone somewhere to whom this makes sense?  (I mean, other than the execrable Janet Napolitano?)  What happens if some day a bad guy calls his mother to tell her he loves her right before he gets on the plane?  For the rest of time the TSA will be demanding: “who loves their mother?  All those who love their mother – you don’t get on the plane!”

    I guess we’ve just been lucky so far.  Certainly it has to be luck – quite clearly brains have little to do with it.

  • Spartacus

    A childhood friend of mine got married in the Tel Aviv area in 2002. By happy coincidence, the wedding date fell squarely in the middle of my one-and-only European vacation so far, so catching one more flight over to the other end of the Med was a no-brainer. Pricewise, it made the most sense to Chunnel over to Paris and round-trip from there, where there were two options: Air France or El Al. About the same price, so toward which was I more favorably disposed, ideologically speaking? Duh. El Al it was.

    Got to the airport in Paris way early, like you’re supposed to for international flights, and went to check in. The ticket agent said something about going over somewhere to answer some questions or something. Questions? OK, sure, whatever. A trim, young, friendly, and utterly charming security gal appeared from out of nowhere, led me in my confusion over to a little kiosk, and began to ask me questions. All kinds of questions, and all very enjoyably and conversationally asked. Where was I from? What did I do for a living? Why was I travelling to Israel? What did I plan to see while there? Where had I been on my vacation so far? How did I get from Point A to Point B? And from B to C? What did I see while in B? What was most enjoyable about C? Is the food good there? Oh, and how did I get from A to B again? And if I wanted to get from B to D, why did I go through C on Mode X and then switch to Mode Y when it would have been faster and cheaper just to go direct by Mode Z? (“Dang,” I thought, “I spent two months planning this vacation, and she’s right! Why didn’t I think of that?”). Oh, and how is the food in C again? Classic interrogation techniques, not unlikely learned in the IDF, and flawlessly performed by a very quick-witted security professional.

    In retrospect, it all made sense. My profile: young, single, male, non-Jewish, non-Israeli, no previous flights on El Al, and travelling alone. So, yeah, they naturally wanted to talk to me. The Q&A actually lasted about 80 minutes — a fact I completely missed until looking at my watch later. Between the friendly conversational tone, the fast pace, and her crystal-blue eyes… [sigh]… it seemed like about five minutes. When we were done, she escorted me back to a security room where I could see the last stages of the examination of my backpack: 35mm film rolls were being taken out of the plastic cannisters, X-rayed, and carefully put back in; my neatly folded and rolled underwear was being neatly re-rolled exactly as it had been; and so on. No cubic centimeter of my pack had been left unexamined. But the examination of the pack was unnecessary, since by the time I got on that flight, El Al knew everything that was in my mind and in my heart.

    Security-wise, the flight to Tel Aviv was uneventful until we were almost there. You know how they now ban people from lining up outside the restroom in the front? Well, I was almost all the way in the back, in between the two aisles, and a bunch of guys started gathering all around. Real Orthodox-looking types. Since we were almost there, I was beginning to wonder if they couldn’t just hold it until we landed. I was startled nearly out of my seat when they all suddenly burst out in some Hebrew song. So they weren’t really waiting for the restroom after all! I still don’t know what they were singing, but I think it was something like, “Paise be to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Israel! We will soon aquire the localizer signal to ILS Runway 27 and begin our pre-landing checklist!” (But coming from the guy who thought they were all going to the restroom, you might want to take that with a grain of salt.) It was interesting and different, which is cool.

    My friend successfully got married, and about a week later, I was back at the airport. Just for good measure, they had me spend another very enjoyable 80 minutes of Q&A with another very attractive security gal. After being released to the departure gate, I looked out the big plate-glass window. Airplanes shifted busily around the tarmac as the pinkish glow of the coming dawn enveloped the entire scene. “Beautiful,” I thought, as I pulled out my camera. About 3.6 seconds later, another very attractive security gal quietly appeared from out of nowhere (yes, this was becoming a recurrent theme) and gently informed me that no pictures were allowed in the terminal. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t know.” But it made sense. And it showed once again that they didn’t miss a thing.

    Back at Heathrow a few days later, I went up to the United counter to check in for my flight back to the States. The ticket agent, who fit all of the negative stereotypes of a DMV worker, followed the United Airlines security screening procedure — she pulled out a small card, from which she read two questions: “Are you a terr… terr… terr… Oh, whatever… Do you have any bombs with you today?” Not especially looking up to register my responses to these questions, she gave me my ticket. And the security procedure which had bothered me not in the least on my way over to England now, in comparison, made me fear for my life.

    I would fly El Al again almost anytime, anywhere… maybe even Point A to Point A, just for the heck of it.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    The last time I flew El Al, Spartacus, was in 1982.  I remember feeling safer then, but have no other memory of the security.  Thanks for that great reminder about why El Al never gets customer complaints, despite it’s overwhelming security.

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  • SADIE

    Spartacus
     
    No doubt in my mind why security spent 80 minutes with you – if you speak the way your write, it had to be just delightful.
     
    You omitted what time you flew, but I am guessing that ‘singing orthodox types’ were observing one of three daily prayers. And, yes, they’re done towards the rear (bathrooms) of the plane.
     

  • Spartacus

    Sadie — Had I your facility for metaphors, and if I didn’t constantly backtrack in speech to recollect my thoughts from innumerable rabbit trails generously sprinkled with the word, “uh,” I might have to strongly consider the possibility of blushing. Regardless, you are entirely too kind.

  • jj

    It occurs to me that the idiot Napolitanbo may have stumbled us into a “defining moment” kind of an issue, here.  It goes without saying she didn’t mean to, and equally goes without saying that she doesn’t recognize it, but as I listen to the news these last few days I notice the sheep are beginning to get a little pissed off here, aren’t we.
     
    I am likely not the first person to notice that what most of our police agencies – from the local right up through the federal – seem to be best at is annoying, inconveniencing, and discommoding us, and generally shredding the rights that are supposed to accrue to us.  They don’t seem to be any damn good at all at stopping actual terrorists, guarding the damn borders, removing from our midst those who have illegally crossed said borders, or doing a very noticeable percentage at all of what used to be thought of as “their jobs.”  But they’re better and better and better at stripping us of our rights, getting themselves up in our faces, and rendering many aspects of life in these United States a colossal pain in the ass.
     
    And now the TSA may have – one can only hope – pushed us all a bit too far.  People everywhere are fed up, and I am not the only person who has thought “if you bastards were doing some part of your actual jobs, maybe like deporting that entire houseful of illegal aliens who live down the street from me, I’d be a lot more willing to tolerate this s*** – but you ain’t.  So neither am I, and screw you all.”  I haven’t actually been to an airport since this crap began (just missed – KSEA to KMIA and the reverse, 10/31 – 11/5) so haven’t taken the opportunity to weigh in to a fat dingbat with “TSA” written across the shirt – but other people have.  Other people have pointed out; “my swell government isn’t doing a goddam thing to secure the entire country, but you halfwits are putting me through this crap at the airport?  Get real – I decline to play.”  This has apparently happened a number of times in a number of places – aside from both the pilots and the flight attendants deciding they aren’t doing it.
     
    And here’s this guy in San Diego who told them to eff off, and decided not to fly – so they told him he would have to complete the screening anyway.  He had to be screened to be able to leave the airport???  What the hell is this?  Who the hell do these morons think they are?
     
    But I see all this as a good thing.  As I said, this may be – at last – a bridge too far for the Dimwit Bureau, and possibly – just possibly – the American people will get up on their hind legs and say something along the lines of: “that’s it.  The answer to this is ‘no,’ it’ll stay ‘no,’ and that’s it.  The government has now, with evanescent legal justification – many would say “none” – stripped of us of enough of our rights in the name of this war on terrorism, while having yet to secure the borders, having yet to secure any of the container ports in a meaningful way – and it’s enough.”
     
    I’m hopeful.  I didn’t think this was going to piss people off this much – and I don’t think it actually does, in many ways.  But, when combined with the government’s refusal to deport illegals, secure the borders and ports, make any sense with trucks coming in from Mexico; and all while telling a kid he can’t fly an American flag from the back of his bicycle – that’s enough.  It seems as though the people may finally have hit something of a tipping point.  And if so – then thank you, Janet Napolitano.  All unbeknownst to yourself, you may actually have performed a service to your country.

  • Mike Devx

    Spartacus said,
    >  The Q&A actually lasted about 80 minutes — a fact I completely missed until looking at my watch later. Between the friendly conversational tone, the fast pace, and her crystal-blue eyes… [sigh]… it seemed like about five minutes. When we were done, she escorted me back to a security room where I could see the last stages of the examination of my backpack: 35mm film rolls were being taken out of the plastic cannisters, X-rayed, and carefully put back in; my neatly folded and rolled underwear was being neatly re-rolled exactly as it had been; and so on. No cubic centimeter of my pack had been left unexamined.

    El Al is not a mass transit system.  Our airlines are a mass transit system designed to move hundreds of thousands of people onto thousands of flights per day as quickly and efficiently as possible.  What Spartacus went through to board the El-Al flight – an 80 minute Q&A session conducted by a professional investigator? – would be flat-out impossible in our system.  We don’t have the time nor the resources to conduct that kind of a security clearance.  Note that you also HAVE to arrive hours before your flight.  You don’t get to arrive an hour before your flight and hope to make it through baggage, ticketing, and security.  Not possible in the El-Al system.  I would bet that arriving at the airport for the El-Al flight, you’d better be there three hours before – minimum.

    That’s my take anyway.  The two systems of managing passenger movement – and security – are wholly incompatible.

  • Larry Sheldon

    That’s my take anyway.  The two systems of managing passenger movement – and security – are wholly incompatible.
    One of them has never prevented an air-borne attack.
     
    Now, please pick up the thread of your–we have two systems that don’t work.  Why are we still paying a huge price for one of them (and I am not talking at all about the dollars–those people would be on welfare anyway)?

  • Larry Sheldon

    Have a look at http://holycoast.blogspot.com/2010/11/just-in-time-for-christmas.html
     
    Follow the link to Amazon, then scroll down to and read the comments.
     
    Talk about reality in toys.

  • SADIE

    You’re right Mike, all passengers have to arrive 2-3 hours before a flight. Not every ‘interview’ is 80 minutes. They’re are  basic questions, leading questions, where you flight originated if it’s a connecting flight and the small chat questions, which engage the passenger into a comfortable lull.  The same rules apply to all passengers, in that they begin with the innocuous and a thorough look at  you and your passport. We really have a two tier system in the US. internal (mass transit) and foreign travel, which does really present its own problems.
     
    Some years ago, I traveled with my best friend of many years (after passing her fear of flying course) via El Al to Israel. Poor thing, she had forgotten to sign her first passport, was obviously excited about the trip and was flying with me, who only was asked 4 or 5 questions. I stood next to her as she was peppered with questions and queries that I had never heard for 30 minutes and she is Jewish and was traveling with me and I was using my Israeli passport, which accounted for zip as far as security was concerned.
     
    I’ll add that on the return flight, she was spared the long interview – I said she passed her fear of flying course before leaving the US, I didn’t say she passed it with flying colors. The 12 hour flight made her an instant and seasoned traveler, so that on the return flight (which now included a signed passport) she was calm, which reduced the questioning to 15 minutes.
     
     

  • SADIE

    Larry Sheldon –   I must send the link to everyone and I’ll start here..
     
    http://www.amazon.com/Playmobil-3172-Security-Check-Point/dp/B0002CYTL2/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
     

    OMG, I can’t stop laughing.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    I said before the Left were evil and totalitarian in nature. Some people thought I was kidding.
     
    I wasn’t kidding. And it’s entirely predictable that the nature of evil generates things like the TSA. It’s inevitable. You didn’t have to wait for more facts. You didn’t have to figure out who won the election. You don’t have to vote for any particular party or candidate. Whether Obama is good or bad doesn’t really matter. Whether Sherrod ir good or bad doesn’t really matter. Once associated with the Left, they corrupt all with time. If you were good before you joined the Left, you will become evil after you have helped the Left.
     
    Not very complex in the end.
     
     

  • Mike Devx

    I third Sadie’s link to the Playmobil Security Check Point.

    Those amazon commenters hit it out of the park.  Too damn funny!

    http://www.amazon.com/Playmobil-3172-Security-Check-Point/dp/B0002CYTL2/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
     

  • SADIE

    Attention Mike Devx
     
    Larry Sheldon deserves the credit and rich find (post #28).  Just think of all the brilliant glib tongues out there in cyber world,  who will never have their own HBO Special. Luckily, we have the best of all worlds here at Bookworm – humor, pathos, intellect, metaphors and puns … a real smorgasbord of humanity ;
     
     

  • Larry Sheldon

    *blush”.  Thanks.  I think I got that from Instapundit.