A view from Japan: Rampant airport insecurity

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Long article, good recap as to where the U.S. is today in terms of airport security ...

    Japan Times: Rampant airport insecurity

    Too many passengers going through U.S. airports have their own personal stories of incompetence or harassment. Mine are just humdrum. The security personal always make me think insecurity because they chat among themselves careless as to who might pick up unattended bags that are waiting for their owners to finish the undignified striptease that the agents of the TSA demand. They wear fancy military uniforms, demand obedience and have no sense of humor.

    I had to undergo a patdown when the supposedly all-seeing new body scanner failed to penetrate my Indian-made cotton shirt. I had checked bags searched by the TSA in Washington and again in San Francisco — they left notices to say so — even though they were in transit in the care of the airline the whole time.


    The TSA proudly proclaims that in pursuit of keeping flights safe, it has confiscated guns and ammunition, grenades and land mines (though inert), knives and swords, a stun gun disguised as a pink smartphone, birds taped to a woman’s chest and leg en route to China, live fish and frosted cupcakes. But the bottom line is that in terms of terrorists arrested, the score is zero. If it had arrested any, the agency would have taken out full-page advertisements boasting of its success and demanding an increase in its billion dollar budget.

    Even more damning is the verdict of most security experts that for all the fancy uniforms, the security queues, the inconvenience and sometimes harassment of passengers, the TSA checks are mainly theatrical.


    Hong Kong Airport should be aggressively marketing its professional and polite expertise of capable security without the angst. Security staff have fancy braided uniforms to show that they are serious, but they also behave professionally, capably and politely.

    They don’t smash locks or pilfer luggage; if they are in doubt about a bag after a six-step screening, they invite the passenger to open it for them.

    I have never seen anyone browbeaten or harassed or in tears after security in Hong Kong. Remember that the real battle against air terrorism and piracy is being fought unseen by intelligence agencies.

    Washington should dial 1-800-HKAirport to ask how to make passengers feel secure.

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