I remind you that prior to 9/11, the last terrorist attack against US commercial aviation was December 1988 with the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie. That's almost 13 years. During that time, the terrorist attacks against the US were in the form of bombings, such as the first World Trade Center attack, the US military barracks in Riyadh, the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and the USS Cole before the 9/11 attacks took place. So I can fully appreciate how novices easily dismiss the threat to commercial aviation so easily. It is easy to underestimate the patience of the bad guys. I do agree with you that airport security is, by design, a Maginot Line. That is, unfortunately, the ugly nature of the beast. But I don't know of any other acceptable way to conduct airport screening without adversely affecting passenger's rights (beyond the rhetoric forum members love to lament in here ). I believe that if counterintelligence methods are to be implemented, then they need to be aggressive methods. The American public simply is not prepared for everything that comes with that package. CI/HUMINT is dirty business, and if you're going to complain about removing your shoes, then you are not ready for what it really takes to let our counterintelligence agencies do their jobs. I believe the human intelligence side of the house is probably in good shape, but that side is always subject to the prevailing winds of American politics. Again, the American public is not prepared to unleash these assets to their full potential. And perhaps this is a good thing. I've seen the good and the bad. Just my two cents.