Exactly Whom are the U.S. Airport Security Programs Protecting?

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USA Today is reporting that undercover investigators managed to get both weapons and explosives past airport screeners at no fewer than fifteen U.S. airports.

The full results of the investigation were recently disclosed to Congress, with an abbreviated version being released to the public.

John Mica a representative from Florida, and Chairman of a House aviation subcommittee, is quoted as saying that “the results on weapons were “bad enough,” but the results on explosives were “absolutely horrendous.””

While the government has installed explosive-detection devices for baggage which is checked, they have, inexcusably, not mandated such devices for screening of passengers and their carry-on luggage. Because, of course, a passenger is much more likely to stow a weapon or explosive device, and then somehow get into the cargo hold at 30,000 feet to retrieve it. In fact, passengers are usually just sent through metal detectors and only occasionally checked by explosive trace detection equipment.

“You’re not going to find plastic explosives with a metal detector, no matter how hard you try,” said Oregon representative Peter DeFazio, in a blinding bit of logic that had somehow escaped those charged with, you know, keeping us all safe in the unfriendly skies.

This seems to be one more case where the balance of interest weighs in favour of big business concerns, and against our country’s citizens. The odds of any one of the hundreds of flights which go out each day being brought down are relatively low, even though the results are devastating for all involved. On the other hand, think about what it would do to the airline and travel industries if we instituted real security. What’s more important, a few thousand lives, or several hundreds of millions of dollars? You be the judge.

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