Monday, September 27, 2004

Political: Unsafe at Any Altitude

Denver Post

This nugget from the Denver Post states that federal investigators were able to slip weapons and explosives past TSA security checkpoints in our nation's airports. Still. Which raises the most obvious question: Who Is Going To Lose Their Job For This? Which brings us to the most obvious answer: No One. Which ought to tell you something about whether it is safe to fly from American airports.

Just recently I was flying back to DC from Boston Logan Airport. You recall Logan Airport, right? The origination of two of the planes on September 11th? Yes, the airport from which 50% of the hijacked planes departed. The head of the agency overseeing Logan lost her job, the TSA took control of security, and you can now fly out of Logan with total confidence, right? WRONG!

On my way through security--and I sh*t you not about this--the woman checking my ID and ticket was sitting in one of the terminal chairs ON HER CELL PHONE talking to her kids!! She got up, at least, to "look" at my ID, but at no time did she take her attention away from her telephone conversation. And the second she had grunted something like "uh huh" to me, she went back to her seat and kept on chatting on her cell.

Most distressing about that whole exchange is that none of the other "security" people seemed to notice or care! I don't know about you, but in my job I have a boss who would pretty much fire me point blank if I interacted with a client while chatting on my cell phone during work hours. And the brazen way in which she was completely comfortable with how it was going down just made me insanely angry. Wouldn't it be such a great gig to have the freedom to go to "work" defending our nation's airports and yet still be able to act like you're at home? Where is the oversight? Where is the standard of (not even Excellence, but of) basic minimum Not Sucking at your job? Of staying off your d*mn cell phone while making sure I'm not a terrorist?

We wonder, even after reading the 9/11 report, how men with terrorist ties and concealed knives could have gone through security unnoticed. After my most recent trip through Logan Airport, I wonder no more. Whether handled by Argenbright Security or the US Government TSA, your security is only as good as your weakest link. Unfortunately, Logan Airport has weak links in spades.

Short Story Long:
Don't be afraid to fly. But don't delude yourself for a second that the individuals working the security areas are more concerned about your life than they are about their own. Until heads roll publicly, mercilessly, and swiftly, the best we can hope for is that this lady's kid won't need homework help via cell just as the next Mohammad Atta is boarding his flight.

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