Wednesday, 09 January, 2002

Airport Security Revisited

It’s surprising how cavalier security people are, less than 4 months after the WTC attacks.  While I was standing in line at the security checkpoint in Columbus this evening, an airport employee drove up in an electric cart.  He stopped, got out, and went through the metal detector.  The security person by the drive-through entrance (where everybody else walks out of the concourse) began searching his vehicle.  I watched carefully as she made a cursory inspection of the cubbyholes under the dash, and got out a rolling mirror to check underneath, all the while chatting casually with the driver and periodically glancing up at him.  She did not check under the seat, in the battery compartment, or in many of the nooks and crannies on the cart.  It would have been trivial to smuggle a small weapon or bomb through that checkpoint.

I’m convinced that all this “heightened” security is more for the FAA, airlines, airports, and Congress to cover their own butts and reassure the public that “something is being done” rather that to actually improve security.  It’s simply impossible to perform thorough security checks on all passengers and employees given the number of people traveling and the services we’ve come to expect, no matter how many additional inspectors we hire.