Counter-Terrorism: Why Airport Security Still Doesn't Work in America

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April 20, 2006: Increased airport security in the United States has been an expensive disaster that is turning a lot of otherwise law-abiding people into outlaws. But it's worse than that. International travelers have noticed that airport security outside the United States, especially in Europe (the home of twenty million Moslems, and thousands of openly enthusiastic Islamic radicals), is much less grueling. Yet there have been no attempts to "take advantage" of this seemingly lax European airport security to hijack aircraft.

Many frequent flyers in the United States have found, by trial and error, ways to sneak forbidden materials (cigar clippers, knives, lighters) past the gate security. And the airport security people know that all their aggressive searches aren't working. In the last two years, tests of airport security have shown that 60 percent of fake bombs get through. This was largely due to the fact that bombs can be taken apart, the pieces smuggled aboard, and then reassembled for use.

But for you old-school types, take heart, as 30 percent of guns (real guns, not those sneaky "cell phone guns") get past the screeners. And for those planning another 911, note that 70 percent of knives slip through.

The problem is one of approach. The Europeans, like the Israelis (who have the most successful airport security), use a common sense approach to keeping terrorists off aircraft. The United States, on the other hand, is more concerned about appearances (make it look like a lot is being done), and political correctness (no use of profiling, by far the most successful method so far.) So far, Americans have put up with all this, so the situation is not likely to change.

 


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