Surgically-implanted explosives? Dangerous hair?
This is what happens when John Pistole and Janet Napolitano get together for movie night.
The clip above is from the critically acclaimed The Dark Knight, a movie that should be in every TSA agent’s library, but that no one should take literally.
It appears they’ve done just that.
Security officials last week warned that militants may try to use a surgically-implanted bomb to blow up a commercial flight, according to reports. In response, the TSA said it would work with other countries to add another layer of security to its vaunted “layered” security approach.
I think the idea that someone will blow up a plane with an implanted bomb is utterly preposterous. It assumes a) the bad guys still want to take down a plane and 2) the militants have surgical techniques that would make this possible. I doubt either is true.
A more cynical view of the implanted bomb controversy is that it’s a smokescreen to pressure Congress into funding even more, and more sophisticated, full-body scanners — and forcing all passengers to walk through them. (By the way, how could a pat-down detect an implant? How, for that matter, could today’s scanners reveal an explosive “inside” job?)
A lot of air travelers have written off the implant episode as government fear-mongering at its worst. And until they catch a guy with C-4 for guts trying to board a flight to New York, I’m inclined to agree.
As to the second film from John and Janet’s movie night, I’m really disappointed. Let’s just say this one isn’t going to make any “10 best” lists.
This is from the 2003 movie Hood Angels. What, you missed that one? Me too.
Here’s the backstory: Seattle passenger Laura Adiele complains that she was pulled out of a security line after having gone through a full-body scan and told she needed a pat-down. The reason? They needed to search her “suspicious” hair.
She believes the search was racially-motivated.
The response from TSA is quite possibly one of the most bizarre blog posts I’ve ever seen. In Screening Procedures for Hair — yep, that’s the actual headline — the agency explains that it has “zero” tolerance for profiling but that it needed to resolve an anomaly before it could let Adiele board her flight.
OK, time for a reality check.
Is hair dangerous? Do passengers fly with surgically-implanted bombs? Only in the movies.
The fact that Congress, which is allocating funds to these serial fabulists, and the flying public, with its “better-safe-than-sorry” attitude, are taking the TSA seriously says more about us than them.
Are we unable to tell the difference between fact and fiction? Have the terrorists really done that to us — or did we have a problem drawing that distinction all along?