As put so eloquently by the Washington Post…
As a result of those attempts, passengers must surrender sharp objects (a response to the Sept. 11 attacks) and slip off their shoes (a response to the 2001 would-be shoe bomber). They must remove liquids from their bags (a result of a 2006 plot to blow up planes), and, as of a few weeks ago, they must submit to body scans or pat-downs (a process accelerated by the attempted airline bombing last Christmas Day).
I’d also recommend checking out this interview with John Pistole, head of the TSA. The many, many problems of the TSA began well before Pistole headed up the agency but I’m not sure he’s going to improve much. This, in particular, caught my eye as particularly troubling:
Well, we have people from the intelligence community and the law enforcement community and also bomb experts, who are working on what’s the next device. Nobody predicted toner cartridges. I wish we had. That’s why we need tactical intelligence versus strategic intelligence. I’ve had members of Congress call and say: I have friends who are concerned about going to Europe over the holidays, we’ve got this travel advisory, what do you recommend? So strategic intelligence is good, but I’m always looking for the tactical. The proportionality issue comes down to how do we ensure that yesterday’s plots don’t succeed a second time. Because shame on us if they do. I mean, as the American people. I think we say, OK, burn us once, yeah, we’ll learn from that, but you’re not going to do it twice.
My translation: I’m totally committed to ceding the initiative to terrorists because knowing what motivates terrorists or how events in another part of the world might manifest as threats here is a bunch of crap. I’d rather chase a bunch of Hollywood plots because it’ll look really cool in our recruitment videos!