And why would they? Zero bombers made it through (or were caught by) the old system.
Today, I was detained by the TSA for about 30 minutes for taking pictures while going through security. Taking pictures is perfectly legal.
TSA: How would you like it if somebody came to your work and disrupted your procedures? How would you like it if people took pictures of you at your work?
Me: I don’t work for the government. Government agencies need to be accountable to the public, and therefore suffer disruptions like this.
TSA: Not all parts of the government are accountable to the public, especially the TSA.
Me: Wow. No, ALL parts of the government are accountable to the people, especially the TSA. I’m not sure what type of country you think we live in.
If America has a single founding principle, it is this: no government has any authority to take any action without the consent of the governed. Our Founding Fathers did not object to the principle of paying taxes per se; they objected strongly to the idea of being forced to pay taxes to a government where they had no input. Freedom’s cry was not “No taxation” then, and it isn’t now; it was “No taxation without representation.” The same goes for any other intrusive regulation.
George Will takes another tactic: The T.S. of A takes control
What the TSA is doing is mostly security theater, a pageant to reassure passengers that flying is safe. Reassurance is necessary if commerce is going to flourish and if we are going to get to grandma’s house on Thursday to give thanks for the Pilgrims and for freedom. If grandma is coming to our house, she may be wanded while barefoot at the airport because democracy – or the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment; anyway, something – requires the amiable nonsense of pretending that no one has the foggiest idea what an actual potential terrorist might look like.
I have to disagree here, because I don’t think that it’s amiable nonsense at all. Here he falls into the trap that the TSA has: implementing a protocol to stop a specific threat. It’s inefficient and ignores the thousands of other ways a successful attack could be carried out. If you start profiling, then all it would take is someone who doesn’t fit the profile. People, Juan Williams being a prominent example, have expressed the feeling that they are nervous about flyers who are “in Muslim garb.” All a terrorist has to do, then, is dress to blend in, to allay that fear. But it doesn’t get rid of the threat. People in Boston famously freaked out over some flashing LEDs (twice) in recent memory, because “that’s what bombs look like.” Which is nonsense. Bombs “look like” pretty much whatever you want them to. The same goes for terrorists. At the very least they could wear a mask.
More commentary and links at Uncertain Principles: Invasive Searches and Underage Drinking in which Chad makes the comparison to other situations which seem to fall under the rubric of “We must be seen as doing something about the situation. This is something.” Which is nothing but a CYA move. “Don’t blame me, I did something!”
The bottom line is that in all things there is always, and will always be, risk. 100% safety is unattainable, and it’s dishonest to imply otherwise. It’s dishonest to manufacture fear in order to justify actions restricting our freedoms.
Update (11/26): Roger “Carlos the Jackal” Ebert: Where I draw the line