Sunday, May 4, 2008

Airport Security: Should This Worry Me?

Hey folks - just another airport (in)security note, as I travel and criss-cross this great land of ours. I'm always on the lookout for silly security snafus that would seek to compromise the high standards DHS has set forth for maintaining airline security. Given what I know about the state of DHS and more specifically the TSA organization - I keep extra care when I go through the "security screening" process at the airports.
I was going through O'Hare's Terminal 1 this afternoon, and just happened to be wearing my Nike AirMax 180's again (these are the ones with the Apple "pod" in the mid-foot of one of the shoes). I went through security, took my shoes off, put them through the x-ray machine and watched the two very ... "conversationally engaged" girls as the shoes went through. One of them looked down for a split-second as my shoes went through, then continued her conversation about a party that she went to last night that was "off the hook".
So two things immediately hit me that were very wrong with this picture.
  1. Neither of the ladies who were supposed to be monitoring the screen looked down at it for more than maybe a half-second, as my laptop, laptop bag, shoes, cell phone and "gadgets" all went through on separate trays. That's 3 trays that went through that got barely a look. Now, maybe today's screening machines are *so* advanced that they require almost no human action... but still - is this cause for concern?
  2. The little "pod" in my shoes attracted *zero* attention. OK, maybe that's not such a big deal, but they are screening shoes now, right? I would guess that if I was sitting there, and saw an athletic shoe go through with a metal/electronic gizmo in it, tucked away in the sole of the shoe - I might just be concerned. Maybe I'm wrong - but then this all probably boils down to the system used to screen.. .I hope.

Something else caught my attention. When I asked Mr. Luis M. the question "Why do we need to put our shoes into the screening machine...?" his answer was (I swear, word for word he said...) "Because we need to check for some stuff". This is the sort of high-quality, educated and intelligent answer I would except from today's TSA agents, honestly. I'm not knocking all TSA agents because some actually have a greater than High School education, but this is just appalling! I'm not asking for a national secret, so he should be able to tell me. I'm also not asking a terribly complex technical question, am I?

Anyway - I'm about to board a flight out to San Francisco... hopefully on my flight home someone notices my shoes :)

-- Fly safe!


Marcin said...

Think that's good? Read about my buddy Nathan's recent encounter with TSA

Unknown said...

I know exactly what you mean. I always marvel how each TSA Security Station in different airports operate.
I especially like to see how O'Hare handles me each time I go through there (I live in Chicago). The last time I flew out of there the person manning the X-Ray machine was asleep. One of the other agents woke him up (of course then to save face he flagged my backpack and had them search it).