Just days after demanding that European airports “tighten security” (read: step up the groping of people’s bodies) while screening US-bound passengers — the results of which demands our editor and colleague Lisa Simeone witnessed firsthand, at London’s Heathrow airport — an American-based TSA employee was fired for, among other things, allowing a man with a criminal record to board a UK-bound plane with a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag.
It gets worse. According to The Telegraph, in a separate incident on a different flight a man managed to smuggle a flick knife onto the aircraft (bolded emphasis mine):
They were both missed by the same agent employed by the Transportation Security Administration, a US government agency which screens passengers at American airports, on June 22.
One of the two passengers, who is understood to have a criminal record, was picked up when trying to board a connecting flight to Paris.
The second passenger, who was carrying the knife, was also intercepted while transferring to another flight. […]
It is understood the items were both in the passengers’ carry-on luggage which should have been spotted as the bags were screened by security staff.
It is estimated that the TSA screens 1.8 million passengers every day and all bags are x-rayed as a matter of routine.
A spokesman for the TSA said: “TSA employs multiple layers of security to protect the traveling public.”
It’s hard to know what to say anymore. There is the obvious: how incompetent and/or poorly trained do you have to be to see a gun-shaped thingie on an x-ray screen and not press a big red button somewhere while exclaiming, “WHOA, HOLD EVERYTHING, WE HAVE A GUN-SHAPED THINGIE HERE”?
There is the also obvious: how many times does the TSA get to use the all-purpose, excuse-everything-from-rank-incompetence-to-jaw-dropping-abuse phrase, We use multiple layers of security to protect the traveling public, before someone in the mainstream media — and I’m looking at you too, British press — points out that the Emperor of Security Theatre has no clothes?
And finally there is the point that, while perhaps not immediately obvious, is nonetheless important: Would the traveling public not be better served if the TSA stopped nude-scanning and sexually assaulting people’s bodies and focused some attention — some properly trained attention — on the x-ray screens that lay bare the things being carried on board?