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As I’ve Long Suspected

As I’ve Long Suspected

The TSA Is in the Business of ‘Security Theater,’ Not Security

A tell-all from a former Transportation Security Agency worker confirms pretty much every awful thing you’ve suspected of the ineffective and invasive airport pat downs. That’s okay, though: the TSA’s main purpose isn’t security so much as “Security Theater.”


Harrington readily notes that these reactionary policies, as they stand, are ineffective at actually stopping terrorism, as potential attackers can simply change tactics. But this is in many ways an effective way to combat the perception of American insecurity. Terrorism is, by definition, an act that seeks to create fear in its target. By battling those specific fears of shoe and underwear bombs, the TSA can claim some success on the security stage. However, now that Harrington has blown the lid on that theater, don’t expect anyone at the TSA to take a bow.

Wrong. Everyone I know who travels by commercial airline anywhere considers TSA security to be a sick, perverted, useless joke. Mrs. EMS Artifact frequently comments that the terrorists must be laughing their asses off when they see airport security in action.

Note that to date, the TSA has not stopped one terrorist. Not. One.

Abusing the traveling public doesn’t do a thing to make people feel more secure. A couple of years ago, before she got Pre Check, Mrs. EMS Artifact was selected for “additional screening.” Her crime? She beeped when she went through the scanner.

Just like the airport security scene from High Anxiety . They detained her for 20 minutes trying to figure this out, including asking her three times is she was SURE that she’d never had a knee replaced. Like that’s something you’d forget.

I do think that Harrington is full of fertilizer when he says people from the Middle East were profiled for extra security. From my observations, it was always white people, particularly elderly ones, who were selected for sexual abuse. Well, them an nubile young females. Wouldn’t seem to me to be two demographics high on the list of potential terrorists, but I didn’t go through the intense four week TSA training course, so what do I know?

Creating the TSA was a knee jerk reaction to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Originally “officers” were supposed to be non union and non civil service, so that it would be easier to terminate bad employees.

That didn’t last long at all.

There is really no reason that the TSA can’t be dissolved and the functions contracted out to private contractors, selected locally by airport authorities.

Maybe then we’d have real airport security, or at least some accountability if we don’t.


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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.


  1. One time, as I was removing my jewelry, sweater, shoes, etc., a person wearing a completely-covering burka was passed right through security without any scrutiny at all. No wanding, no xray, no pat-down. Disgusting. No, I did not complain or call attention to myself at this-I was not in the mood for an any more complete check by TSA, which I was positive would have happened.

  2. There is really no reason that the TSA can’t be dissolved and the functions contracted out to private contractors, selected locally by airport authorities.

    So…. the security that brought us 9/11? Fantastic idea.

    Ps- the popup that covers 1/4 of the comment screen with links to your blogs from 2008 is absolutely infuriating,/b>, just in case you were taking a poll. Covers up the \\\a signficant portion of the comment window, to the point that I’m not entirely sure what this comment even looks like because I can’t see a chunk of it. So please excuse any odd spellings or craptastic sentence structure. It’s not that I’m stupid, I just can’t see what I’m doing.

    • I’ll see if I can change how that looks. I just have to figure out how it got there.

    • A quick follow up. I see what you are talking about, but when I saw it there was an X in the upper right hand corner that closed the window. I hate pop ups in general, but I don’t know if I can make that one go away. Still, it’s easy to get ride of.

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