The TSA is not a first-line defense system against terrorism, period. To date, NONE of the famous so-called terrorist actions TSA touts as its list of accomplishments actually occured proactively before the fact. They were all after the fact, usually a failure of the terrorist’s mission.
DHS and TSA are paper tigers, plain and simple. Retroactive responses that carry no sense at all. Thieves, criminals and haters all.
Does anyone know if the TSA has EVER caught even a single terrorist?
The security and check in lines at airport terminals are huge targets. From a safety perspective, it’s essential to process people at these choke points as quickly as possible. If you or I think of targets like these, you can be sure terrorists consider them, too.
Now that aircraft flight decks, flight crews, and passengers are hardened by the the events of 9/11, terrorists are much less likely to try and seize aircraft in order to fly them into high priority targets. Keep in mind aircraft and passengers were not the prime targets on 9/11. The terrorists were after the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and possibly the Capitol building.
An enemy that can put 3 out of 4 airplanes on target in a single morning (plus the persistent rumors of who knows how many groups of swarthy men just walking away from their abruptly grounded airplanes and luggage and quietly melting away) can certainly simultaneously hit any number of checkpoints.
That would be a bad day, or as an opponent would call it a "Perfect Day"...
This is something that bothers me. Some airports are particularly bad...Orlando has everyone filter thru a small area to get to the screening equipment, that seems not only vulnerable to attack, but a prime area for people being trampled should any emergency arise where people begin to panic. At some airports, the lines are nicely spread out, like Denver.
Think Japanese Red Army at Lod Airport in 1972.
Considering the budget for some of these terrorist acts is pretty high, but still chicken feed to the financiers, it is not out of the question to lease a cargo plane, fly it to the US under a plausible pretext, load it with a fuel bladder at a private airport and pick any convenient target. For symbolism, the 9/11 memorial is an obvious choice, but the bigger payoff would be something like the replacement for the WTC.
The only real danger to anyone in an airport is the TSA.
See my tag line for an airliner attack vector which is not being adequately defended to date. (search for term “runway kill zone”) The Runway Kill Zone blog has been up for a year and has produced a total yawn from the Secret Service, the Air Force, DHS, FBI and FAA who have all been sent the link to the blog, so they do not appear to regard it as “loose lips”.
Reactive policies are inevitable and supported because the public will demand protection after each new type of attack and agree to fund the protection.
Failure to anticipate and defend against attacks that are clearly visible to terrorists is tragic and foolish. Think of how relatively inexpensive it would have been to armor the cockpit doors. This has effectively preempted future “airliner as guided missile” attacks (except by terrorist or deranged pilot employees of airlines...see Egyptian airliner crash) and left terrorists limited mostly to “blow up the plane” tactics with explosives i carry-on, on the person or in cargo.
Note that the attacks to date on crowds in terminals mentioned in the article failed to freeze and airline passenger or freight traffic. The London subway attack was much more effective. Crowds can be found anywhere and blowing up a crowd doesn't seem to gratify the Islamist terrorist desire for a “spectacular” attack in the West.
Those relying upon Mack and Meyer for Hire, Mutt and Jeff, of Homeland Security, for their safety are, one feels quite confident in asserting, living in a fool’s paradise.
Personally, I now drive whenever possible.