TSA misses liquid explosives, weapons in tests

The Transportation Security Administration is supposed to be interdicting, among other things, liquid explosives, before someone manages to smuggle them aboard an aircraft and blow it up in a highly implausible movie-plot threat. Instead, they’ve been seizing and throwing away your bottled water and soda. So it shouldn’t be any surprise that TSA screeners at Denver International Airport failed to find 90% of weapons and explosives during recent tests.

In testing conducted by TSA’s Red Team, which attempts to “think like terrorists” and breach security, the TSA once again failed almost every test. And to add insult to injury, when the test results were leaked to a local news organization, bureaucrats said, well, the TSA isn’t supposed to pass every test and find everything.

I am not kidding. They really are taking your bottled water, knowing they expect to let some actual liquid explosives slip by.

The local NBC affiliate has all the details, including how one Red Team member carried an IED strapped to her body right through the metal detector. A short sample follows:

“If they miss something that’s obvious, often times that could happen, we will pull them off the line and retrain them,” said Security Director Earl Morris at TSA headquarters in Washington, D.C. “That’s how we audit and keep track of which people are doing a better job than others and how we keep this whole process so that it really is one that’s legitimate and factual and actually is effective.”

“There’s very little substance to security,” said former Red Team leader Bogdan Dzakovic. “It literally is all window dressing that we’re doing. It’s big theater on TV and when you go to the airport. It’s just security theater.”

Dzakovic was a Red Team leader from 1995 until September 11, 2001. After the terrorist attacks, Dzakovic became a federally protected whistleblower and alleged that thousands of people died needlessly. He testified before the 9/11 Commission and the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the US that the Red Team “breached security with ridiculous ease up to 90 percent of the time,” and said the FAA “knew how vulnerable aviation security was.”

Dzakovic, who is currently a TSA inspector, said security is no better today.

“It’s worse now. The terrorists can pretty much do what they want when they want to do it,” he said.

TSA’s Morris disagrees with that.

“We have a very robust program of which we are very proud, in which we utilize testing at all of our airports every single day,” said Morris.

The security chief says he expects screeners to fail the Red Team tests because they are difficult.

“We could put these tests together so that we have a 100 percent success rate every single time,” said Morris. “Then, they wouldn’t be challenging, they wouldn’t be realistic and they really wouldn’t be stretching the limits and the imagination of the Transportation Security Officer.”

Morris says the tests are designed to be tough so that officers can learn from their mistakes and successes.

“It’s a test but it’s also a learning experience,” said Morris. “It’s a constant audit that we put on there to see where our employees are and where we need to enhance the weaknesses.” — KUSA-TV

Yes, but do you expect screeners to fail 90% of the tests? Read the whole thing to learn the depths of insanity to which airport security has plunged, as if you didn’t already know.

Red Team tests at Newark Liberty International Airport a few months ago found pretty much the same thing. As did a classified Government Accountability Office investigation of 21 airports a year ago.

This is, of course, not news. Passenger screening has always been fairly pointless, even before 9/11, when the Red Team succeeded about 90% of the time, the same as now. Only back then, airport security was run by private companies. Of course, as we know now, the problem then wasn’t so much the private companies as the government cover-ups — which, not surprisingly, continue today, even after airport security has been nationalized.

At least before we got Hugo Chavez-style airport security, they were friendly and helpful. Find a friendly and helpful TSA screener, and you’re looking at someone who’s probably not going to be in government work very long.

It bears repeating until people understand it: If you want real security, you won’t get it as long as the government is involved.

(Hat tip: Annie Jacobsen)

One thought on “TSA misses liquid explosives, weapons in tests

  • September 14, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    ReallyEvilCanine, I am hoping that Kristi was being sarcastic. That’s how I read it and oh please, oh please let it be so.

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