American Airport Security: Expensive, Useless

#Opinion

Thu, Dec 22nd, 2011 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

Here's something to think about as you're waiting to be groped by security while holding your shoes: Vanity Fair's Charles C. Mann travelled with a top security expert to discover that security measures at American airports accomplish nothing -- and do so at enormous cost.

Remember the fake boarding pass that was in Schneier's hand? Actually, it was mine. I had flown to meet Schneier at Reagan National Airport because I wanted to view the security there through his eyes. He landed on a Delta flight in the next terminal over. To reach him, I would have to pass through security. The day before, I had downloaded an image of a boarding pass from the Delta Web site, copied and pasted the letters with Photoshop, and printed the results with a laser printer. I am not a photo-doctoring expert, so the work took me nearly an hour. The T.S.A. agent waved me through without a word. A few minutes later, Schneier deplaned, compact and lithe, in a purple shirt and with a floppy cap drooping over a graying ponytail.

Fear not, however: airport security is not completely useless:

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