You may remember the “Shoe Bomber” Richard Reid (aka Tariq Raja or Abdel Rahim). Reid was the scruffy-looking prison convert to Islam who was arrested on December 22, 2001 for attempting to destroy a Boeing 767 on a flight from Paris to Miami by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes. He was sentenced to three consecutive life terms plus 200 years. Even with time off for good behavior, it is unlikely he will be released for at least another 400 years.
Post-Reid, the government initiated a knee-jerk remedy, requiring passengers going through aircraft boarding security to remove their shoes and run them through the x-ray machines. The common joke in security lines was, “I’m glad that Reid asshole didn’t hide his explosives in his underwear.”
No, we had to wait nine years for that Abdulmutallab asshole to try the underwear trick on a Christmas-day flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
Think about it. Within hours of the new regulations requiring that shoes be scanned, people were making flippant comments about underwear bombs. Anyone who knew even a little bit about security knew underwear bombs were not a joke. They were both plausible and likely; it was just a matter of time until someone tried it. Yet almost a decade after the Shoe Bomber, along comes the Underwear Bomber, and everyone is ‘surprised.’ He made it through two security checkpoints in two countries. Experts say he could have made it through the security checkpoints at almost any airport in the world.
Following Abdulmutallab’s arrest, Obama administration flacks were on the Sunday talking head shows saying “the system worked.” Finally, four days after the event, the president had to admit there was “a systemic failure.” Wrong again, Barry. The system worked as it is designed to; unfortunately, it just isn’t very good.
Only two things have made flying safer [since 9/11]: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.
Security Technologist Bruce Schneier
So now, airports are instituting “special procedures.”
I feel sorry for some old duffer in Depends who is singled out for a secondary inspection. I guess I feel even sorrier for the TSA agent who has to put on rubber gloves and lube gramps up with KY Jelly to make sure he doesn’t have a claymore mine up his ass. And women wearing menstrual pads or tampons? This is going to get ugly.
On your next trip through airport security, don’t be surprised when the nice TSA officer says, “Bend over please. This will only take a second.”
I’m just hoping I get a free prostate exam out of the deal.