Airport security is a giant exercise in arse-covering — and it doesn’t work (obviously)

An article in the Spectator that had me laughing my arse off this morning, the first part of it anyway about airport security. So true. So well put. I had missed this whole Abdullah al-Asiri story until I read this. Hilarious.

Al-Asiri was the al-Qa’eda operative who — following a sojourn in the bogey-country de jour of Yemen — had defected back to Saudi Arabia, on the condition that he be debriefed personally by the Saudi anti-terrorism chief Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef. Thereafter he was frisked, passed through two rounds of airport-style security, and sat down, presumably quite gingerly, with the Prince himself. Then, after some small talk, he detonated a pound of explosives that he had hidden in his bottom.

The article is a few weeks old by the way but I’m still catching up from about November!

I’ve been wondering for a while now about the whole airport security charade. How about a 20east poll?

  • Are the chances of you being a victim of terrorist action on a plane significantly reduced by airport security measures?
  • If you were given a choice, would you remove <all, some, none> of the security and take your chances?

11 thoughts on “Airport security is a giant exercise in arse-covering — and it doesn’t work (obviously)

  1. The bitch-fest is the easy part. The griping is especially popular among far right wing types in the States. But I never see a sensible idea proposed.

    Why not ask people what they would propose instead?

    BTW – A bit late, but I proposed a work-around for your lighter woes from a few posts ago.

  2. DC tell me more about the lighter. I have now bought a new one, 1941 replica.

    My sensible idea proposed is this – scrap the overt security altogether and provide cheap life insurance for flying. Insurance works on statistics and as the chances of dying on a plane for whatever reason are miniscule, it should be cheap as chips to insure yourself for a year of hassle-free flying.

  3. It would be funny if it wasn’t tragic. In some al-Qeada cave somewhere people are cracking up over the idea of us idiots hobbling around in airports with our shoes off and being arrested for carrying cans of coke. I fully expect my underpants to be inspected next time I fly. Sometimes I think the whole thing is a massive wind up.

    As to solutions, here’s a very interesting article about the Israeli method of airport security:—israelification-high-security-little-bother

  4. Great article and very true. I’ve experienced Israeli airport security first hand and at times of high alert as well. Their interrogation techniques are very professional and seemingly very effective too. One time I was travelling with a colleague from work, they interrogated us both separately, then the two Mossad agents went off and compared notes, then we had more individual interrogation followed by another conflab and eventually we were allowed through. We both had Arab stamps in our passports, which probably didn’t help. It is a very intimidating process but I certainly felt much safer than after having my zippo confiscated and my shoes x-rayed.

    Should be said though that they probably don’t get many Muslims travelling through Ben Gurion! The sheer number of trained interrogators and watchers required would be impractical in an airport like Heathrow, especially when the mix of passengers is so much broader.

  5. I hope it won’t come down to more of those full-body x-ray scanners at airports. They either want to undress you or see through you. There is something a bit pervy about airports.

  6. Love the article on Israel. A lot of sense in it.

    New Zealand was the best customs check I’ve experienced. They took my walking boots away from me and cleaned them! I had to apologise because I’d actually used them. Apparently they don’t like foreign soil contaminants in NZ..not too sure where they thought I’d been.

    The problem of applying such methods to airports in the UK is firstly the sheer number of different nationalities that pass through, and secondly, those ‘random’ searches would have to be carefully monitored to prevent any complaints regarding ethnic discrimination. An excessive number of muslims searched and the whole system would collapse. The carefree unemotional hardline adopted by the Israelies would not and could not apply to the UK. Even though it obviously works well…

  7. Our airport will be installing one at the end of June. They are claiming that it isn’t infringing on our privacy because the TSA guard leading you through it never sees the scan. And the one who is doing the scanning is at a remote location and never sees the actual person, only the blanked-out silhouette on the scan (with all the private bits).

    Makes you want to take a boat instead!

    Can you imagine doing this for a job, then laying your head on the pillow at night with visions of hundreds of scans that you are trying to get out of your mind? I wonder if after a number of years of doing this job you would turn into a lunatic?

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