Monday, August 15, 2005

I say screen 'em!

The TSA is considering relaxing security screenings of airline passengers to allow razorblades and small knives, limit patdowns and let you keep your shoes on.

It's also considering exempting several categories of passengers from screening, including federal judges, members of Congress, Cabinet members, state governors, high-ranking military officers and those with high-level security clearances.

Educated Guesswork says that's a bad idea. Here's why:

[C]reating a complete exemption from security screening for one class of people suddenly makes it very attractive to be a member of that class. This raises the question of how hard it really is to impersonate someone in that class. There are 535 members of Congress and plenty of federal judges and people with high-ranking clearances. There's no way that screeners are going to know these people by sight, so they'll be checking ID. It's probably not that hard to forge one of these IDs well enough to pass a cursory security check at the airport.

Even if we ignore the security issue, there's an issue of principle and incentives. The current security screening in this country is fairly onerous and Congress is charged with overseeing that. If those restrictions are too onerous for Congressmen to endure, then why aren't they too onerous for the rest of us. On the other hand, if Congress is exempt from these restrictions, what incentive do your representatives have to value people's inconvenience appropriately?

Cross-posted at aTypical Joe.


1 comment:

  1. It seems that things always seem to work out that a favored few get special treatment. And that's wrong.

    Relaxing some standards might not be a bad idea. I really don't think anyone will be able to take over a U.S. airline. If someone tries, I expect they'd be overpowered by the passengers.


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