Some positive changes in airport security — but not enough
James M. Loy, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, is looking to get rid of more stupid rules. Already gone are the “security questions” that never foiled a terrorist in sixteen years, the ban on nail clippers, and the rule against carrying coffee through security. Others potentially on the chopping block:
- The 30 minutes without peeing rule, which forbids getting up from your seat within half an hour’s flying from Washington National airport
- Restricted parking within 300 feet of the airport (making parking lots at many airports useless)
- “Random” searches of passengers at the boarding gate after the same folks have been searched at the security checkpoint (also known as “gate rape“)
These are a good start. They are all obvious changes that can be made. Why didn’t Mineta see them earlier? But let’s not get too excited.
- Air marshalls are carrying guns on planes without completing all of their training and background checks
- Federal screeners are way overpaid and insufficiently trained
- The security tax is too high and may rise
- Airports probably aren’t any safer — because safety will come from our foreign policy (arguably either by making terrorists pay for their actions or by not provoking terror in the first place)
But let’s at least revel in the positive changes for a moment. They are a real step forward for those of us who have said we would not stand by while an agency run amok harassed us and brought the airlines to their knees.