Illusion of safety ruined in American undercover mission

GETTING THROUGH: Airport security in the United States has been found to be less than effective.
GETTING THROUGH: Airport security in the United States has been found to be less than effective. File

BE ALERT but not alarmed people, for you can count on the good old folk at airport security to make sure none of those dirty terrorists ever set foot on a plane.

Getting somewhere by air these days can be a bit of a muck around with all the extra vigilance required, but it's an inconvenience I suppose we're all willing to put up with for the sake of our national security.

You've seen Border Security on TV haven't you? It's Australia's frontline against naughty foreigners bringing contraband into the country.

If watching that show doesn't make you feel safe, nothing will.

I've got to say, I've always felt safe in Australia, even before the days when we glorified airport security personnel on prime time TV.

Since September 11, 2001, we've been given the impression that anything to do with airport security has been ramped up to 11.

Getting a bomb onto a plane without being locked up would be like trying to swim a bleeding chicken up the Jardine River without being taken for a death-roll by one of the locals.

At least that's what we're led to believe.

An undercover test of America's airport security found that if you know the weaknesses in the system, you'll get a bomb through security no worries at all.

If you missed the story this week, undercover agents were successful in 67 out of 70 attempts to sneak banned items through airport baggage screening systems operated by the Transport Security Administration at some of the US' busiest airports.

In one case, a pretend explosive strapped to an agent's back was not detected, even after a pat-down.

Perhaps that's the trick? Strap the bomb to your back instead of your genital area?

In any case, the investigation shows that despite all the big talk, the huge money ($7 billion annual budget for the TSA), and all the show, America's airport security is not very good at doing what it sets out to do.

I can only hope that Australia's system works significantly better, but after these results came back from America, you could be forgiven for having your doubts.


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