Friday, January 08, 2010

This Is How Bad Security Really Is Where It Counts

At the checkpoints, dozens of TSA officers stand around. But I'd always wondered about those exit corridors, used by passengers leaving the airport.

Typically, they're guarded by a lone TSA officer at a podium and a sign that says "Do not enter." A wide-open corridor!

As we know, some idiot shut down terminal C at the hilariously named Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday when he decided to stroll into the secure area. How bad was the security? With video, here's this AP story, via USA Today.

The surveillance video, by the way, was made not by the airport (as the AP story states) but by Continental Airlines, according to today's New York Times.

An excerpt from the AP report:

"He took advantage of a guard's absence to sneak past a security checkpoint and walk arm-in-arm with a woman into a secure area, causing a terminal shutdown.

The couple's actions emerged in a surveillance video released Thursday by the office of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who had pushed the Transportation Security Administration to release the footage.

In the video, the man stations himself near an exit lane ... A minute or so later, after the guard leaves his podium for several seconds, the woman approaches the exit from inside the terminal and motions to the man, who ducks under the rope to join her. The two then walk into the passenger-only area ... During the time the guard was away from his post, dozens of passengers are seen walking out through the exit lane, further obscuring the man and woman. Someone waiting for an arriving passenger notified the guard."

You'd have to be a very wily terrorist to foil that level of security, right? Forget about hiding explosives in your shorts. Hell, you can bring an entire roadside bomb assembly in when they just let you stroll through an exit.

And by the way, the TSA has been operating without a permanent director for 11 months and three weeks, and counting.



Anonymous said...

"The TSA's own surveillance system was not operating at the time."
TSA neither owns nor operates surveillance systems in airports. That would be the responsibility of the airport operator. That tidbit certainly doesn't forgive the TSA employee's actions, but just wanted to get that out there.

ChefNick said...

Having just returned on a crazy 3-day Montreal-Detroit-Tokyo-Osaka-Tokyo-Minneapolis-Montreal turnaround, I can safely say that completely contrary to what I thought, Montreal was the worst of all legs.

Lines out the wazoo, me getting flagged because I HAD NO CHECKED LUGGAGE, so was "suspicious" with my little laptop briefcase . . . Christ, you JUST CAN'T WIN. It's like the Orcs in the Lord of the Rings. The morons are simply TOO OVERWHELMING.

But could you imagine MONTREAL would be the worst? Pick an airport, any airport. Now shuffle them and don't tell me which one you picked.

Because I'll tell YOU that you picked Montreal as easily the worst-mismanaged piece of shit in North America.

Heck, next time I should go to Rio, if we're doing a countdown.

ChefNick said...

I swear, your posting of Keystone Cops and Pink Panther pictures are so right. When a Westjet CEO says HE doesn't know what the rules are from day to day, hour to hour, imagine what it's like for lowly screeners.

I just can still not accept how stupid people can be. But I'm getting there.