29 January 2004

Tightening airport security is useless

It turns out that several of the 9/11 hijackers were screened by the FAA.
The 10-member bipartisan commission revealed that nine of the 19 hijackers had been flagged by the Federal Aviation Administration's computer passenger screening system before boarding their flights. The system alerts airport security screeners to more thoroughly check passengers who buy one-way tickets or pay with cash. FAA procedures at the time called for the luggage of the ''selectees'' to be screened for explosives.

According to the report, three of the five hijackers aboard Flight 11 were designated selectees by the computer system, known as CAPPS, but one hijacker had checked no luggage and screeners scanned the bags of the other two for explosives. All five hijackers aboard American Flight 77 -- which crashed into the Pentagon -- were selectees and their luggage was held before they were confirmed on the aircraft, and no further screening was done.

One hijacker aboard United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, was flagged and his bag was screened for explosives before being loaded onto the plane, the report said.

Washington Post

Yet we act as though bigger helpings of the same security measures will make a difference. At this point, we may as well eliminate all airport security: no one will ever let terrorists take over a jumbo jet again. Passengers foiled the 9/11 jet-as-flying-bomb strategy later that same day.

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