A wonderful Vanity Fair article by Charles C. Mann neatly summarizes the absurdity of airport security; a brief excerpt:

From an airplane-hijacking point of view, Schneier said, al-Qaeda had used up its luck. Passengers on the first three 9/11 flights didn’t resist their captors, because in the past the typical consequence of a plane seizure had been “a week in Havana.” When the people on the fourth hijacked plane learned by cell phone that the previous flights had been turned into airborne bombs, they attacked their attackers. The hijackers were forced to crash Flight 93 into a field. “No big plane will ever be taken that way again, because the passengers will fight back,” Schneier said.

You can read the entire article here:  Smoke Screening

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1 Comment on Smoke screening: Does Airport Security Really Matter?

  1. Gary Williams says:

    Very sensible article. However, if I were the government, I don’t think I would strike the set on the security theater. The best analysis of the situation, I think, was the metaphor a columnist made of you or I playing 1 on 1 against Kobe Bryant–with a rule that said that no matter how many shots Kobe made, if you or I sank one basket Kobe would lose. Given how easily hysteria is stimulated in Americans and our view that government is incompetent and not to be trusted but must nevertheless protect us from any and every set of circumstances, the government on whose watch the next successful major terrorist event occurs will probably be voted out of office, and will certainly be voted out if the public does not believe it did whatever possible, at whatever cost, to prevent the attack.


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