Just when the behavior of TSA officials conducting airport security could not get more absurd, Erick Erickson of Red State relates the story of a plane full of soldiers coming home from Afghanistan and their adventures at the Indianapolis Airport.
The plane landed in Indianapolis to let off a hundred soldiers of the Indiana National Guard. Then the TSA swooped.
“First, everyone was forced to get off the plane-even though the plane wasn’t refueling again. All 330 people got off that plane, rather than let the 100 people from the ING get off. We were filed from the plane to a holding area. No vending machines, no means of escape. Only a male/female latrine.
“It’s probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons. Everyone was carrying an M4 Carbine (rifle) and some, like me, were also carrying an M9 pistol. Oh, and our gunners had M-240B machine guns. Of course, the weapons weren’t loaded. And we had been cleared of all ammo well before we even got to customs at Baghram, then AGAIN at customs.
“The TSA personnel at the airport seriously considered making us unload all of the baggage from the SECURE cargo hold to have it reinspected. Keep in mind, this cargo had been unpacked, inspected piece by piece by U.S. Customs officials, resealed and had bomb-sniffing dogs give it a one-hour run through. After two hours of sitting in this holding area, the TSA decided not to reinspect our Cargo-just to inspect us again: Soldiers on the way home from war, who had already been inspected, reinspected and kept in a SECURE holding area for 2 hours. Ok, whatever. So we lined up to go through security AGAIN.
“This is probably another good time to remind you all that all of us were carrying actual assault rifles, and some of us were also carrying pistols.
“So we’re in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers. “
There then was a conversation about how a heavily armed soldier, fresh from fighting terrorists in the hills of Afghanistan, was not permitted to carry on his nail clippers for fear that he would take over the plane, also full of heavily armed soldiers, and do God knows what with it.
If this were not a true story, one would think that it was a skit from “Saturday Night Live” or some latter-day version of Monty Python. It is as pure an example of mindless bureaucracy and “following procedure” triumphing over common sense as ever occurred since the invention of bureaucracy.
In fact, combined with all the stories of full-body pat-downs that resemble sexual assaults, one would think that there was a conspiracy of TSA officials to undermine respect for airport security. If so, the conspiracy seems to be succeeding.
Now an airport screener using Israeli methods of behavior profiling and common sense, ones that have proved highly effective, would have concluded that no one aboard a plane filled with soldiers coming home from Afghanistan would be silly enough to try to take over that plane. Indeed, it is very unlikely that the passengers would have had their reunions with the dear ones delayed while they were marched out to be inspected for contraband like nail clippers. Indeed since such contraband had been carried all the way from Afghanistan without anyone attacking the pilot with it, it was pointless to confiscate it just before the final leg home.
But whether it is bothering soldiers coming home from the wars, fondling Catholic nuns and 3-year-old girls, or handling some poor guy’s wedding tackle, there seems to be no outrage, no degradation too surreal to be performed in what the Australian writer John Birmingham artfully called “the theater of security.”
Source: Another TSA Outrage, Erick Erickson, Red State, November 18th, 2010