Unfortunate timing, to say the least:
If the new head of the Transportation Security Administration gets his way, all airport screeners will be retrained within 60 days to better detect explosives and spot weapons and more passengers will enroll in the agency's expedited security checkpoint program.
And one day travelers will be able to use fingerprints or some other biometric identifiers instead of paper or electronic boarding passes.
Peter Neffenger, who has been on the job as TSA administrator for four weeks, went before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday and said it was a "huge concern" that the agency's officers failed to identify bombs, weapons and other security threats 96 percent of the time during recent undercover testing.
"It greatly disturbs me to know that we had that failure rate at the checkpoint," he said.
The nature of those failures have been carefully studied, Neffenger told the panel, underscoring an immediate need to "train out those failures."
International traveler Stephen Morrissey has a story to tell:
On leaving the US on 27 July I flew from San Francisco International Airport to London on flight BA 284.
At 2:30 in the afternoon I went through the usual airport security procedure including the stand-up 'scanner', and all was well - no bleeps and nothing unusual.
Before I could gather my belongings from the usual array of trays I was approached by an "airport security officer" who stopped me, crouched before me and groped my penis and testicles. He quickly moved away as an older "airport security officer" approached.
The officer who sexually assaulted me was identified as the General Manager On Duty. Luckily I was accompanied by two members of British Airways Special Services, who were horrified at the sexual attack and suggested that I lodge a complaint. I asked if there would be any point in lodging a complaint since, as with any complaint against a figure in "authority", the complaints are simply collected in order to protect the guilty officer should the matter go further. The British Airways Special Services employees assured me that a complaint was worthwhile, and so I filed the appropriate information.
Here's what the TSA is doing wrong--Morrissey is not a threat to you or anyone else. Leave Morrissey alone and focus on the people who are actually breaking the rules.
It's like we're stuck on stupid or something.