The Spectacle Blog

Security Theater Leaves Us No Safer

By on 12.6.11 | 8:31AM

Wired's Spencer Ackerman reports that we've spent $50-plus billion on airport security since 9/11, only to have gaping holes remain in the system. The TSA and all its intrusive methods only protect from terrorists who try to board planes. There is little to no protection from many other possible threats, including from people who don't bother to try to board planes, airport workers, checked luggage, etc. -- and there is little that could be done to address the massive blind spots.

Ackerman's post raises two questions. One, where are all those billions going? Someone is getting rich making travelers miserable (and not much safer). It would be good to know where all the contracts for equipment, training, etc. are going. Two, why haven't any Republican presidential hopefuls (besides, perhaps, Ron Paul) made a bigger deal of this? The president has a lot of discretion over the TSA's goals and methods, and could singlehandedly do a lot to reform airport security. True, the TSA's overreach might be a boutique issue, because the vast majority of voters don't travel regularly. Yet I'd guess that the folks who do go through the TSA's searches most frequently are disproportionately likely to be politically active.

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