With the holiday travel season approaching fast, public anger at the federal Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) increasingly invasive airport passenger screening procedures - full body scans and pat downs - seems to be growing louder by the day. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano argues that these measures are necessary to maintain an adequate level of security for the nation's air travel.
Indeed, some types of safety measures, including passenger screening, are needed for air travel safety. The problem with the current security regime is its structure. In a way the TSA can't help annoying travelers with petty, intrusive rules. It is in its nature, as a top-down, government regulatory bureaucracy. By design, it's good at promulgating and enforcing rules, not so much at turning on a dime to react quickly to potential threats, which have an annoying habit of turning up unexpectedly and be ever shifting.