Let me start off apologizing for writing about a non-tech topic and also for a somewhat sensational headline but I believe what I have to say here supersedes my responsibility to just cover the typical topics you come here to see. I have been traveling a great deal lately and as a result signed up for and was accepted to the TSA Pre check lanes at the airport meaning a more relaxed screening as shoes remain on, laptops stay in the bag, etc. The only issue is over the last few months, before I was accepted to the program, I have been chosen at random with hundreds of other passengers in Indiana, New York and Orlando to go through this line.
The point is, to be accepted in Pre you have to give fingerprints, submit to a background check, etc.
When people are randomly selected to go through the same relaxed security line, none of this applies. Of course it is a random occurrence – but nonetheless, if a terrorist organization wanted to be successful in carrying out an attack, they could simply send large numbers of terrorists at once, hoping to get one or more through the system.
I’ve been keeping this information to myself – not sure who to share it with. After all, it is a security matter… Do I go public, hoping the authorities button up the procedure at the risk of alerting people who may want to use this loophole to harm the US or not?
What triggered me to write about these experiences is a new initiative by the US and UK to shore up international airport security for flights coming into the US. The reason is, there are reports of terrorists trying to develop non-metallic explosives to bring onboard planes. It seems to me these explosives would be the exact kind that TSA Pre would NOT detect as these passengers only go through a metal detector and not a millimeter wave device which does a full-body scan and can detect the lint in the pocket of your jeans.
The only other thing worth mentioning is there has also been an increase in random scans for bomb making materials via bomb-sniffing dogs and explosive detecting devices reading the swabbed hands of many travelers which shows the government has been aware of the heightened bomb threat level for some time.
It stands to reason that if we are at a heightened security level with respect to airplane travel and we know the US border with Mexico is so pourus that children can come through by the thousand each day, we should be very concerned about the state of US airline security – not just in international airports. If the TSA Pre lane is designed to work in conjunction with a thorough background check, it shouldn’t be available to people who don’t go through this process.
Perhaps I am being paranoid or overreacting but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Hopefully this post helps increase the domestic security level at our airports.