In the wake of the discovery that the Metrojet airliner crash in Egypt on October 31st was caused by a bomb smuggled onto the plane, questions have been raised about TSA safety procedures at home. At first glance, the process to get on a plane leaving an American airport seems thorough and secure. However, how well does TSA actually perform when put to the test?
Blake Alford, a man who recently flew out of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, claims to have accidentally smuggled a loaded gun on a flight. He realized after he landed that TSA did not catch this weapon when going through security, and the gun had been in his backpack the entire time. This man obviously did not have ill intentions, but what does this say about our protection against home-grown terrorists seeking to do massive damage to our airliners?
In response to this man’s claims, NBC’s Today correspondent, Jeff Rossen and his associates attempted to go through airport security with a variety of banned items to see if any were detected. Ready for the results? Rossen was stopped by a TSA agent who discovered a Swiss army knife in his baggage, however his associates were successfully able to carry a knife, a pair of scissors, and box cutters past the security checkpoints and onto the plane.
Not that this is any surprise to TSA, who have already admitted to a poor internal performance evaluation in the past. During this internal testing, TSA agents mistakenly let 67 out of 70 banned items past their security checkpoints.
So what does this mean for the future of air travel in America? Despite the increasing talk about tightening security on the home front in response to terrorist attacks in the air and on the ground abroad, U.S. officials still have a long way to go before any real progress is made.