The Times seeks to explain “What to Expect as the T.S.A. Tightens Airport Security“:
preparing for any new security measures is not straightforward. The T.S.A. has purposely been vague about what travelers will encounter, other than more police at the airport and additional layers of security.
“Passengers should be prepared for additional measures of security, but we can’t say what they are,” said Lauren Gaches, a spokeswoman for the T.S.A.
This is useless. Indeed, worse than useless. Security through obscurity is often harmful. If I can’t pack something on my next flight, I want to know what it is. If I’m going to be asked to put my bags or my body through some new screening, I want to know exactly what’s going to happen to them. If someone dangerous can use that knowledge to put others at risk, it doesn’t make me safer to keep that hidden. Indeed, I and others need to know about those risks so that we can be vigilant.
This isn’t security, it’s security theater. It’s meant to make us all feel safer, rather than to actually make us safer. Ditto for stopping travelers from using electronics in the first and last hour of a flight, or from keeping jackets or blankets on our laps. At best, it prevents the last attack, and we already prevented that one by having passengers alert and aware and free to move about. Heck, having a blanket you can toss over a terrorist’s head doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
One day, airport security will be rationally driven by the actual risks we face, not by a mere desire to make people think they’re safer.