24 January 2010

Will Americans be able to 'Israelify' their airports?

Allow me to state that I am not at all sure that the Israeli airport security screening system, while it seems to work, is necessarily a model for the rest of the world. To take one parameter: the passenger throughput of our main international airport is an order of magnitude less than that of many US airports. Which difference opens a whole can of worms I am not going to tackle in this post.

In any case, this article by Stephanie Gutmann is worth your attention. She is certain that the answer to that question in the headline is "No, they'll mess it up".

I don't know. What I do know, from my personal acquaintance with quite a few US airports is that the security system there seems cumbersome, slow and not wholly effective, paying attention to some strange points indeed. A good illustration: Military Blogger Michael Yon Detained, Handcuffed by CBP in Seattle Airport. While it's not exactly TSA deed, it shows where manpower, that could be more productively deployed elsewhere, is wasted. Meanwhile the fear and wariness of the flying public reached hitherto unknown levels, witness the latest story of a plane diverted over tefillin.

And of course, you couldn't top this: Boy, now he's in real trouble; Obama administration revokes U.S. visa of accused Nigerian bomber



Dick Stanley said...

The tefilin divert is remarkably stupid. Especially on a plane out of NYC. Good grief.

snoopythegoon said...

Yes, but it indicates how tense people are because of all these stories. And TSA, being humorless, unsmiling and ponderous folks, only add to the tension.

It is absolutely not forbidden to joke with Israeli security personnel in the airport. Well, up to a point, of course ;)

soccerdhg said...

Megan McArdle
Jeffrey Goldberg

Roughly your argument.

BTW, on my way a TSA screener flagged my Tallit (not my Tefillin) in my carry on. I guess it was a shape he wasn't expecting. On the way back, they caught my aerosol deodorant, something that the Ben Gurion screeners missed.