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October 22, 2007

How to Smuggle a Bomb Through Airport Security

(Okay, I hope that title doesn’t get me a visit from Homeland Security…)

According to a government report released last week, the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration agents made almost 300 attempts last year to smuggle bombs past security screeners at three major American airports. Twenty percent of the bombs passed through undetected at San Francisco International Airport, sixty percent at Chicago O’Hare, and seventy-five percent at Los Angeles International Airport.

Clark Kent Ervin, a former Homeland Security inspector general, calls this “a huge cause for concern” and says that the screeners’ poor performance might encourage terrorists to try smuggling bombs and other weapons on board planes.

Okay, now here’s a thought: Is it possible that terrorists might be less emboldened by the screeners’ poor performances themselves than by the fact that the government saw fit to release the report including specific details?

This is nothing new, by the way: A few years back, the government released a study of which American port cities were most vulnerable to terrorist attack and why.


  1. What leapt out at me is the HS guy is actually named Clark Kent.

    Comment by Rasheed — October 22, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

  2. I guess I’m the only person who while
    going through security at the airport is just thinking of ways to get around everything.

    And now I’m probably on some list somewhere…

    Comment by Steven Hunter — October 22, 2007 @ 4:50 pm

  3. Rasheed, I noticed that, too. And not only is his name Clark Kent Irvin he acutally *uses* his middle name. I would totally be keeping that hush hush if it was me.

    Comment by Molly — October 22, 2007 @ 11:49 pm

  4. tell me about it. I grew up in Staten Island, NY (the “forgotten borough” of NYC) and was horrified a year or two after September 11th to read a detailed news story on how easy it would be for a terrorist to blow up Staten Island by using the pipes that run underneath . . .

    I haven’t slept so well ever since . . .

    Comment by laterain — October 24, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

  5. Agreed. Something like “tests showed that security wasn’t tight enough in some locations” would really be all you needed to say — since obviously everyone feels we always have to say something. And then add, of course, “We’re working to close the gaps.” But I don’t think the media are always entirely clear on who we’re supposed to be worried about.

    Comment by waltzingaustralia — November 12, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

  6. thats really stupid but as a screener i hear from so many passengers ” well it got through LAX. well guys sorry but in las vegas i dont care who you are if your shits over the limit it aint going and if your bag looks like shit well its getting checked and also sealed liquids are still liquids quit being dumb asses PLEASE (the bombs made from liquids were sealed)

    Comment by alicia — May 14, 2008 @ 1:46 am

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