An eloquent mocking of the TSA

Sure, I poke fun at them all the time, but I don’t write so good all the time.  But this guy wrote a rather coherent and eloquent article about the sham that is the concept of “security” the TSA has been spouting pretty much since its inception.

Sure, he just forges a boarding pass, something that has been going on for years and something that online check-in has basically made a trivial task that anyone can do.  He also has learned that an eight-ounce toothpaste tube fits quite well in the pocket of your pants, and that the a “Beerbelly,” a neoprene sling that holds a polyurethane bladder and drinking tube, is generally not detected by the TSA.

To be certain, some of the arguments made are pretty stupid.  Why should a TSA agent care that he has a Hezbollah flag or an inflatable Yasser Arafat doll in his luggage?  Those cannot actually do any harm, just like eight ounces of toothpaste cannot do any harm.  And then there is this bit that made me laugh a bit:

Later, Schnei­er would carry two bottles labeled saline solution—24 ounces in total—through security. An officer asked him why he needed two bottles. “Two eyes,” he said. He was allowed to keep the bottles.

The article is definitely an entertaining read, even if the guy doesn’t get it all right.

And, yes, I meant to get the opening line wrong.  Thanks.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I agree, the contents of his bags – inflatable dolls of anyone included – don’t impress me.

    I don’t know what’s more frustrating, that people can get through security this easily, or that no one pays attention when they do.

    But I bet you that the author and his forging-genius friend are of a Non-Threatening Race.

  2. Also!

    He writes:
    “Then you board the plane, because they’re not checking your name against your ID at boarding.””

    So when they ask for my passport and boarding pass at boarding, they’re not checking the name against anything? What are they looking at? Me vs. my photo? I don’t understand this.

  3. When they check your passport (only on international flights; the author doesn’t mention that all his flights were domeestic) they are, in fact, checking that it is you and that your passport isn’t expired. That is a different issue for the airlines as they are liable to serious fines if they deliver a passenger to a foreign country who doesn’t have the appropriate documentation (passport, visa, etc.). But for a typical domestic flight such a match doesn’t – and shouldn’t – take place.

    And are there really any races that are actually inherently threatening?

  4. Not threatening to me, but … in terms of “security”, I am sure that there are certain ethnicities/races that would get checked far more often than others.

    I’d like to see the author and a person of Middle Eastern appearance try to get the same stuff through, both as solo travellers.

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