Via Boing Boing, it appears that more than one TSA screener didn’t know that Washington, D.C. was part of the United States. The Boing Boing article about this is very good. The story isn’t important because “yuk, yuk, that guy’s dumb!” Rather, the fact that multiple TSA screeners don’t know geography means that the security precautions we’re told are essential to preventing terrorism aren’t necessary:
The real problem with this kind of dunderheadedness is that it makes it clear that the whole TSA rigmarole is just a pointless, humiliating, expensive dumbshow. If a TSA screener doesn’t have the basic smarts to know that DC is part of the USA, it calls into question his ability to make good judgments about anything. Either terrorism is an existential threat to America, in which case the TSA checkpoints should be staffed by highly skilled crackerjacks, or it’s not a big deal, in which case, we should be keeping our shoes on and flying with as much hair gel as we can carry. But saying that a single aviation attack is the end of America as we know it, and acting like it’s a small enough risk that we can staff checkpoints with dimbulbs makes you wonder if this isn’t about civil service empire-building, government contractor pork, and a general contempt for the American public, and not about terrorism at all.
The TSA’s efficacy is questionable, considering the amount it spends on porno-scanners that can be easily defeated and the installation of which may be the result of sweetheart deals between the manufacturers and TSA officials.