TSA: Terrorist Threat to Air Safety is Minimal

By Paul Riegler on 18 October 2013
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Security Checkpoint at JFK

Security Checkpoint at JFK

While air travelers continue to be told that they must remove their shoes and go through a body scanner to combat the threat of terrorism in the skies, it turns out that the Transportation Safety Administration has gone on record stating that the threat and risk of terrorist attacks on aviation is very small.

In an accidentally leaked, unredacted court document that was published online October 7, the TSA said that “terrorist threat groups present in the Homeland are not known to be actively plotting against civil aviation targets or airports.”

The brief, filed by Jonathan Corbett, who is suing the TSA for invasion of privacy, cites several key facts including the observation that it has been over 35 years since there has been any attempt to bring explosives through any U.S. airport.

In the brief, the government also concedes that, since September 11, 2001 there have been “no attempted domestic hijackings of any kind.”

Changes in airport security checkpoint screening took place in October, 2010 when body scanners were made the primary screening method as opposed to the walk-through metal detectors that had been in use for several decades.  The change also required new and far more invasive pat-downs to be administered to travelers if they set off the alarm during the primary screening.

The brief terms the TSA’s decision to use the body scanners and pat-downs as being “arbitrary and capricious.”  It also points out that the TSA has granted that “other changes” in security procedures, namely ones implemented before the policy change in October 2010, make the repeat of the tragedy of 9/11 “difficult.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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