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Author Topic: Reporters Smuggle Knives Onto 14 Airline Flights During Labor Day Weekend
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NEW YORK (AP) - Reporters investigating airport security were able to smuggle small knives and pepper spray through checkpoints at 11 U.S. airports during the Labor Day weekend, the Daily News reported Wednesday.

http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGA6NQMCP5D.html

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Ms.Hollywood
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I saw this story on the Today Show this morning. The airlines response was that they "are still working on it" concerning security issues. Scary!!! That was also pretty daring on the reporter's part, being that if they did get caught, they would still face prosecution just as anyone else. The old "but I'm a reporter!" just wouldn't fly...
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dofwai
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I think that the reporters who made an admission/confession that they performed an illegal act should be arrested and prosecuted. What is the statute of limitations on this? It can't be less than a week!

I think someone who performs a crime to prove that someone can commit a crime should go to jail for it; they aren't "heroes" for pointing out a potential problem, they are criminals, period.

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Ceci n'est pas Paul Unwin
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
I think someone who performs a crime to prove that someone can commit a crime should go to jail for it; they aren't "heroes" for pointing out a potential problem, they are criminals, period.

By and large, I agree with you. However, there needs to be some provision for tests like this to be made. How better to accomplish this?
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dofwai
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quote:
Originally posted by Ceci n'est pas Paul Unwin:
quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
I think someone who performs a crime to prove that someone can commit a crime should go to jail for it; they aren't "heroes" for pointing out a potential problem, they are criminals, period.

By and large, I agree with you. However, there needs to be some provision for tests like this to be made. How better to accomplish this?
Have authorized, trained law enforcement people do the testing, with the full consent and knowledge of the management of the airport.
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Ceci n'est pas Paul Unwin
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
Have authorized, trained law enforcement people do the testing, with the full consent and knowledge of the management of the airport.

I'd be suspicious that management's desire not to receive bad press would conflict with their ability to keep the test secret.
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dofwai
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quote:
Originally posted by Ceci n'est pas Paul Unwin:
quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
Have authorized, trained law enforcement people do the testing, with the full consent and knowledge of the management of the airport.

I'd be suspicious that management's desire not to receive bad press would conflict with their ability to keep the test secret.
I guess it begs the question: What is the real intent? Is to correct security problems and make flying safer, or to publicly point out flaws?

I think the technique could go something like this: "Airport manager, there is now a program to test airport security by having undercover law-enforcement officers attempt to smuggle weapons aboard aircraft. This program pertains to all US airports, including yours. You are subject to random, unannounced inspections using this program. We will not announce we are coming before hand, but will give you a full report after the fact, including our suggestions for how you can improve your security."

What the heck, if screeners are more cautious because they think the FBI (or whoever) might catch them making a mistake, is that a bad thing?

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ZenKnight, Jaded Desert Dragon
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quote:
Originally posted by Ceci n'est pas Paul Unwin:
quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
Have authorized, trained law enforcement people do the testing, with the full consent and knowledge of the management of the airport.

I'd be suspicious that management's desire not to receive bad press would conflict with their ability to keep the test secret.
Airport management isn't in charge of airport security anymore.
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dofwai
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quote:
Originally posted by ZenKnight, Jaded Desert Dragon:
quote:
Originally posted by Ceci n'est pas Paul Unwin:
quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
Have authorized, trained law enforcement people do the testing, with the full consent and knowledge of the management of the airport.

I'd be suspicious that management's desire not to receive bad press would conflict with their ability to keep the test secret.
Airport management isn't in charge of airport security anymore.
OK, amend my statement to say "full consent and knowledge of the security managers...
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Ms.Hollywood
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
quote:
Originally posted by Ceci n'est pas Paul Unwin:
quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
I think someone who performs a crime to prove that someone can commit a crime should go to jail for it; they aren't "heroes" for pointing out a potential problem, they are criminals, period.

By and large, I agree with you. However, there needs to be some provision for tests like this to be made. How better to accomplish this?
Have authorized, trained law enforcement people do the testing, with the full consent and knowledge of the management of the airport.
But then the management would know, thus tipping off the security about the search, making null and void the point of a suprise search test. No one wants to get caught with their pants down!! No one wants their airport to end up on the news for security failures. But in this case, I think it would of been better to have law enforcement authorities do the suprise search just to be on the safe side.
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ZenKnight, Jaded Desert Dragon
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
quote:
Originally posted by ZenKnight, Jaded Desert Dragon:
quote:
Originally posted by Ceci n'est pas Paul Unwin:
quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
Have authorized, trained law enforcement people do the testing, with the full consent and knowledge of the management of the airport.

I'd be suspicious that management's desire not to receive bad press would conflict with their ability to keep the test secret.
Airport management isn't in charge of airport security anymore.
OK, amend my statement to say "full consent and knowledge of the security managers...
Your original comment was fine, I meant that as a counter to paul's point that airport management has a vested interest in an evaluation of their security. They no longer do since security is out of their hands, so presumably they wouldn't have a problem cooperating with a test considering the TSA is now the fall guy.
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BeachLife
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
I think that the reporters who made an admission/confession that they performed an illegal act should be arrested and prosecuted. What is the statute of limitations on this? It can't be less than a week!

I think someone who performs a crime to prove that someone can commit a crime should go to jail for it; they aren't "heroes" for pointing out a potential problem, they are criminals, period.

Yes that'll teach them not to point out that all the searching and detaining of old ladies and young children, all the liberties being taken away in the name of security aren't working.

We should just stop the press from looking into anything what so ever. They have endangered your poor false sense of security, where's big brother?, where's the SS?, what is this a free country or something. I am outraged.

Beach...and maybe they didn't say who it was that did the testing...Life!

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ZenKnight, Jaded Desert Dragon
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quote:
Originally posted by Beach Life:
...all the liberties being taken away in the name of security aren't working....Beach...and maybe they didn't say who it was that did the testing...Life!

You've said that in a number of posts now, what specific liberty have you lost?
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BeachLife
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quote:
Originally posted by ZenKnight, Jaded Desert Dragon:
quote:
Originally posted by Beach Life:
...all the liberties being taken away in the name of security aren't working....Beach...and maybe they didn't say who it was that did the testing...Life!

You've said that in a number of posts now, what specific liberty have you lost?
Ever heard of the Fourth Amendment?

quote:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...
Beach...I find searching a 10 year old becuase she had blunt nosed scissors in her posession to be unreasonable...Life!

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Sparverius, Budgerigar of Fate
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But how do you know that she had the scissors in the first place without searching? Or, more importantly, that she had nothing EXCEPT the scissors?

I don't mind the searching. If I did, I'd drive, not fly.

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BeachLife
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quote:
Originally posted by Sparverius, Budgerigar of Fate:
But how do you know that she had the scissors in the first place without searching? Or, more importantly, that she had nothing EXCEPT the scissors?

I don't mind the searching. If I did, I'd drive, not fly.

Let's see now. we've 'upped' the searchs to including extensive pat down search of everyone from little kids to 90+ year olds. And what is the net result? Not good enough to stop those items they are specifically looking for. What is the next step then, strip searchs? And are the skys safer as a result? Net some result: more people subjected to body searchs without probable cause. Loss of liberty plain and simple, without any return in safety.

The reporters wanted to bring knives and weapons beyond security and they suceeded. And in this case: guns and bombs, it was even worse. They wanted to get guns and bombs (fake ones) beyond securty and they did.

Beach...you're not safer flying because of new airport secuirty meausres, you're safer because the average American is going to beat the crap out of anyone who trys to hijack another plane with an exacto knife...Life!

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dofwai
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Beach Life -

According to you, then, it is OK for me, as a private citizen (or reporter, use whichever title you want) to violate any law I want to in the name of investigation?

If I happen to be walking by a shop and the clerk is in the bathroom, it would be OK for me to go in and open the cash register, help myself, and walk out, as long as I wrote a report about it later to show how careless the store had been? I was just doing them a favor by pointing out security flaws, right?

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Ms.Hollywood
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Yes, you have to search everyone because to do otherwise would be discrimination, and possibly dangerous. The same could be said for the types of items confiscated. You can't draw the line in a national security situation like this.
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dilbert
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quote:
Originally posted by Beach Life:
Ever heard of the Fourth Amendment?

quote:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...

It may be mandatory to submit to the searches, but only if you are flying. It is not mandatory to fly. Difficult, of course, but not mandatory. There is nothing unreasonable about requiring passenger screening that is essentially consented to by purchasing a ticket. If it gets too inconvenient, people will stop flying. The airlines will get things put back in balance and people will start flying again.
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BeachLife
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
Beach Life -

According to you, then, it is OK for me, as a private citizen (or reporter, use whichever title you want) to violate any law I want to in the name of investigation?

If I happen to be walking by a shop and the clerk is in the bathroom, it would be OK for me to go in and open the cash register, help myself, and walk out, as long as I wrote a report about it later to show how careless the store had been? I was just doing them a favor by pointing out security flaws, right?

Nope sorry, that's not the same at all. To be honest, I'm not even sure they broke a law. If they did, then should anyone who does the same accidentally be prosecuted as well. And shouldn't my daughter have been arrested for those blunt nosed scissors?

Beach...there's a whole lot of law breakin' going on...Life!

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dofwai
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quote:
Originally posted by Beach Life:
Ever heard of the Fourth Amendment?

quote:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...
Beach...I find searching a 10 year old becuase she had blunt nosed scissors in her posession to be unreasonable...Life!
I guess the issue here is the definition of "unreasonable".

I don't think that the 4th Amendment is advocating no-one should ever be searched, anywhere, anytime.

I personally find airline searches, with the intent of keeping weapons off planes, to be reasonable.

Whether or not they are 100% effective (obviously, they aren't) is not relevant to their reasonableness.

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Sparverius, Budgerigar of Fate
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Beach Life, I'm not sure I understand your position. Do you believe that no checking of luggage or of person should be done? That everyone can bring on board whatever they want, and hope that if it gets to a firefight that the evildoers are outgunned? (Not to mention hoping that none of the good guys kill innocent bystanders as they try to take out hijackers with their handy-dandy compact semi-automatics that they carried on board for just such an emergency.)

Or is it simply that you feel that no innocent person should be subjected to checks, and that security should obviously be able to tell when you are innocent?

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Jon Up North
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Ah this is so very rational. We should prosecute these reporters to the fullest extend of the law indeed. This would serve as the best possible deterent for terrorists hijacking aircraft! [Roll Eyes]

About the only thing of note is that once again reporters have proven something which is a pretty obvious reality. If you think airports (and aircraft) are secure, you're being lied to.

Jon

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dofwai
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quote:
Originally posted by Beach Life:
To be honest, I'm not even sure they broke a law. If they did, then should anyone who does the same accidentally be prosecuted as well. And shouldn't my daughter have been arrested for those blunt nosed scissors?

Beach...there's a whole lot of law breakin' going on...Life!

TSA Information Page

quote:
In addition, those who attempt to bring banned items through the checkpoints are subject to civil penalties of up to $1,100 per violation in addition to criminal penalties.

.......

Violations of the hazardous materials regulations may result in fines of up to $27,500 per violation, as well as criminal fines and/or jail.

Sounds like a law was broken to me.

And your daughter did NOT break the law, probably, as she did not attempt to carry the prohibited items into the plane after they were discovered (I hope!).

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dofwai
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Up North:
Ah this is so very rational. We should prosecute these reporters to the fullest extend of the law indeed.

I concur!
quote:
This would serve as the best possible deterent for terrorists hijacking aircraft! [Roll Eyes]
Probably not, but irrelevant to the determination as to whether or not they broke the law.

quote:


About the only thing of note is that once again reporters have proven something which is a pretty obvious reality.

Oh, those heroic reporters!

All I see of note is that reporters believe they can violate the law with impunity in the name of "investigative journalism".

quote:
If you think airports (and aircraft) are secure, you're being lied to.

Jon

I don't think that airports are 100% secure. I do think they are more secure than they were.
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Ceci n'est pas Paul Unwin
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That's an interesting link, dofwai.

One "weapon" someone mentioned to me that I have yet to see confiscated or even addressed, is a ring of keys. One could hold the keys in such a way as to have pointy bits of metal protrude from between one's fingers. Not directly lethal, but can make a normal fist punch much more damaging. If someone ever took over a plane with a technique like that, I can't imagine how anyone would be allowed to fly with any solid object.

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Kill Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by dilbert:
quote:
Originally posted by Beach Life:
Ever heard of the Fourth Amendment?

quote:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...

It may be mandatory to submit to the searches, but only if you are flying. It is not mandatory to fly. Difficult, of course, but not mandatory. There is nothing unreasonable about requiring passenger screening that is essentially consented to by purchasing a ticket. If it gets too inconvenient, people will stop flying. The airlines will get things put back in balance and people will start flying again.
But where does it end. Terrorists attack the New York subway and I'm then being searched on my way to work every morning... Taking the subway is not mandatory but my one hour commute would sure be a lot longer if I were forced to walk.

Someone blows up a Post Office, now I need to be searched to buy stamps. It's not mandatory that I buy stamps, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper then FedEx.

I don't think that screening should be done away with on the basis of personal liberties, but we do need to keep an eye on our personal liberties in these times of hyper-patriotism.

There's too many stories of people out there being detained or denied access to planes in the name of security. With little more than a 'whoops sorry, thanks for being understanding and patriotic about it' response.

As for the reporters, we have the Bush administration telling us they've secured the airports and it's safe to fly. Someone has to highlight these flaws in the system, the government sure isn't.

Kill "I ain't flying with no un-x-rayed checked baggage under my seat" Eye

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dofwai
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Kill Eye, you have a good point.

We do need to be constantly aware of, and not complacent about, our rights being eroded. It's a delicate balance between your right to do whatever you want, and my right to safety, etc. I think that by and large we have done a pretty good job as a society of maintaining that balance. Vigilance is the price of maintaining it.

[edited to add after Kill Eye's edit: I'm not so sure that "someone has to highlight" problems. I agree that someone has to find problems, and help fix them, but I believe that these reporters did what they did to say "Look how clever we are, here's a way we got away with it". Is it a good idea to point out ways to beat the system to the public? Did these same reporters go to the TSA and say, "we were able to do these things; you should look at plugging these leaks", or did they do it for the sensationalism? I believe the latter.]

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Kill Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
[edited to add after Kill Eye's edit: I'm not so sure that "someone has to highlight" problems. I agree that someone has to find problems, and help fix them, but I believe that these reporters did what they did to say "Look how clever we are, here's a way we got away with it". Is it a good idea to point out ways to beat the system to the public? Did these same reporters go to the TSA and say, "we were able to do these things; you should look at plugging these leaks", or did they do it for the sensationalism? I believe the latter.]

Yes, I agree to an extent, but at the end of the day, the media's job is to sell papers. In a perfect world, the TSA should be doing these tests themselves (and I hope they are). It's not the media's job to be the TSA's testers. It's the media's job to bring important information to the public, and if the TSA is doing these tests, that information is not getting to the public. The media is saying "we still have these problems at the airports" and it is up to us, the citizens to decide what to do with that information. Hopefully pressure the government to fix the breeches, or not fly as the case may be.
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Ursa Major
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Sorry, but I'm a hell of a lot more outraged by lousy airport security than I am about reporters non-maliciously breaking the law to prove the point.

If there's any justice, action will be taken against the airport screeners before it is taken against the reporters.

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BeachLife
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quote:
Originally posted by Ursa Major:
Sorry, but I'm a hell of a lot more outraged by lousy airport security than I am about reporters non-maliciously breaking the law to prove the point.

If there's any justice, action will be taken against the airport screeners before it is taken against the reporters.

I am in total agreement.

What I've failed to get across in my posts is that I am not against airport security. I am against adding stupid security measures which take away personel liberties while doing nothing to make airports and planes safer.

The additions to security seem to be reactions to two incidents. First, the fact that on September 11th, the terrorists used items we would have overlooked as weapons. Second, the guy (sorry can't remember his name) who put explosives in his shoes.

Airport security has seemed to mix the two up in an attempt to stop both at the same time. Now any sharpish metal item is confiscated and the carrier of said item has his/her shoes checked for explosives. American's affected by this stupid logic: 1000s. Terrorists most likely stopped by this measure 0.

Let's look at each measure seperately. 1. "Since they used sharp thingies to take over a plane, we should stop sharp thingies from being on the plane". First, as I have said before, it wasn't the sharp thingies that allowed the plane to be hijacked so much as the fact that the passengers didn't know that hijackings meant anything more than a slight detour. Americans know better now. Nothing more is really required. The secuirty measure over-looks this fact and every other item that could be used as a weapon. Ever been stabbed by a pencil or pen? Ever when whacked in the head with a laptop? Give me good walking stick ove any guy with a box cutter any day of the week.

Measure 2. "Let's stop people with sharpies to check to see if they have explosives in their shoes". Anyone who would want to carry exposives would not use their shoes and not cary sharpies. Better solution, figure a way to check for explosive with air sniffing devices, en masse. Or someother explosive screening.

It's not that I am for lax security, just against adding stupid measures that would only stop stupid people and take away everyone's liberties.

Beach...smart solutions, is that asking much?...Life!

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dofwai
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The problem with any security measure is that you will never know how often it worked, you only hear about it when it doesn't. There is no way to tell how many potential problems were detered by the measures. There are cites (I couldn't find any when I looked a while ago) that show the collection of things confiscated at airport security stops recently. They include things you would be amazed to see: brass knuckles, bowie knives, switchblades, mace, etc. Do you really want those things on planes, regardless of the carrier's professed reasons for having them?

Unfortunately, you can't second-guess every determined adversary. All you can do is try to stop the things you KNOW you don't want (to the best of your ability), guess as well as you can about the things you don't know, and make changes when you find something doesn't work.

I think we have been doing that. Is is flawless? far from it. Is it all worthless, and we should scrap the whole program and start from scratch? No.

And I still don't think reporters (or anyone else) have the right to break the law themselves to prove they can.

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dofwai
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By the way, Here's a link which talks a little bit about how airport security works.
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Ursa Major
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
The problem with any security measure is that you will never know how often it worked, you only hear about it when it doesn't.

Really? I suspect a reporter caught trying to smuggle a knife aboard a plane would be a pretty good indicator.
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dofwai
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Here's one. I know it is about the border, but still sort of applies

I don't have time to find any more right now; I'll post later when I find some more.

Also, we have no way of knowing (because the reporters aren't going to tell us) how many times they simply gave up the prohibited items when they were found with them, and were allowed to board.

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