This isn’t politically correct but here goes. I was in Pearson Airport last month preparatory to a business flight to Thunder Bay. It’s been 14 years since the attack on the World Trade Centre but airport security remains as intrusive and annoying as ever. In front of me was a well-dressed elderly (meaning older than me) Canadian woman. After she had stripped off her jacket, jewellery, watch, belt and shoes she walked through the metal detector and it beeped. What followed was an example of the meaningless extremes we have accepted in the interests of “national security.” The woman was asked to raise her arms and was scanned with a hand scanner several times. Then she was subjected to a humiliating and thorough pat down in front of everybody. Finally she was released. As I watched this 5-foot nothing little lady standing there in her stocking feet with her arms raised above her head, I wondered aloud whether this was really necessary; or more importantly was it of any value at all given a recent report from the US that said US agents testing the security system by trying to carry guns aboard were only caught 5 percent of the time.
On the return flight from Thunder Bay I witnessed another security atrocity. A man was attempting to bring back a package of Persians—a pastry known only to Thunder Bay—consisting of a cinnamon bun slathered in pink icing. He had the un-iced buns in a plastic bag along with a margarine-style tub containing the icing. He was told that the tub of icing constituted a liquid of more than 100 ml and therefore was not allowed in carry on. (Surely a taste test would have ruled out plastic explosives.) In any event he was advised that he could solve the problem by taking the buns to the airport cafeteria, grab a plastic knife from the cutlery dispenser and ice the buns himself, thus making them eligible for carry-on. He was later spotted doing exactly that.
As Time magazine reported, in an undercover test conducted by US Homeland Security Red Teams, whose members pose as passengers intent on beating the system, Transportation Security Administration screeners failed to detect weapons and explosives in 67 out of 70 trials. That’s a 95% fail rate.
In Israel which has the tightest airport security in the world and the best success rate, they don’t engage in this massive politically-correct disruption of the general public —they profile. If you look like a jihadist terrorist they pull you out of the line, pure and simple. Little old ladies are largely exempt.
A friend wryly remarked that security people, a good many of whom have themselves have only recently got off a plane into this country from somewhere, are now engaged in screening Canadians who are trying to get on planes. Bin Laden is dead but his legacy lives on.