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It’s a good thing I’m not a terrorist
Airport security should be secure and reliable, but its inconsistent regulations are troublesome to this worried traveler.
Last Wednesday, I traveled from Bradley International Airport in Hartford to Kentucky. After arriving in Kentucky that afternoon, I opened my backpack, which I carried onto the plane, and found a full 16.9 ounce bottle of water tucked underneath some loose papers and a T-shirt. Without any word from security, I successfully managed my way past them with a full bottle in tow.
Since August 2006, the Transportation Security Administration has regulated that passengers can only carry on bottles containing 3.4 ounces or less of any liquids, aerosols or gels. After extensive explosive testing, the TSA determined these substances are safe in limited quantities. While there are some exceptions, including medications, baby formula, breast milk, and food, my bottle of water was definitely on the prohibited items list.
These regulations were specifically put in place in 2006 after an unsuccessful terrorist transatlantic plot where liquid explosives were to be carried on airliners traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada. From then on, any liquid substances greater than 3.4 ounces carried into the airport need to be discarded before going through the security checkpoint.
But, what is the point of enforcing these regulations if security isn’t going to thoroughly check the bags?
If it weren’t my bottle of water and me, this could have been any bomber with a bottle filled with liquid to detonate the plane. This example sounds a bit outrageous and presumptuous, but security needs to be vigilant with every person and each bag carried onto the plane.
Last Friday, authorities in the United Arab Emirates and Britain intercepted a plot to send bombs from Yemen to the United States, according to the National Civil Aviation Security Committee. John Brennan, assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said the explosives could detonate on their own and were intended for synagogues in Chicago, Ill.
Consistency among airport security is essential, especially after this potential threat.
While security may have strengthened over the last decade, airports need to pay more attention to the TSA’s own regulations or else changes reinforcing the policy may need to be made.