June 25, 2002
Airport security

Airport security I was fairly impressed with the security at SeaTac Airport. They frequently repeated the instruction to relieve yourself of anything electionic or metallic when passing through the metal detector, which was apparently set to a pretty sensitive setting, and they were quick to call for a manual scan for anyone who couldn't avoid setting it off. I also saw several people, including Tiffany, have to remove their shoes so they could be sent through the X-ray machine.

There's been a fair amount written about the use of racial and ethnic profiling by airport security, and it's more nuanced than I had thought it would be when I went Googling for blog entries. What I saw at SeaTac was what you'd want to see - security personnel following strict procedures, and taking extra measures when they were called for. It felt like a charitable reading of Norman Mineta's infamous comment about 70-year-old grandmothers, since the security folks were only concerned with who was setting off the metal detectors. I'm not denying the potential value in taking a longer and harder look at passengers of Middle Eastern heritage - to paraphrase Willie Sutton, that's where the terrorists are. still, I couldn't help but think that such screening wouldn't have weeded out Richard Reid or Jose Padilla. No single method will be the best solution.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 25, 2002 to National news