SNL: Training The Crack TSA Team In The Fight Against Liquids

A decently humorous (a smile creaked on our craggy face) SNL skit underlining the absurdity of the TSA's anti-liquid rules.

Considering the cost of implementing the asinine program, and the unlikeliness of it being used in an attack, isn't there anyway to roll it back? One guy sticks firecrackers in his shoes, now we all over to remove our sneakers. One rumor says you might be able to concoct a chemistry set in the bathroom and blow up the plane, so now there's no liquids. The security risk isn't any particular iteration, it's ingenuity. Is there some way to apply "heuristic learning principles," as seen in more advanced virus software, to airport security? — BEN POPKEN

(Thanks to Jay!)

Brandon writes:

    "Heuristic learning abilities presume intelligence. So the only way to apply heuristic learning abilities to airport security is to hire intelligent screeners. And having worked at the Department of Homeland Security, I assure you that these people lack basic common sense."

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  1. B says:

    That’s the funniest SNL skit I’ve seen in a long time.

  2. Falconfire says:

    Of course there is a way to roll it back. But much like they still haven’t rolled back the whole shoes things almost 2 years after saying they where going to, this wont be too.

    Why?

    Cause its a false sense of security. It makes people FEEL like the government is protecting them, even when all evidence and logic points out to the fact that its bullshit.

    And thats all the government need to control most of our population, and make them complacent. Just look at how many times they said a attack was imminent on our soil, only to then say a year or two down the road that they prevented it with absolutely no evidence to validate either claim because it is “protected”

    Hell look at this weeks stopped plot to shoot up Fort Dix. Did the government know anything about these wackos? Where they a terrorist cell they had been tracking since 9/11.

    Nope

    Some lucky bastard at a Circuit City was given a tape to duplicate, saw what was on it, and sent a 2nd copy to the FBI. The terrorists fucked up and because of a Joe schmo making 8 dollars a hour, we managed to stop a terrorist plot while we pour billions of dollars into making it so we dont need to be relying on Joe Schmo in the first place.

    Yeah call me a liberal wacko all you want, but the fact is I really couldnt care who was in charge as long as they made legitimized justifiable choices that had a small bit of logic involved, something this government is completely and totally incapable of since day 1.

  3. lpranal says:

    Falconfire- the most important things happening right now in terms of security are probably all happening without us knowing, for better or for worse.

    It’s just as plausible that we want the enemy to think all we’re doing is making people take their shoes off and not let them take liquids on a plane. (or letting bush back in office “ooh idiot president is back! now’s our chance!)

    I’d really like to think that the “billions of dollars” are being spent on at least some worthwhile things.

    I think you need to clarify “since day 1″. We were actually a pretty lean, mean, liberty defending machine in our early days…

  4. missdona says:

    Bastards at Honolulu TSA stole my contact solution. According to the TSA rules, you can have contact solution over 3oz. *separate from* the Ziploc bag. The idiots at HHL are like 3oz. zombies. They got so excited, “it’s over 3oz. not allowed!” I asked to see a copy of the rules and they’re like “it’s on the website.” Well, duh.

    I brought the page up on my Treo and the supervisor refused to speak with me.

    TSA at HHL sucks.

  5. Security rules at aiports are laughable. Keychain knives, shaped into decorative shapes (a friend owns one shaped like a clover, and another like a decorative leaf) usually get past security. Those nail scissors are innocent, those big metal spikes women sometimes use in their hair are not. And yet, guess which one gets confiscated?

    But in the end, liquids aren’t the problem, EVERYTHING is the problem. Enough ingenuity and ANYONE will be able to create a weapon using on-board objects. As if they need a weapon – enough hand-to-hand combat will take over a plane just as easily. “Ninjas hijack plane, demand their own secret ninja island!”

    Unless airlines have plans to strap everyone down naked and in a straitjacket, with no baggage, I doubt that airline security will ever be good enough to stop anyone.

  6. Falconfire says:

    @lpranal: I like to believe it too, but then I remember this is the same government who started preaching trash bags and duct tape, and who let the fuckup that is Katrina happen thanks to having the agency meant to oversee disaster recovery ran by a guy who’s claim to fame was getting forced out of the International Arabian Horse Association due to numberous lawsuits.

    I have also been to a FEMA warehouse in Edison back when 9/11 happened and watched them send BACK donated items because of numerous stupid reasons (the general feeling being they dont need it and likely never will, cant tell you how sick that made me feel just 4 years later when I think back at that statement)Not talking food items here either, but tents and gas powered generators and heavy construction equipment.

    You right though, I misspoke on my day 1 statement, what I should have said was day 1 of this administration.

  7. kcs says:

    I stopped removing liquids from my carry-on a few months ago. The plastic bag policy is a complete joke and I just didn’t want to do it any more. So far, the x-ray people have yet to take notice. I make sure I carry small size liquids though so if I do get extra screening, my stuff won’t be confiscated.

  8. joeblevins says:

    What if was able to produce more than 3oz on the plane?

    - of liquid?

    Or gel…

  9. Ben says:

    I just get so irritated when I see the trash can full of “dangerous substances” sitting next to the security areas. They know it’s not dangerous. If it were even potentially dangerous, they wouldn’t just toss the bottles in a trash bag next to them.

    The security rules are just for looks. They make people feel like something is happening, which makes them all the more annoying for me. Just let me get on the plane and trust that the much quieter investigative arms of the intelligence agencies are keeping me safe, versus a bunch of minimum wage high school drop outs.

  10. seawall says:

    I liked the time I was in Philly for a virtually empty 11 PM flight to Boston. My

    It’s so reassuring to go through these top notch security steps – first the person who does not appear to know much of anything or how to talk who looks at my home-printed boarding pass (how difficult could that be to forge???) and driver’s license (again, does this minimum wage contract, non-TSA worker get trained on the nuances of every state DL, country passport, etc?) only to be followed up by some TSA agent look at the markings of my hotel shampoos and tell me that the obviously less than 3 oz container is greater than 3 oz.

    I feel safe.

    …and thank you US government for forcing me to buy MORE packaging and products just for when I travel. I love having extra mini toothpastes and shaving creams. P&G, Walmart and the others must love the extra sales

  11. amyjay says:

    I love the story I read about a guy who had to fork over his keys because the key to his car was the switchblade-style key, because it was close enough in appearance to a real switchblade. He had an Audi and those keys are flat and dull, the grooves are cut into the key. It’d take a lot of effort to do damage with that, more so than a normal key.

  12. Canadian Impostor says:

    @amyjay: Ugh, I have a VW which uses the same key. I hate flying, not because I’m worried about terrorists or being on a plane, I hate being hassled by belligerent high school dropouts.

  13. Falconfire says:

    @Jason and amyjay:

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/tools/6d98/

    Never once was hassled about it on a trip from Newark to Cali and back, and that is 100x more dangerous than a car key, yet looks like one.

    That shows you the brains they have “protecting” us.

  14. EtherealStrife says:

    My mom used to have a 1.75in victorinox on her keychain. She finally removed it last year (put it on in 1999) after I kind of freaked out that she still had it. The thing had the cross on the side, standard red plastic shell, etc. She’s a city employee (work is attached to pd), and a frequent flyer. With the 3 oz bs she’s been dropping a coke bottle between her breasts, and has never been caught.

    I remember when I accidentally brought my nail kit with me through the screeners. Rather than having me package up the scissors, 3.5 inch long metal nail file, nail clippers, etc, they just had me remove the scissors. I even showed them the nail file and said uhhh isn’t this banned too? Guy said no, but eventually got his supervisor after I continued to express doubt (I didn’t want to have to toss it if they found it on me in terminal).
    Supervisor: nope that’s fine.

    Safer than ever. Yup yup.

  15. Flynn says:

    @lpranal: “I’d really like to think that the “billions of dollars” are being spent on at least some worthwhile things.”

    Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a
    charm.
    Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.
    Homer: Thank you, dear.
    Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
    Homer: Oh, how does it work?
    Lisa: It doesn’t work.
    Homer: Uh-huh.
    Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock.
    Homer: Uh-huh.
    Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?
    [Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
    Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
    [Lisa refuses at first, then takes the exchange]

  16. usmeekly says:

    @EtherealStrife: hopefully your mom never gets caught–with the TSA’s logic, next thing you know, they’ll be requiring mandatory breast screenings.

  17. yanajenn says:

    Hah! I just blogged about the last time I flew before reading the above comments:

    “…Or have my boobs patted down (which would be containing more than 3 oz of liquid if you were lactating), which is what happened the last time…”

  18. mac-phisto says:

    every time i think of airport screening, i’m reminded of my trip back to the states from mexico two years ago. suitcases were searched using the “open zipper, remove top layer of clothing to expose suitcase-size contraband” method followed by the x-ray screener who had his back to the machine while the bags passed thru.

    i don’t know who would be sober enough to hijack a plane there though. do you know they pump tequila thru soda guns down there? it’s like heaven!

  19. mathew says:

    You might laugh at the boob thing, but there was a case where TSA screeners forced a woman to taste her own breast milk to prove that it wasn’t explosive.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-08-08-breast-milk

    I’m just waiting for someone to work out how to down an aircraft using a Bible…

  20. yanajenn says:

    @mathew: I remember that! There was also a case where they made a kid drink from a jar of pond water that he had collected for science class.

  21. SmoovyG says:

    @mathew: Yeah, this happened to my wife last year on several occassions. Very uncomfortable and somewhat demeaning procedure, at the least.

  22. IC18 says:

    Before you know it them a**-wipes will require us to taste our own urine and prove that its not explosive.

  23. celyn says:

    The one that gets me is the restriction on bottles of expressed breastmilk if the child isn’t traveling with the mother. Look, morons, if my kid were with me, I wouldn’t need to pump, would I?

  24. MoogleLally says:

    “Considering the cost of implementing the asinine program”

    Now, I’m not debating the program or anything, but… the cost of this program was like… insignificant, really. No big machines to test liquids, nothing else needed… except maybe a few signs printed with the new guidelines.

  25. brianary says:

    I won’t believe in the possibility of smuggling liquid explosives onto airplanes until I see it on Mythbusters.

  26. seawall says:

    There’s a great security measure at Logan. When you drive into the Terminal B parking garage, they shine a flashlight in your trunk and then wave you through. I guess the multiple unopened suitcases in there aren’t a threat.

  27. zolielo says:

    The Federal Air Marshal Service is part of the Transportation Security Administration which in turn is part of Homeland Security. Does that count?

    The thousands of air marshals are the real deal. Fit, undercover, marksmen… That could make a significant difference.

  28. mac-phisto says:

    @celyn: oh, i wouldn’t be too sure about that. remember last year when a woman was kicked off a plane for breastfeeding her baby?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15720339/

  29. poornotignorant says:

    Right now I’m in an email battle with the Philadelphia baseball club because their policy will not allow anyone to bring in a squeeze bottle of water unless it is sealed. For the last 7 years I had no problem, including 3 times this year. Not the last time though. Pretty inconsistant. Unless they are going to bodysearch everyone I don’t see how a terrorist would not be able to bring in what he needs to cause terror. The only ones inconveinenced are those of us who can’t afford to spend $12(3 $4 bottles)for water which I’ll bet isn’t even cold. It’s convenient that they profit greatly if everyone is forced to buy their icewater.

  30. 160medic says:

    They should outlaw 9volt batteries and digital alarm clocks too.People could hollow out the 9volt and fill it with explosive and just put the battery in the alarm clock.I have travelled several times with an alarm clock and have never been questioned or searched.Or maybe just have an all nude airline or a separate airplane for luggage.