TSA Misses 90% of Bombs At Denver Airport

Whoops. If what the TSA’s Red Team (the group that tests airport security with simulated bombs) found at a recent test of Denver Airport is representative of the whole, it may be tougher to sneak a tube of toothpaste onto an airplane than it is to smuggle a bomb. From 9News, Denver:

Sources told 9NEWS the Red Team was able to sneak about 90 percent of simulated weapons past checkpoint screeners in Denver. In the baggage area, screeners caught one explosive device that was packed in a suitcase. However later, screeners in the baggage area missed a book bomb, according to sources.

“There’s very little substance to security,” said former Red Team leader Bogdan Dzakovic. “It literally is all window dressing that we’re doing. It’s big theater on TV and when you go to the airport. It’s just security theater.”

Comforting. One Red Team member was able to smuggle an explosive strapped to her leg by telling the TSA agent that it was a bandage from surgery. Alarms sounded, but she was allowed to pass without further inspection. —MEGHANN MARCO

Undercover agents slip bombs past DIA screeners [9News via BoingBoing]
(Photo: agahran)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Airport security is nothing but a charade meant to comfort the unwashed masses? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

  2. mopar_man says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!:

    Heh. No kidding. This is why I prefer to drive. That’s not always feasible but I try to do it whenever I can.

  3. Pelagius says:

    I’m gonna start taping my water bottle to my leg – that seems the be the place to put it.

    Now – where should I stick my toothpaste?

  4. lawnmowerdeth says:

    But they’re still really good at taking my water and lighers!

  5. getjustin says:

    Everytime I walk through security I think about how much of a farce it is and how if anyone REALLY wanted to bring something on your flight, there’s nothing any schmuck with a little clip-on tie and a badge could do about it.

  6. joopiter says:

    Shortly after 9/11, my eldest brother was waived through security despite setting off the metal detectors. All he said was that he had hardware in his back from massive back surgery and flashed a card that nobody actually looked at. No follow-up search or interview. Just a smile and have a nice day. It wigged him out enough that he called the FBI after his flight to let them know what passed for “security.”

    So, yeah, if airport security was that on top of things then, I can only imagine where they are now.

  7. gorckat says:

    My wife just flew back to Maryland from Seattle last week. They too the jar of local honey she bought, but let her keep the jam, garlic oil and balsamic vinagrette.

  8. Tallanvor says:

    @Pelagius: I’d love to tell you, but the location has been classified by homeland security.

  9. Youthier says:

    Interesting about the bandage. When my coworker departed from Midway last month, she had a brace on her arm and was subjected to a full out search. On the return flight, she had it off before getting to security. I suppose every once in awhile you hit a person who does there job.

    And you should have seen the woman who attempted to get a huge bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and hairspray through the Dallas-Ft Worth checkpoint. Threw a fit and actually threw her luggage across the room. Since I was in a different line, I can say it was hilarious.

  10. letoofdune says:

    Yeah, but with all of this amazing security, at least the average flyer still gets the joy of watching a security officer wand someone’s fun spots and have it go off.

    That never ceases to be enjoyable.

  11. Youthier says:

    @missbrooke06: Their job. I know grammar. Really.

  12. Matthew says:

    Yeah, no surprise about this story, but it is depressing. For this I have to give up my water bottle and walk shoeless through the filthy security checkpoint?

    @missbrooke06: “his or her job,” if you really want to stickle!

  13. Magicube says:

    Crazy – they don’t inspect her bandage, but they’ll unravel a suture in a guy’s anus in case he has something up there!

  14. zolielo says:

    Their pay is too low, too much time share, too much turn over, too many promotions by attrition, too low of standards, too few in numbers, etc.

    The Red team is prob their best, has insider knowledge, experienced, etc.

    Could there have been any other outcome?

    I truly hope that the TSA develops better command and control at all level and in all tasks…

  15. RichAndFoolish says:

    Why do they even bother testing security?

    The TSA is about POWER and CONTROL, not security. Line up, obey, and moo. It’s good to practice proper obedience.

    At this point, more man-lives have been lost to big brother than to the 9/11 terrorists. We must fight the enemies of freedom at home as much as abroad.

  16. IC18 says:

    I worked as an airport X-ray screen checker as a summer gig during college back in the mid-90’s. I remember during training we were trained to identify all objects in a suite case within the 3 seconds it passes through the machine. Me and the rest of the crew used to propably see 60% of the contents of any bag before its out the other end. I can content plenty of things used to slip by, however just like any low-wage paying job it takes a lot to get the workers to go above and beyond. If they are still paying 6.5/hr like they did back then, then youre damn sure youre going to get shoty work.

  17. Livemike2 says:

    Anyone doing this job will do shitty work it’s the nature of the work. Consider the rewards for being actually attentive to your work on airport security, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 40 weeks a year. You will catch precisely NOBODY trying to bring weapons onto a plane. The ratio of hijackers to legitimate passengers is just too low. Human beings need the possibility of success to commit to doing a good job. That isn’t present here. So why is anyone bothering, especially considering that 9/11 is unrepeatable?

  18. unpolloloco says:

    So…..what exactly is the point of airport security??? I’d prefer to run the risk that I’d be on a plane with that 10% of bombs that the TSA actually can catch than wait hours in line.