Has The TSA Ever Foiled A Terrorist Plot?

5506396804_dee871f844_nVia the Economist, Bruce Schneier points out what should be obvious:

In the entire decade or so of airport security since the attacks on September 11th 2001, the TSA has not foiled a single terrorist plot or caught a single terrorist. Its own “Top 10 Good Catches of 2011” does not have a single terrorist on the list. The “good catches” are forbidden items carried by mostly forgetful, and entirely innocent, people—the sorts of guns and knives that would have been just as easily caught by pre-9/11 screening procedures. Not that the TSA is expert at that; it regularly misses guns and bombs in tests and real life. Even its top “good catch”—a passenger with C4 explosives—was caught on his return flight; TSA agents missed it the first time through.

In previous years, the TSA has congratulated itself for confiscating home-made electronics, alerting the police to people with outstanding misdemeanour warrants and arresting people for wearing fake military uniforms. These are hardly the sorts of things we spend $8 billion annually for the TSA to keep us safe from.

Don’t be fooled by claims that the plots it foils are secret. Stopping a terrorist attack is a political triumph. Witness the litany of half-baked and farcical plots that were paraded in front of the public to justify the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism measures. If the TSA ever caught anything even remotely resembling a terrorist, it would be holding press conferences and petitioning Congress for a bigger budget.

  • Bgd

    Don’t know about terrorists, but they took my toothbrush in Boston, citing the cause that it was “A potential stabbing weapon” seriously?

  • JohnFrancisBittrich

    Catching criminals isn’t the point. Organizations like TSA exist to degrade the populace to the point where they feel they no longer deserve to be treated with dignity or self-respect.The long-term goal is to turn us all into malleable chattel willing to be marched directly to our own slaughter. Or maybe I’m paranoid.

  • Calypso_1

    That lump in Granny’s depends was pretty scary.

  • Phantom

    The Passengers themselves are responsible for foiled terrorist attacks after 9-11.  Even AirMarshals can’t take the credit for that.  Terrorists will still manage to destroy the jetliners somehow, but I doubt that the passengers will ever allow terrorists to take control of an jet ever again.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    It is interesting to note that the TSA recently objected to allowing Bruce Schneier to testify at a congressional hearing on the concerns about these naked body scanners.


    Previous to that, they objected to a representative from EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) testifying before congress as well.

    They’re definitely afraid of these issues getting a fair and complete hearing before the public.

    Wonder why that is?

  • Liam_McGonagle

    The TSA couldn’t catch clap from a Tijuana hooker.

  • DeepCough

    Honestly, why would a terrorist waste time going through a checkpoint where he’s likely to get caught? Wouldn’t a terrorist be more likely to run onto the tarmac with an RPG and aim it at a plane full of passengers?

    • Monkey See Monkey Do

      Hopefully I’ll be able to do that in GTA 5.

      • DeepCough

        And no doubt, you’ll be charged for virtually being a terrorist.

  • Person

    Allow passengers that have passed a safety class and training to carry firearms on flights.

    Abolish the TSA.     Just like taking away guns and adding more cops has not reduced the amount of crimes.  All it did was reduce your means of protecting yourself from violent crime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=802504790 Colleen Troxel

    They got my lotion.