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Nov 10

How they do airport security in Tel Aviv

US airport security has not been having a lot good press lately. People these days now have a choice between a TSA backscatter machine (which experts worry may be carcinogenic and which reveal more about people’s bodies than they like) and a pat down by a TSA officer (which has been described as legalized sexual assault). Israel has been grappling with terrorism for a very long time, and this article explains how incredibly efficient getting through security at Ben Gurion is:

At the check-in desk, your luggage is scanned immediately in a purpose-built area. Sela plays devil’s advocate — what if you have escaped the attention of the first four layers of security, and now try to pass a bag with a bomb in it?

“I once put this question to Jacques Duchesneau (the former head of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): say there is a bag with play-doh in it and two pens stuck in the play-doh. That is ‘Bombs 101’ to a screener. I asked Ducheneau, ‘What would you do?’ And he said, ‘Evacuate the terminal.’ And I said, ‘Oh. My. God.’

“Take Pearson. Do you know how many people are in the terminal at all times? Many thousands. Let’s say I’m (doing an evacuation) without panic — which will never happen. But let’s say this is the case. How long will it take? Nobody thought about it. I said, ‘Two days.'”

A screener at Ben-Gurion has a pair of better options.

So, can the TSA learn?

  10:17pm  •  Travel  •   •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment