Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Putting gunpowder in a clear plastic bag makes it safe to carry on a plane?

Rhona Mahony seems to have discovered that putting the constituents of gunpowder into a clear plastic bag was all it took for her to be allowed to carry that gunpowder through airport security onto a passenger plane.
"December 5, I brought five ounces (140 grams) of old-fashioned black gunpowder to San Francisco airport... Mind you, I had packed the stuff safely. It was in three separate jars: one of charcoal, one of sulphur, and one of saltpetre (potassium nitrate). Each jar was labeled: Charcoal, Sulphur, Saltpetre. I had also thoroughly wet down each powder with tap water. No ignition was possible. As a good citizen, I had packed the resulting pastes into a quart-sized “3-1-1″ plastic bag, along with my shampoo and hand cream. This bag I took out of my messenger bag and put on top of my bin of belongings, turned so that the labels were easy for the TSA inspector to read...

May I suggest that our new Secretary of Homeland Security reconsider the billions allocated in the 2009 budget to the Transportation Security Agency and its 48,000 employees? Many thoughtful travelers know that the rigamarole we go through on the way to our airline gates is a show to comfort the ignorant, to keep them buying airline tickets. Tell the truth, save our time, save our money. Let us resume our old carefree stroll to the gate. Spend some of the $3 billion on real police work to catch the bad guys. That would make us safer."
Priceless. Thanks to Bruce Schneier via the latest Crypto-Gram for the link.

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