"Q: Is this security theater?" "A: 100 percent. It won't catch anybody."


Via Hot Air comes this Popular Mechanics interview with security expert Bruce Schneier, who coined the trenchant term "security theater" to characterize most of what the Transportation Security Administration has been up to since its creation. Security theater refers to policies and actions that might make people feel safer but have zero impact on our chances of getting blowed up real good.


Q: The machines have shown up in the wake of the so-called underwear bomber, who tried to blow up a plane with chemicals stored in his briefs. Would this technology have stopped him?

A: The guys who make the machines have said, "We wouldn't have caught that."…

Q: Has there been a case since 9/11 of an attempted hijacker being thwarted by airport security?

A: None that we've heard of. The TSA will say, "Oh, we're not allowed to talk about successes." That's actually bullsh*t. They talk about successes all the time. If they did catch someone, especially during the Bush years, you could be damned sure we'd know about it. And the fact that we didn't means that there weren't any. Because the threat was imaginary. It's not much of a threat. As excess deaths go, it's just way down in the noise. More than 40,000 people die each year in car crashes. It's 9/11 every month. The threat is really overblown….

Q: Does it surprise you that at last, after several escalations in the TSA's level of intrusiveness, the public seems to have finally rebelled?

A: Back in 2005, when this full-body scanner technology was first being proposed, I wrote that I thought this would be the straw that broke the camel's back, because it would unite conservatives and liberals. Nobody wants their daughter groped or shown naked….

Q: Have you had a pat-down?

A: Yes, actually, just a couple of days ago.

Q: Is this security theater?

A: 100 percent. It won't catch anybody.

Whole thing here.

Reason suggests 44 ways to say TSA:

For a full list of recent Reason.tv vids about the TSA's one-free-grope policy, go here.

Schneier in Reason here and here.