Security theater in the United States may get a little less theatrical with the introduction of a Trusted Traveler program in four metro area airports.
Ten years after 9/11, we’re still wasting billions of dollars on what I and many others call security theater. The reality is we need smart security similar to what Israel and England have.
Israel does a Trusted Traveler program where, after you submit to extreme probing into your background, you’re identified as a non-threat and then you go through an expedited security screening each time you’re at the airport.
The Brits, meanwhile, use intelligence in a different capacity. For example, they’ll interview you repeatedly as you go through the security process in an effort to ferret out threats. Just checking your possessions is not enough.
The TSA’s new form of Trusted Traveler will be rolled out in Atlanta and Detroit (for Delta Air Lines frequent-flier members) and Dallas and Miami (for American Airlines frequent fliers). You have to be invited to join the program; it’s not something you can apply for. But if it works, it will be part of a larger national initiative. (Editor’s note: The exact airports in some cities are still to be determined.)
We’re way late in the game to get this kind of focus. Threats still exist even though al Qaeda is weakened. So if you see something suspicious when you’re traveling, be the extended eyes and ears of security. But security in our airports has to be something we respect, not something we simply tolerate like it is now.