Have the Terrorists Won?
On Wednesday, officials closed down all security checkpoints at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Aiport when a “suspicious device” was detected in a screening machine.
All departing flights were stopped, and arriving flights were delayed 90 minutes, affecting 120 flights during the day’s peak travel time, according to the Associated Press. However, after two hours, the gates were reopened shortly before 4 p.m. EST.
It may well make sense to kick in more aggressive procedures if you find an actual gun or bomb (although my understanding is that they find guns fairly regularly). But a ‘suspicious device?’
After writing the above, both Bruce Schneier and Ryan Singel have pointed out that it was a software failure. See “Software Failure Causes Airport Evacuation” and “Software Failure Shuts Down Nation’s Busiest Airport.”
So, a suspicious device shows up, but they can’t figure out why. Being risk-averse, the TSA closes the airport, causing huge economic and personal costs to thousands of travelers. Is that rational?