Good TSA news: fewer SSSS victims. Bad TSA news: more gate searches

The TSA giveth, and the TSA taketh away. Never has that been more clear than with the way the agency deals with pulling people aside for a secondary search.

For years, some random and usually incorrect computer algorithm would pick victims for its “secondary security screening selectee” program. The dreaded “SSSS” on your boarding pass would mean someone at the checkpoint would yell out for a secondary search, and would pull you aside for a thorough screening.

Thing is, the whole scheme was broken, and scores of people would end up on a secret list of terror suspects, without any obvious way of being removed. Back in February, the new administration voted to fix the system, which should mean fewer people would be harassed at the checkpoint.

Of course, the whole thing also meant more of the agencies workers joined the “Thousands Standing Around”. So, in order to protect our airlines from potential terrorists, the agency is stepping up its gate screening activities.

Obviously not content with screening passengers once, you now run the risk of a random search at the gate, before you board your flight. A similar system was in place right after 9/11, but ended after a couple of years.

The new scheme does not make much sense, especially for passengers who walk from the checkpoint to the gate, only to be screened again. In their usual “scare people” response, the TSA reply is that this gate screening takes place because “security is our No. 1 priority”.

Some aviation consultants theorize that the increased screening is taking place because airline workers are not always screened, and may be able to pass weapons on to passengers. Of course, the logical solution would be to step up the screening efforts of airline workers, instead of harassing passengers. Especially when baggage handlers can steal computers and guns, and even TSA screeners are not always to be trusted, it would make more sense to screen everyone, and not just passengers.