Getting Serious about Airline Security

The Reason Foundation’s Robert Poole argues that if we are serious about airline security, we need to alter our focus.  He argues we spend too much time and effort “keeping bad things—as opposed to bad people—off of airplanes.”  A risk-based approach would invert these priorities and concentrate efforts on identifying higher risk passengers for greater screening.  He writes:

As a libertarian, I agree that we should be very leery of forbidding people to fly without good reason. But requiring potentially high-risk travelers to undergo secondary screening (especially since we do some of this randomly, in any case) is hardly the end of the world.

In fact, shifting to a risk-based approach to aviation security would likely mean increased security and lower costs, both for the TSA and especially lower wasted-time costs for most travelers.

Perhaps the TSA’s announcement that international travelers from selected countries will receive heightened screening indicates we are beginning to move in this direction.  I hope so.