On its blog, the TSA has defended its practice of randomly screening beverages purchased by passengers in secured areas of airports after passing through security check points. You know, just in case that barista turned your latte into a bomb or something.
Under what TSA's "Blogger Bob Burns" calls "Not a big deal really..." passengers might be pulled out of line at the gate during boarding so that TSA can screen beverages they acquired after passing the security checkpoint, in supposedly secured areas of the airport.
According to Bob, the practice is just another one of TSA's layered security measures designed to be "unpredictable" thus making it harder for terrorists to plan for in trying "to do malice to the transportation infrastructure."
"If everything we did was always the same, it would provide a checklist for people to know exactly what to expect," wrote Bob. "While this would be extremely helpful for passengers, it would also be useful to those wishing to do us harm."
In the screening process, which Bob says will take just "few moments of your time before boarding your flight," a TSA agent holds a non-toxic, chemically treated test strip over the beverage opened by the passenger. As Bob stresses, the test strip never actually touches the beverage. "If the test results are positive TSA will conduct additional testing to make a final assessment," says Bob.
Bob also assures that at-the-gate screening is random and "isn't happening at every airport every day."
But doesn't screening drinks purchased in secured areas of the airport seem a bit redundant? "On the surface, it does seem that way, and it's the first logical thought that many have," admits Bob. "However, any security expert will tell you that nothing is ever 100% secure. So, gate screening is kind of like our safety net to keep up with anybody who might be trying to get things past conventional screening."