Get this: Homeland Security head John Kelly is considering banning laptops from the passenger cabin during flights to and from the US.

Why?  Because some of them might be bombs.

Oh, that’s right: Let’s take those potential bombs and stack them all together in the cargo hold.  Everyone knows that putting a laptop bomb in a cargo hold will neutralize it. (Sarcasm alert).

Seriously, this is as silly as making us put our potentially explosive water bottles in a bin right next to all those queued up people in the security line.  It is not just security theater; it is particularly stupid security theater.

In addition, the FAA and European authorities call it a danger to the safety to aircraft.  Stacking all those lithium-ion batteries in the hold, where they can’t be dealt with if one catches on fire, is just asking for trouble.  There were several recorded instances of batteries catching fire on commercial and cargo aircraft in 2016; how many more of these incidents do we want.

Considering all that, one has to ask: Doesn’t Kelly understand that this is a stupid idea?  Plain common sense would suggest that he does; no one in his right mind would suggest keeping a danger on the aircraft, just in a different space.  What, then, is happening here?

A suspicious mind might suggest that this has some other purpose.  About the only one I can think of that makes any sense at all: Giving intelligence agencies access to the computer of a ‘person of interest’ who happens to be flying.

Even that doesn’t make all that much sense; the US is now famous for searching peoples’ electronics at the border.  Bad actors traveling to the US almost certainly store their info in the cloud and only retrieve once they are past border control.  Hell, business people are doing that.

We appear to be stuck with one of two equally head-shaking options, then: Security theater that sacrifices safety or an intelligence ploy that sacrifices common sense.


I wonder which it will turn out to be?

– Cincinnatus

Add a comment...