In news likely to soothe frazzled travelers, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano tells Politico that airline passengers might soon be able to go through airport security screening without removing their shoes. Passengers have had to remove their footwear for scanning ever since Richard Reid's failed shoe-bombing attempt three months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But there hasn't been a similar attempt since. Is it safe to take this step back toward the pre-9/11 normal?
It is too soon to let down our guard: "We're safer, but not safe enough," says Nancy Benac for the Associated Press. It's understandable that people are frustrated at having to shed their belts and shoes, surrender their drinks, and unpack their laptops. In 10 years, we've gone from "Let's roll" to "Don't touch my junk." But remember, terrorists are clever, and it's hard for analysts to tease out enough information to prevent attacks. Airport diligence remains an important line of defense.
"Promises leave U.S. safer but not safe enough"
It is probably safer to keep our shoes on, but...: Apparently, there's some new technology that will let TSA screeners "peer through the mysteries of potential shoe bombers" without forcing everyone to trudge through security in their socks, says Jazz Shaw at Hot Air. Most Americans will probably welcome the change. But you have to wonder whether the screeners are really getting better or Homeland Security is just trying to stem "a sustained tide of outrage" from frequent-flier voters.
"Coming soon: Keeping your shoes on at TSA screening"
This was never necessary in the first place: Shoeless screening was always an "inane and invasive" procedure that accomplished nothing, says Rob Port at Say Anything. And it's cold comfort to keep our shoes on if we're still going to be subjected to "crotch-groping and nudie scans" for the foreseeable future. Given the other indignities we must endure, being forced to walk through security in stocking feet "seems like a trivial matter."
"TSA will soon let you keep your shoes on, but they still might touch your privates"