Tales of the TSA: Adam Savage’s 12” Razor Blades

Via ars technica:  Adam Savage: TSA saw my junk, missed 12" razor blades.


But, of course, the new procedures are essential for our safety, dontcha know.

FILED UNDER: National Security, Terrorism, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    As I’ve pointed out before the purpose of the TSA inspections is not air passengers’ personal security; it is politicians’ job security.  If (heaven forbid) there were to be some terrible incident on a plane, politicians want to be in the position in which they can say “How could we have anticipated this?  We are taking every possible precaution!”
    To that end the TSA’s activities must be inconvenient, obtrusive, and highly visible.  They wouldn’t serve the major objective otherwise.

  2. @Dave:  I totally agree with you.

  3. john personna says:

    That’s going too far Dave.  The purpose of TSA inspections is a perception of safety.  Luckily, that perception is not disjoint from actual protections.  Thus it is possible that TSA actions can be effective for safety without being efficient for safety.
    My uncle, cousin, and I few 1 way from LA to SF a couple years ago.  It was so we could sail back.  We said “we’re sailing back.”  They said “one-way ticket, we need to do the explosives swab on your luggage.”
    That was stupid (it really boggles my mind that anyone thinks terrorists still fly one-way), but it did make sure that we didn’t have explosives (of the type registered on the swabs).
    What Adam discovered was that knives that don’t look like knives on an x-ray can still get through.  Sometimes.  Not surprising.  There isn’t a scanner that can look for “sharpness.”