In fact, it was approximately zero percent, based on a recent test conducted at Newark Airport by the TSA's "Red Team":
The secret inspector, a member of the TSA's special operations team, had a mock improvised explosive device in his pants when he passed through a magnetometer in Terminal B with no disruption and even survived a pat-down undetected, the report said.
Yesterday, the TSA took to its blog to "clarify" what happened (or didn't happen, rather) at Newark. Turns out all the criticism is unfounded!
The goal of the Red Team is to build tests that push the boundaries of our people, processes, and technology. We know that the adversary innovates and we have to push ourselves to capacity in order to remain one step ahead. With that said, our testers often make these covert tests as difficult as possible. It’s not like they’re using a cartoonish bundle of dynamite with an alarm clock strapped to it. These items are extremely hard to spot.
Okay, I guess that's fair. It's not like they're using….
Only one member of the four-man "Red Team" that purported to bring explosives onto planes on Feb. 25 was caught, according to the report. That actor was detected with an IED hidden inside a doll, though sources told the Post that it had wires sticking out of it and was quite obvious.
So, a success rate of 25 percent, or if you exclude the one that had obvious wires sticking out of it, which seems reasonable, approximately zero percent.
Well, remember, this is a work in progress, people. They've only been at this for twelve years. And it's not like things aren't improving. Back in 2006, investigators from another agency tested security at 21 airports, also by trying to smuggle bombs and bomb parts through checkpoints. The TSA didn't find any of those, either, but you have to admit that 0-3 is much better than 0-21. Like, seven times better.
It could be argued that this post, which makes fun of the TSA for not finding something, is inconsistent with the last one, which made fun of it for finding something. I don't think that's true. It might even seem slightly unfair, as if the TSA can't win no matter what it does. That last part I do agree with. Whether the TSA "succeeds" in these checkpoint tests or not makes absolutely no difference. There are any number of schemes that terrorists could come up with that would not take them anywhere near a TSA checkpoint, and so the billions of dollars and trillions of minutes the TSA has cost us are all pretty much wasted, in my view.
Although I guess the guys in a cave somewhere who were putting the finishing touches on a cartoonish bundle of dynamite with an alarm clock strapped to it are now screwed. They're onto that one, fellas. Back to the drawing board.