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Lighter ban lifted from flights

It sounds like the authorities finally figured out what we have known all along: that confiscating lighters on flights is nothing more than "security theater," as TSA chief Kip Hawley now admits in an article in today's New York Times (here's a link to the MSNBC takeoff on that article, for those who don't subscribe to the Times).

    By lifting the ban, Mr. Hawley said, security officers could spend more time looking for bombs or bomb parts. “The No. 1 threat for us is someone trying to bring bomb components through the security check point,” he said. “We don’t want anything that distracts concentration from searching for that.”

The goo rules are still in effect, though, and it sounds like we still have to take off our shoes. So security theater still rules, unfortunately. It was heartening to read that

    In the coming months, the agency will install new equipment intended to improve its ability to intercept explosives. The new equipment will include advanced X-ray machines that rapidly examine carry-on bags from many angles, making it easier to identify bomb components, and hand-held devices that can determine whether a liquid might be explosive.

Now that might actually make us a little safer.

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