It’s reasonable to assume that air travel remains a high-priority target for Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. But it is utterly unreasonable to assume that what one witnessing reporter called “a full monty patdown” imposed on Henry Kissinger by Transportation Security Administration workers last week minimized that threat.
The former Secretary of State offered no complaints about that ordeal at New York’s Laguardia Airport last Friday despite being required to rise from his wheelchair and submit to a thorough search 16 days shy of his 89th birthday.
Yet the TSA’s time — and our tax money — clearly could have been better spent.
Unfortunately, that ludicrous scene was a familiar one. The agency has long earned widespread scorn for conducting intrusive searches of those, including very small children and very old folks, who seem least likely to pose a terrorist menace.
OK, so recent reports that al-Qaida has been striving to develop non-detectable explosive devices to smuggle onto commercial aircraft has prompted calls for even more invasive TSA methods.
So diabolical terrorists could conceivably deploy little kids and old folks as agents of mass murder.
So those TSA agents apparently didn’t recognize Mr. Kissinger.
But “the full monty patdown” on anyone approaching 89?
In a wheelchair? The random searches endured by many government luminaries past and present do show that big shots share the air-security inconveniences — and indignities — endured by the little people.
However, they also show a misplaced priority on egalitarian rather than air-safety goals.
And if the mission is to minimize the terror threat to air travel, the TSA must stop minimizing common sense.