Do You Really Believe You Are Safe at the Airport?

"When you put someone in a uniform with a shield, there is an expectation by the public that that person can protect them and function as a police officer," adds Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. "Not someone you simply dress up in nice pants, a nice shirt and a shiny badge and say let's play cop."

Isaac Yeffet, a former head of security for the Israeli airline El Al who now runs his own firm, Yeffet Security Consultants, said that "all of our aviation security is a joke, an illusion."

Yeffet has not seen the movie, but he said the TSA relies too much on technology and has a hiring approach of "we need bodies, not qualified people."

"Technology is good to help a qualified, well- trained human being. Technology can never replace a qualified, well trained human being," he said.

Air Marshals Face Challenges

Those who did have law enforcement duties, such as the federal air marshals placed on planes after 9/11, also ran in the problems.

Black said that his job as an air marshal was compromised by a rigid dress code that forced him to wear a suit and tie, even on flights to tourist destinations like Las Vegas or Hawaii.

"We boarded the plane before the passengers. When we got on board the plane and they saw us, they knew we were federal air marshals. They would shake our hand, pat us on the back and thank us for being on the plane," Black said. "If the passengers know who the air marshals are, so do the terrorists."

The message: You kill the guys with the suits first.

"We went to our supervisors and said this was making our job very difficult," Black said. "And of course their reply was: we need you to have a professional image on that plane."

'We Still Don't Have a System That Is Rational'

The only contemporary security issue addressed by the movie comes in a late reference to the failed attempt to blow up a jet flying from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

"It's the same old story. Failure to share information. Failure to turn raw data into actionable intelligence," said Brian Sullivan, a former FAA security special agent who retired before 9/11 and narrates the documentary. "Failures followed by senseless, knee-jerk reactions focused on the wrong people."

"Al Qaeda succeeded on 9/11 because people at the top levels of government valued their promotions and pensions more than the public trust, a situation by no means unique to the TSA," Sullivan adds. "The sad reality is despite huge expenditures and dangerously-expanded authority, we still don't have a system that is rational, effective and proportionate to the threat. We continue to sacrifice our resources and freedoms for nothing more than an elaborate fa├žade of security."

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