Gary Tuchman | BIO
I was pulled over in the airport security line and given a secondary security search the other night. I knew the routine. Way too well.
You see, I am a regular when it comes to being a suspicious character in our nation's airports. I have been pulled out of line, and patted and searched dozens of times; probably scores of times.
And why is that? My name is not on a watch list. My offense that makes me a risk to the TSA: I travel with a lot of one-way tickets. Because of the nature of covering the news and not knowing how long I'll be at a story, I don't usually buy a roundtrip ticket.
Now, don't get me wrong; I am all for robust security. We certainly need it to be safe. And I'm not trying to say that I as a journalist, I should not have to deal with such a search. I'm willing to submit to my share of random searches.
What I think is wrong and actually not helping us stay safe is that this isn't random.
I know that if I buy a one-way ticket and fly any airline other than Delta (that airline being an exception because of what I believe to be my frequent flyer status on the airline based in the city where I live). I will get taken into a separate area for the pat-down body search.
So is this a good use of the TSA's time? Here's why it's not: what bad guy is going to buy a one way ticket in this day and age when that particular "risk factor" has gotten so much publicity?
By pulling someone over every time he or she buys a one way ticket, TSA agents are wasting time and effort that can be used to better protect us. What's most ridiculous about my situation is that because I am never stopped with a Delta ticket, the inference is I am not considered suspicious on that airline, but I am on any other carrier.
Security experts at the airline and/or TSA take other measures into account when deciding whether your boarding pass has the SSSS code printed on it that signifies you will get a secondary search. But the robotic yanking out of line that I regularly get doesn't seem like the creative and forward looking security criteria that Americans deserve.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with