A well worn complaint about the Transportation Security Administration is its inability or unwillingness to profile potential threats or practice other forms of risk-based screening. This is compounded by what appear to be a strong preference for doing things that enhance the appearance of safety, practices that appear to be gratuitous abuses of authority, and bureaucratic risk-aversion. Risk-based screening would allow TSA to focus its resources where they have the greatest payoff.
Typically, opponents complain that risk-based screening is discriminatory. This objection confuses discrimination and discernment. Discrimination means giving disproportionate attention to persons based on factors that are uncorrelated with risk. Thus, discriminatory screening cannot be risk-based screening, which uses risk analysis to discern greater from lesser threats and allocates more resources toward the former than the latter.
A new counter argument has been presented, this time by a retired flight attendant who says she represents 9/11 family members. It is an appeal to authority, not to reason.