When prospective airport security screeners take the written test for the job,
they face multiple-choice questions like this one:
Why is it important to screen bags for "improvised explosive devices,"
Their options are the following:
a. The IED batteries could leak and damage other passenger bags.
b. The wires in the IED could cause a short to the aircraft wires.
c. IEDs can cause loss of lives, property and aircraft.
d. The ticking timer could worry other passengers.
And in case that's just too far over candidates' heads, the Transportation
Security Administration is happy to give a helping hand. The agency's inspector
general reports finding that most of the questions on the examination were rehearsed
with the trainees before the test. He calls the practice "extremely disturbing."
Some questions on the test are "simplistic," and "a number of
the questions were phrased so as to provide an obvious clue to the correct answer,"
the inspector general, Clark Kent Ervin, said in an Aug. 29 letter to U.S. Sen.
Charles E. Schumer, D-New York..
A spokesman for the TSA, Brian Turmail, said the inspector general's observations
were "a microscopic look at one element in an incredibly rigorous training
New York Times