Many people were by outraged by footage uploaded to YouTube this week showing agents in Columbus, Ohio, screening the drinks of airline passengers well inside the airport terminal, but the TSA maintains that this practice has been in place since mid-2007.
"The most popular question that comes up with this topic is: 'Isn't this redundant?' On the surface, it does seem that way, and it's the first logical thought that many have," said the TSA's resident apologist Bob Burns back in July. "However, any security expert will tell you that nothing is ever 100 percent secure. So, gate screening is kind of like our safety net to keep up with anybody who might be trying to get things past conventional screening."
But some still wonder what this particular "security theater" hoped to accomplish.
"So are they checking carried drinks, not researching bags?" wrote one International Business Times commenter. "Is the assumption that a would be bomber, having been smart enough to get pass normal screening now pulls out the explosive liquid a walks around pretending to drink it instead of keeping it out of sight?"