At the 1886 ceremony celebrating the official opening of New York's Statue of Liberty, president Grover Cleveland declared that the statue's torchlight would "pierce the darkness of ignorance and man's oppression until Liberty enlightens the world." And it has! At least for those of you have been properly screened, for terror death bombs.

The City of New York would like to welcome you to this shining symbol of freedom and enlightenment, with the understanding that we are uncomfortable with any of you even getting on the boat to travel through the harbor to the island upon which the statue sits without being thoroughly X-rayed for bombs because we believe you may be terrorists come to blow us all to hell for our myriad sins against the world. Which is to say, security screening will stay in Battery Park.

[NYPD head Ray] Kelly wanted the security operation to remain on the promenade in Battery Park, where it had been since the statue and Ellis Island reopened to visitors after the Sept. 11 attacks. The New York Police Department was uncomfortable with allowing tourists to board ferries to the statue without first being checked for weapons and explosives.

It's complicated when people start arguing over what is and isn't technically "irony."

[NYT. Photo: Trilok Rangan/ Flickr]