It would be unwise to take lightly a recent TSA warning that terrorists may be making dry runs through airport security. But it’s also difficult to get it into context.
The TSA based its warnings on four incidents in which people tried to get through airport security with ordinary items configured in such a way that they looked like improvised explosive devices. (I believe we used to call them bombs.) The idea is that they might have been testing security in preparation for a terrorist attack.
Adding just a hint of absurdity, two of these incidents involved blocks of cheese, which have the same shape and density as some explosives. Adding a hint of menace, the TSA advised that "most passengers’ explanations for carrying the suspicious items were questionable, and some investigations are still ongoing."
So we’re at a very strange juncture where it’s OK to bring cigarette lighters on board but a few blocks of Wisconsin cheddar could shut down the concourse.
When questioned about the warning, which was not intended for public release, the TSA played it down. The warning was part of a "routine informational bulletin" and no reason for panic.
OK. So I’m not panicking. But it’s hard to know whether I should be at least a little worried.
Added 7/26: Naturally, the cheese thing is being spoofed.