I mentioned a few days ago that security at Israel's Ben Gurion airport seems to be both stronger and more convenient than U.S. airport security. Bruce Schneier reminds us about the problem:
[N]o matter how safe or how wonderful the flying experience on El Al, it is TINY airline by U.S. standards, with only 38 aircraft, 46 destinations, and fewer than two million passengers in 2008. ... In 2008, Ben Gurion served 11.1 million international passengers and 470,000 domestic passengers, roughly comparable to the 10 million total served at Sacramento.... Amsterdam served 47.4 million total, and Detroit served 35.1 million total in 2008.
By American standards, in terms of passengers served, Ben Gurion is a busy regional airport.
Simply put, the Israeli airport security model does not scale. Period.
The question I have is: why can't we have a rational debate about the costs of security?