When I read over at Joel's place that the TSA admitted that its "Viper Teams" (Seriously? "Viper"? Why not backronym "C.O.B.R.A." or "S.P.E.C.T.R.E."?) were just for show, I was not surprised.
They come out and admit that they haven't foiled any terrorist plots of which they're aware, but they "argue that the random nature of the searches and the presence of armed officers serve as a deterrent and bolster public confidence."
In other words, you don't see any elephants around here, do you? So the elephant repellant must be working! Also left unexplained is how the public's confidence is supposed to be bolstered by getting their crotch randomly sniffed by that noted Fourth Amendment legal expert, Fluffy the Uberhund.
I have no idea why they're even bothering, since the agency also recently came out and admitted that the whole airport security thing is a sham, anyway. The minute I heard that parental outcry had caused the TSA to allow parents to grope their own toddlers at airports, I immediately heard a voice in my head saying "No, there is no Semtex in little Achmed's diapers!"
I am reminded of the joke about the guy stopped by the soldier who demands to inspect the contents of the trunk. Because he has no handbrake, he asks if the soldier will get behind the wheel and hold it steady on the hill while he gets out to open the trunk. The soldier does, the guy goes and opens his trunk, announcing loudly "There is nothing in here!"
"Very well," calls the soldier from the driver's seat "You may go on your way."
Obviously, the only purpose behind the TSA anymore is to prove Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.