“I don’t really recognize the America that exists at a TSA checkpoint. It is overly paranoid, vindictive, and unaccountable to us as citizens.” Since 9/11, there isn’t really evidence that shows the Transportation Security Administration has made air travel any safer for passengers. For The Verge, Darryl Campbell dives into two decades of unnecessary security check pat-downs.

Empirically, we know that the TSA does little to stop massive terror plots or even the occasional airport shooting. Instead, TSOs protect the flying public in lots of little ways — by stopping cases of human trafficking, for example, or confiscating firearms from people’s carry-on luggage. And that’s good! But it doesn’t justify the massive curtailing of individual liberties inside airports, the regular harassment of ethnic and religious minorities and gender nonconforming people, and the creation of one of the most vindictive and hostile workplaces in the federal government.

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.