How Do You Secure an Airport Against Terrorism?

A Goldblog reader writes:

I am curious about your latest post.  I agree wholeheartedly that security lines are needlessly dangerous because they group people tightly in an unsecured place, but how could we possibly resolve the problem of unsecured areas of an airport generally? Isn't the real solution more efficient and less draconian security measures to minimize crowding in unsecured areas rather than earlier security?  At some point, if you want security, won't there necessarily have to be some place where people pass through security?  Finally, how is an unsecured café outside of airport security any different than an unsecured café anywhere else?  By their nature, won't they always be vulnerable? Do you propose eliminating airport café's outside of security entirely?

I think Ben-Gurion airport in Israel has a decent system. All people going to the airport -- in taxis, cars and buses -- have to pass through a checkpoint a couple of miles away from the main terminal. When you get to the main terminal, plainclothes security officers are everywhere, looking for suspicious behavior. There is no perfect security, of course, but Ben-Gurion, at least, is less vulnerable than American airports. And in reference to the question about cafes -- it's my choice not to go to cafes before security, but I don't see how they could be removed. And a cafe in the airport is, in fact, different from a cafe somewhere else, only because terrorists target aviation with great frequency, and they understand that they can disrupt the economy quickly and widely by targeting airports. That said, if, God forbid, terrorists were to start targeting random restaurants or shopping malls in the U.S., you would see a pronounced impact on the economy as well.