I sort of glanced past this on my first series of reads, but I’m intrigued that the departure point of the attempted Christmas plane was Amsterdam. My personal impression was that Schiphol Airport has some of the tightest security of anyplace I’ve ever flown out of. I recall that when I was in the Netherlands for an event sponsored by the Wiardi Beckman Stichting their security asked me what I’d been doing in the country and I had all kinds of trouble pronouncing “Wiardi Beckman Stichting” (understandable, I think) which led to all sorts of enhanced scrutiny. And whenever I’ve mentioned this to other people they, too, seem to feel that Amsterdam security is unusually high pressure.
Not entirely sure what conclusion to draw from that, but every time I get on a plane I’m certainly nagged by the suspicion that these security procedures are a classic example of the kind of thing that’s a pain in the ass for innocent people but not actually that big a problem for malefactors with the patience to make a careful study of what you can get away with.