Who knows? There’s been no credible testing.
Tag Archives: Airport Security
Almost two years ago, we made the decision that our daughter would attend college all the way across the country at the University of Alabama. It was a fiscally prudent decision. Our daughter was and is an excellent student – just the kind of student that ‘Bama rewards with generous academic scholarships. In fact, the scholarship they offered was so generous that even taking air travel into account, she’s attending college for a tiny fraction of the cost to attend our state’s flagship school, the University of Washington and will graduate after four years debt-free and with our savings intact.
Now we’re in the uncomfortable position of wondering if we made the right decision after all, not because of any financial concerns but because it has become all too obviously apparent that it’s no longer safe for young, unescorted women to travel by air within our own borders. The imminent threat doesn’t come from terrorists, although that’s not a danger that can or should be ignored, but from TSA workers operating under new guidelines for enhanced security.
I don’t believe I’m overstating the situation. At airports where the enhanced security procedures are in place, travelers have three choices.
The Naked Scan
You spend your daughter’s lifetime telling her that granting access to her body is at her sole discretion, then Uncle Sam tells her, no, sorry, it’s your duty to bare it all in front of a low level and poorly screened government employee even though everyone knows the chance that you’re an explosive-packing terrorist is next to zero.
The Public Grope
Should your daughter exercise her right to keep her privates private, she’ll be subject to the new enhanced pat-down. The TSA has declined to publish the full guidelines for the pat-down so your daughter will have no way to gauge whether or not the officer administering the pat-down is exceeding her authority. For example, your daughter is entitled to be patted down by a female TSA agent except in the case “extraordinary circumstances” but those circumstances are undefined in the guidelines available to the public.
The Private Grope
Finally, if your daughter doesn’t want to endure the humiliation of having her breasts and genitals groped in public, she can ask for a private screening room. Of course, she’s entitled to have a traveling companion with her during the pat-down. But – wait! – she’s traveling alone! What sane parent would advise their daughter to enter a private room with a stranger with the intent of letting that stranger lay hands on her body?
Which brings me back to my original question. The TSA has implemented a system where – for their own good – young women are subjected to security procedures that would be crimes were they conducted by private individuals. When faced with three equally abhorrent options, which do we advise our daughters to take?
Do you think the TSA, under the direction of Janet Napolitano, cares what the American public thinks about grossly invasive and, in my opinion, unconstitutional airport screenings? Think again.
Despite viral objections to new technology and procedures, the Transportation Security Administration PLANS NO RETREAT on airport screening, officials tell [POLITICO] Playbook. But the administration is having conversations with pilots’ unions about their loud objections to the full-body scanners and alternate patdowns, and a resolution is expected this week. As Thanksgiving approaches, look for more 9-11 families and other “security validators” to make the case in the media for rigorous screening. The fire on this story was lit by Drudge, along with CNN and USA Today, and the complaints by pilots were a propellant. Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano scored a front-page headline, story and photo in USA Today on Monday with her call for patience and vigilance by the traveling public.
Apparently the answer to that provocative question is yes if you consider that U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan were prohibited from searching women and children.
A US Army staff sergeant, now serving in Afghanistan, writes about the new enhanced pat-down procedure from the TSA. Summary of his very powerful message: to avoid giving gross offense to the Afghan public, and to prevent the appearance of an uncontrolled security state, the US military forbids use on Afghan civilians of the very practices the TSA is now making routine for civilian travelers at US airports.
Back home in the U.S. though, we have this happening at airports around the country.
I find it astonishing and rather sad that we’ve become such a nation of sheep that we willingly line up to be publicly humiliated by ill-trained, poorly screened and sometimes power-hungry agents of the United States government. If TSA’s new full body scanners and “enhanced” pat-down procedures (and a truly disturbing personal story here) don’t qualify as unreasonable searches, what would? If we don’t have the gumption to stand against egregious over-reaching by the government, who will?
The Other McCain tells us who – apart from ourselves – we have to blame for this sorry state of affairs.
Melissa Clouthier tells a personal story of TSA’s callous incompetence.