Friday, August 27, 2010

Enhanced Pat-downs

You may have read about TSA implementing enhanced pat downs as part of our layered approach to security. Using the latest intelligence, TSA constantly updates our screening procedures to stay ahead of those who wish to do us harm and keep the skies safe for the flying public. When developing our security procedures, we use input from across the agency, including our Offices of Intelligence, Privacy, and Civil Rights and Liberties.

To add some perspective, TSA has used pat downs since our agency started federalizing checkpoints in 2002. They’re an effective way of helping us keep dangerous items such as weapons or improvised explosive devices off of planes.

So, what might cause you to receive a pat-down? Passengers may receive a pat-down in a number of circumstances: to resolve an alarm at a walk-through metal detector; if an anomaly is detected during screening with advanced imaging technology; or during random screening. Passengers who opt out of enhanced screening such as advanced imaging technology will receive an equivalent level of screening to include a thorough pat-down. Remember, you can always request to be screened in a private area.

You shouldn’t expect to see the same security procedures at every airport. Our security measures are designed to be unpredictable and are constantly assessed and updated to address evolving threats.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

331 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 331 of 331
Anonymous said...

"Those are not the images we see. You can browse through this blog or the TSA Web page to see the correct images."

Bob, you yourself have admitted that the images you've posted are not the same size and resolution as those sen by the operators of your strip search technology. So there ARE no "correct images" to be seen on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
And out of all these posts no one, no not one of you, have come up with a better legitimate solution than the AIT and enhanced pat down. This topic has become old, tired, and outlived its usefulness. Provide better legitimate solutions, not mindless droning complaints.
*********
Get rid of the AIT machines and the voodoo science that the SPOT program uses and replace it with the systems and methodology the Israeli's use. That will also require getting rid of most of the TSO's and replacing them with competent trained professionals.

Anonymous said...

How about an extremely BASIC process flow that goes like this:

10 POP (Suspected_Terrorist_Queue, Passenger)
15 ANNOUNCE ($DYWTFT)
16 ANNOUNCE ($311_Liquids_OUT)
17 ANNOUNCE ($TSA_Here_To_Help)
18 ANNOUNCE ($TSA_Respects_Privacy)
20 IF (Carry_On_Bag = Alarms) THEN GOTO 50 ELSE 30
30 UF (Explosive_Chem_Trace = Alarms) THEN GOTO 50 ELSE 40
40 IF (WTMD = Alarms) THEN GOTO 50
45 PUSH (Sterile_Zone, Passenger), GOTO 10
50 PUSH (SSSSS_FIFO_BUFFER, Passenger)
60 POP (SSSSS_FIFO_BUFFER, Passenger)
70 IF (AIT = Alarms) THEN 80.
80 IF (GROPE = Alarms) THEN 100.
90 IF !(AIT = Alarms)OR!(GROPE =Alarms) THEN PUSH(Sterile_Zone, Passenger)
95 GOTO 10
100 PUSH (LEO_FIFO_BUFFER, Passenger)
110 GOTO 10.

George said...

@The Secret Association: Here's a link to the "pre-schooler" safe images that the TSA uses, since they seem to think the machines don't have this resolution

I never thought I'd come to the defense of the TSA, but both the linked article and the image it contains look very dubious. What organization issued the press release? And which pilots does the organization purport to represent? Could you shed some light on who's actually behind it?

A close look at the naughty bits in the purported scanner image suggests that it's fake. I rather doubt that they'd "hang" in the manner depicted when constrained by underpants and trousers. It looks like the subject was actually naked, and the image was doctored in Photoshop.

There's enough reason to be appalled and outraged about what the TSA is inflicting on us without the dodgy "press releases" and fake images intended only to inflame.

George said...

@Anonymous (September 3, 2010 5:15 PM): Get rid of the AIT machines and the voodoo science that the SPOT program uses and replace it with the systems and methodology the Israeli's use. That will also require getting rid of most of the TSO's and replacing them with competent trained professionals.

That's a low blow, though replacing the minority of "bad apples" in the ranks of TSOs would be a definite improvement.

The problem with the Israeli approach is that it's not feasible in the United States. In Israel, they don't just rely on a "security" agency. The security process involves everyone who interacts with passengers, including airline employees. The security professionals in the process spend however much time is necessary talking to passengers and asking them enough cleverly pointed questions to make sure passengers are who they claim they are.

This approach can work in a small country with relatively light passenger traffic. It won't work in the United States. The screening process would take too long for the heavy volume. And it would require a higher level of training, intelligence, competence, and commitment than the TSA could find and afford to hire, especially in the numbers necessary to process the much larger number of passengers.

There's also the matter of mindset. Israel has been beset with neighbors intent on destroying their country ever since it became a country. Terrorism has been an unfortunate fact of life, and millennia of persecution have instilled justified paranoia in the Jewish mindset. So everyone involved with airport security has a personal stake in making it work. It's not just a job, and in particular it's not just mindlessly following continually-changing arbitrary secret rules dictated from Headquarters. They can't get away with hiding unprofessional behavior and incompetence behind a shroud of secrecy.

The TSA's SPOT program is rather like those Hollywood movies "inspired by a true story." It's a shell that bears a coincidental and very superficial resemblance to the Israeli security system; but underneath the false front it's completely empty. The GAO found it an ineffective waste of money, although the DHS response was unambiguous about their intent to ignore the GAO. But it seems to be the best the TSA is capable of implementing.

The GAO also questioned the benefit and cost-effectiveness of AIT. But again, the TSA is ignoring them and pushing ahead. The TSA doesn't seem to care about effectiveness, as long as they can spend a lot of money providing a facade of "security."

MarkVII said...

Hi West --

This keeps getting worse. I had hoped that "grab and squeeze" was a case of checkpoint workers going too far. Since you can't give details on the process for security reasons, this tells me that "grab and squeeze" is actually part of the protocol. Add the seeming lack of accountability to the mix, and I don't like what I foresee at all.

I understand the need to clear the genital area -- with my time in the military, I know a thing or two about security -- but it blows my mind that any sort of "squeeze" maneuver is considered necessary or appropriate. Even under ideal circumstances, I would be reluctant to let someone squeeze my testicles to the point of pain so I can get on a plane.

Given my personal experiences at checkpoints, there is simply no way that I'm going to risk being subjected to "grab and squeeze" in order to travel by air. I haven't flown since early 2008, primarily because of the attitudes and actions of checkpoint workers. I described the experiences on one trip in particular to the TSA Contact Center as checkpoint workers "just looking for an excuse to start throwing their weight around". Earlier this year, some friends of mine flew out of DTW and characterized the checkpoint workers as "downright nasty".

If these same folks can now grab me by the b**** at the checkpoint,
I've got even less reason to fly that I had before. There's got to be a better way...

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

CarrotTopTSO said...

Ponter,

Am I the only person that finds your posts dripping with sarcasm and hilarious?

RB said...

Do you agree with the use of Whole Body Imaging technology? - Results
big3news

Thank you for voting!
Dismiss

YES 5 votes 7.04%


NO 66 votes 92.96%


UNSURE 0 votes 0%

George said...

@CarrotTopTSO: Am I the only person that finds your posts dripping with sarcasm and hilarious?

I have also wondered about Ponter. The comments do seem to have a sarcastic tone, but their content exactly repeats the official pronouncements from Bob and other TSA representatives. Maybe the intent is to show just how ridiculous those pronouncements come across when someone outside the TSA reads them.

Maybe it's impossible for the TSA's Propaganda Department to avoid making ridiculous statements. The agency's fetish for secrecy in all things severely limits what they can tell the public. So that means their pronouncements must be spun like cotton candy from a limited set of approved platitudinous buzzwords. There's no content or substance, only a lot of hot air and just enough flavored carbohydrate to convey the spin or misinformation the Propaganda Department requires.

The most unfortunate thing is that the TSA is so easily to ridicule that it regularly ridicules itself. But that still doesn't justify or excuse inflicting "enhanced pat downs" on people guilty only of wanting to fly today.

Anonymous said...

"And out of all these posts no one, no not one of you, have come up with a better legitimate solution than the AIT and enhanced pat down. This topic has become old, tired, and outlived its usefulness. Provide better legitimate solutions, not mindless droning complaints."

Hey, its not like TSA is willing to pay for advice, however, they have gotten much more than they ever expected by starting this blog. Who would have thought that anyone could possibly raise an objection to anything that TSA does?

A better question is what is TSA actually getting for the money that they are spending? Invasive, potential dangerous equipment? A search that goes far beyond the boundaries of what any member of federal, state or local law enforcement has the right to do in similar circumstances? To protect people from an event far less likely to be lethal that their drive to and from the airport?

Anonymous said...

Blogger Blogger Bob said...

The Secret Association,

Those are not the images we see. You can browse through this blog or the TSA Web page to see the correct images.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

September 3, 2010 3:58 PM
----------------------------------

The pics on the TSA website are not what the screener sees either. Those pics are from 2002 taken with with earlier, less detailed scanners. The level of detail produced by the current scanners a far more detailed. The proof is Rolando Negrin!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And out of all these posts no one, no not one of you, have come up with a better legitimate solution than the AIT and enhanced pat down. This topic has become old, tired, and outlived its usefulness. Provide better legitimate solutions, not mindless droning complaints.

September 2, 2010 11:13 PM
-----------------------------------

Give me 100 billion dollars over 8 years like the TSA got, and I will come up with something better and less invasive.

TSORon said...

Marshall's SO Said...
Every single pilot that I know and I know many hate the TSA.
------------------------------
And you know all the pilots. My, you do get around dont you.

IOW, you believe I am wrong, yet the pilots I know (and I know quite a few myself) would not agree with you. They may not "like" TSA, but they understand the reason for it. Which is better than I can say for many here.

George said...

@Anonymous, September 4, 2010 5:41 PM A better question is what is TSA actually getting for the money that they are spending?

The real question I think you meant to ask is what we are getting for the money the TSA spends, $6.8 billion in fiscal 2008. It's our money after all, although the TSA may not see it that way because Congress gives it to them to do as they please, with no accountability to the taxpayer for spending it effectively.

The Government Accountability Office has attempted to answer that question, though in a scattershot fashion through occasional audits of specific parts of the operation at the request of Congress. Those audits consistently find that we're not getting very good security for the money they're spending. The TSA's effectiveness also is not improving over time, perhaps because they routinely ignore the GAO's recommendations for improvement. If they can ignore the GAO-- whose auditors have access to the secrets behind the curtain and presumably know what they're talking about-- why should they care what we have to say?

It appears that the people at Headquarters who make the policies and write the secret procedures consider themselves infallible. They have empowered themselves to ignore the GAO and everyone else because they have no need to listen to what anyone else has to say. They're the Experts with the direct link to all the "latest intel," so there's nothing anyone else can tell them that they don't know better.

Thus, they can spend our money however they want, for whatever reason they want. If they decide that passengers' genitals need to be groped, that's what we'll be subjected to. If the real reason for "needing" such a humiliating violation is to "modify the behavior" of passengers who threaten to slow down screening, that's an entirely valid justification. Since it's all classified, nobody has any way of knowing whether a measure provides any security, makes screening easier for TSOs, or is deemed "necessary" to teach us to be docile obedient sheep.

When an agency is shrouded in secrecy and accountable only to its own infallible self, anything, even painfully squeezing passengers' genitals, is undeniably "necessary," "justified," and "appropriate." Nobody has the authority to challenge that assertion.

That's what we're getting for our money.

Anonymous said...

when you enter the screening area you are consenting to the search. in order to get through to the other side you have to be searched. you are then searched by the means that the tsa uses in that area. if you dont want to be screened then you have the option to not go through, however that means that you cant get on your plane. its up to you to decide if its worth it or not.

"America the land of entitlement"

Sandra said...

TSA is getting lots of heat about scanners and pat downs.

It would seem that the scanners are not as widely accepted as TSA tried to lead us to believe, huh, Bob?

Well, that's what happens when you don't tell the truth - you get found out.

Many lawsuits for sexual assault yet?

Sandra said...

"when you enter the screening area you are consenting to the search."

There is no way the signs posted at WBI, if they are even there, are sufficient to allow travelers to give informed consent to either being irradiated, microwaved or groped. (Consent is given through the signage according to the most recent PIA for WBI/AIT.)

When this gets to court, and it will, the "signage" provided by TSA will be found wanting.

George said...

@Sandra: It would seem that the scanners are not as widely accepted as TSA tried to lead us to believe, huh, Bob?

The TSA seems to have recognized this. But of course they'll never admit it because that would imply that they're not infallible. That would never be acceptable.

Unfortunately, now that they've recognized that all their lies and spin still haven't bamboozled us into accepting the scanners, they're now back to their favorite tactic, bullying. Thus the "enhanced pat down." Once the word gets out that the alternative to the scanner is a humiliating and possibly painful violation of your body, people will accept the scanner.

It's always best to persuade the public (using lies and distortion as necessary) to welcome a new intrusive hassle as a "security enhancement," and have us accept it willingly. It's much easier for TSOs to screen passengers who are cooperative and appreciative. But if you can't get willing acceptance, the "respect" obtained from fear and intimidation works just as well. In this case, the Security Experts at Headquarters are surely following the the military adage that "when you've got the enemy by the [genitals], their heart and soul will soon follow."

Anonymous said...

"There is no way the signs posted at WBI, if they are even there, are sufficient to allow travelers to give informed consent"

That seems to be TSAs game plan.

Been through several airports recently. The signs were almost always too small to easily read and often placed out of the way.

Many I have seen are waaay too small for the frames they are in. (Think letter size in a poster sized frame.) Looks like crap and reflects poorly on the TSA's attention to detail and professionalism. Hurts TSA's image. If possible.

One poster in CLT was large and stated pax could opt out.

The TSA staffer guiding people into the machine stood in front of it blocking people from seeing it.

The TSA is not acting in good faith.

RB said...

So has the blog stop taking submissions to this topic?

TSA is so far outside the lines on this point that I am surprised that TSA employees are not in jail yet.

Join TSA and feel up the public.

MarkVII said...

So much for being allowed to opt for a pat down.

http://consumerist.com/2010/09/pregnant-traveler-tsa-screeners-bullied-me-into-full-body-scan.html

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Daryl said...

A co-worker and I just returned from a business trip to El Paso.

At ELP, on the return leg, we both passed through the magnetometer without setting off any alarms. TSA, however, pulled my co-worker aside, pat searched him and made him go through the porno-scanner. He said he thought the scan was optional; TSA replied, "Not now, it isn't." Nothing found; off we went.

So, TSA, is the scan voluntary or not? Your TSO tried to force me through it at Albuquerque several months ago, but backed down when he realized I knew my rights. At El Paso, the TSOs did force my co-worker through it.

George said...

@Daryl: So, TSA, is the scan voluntary or not? Your TSO tried to force me through it at Albuquerque several months ago, but backed down when he realized I knew my rights. At El Paso, the TSOs did force my co-worker through it.

My guess here is that the TSOs at Albuquerque and El Paso have not yet been trained in administering the "enhanced pat down." Thus Bob's cryptic comment about how we "shouldn't expect to see the same security procedures at every airport." Presumably, in the not too distant future if you go to Albuquerque and show that you know your rights, the TSO will be trained to punish you appropriately instead of backing down.

That's what Bob actually means by updating security measures "to address evolving threats." A passenger who knows and asserts his rights is a threat to the efficiency of screening, so a punitive "pat down" is a necessary and justified measure to address that threat.

RB said...

Bob, I think these continuing reports of TSA employees not honoring Opt Outs needs an official response from TSA.

What corrective actions has TSA taken to correct this problem?

What form of punishment are TSA employees handed when they violate agency policy?

Why can't TSA get its people all moving in the same direction?

Are FSD's being relieved for not conforming to TSA policy?

If not why not?

Is substandard performance the norm for TSA?

How about some answers Mr. Pistole?

George said...

RB, do you honestly believe you'll ever get answers to your questions, other than perhaps "That's SSI"? Since Mr. Pistole has access to all the super-duper-secret stuff, there's nothing we can tell him that he doesn't already know better. If there's something he thinks we need to know, he'll have someone from the Propaganda Department write a content-free post here under his name.

But if Mr. Pistole ever felt the need to give us honest answers, he might write something like this:

Even with Secure Flight, BDOs, and the Latest Robust Intelligence, we really have no way to identify terrorists in a queue of innocent ordinary passengers. It's impossible. The only choice we have is to assume that each and every one of you is a terrorist.

Until the screening procedure convinces the TSO that you're not a terrorist, they will assume that you are there to blow up an airplane and treat you accordingly. We all agree that terrorists deserve to be treated with the utmost contempt. So knowing that, you'll know why TSOs you like the enemy that they're trained to assume you are.

TSO training emphasizes their essential primary role in ensuring that nobody in the DHS bureaucracy will be blamed when attacks inevitably occur. Some TSOs, because of their individual personality traits, make a point of treating passengers with respect, and even take the time to help "slower" passengers. While we don't encourage this behavior, we allow it as long as it doesn't unacceptably slow the screening process. But we do emphasize to TSOs that with the large numbers of passengers, efficiency is paramount. And we perfect their proficiency in proven techniques (such as yelling, DYWTFT, and now the Enhanced Pat Down) that can silence recalcitrant passengers and maximize the efficiency of screening.

With this understanding of the TSA's operating philosophy, I hope you are now better prepared to properly play your role in the screening process.

RB said...

George said...
RB, do you honestly believe you'll ever get answers to your questions, other than perhaps "That's SSI"?
................
I really expect nothing positive or of substance from TSA.

Just look at the work of art running this blog.

Anonymous said...

This is so against the 4th Ammendment of the Constitution - does nobody care? It mentions people should not have their person violated unless their is a warrant.

So when I travel, my kids will either be bombarded with x-rays or other electromanic radiation while staring in kiddie porn.... OR be sexually battered? I was molested as a kid myself and do NOT look forward having my testicles felt when opting out of the nude-o-scope.

It is terrible that our once great country is becoming totalitarian. Yes the terrorist won! Bye bye Constitution....

Anonymous said...

Part 1:

Since I'm having so much fun digging into legal precedents related to search and seizure, I might as well do one for the WBI/'Enhanced Grope' article as well.

This comment assumes that TSO's qualify under 19 U.S.C. § 482 for customs officials and Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 287 (codified in 8 U.S.C. § 1357) for immigration officers, as well as 19 U.S.C. § 1496 and 19 U.S.C. § 1582. I am also assuming that the 'sterile area' quantifies as the functional equivelant of a 'border area' as percieved through the dual lenses of the Thirty-First Annual Review of Criminal Procedure; Border Searches, 90 Geo. L.J. 1087, 1190 (2002) (9th Cir. 1973) and Almeida-Sanchez v. United States, 413 U.S. 266, 272-73 (1973). These two set the precendents of a functional equivelant of a border as being the "first practical detention point after a border crossing or the final port-of-entry." As a TSA Checkpoint can be described as being a 'port-of-entry' into the sterile area, it does not take much of a logical step to interpet a TSA checkpoint as being the functional equivelant of a border, and that warrantless 'routine' searches are permissible under a the 4th Amendment, but warrantless 'non-routine' searches are not.
.
To be acceptable under the 4th Amendment (“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause….”), any warrantless search performed must be 'routine' in nature unless 'reasonable suspicion' or 'articuable suspicion' of wrong-doing is present.

Anonymous said...

Part 2:

Although the Fourth Amendment does not require warrants or probable cause for most stops and searches at the border because the power to control who or what comes within nation’s borders is an inherent attribute of national sovereignty (United States v. Ramsey, 431 U.S. 616 (1977) (citing U.S. Const., Art. I, § 8, cl. 3)), any searches performed therein must still be reasonable ((Marsh v. United States, 344 F.2d 317, 324 (5th Cir. 1965)).

A routine border search is a search that does not pose a serious invasion of privacy
or offend the average traveler (United States v. Johnson, 991 F.2d 1287, 1291 (7th Cir. 1993)). Limited search pat downs are specifically allowed based on United States v. Beras, 183 F.3d 22, 24 (1st Cir. 1999) (holding that a patdown of an international traveler’s legs was not intrusive enough to qualify as non-routine), but notice the narrowness of the decision. I could not find any dockets that determined groping of the genitals fit the US vs Johnson definition of 'routine search', but based on the TSA Blog it is consider offensive by many a traveler. Using the above cited material and cases, the 'enhanced pat-down' could be an actionable violation of the preceding court decisions and the 4th Amendment unreasonable search and seizure protections.

Based on the above description, one could be led to believe that a "non-routine border search" would be one that was an invasion of privacy or did offend the average traveler. Courts off have determined that a non-routine search has occured once a search of person's body goes beyond limited intrusion (limited search pat-downs, metal-detector scans, etc). In United States v. Braks, 842 F.2d 509, 511-12 (1st Cir. 1988), The Braks court concluded that only strip searches and body cavity searches are consistently non-routine.

Anonymous said...

Part 3:

WBI has been consistently described on the TSA Blog as 'Whole Body Imaging' and 'backscatter X-Ray.' One must consider multiple statements, by both the TSA and commenters, that WBI technology is 'virtual strip searching', an opinion which has be upheld by court decisions such as United States v. Reyes, 821 F.2d 168, 170-71 (2d Cir. 1987) (strip search); United States v. Oyekan, 786 F.2d 832, 837 (8th Cir. 1986) (strip search); United States v. Ek, 676 F.2d 379, 382 (9th Cir. 1982) (requiring a “clear indication” for X-ray search); United States v. Vega-Barvo, 729 F.2d 1341, 1345-46 (11th Cir. 1984); United States v. Oyekan, 786 F.2d 832, 837 (8th Cir. 1986) (requiring reasonable suspicion for X-ray search); United States v. Pino, 729 F.2d 1357, 1359 (11th Cir. 1984) (X-ray search equal to strip search). Based on these decisions, WBI also falls under the decision of the Braks court as being classifiable as a non-routine search.

So, without the protection of 'informed consent to search', which has not been proven by the TSA, both 'enhanced pat-down' and 'WBI' are questionable when viewed through the body of court decisions pertaining to the 4th amendment. This lack of 'informed consent' due diligence can be shown by the TSA's own inconsistently worded and poorly placed placards and signage, often located in areas where passenger traffic is unlikely to observe the same.

In short, what paranoid bean-counter came up with the idea to expose the US Government to lawsuits by coming up with the WBI/enhanced pat-down policy?

Anonymous said...

Anon Part 1-3: don't know if your research took you this far, but a quick Google search and you may wish to read United States v. Aukai, 497 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2007). "The constitutionality of an airport screening search, however, does not depend on consent, see Biswell, 406 U.S. at 315....Rather, where an airport screening search is otherwise reasonable and conducted pursuant to statutory authority, 49 U.S.C. § 44901, all that is required is the passenger's election to attempt entry into the secured area of an airport. See Biswell, 406 U.S. at 315; 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107."

and "Although the constitutionality of airport screening searches is not dependent on consent, the scope of such searches is not limitless. A particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it "is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [] [and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose." Davis, 482 F.2d at 913."

MarkVII said...

RE the court decision that airport searches are OK as long as the search "is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [] [and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose." Davis, 482 F.2d at 913."

I guess that rules out questioning people about the amount of cash they're carrying, examining individual receipts and business cards in a person's wallet, and all the other usual "fishing expedition" items.

However, how does one tell the checkpoint worker that "my credit card receipts are none of your cotton pickin' business"?

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Anonymous said...

I love the comments from the sheeple on here. Lots of tough talk too, "I’m not going to allow this, I'm going to get violent that". It's really rather amusing. Apparently TSA is a group of pedophiles and sex maniacs, according to all you well informed sheeple out there. Complaining to congress? Like they listen to you. You people are simply too stupid to understand the reality of things, so go back to watching MTV, eating fast food, and voting for criminals. You all know nothing.

RB said...

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/bizarre/tsa-screener-cited-torture-scanner-case


"TSA Screener Cited "Torture" In Scanner CaseAssault arrestee's genitalia was exposed by "full body" device"

So this Whole Body Imager device that TSA claims makes images suitable for viewing by children apparently produces images that reveal graphic genitalia detail.

If TSA thinks children should be looking at images like this then no wonder we have the problems with TSA that we now have.

Apparently TSA and its employees have no understanding of personal privacy and decency.

Is this why TSA is using open hands to feel people up?

Anyone else would call such tatics "Sexual Assault"!

RB said...

Anonymous said...
I love the comments from the sheeple on here. Lots of tough talk too, "I’m not going to allow this, I'm going to get violent that". It's really rather amusing. Apparently TSA is a group of pedophiles and sex maniacs, according to all you well informed sheeple out there. Complaining to congress? Like they listen to you. You people are simply too stupid to understand the reality of things, so go back to watching MTV, eating fast food, and voting for criminals. You all know nothing.

September 15, 2010 8:37 AM
........
Another representative of TSA making the agency proud.

Anonymous said...

I think it's always worth mentioning so we never forget how the naked body scanners got deployed in the first place......it was the result of the total incompetence of our government to stop the panty bomber from boarding his flight last Christmas. Even after our own intelligence agencies had identified him as having traveled to train with terrorists, and the panty bomber's own father directly warned the state department about his son.

NOT A SINGLE PERSON IN GOVERNMENT WAS HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THIS INCOMPETENCE. Instead, the law abiding citizens of our country must now be blasted with radiation and viewed naked by the very same government that failed to prevent the most obvious terrorist from boarding a plane.

That said....I just experienced my first "enhanced" pat down yesterday at the Baltimore airport for refusing to be radiated in the TSA nude-o-scope.

As others have observed, there was an instant, palpable negative attitude towards me by the TSA agents for my choosing a pat down instead. They kept referring to me as "a refusal", and I believe there is an attempt to punish people for not complying with orders.

After waiting and not being allowed to gather my belongings I went off for my enhanced pat down.

The TSA agents apparently were not aware of something called a bra strap, so I was then escorted to a "private area" where I had to remove my shirt in front of two TSA agents.

The whole thing took about 25 minutes, and it was humiliating and an absolute outrage. I had tears running down my face -- from both anger and sadness. The USA as we've known it is over. It's just over.

George said...

@Anonymous, September 15, 2010 2:06 PM: NOT A SINGLE PERSON IN GOVERNMENT WAS HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THIS INCOMPETENCE. Instead, the law abiding citizens of our country must now be blasted with radiation and viewed naked by the very same government that failed to prevent the most obvious terrorist from boarding a plane.

That's exactly what I concluded when President Obama immediately reacted to the incident by calling for "heightened airport security." When he shortly thereafter specifically called for deploying the strip search scanners, I knew that any hope for reforming the TSA under the new administration was dead.

It also became clear to me that the main purpose of the TSA is to help government officials evade accountability by keeping their bottoms securely covered. When a systemic failure of the "Homeland Security" bureaucracy leads to distaster (or near-disaster), the easiest bottom-covering reaction is to call on the TSA to, in effect, punish every air traveler for the failure. That way whoever actually might be responsible will avoid accountability, since "security" has now been "enhanced." The "Homeland Security" bureaucracy, with its pervasive secrecy and immunity from accountability, seems to have been custom-built to shield the entire federal government from any blame or accountability when something fails.

That's why there's nothing we can do to change the TSA. Officials throughout the government find it too valuable the way it is.

George said...

@Anonymous, September 15, 2010 2:06 PM: I had tears running down my face -- from both anger and sadness. The USA as we've known it is over. It's just over.

It probably would have been best to try your darndest to maintain a calm demeanor, and then burst into tears as necessary when you're safely away from the checkpoint. The officers who administered your "pat down" probably reported to their supervisor that the punishment produced a desired effect. At the very least it would have denied them the pleasure of exercising their power to reduce someone to tears (justified in the name of "security").

I wonder what will happen when they administer an "enhanced pat down" to, for example, a man who had been the victim of a paedophile priest as a child or a woman who had been raped or abused, and the reaction is somewhat more demonstrative than mere tears. I doubt that such a possibility ever occurred to the (anonymous and unaccountable) officials at Headquarters who decided that this "pat down" was a necessary and justified either as a "security measure" or as punishment.

But I wouldn't doubt that the Propaganda Department is already prepared for that eventuality with a press release blaming the victim, commending the TSOs for their professionalism and heroism in dealing appropriately with a violent threatening passenger, and reminding us that people who might be uncomfortable with the "pat down" can simply step into the safe and friendly AIT scanner.

Ayn R. Key said...

RB wrote...
If TSA thinks children should be looking at images like this then no wonder we have the problems with TSA that we now have.

Exactly, RB. Only a pervert would think that graphic genital detail is suitable for children. And then they wonder why we call them perverts.

Ethel Rosenberg said...

"The TSA agents apparently were not aware of something called a bra strap, so I was then escorted to a "private area" where I had to remove my shirt in front of two TSA agents."

Why would any woman be required to remove her shirt?

RB said...

"The TSA agents apparently were not aware of something called a bra strap, so I was then escorted to a "private area" where I had to remove my shirt in front of two TSA agents."

...................
So is it now a TSA requirement that women must go braless if they don't want to be forced to remove their shirts?


Tell me TSA reps, just where does it end?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I have to fly to America frequently, and am now faced with these degrading practices. I hate to break it to all you TSA-haters, but you, *ALL OF YOU* have let it come to this! The development toward a police-state was obvious for the last 10 years. But, sadly, the land of the "brave" has become the land of the "paranoid", and no-one dares to talk back when the "terrorist-card" is played! Now you have created a monster that you cannot put back into the cage. This is sad, since the whole world suffers from it, not just US citizens. (The US has a lot of allied states that just LOVE to follow every new madness to the letter). Did you know that in the UK, the Nude-o-Scopes are already *mandatory*? I guarantee you that in a few months, they will be mandatory in the US, too. No more option to opt-out... See you then!

Anonymous said...

AS a TSA employee I find it offensive that screening management would allow the checkpoint personnel to call passengers "a refusal" when a passenger elects alternate screening. It is obvious that TSA managment has not spent the required effort to monitor screening officers for correct attitudes and demeanor toward the traveling public.

George said...

@Anonymous (TSA employee), September 17, 2010 8:47 AM: AS a TSA employee I find it offensive that screening management would allow the checkpoint personnel to call passengers "a refusal" when a passenger elects alternate screening.

The "refusal" terminology may well indicate that TSA management has intentionally directed TSOs to make the "alternative" pat down sufficiently humiliating and painful to make anyone who opts out of the scanner regret having made that wrong choice.

The TSA's stated goal is to scan every passenger, so punishing "refusal" is consistent with that goal. But for some reason (their lawyers' insistence, perhaps?) they need to claim the scan is "optional" and provide an alternative to those who "opt out." But any alternative will take a lot longer and requires much more effort for TSOs than the scanner. So there's every reason to want passengers to "choose" the option that's fastest and easiest for TSOs.

Bob and the Propaganda Department will, of course, swear on a stack of Bibles that TSA policies and rules absolutely prohibit punitive measures or retribution. So no matter how humiliating a passenger may find the pat down, it is not punishment or retribution for refusing the scanner. But of course, the rules are secret so we can't know what TSOs actually are allowed to do. And the people who make the rules have unlimited authority and are accountable only to themselves. So there is nothing to stop them from deciding that "refusal" merits punitive humiliation or even pain, if they decide it's necessary to ensure the efficiency of screening.

I wish I could have more confidence in TSA management. But when you have secrecy and lack of accountability, there's every reason to suspect incompetence if not outright malicious contempt for the public. We've given up our freedom, and in return we've gotten "trust us."

George said...

@Anonymous (TSA employee), September 17, 2010 8:47 AM: It is obvious that TSA managment has not spent the required effort to monitor screening officers for correct attitudes and demeanor toward the traveling public.

I think it's more likely that the TSA's culture encourages this type of behavior toward passengers, particularly toward those who inconvenience TSOs with "exceptions." I don't think the supervisors and executives explicitly train TSOs to yell or use "DYWTFT," but they appear to tolerate it in the interest of expediency (or possibly in the interest of cycle time and similar efficiency metrics). Some TSOs are courteous and don't rely on bullying, but those who choose "DYWTFT" instead of taking a few minutes to help a passenger with an "exception" apparently don't suffer any adverse consequences for taking that approach. They may even be implicitly rewarded for it if it makes the performance metrics better.

There's also an inherent adversarial aspect to the job TSOs have to do. Since they have no reliable way to distinguish a terrorist from an innocent passenger, they essentially have to assume everyone is a terrorist until screening proves otherwise. They also have to assume that everyone is breaking the rules, whether out of ignorance or the selfish desire to avoid spending the few pennies to FedEx that expensive bottle of perfume. Some TSOs are professional and courteous enough to treat passengers with respect despite the inherent adversarial nature of screening. Others are not-- and again, they don't suffer any consequences for treating us like enemy criminals.

As you note, either way looks like a failure of TSA management. Unless TSA management actually considers bullies among the TSO ranks somehow beneficial to security. Since everything about TSA management is shrouded in secrecy for "national security reasons," the fact that bullies continue to screen passengers makes this explanation plausible.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
AS a TSA employee I find it offensive that screening management would allow the checkpoint personnel to call passengers "a refusal" when a passenger elects alternate screening. It is obvious that TSA managment has not spent the required effort to monitor screening officers for correct attitudes and demeanor toward the traveling public.

September 17, 2010 8:47 AM
............
What I think your missing is that refusing the Strip Search Machine offends TSA. We lowly citizens should not display any objection to an overbearing government.

I suggest that your find an honorable line of work.

Working for TSA is certainly not a job for anyone with even a bit of personal honor.

George said...

I wonder how TSOs are trained to administer the pat downs to "refusals."

TSA management obviously recognizes that the pat downs represent an unprecedented level of intrusiveness and invasion of privacy. Otherwise they wouldn't need Bob to justify it with a smokescreen of empty buzzwords.

I also assume that the TSA managers who designed the procedures recognized that not all passengers will placidly accept this invasion of their bodies. Passengers may have various psychological "issues" that ordinarily would not be a problem, but may be triggered when a TSO makes them remove clothing or touches their breasts or genitals. Such reactions may range from unthreatening emotional responses (as an earlier commenter's tears) to anger or even violence.

But what do they train TSOs to do when they encounter these reactions? The tears or display of emotional humiliation are probably easy: Let it continue for a little while while the crowd of passengers looks on, since it's useful to make an example of what happens to "refusals." And then start the standard bellowing at the passenger to exit the checkpoint.

But what about when someone shows their objection to being groped and squeezed with words or behavior that are inappropriately disrespectful to the TSO? If it involves physical blows, they'll obviously bring in Law Enforcement (and work to get the passenger convicted of a serious federal felony). But if it's merely cursing or disrespectful language, maybe an extra squeeze (for "security") might be appropriate?

Even if it's indeed necessary and justified by "the latest intelligence," this unprecedented level of intrusion has complex consequences. I hope the TSA managers fully considered them and included appropriate measures for when those consequences occur. Unfortunately, I'd suspect the only thing they've considered is how best to insulate themselves from any liability or accountability when things inevitably get ugly.

Anonymous said...

The only thing these airport scanners can reveal is the perverted motivations of our morally bereft leaders.

Anonymous said...

Body scanners might improve our odds from 1/16,000,000 to maybe 1/20,000,000, maybe not. Checkpoints will continue to miss things as they always have. Federal Red teams get 60% of their contraband through the checkpoints as it is. I think we are safe enough (2009 levels), that they need to concentrate on things like baggage screening (only 40-60% as of now). Like Rep Chaffitz (UT) said: Does strip-searching my mother or 8 year old daughter make flying safer?

It’s so important to keep reminding people that the government’s most important priority is to protect our freedoms, not Keep Us Safe(tm). Over the years many thousands of Americans have given their lives to secure those freedoms, and to simply hand them over now in exchange for a dubious promise to Keep Us Safe(tm) is a disgusting insult to their sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

Al Qaeda has already used explosives hidden in body cavities in Saudi Arabia. How will these scanners help against that?

The Army psychiatrist in Texas committed an act of terrorism by purchasing guns and firing them into a crowd. Tim McVeigh made a bomb out of fuel oil and fertilizer and blew up a building pretty much the same way the bombers in Iraq are doing it today. So did the terrorists who tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. Or have you forgotten that? How will body scanners stop terrorists who purchase their guns and bomb materials after they arrive in the US?

Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on scanner technology that can be circumvented by a trivial change in tactics is simply falling prey to Al Qaeda's stated goal of bankrupting us with security expenditures.

Technology is not the solution to this problem, because a simple change in terrorist technology and tactics will obsolete the huge investment in scanners that we'd have to make.

This is a people problem. If you're identifying the terrorists when they're about to board a plane, you're weeks, months or years too late.

Anonymous said...

As the ACLU pointed out, "A choice between being groped and being stripped, I don't think we should pretend those are the only choices. People shouldn't be humiliated by their government" in the name of security.

Anonymous said...

Is the loss of freedom, privacy, and quality of life a worthwhile trade-off for unproven protections from a terrorist threat that has a 1 in 10 million chance of killing someone over a ten year time period? To me this represents a line that I'd prefer not to cross. What's next? Cavity searches?

George said...

Bob, West, and all the rest of the blog team. Let me try to explain the problem that you have here.

Let's assume that the bosses at Headquarters sat down in a classified conference room, reviewed the Latest Robust Intelligence, and gasped in horror. After some discussion, they reluctantly concluded that the only possible "method" for protecting aviation from a horrifying scenario was a "pat down" that includes a full-handed touch inspection of breasts and genitals. So, for the sake of argument, I'll agree that it's necessary and justified and that it's not a sexual assault, just as you claim.

Unfortunately, some passengers who undergo this "method" perceive it as a sexual assault, and are (variously) angry, horrified, or traumatized. And they do not hesitate to let others know about their anger, horror, or trauma.

The variability of TSO training and conduct, and possibly the TSOs' own discomfort with the procedure, may contribute to this perception and reaction. It also doesn't help that the TSA does not have a good reputation for respecting passengers and their privacy. And unfortunately, it's no secret that there's often a disconnect between what the bosses in their secret meetings intended (and what this blog says should or should not happen) and what actually does happen at checkpoints.

The perception of the well-intended security enhancement as sexual assault is a problem. So what are you doing about it?

I know you're constrained by secrecy. So you can't tell us what the pat down actually is supposed to be, or what makes it necessary. You can only repeat that it is necessary, that it's not sexual assault, and that we should trust you. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem be working. The growing perception that you're now licensed to sexually assault passengers can't be good, either for TSOs or for security. But I don't think "trust us" is going to fix that.

Anonymous said...

It seems everyone wants to point the finger at the screeners on this policy. It was approved by YOUR government to protect you. Most of the comments I read are just ignorant. If you dont like it take a bus. I prefer to safe rather than sorry. Do you know how many other countries hate Americans and want to harm us. Why dont you pick up an international newspaper and get some education.

Anonymous said...

Refusing to go through the scanner and getting a pat-down is a choice. Some airports do not have the fancy scanners. I have an artificial joint - I travel a lot - I get patted down a lot and the patting down I get now is more than enough for me thank you. But of course if I wanted to carry an explosive device or weapon or whatever else it is that they are searching for I am sure I could find a way around the measures - I'm a mature lady and I really would like to hang on to my dignity PLEASE. I will probably get the enhanced pat down next week - my screener this morning suggested that I never travel in a skirt again!

Anonymous said...

Why does TSA cheer-lead these backskatter machines despite public derision and the huge privacy violations?

Cui bono. Follow the money.

From WaPo right after the jockey bomber was let on the plane despite the obvious security issues:

From WaPo, talking about Michael Chertoff, the former head of Homeland Security:

"What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the [backscatter] machines. The relationship drew attention after Chertoff disclosed it on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question."

"Mr. Chertoff should not be allowed to abuse the trust the public has placed in him as a former public servant to privately gain from the sale of full-body scanners under the pretense that the scanners would have detected this particular type of explosive," said Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights.org, which opposes the use of the scanners. "

..."In the summer, TSA purchased 150 machines from Rapiscan with $25 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123102821.html

There you have it, folks. It's not about security theater or the abuse of Civil Liberties, it's about profit.

Anonymous said...

IF you don't like it DON'T fly!!!! Flying is a privilage not a right. get over it

Anonymous said...

In response to the individual who said, " Anonymous said...

IF you don't like it DON'T fly!!!! Flying is a privilege not a right. get over it"

I agree, it IS a privilege. But something to think about...do you want your wife/daughter/mother/grandmother having pictures taken that leave NOTHING to the imagination? Ok, they can opt out of the imager, how do you feel about the same person having some stranger run their hands over areas that are reserved for the most intimate of moments?

The point is, things have gotten out of control and we are NO safer than before. Everyday thousands of ramp workers, caterers, cleaners, flight crew members, and general airport employees go to work on the secure side of the airport without being screened. EVERY DAY.

In the mean time our security theater is putting on a great performance but guess what...they are forgetting to check body cavities which is the next logical place that terrorists will hide stuff. Nothing checks those areas (yet).

Anonymous said...

Geez, here I thought that US Citizens had certain rights - for example (and only one example) we are presumed INNOCENT until proven guilty. Why, to get on an airplane, do I have to prove I am NOT a criminal and endure patdowns, naked photo taking, and other dehumanizing, debasing processes. I don't have to endure these while I am carrying out any other actions in the US, so why just here? I know there have been problems, but there MUST be ways to address them. If traveling by air is so darned dangerous, then maybe the option shouldn't exist. We can not continue to be asked to waiver our civil liberties just to go on vacation.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I thought the government was not going to keep images? What about those 30,000 kept I think it was Florida?

Honesty in government again, gotcha.

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Hey, I thought the government was not going to keep images? What about those 30,000 kept I think it was Florida?
Honesty in government again, gotcha."

That was not TSA, that was the US Marshals service. TSA does not store, print or save the images produced by the AIT machines in the checkpoints.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

We need some Citizens to stand up on their hind-legs and stop this insanity.

I joined the Navy to preserve the rights we have.

I did NOT join up to be treated like some government chattel.

Security is NOT worth loss of liberty and dignity.

Call your congress member or senator before the election - that'll light a fire under TSA's rear end.

Otherwise, these idiots will continue to think they own us, instead of just working FOR us.

- Keith out.

Anonymous said...

Everyone should refuse to use the nude-o-scanners. They are invasive, and we don't know what the level of danger is from their radiation. The scanners and patdowns are ineffective security theater, at this point the TSA seems to be doing whatever it has to to justify its budget rather than improve security.

Periculosa said...

An "equivalent level of screening?" Here's my admittedly speculative translation: if we don't submit to the full body scan, we can expect an nonvirtual strip and somewhat more invasive patdown?

This is coercion pure and simple, and I am appalled that the TSA chooses to ignore the Fourth Amendment.

Anthony Nicaj said...

The TSA employees at the Tampa, Florida airport who were in charge of administering pat-downs had no idea about "Enhanced Pat-downs". I wrote about the experience here: http://fivestrokeroll.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/i-get-intimate-with-the-tsa/

Anonymous said...

If my child kicks , punches , or bites a TSA member , for touching their private parts during a enhanced pat down. Will my child then go on the NO Fly List ?

This touching of genitals defeats the purpose of teaching children that you don't let anyone touch your private parts. The Good/Bad Touch program will have been a waste of time and money , and only confuse kids that much more. When you as a parent/educator has to tell a kid , that it's ok for a person in a uniform to touch their private parts.

Anonymous said...

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Anonymous said...

TSA Just sealed the deal, No more flying for me. I'm boycotting flying. I REFUSE to be treated like a criminal in my own country just to travel from one place to another.

Anonymous said...

The patdown (just experienced it) is a grope (no matter how well-described) and a 12-14 foot distance from your belongings while waiting for a same-sex screener. Meanwhile, agent picked up belongings stacking material on top of laptop -- in an empty airport, this is feasible, I guess. Doesn't work in a crowded airport.

Why not send those who object to the new machine X-raying them first through the old magnetometer machine and do a less invasive and crotch-touching screening that might not be necessary?

If all who objected had to be screened separately and possibly in private rooms, the TSA would have to back off on this new 'improved' procedure in crowded airports.

My next 3 flights (next 4 days) will provide an opportunity to see how this separate screening works.

Blogger Bob said...

There is no fondling, squeezing, groping, jabbing, or any sort of sexual assault taking place at airports. You have a professional workforce carrying out procedures they were trained to perform to keep aviation security safe.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

The TSA are not empowered as police. Even were it so, never, ever would they themselves be above the law. If a TSA employee touches you in an unwanted or unwarranted manner, file the proper report of the assault with the local police so that an official investigation may be opened. Then hire an attorney and then through the attorney, file complaints with the TSA themselves, and notify the ACLU and EPIC with the agent's name, badge number, time, date and location of the assault, and as detailed description of the event as you can muster.

Anonymous said...

PROFILE PROFILE PROFILE!!!!!

Anonymous said...

There is no fondling, squeezing, groping, jabbing, or any sort of sexual assault taking place at airports.
--------------

Really? Cause people have reported that they ARE touching genitals and breasts during pat downs. Have you contacted the airports in question? Can you assure us that these reports are false?

Anonymous said...

You and your entire low-rent bureaucracy are a disgrace to this nation and an insult to the intelligence of every person you pretend to protect.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous policy. I travel every week. I get patted down if I go through these stupid scanners and I get pat down if I don't. Up to this point I have never been an issue or a problem. Where is TSA policy of quick and easy movement of passengers who travel on a regular basis. Now every week I patted down like I am a crminial. Every single week. i choose scanner or not pat down. Your system is total crap. The belief it protects anyone is crap. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

"Txrus, lets be honest please, its an opinion piece, from a single individual, not a "pilot" organization. “TSA has lost a pilots (single) support…” There, I corrected it for ya."

Yes Ron, let's be honest. The head of the Allied Pilots Association represents 11,000 pilots, and he disapproves as well: http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/major-pilots-unions-rebel-tsa-screening-rules-urge/story?id=12100247

While I'll agree that he's one person, I'm betting a whole lot of his associations members agree...

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Bob, waving your hand and saying "these are not the droids you are looking for" doesn't work in real life quite as well as it works in Star Wars.

You're saying there's no groping, fondling, etc. That there's a professional workforce. Guess what, Bob? That professional workforce isn't perfect. And there are reports of groping. There are reports of fondling. There are reports of peoples' genitals being squeezed.

You could say that they're "isolated incidents". But those "isolated incidents" are happening to real people, and they're being done by TSOs who have no reason to fear any disciplinary action. Plus at some point, the volume of reports moves from "isolated incidents" to "this is a serious problem". A problem that can only be solved if the TSA addresses the problem. But no. Instead, the TSA has chosen to stick its head in the sand, stick its fingers in its ears, and say "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA I'M NOT LISTENING!", which only makes the problem worse, and only makes peoples' contempt for your organization greater.

Virginia Traveler said...

You've written that, "there is no fondling, squeezing, groping, or any sort of sexual assault taking place at airports." That's not what such respectable media outlets as NPR, CNN and The Washington Post have each reported. So, are you saying (to use the journalist's term) "on the record" that all of the contradictory reports from multiple major media outlets are wrong?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone at TSA considered that the new pat down w/o the metal detecting wand is LESS effective at keeping 'prohibited' items off planes. As it stands now I can alarm the metal detector dues to metal in my body, get a pat dow and still have say a metal knife hidden in a body cavity.....

Prior to the new pat downs the wand would have determined that I had metal in or around a body cavity that a TSO could have cleared.

So not only is it offensive that I am being frisked like some common criminal suspect but it is LESS effective than what was in place before.

Anonymous said...

I will refuse a pat down and will refuse the full body imaging. I'd rather take a bus.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

You are not telling the truth. I have seen it - it is awful and not appropriate. So the choice is deadly x-rays or being violated. This is not American.

Chris

Anonymous said...

I will never be subject to the TSA's virtual strip search, or their enhanced 'pat down', because I refuse to grant my government permission to violate my privacy so egregiously. I'd rather walk.

Sorry, Airlines, until this disgusting behavior ceases, no business from me, or my family.

Martin said...

I flew out of Boston last week to Seattle. I was in the line to be imaged. Every single person who went through the scanner was then getting the "enhanced" pat down. When I say every single person, that's the 14 people I observed in the line directly ahead of me. The line essentially stopped moving, so 5 of us were directed from our line to go through the "old" metal detector.

Many passengers, including me, were grousing, "Hey, if we have to go through the X-rays, then why the pat down? It's the worst of both worlds."

The response was, "Anyone with anything in their pockets must get the full pat down."

"But I don't have anything in my pockets," said one woman on the verge of tears who was being groped just the other side of the machine.

Suddenly a half-dozen TSA employees started repeating, "Anyone with anything in their pockets will be patted down! Anyone with anything in their pockets will be patted down!" It was like something out of a science fiction movie or episode of Dr. Who.

Are the people looking at the X-Rays not smart enough to determine, "That's a coin. No problem. That's a hanky. No problem." Instead it seems they have been programmed: IF any foreign object is detected, THEN there must be a pat down." If every person with lint in their pockets is going to be patted down, then WHY subject us to X-rays?

Why doesn't the TSA hire people with the judgement necessary to differentiate between a coin and a weapon and give them the authority to do so?

At some point will the TSA decide we're being hassled enough? Since its inception the TSA has been on a constant course of MORE rules, MORE documentation, MORE submission from passengers. So when will the TSA say, "OK, we are not going to make flyers feel more like criminals next year than this year?"

Anonymous said...

I've very angry about this. I have two little children and a wife. Unfortunately, I have already booked travel to go home for the holidays, but I am about ready to give up flying altogether. This is just too much. If these measures were so necessary, they would have been implemented immediately post 9/11, but we have had 10 years of domestic airport security in that period of time. What have you found and what has happened during that period that necessitates such drastic measures with enhanced imaging and aggressive pat-downs? These searches should be targeted towards suspicious people if they are going to be used at all, but noooooooooooo, our PC culture will not allow for that. Very unhappy. Wouldn't be surprised if the TSA helps kill the airline and travel industries.

Anonymous said...

"Meg McLain Singled out by the TSA, Cuffed to a Chair, Her Ticket Ripped up" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJGvsAgpfig

Can you post the checkpoint video of this encounter? I can't believe that she was "yelled at", "squeezed", and treated in the manner she claims. THANKS

Thomas said...

Very simple, Blogger Bob.

Explain this. A media gal ready for her enhanced pat down, abused, cuffed, her ticket torn in half, her plane missed, manhandled by 7 TSA agents and 10 members of the Miami PD at the Ft Lauderdale airport.

What steps are you taking to look into this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJGvsAgpfig

gads said...

Just recite the 4th amendment over and over during the pat down.
FOURTH AMENDMENT
'The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.'

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
There is no fondling, squeezing, groping, jabbing, or any sort of sexual assault taking place at airports. You have a professional workforce carrying out procedures they were trained to perform to keep aviation security safe.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team
.............
Bob, if you truly believe your above statement then something is very wrong.

Is TSA cut off from the many media sights reporting that these things are happening?

Are TSA executives investigating why these reports are being made?

Has TSA activated any secret shoppers to test the system?

Are or you just spouting party line like a good little eichmann?

Anonymous said...

Very simple question: Does TSA pat-down training involve placing of the hands in any position where contact with the breasts, vagina, penis or scrotum will occur?

Regardless of intent, if the screener does not ASK and OBTAIN verbal or written permission prior to making contact with the genitals, a sexual assault has taken place. That is the law in all 50 states.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty clear from all of these posts that people don't want your radiation or molestation. To those of you TSA agents who are exposed to these machines daily, enjoy the radiation bath.

1) This is supposedly due to the underwear bomber, yet these machines were ordered from Michael Chertkoff's company a year before the underwear bomber.

2)The underwear bomber didn't go through any security. He was escorted past security by a sharp dressed man and put on the plane without a ticket or a passport. Add to that the reports that he appeared to be in a hypnotic state.

3) Please name one instance where the TSA has prevented a terrorist attack. You guys did a marvelous job on 9/11.

Anonymous said...

So if I opt out and decide for the pat down, can I just strip down and get buck naked or would that be too much?

Anonymous said...

I opt out of the strip search scanner. Are TSA being trained as to the correct technique for manual search. I don't object to another male touching me to see if there is something aside from my normal anatomy. However I just read in the comments that a man had his testicles squeezed (to the point of pain)??!! That is just wrong and shows that there is little or no training being done on proper exam technique.

Anonymous said...

If any other person attempted to do this, they would be arrested.

Mackenzie said...

Ponter:
Lay off the Koolaid. This security theatre doesn't make us safer. The reinforced cockpit doors that keep "bad people" from reaching the pilots to hijack planes are what fixed the problem 9 years ago. The rest is simply the terrorists winning. Look around! They've clearly won, since a big portion of the country is now terrified ninnies willing to give up their Constitutional rights in ways that should have Ben Franklin rolling over in his grave so fast his head drills a hole right out the side.

Princess Hayden said...

I don't mind getting a pat down i've been touched before, but does that mean for my 11 month old baby i would rather take her down to her diapper then let anyone touch her the way they touch you for a pat down.
Is it necessary if we're willing to take her down to her underware?

Vijay said...

Some people compare the enhanced pat downs to the "full body pat downs" we had after 9/11. They are anything but. If you have not yet been subjected to a pat down please go through one before commenting. I went through one recently. I'm an Indian male and after going through the body scanner in which the result came through as 'Clear', the TSA agent insisted that he do an enhanced pat down. He touched my groin (my reproductive organs), buttocks, felt between my legs to both ends, crept his finger inside my trousers below the belt line from the front and the back. For women they feel around each breast after having lifted up each one. They probe the groin area of women and feel under the belt and between legs. As I said if you have not been subjected to this new practice please go through it before you comment. Through this ordeal I kept thinking, I wouldn't have this TSA agent's job for nothing, but his groping was so clearly humiliating, my pity turned to horror.

I have not yet seen a footage of an enhanced pat down on national television. Perhaps this is because it is close to sexual groping. I would like Janet Napolitano to demonstrate on national TV and be subject to this groping to help us understand how this is discreet. That claim is just nonsense.

Anonymous said...

May a request enhanced pat down 20-30 times? Just make sure I am satisfied with safety regulations?

Anonymous said...

This nude scanning and sexual assault pat downs have gone too far. I would rather deal with the to risk of flying using regular metal detectors, chemical sniffers and air marshals then put up with this. I will not be flying until this assault on our rights as law abiding citizens stops.

Anonymous said...

El Al has offered excellent suggestions to TSA about airport security? Why are you ignoring their suggestions? You ask no questions of people going through the scanners, such as where are you going, what's your purpose, do you have any gifts? I get that much driving into Canada. A few simple questions and knowing what sort of body language to look for would be much more useful than putting people through these scans and automatically letting them through if the alarms don't go off. God forbid any of you have to engage your brains for a minute!

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob...by implementing draconian policies like the new backscatter scanners and "enhanced" pat-downs, the Constitution-abusing TSA has effectively handed the terrorists victory.

And Janet Napolitano's caviler, crass, and downright rude attitude toward the criticisms of these new procedures has proven that the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security considers the U.S. Constitution to be nothing more than a worthless piece of TOILET PAPER.

CHANGE YOUR STINKING POLICIES!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't have a choice but to fly for my job. I'm an older and extremely modest woman and I tend to wear slightly baggy clothing because I'm not comfortable with tight clothing. Also, I have a birthmark on my face so have to use a good bit of makeup on that part of my face to hide it. I'm extremely stressed out about this whole thing. I will not go thru the scanner - I know someone personally who has seen these images and the person viewing them is not always in a remote room but sometimes right there - and they most certainly can "save" and transmit the pictures. At the same time, I cannot allow someone to touch my private parts or to wipe the makeup off my face or mess up my carfully done hair. I have frequent flyer cards and have been traveling for over 20 years. This is unacceptable harrassment and assault. There are other ways to screen passengers. I am terrified every time I go to the airport that I will be singled out and humiliated. Can I state the scanner and pat down are against my religion? If I do, what will happen?

Anonymous said...

TSA is a garbage institution and should be shut down.

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of a quote by Benjamin Franklin "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Guess what, the terrorist have already won...their goal is to get us to give up our liberties, and extremely intrusive "pat" downs at airports are just one example.

Diana said...

I am all for the pat down, I travel about 2 -3 times a year, I have not since this new policy became effective. I would like to have a peace of mind knowing that all is being done to protect us. I am also having a hard time with all the negative coverage coming from the media. I believe that some TSA agents probably do need better training, especially with handling people with medical issues, that is if one has prosthetics etc. Also I am sure the agents are not enjoying doing this part of their jobs.
Mr. Pistole really does have to stand firm on this issue, because if someone does pass through this screening process and something bad ends up happening then guess who will be blamed, off course the TSA.
NOTE: I do not work for the TSA……

Anonymous said...

I guess DHS has it on good authority that terrorists are only going to attack commerciale airplanes, otherwise all subway riders, train riders, bus riders would be going through the same drill. the radiation question aside, in the 4+ years it took tsa to field this system they could have developed avatars for the images--no naked bodies. they could have also paid for and trained sufficient puppy power to make this violation of personal liberty unnecessary. suggestion: if they want to pat your clothes to see what is concealed, disrobe and hand them the clothes...shocking but less humiliating than their enhanced patdowns-at least you have control...but then again I am sure that would be considered indecent exposure unless they decide to expand to public strip searches.

Brian said...

I did not see or hear that all airport employees and flight crews are subject to the same rules. If this is indeed a valid security measure then EVERYONE should be made to go through the same screening process 100% of the time. I am active duty and I have no problem with the scanners or patdowns (as long as the TSO's are properly trained and have passed comprehensive standardized test). Like the TSA has commented ANYONE (including Active Military) can be a potential threat, that means so can all airport staff and flight crew. This includes TSO's. I have been at airports prior to TSO's showing up for work and have yet to see them go through these measures. They are not exempt and if the TSA says they are then this is an illegal search and should be halted as it is not being applied equally.

Anonymous said...

This is a violation of our rights as Americans! Is anyone paying attention?!

We must now subject ourselves to low levels of radiation, which has been deemed safe by the FDA, CDRH, NIST and APL. These scans show you in all of your naked glory, to whom? A technician?! A doctor doesn't see this much of your body! There goes your privacy. What will all of these scans do to the hundreds if not thousands of Americans that have to fly for a living? Sure, you can opt out of these scans, and instead have invasive pat downs. Do you want some strange man or woman running their hands up and down YOUR body? Touching you in a way no stranger EVER should? In any other circumstance, this would be considered assault! What will it take before cavity searches are necessary? Should you or I have to subject ourselves to being touched that intimately by a stranger?

If you have children and opt out of the scan, they too are subjected to 'modified pat downs'. We raise our children, telling them their body is their own and NO ONE has the right to touch them without their consent. As parents we now have to stand by and allow a STRANGER to man-handle our precious children OR risk unknown side affects from radiation if they are scanned. What a choice!

How many of our personal rights have to be taken away or given up in the pursuit of 'keeping American safe' before American's wake up and say: "NO MORE!" Where is the line?

Anonymous said...

First off Bob you work with TSA, just as they tell the agents to feel up all us travelers, they are pulling your strings as well. You would not tell us what you think because you are a part of their orginization. Frankly this is just another example of how our government is stepping all over the constitution and our rights. When we will say enough is enough and get our country back.

Anonymous said...

I am a multi-million miler Elite Status traveler with many years pre and post 9/11 travel security experience.

My first response to the "pat down" noise was "get over it". Then I was "patted down." This can not be legal and this can not be reasonable. My privates were touched evasively multiple times because the "braces" I travel with set off the medal detector (something handled by wanding in the past on the rare occasion when it occurs).

I now understand, and support, America being up in arms against this sick, pervasive, indecent, procedure.

Anonymous said...

We take a chance every day of our lives crossing the street, getting into our cars, and a plane being struck by lightning. Yet, we find it okay to dehumanize and humiliate people making them uncomfortable. I would rather have my freedoms and stand for what I believe in so no one should have to feel humiliated than to give my freedom up and subject myself to pointless “security measures” which do nothing. If safety was the main concern we should check every single bag, better yet no luggage, and a Marshall/s should be required to be on every plane. But, actually doing something is too much hassle. I would rather die with dignity standing up for myself and my body whether scanned, or patted down then to die thinking I was safe enduring personal humiliation as well as the humiliation of others than because every piece of luggage was not checked or a Marshall just not happened to be on the one flight. Vanity and Ignorance is not what I stand for. Having freedom is much important because as soon as we lose even a portion we are already lost inside. I suppose those who oppose such measures are Soldiers in their own right believing in the Freedoms and speaking about such on our own soil while the other Soldiers fight for these Freedoms daily.

Anonymous said...

The same people complaining about this blog are the same people that complained the fed wasn't doing enough on 9/11. It's an excuse to criticize a group of people trying to do what was asked of them. You are all correct , you have the right not to be scanned or pat down, you have the right to complain- but I have the right to feel safe when I get on the plane. You also have the right to not fly. Use it if you don't like the procedures. Everyone has their "great" ideas of how things could be done, except there will always be people like you here that will complain no matter what. By the way, thank god groups like the TSA, the military, & intelligence services continue to do their thanks jobs so that you have the RIGHT TO COMPLAIN.

Anonymous said...

Chertoff is making MILLIONS off of the scanners.
The images that the scanners create of children ARE child pornography.
Kurt Haskell has given us evidence that the Underwear Bomber was a Covert Op to usher in the scanners.
The GROIN SEARCHES are punishment and a way to push people into Chertoff’s scanners.
The MEDIA is willfully helping the TSA/government advance the erosion of our rights and bring in the POLICE STATE.
There is NO accountability for the TSA agents who abuse citizens.
Congress and other government officials have been exempted from the abuse.
The TSA has lied to us about every single thing pertaining to this issue.
They abuse our family members in front of us and if we complain they arrest us.
They will use the propganda created by not using the scanners on Opt Out day and the media’s related lies to suggest that the public supports their actions.
A few days after Thanksgiving, the scanners will be back and the GROIN SEARCHES will be back and even MORE INVASIVE because they will insist that is what the public wants.
In a very short time, they will bring this to the trains, buses, subways, and city streets.

If we do not stop this erosion of our rights, tyranny will be the legacy we leave our children.

Anonymous said...

For those of you that feel "violated" due to the new securiy measures at airports (advanced imaging technology and enhanced pat downs), I have a very simple solution for all of you: don't fly. Drive instead or take any other form of public transportation. You know before you get to the airport what security is going to be like so don't be complaining about it when you get there. The TSA agents are just doing their jobs to further enhance national security. You know if you refuse the full body scanner you're going to receive a pat down. Personally I think the full body scanner is much less "invasive" and "violating" but hey, different strokes for different folks. Next time you go through security at the airport you should be thanking the TSA agents for keeping you safe instead of complaining about their new security procedures.

Anonymous said...

Unless we stop this now, in 5 or 10 years, these CHILD-PORNOGRAPHY-PRODUCING machines and the GROIN-SEARCHES will be widespread throughout our nation and society. You will be subjected to a virtual strip-search or a PUNITIVE-GROIN-SEARCH at train stations, bus stations, sporting events, and even on city streets.

By that time the media will have been able to propagandize the people into almost complete submission. And of course, when this goes into the streets, the GOVERNMENT ENFORCEMENT AGENTS won’t need to be of your same gender. In the street, on the way home from work, your wife will be detained, and either submit to the virtual strip search (and the viewing and the viewing booth will be RIGHT NEXT TO HER) or she will be subjected to a full hands on GROIN-SEARCH by a male officer, or male OFFICERS.

And if you complain, they will call you a terrorist and you will be arrested.

And the MEDIA will continue their propaganda, and far too many people in a land once known for FREEDOM will say, “Well, I guess that’s ok, as long as we are being kept safe…”

Think this is far-fetched? It was only a few years ago that editorial cartoons were published that warned about what is happening right now, is that not true?

Anonymous said...

According to the TSA, only men will do the GROIN-SEARCH on men, and only women will to the BREAST AND GROIN SEARCH on women, right?

QUESTIONS:

Have there been ANY incidents where males performed the BREAST AND GROIN SEARCH on females, either adult or minor?

Have there been ANY incidents where females performed the GROIN SEARCH on males, either adult or minor?

Anonymous said...

OK, you have posted my questions about cross-gender searches, now would you please ANSWER those questions?

Dave said...

Liberty has never come from the government.  Liberty has always come from the subjects of it.  The history of liberty is a history of resistance. 
-Woodrow Wilson

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. 
-Benjamin Franklin

Dave said...

I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. 
-James Madison

No man is above the law and no man below it. 
-Theodore Roosevelt

The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.
-Samuel Adams

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting my questions about the cross gender BREAST AND GROIN CHECKS, NOW HOW ABOUT ANSWERING THOSE QUESTIONS?

Anonymous said...

OK, Bob, since you are unwilling to answer the question about cross gender groin searches, it is only reasonable to assume that it HAS HAPPENED, right?

Anonymous said...

"If you are asked to undergo a personal screening you will be provided a security officer of the same gender, except in extraordinary circumstances."

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/customer/customer_service_procedures.shtm

Well, well, well, no wonder Bob didn't want to answer the questions about men doing the breast and groin search on women, INCLUDING TEENAGE GIRLS, it is because they ADMIT THAT THEY WILL DO IT ON THE TSA's OWN WEBSITE!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

What? No more comments allowed about the "enhanced" genital searches?

I sure would like to see a TSA response to the over one thousand complaints that citizens have filed with the ACLU.

Is that too much to ask?

Anonymous said...

There are too many people complaining about these "enhanced" patdowns, some disturbing complaints, to merely dismiss them.

I remember the old ones, or at least, in 2005 in Amsterdam - legs, arms, even my socks, part of my torso. And a woman screener, of course. It was before underwear bombers and I assumed she was looking for drugs. I've never been wanded but I remember the wands, where they only did a patdown where you beeped. I've never set off a metal detector, but then again, I haven't flown since 2008. I have no desire to have my genitals felt by anyone of any gender in that context (buy me a few drinks first, or be my gynecologist), so I would probably SHEEP-ishly go for the Playboy photos. But I have read that people have gone in, then been taken aside for an enhanced patdown anyway, even because of sanitary napkins. It's bad enough to be menstruating on an airplane without a stranger feeling your pad, with ANY part of their hand.

I would get over the humiliation, but rape survivors in recovery being randomly pulled aside can be given panic attacks and flashbacks. Women and a few men have written about how they were still unprepared for how "thorough" the enhanced patdown would be, and were left, some, in tears.

Even Dave Barry chose the "scanner" and got pulled aside for having "a blurry crotch." If I choose the lesser of two evils and then have a blurry crotch, I am not CHOOSING to have the enhanced patdown. I don't even ever wear metal...

Anonymous said...

Why is the TSA Blogmeisters no longer allowing comments about the CHERTOFF ENRICHING BREAST AND GROIN SEARCHES (I refuse to call them pat downs)?

I have written several since the last ones were approved. I have reference countless incidents of passengers reporting that they were touched inappropriately to outright sexual battery.


What's the matter? Is the only thing transparent at TSA the citizen's clothes?

Anonymous said...

The intellectual dishonesty being displayed on this Blog is demonstrative of the willingness of the TSA to mislead, misinform and propagandize the public.

I have asked many, many questions on this Blog, only to have the comments censored.

You are enemies of freedom.

Anonymous said...

Here's an enhanced pat down:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOSHu-UpQmg

Anonymous said...

No one cares about Nail Clippers, but nearly everyone is VERY CONCERNED about the breast, buttocks and groin searches.

Why are you hiding this Blog and putting that other blog on the main page?

Are you ashamed of what you are doing, or are you simply willing to censor free speech by hiding this topic out of view?

Anonymous said...

People stop flying and now they are groping kids in train stations and radiating people where ever they can.
Is this America?

Anonymous said...

Why does the TSA call the alternative to the virtual strip search, a "pat-down?"

There is absolutely zero "patting" involved. The name "Enhanced pat-down" is a total misnomer, and in fact, lie.

It is rather, a total body rub down. Two hands of a stranger, firmly rubbing every inc of your entire body. I felt disgusting afterwards. Shame on the TSA for lying about what you do.

And to add, of course, none of this makes anyone safer. There will always be loopholes - it's impossible to bubbleproof the entire travel experience.

Anonymous said...

SCOTUS has ruled that pat-downs may only be performed to determine if a person is carrying a weapon. Placing hands inside pockets and removing items that are not weapons is illegal.
Even having a person lift, or remove clothing is beyond the legality of a pat-down. As an officer of the law can not circumvent the law by having the person do for him, what the law prohibits.
So why are TSA agents allowed to do as they please at an airport when other officers are denied this?
People, it's time to take action. Stand up for your constitutional rights and refuse to be searched! It is your legal constitutional right!
Force the TSA to be held responsible and live with in the law.

Ellis Steinbeck said...

How can a citizen be completely aware of their rights in regards to SOP for agents and the enhanced pat down? Surely, a citizen has to know what is appropriate and what is not, so that they can be advocates for themselves and their children.

Now that enhanced pat downs are going to be a more integral part of daily flying, what genital contact is allowable by TSA according to the SOP?

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