Thursday, November 11, 2010

New TSA Pat-down Procedures

As we’ve discussed before, TSA’s screening procedures change regularly based on the latest intelligence. Pat-downs have long been one of the many security measures TSA and virtually every other nation has used in its risk-based approach to help detect hidden and dangerous items such as explosives like the one we saw in the failed terrorist attack last Christmas Day.

Pat-downs are primarily used to resolve alarms that occur at a walk-through metal detector, if an anomaly is detected during screening with advanced imaging technology (AIT), or during random screening. If one of those situations arises, you will be given a pat-down before you're able to continue on to your flight.

Pat-downs are also given to passengers who opt out of screening by AIT or walk-through metal detectors.

There’s nothing punitive about it - it just makes good security sense.  And the weapons and other dangerous and prohibited items we’ve found during pat downs speak to this.

It’s worth mentioning that only a small percentage of passengers end up needing a pat-down.  The best way to be prepared at the checkpoint is to remove everything from your pockets prior to screening. Also, if you have a hidden medical device, you may want to bring it to the officer’s attention before screening. We’ll be better able to help expedite your screening that way...

A few other points to keep in mind:

* Pat-downs are conducted by same gender officers
* All passengers have the right to request private screening at any point during the screening process
* Anyone has the right to have a traveling companion present during screening in the private screening area.

Blogger Bob 
TSA Blog Team

504 comments:

1 – 200 of 504   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Bob you say 'There’s nothing punitive about' pat downs. However I disagree. I am being punished because I happen to have surgically implanted metal in my body and choose to not expose myself to whatever unknown long term effects the AIT devices may have.

Susan said...

Bob, I would suggest that you do some traveling yourself and don't use your TSA ID for the vaulted ID check - then come back and tell us what happens.

Anonymous said...

If the aim of a pat-down is non-punitive, why are "enhanced pat downs" now directed at people who object to be virtually strip searched using whole body imaging machines?

Michael Hyatt said...

I think I have only commented one other time, though I faithfully read your blog via RSS.

I really do appreciate the effort you go to to explain your procedures. They make total sense. You guys are doing a great job keeping our country safe and secure.

May God bless you.

Jim Huggins said...

So, this item is titled "NEW TSA Pat-down Procedures". Care to actually share what's new?

Otherwise, if TSA isn't willing to discuss its "new" procedures, I guess I'll just have to rely on all the rumors I'm reading online ... which indicate that, contrary to your posting, pat-downs are being sometimes being conducted punitively, sometimes by officers of a different gender than the passenger, and sometimes for reasons other than those listed (e.g. wearing a dress).

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob, What's different about the new pat down procedures? You keep forgetting to mention that somehow!

Anonymous said...

For those who opt for the naked scanner instead of the "pat" down, here is my question:

What is the number of photons per unit area and time absorbed by the skin when someone is in the machine?

The government has never provided the answer to this question.

By the way, you TSO's should be asking your union this question rather than just blindly taking OSHA's assurances at face value.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Is what the Massachusetts ACLU saying regarding the pat downs true?

Women in tight skirts that don't allow an agent to feel the thigh area may be asked to remove the skirt in a private screening area and will be given a gown or towel to put on.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Honestly, You/TSA the gov ... could produce any number of security measures and safety would only be in the eye of the beholder. All of these steps which amount to simply being rude and perverse only make people want to fly less. Once I can find a job that does not require flight I'm done flying ever again. There is no service quality left in this service based industry.

-s

Djet Rhed said...

Would it be possible to have all checkpoint screeners read this post? Because what we see at checkpoint and what is claimed in Washington are two quite different things.

Anonymous said...

So I have to remove my wallet? I have to remove a tissue or handkerchief from my pocket? Why is it that every story about the pat downs I read is punitive? What about the safety of the new radiation? There's a lot you're NOT addressing that needs to be addressed. This "Do what we say because we know better than you" attitude doesn't work in a democratic society.

RB said...

November 11, 2010 4:00 AM PST
Backlash grows over TSA's 'naked strip searches'


Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20022477-281.html#ixzz14z731SKm



"A growing number of airline passengers, labor unions, and advocacy groups, however, say the new procedures--a choice of full-body scans or what the TSA delicately calls "enhanced patdowns"--go too far. (They were implemented without much fanfare in late October, amid lingering questions (PDF) about whether travelers are always offered a choice of manual screening.)"

Anonymous said...

Care to comment on this, Blogger Bob:

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

DevilDog438 said...

Why does the new standard "frisk" involve the requirement to reach INTO peoples clothing, as anecdotal reports have indicated? In those reports, people are stating that the TSO grabbed their waistband, pulled the clothing a significant distance away from the body, looked down the gap created and then felt around the circumference of the torso to the depths of their fingers.

This is an invasive search that goes well past the "reasonable" test and for which law enforcement officers would be required to prove probable cause. However, TSA is claiming the power to do it just based on the purchase of a ticket for common carrier air travel.

Anonymous said...

This new procedure as well as the new scanners are a perverse, and outrageous abuse of TSA's authority. Can you site any studies of the health effects of frequent doses of this level and type of radiation? How about long term? What assurance do we have that the machines are even operating at the frequency and dose that the manufacturer specifies?

RB said...

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/station/as-seen-on/Woman_claims_new_TSA_Security_Protocol_amounts_to_legalized_groping_Los_Angeles-106802483.html


And one more case of people saying TSA is lying.

Bubba said...

Pat downs are not punitive?

If not, why are they of a special kind of invasiveness if the person happens to out out of being viewed naked by an unseen stranger?

If not, why do they include removal of tight skirts?

If not, why do they include repeatedly sliding hands and bumping into the genital area?

Anonymous said...

I looked at the 09:57 post and see just effective crowd control. It is not unusual to remind people in a group of their proper place so that they may be processed. A little intimidation works wonders. We see that in schools, the military, places of incarceration, businesses. If the TSA people don't get cooperation, the passengers would behave as a herd of cats. The passengers would never get loaded on the aircraft.

The TSOs are just doing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

How is the 'same' gender screener determined for people in the process of, but who have not yet completed, gender transition (colloquially, a sex change)? How can people in the process of transition be assured that their privacy and safety will be maintained during the screening process?

Anonymous said...

What ARE the new procedures, Bob? Are they "enhanced"? What does this "enhancement" consist of? Are your screeners reaching into childrens' clothing, Bob?

Adrian said...

I have yet to see someone go through a whole body imager without also getting frisked, usually after getting scanned two or even three times. It's much faster to opt for the pat-down to start with. I'm usually through the checkpoint ahead of the two or three people who had been ahead of me in line. The only people who get through faster are the ones who luck out and get the metal-detector-only line.

Anonymous said...

What happens when the next incident involves hiding items inside folds of flesh and other cavities?

Do all TSA policy makers undergo this level of pat-down?

Anonymous said...

(1) Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...

(2) A policeman could not stop me on the street and frisk me without probable cause.

(3) Traveling on an airplane is not probable cause.

(4) If I were to stop someone on the street and brush their genitals with my hands, I would be guilty of committing sexual assault.

Conclusion: Having no reasonable suspicion of guilt on my part, a TSA employee attempting to touch my "private areas" is guilty of violating my Constitutional rights as well as criminal statutes forbidding sexual assaults. Any such encounter will be immediately terminated by me. The TSA employee will be placed, by me, under citizen's arrest and will be detained until the police arrive.

You have been warned.

Anonymous said...

The ACLU has posted this:

http://aclum.org/tsa/kyo_airport.php

TSA says that during the new standard pat-down, a screener of the same sex will examine your head, shirt collar area, and waistband, and may use either the front or back of his or her hands to feel your body, including buttocks, around breasts, and between the legs, feeling up to the top of the thigh. Women in tight skirts that don't allow an agent to feel the thigh area may be asked to remove the skirt in a private screening area and will be given a gown or towel to put on.

Is this correct?

Kaekae said...

I am a very modest woman (think Mennoniteish style dresses). Almost every time I fly, I get frisked. and the reason given is because they can't see my legs. Even if I raise my skirt to knee-length they still do it. and they also do my front/back. Now before it was just annoying - they didn't touch any areas that are off-limits. (and it has been women) Now I won't fly, because I won't go thru the naked picture machine nor will I allow anyone male or female to touch my how should i put this "bad touch areas"
and all because I wear full skirts.
I hear that they are doing this to small children and I am furious.

Anonymous said...

Why has there not been a description of the new pat down procedures? Is it because the description would make it clear how offensive these new pat downs are? Don't tell us it is because of security reasons, because anyone could understand what the new pat downs involve by spending a little bit of time observing at a checkpoint.

Anonymous said...

Anyone objecting to procedures designed to keep some nut case intent on blowing up the aircraft I (or wife/kids)are traveling on, is infringing on my rights to fly safely. If you object to these measures, don't subject yourself to them! It's a free country and you have every right to find an alternate means of travel.

Anonymous said...

Anyone objecting to procedures designed to keep some nut case intent on blowing up the aircraft I (or wife/kids)are traveling on, is infringing on my rights to fly safely. If you object to these measures, don't subject yourself to them! It's a free country and you have every right to find an alternate means of travel.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob: Just as you will meet people who believe things no matter what you say, it is obvious you actually believe what you write here. Saying something, even writing something, does not make it true. Your claims are so out of touch with the reality of what thousands, (perhaps even millions) of passengers are reporting, that you have as close to zero credibility as it is possible to have. Your quest for absolute power has absolutely corrupted you.

Anonymous said...

Anon said:
Anyone objecting to procedures designed to keep some nut case intent on blowing up the aircraft I (or wife/kids)are traveling on, is infringing on my rights to fly safely. If you object to these measures, don't subject yourself to them! It's a free country and you have every right to find an alternate means of travel.
---------

No, Anon, you miss the point. These measures violate the 4th Amendment and assume you're guilty until proven innocent. These searches are being conducted without warrants, under color of law by non-peace officers. Not to mention that none of it keeps us safe, and never has.

Anonymous said...

Multiple anecdotal reports indicate that opting out of an AIT screen immediately results in an "enhanced pat-down." This is the first indication I've seen that you can simply go through a metal detector instead. I don't think words are matching up with actions, here.

I've contacted the TSA about what procedures are in place for those with post-traumatic stress issues regarding being turned into porn (AIT) facing a choice of a complete stranger groping them. I'm sorry, but I have issues when my mother gets too close - don't tell me that having someone of the same sex is supposed to solve all problems. I've gotten nothing in return other than a few automated "we're looking into it" emails. The thought of either of these procedures makes me alternate between wanting to shake and cry, and wanting to vomit.

I suggest you delve into this, Blogger Bob, as I have to fly for work quite frequently, and an answer to this would be just swell.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that the "pat downs" are being used to attempt to force more and more through the naked body scanners. Well, you won't see me putting my minor daughter through either of those. I guess when the airlines go out of business, we won't need the TSA any longer?

Ari said...

Bob, mention that those being screened have certain rights with respect to the pat-down, for example to have it done in private and to have a witness present. You also note that pat-downs are done TSOs of the same gender.

What if someone being screened becomes very uncomfortable with the nature of the touching after the pat-down begins and asks that it be stopped; us that person able to be escorted out of the sterile area, or would that person be required to continue to undergo the pat-down (with assistance of law enforcement if necessary)?

Anonymous said...

> Anyone objecting to procedures designed to keep some nut case intent on blowing up the aircraft I (or wife/kids)are traveling on, is infringing on my rights to fly safely. If you object to these measures, don't subject yourself to them! It's a free country and you have every right to find an alternate means of travel.

This would only be a valid point if it were possible for common air carriers to opt out of the TSA.

Then there would be a real choice, you would be free to waste your money and time on excessive paranoia; and the rest of us would be free to regain the (now lost) convenience of air travel.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


Perhaps you would disagree, but the privacy of my own body is an essential liberty.

Anonymous said...

When you say that the naked scanners and enhanced pat downs are to keep us safe, could you quantify that for us?

You say: "it just makes good security sense. And the weapons and other dangerous and prohibited items we’ve found during pat downs speak to this"

This statement implies that these new highly invasive measures have succeeded in thwarting intended hijackings or other attacks. If this is the case, please tell us about these success stories. The language is just vague enough to make me suspicious that you're referring to confiscated knitting needles and water bottles as evidence of success rather than some kind of actual threat.

What is the cost/benefit I get here? How many fewer terrorism related deaths per year should I expect now that these measures are in place? What do these machines cost? What is our privacy and dignity worth?

I suspect that an honest answer would be that these very expensive and intrusive measures provides very little or no measurable safety benefit.

Anonymous said...

Although you or I as adults may be able to emotionally withstand a prison-level patdown, how do you justify this type of physical contact on our kids? The message we are sending our children by allowing this injustice to continue is that "It's OK honey for some random person wearing a uniform to touch your private parts".

Anonymous said...

These checks are unlawful. How can you accept this type of groping of women and children that would rightfully put anyone else committing it, in prison!?

George said...

The fact is that there are a growing number of accounts of TSOs administering a humiliating and uncomfortable pat down, and then plainly admonishing the passenger that they should choose the scanner next time. Or else the passenger subjected to shouts of "We have a refusal!" or is otherwise subjected to embarrassing treatment as some sort of offender (or example). We can't be sure of the veracity of these accounts. But they're pretty consistent, and the number of them seems to be growing as the TSA rolls out the nude-o-scopes. And unfortunately, these accounts are more credible than any denials from the TSA, which has shown itself to be less than truthful about the scanners.

If the accounts are true, the pat downs may not quite qualify as "punitive." But they do show a pattern of treating "opting out" as something other than an routine alternative to irradiation that's supposedly available to anyone who asks. They certainly don't reflect the "professional work force doing what they're trained to do" as Bob portrays them.

It's certainly plausible that TSOs are being encouraged to "help" passengers "choose" the "option" that is most efficient and requires the least work for the TSOs. TSOs have every incentive to use the pat down as a "behavior modification" tool. Especially when they face absolutely no consequences for doing so, while they may face consequences for slow checkpoint transit times. Secret operating procedures and complete privacy for officers allow them to get away with that (and more).

Whatever the truth actually is about the "enhanced security," there is an increasing perception that the "pat down" is a punitive and humiliating attempt to force people into the scanners. The TSA won't correct this perception by responding with "No it isn't. Trust us." If they indeed want to dispel that perception, they're doing their usual inept job of it.

Alternatively, it's possible that the TSA leadership finds this perception useful. If passengers read stories of groping and humiliation, and then decide to walk unquestioningly into the scanner like good little sheep, that can only be a good thing for the TSA. It's also an excellent strategy of effectively enlisting critics to do what the agency itself is incapable of doing itself. This would be entirely consistent with the way the TSA apparently regards the public, as enemies.

Either way, the TSA may now have finally crossed the line of what people are willing to accept in the name of "security." If it results in action that forces change, the TSA's leaders have only themselves to blame. But I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone objecting to procedures designed to keep some nut case intent on blowing up the aircraft I (or wife/kids)are traveling on, is infringing on my rights to fly safely. If you object to these measures, don't subject yourself to them! It's a free country and you have every right to find an alternate means of travel."

Have you thought about the fact that the "nutcases" (failed shoe bomber, failed underwear bomber) that you refer to boarded planes outside the US? Nothing that TSA is doing inside the US is stopping foreign access, passengers on the two planes took matters into their own hands and saved themselves.

Anonymous said...

I guess the problem here is that when government incompetence and police incompetence are realized in the same place and the same time, the average citizen loses on many levels.

Thanks TSA. I'm ashamed to be American!

Anonymous said...

"Pat-downs are conducted by same gender officers."

Why is this? Is this required? I am much more comfortable being patted down by an opposite gender officer, can I request this? If not, why not?

Anonymous said...

Folks, stop wasting your breath. Arguing with a public-relations mouthpiece like "Bob" won't change anything. The official public story is to say anything (including blantant lies) to keep the policies in place. For those of you who don't believe that the new pat-downs are both overly aggressive and punitive, just go to an airport and watch. It really is that simple to prove Bob's assertions false.

But arguing HERE, in THIS forum is totally useless. Call your congressman, senator, your travel agent, or the airlines.

Tell them as much as you hate to, you'll be DRIVING to Florida this year, because you don't want your daughter groped on the way to Disneyland.

Arguing with "Bob" is useless. And arguing with a pre-brainwashed TSA agent at the airport is both futile AND stupid. Neither is willing or even able to change these policy.

Call your congressman, senator, or airline instead! Today! This must be stopped now, or it will only get worse tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Does a passenger have a choice of which gender officer conducts the pat-down?

hoads said...

The body scanners and "enhanced" pat-downs are flagrant violations of the 4th amendment. I was against the formation of TSA and it seems the TSA is just another stupid make work government enterprise who are now being used to condition the American people to some sort of police state.

Once we accept this level of instrusiveness, we embolden the government to wrestle away more and more of our freedoms under the guise of "safety", "greater good", "experts say...", etc.

I will never submit to a body scanner, will fly only if absolutely necessary and will work tirelessly to peacefully protest this and any other kind of government overreach.

National Opt Out Day 11/24/10!!

Anonymous said...

How about this, let's make it simple. Bob, yes or no:

Do the new procedures including the touching of the genitals, through the clothing, with the palm of the hand?

Just answer the question.

Anonymous said...

I suggest the president send his daughters through and use the opt out, lets then see the video of the pat downs and see if they are invasive?

Bubba said...

Bob,

Explain this: http://blogs.herald.com/dave_barrys_blog/

What is a "blurred groin"? And weren't intimate areas blurred anyways because of the resolution + privacy filters??

Or can these machines actually see genitals after all?

Anonymous said...

While these new procedures may help the job security of the person who came up with them, I really don't believe they add any more safety.

Freedom is a double-sided coin, and there comes a point where one has to be willing to take on certain risks in order to have that freedom.

Anonymous said...

How about the ability to watch your belongings during either the AIT or a patdown? Why is it acceptable for everything a person is traveling with to sit unattended at the end of a belt? You need to SOLVE this. Getting ripped off while at a federal security checkpoint should NEVER happen.

Blogger Bob said...

Hey all... Just wanted to let you know I'll be moderating later tonight. Your comments will appear soon.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

It's nice that you moderate, it'd be even nicer if you answered questions. Where is the training manual or other procedural guide to learning what is an appropriate "Enhanced" pat down, and what is not?

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Why do you not answer any of the comments posted here?

J. R. said...

Two very simple question for Blogger Bob, apropos of this article reporting that a father was forced to watch a TSA employee touch the genital area of his 8-year old son:

DO THESE PAT-DOWNS INVOLVE TOUCHING THE GENITAL AREA?

DOES THAT ALSO APPLY TO CHILDREN?

Please just answer yes or no, not in bureaucratic doublespeak!

Jobeth66 said...

I have a few questions. If I opt out of the WBI, why can't I be sent back to the WTMD, instead of being forced into an 'enhanced pat-down' scenario, especially if these pat-downs are NOT, in any way, punitive? If I alarm at the WTMD, then send me to pat-down.

Why do you say that pat-downs will be conducted by same-gender officers when TSOs have told us that they will 'attempt' to conduct them with same-gender officers, but 'nothing is guaranteed'. Is the TSA /guaranteeing/ that same-gender officers will be utilized?

What if I am directed to a private screening area and refuse to have any part of my screening performed outside of public view?

Can I invite a traveling companion to witness my pat down, either public view or 'private screening area'?

Can my traveling companion/witness make a video or photographic record of the pat down in either public view or 'private screening area'?

If TSA recording devices are in use, how do I get a copy of the video of my pat down?

If I opt to use the WBI/AIT, can I demand to see the image that is being shown to the officer monitoring the device?

Will the TSA guarantee only same-gender officers are viewing of these images?

RB said...

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6AA55S20101111?ref=nf


WASHINGTON | Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:16pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Stepped-up security screening at airports in the wake of foiled terrorism plots has provoked an outcry from airline pilots and travelers, including parents of children who say they are too intrusive.

..............................
How long before TSA reads the tea leaves?

Anonymous said...

I fly weekly. Domestic and International. It's not clear to me if you actually fly, Bob, but you should give it a try. It's an interesting experience which says a lot about TSA as an organization and the average people who are flying.

First off, the general rule now occurring in airports is pat-downs for anyone in baggy clothing. This was pretty standard last winter and the winter before so I don't see much of a change. People traveling with a pullover or skirt (as one woman mentioned) should anticipate incurring a pat-down unless (a) the TSA line has gotten very long, or (b) there are already people in the penalty box.

Second, the new pat-downs are invasive. I appreciate the TSA officer explaining to me where he will be touching and how he will be touching. Of course, that's necessary because anyone else manhandling someone in that manner would provoke a very negative response. I'm sure many of the agents conducting the pat-downs feel as uncomfortable as the victims... errr... passengers.

I am very concerned that children will be subjected to this for obvious reasons - they have been coached to report sexual molestation and abuse by authority figures, but then a TSA officer in a uniform somehow is an exception that they are supposed to accept in a public setting. The mixed message that sends is disturbing at best.

Third, I am waiting to be offered a nice wet wipe or hot towel for my hands. If TSA is going to ask to wipe my hands with a magic wand - and yet still allow me to proceed without slowing down the line before the swabs have been processed - then why not make it a pleasurable experience? The new policy of randomly wiping people's hands with swabs while they are in line to have their ticket and ID checked is both ineffective and poorly implemented. Doing that check immediately after the ticket and ID check still raises some questions.

Finally, the primary problem I see in both how TSA conducts itself and how security works in US airports is that TSA apparently is unfamiliar with Disneyworld. Every few months TSA either rotates officers or changes processes, and the whole apparatus comes tumbling down. Strangely Disneyworld manages huge volumes of visitors, of all ages and health, convinces them to spend 30% of their time in queues and lines, and collects payment for doing so. Disneyworld introduces new rides, new attractions, new shows - and never compromises the capabilities already implemented. Disneyworld has a typical turnover in staff, yet has professional training and supervision that makes sure that the visitors very rarely experience any issues.

Strangely it is just as likely that a terrorist organization would strike major American theme parks as airports. So there's a lot of security and monitoring built into Disneyworld - holistically and largely unobtrusively.

And I'm pretty sure Disneyworld would never - as a principle - condone producing naked images of visitors and/or subjecting them to being physically molested by uniformed staff.

Perhaps TSA would benefit from approaching security with a "What Would Disney Do?" philosophy.

Anonymous said...

If you opt out of the porno scan why do TSA agents have to all yell "opt out"? Seems a bit excessive no? It's my right to opt out and a spectacle does not need to be made of my decision.

Anonymous said...

Bob, I've asked before and am waiting for clarification. During the TSA pat-down, will the screener touch the breasts or vagina of a girl or woman? Or the penis or scrotum of a boy or man? Is the screener TRAINED to deliberately touch these private areas? Is touching the genitals a mandatory or discretionary part of the pat-down? Will the screener give notice and ask for consent prior to touching the breasts, vagina, penis or scrotum? Without notice, asking for permission and obtaining consent, any gential touching is a sexual assault in all 50 states, not to mention a gross violation of the Constitution. Please clairfy this issue for everyone. If a sexual assualt like this takes place, what should a traveller do? Call 911?

TSORon said...

Anonymous said…
Bob you say 'There’s nothing punitive about' pat downs. However I disagree. I am being punished because I happen to have surgically implanted metal in my body and choose to not expose myself to whatever unknown long term effects the AIT devices may have.

-------------------------------------
Yes you are going to go through a pat-down, just as you did when it was WTMD only. Sorry, but you are just giving an excuse to justify your position, which makes no sense. Most folks with metal implants prefer the AIT systems because it means that there is at least a possibility of not having to be patted down. With the WTMD every passenger with a metal implant was subjected to a pat-down, this is not true of the AIT systems.

Anonymous said...

K Bob, if I opt out of the whole body x ray and then pass thru a metal detector without an alarm, where is your probable cause or even reasonable suspicion that would justify a stop and frisk? When did TSA get a waiver from following Supreme Court rulings on Terry stops?

TSORon said...

Another Anonymous asked...
How is the 'same' gender screener determined for people in the process of, but who have not yet completed, gender transition (colloquially, a sex change)? How can people in the process of transition be assured that their privacy and safety will be maintained during the screening process?
---------------------------
Individuals are screened in accordance with the gender they present, no matter what the actual physical aspects of the person are. IOW, if you look like a female and claim to be one, you will be screened as one.

Anonymous said...

TSA Blog:
1. You indicate that pat-downs are done by same gender (I think you mean sex) officers. Is that done for the benefit of the traveler or for the benefit of the TSA agent?

If it's done to respect the sensibilities of the traveler do you allow them to select the sex of the agent that frisks them? I, for one, would be much less offended being groped by a female agent rather than a male agent.

If it's done to respect the sensibility of the agent, why do their needs take precedence over the public you are there to serve?

2. You indicate that pat-downs are non-punitive. That is a lie. I have personally witnessed a traveler being pulled aside and sent for a pat-down after exchanging minor unpleasantries with a TSA agent. Your agents behave unprofessionally, and that is one of the reasons the traveling public does not respect you. I have traveled extensively, and with the exception of third world countries the TSA is staffed by the most unprofessional agents I've encountered, by far.

Anonymous said...

One more thing Bob about Terry Stops. The Supreme Court has made it very clear on what constitutes a 'stop and frisk'. Since TSA is swabbing carry on bags for explosives at the same check points that have the full body scanners, a person who opts out, goes thru a metal detector without an alarm can have a swab done on clothing and when it comes up negative does not give TSA any justification for further intrusive frisking.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Could you please explain your views (either personally or of the organization you represent) regarding the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution? Do you believe that the Fourth Amendment restricts the reach of your searches to any extent? If so, where do you believe that line should be drawn?

I only ask because your posts seem to suggest that you've never even read it...

George said...

@Anonymous, November 11, 2010 12:44 PM: Anyone objecting to procedures designed to keep some nut case intent on blowing up the aircraft I (or wife/kids)are traveling on, is infringing on my rights to fly safely.

You have every right to believe that the TSA's "procedures" protect you and your family from terrorists. There's no basis for such a belief beyond faith and wishful thinking, but that's fine. However, your understandable desire to avoid exposure to anything that might challenge or threaten your faith and trust in the TSA is not sufficient reason to surrender our right to free speech.

If you find criticism of the TSA offensive, I'm sorry about that. But some of us find the TSA offensive, and are not willing to quietly accept what they're doing. You may be willing and even eager to surrender whatever rights, freedoms, privacy, or bodily integrity the TSA demands in exchange for their comforting "trust us." But some us recognize the TSA for what it is, and feel neither comforted, reassured, nor safe. This is still the United States, and such disagreements are healthy for a democracy even if it risks disturb the feeling of security that the TSA inspires in some people.

If you object to these measures, don't subject yourself to them! It's a free country and you have every right to find an alternate means of travel.

Avoiding flying would indeed be a good idea for people who can't quietly accept the TSA. Except that in too many cases there is no "alternate means of travel." You may not like to hear this, but people who aren't satisfied with teleconferencing and staycations have every right to protest the TSA.

In other words, if you object to criticism of the TSA, don't subject yourself to it! It's a free country and you have every right not to read this blog, not to read articles critical of the TSA, and even to speak out in defense of the TSA when people criticize it.

Anonymous said...

The pat-down has changed. Hand Held Metal Detectors are no longer the primary method used in the additional screening of passengers. Instead, a more thorough pat down is used. Passenger should note that pat-downs are also part of random additional screening.
And same-gender screening applies always. In all cases gender is based upon how the passenger presents themselves. A gender-in-transition passenger should tell the officer before they begin the additional screening process the gender the passenger chooses to be screened as.

Anonymous said...

Are there alternatives to the pat-down if requested? For example, could someone voluntarily request to strip naked in a private screening room in lieu of been touched by security officers?

CarrotTop TSO said...

How is the 'same' gender screener determined for people in the process of, but who have not yet completed, gender transition (colloquially, a sex change)? How can people in the process of transition be assured that their privacy and safety will be maintained during the screening process?

November 11, 2010 11:06 AM

A passenger will be screened by a person of the same gender as they present themselves. When in doubt, I have always asked the passenger their preference.

I've performed this pat-down countless times and it is not the grope-fest the media make it out to be. Explaining the procedure takes longer than the procedure itself. If a passenger is uncomfortable with having the pat-down performed in public view, private screening is always an option. In a private screening there will be 2 officers involved, one for the pat-down, one to witness. A passenger may also bring in any witness of their own choosing.

Hope this clears things up a bit.

Pat Stand said...

I will no longer be traveling the "friendly skies" as long as these body scanners and evasive pat-downs are in use. The terrorists wanted to strip our freedoms away and they got what they wanted. So I guess they won.

Michael Hyatt, this quote is for you,

"People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both." - Benjamin Franklin.

Anonymous said...

Anon Said: Anyone objecting to procedures designed to keep some nut case intent on blowing up the aircraft I (or wife/kids)are traveling on, is infringing on my rights to fly safely. If you object to these measures, don't subject yourself to them! It's a free country and you have every right to find an alternate means of travel.

You have no such right.... you only have the right to fly... you do not have the right to "feel safe" Please show me where this "right" appears in the Constitution of the United States of America?

Jonathan Byrne said...

Bob, you mentioned in a comment response in another blog post that there is no fondling, squeezing or groping occurring during the pat downs. Why hasn't TSA posted explicit guidelines on what TSA officers are allowed to do?

Can they spread the buttocks to feel if something is concealed between them? Can they move the penis or testicles aside to see if something is strapped to a man’s leg? Can they lift up breasts to feel underneath them?

A clothed physical search can range anywhere from as mild as an officer patting your sides and arms to the extreme of an officer inserting his hand in between your buttocks and fully cupping your genitals. Where does TSA draw the line? All comments are denials of inappropriate activity but no specifics are being given.

Anonymous said...

If you think getting felt up for not wanting someone to see you naked ISN'T punitive. Then you've got a warped view of the world.

kimm said...

I'm sick and tired of being punished just because I'm an American citizen, who wears a brace, wanting to travel by plane.

I've stopped traveling by air. I'll drive if necessary. When you get REAL security, which would be a dog (I'd trust the accuracy of a dog's nose more than any grouping or nudie picture), a profiler, both would would just be strolling around the airport, and a metal detector, I'll be back.

But I should not have to be humiliated in the name of bogus safety measures, just to fly. It is doing NOTHING...the terrorists WILL get around it. All this is doing is punishing the innocent flyer.

Anonymous said...

* Pat-downs are conducted by same gender officers

________________
I emailed the TSA yesterday to find out if I could ask for a same-gender officer. It was a simple question that seems to have a simple answer.

However, the response was a highly worded statement on the dangers of terrorism, suicide vests, and the convenience of the backskatter machine. The message ended with a "hope this has been helpful" message.


My question about same gender-searches was ignored.

Anonymous said...

My Family and I will no longer travel by air because of this perverse new policy. Maybe the Airlines need to step in or go broke. Oh, then we wouldn't need TSA anymore!!!

Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...

(2) A policeman could not stop me on the street and frisk me without probable cause.

(3) Traveling on an airplane is not probable cause.

(4) If I were to stop someone on the street and brush their genitals with my hands, I would be guilty of committing sexual assault.

Anonymous said...

TSOs Ron and Carrot Top:

Thank you for your answers regarding transgender passengers. Both were helpful and show a welcome sensitivity to the issue.

The Anon from before

Transfinite said...

I tried asking earlier but my comment wouldn't go through. Either that or Blogger Bob didn't want to release it from the moderation queue, WHO KNOWS.

What gender officials will be conducting pat-downs of non-binary-identified passengers?

Anonymous said...

Terrible. Big money goes to GE and RapidScan corps for these dangerous imaging machines. Shameful. Why are you not screening all cargo instead of needlessly irradiating passengers?

Anonymous said...

Every single time I go through one of the "strip search" machines, I receive a thorough rub-down (to call it a "pat" is laughable). If walking through it = rub-down, and opting out = rub-down, why bother with all the time/money that's wasted with them??

Anonymous said...

I'm a woman and I was patted down by a male TSA. Don't bother telling me it doesn't happen; it does.

Opting out of the Nude-o-scope does bring severe punitive measures, delays and harassment.

TSA agents are the angriest bunch I've ever come across. They scream, they berate, they harass and they're incredibly unprofessional.

I wish I could make a complaint that would be heard, but last time I tried, I got a stupid form letter that had NO connection to my complaints.

The TSA has to be dismantled. It's turned into a rights-destroying monster.

Rose Thornton

Anonymous said...

TSOs Ron and Carrot Top:

Thank you for your answers regarding transgender passengers. Both were helpful and show a welcome sensitivity to the issue


TSORon provided additional information on another board that may be of interest

TSORon said:
TSA goes to great lengths to provide a TSO of the same gender. At some airports, the smallest CAT IV's, where there are only 3 TSO's on duty at any one time, it may not be possible.

Nothing in life is guaranteed. Nothing.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Terrible. Big money goes to GE and RapidScan corps for these dangerous imaging machines. Shameful. Why are you not screening all cargo instead of needlessly irradiating passengers?

November 12, 2010 2:35 AM

Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of DHS, represented (Chertoff Group) the company making the Xray Backscatter version of these devices. Until his representation of the manufacturer TSA was happily buying the less dangerous MMW Whole Body Imagers.

Any reasonable person will question why TSA jumped on contracts to by the dangerous Backscatter strip search devices only after a former head of DHS had an opportunity to personally gain a financial benefit from those contracts.

TSA?

Anonymous said...

I asked before, but my comment was not released from moderation. I suspect it is because I described the 'enhanced patdown' I received on Nov. 1.

As a person with knee implants, will going through the backscatter machine be enough to keep me from being subjected to the enhanced patdown? will TSA agents be trained in recognizing the various implants? Or will I have to be exposed to the radiation, and then still have to be hand searched?

Blogger Bob said...

Rose Thornton said: I'm a woman and I was patted down by a male TSA. Don't bother telling me it doesn't happen; it does.

Opting out of the Nude-o-scope does bring severe punitive measures, delays and harassment.

TSA agents are the angriest bunch I've ever come across. They scream, they berate, they harass and they're incredibly unprofessional.

I wish I could make a complaint that would be heard, but last time I tried, I got a stupid form letter that had NO connection to my complaints.

The TSA has to be dismantled. It's turned into a rights-destroying monster.

Rose Thornton
--------------------------

Rose,

Please give me more details and I will be more than happy to look into this for you.

Airport/Airline/Checkpoint/Date/Time/Lane/Names etc.

You can leave the information here, or you can e-mail me at tsablog@dhs.gov

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Josh Z said...

I think the new pat-down is just a blatant way to give us folks a "Sophie's Choice"...Full Body X-Ray Scan (the machines are obsenely expensive) or invasive pat-down. Take it or leave it.

Me...I don't want either, and my only solution is to NOT fly. Thanks TSA for bumming out the economy.

Here's what I think should be mandatory. EVERYONE who works at the TSA MUST go through both the X-Ray and pat-down by the local police, every morning when reporting to work. Every morning, every TSA employee.

Then give me a call.

Anonymous said...

Rose,

Don't bother. Bob/Curtis will contact the airport, they will tell him what happened to you didn't happen, and nothing will happen.

Anonymous said...

Bob, why didn't you post my comment regarding my thoughts as a person who has been sexually molested in the past?

I don't understand how a government agency can censor communications without any punitive consequences.

There was nothing against the rules in my message.

Anonymous said...

I declined the scanner and was given the "enhanced" pat down. It was completely humiliating. However, as my ordeal was progressing I watched passengers being routed through the metal detector (as I had been) and then subjected to no additional screening. When I asked the agent why, he said they had not refused the scanner.

And here you are saying this is NOT punitive?

Anonymous said...

Hypothetical scenario: Three terrorists arrive at the airport. One, a man carrying a chemical explosive in a small plastic container hidden around the genital area. Another, an attractive woman in a dress. The third, a man wearing a business suit with a small bottle of Jack in his coat.

The woman goes through first, voluntarily opting for the full-body scanner. upon arpoaching, changes her mind, opts out, and TSOs begin the public pat down. This ties up the pat down procedures. The business man goes through full-body scanner and the bottle of jack is found. Now the scanner is tied up. This leaves the man with the chemical explosive to pass silently through the metal detector and onto the plane.

My point is terrorists aren't stupid and they usually work in groups. These procedures do nothing to stop an actual attack and aren't meant to.

I say let the guns and knives on board. A terrorist will be less likely to fly when the planes are full of armed Americans!

Anonymous said...

What you are doing is wrong plain and simple. What you are doing is beyond unconstitutional. The body scanners and aggressive pat-downs are not necessary. One of very few credible threats to the United States is the TSA itself. People say, "oh well I don't want a Jihadist taking down our flight." The truth of the matter is that there is no Jihad. It is made up to frighten us all to go along with what the TSA is doing. Please people if you think my comments are ludacris research it for yourself. Post your experiences in a public forum and write to your congressman. Protest the TSA's actions. Something.

George said...

@CarrotTop TSO: I've performed this pat-down countless times and it is not the grope-fest the media make it out to be. Explaining the procedure takes longer than the procedure itself. If a passenger is uncomfortable with having the pat-down performed in public view, private screening is always an option. In a private screening there will be 2 officers involved, one for the pat-down, one to witness. A passenger may also bring in any witness of their own choosing.

I am quite willing to believe that CarrotTop conducts pat-downs just as (s)he(?) describes, in a professional, courteous, and respectful fashion.

But I suspect that other TSOs may not be as professional or courteous as CarrotTop, and may intentionally make the procedure humiliating, traumatic, or even painful. They may do this out of a desire to encourage use of the scanners, or perhaps just because they think it's what someone who refuses the scanner deserves. Their supervisors may perhaps even implicitly encourage TSOs to use the pat downs as "behavior modification" to avoid the log-jam that would happen if large numbers of passengers "opted out." The supervisors surely would have to account to their bosses for poor efficiency metrics, but not for unnecessarily harassing or humiliating passengers.

The actual procedures and standards are secret, and nobody ever seems to be held accountable for "unprofessional" treatment of passengers. So what's to stop TSOs from making pat downs as unpleasant an experience as possible, all in the interest of "efficiency" and making the TSO's job easier? Bob can insist that this should never happen because the (secret) rules prohibit it. But one of the defining characteristics of the TSA is the maddening inconsistency that's visible to anyone who travels. There's too often a disconnect between what should happen and what does happen.

Regardless of the actual policies and procedures for the pat down (which of course must remain secret), the fact is that an increasing number of people perceive the pat down as a punitive sexual assault. This is a serious public relations problem for an agency that was already despised by much of the public. Their attempts to address the problem through their usual approach of denying and lying only make it worse. But I don't think their leaders are capable of anything else.

Anonymous said...

OK, can I remind you all of something? Flying on an airline in this country is a business. Simply said, if you don't like their policy, don't fly. Period. Stop the crying about your human rights. Drive, take a train, or don't fly.

George said...

@Anonymous, November 11, 2010 1:41 PM: I've contacted the TSA about what procedures are in place for those with post-traumatic stress issues regarding being turned into porn (AIT) facing a choice of a complete stranger groping them.... I've gotten nothing in return other than a few automated "we're looking into it" emails.... I suggest you delve into this, Blogger Bob, as I have to fly for work quite frequently, and an answer to this would be just swell.

This issue has been raised here before, without even an automated acknowledgement. The response you received is a true indication of exactly how the TSA is addressing this issue. They're addressing it the same way they have always addressed any other troublesome "complicated" consequences of their policies and procedures that people raise.

They're ignoring it.

I have no doubt that as the strip search gets deployed, there will be passengers with these "issues" who react to the procedures with something other than the expected docility.

The TSA will let the police and prosecutors deal with the offending passenger, and then go into defensive damage control. We'll see a press release putting all the blame on the passenger for the incident and commending the TSOs for their steadfast professionalism throughout. And of course, there will be a reminder that such problems can be easily avoided by simply stepping into the very friendly, very safe scanner that maximizes privacy as well as security.

Bob will, of course, reprint the press release here. And there will be hundreds of comments, mostly negative but a few recommending that anyone who can't handle this necessary security procedure should ride Amtrak instead. But they'll all be ignored, since as far as Bob and his bosses are concerned the case was closed and the problem solved when the press release was published.

That's how they're addressing this potential difficulty.

LTSO with Answers said...

@Anon

Are there alternatives to the pat-down if requested? For example, could someone voluntarily request to strip naked in a private screening room in lieu of been touched by security officers?

You may not be taken into a private screening room and strip down to be cleared to fly. A pat-down must be used as the procedure to clear a passenger.

LTSO with Answers said...

@ Anon

What ARE the new procedures, Bob? Are they "enhanced"? What does this "enhancement" consist of? Are your screeners reaching into childrens' clothing, Bob?

In a nutshell the new pat-down is a more thorough pat-down and the same procedures do apply to children as well. Before every pat-down occurs you will be advised on what will be happening during the procedure.

Anonymous said...

Bob: You stated yesterday afternoon that you'd be moderating, and some comments were posted since. You've responded to Rose's post. There were numerous other posts on the 11th asking direct questions. Will you be answering them today?

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, I left a two-part comment here regarding AIT. It was not posted.

Anonymous said...

I guess that presumption of innocence is an idea that long ago evaporated from TSA's decision-making process. Subjecting very ordinary and very harmless citizens to these new procedures is just illogical. I will be writing my representatives in Congress regarding this and the plehtora of other issues I have with the TSA's disregard for the privacy of Americans.

RB said...

Bob you ask Rose for some information about her screening.

I have never seen a lane number at any TSA checkpoint so how would we know that?

Also you ask for names, and it is known that TSA employees often refuse to identify themselves and supervisors will not provide that information.

How do you suggest we obtain this type of information when TSA does not make doing so possible?

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob.

I have not yet actually flown since these new machines came into place. Tell me, why not make all of the pat downs "enhanced"? If you are going to pat down someone either randomly or for refusing the FBS, then why make a distinction in the kind of pat down.

If these are indeed not punitive then does it not make sense?


Dan

Bud said...

My Congressman has already heard from me. This needs to end. It goes beyond outrage into absurdity. I will not fly, and no one should, if submitted to these procedures. There's no argument here; TSA is in the wrong. Using security theater to guard yourself against public revolt in the event of an attack is a disgusting example of how autocratic regimes justify aggressively treating their citizens.

If the Constitution can't stop this from happening, then it means little. There are other ways of preventing terrorist attacks that don't involve humiliating the public.

Anonymous said...

If your screening policy isn't completely random, then why did you single out my four-year-old kid for a pat-down when we were transfering planes in Atlanta one time? We'd already been through all the detectors/screens/everything, and you called out his name. He was delighted and I'm sure that if there were any terrorist wannabes in the lounge, they would have been too. Not to mention laughing their heads off.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone has the right to have a traveling companion present during screening in the private screening area."
-----------------------------

Bob,

Are you sure you meant to post this? Words have meaning, you know, and a right is something that you cannot violate with impunity. In fact, I would imagine you meant to say something like, We are currently extended the privilege of having a traveling companion present, but this privilege can be revoked at any point in the future or by an TSO who is not familiar with the guidelines.

Anonymous said...

This is misleading: "Pat-downs are also given to passengers who opt out of screening by AIT or walk-through metal detectors."

I was subject to a pat down because I opted out of an AIT machine, but I was quite willing to walk through a metal detector, and, in fact, did so. The "enhanced" pat down which followed turned out to be one of the most degrading experiences of my life.

Kiril said...

Sadly, most of these security measures are necessary when holidays are coming - Xmas, Eastern, New Year and so on. Lets hope that in the near future there will no need of that kind of measures.

Brent said...

Hey Bob...I am curious as to why these policy changes at TSA were not posted in the Federal Register for the standard 90 public comment period? Are you going to tell me that TSA is the only federal agency that doesn't have to post in the federal register?

Anonymous said...

There are multiple reports on the internet stating that the new pat downs done to punish those of us who dare say no to being virtually strip searched using ionizing radiation involve lifting shirts and sticking hands inside and all around waistbands.

That is way too invasive.

Stop this madness now.

Anonymous said...

Oh sure, government workers NEVER abuse their authority...

BTW, the brown shirts will be investigating all of you speaking out against new government procedures.

Anonymous said...

I opted out of the scanner, was patted down thoroughly, while people who went through the metal detector line were not patted down at all. I asked why and was told "Because you opted out." That, my friend, is punitive. This happened at DFW.

I have also been treated extremely rudely by TSA agents in PIT, ORD, and DCA for opting out. Face it, many of us don't trust the undisclosed amount of radiation coming out of those things, not to mention I don't trust the TSA with saved images of nude bodies. Trust the government? HA! I think not.

Anonymous said...

If the TSA truly cared about security on our airlines, they would study the measures ElAl has used very successfully for many years now instead of these time wasting and power procedures they have decided to go with instead. How can you say there is nothing punitive in this "enhanced" pat down?

Many TSA personnel are just doing their jobs, unfortunately too many use their "authority" to abuse law-abiding people and make the airport experience a royal aggravation.

Anonymous said...

When was the last time a pat down prevented a bomber from getting through security?

I'm OK w/ the normal pat down, but am definitely concerned about a TSA employee touching genitals or woman's breasts. This is a complete invasion of privacy and will likely not protect any more so than today.

As for the strip search machines, I can't believe we have those installed in our airports. I hope the ACLU wins its case against you.

Anonymous said...

Bob, out of curiosity, if a person went through the metal detector wearing only a speedo, wat otherwise shirtless, sockless and as of course required, shoeless, would they still need a rub, err I mean 'pat' down?

I only ask because you never oked my previous comments, and the security experts consider what you people do little more than a farce.

Cindy (@txflygirl) said...

I'm hearing reports of people's private areas being touched and breasts twisted. This is making our country more secure? I am embarrassed to be an American at this point that all people are guilty until humiliated at the Airport by TSA.

So let me get this straight, I can fly on a plane in this country but you either get to see me naked through a scanner or touch me. Where as if ANYONE else did either of those things I would file a sexual harassment suit and press charges.

This is WRONG!

Anonymous said...

My experience today was outrageous at LAX, first thing in the morning. There was a back up in the lines and after I put my stuff on the belt I went toward the regular scanner instead of the full body scanner; I thought I had a choice; they were both in the same line. Immediately I was held in front of the scanner while a person yelled Opt out! Opt out! over and over, keeping everyone in both lines from moving forward. It took more than 15 minutes (while I could not see my luggage by the way) to get my penalty for simply choosing the regular scanner: an invasive, embarrassing pat down top to bottom. Disgusting. I had no idea that expressing a preference would elicit such a price.

Anonymous said...

I am sure newspapers will enjoy making news of the pat downs, the TSA has been very professional with me in doing it. No problem.

Anonymous said...

If you guys are investigating "alternative security protocols for airline pilots that would expedite screening for this low-risk population while maintaining high security standards," why not include other low-risk populations? I'm a Federal employee (I won't say which agency, for fear of reprisal for questioning the policies and procedures of another agency) and I fly from the west coast to DC fairly regularly for work. I, along with every other Federal employee I work with have gone through a fairly thorough background investigation. In fact, as you're personally aware, Bob, we go through a re-investigation every 5 years. With such a huge number of Gov travelers, wouldn't it not only get US through the checkpoints faster, but in taking us out of the standard lanes, wouldn't that mean less of a wait for the general public to be screened?

Anonymous said...

Just another reason to avoid flying, period. Put the airlines and the TSA out of business for a few months, and see how quickly they change their customer-unfriendly ways. The government and TSA have affected my life far more negatively with this kind of crap then any terrorist ever has. "By the People, Of the People, and For the People", Indeed!

AJ said...

The new procedure weren't vital last year, or 5 years ago, or 10, or 20, or in the history of flight. Every year you react to some new threat with a new procedure that slows down lines or strips people of their dignity and rights. People who want to bring harm to a plane will find ways to do so. Stop stripping us and start educating us so the passengers can be the security. I quit my job because I had to fly too much and I was fed up with the procedures. WE ARE CUSTOMERS NOT CRIMINALS.

Anonymous said...

The TSA is completely nonsensical about implementing security. This type of searches, patdowns and scrutiny is reminiscent of the 1940s Germany. To couple this with technology that is NOT 100% known what it will do to humans is not ethical. To be treated like a criminal and processed like a criminal to travel is Orwellian. The millimeter wave and backscatter imaging devices are dangerous to humans but to what actual degree. These Advanced Imaging Techniques also invade the very depths of privacy. They can very well enhance and store images as though the flying public posed nude outright. What is this for? In the name of protecting our liberties?! Liberties, WHAT liberties are they protecting when we, the flying public, Americans are poked, proded, questioned, detained, humiliated, and scanned like animals and criminals? Is it worth flying to be treated like this?! My answer is NO!

Paul said...

The pat down does nothing to prevent either of the following.

First, a terrorist blowing himself up in the security line. It would kill many people, and shut down a airport.

Second, hiding explosives or other weapons in his anal cavity, (as do many inmates in prisons.

The pat downs and Body scanners are uncivil.

Anonymous said...

My most recent flight out of Milwaukee was eventful. The new scanners where just being evaluated at the time (end of September 2010). I had been selected to go through the scanner but politely refused. Immediately the TSO was starting to be rude and I was stared at intently by three other TSOs like I was criminally guilty. I was then taken through the metal detector and ushered to the pat down area in view of the public. At that time a male TSO started doing the patdown. As he performed his tasks, he started becoming arrogant and said,"I take it you don't use a cell phone." Rhetorically he continued, "You don't use a cell phone, do you?!" I responded, what does that have to do with anything? He then engages that the scanner produces no more harm than that of a cell phone. The TSA need to inform its TSOs that they are not PHYSICIST, DOCTORS, BIOLOGIST. They pass the scanners off as being completely safe, when no proof nor any study of long-term effects of such technology has been conducted. This is not only an issue of health safety but also of privacy. When will the TSA get it, we are NOT criminals!

Anonymous said...

Nothing in this post talks about what the new procedures actually are.

Anonymous said...

TSA is going to get smacked down sooner or later. The passengers / customers don't like it. The Pilots don't like it. The flight attendants don't like it, and there's no proof any of this crap actually makes us any safer. I fully expect in the next few years the airlines will have had enough and the the TSA to court for killing their business.

jb said...

Blogger Bob
Can you explain why I am subject to a full hand scanner check AND a full pat-down search after my artificial hip joint causes a gate alert?

The hand scanner check identifies the location of the cause of the alarm i.e. upper thigh and also the fact that there are no other magnetic anomalies on my body.

I have certified documentation of the prosthetic implant and surgical procedure with a photo ID.

Why then the full pat down over areas of my body that your operative have found to be free of metal items?

Why then a secondary search of my carry on items?

And why the hysteria?

Nowhere else in the world do I experience the level of histrionics of security staff ("I GOT A HAND SEARCH! I GOT A HAND SEARCH! MALE HAND SEARCH! MALE HAND SEARCH!") as I do in the United States.

Am I the ONLY person they encounter with a prosthetic implant?

My experience elsewhere is that it's a fairly frequent occurrence and that it's handled as a normal procedure.

Anonymous said...

When a person buys an airline ticket in the United States the buyer (knowing or not) is giving IMPLIED CONSENT to have TSA screen their person/property. In other words, when you give implied consent you are giving up that 4th amendment right that so many people keep quoting over and over again. This is why everytime someone tries to sue TSA regarding the screening of their person/property the lawsuit is always dismissed due to implied consent. Point being, the next time you buy an airline ticket remember that you are (knowingly or not) giving up your 4th amendment right through implied consent. And I don't work for TSA. I'm a California Lawyer.

Anonymous said...

TSA has succeeded where the terrorists failed: Based on your new intrusive procedures, I'm done flying. If I have to go somewhere, I'll drive or take the train. Maybe if enough Americans also boycott the airlines, you'll get the message...

Anonymous said...

THe new "Enhanced Pat-down Proceduce" is the most humiliating and intrusive process I have ever experienced. I am the highest level frequent flyer, and recently went through the "virtual strip search" machine. I complained to the TSA agent about the machine, and my reward was to be subjected to the "Enhanced Pat-down" on suspicion of "groin" objects. It was clear retribution. THe Pat-down was very thorough, touching every part of my body, as if I was a criminal for flying. If this procedure becomes standard, I will avoid flying, This is no way to treat citizens of this country who are paying for the privilege of flying. Even in dictatorships where I have flown, the procedures are not as intrusive. Stop this nonsense before you destroy the airline industry.

Anonymous said...

This is simply ignorant on the part of the government. They are not only stripping us literally but stripping our freedoms away as well. Don't get me wrong, I want to travel safely, but what we need to do is PROFILE! I will never travel again by plane until our system is revamped. U.S. citizens are being treated like criminals.

Laust Kruse said...

This blog is very very poor marketing attempt at diverting and avoiding criticism by not actually mentioning the tings that matter. Rhetorical redundancy and "look at us, we are so great!" will not change my mind about the TSA and their responsibility for making the world paranoid while touching my groin. I'm disgusted by you.

Anonymous said...

As much as I hate to say it, I'll be opting in to travel thru the radiation device.

If this is the path of least resistance, this decision will more quickly move me into and away from the perimeter of the secure-zone; this target-rich area is the most dangerous location on airport property for the next attack.

mrflight said...

all of you people who are like "take a look how el AL and Isreal do security" you do not want that!!, our constitutional laws will not allow that. Once you buy a ticket from El AL, the security starts, TSA recently implemented a program similar on november first and there is already outcry. Also Isreal uses highly trained behavior detection techniques, TSA BDO program is in its infancy, and there is out cry with that,Israel also goes through like 3 different checkpoints before even getting to the airport check in counter, If we did that you guys would complain of long waits just to fly, TSA very annoying 90 percent of the time, cannot win with the public no matter what it does. I got the patdown flying from BOS to BWI, and the patdown is nothing what the media is claiming, have you every been frisked going into a night club? thats what it resembles. The ATI machine is dumb and should be replaced with puffer technology that works. every1 goes through metal detector everyone gets puffed, but like i said TSA cannot win whatever it does

Anonymous said...

My 77 year old mother was required to submit to the new search after passing through the backscatter x-ray, due to a mesh installed in her abdomen. The patdown left her teary-eyed and devastated, this from a woman who has traveled all over the world after surviving a stage 4 diagnosis of cancer.

I am refusing the scan when I go see her for the holidays, and then I am never flying again. Thankfully, I can drive 27 hours instead of getting on a plane. Hooray.

I have the right to be free from search unless there is suspicion I have committed a crime.

George said...

OK, time for a recap.

Bob's post repeats the TSA's official position that the pat downs are necessary, highly effective, routine procedures that are used around the world, conducted by highly-trained professional offices, and are in no way punitive.

But a growing number of people have posted comments describing their own experiences that are at odds with Bob's benign characterization. The descriptions include rudeness, as well as touching that the commenters consider humiliating or a sexual assault. The comments are consistent with similar accounts in the media and in blogs, some of which note that the TSOs make it very clear that they're deliberately punishing defiant people who "opt out" of being irradiated.

So what should we believe? The TSA, who repeatedly denies that the pat downs are either punitive nor humiliating? Or the growing number of people who report experiences distinctly contrary what the TSA claims? Is this just another example of the honest ineptitude that too often creates a disconnect between what the TSA says should happen and what actually does happen at checkpoints? Or is the TSA lying through their teeth? Or might it be some sort of mass conspiracy to discredit the TSA with large numbers of people spreading malicious untruths about what was actually a pleasant and courteous screening experience?

Whichever side is right, this blog isn't doing anything to bridge the gap, which only seems to be growing day by day. I have to suspect that the TSA's leadership considers that perfectly fine, and somehow beneficial to security.

Anonymous said...

"Stop this nonsense before you destroy the airline industry."

Actually, the TSA would have no problem destroying the airline industry. Their mission is to protect aviation from terrorists. But the only absolutely sure way to do that is to end all passenger aviation. So if the TSA succeeds in doing that by making screening so onerous that people refuse to fly in numbers that put all the airlines out of business, their leaders will consider it a triumphant success. It would be the first time any security agency in the world completely eliminated a threat!

You might perhaps think they'd never really want that, since it would seem to put all the TSOs out of work and end their agency's unrestrained growth. But that's not a problem. Once they've eliminated passenger aviation, they can put their officers to work destroying Amtrak, Greyhound, and local mass transit system. Then they'd move to highway checkpoints that make driving impossible. Only after they've made sure that nobody in America can leave their homes without a complete strip search will they finally be able to declare Victory in the Global War on Terror!

God bless America.

Anonymous said...

On a recent trip I was twice chosen for the new pat-down procedure. The first time I had passed through security, been in the waiting area 30 minutes, and was walking down the corridor to the plane when I was asked to step aside for a random screening. So I was patted down in the narrow corridor while my husband's business co-workers passed by. The second time was on our return trip. I had not even passed through the metal detector before a TSA employee stopped me, motioned to a female employee, and beckoned me to come through the detector. The female employee then instructed me to put one leg forward, patted my inner thighs on down, then instructed me to put my hands on my skirt so it wouldn't fall down when she slid her hands down the other leg. She was abrupt and lacking in pleasant courteousness. The whole process was extremely humiliating and I'm ashamed to say, brought me to tears. I'm bewildered why they singled me out. I have not had to go into the full body scanner, but the thought makes me shudder and blush. And I'm dreading my next flight, this time with my young children; this is seriously making me consider whether I want to fly, even though I have close family ties across the continent. Yet if you have only one week of vacation a year, it makes no sense spending half or more of that time in an alternate form of traveling to your destination.

Anonymous said...

I am willing to put up with the new machines and even the pat-downs, however, if Muslim women wearing headscarves are only going to have their heads and necks patted down (as per CAIR and the fatwa) then I demand the EXACT same treatment - nothing below the neck - otherwise that would be racist, right?

Anonymous said...

The TSA is simply out of control. The scanners and the pat downs amount to little more than initimidation and corporate welfare.

While you contrinue to invest in ever more oppresive and intrusive security measure for airports, you let port security, rail security, bridge security, tunnel security, mall security, sporting event security, cargo security, and virtually ever other kind of security languish.

What you are doing is unAmerican and contrary to the values you claim to have sworn to uphold, namely the right to be free of unreasonable searches.

You are hurting the country. Stop it.

Anonymous said...

CarrotTop wrote, I've performed this pat-down countless times and it is not the grope-fest the media make it out to be.

CarrotTop, I'm sure you are performing your duty according to procedures and in a professional manner.

But you, personally, are doing a disservice to your country. You are establishing an atmoshpere of initimidation and coercion. You are setting the stage for a total surveillence society, as if these searches weren't bad enough.

There is no probably cause that justifies this. There is no reasonable suspicion that comes into play.

There is only force and naked power.

Refuse to do this, or quit your job, Carrot Top. I'm a middle aged suburban white guy with two kids, a mortgage, and in no way would I be considered a radical. But I'm completely serious when I say, 'do it for your country.'

I doubt this will get past the "moderation" filter, but in the hopes that it does, I hope you will consider the harm you are inflicting and choose another line of work.

highlander said...

Under no circumstances will I allow my wife, my children or myself to be subjected to these indignities.

From now on, or until you put an end to these idiotic procedures, we'll drive or take a train.

Anonymous said...

You can add my name to those that refuse to fly in protest while these scanning and intrusive pat down procedures are in place. I already hated the ridiculous, undignified security theater that was the TSA, but it has crossed the line. I will drive, I will take the train, I will simply not travel while these policies are in place.

Anonymous said...

Do you force soldiers to go through these scanners and pat downs, even though we fought for everyone's privacy rights to not be scanned nor patted down?

Anonymous said...

I posted here yesterday and I am happy to see more and more people disagreeing with the TSA. As for the people who read the post and then comments only to degrade people's comments before theirs with comments like, "just don't fly" and the attorney who 'doesn't work for the TSA' and says we give up our 4th Ammendment when we purchase a ticket. Are you utterly insane? Again, are you utterly insane? Some of us MUST fly; for business, for a death in the family, and countless other reasons. I feel sorry for anyone who defends the policies of the TSA. If the 'lawyer from California' were truly doing what he does for the interests of a human being he would know that the way the TSA has gone about doing what they have is illegal. Clearly unconstitutional and WRONG. If you don't see that I really feel bad for you.

Anonymous said...

"This is a moderated blog, and TSA retains the discretion to determine which comments it will post and which it will not." I'm sorry - when did TSA obtain the authority to deprive the people of their right to PUBLICLY seek redress from their government? seems to me you either allow comments on this blog or you don't, but you don't get to CHOOSE which speech you like and which you don't. Try reading the First Amendment...

bayrood said...

I travel weekly, and in the past six weeks have felt that security has become more burdensome, slower, and with no apparent security benefit. For the first time since the post 9-11 security response, I feel angry, and I will write to my representatives.

The pat down procedures described here offer no comfort to the traveler, either with regard to their participation in making a more secure travel environment or conveying a sense of absolute security. As it currently stands, the use of the full body scans are, I open the argument, a security risk. They increase chaos at the security check point; they increase risk of lost IDs; they are often bypassed as lines get long; and they perpetuate a reliance on easily circumvented technology at the expense of intelligence-based, risk-focused security. In addition, as the personnel responsible at the sites become stressed with the lines and chaos or fall into agreement with the frustrated travelers, their discipline flounders, and the integrity and credibility of their efforts fall.

The way we approach security appears to be the worst of bureaucratic decisions, reliance on spurious technological ease, perhaps influenced by vendor lobbyists. It has all of the characteristics of what led to, for example, NASA's Space Shuttle disasters, failure to integrate pre 9-11 intelligence, and countless other system failures.

Anonymous said...

http://johnnyedge.blogspot.com/2010/11/these-events-took-place-roughly-between.html

Anonymous said...

"When a person buys an airline ticket in the United States the buyer (knowing or not) is giving IMPLIED CONSENT to have TSA screen their person/property."

However, we are consenting to REASONABLE SEARCHES. These searches go far beyond being reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Given a choice between the invasive frisk and the invasive full-body scanner, I'm going to choose the frisk. Both options are invasive; but I think the frisk will probably be more uncomfortable for the TSA agent to perform. Most TSA agents signed up for a decent job that helps keep the country safe. Instead, the TSA has these folks touching or looking at our privates in a misguided, ineffective, and objectionable attempt at security. I hope TSA agents will join much of the traveling public in objecting to these pointless and intrusive searches.

Anonymous said...

I guess its pretty simple. Lots said, but it all boils down to this.

People and the government no longer trust each other.

Anonymous said...

On Friday, CAIR issued a travel statement that women who wear the hijab and those on the Hajj are under "special recommendations" and that TSA cannot touch them except on the head and neck.

Is this true, TSA?

CAIR WEBSITE:

Before you are patted down, you should remind the TSA officer that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They SHOULD NOT subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down.

Anonymous said...

First I have to say that I am a ex-social worker, conservative, Independent voter and a privacy/security professional. So can't really say that I am a unknowable bleeding heart.

The first issue with the new scanners and pat down is that it is the classic "Blame the Victim" scenario. Terrorist have made the US flying public the victim and the government under TSA is treating the public as the criminal. Couldn't be any more clear example.

Second, the more you have to defend every incident, you have lost the battle.

Third, as government becomes more intrusive they become less trusted. This is big reason Electronic Medical Records is so focused on balancing privacy/security. We have had to pass new laws like GINA. No one trust the government with our genetic information.

Forth, stomping on religious and personal rights trump security then government you end up with the exactly what Brandies warn us about 100 years ago. Technology is a threat to privacy.

Fifth, like criminals, terrorist become smarter.

Sixth, I am be putting through a search that nay other law enforcement would have to have reasonable cause. Being a frequent flier is not cause.

Finally, why should I trust pilots, stewardesses, and of course Air Marshals (they actually carry guns. Hopefully all will have to be either scanned or have enhanced screening.

To those who are so willing to give up their rights shouldn't be surprised as they gradually see them disappear in the "theater of security".

All you can do on blog like this is express your opinion since Blogger Bob is paid to propagandize the public on how well the TSA can protect us.

Anonymous said...

TSA, you just don't get it do you? You work for us. We do not have to be subject to procedures that we as citizens feel cross the line. I would suggest adopting policies that are inline with the expectations of the American public and fit within our idea of thorough enough. "Safety and Security" do no justify all manner of indignity. Be careful lest your organization become the whipping boy of politicians desperate to connect with the public. On second thought, keep it up. The common man is due for a victory in this country.

omars said...

Bob/TSA, can you cite under what statutes TSA is considering itself exempt from the many laws on child sexual abuse?

Similarly, what statutes provide TSA an exemption to the 4th amendment of the US Constitution?

Your TSOs are not even sworn peace officers, but too many of them seem to think of themselves as some kind of cops.

Anonymous said...

"And the weapons and other dangerous and prohibited items we’ve found during pat downs speak to this."

More specifics please. What "weapons" have you found through the more invasive patdowns? I've not seen any news reports about someone being stopped trying to smuggle through an actual weapon.

Anonymous said...

I will not let myself be subjected to the AIT. If, while being given the new pat-down my penis is touched, I will sue for sexual harassment. End of story. This is a promise I will keep.

Anonymous said...

LOL, like most of this stuff isn't staged, I'm sure. You know, all the "weapons" and other fun stuff you end up finding. I think these half-baked terrorist attempts are also staged, so that you can continue violating citizens rights so that we can eventually be further evaluated, surveilled and controlled by big daddy government.

Anonymous said...

TSA employees. You are adding to a self-perpetuating machine that feeds on hysteria.
Fellow passengers - Virtual strip searches and intrusive pat downs are revolting and unnecessary. Do we cut down trees before we go on hike because one might fall on our head? Do we poison all the fish in the sea to alleviate all chance of shark attacks? No. Neither should we surrender our rights and basic dignity because some half-wits shove explosives down their underpants.

As passengers, we should wake up, be brave and get on with our lives. I will refuse to submit to such nonsense.

Anonymous said...

are we allowed to film them patting us down, so that we can use it as evidence if we feel they have been inappropriate in their procedure and wish to press charges?

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Thanks for this blog. Could you talk a little more about the specifics of the pat-down? About 18 months ago - long before the current policy - I was in a security line at an airport and for some reason on man was being given a "pat-down." But this was not anything like I had ever seen before - the TSA officer was running his hands over the mans body in the way you might try to smooth clothing. And he did it all along the mans legs and up to his crotch - and repeated the process over and over again. It was just strange.

Now the passenger was very well-mannered about this and nothing was ever found. But this was nothing like the pat-downs that most of us are familiar with from TV cop shows or even personal experience. A number of years ago I was patted down when visiting the British House of Commons and it was nothing like what I saw this TSA officer do.

Quite honestly, I found the TSA pat-down I witnessed over the line and a violation of a person's self-dignity. I would object to this being done to myself or a family member. And I assure you that everyone in that line thought the traveler was a suspect or dangerous person.

I don't think letting people request it be done in "private" is a real solution - nobody knows how intrusive these pat-downs are because it is so different from what anyone has experienced.

Can't the TSA give travelers a better idea of what is involved?

Anonymous said...

This will come to an end (if and when) the American people demand that no public official can bypass this process.

People do not trust the TSA. Originally, it was declared that nude images could not and would not be stored. This claim has been withdrawn.

On Friday, a particular action- group announced that persons belonging to a specific religion(I don't want to violate the TSA guidelines on this site) are to be given special accomodations--no searches below the neck and the right to "pat" their own neck in private.

I do not know if this claim is accurate because the TSA has yet to respond. However, the action-group has provided a hotline to report violations of below-the neck searches. Truthfully, I just do not know what to believe any longer.

Anonymous said...

"What "weapons" have you found through the more invasive patdowns? I've not seen any news reports about someone being stopped trying to smuggle through an actual weapon."

And if you have, in fact, actually found any weapons, were they anything that would not have been found by a metal detector?

MarkVII said...

@George -- "Whichever side is right, this blog isn't doing anything to bridge the gap, which only seems to be growing day by day. I have to suspect that the TSA's leadership considers that perfectly fine, and somehow beneficial to security."

I think you've hit the nail on the head. In a classic conflict, both sides sit there stating their positions, and no movement towards solution takes place. The TSA won't budge, and the stalemate continues.

@anonymous -- "More specifics please. What "weapons" have you found through the more invasive patdowns? I've not seen any news reports about someone being stopped trying to smuggle through an actual weapon."

The "week at a glance" on the TSA home page does always trumpet the number of firearms, artfully concealed prohibited items, and arrests due to document fraud. Interestingly, it doesn't mention actual terrorist threats. I wonder how many "weapons" they find are really common items that only the TSA considers a "weapon".

A co-worker tells a story of the TSA prohibiting his nail file, and making a huge celebration of having "found an illegal knife". It might have made them look good on some status report, but they looked like jerks to the passenger.

As I've said before, the reinforced cockpit doors and changes in hijacking protocols have done far more to prevent another 9/11 than the TSA's obsession with nail files, pocket knives, etc.

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Anonymous said...

Day three of the question:

Are TSA agents running the backscatter machines trained to recognize medical implants such as artificial joints, or will I have to subject myself to both the machine radiation, and then to the intrusive "enhanced pat down" when I fly?

Anonymous said...

As a 20-year-old female traveler (re: CUSTOMER), I should not have the same anxious feeling before a vacation as I do before an appointment with my gynecologist. And as a 20-year-old female customer who also studies the Constitution, it's called the 4th Amendment. Someone should read it.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Would a passenger who submitted willingly to AIT ever be forced (as a condition of getting on her plane) to undergo the "enhanced" patdown in addition?

What about if her clothing, for some fluke reason, had low mmw permittivity and attenuated the radio waves too much to permit visibility?

Would your answer change if her outer clothing were as transparent as anticipated but her bra and underwear were opaque? Would you conduct a supplementary search just to assure you'd scoured her private areas too?

Anonymous said...

There are reports all over the internet that the enhanced pat downs include putting the hands into peoples trousers. This is disgusting and absolutely unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

I stopped visiting the US ever since they started to demand fingerprints. Unless that is taken back (among all the other harrasments they invented since then), I won't come again.

There is still plenty of other countries left that welcome tourists instead of treating them like criminals. I will spend my money there.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
Perhaps TSA would benefit from approaching security with a "What Would Disney Do?" philosophy.
i agree the govt should run based on profit and what should be done so that they make the most money and not whats in the best interest of security

Frank said...

I have one question for you. When members of Congress, their staff and their families fly commercially, are they subjected to exactly the same screening procedures as members of the public?

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,
The assumption you and TSA make when one opts-out of the full body scan is that they are carrying illegal contraband of some kind, which is why an individual who opts-out must submit to a possible illegal search of that individual. You noted that as a result of these "enhanced" searches, however, how many people did not have anything on their persons as determined by the search? It's bad enough we have to take off shoes in the name of making sure that no one has a bomb in them, but now you are saying it's okay to touch the genitals of any passenger who opts-out? Most of us would render a form of retribution to anyone who would touch our children, spouse, parents or friends in the manner TSA can "legally" do so. Your justification is without merit, and I truly hope TSA immediately ceases these invasive and immoral searches. They are absolutely unnecessary.

American Citizen said...

What if I don't want someone of the same gender touching me? Do I have a choice?

American Citizen said...

I recommend that every member of Congress, Senate, and every department of government be required to go through the pat down experience every time they fly. We'll see how long this policy stays in place.

Anonymous said...

This site is a joke. They will not post any comment that makes the TSA look stupid. (Job protection, I guess; it's the TSA's job to make the TSA look stupid. Can't let the public do that for free.)

RB said...

Body-Searching Children: No for the US Army, Yes for the TSA
Nov 13 2010, 8:34 AM ET


http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/11/body-searching-children-no-for-the-us-army-yes-for-the-tsa/66535/

"These people terrify us as much as we allow them to. Apparently FDR's idea about "the only thing to fear" is lost on TSA and the current administration."

Lee said...

If a pat down must be performed by a gender specific officer in order to abate sexual issues, the entire process is already out of control and inappropriate.

A government contractor touching my genitals makes no one safer. Your entire premise is absurd.

Please stop now.

Anonymous said...

Every airborne terrorist threat since 9/11 has been thwarted by quick and aggressive action by the passengers. It all started with Flight 93. Do you TSA types really believe that hijacking is still a threat? How do cargo bombs result in searches that would be a crime anywhere else? Here's a hypothetical for you - are you going to runs your hands up to the crotch of a Muslim woman in a burqa and hijab? I seriously doubt it. How's that for Orwellian irony? The people who are the terrorists get exemptions because we don't want to offend them. It's ok to offend the rest of us.

RB said...

http://blog.nj.com/njv_paul_mulshine/2010/11/scanner.html

TSA is hijacking our freedom


Good job TSA, terrorize a 3 year old and feel good about yourselves.

LTSO with Answers said...

@ Anon

are we allowed to film them patting us down, so that we can use it as evidence if we feel they have been inappropriate in their procedure and wish to press charges?

This will vary from location to location if you are able to or not.

Anonymous said...

It is punitive! Anyone who says otherwise is clearly delusional...

Anonymous said...

Weren't there 200 something comments yesterday and it only shows about 150 today.

Read this folks. If it makes it past moderation. A couple of big blogs are watching to see if my comment makes it past the moderation.

George said...

The TSA officially claims that the pat downs are not sexual assault, are never punitive, and are conducted with the utmost professionalism by trained officers. OK. So whenever anyone encounters a TSO who inflicts a pat down that's clearly punitive or that seems a humiliating assault, they should report it. Insist on getting the name of the offending officer (which Bob says they're obligated to provide). Then fill in a complaint report form or "Talk to TSA." The TSA provides a mechanism for holding employees accountable to their "professional" standards, so we should not hesitate to use it.

Granted, it's certainly reasonable to feel hesitant about doing that. Between the secrecy of the TSA's procedures and the inviolate privacy rights enjoyed by all TSA employees, whatever action (if any) that might result from a complaint will remain unknown to the complainer.

For that matter, it's impossible to know whether anyone will even see the complaint. How can we be sure that the airport TSA supervisor doesn't just throw complaint forms into the shredder? Who would ever know the difference if they did that?

(Note to Bob: Could you perhaps consider a post describing what should happen if we file a complaint? That would be informative and helpful, even though we know that your noble and soothing words are usually completely divorced from the reality of what actually does happen at airports and checkpoints.)

I know this is a long shot. But as inadequate as it is, taking advantage of the TSA's complaint mechanism may be something we can do to bridge the growing credibility gap. If people complain in large numbers about pat downs that violate what Bob tells us is the official standard, someone may be compelled to do something.

And better yet, send a copy of the complaint to your members of Congress. They're the only ones with the power to put this despised rogue agency under appropriate controls. If enough people complain, they might have reason to overcome their instinctive fear of being accused of "weakening security."

RB said...

http://blogs.forbes.com/artcarden/2010/11/14/full-frontal-nudity-doesnt-make-us-safer-abolish-the-tsa/

Full Frontal Nudity Doesn’t Make Us Safer: Abolish the TSA

"The Republicans control the House of Representatives and are bracing for a long battle over the President’s health care proposal. In the spirit of bipartisanship and sanity, I propose that the first thing on the chopping block should be an ineffective organization that wastes money, violates our rights, and encourages us to make decisions that imperil our safety. I’m talking about the Transportation Security Administration."

Anonymous said...

I feel like I am always targeted by TSA. Once they see I have tattoos I am immediately sent over to the machine. Since the machines have come out this has happened everytime I fly. I feel offended that I am treated this way. I am a Registered Nurse with a college degree and a prior military veteran. I served 6 years in the Air Force. I am always treated in a rude fashion once they see my tattoos. I was forced to go through the puffer machine when it first came out and I was pregnant. I stated I was pregnant and did not feel comfortable. They told me I had to do through it. Next time I fly I am going to dress like a professional business woman, covering my tattoos and bet that TSA will not target me. What a shame that they think someone like me is a threat.

Anonymous said...

I was sexually assaulted by a TSA agent in the Dayton airport on Friday night. Read the story and find out why it was a sexual assault.

http://www.ourlittlechatterboxes.com/2010/11/tsa-sexual-assault.html

Anonymous said...

Why has there not been a description of the new pat down procedures? Is it because the description would make it clear how offensive these new pat downs are? Don't tell us it is because of security reasons, because anyone could understand what the new pat downs involve by spending a little bit of time observing at a checkpoint.

Anonymous said...

I am a law abiding citizen and I resent being treated as guilty until "proven innocent" by your intrusive searches.

My first option is just not to fly. I now drive or take the train whenever possible, if if inconvenient. If I do I have to fly, I will be insisting on a pat down even though I think it crosses the line of privacy and decency.

If enough citizens rebel and opt out, the lines at the airport will be snarled beyond hope, and the airlines and Congress will force the TSA to abandon AIT (naked body scans).

Anonymous said...

So -- what changed in the PAT DOWN procedures? Why are screeners aggressively touching in genital areas now, but you're claiming that nothing changed?

Also, explain what happened in San Diego this weekend? Why was a screener threatening a man with a 10,000 fine who decided to opt out of both procedures? And also wouldn't let him leave when he decided it was just too much for him?

Can TSA involuntarily hold someone who decided they were NOT going to fly due to the enhanced screening? Please answer where this authority comes from. If they had such authority, why then would it have to be collected as a civil suit and not a criminal one? Why is this not posted in the screening areas, or on the TSA website? Why is it that much of what TSA does seems to change on a whim and with a different screener?

I heard the audio of the San Diego incident, it seems to me the screeners are barely professional, maybe so in the exact choices of words, but not in their actions.

I'm so glad I'm not flying anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

The U.S. Senate subcommittee listed here (http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=AviationOperationsSafetyandSecurity) is holding a TSA Oversight hearing on Wednesday November 17. Let your senator know how you feel about today's TSA and their practices. You TSOs might even want it known how you feel about having to work so close to these AIT virtual strip searches with no radiation badge to ensure your health.

Anonymous said...

By Spending all this attention on these enhanced pat-downs you are letting people who may be terrorists by with -- yourun-enhanced screening-- It is only a matter of time before-- they se this to their advantage.

You have Major Problems--

Rock said...

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/national_world&id=7785108

'Hero Bay Area pilot Sully Sullenberger is adding his voice to growing opposition among pilots and flight attendants to those airport body scanners.

They're concerned about the radiation they're exposed to each time they go through the devices. The levels are much lower than a normal X-ray, but if you travel a lot, it can build up.

"I think it's unnecessary for the flight crew to go through them first, and second, I think it poses some radiation risk," said Sullenberger.

You can opt out of the body scan by submitting to a full-body, full contact pat down. But some passengers think that's even "more" intrusive than the scanners"

The next time I fly, I'm wearing my trusty kilt.

Anonymous said...

What about all the illegal aliens that are flooding into this country. There are no body scanners or groping at the Mexican or Canadian borders. Cars and trucks are however, transportation aren't they? If you want to keep our country safe- do these three things: 1.Name the enemy 2.Enable profiling 3.Have the radiation scanners and groping agents at the ports of entry OUTSIDE of our country and leave the citizens alone.

Anonymous said...

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"

The TSA and DHS no longer believe it the 4th Amendment. Whatever happened to
"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."

Anonymous said...

Another recent example of the TSA going too far:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/tyner1.1.1.html

I certainly applaud John Tyner.

Anonymous said...

America..this humilation and violation of our freedoms must cease and cease NOW! I and my family will never fly again..will take the train or drive. I feel this is or might be the governments way of desentizing it's citizens and intimadating them. We teach our children to respect their bodies and never to allow another to 'touch him'.Can you imagine the damage to a small child when a complete stranger touches him/her in their genital area?I don't care whatever the reason is..this is ABUSE!! SHAME ON YOU TSA AND AMERICA FOR ALLOWING THIS!!

Anonymous said...

I see that you have decided to censor my comment from yesterday morning. So, without any other references to websites, I will again state that contrary to what TSA is reporting to the press, on Tuesday, November 9th at Los Angeles International Airport, Terminal 7, I witnessed travelers being randomly subjected to the "enhanced pat down" WITHOUT being given the option of going thru the full body scanner. They were men, and there were multiple contacts with their genitalia.

Anonymous said...

TSORon responded to my comment:
"Yes you are going to go through a pat-down, just as you did when it was WTMD only. Sorry, but you are just giving an excuse to justify your position, which makes no sense. Most folks with metal implants prefer the AIT systems because it means that there is at least a possibility of not having to be patted down. With the WTMD every passenger with a metal implant was subjected to a pat-down, this is not true of the AIT systems."


Actually extra screening has only been an issues post 9/11 when the metal detectors were set to SUPER Sensitive. And my objection is not getting the pat dow by the nature of the new pat down and they fact that unlike the old pat down it never actually resolves why I alarmed the Metal Detector. Seriously, with your new procedure there is nothing to stop me from concealing metal in a body cavity since you will pat me down now and let me go on my way. Hey maybe that's how I can start traveling with my pocket knife again.

Anonymous said...

I was subject to a pat-down just because a TSA agent wanted me to remove my shirt, which I refused to do obviously. He decided it was an outergarment, which it was not, it was a lighweight fleece pullover and I had nothing on underneath it. I didn't set off any alarm. Why should I have been subject to a pat down? The TSA agents, despite what your procedures state, seem to operate with their own agendas and vendettas.

Anonymous said...

I guess all American airline passengers are guilty of a crime if they travel. What ever happen the expectation of innocence and innocent people should not be put through a criminal search. I wish that the TSA employees would submit themselves to the invasion of their privacy and reduction of their rights every time they went to work like the rest of us. Instead they use their IDs and get to avoid all inspection of their person.

Anonymous said...

Something is very, very wrong when all i can think about before the holidays is how in the world am I going to get through the security process without crying. As a victim of sexual abuse, it can be difficult just to go to the doctor for an exam. Please understand how hard it is going to be when a part-time government employee does it. I want to know my airplane is secure when i fly, but this is going to far.

Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom said...

Hi Blogger Bob,

Submitting this again.

http://www.ourlittlechatterboxes.com/

Anonymous said...

My family and I are not traveling by air again until the TSA is disbanded.

Even correcting these invasions of privacy are not enough as they had the gall to attempt to justify it in the first place. Security should be returned to the airlines themselves.

Laugh or refuse to publish this but there ARE enough of us to bring the airlines to bankruptcy if we have to

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