Thursday, November 18, 2010

TSA Myth or Fact: Leaked Images, Handcuffed Hosts, Religious Garb, and More!

There are so many rumors floating around right now that it’s hard to keep them all straight. So, in an effort to get everybody on the same page with the facts, here goes…

Pat-downs Myths & Facts


Myth: All children will receive pat-downs.
Fact: TSA officers are trained to work with parents to ensure a respectful screening process for the entire family, while providing the best possible security for all travelers. Children 12 years old and under who require extra screening will receive a modified pat down. 


Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive
Fact: Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down. For this reason, it is designed to be thorough in order to detect any potential threats and keep the traveling public safe. Pat-downs are performed by same-gender officers and all passengers have the right to a private screening with a travel companion at any time.


Myth: The pat-down is a punishment for opting out of the AIT.
Fact: 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.


Myth: Everyone who travels will receive a pat-down.
Fact: (Updated 11/23/10 to show percentage) (Updated 3/30/2011 to include random pat-downs) No. In fact, less than 3% of passengers receive pat-downs. Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down. Passengers may also receive a random pat-down. It is one layer in our tool kit to address the nonmetallic explosives threat. In yesterday’s hearing, Administrator Pistole said: “The bottom line is few people in the overall scheme of things will actually receive those pat downs. Now, we've heard some examples, and obviously, there's a vocal group out there who have experienced this for the first time, and, rightfully so, raising concerns, what's behind this. And the bottom line is we, the transportation security officers in particular, are trying to work in partnership with the traveling public to say we want to ensure that you are safe on this flight. Work with us in a partnership to provide the best possible security. And that's what it comes down to.”


Myth: Complaints about the pat-downs are extremely high.
Fact: Only a small percentage of the traveling public receives a pat down as they travel through the security checkpoint.  Approximately 2 million people fly in the United States every day.  The number of complaints is extremely low.


Myth: Pat downs for certain individuals are limited to the head and neck.
Fact: No one is exempt. Everyone is subject to the same screening. TSA is sensitive to religious and cultural needs, but everyone must be screened effectively. Administrator Pistole echoed those sentiments on MSNBC’s Hardball recently.


(At 4:42 on the clip)


MR. SMERCONISH: All right, here's another one that I hear from radio callers, the Muslim guard exception. You may not even know what I'm talking about. But if someone approaches a TSA checkpoint and they're wearing, by way of example, a burka, what's the drill?

MR. PISTOLE: Everybody goes through the same process. So whatever their ethnicity or religious beliefs, which I'm sensitive to and appreciate, the bottom line is people are treated the same in terms of either going through the advanced imaging technology if that's available or to walk through the metal detector. And if they alert, then they would have to have that alert resolved. And the best way of doing that is through a pat-down.

MR. SMERCONISH: No free rides, right, Mr. Pistole?

MR. PISTOLE: That's correct.

AIT Myths & Facts


Myth: AIT is not safe.
Fact: Backscatter technology is safe for all passenger and has been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, National Institute for Standards and Technology and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. All results confirm that the radiation dose is well below the standard for safety set by the American national Standards Institute. The technology is safe. A person receives more radiation naturally each hour than from one screening with a backscatter unit. In fact a traveler is exposed to less radiation from one AIT scan than from 2 minutes of an airline flight. 


Myth: There has been an overwhelming public outcry against AIT.
Fact:  A recent CBS News Poll found that 4 in 5 Support Full-Body Airport Scanners


Myth: AIT cannot detect powdered explosives.
Fact: This is false. Advanced imaging technology is deployed specifically because of its ability to detect both metallic threats – which a metal detector would pick up – and non-metallic threats – which a metal detector would not pick up. This includes explosive material that can take the form of powders, liquids and gels and be used in an improvised explosive device made up completely of non-metallic material.


Myth: Everybody who travels must undergo AIT screening.
Fact: Advanced imaging technology is optional – anybody can choose to opt out and receive alternate screening, which will include a pat down.


Myth: TSA Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) images can be stored on the AIT machines located in our airports.
Fact: Completely false – TSA’s machines should not be confused with the recent stories about the U.S. Marshals Service.  The machines used by TSA at our airports cannot store, print or transmit images. They simply don’t have that ability. Administrator Pistole also addressed this on Hardball. (At 6:03 on the clip)


Myth: TSA Officers are sharing AIT images they are taking with their cell phones.
Fact: Our officers are prohibited from bringing electronic devices such as cell phones into the AIT viewing room. This is a fireable offense and no such reports have been substantiated.


Myth: The AIT images shared by TSA are proof the images can be stored.
Fact: The images shared by TSA are either from the vendor, or were photographed by the media at a press event where an example of the technology was shown.


Myth: Children must be screened by the AIT.
Fact: Anybody can opt out of AIT, including children.


Miscellaneous Myths & Facts


Myth: Airports can opt-out of TSA screening.
Fact: All commercial airports are regulated by TSA whether the actual screening is performed by TSA or private companies. So TSA’s policies – including advanced imaging technology and pat downs – are in place at all domestic airports.


Myth: Radio Host Meg McLain was handcuffed to a chair after choosing not to undergo AIT screening.
Fact: She was never handcuffed to a chair and many of her outlandish claims were proven to be unfounded.


Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team
MFZDSEU8AXMY 

572 comments:

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Christa Terry said...

"Myth: All children will receive pat-downs."

Won't *all children under a certain age* receive patdowns? Basically, any child too young to stand for the required 15s? That might not be all children, 0 to 17, but it sure is a large percentage of children, especially at airports like Orlando. How does the modified patdown for children differ from the zealous patdown for adults?

Anonymous said...

I have a prediction:
Since the TSA is being so rigid, obtrusive and inflexible and semi-truthful. "The people" being citizens of the United State of a free America will call upon congress to demand an end to the scanners and advanced searches.
The opt-out protest during the Holiday will only be the beginning. Many are talking Boycott If this doesn't change and revert to previous standards. If TSA does not bend, well they will be like a captain going down with the ship.Its only a matter of time.

Some in congress are already trying to pull Airports away to private contractors.I see massive layoffs in the employment of TSA associates.
You have a building anger in America against the TSA and yet you are blinded by power. I do believe your days are numbered.
good-bye TSA. It was nice knowing you.(not!!!)

txrus said...

More attempted spin from Blogger Bob in the form of:

Fact: There’s nothing punitive about it
*********************************

I'm sure you really meant to put that one under 'myth' instead, right BB?

Fact: Arrived BOS on 11/15 from DCA. As I was walking thru the exit lane from the B6 concourse in Terminal C right around 5:30 pm, from clear across the checkpoint, a female screener is 'asking' a male pax, who is surrounded by TSAers of every rank, 'Why are you opting out'. If it's not punitive, why ask in the first place? Why try to intimidate the pax into changing his mind by causing a scene like that? Why did literally everyone w/in yelling range need to know he had chosen to exercise his right to opt out unless it was punitive?

Anonymous said...

I'm an academic whose expertise is in vulnerability, threats, defense, and survivability of critical infrastructure, and this is my first comment to this blog. I am also a 100Kmi/year flier. I don't know a single security expert that doesn't think that the vast majority of what the TSA does in general, and the nudie-ray in particular, is anything more than security theater. The security measures do almost nothing to address the actual threat model, and we frequently discuss and wonder *why* this charade is taking place, rather than educating the voting (mostly non-flying) public on what the real threat and risks are, and doing something substantive rather than wasting our time and money with theater. The terrorists have already won.

Matt Hurley said...

TSA is simply NOT CREDIBLE. These people continue to engage in lie after lie after lie and I believe The People over some bureaucrat. There are FAR TOO MANY of these stories out there for TSA to blow them off. You people work for US not the other way around. You had better start acting like it.

And TSA continues to FAIL to address the 4th Amendment issues in which these illegal searches are being conducted without a warrant. This agency is out of control and I have already begun pushing Members of Congress and state legislaatures to take punitive action against TSA.

Anonymous said...

Look for a Rate My TSA pat-down website coming soon. This will be a community effort to consolidate information from travelers, for travelers, so they know which airports provide the best (most invasive) pat-downs and... who is performing the pat-downs!

Anonymous said...

How about a new myth here hmm?

Myth: The security lines are secure.
Reality: As the security lines grow, they become an even better target than the airplanes they are screening passengers for.

You don't get safety by continuously tracking the last threat or sooner or later we're all going to have to fly naked and pregnant women are going to have to receive a sonogram to prove its a baby they are carrying and not a weapon.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind getting scanned, but I will not allow a pat-down.

I have heard from several friends who travel often that they received pat downs even after the AIT screening. They were told that nothing was found to be suspicious but that some passengers would receive random pat-downs even if they cleared the initial screening. That is clearly an abuse.

I would like for you to comment on this problem, Blogger Bob.

Anonymous said...

Fact: Germany no longer uses backscatter devices for airport security screening due to health concerns

John said...

I think TSA has been sold a bill of goods with the screening devices and even with pat downs. Somewhere, somehow someone will get past these screeners. People lose focus and concentration with repeated tasks and will one day miss something from the scanners. People miss things in the baggage screens all the time but the people who get away with it are fortunately not terrorists.

I doubt 100% of the TSA employees are righteous, ethical and disinterested doing pat downs. Travelers are not criminals and should not have their privacy invaded in such a way WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE according to our Constitution.

THE ONLY WAY to effectively identify dangerous travelers is through interviews by trained individuals. After training, it's much more reliable to identify suspicious individuals by questioning than by searching. Identify those with anxiety, fear, incomplete plans, questionable stories, inconsistencies, different stories than their traveling companions, etc. and scan or search them, not the remaining 99.99999999% of us who just want to get on the plane and go.

Trever Talbert said...

Your offensive and invasive personal search procedures clearly violate the US Constitution. Until this process is revised to be respectful of individual rights, I will not fly, it's that simple. I feel for the airline employees who risk job loss at this difficult economic time, but I suspect a great many other people are going to join me in just saying "No", and if the airlines suffer lost income, they need to take it up with the TSA, because it is entirely the TSA's fault. You are strangling a major US industry with security practices that could have been lifted from an iron curtain country. And if the comments on this blog post are any judge, your comical denials and PR counteroffensive are DOA - Understand that you are not facing a consumer wrath based on the pat-downs alone, but rather a tidal wave of hostility created gradually by your continuing and mounting "security theater" nightmare that travelers have had to endure since 9/11. This has as much to do with not being allowed to travel with eyelash curlers as it does with nude scanners.

Anonymous said...

"explosive material that can take the form of powders, liquids and gels and be used in an improvised explosive device made up completely of non-metallic material."

Can this type of material be discovered with a pat down? If you have the option of opting out of the x-ray scanner, our safety depends on the ability of the TSA employee to locate any of the above material through the use of a pat down.

Anonymous said...

Myth: These new security techniques are legal.

Fact: 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...

Bob, Care to comment on this complaint?

http://www.wect.com/Global/story.asp?S=13534628

A flight attendant breast cancer survivor being forced to remover her prosthetic breast Bob? Really? REALLY? The TSA is disgusting Bob. You should be ashamed to work for them.

Anonymous said...

I was patted down thoroughly even though I went through the full body scanner. This is outrageous and very, very personal. Not acceptable.

Let's Grow Up said...

Why do you roll out the CBS poll which purports to show that 4/5 americans support these extra security measures while ignoring the fact that fewer than 2/5 have flown in the past year? And that far fewer than 1/10 fly more than once a month?

It's easy to be in favor of something which doesn't inconvenience or potentially harm you or the people you love. Would you be OK with walking through the backscatter X-Ray machine every day on your way into work? What about once or twice a week?

Do you really believe that AQ operatives are going to keep trying the same ops? Wouldn't it make far more sense for them to insert a sleeper operative as a baggage handler or recruit one of the same after they've passed background checks? Follow the money. This isn't about security, it's about instilling fear in the traveling public and lining the pockets of government contractors.

Have you ever felt a bit like Comical Ali? Wildly asserting that the Americans are NOT in Baghdad while on CNN we're watching the bombs fall?

Anonymous said...

I have read numerous times in this blog "sexual assault". That term is being flung easily. I was the victim of a sexual assault. I have also had a pat down by the TSA. I can tell you they are NOT the same thing. Assault is against your will and to your detriment. You are choosing to fly, choosing to go to the airport and opt out which means you choose the pat down and it is for your protection not detriment.As someone who had had areas touched against their will I get uncomfortable really easily and I will speak up and my experience with the pat down was NOT sexual assault, not molestation.It was fast, it was with the back of the hand and it was not personal.To those who like to scream "sexual assault" to make your point a real sexual assault is done to your face and with a smile on theirs.Why dont you just get out of the line and go home? You have that choice.NO one makes you fly.You have chosen every step to end up being screened.The people who are nitpicking are the first ones who would complain if another plane hit a high rise, or if the underwear bomb went off.They would be screaming "How could you let this happen?". Is the screening invasive. No. Is it embarrassing? Maybe but do I get embarassed at the dr? Of course.Is it for my own good? Of course. Please people.Stop using the term sexual assault to stamp your foot against the rules. YOu can take a bus, train or car.NO one makes you fly.

Anonymous said...

Myth: Mr. Pistole's comment - "we will not budge".
Fact: You want a tug-of-war with 90% of the American people? You seem to have gotten it.

Anonymous said...

Bob -

Has the TSA evaluated the ISCON 1000D? It would do away with all the radiation and privacy concerns. And it does detect explosives.

Anonymous said...

And you continue to quote the FDA as saying the AIT are safe. Well, guess what? It came to my attention in October of this year that the FDA makes statements and creates policies for POLITICAL reasons, having nothing to do with the facts of a case. They sent a drug back for further evaluation to punish a corporation that they don't like. Thanks to that decision, I will have to endure 500+ more shots then neccessary while the new tests are done, just so the FDA can "Prove their point".

As for the CBS poll, I stopped beliving anything CBS says when I had to call them up and tell them that "the reports of my death were greatly exagerated" - which they had broadcast on the news at noon.

Finally, I am a cancer survivor. I have gladly cooperated with the TSA on the metal scanners, and with preparing items for hand inspection - up until now. I will not submit to the AIT machines. I have had enough radiation already, thank you very much.

And rest assured, I will take the time to FILE complaints against your officers, if they get too familiar.

As for storing or not storing images, I work in the IT field. If they can do store images in "TEST" mode, what stops the officer from switching to test mode when he gets one he wants to save? Don't try to con us Bob.

Anonymous said...

Myth: TSA claims Johns Hopkins signed off on the safety of the AITs
Fact: "The government says independent testing proved the airport scanners are safe. Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory did independent tests — but only to determine how much radiation the devices emit, not to examine safety, said Helen Worth, a lab spokeswoman."

Anonymous said...

May I get pat down by an opposite sex agent if I choose?

Coyote said...

Are TSA screeners permitted to wear radiation exposure badges? And given the letter from UCSF about the radiation dangers of x-ray security scanners, why aren't all TSA agents required to wear badges, just like X-ray technicians are in hospitals?

Daryl said...

@Anonymous (November 18, 2010 4:23 PM): I had troubles at ABQ as well, back in March, which I've mentioned on this blog. TSO tried to bully me through the AIT, denied I had a right to opt for a pat-down, then grudgingly admitted I did, asking, "Did you read that on a sign somewhere?"

RB said...

Myth: Complaints about the pat-downs are extremely high.
Fact: Only a small percentage of the traveling public receives a pat down as they travel through the security checkpoint. Approximately 2 million people fly in the United States every day. The number of complaints is extremely low.


............................


http://www.kmov.com/news/mobile/Woman-says-her-Lambert-security-screening-was-sexual-assault--109114934.html



Moroney complained to the Transportation Security Administration, TSA, supervisor and then complained on the ACLU’s website.

The national office is now monitoring what it calls a “flood of complaints” from across the country.

bc2004 said...

Just flew home from official business via ELP and DFW yesterday. What I and my colleagues observed was different from your myths and facts. At ELP, one AIT and one WTMD were in operation fed by two long lines that merged into one after passengers put their carryons, shoes, coats/jackets/sweaters/vests, belts, watches and wallets thru the two X-ray machines. MOST (well over 50%) passengers were then directed to the AIT. Aside from those who selected to "opt out" of the AIT, passengers were only allowed to use the WTMD when the back-up of waiting passenger threatened to spill over onto the operating escalators and cause injuries. Passengers sent thru the AIT did NOT have line-of-sight (clear view) of their belongings while in the AIT. MOST passengers (about 2/3 to 3/4) of those sent thru the AIT were ALSO subjected to a patdown. The two patdown locations at the exit of the AIT were kept full pretty much continuously. Passengers selected for these follow-on patdowns did NOT have line of sight to their belongings. There were frequent stoppages while waiting for these follow-on patdowns to be cleared so that the next passenger could enter the AIT. Obviously, TSA is far less concerned than the passengers about the SECURITY of the passengers's belongings since this new process causes passengers to be separated from even more of their property for an even longer period of time. And, yes, this new process does take more time. No question about it. It is obvious to any casual observer.

RB said...

http://www.wbtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13534628

"Cancer surviving flight attendant told to remove prosthetic breast during pat-down"


CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A Charlotte-area flight attendant and cancer survivor contacted WBTV after she says she was forced to show her prosthetic breast during a pat-down.

Adrian said...

Myth: The Johns Hopkins study concluded that the x-ray backscatter machines were safe.

Fact: Johns Hopkins recently asked the TSA to stop saying that their study concluded the x-ray backscatter is safe. They Johns Hopkins study measured the amount of radiation emitted by the machine under normal circumstances. The FDA--not Johns Hopkins--concluded that that amount is safe. Furthermore, scientists don't even agree on the proper measurement to use, as expressed in the UCSF letter of concern and the FDA's reply.

Adrian said...

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

Anonymous said...

The TSA, with no oversight, will ALWAYS decide that more invasive searches are the answer. They have government oversight - the Commerce Committee. The following Senators are on the committee, I highly recommend contacting them by phone, especially if one of them is your Senator:


Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia, Chairman
Daniel Inouye, Hawaii
John Kerry, Massachusetts
Byron Dorgan, North Dakota
Barbara Boxer, California
Bill Nelson, Florida
Maria Cantwell, Washington
Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey
Mark Pryor, Arkansas
Claire McCaskill, Missouri
Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota
Tom Udall, New Mexico
Mark Warner, Virginia
Mark Begich, Alaska
Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas, Ranking Member
Olympia Snowe, Maine
John Ensign, Nevada
Jim DeMint, South Carolina
John Thune, South Dakota
Roger Wicker, Mississippi
Johnny Isakson, Georgia
David Vitter, Louisiana
Sam Brownback, Kansas
Mike Johanns, Nebraska
George LeMieux, Florida

Just google contact then the name and you'll get the phone number. I just had a good conversation with a staffer for my Senator, Amy Klobuchar, where I made my feelings VERY clear.

Ripping on Blogger Bob is pointless, he, like the TSA employees, are only doing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

Fact: Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down.

This is a lie! In FLL, I came through the metal detector and the screener called for a pat-down. The guy called said he didn't even hear an alarm. She responded "no alarm." There was an AIT device that I could see, but I was not even given that option.

Anonymous said...

Myth: The pat-down is invasive.

Fact: http://static01.mediaite.com/med/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/20101117__20101118_A01_CD18PATDOWNp3.jpg

Anonymous said...

TSA confiscates heavily-armed soldiers' nail-clippers

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/11/19/tsa-confiscates-heav.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+boingboing%2FiBag+%28Boing+Boing%29

0 common sense and 0 credibility for the TSA.

Anonymous said...

Here you go again, liars: "The machines used by TSA at our airports cannot store, print or transmit images."

IF IT EXISTS, IT IS BEING STORED. STORAGE IS WHAT MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO DISPLAY ANYTHING AT ALL, EVER. BASIC COMPUTER SCIENCE. LIARS.

Dhalgren said...

A must read for everyone here. AlterNet.org: The full story behind the AIT deployment and the series of failures that led to Abdulmutallab boarding an international flight last December.

www.alternet.org/rights/148924/the_bizarre_tale_of_graft_and_sleazy_political_opportunism_that_brought_us_the_%27porno_scanners%27/?page=entire

Anonymous said...

Way to go in harassing a CANCER SURVIVOR:

http://www.wbtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13534628

Thanks for keeping us safe from fake boobs.

Anonymous said...

FIRE THE TSA. Orlando has already gotten the idea. The TSA makes us less safe. They spend exorbitant amounts of money on security measures that are proven to not work. every dollar we put into their security theater is a dollar we can't spend actually improving safety.

make our airports safe, FIRE THE TSA!

Anonymous said...

I am concerned about the potential radiation danger emitted from the Backscatter X-Ray machines, particularly over time and because it is being used on children, eldery and pregnant women.I guess I'm confused about the statement by the TSA that the radiation emitted is equivalent to only about two minutes of flying. This statement appears very suspicious. Where is the scientific support for this very bold statement? If this were true then why isn't everyone unananimous about it's safety. Why are the pilot and flight attendant unions worried about the health impact? Why are some medical experts saying that there some level of danger, albeit small, especially after repeated scans. Furthermore, a health concern is present even if it isn't deemed as "significant". Even a small health impact is considerable when billions of people are involved. Seems to me like to TSA is brushing all of the concerns under the rug.

George said...

I'm very much savoring the schadenfreude of watching the TSA flailing in Full Panic Mode over the outpouring of resentment and opposition to the strip searches and pat downs. It's especially enjoyable to see Generalissimo Pistole Himself compelled to take time away from the Very Important Matters on his extremely busy schedule to go on radio and television defending his beleaguered agency.

Sure, there has been opposition and resentment before. The TSA had been able to contain it by ignoring, dismissing, or denying it. This pathetically desperate "Myth and Fact" post shows that they're still relying on this tried and (un)true tactic. But I think they're starting to recognize that it's not working. Thus the panic, since ignoring, dismissing, or denying apparently are the only tools in their public relations kit.

It should be pretty simple to effectively address the issue causing the most emotional distress. Bob continually repeats the official position that the pat downs are not punitive, and are conducted with respect and courtesy befitting highly trained professional officers. Although some pat downs are apparently conducted that way, there are too many accounts of TSOs actually administering the pat downs in a punitive and humiliating fashion. As with everything else the TSA does, it's widely inconsistent. And violations seem to be tolerated or even encouraged when they occur.

The obvious solution is to flow down a directive with standards of conduct, make sure TSOs are consistently trained in those standards, and hold them accountable for violations. And then have Bob issue an informative post telling us what the standards are and how violations will be handled. Candor, along with clear evidence that the TSA is hearing our concerns and is taking specific, effective action, is the only effective solution.

The same approach could mitigate much of the concern about the scanners. They could show us what the officers see, and allow independent assessments of the scanners' safety performance and maintenance. They could also inform us about specific procedures to prevent officers from recording images, and how any violations will be handled. Insisting that it all has to be secret only promotes distrust. No matter how distasteful it may seem to someone with a "security" mindset, this is a case where transparency will improve security by encouraging a more cooperative and accepting public.

Of course, this has all been suggested before. And routinely ignored. Maybe the current difficulty will force them to reevaluate their approach to an increasingly skeptical and outraged public. But I'm not holding my breath. But if the current situation forces changes that the TSA's leaders don't like, it's their own fault.

Anonymous said...

Invasiveness is subjective, you may not feel it's invasive but many do. Ask a rape victim how she feels about having her breasts and genitals patted down by a stranger.

As for the safety of the scanners..The government has a long history of telling us things are safe when they are not. I lost my husband to lung disease from Agent Orange.

We are not all over-sensitive nuts. There are legitimate causes for concern.

Anonymous said...

"Myth: The blog is closed for comments

Fact: Comments are being received, but not posted. Same result."

FACT: This was posted. It just may take time.

(Insert A FAIL comment here that does not violate the Comment Policy.)

Anonymous said...

The AIT and pat downs are the most disgraseful, tasteless, and I believe to be illegel things that I've heard that american government has ever done. It makes me ashamed of what could be a great country. Someone in Washington needs to get control of the situation. I do not want my wife or daughter ever being treated like this by someone. Much less my government.

Anonymous said...

And the comments have to be approved by the blog owner before they are visible. That's not right either.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

You Lie! bottom line. Your director lies. The sad part is you have a choice to work for tyranny or not and you chose tyranny. Guess everyone in the TSA missed high school civics.

November 18, 2010 5:24 PM"

Well then are you willing to give them your job if they quit the TSA? It would be a very patriotic thing to do! They need to support their families as well. Come on start the movement to give TSA jobs/careers if they quit.

I double dog dare you!

(Insert comment that I do not work for any government in the world and I very well educated on this issue. But people will still think me a stooge for the government or just lying.)

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

So now terrorists can use 11-year-olds to get bombs on airplanes? Great job, TSA!

November 18, 2010 4:24 PM"

Well they used them in car bombings. Not a stretch to use them on another bombing and do you want to be on the first plane were they succeed?

Iraq insurgents used children in car bombing: general

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=070320203409.spj83omw&show_article=

Anonymous said...

Great mythbusting. How about this one trolling the web?

Anonymous said...

Myth: All children will receive pat-downs.

Fact: TSA officers are trained to work with parents to ensure a respectful screening process for the entire family, just like that crying 3 year old in Tennessee...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1330569/Airport-security-staff-caught-camera-body-searching-crying-3-year-old-girl.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Anonymous said...

Do the TSA screeners working near the AIT machines wear dosimiters or other radiation measurement devices? Are they allowed to wear these devices if they choose to do so.

Anonymous said...

What a joke. I read as far as the second "myth" about the pat downs being "invasive". Instead of addressing the "myth", the answer is that "few" people are pulled aside for it.

The reason there's so much "disinformation" about the travel is that the TSA is being evasive about what really goes on. It takes real travelers, telling their stories for us to find out.

Example? Go to the TSA home page and follow the "Traveling with Children" link. It is either way outdated or an outright lie. Says nothing about the naked body scanners OR the enhanced pat down. Talks only about "metal detectors".

Anonymous said...

This is just ridiculous! Do your homework! The terrorists have already won as far as I am concerned.

Benjamin Bookbinder said...

In response to the boilerplate "The machines are not able to transmit, store, or save images in any way, shape, or form" type claim:

Take a basic computer system architecture class and you'll learn how computers manipulate, access, store, and move data - maybe you'll learn why the claim is not looked at as truthful.

Anonymous said...

This unconstitutional screening policy won't last until Christmas. The people (and the justice system) will not accept it. Not this time!

Anonymous said...

I'm really scared to fly now... Leave us alone!

Anonymous said...

Myth: The TSA keeps travelers safe

Fact: In it's nine years of existence the TSA has not exposed a single terrorist threat.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought: If you don't feel like you want to be subecjted to a pat-down or backscatter machine, don't plan to travel by plane in, from or to the United States.

Folks, it's that simple. Unless you're being forced onto an airplane, you have every right and ability to avoid the AIT and pat-downs. Go Greyhound, Amtrak or take a boat. Otherwise, please stopthe whining.

I don't speak for everyone, but A) I'm TIRED of hearing the arguments and B) this is not a big deal. Let's worry about things like the economy, the president, etc.

Frank said...

What's to stop a terrorist from concealing PETN internally and detonating it in a structurally vulnerable area of an aircraft? Detonators can easily be improvised from cell phones.

What's next, full X-rays? Cavity searches?

This is nothing but theater that's designed to pad the pockets of Bush's friends and defence contractors.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this fact sheet is true. I was patted down at the SeaTac airport before I even went through a metal detector. They did not give me any reasoning other than I was wearing a baggy sweatshirt...

Frank said...

What's to stop a terrorist from concealing PETN internally and detonating it in a structurally vulnerable area of an aircraft? Detonators can easily be improvised from cell phones.

What's next, full X-rays? Cavity searches?

This is nothing but theater that's designed to pad the pockets of Bush's friends and defence contractors.

(screen capped because you guys have decided against approving any more comments because of the outrage)

Anonymous said...

This is meaningless. The only part of the "fact" the addresses the "myth" is the part that says the pat-down is designed to be thorough, which doesn't refute the myth. The person who wrote this is as smart as the person who came up with this un-American policy.


Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive
Fact: Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down. For this reason, it is designed to be thorough in order to detect any potential threats and keep the traveling public safe. Pat-downs are performed by same-gender officers and all passengers have the right to a private screening with a travel companion at any time.

Anonymous said...

TSA Agents Absolutely Hate New Pat Downs, Find Them Disgusting And Morale Breaking


http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101119/10225611947/tsa-agents-absolutely-hate-new-pat-downs-find-them-disgusting-morale-breaking.shtml

Mary said...

Do you honestly think that repeating your non-answers over and over again are going to persuade us?
Just a few problems with your post, off the top of my head:
1) AITs are safe and have been declared so by the FDA, Johns Hopkins, etc.
In fact, a group of physicians and researchers from the respected UCSF medical school have strongly disputed this statement. Moreover, staff from your beloved Johns Hopkins are now disputing your statements.
2) "The TSA pat-down is invasive. For this reason, it is designed to be thorough in order to detect any potential threats..."
So it is invasive, is what you're saying.
3) "The machines used by TSA at our airports cannot store, print or transmit images."
Since image viewing takes place on a separate machine in a different room, then BY DEFINITION, your machines do transmit images. This also goes to the "our machines aren't networked" claim from another post. They are. By definition, if one machine does the scanning, and it's connected to another machine for viewing then it's on a network. Do you not understand words?
4) "TSA officers are trained to work with parents to ensure a respectful screening process for the entire family..."
Yeah, this looks respectful: http://www.nowpublic.com/world/mandy-simon-tsa-pats-down-screaming-child-video-2728309.html
I'm happy to meet with you in person and go through this point by point. You really seem to need a course on writing and logic.

Anonymous said...

TSA agents in Washington State are committing felonies daily when they perform "enhances pat-downs";

RCW 9A.44.100
Indecent liberties.

(1) A person is guilty of indecent liberties when he or she knowingly causes another person who is not his or her spouse to have sexual contact with him or her or another:

(a) By forcible compulsion;

(b) When the other person is incapable of consent by reason of being mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless;

(c) When the victim is a person with a developmental disability and the perpetrator is a person who is not married to the victim and who:

(i) Has supervisory authority over the victim; or

(ii) Was providing transportation, within the course of his or her employment, to the victim at the time of the offense;

(d) When the perpetrator is a health care provider, the victim is a client or patient, and the sexual contact occurs during a treatment session, consultation, interview, or examination. It is an affirmative defense that the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the client or patient consented to the sexual contact with the knowledge that the sexual contact was not for the purpose of treatment;

(e) When the victim is a resident of a facility for persons with a mental disorder or chemical dependency and the perpetrator is a person who is not married to the victim and has supervisory authority over the victim; or

(f) When the victim is a frail elder or vulnerable adult and the perpetrator is a person who is not married to the victim and who:

(i) Has a significant relationship with the victim; or

(ii) Was providing transportation, within the course of his or her employment, to the victim at the time of the offense.

(2)(a) Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, indecent liberties is a class B felony.

(b) Indecent liberties by forcible compulsion is a class A felony.

Anonymous said...

It has just been revealed that a flight attendent in Charlotte (and breast cancer patient) was required by TSA agents to remove her prosthetic breast for agents to inspect. On her last day of chemo...

I cannot imagine the sense of violation for this person.

Mike Ruhlin said...

Myth: Everybody who travels must undergo AIT screening.
Fact: Advanced imaging technology is optional – anybody can choose to opt out and receive alternate screening, which will include a pat down.

Kind of dodged the question. Is it true to say that everybody who travels at an airport equipped with AIT machines must EITHER go through the AIT or through the pat down?

A co-worker of mine said that they were still using metal detectors mostly, and selecting random people to go through AIT. But I was under the impression that AIT has replaced or is in the process of replacing metal detectors.

What's the actual rule? Is it possible to get through security without an AIT or a patdown?

Tim said...

This Myth vs Fact PR campaign will only serve to discredit the TSA more. Your TSO employee turn-over rate is going to be the next big news story.

Myth: The TSA keeps us safe.
Fact: The TSA has never caught a terrorist or foiled a terrorist plot.

suning said...

I believe that TSA should provide scanned passengers with a logbook in which the details of each scanning may be recorded, including the amount and type of energy/radiation utilized and signed or stamped by the scanning personnel.

Jim Earley said...

After reading this blog entry and reading the the comments thus far, I would say that your attempt to minimize the PR damage around this policy is an unmitigated failure. That's not to say you haven't done an admirable job of trying.

The problem is that AIT + EPD as a policy goes well beyond the threshold of tolerance the American flying public are willing to allow.

Take my shoes/belt off? Sure. Even if it is absurd on its face, and purely reactionary.

Encroach upon my civil rights? Nope. We're balking at that, and I've already contacted my congressman to repeal this policy.

Touching my or any other parents' kids? Now you've stepped over the line, especially since we have touch our kids about appropriate vs. inappropriate touches, and instill in them self-respect for their bodies.

So when my kids see me getting violated, how do I explain that to my kids? I'm certainly not going to tell them that it was an "appropriate" touch, nor from a "trusted" person - that would be a lie, which is something I won't do to my kids.

The only way for the TSA to begin to save face is to stop AIT + EPD. Full Stop. Look at alternatives, including chemical/bomb sniffing dogs, enhanced Psych. Profiling (as opposed to racial profiling) such as what we've read about with the Israelis.

Anonymous said...

FACT: The TSA needs to be disbanded and the Homeland Security Office dismantled.

FACT: These Agencies use security to violate individuals civil rights.

Olivia said...

I wish you all would just hop in your cars and drive to wherever you are going. I do not want you holding up lines while me and my two artificial knees are trying to get to my sisters house! Get over yourselves!

Anonymous said...

The TSA uses plastic gloves to protect themselves. What protects the passengers when these same gloves are used on many people without being changed? Can you say "disease transmission"?

Anonymous said...

If you really want to make the flights safer, why not put federal marshalls on every flight? The widely reported problems that have resulted in this increased invasiveness were spotted by passengers who were paying attention to the strangely acting people around them. Couple that with an air marshall and you would have a significantly increased chance for safety - much more proactive than this groping and virtual strip search.

Anonymous said...

Technology is great. You should be able to take the body scanner and show only things that are out of place. You don't need to show body tissue that is normal and expected. The resulting image should show only things that are unusual. That would eliminate the objection that the images are just for taking pornographic photos.

Anonymous said...

Your policies are not the same across all airports! People only perceive that using TSA is a security increase, there are other options! TSA=understaffed, unqualified, disorganized. You wonder why people hate the service look how long it takes to go through security check, and its not even well designed. I would love to eliminate TSA and have it done by a better organization!

Anonymous said...

Really, no one is exempt? I find that extremely hard to swallow.

"No Security Pat-Downs for Boehner"
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/no-security-pat-downs-for-boehner/?hp

Anonymous said...

Myth - "No one is exempt. Everyone is subject to the same screening."

Fact - The TSA is making exceptions for pilots, will soon exempt flight attendents. As well as TSO's becuase they don't steal or bring guns to work, airport employees because they don't steal or are involved in drug smuggling.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101119/ap_on_bi_ge/us_airport_security_pilots

MJM said...

Why are pat-down required after a full-body scan? Seems a waste of time and money to have a machine if you still require a pat-down. If the scanner can not detect something then just get rid of the scanner and go to a pat-down. Having to get both (after a full-body scan) is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

FACT: This is a violation of my 4th amendment rights. I am not a criminal or terrorist and should not be treated as one without any probable or reasonable cause. I am a US citizen travelling within the country. As such, I should be accorded the rights granted to every US citizen in the US Constitution.

FACT: This is utterly worthless "security theater" designed to show that you are doing something with taxpayer money.

FACT: The TSA is practicing FASCIST policies.

MYTH: The TSA has identified any terrorists through screening.

FACT: All noteworthy terrorist attempts have been stopped by PASSENGERS/people on the plane. They were already allowed to pass through TSA checkpoints.

Anonymous said...

In the last 18 months, I have flown 12 times. I have never set off a metal detector once.

I've been patted down 8 times.

Kinda runs counter to what you're saying, eh Bob?

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob, you forgot one:


Myth: Most people on this blog are overhelmingly in favor of current TSA policy and procedures.

Fact: Most people who frequent this blog have nothing nice to say about TSA.

Myth: The opinions of those who come on this blog reflects the overall general opinion of the American Public.

Fact: This blog is for whiners and crybabies who have nothing better to do with their lives than to cry and complain about TSA. The general American public is too busy to concern themselves with this blog, or the cry babies that come on here.



Myth: Blogger Bob will post this comment.

Fact: Will he?

Dale said...

So, if the machines "simply do not have that ability" to store, print or transmit the images, how exactly would you use an image from the machine as evidence in a court case against someone who brought in a weapon?

Dale said...

So if the machines do not have the ability to store, print or transmit the images, what exactly would the TSA use as evidence to prosecute an individual who brought a prohibited weapon through the machine?

Anonymous said...

I don't believe a word you are saying. This is all "government speak" to make everyone think that the flying public has no problem with the TSA. Anytime I speak to anyone in line or next to me on the plane. People will roll their eyes, shake their heads and say whatever the government touches they ruin. I'm a breast cancer survivor and was molested as a child yet it doesn't matter to the TSA at all. I will be either exposed to more exays or groped. Well I have choices too and I choose to avoid flying until TSA is taken out of the airports. If enough Americans say they have had it, a lot of TSA will join the ranks of the unemployed!

Anonymous said...

What an OUTRAGE! You gave PILOTS a pass but not the American people. Talk about a double standard. I noticed you guys haven't done a blog post explaining that!

mg said...

Re: Changing Gloves to Prevent Transmission of Disease & Infection

TSA screeners wear gloves to protect themselves but they examine hundreds of passengers with the same pair of gloves. The patdowns require the screener to firmly touch genitals, breasts and peer down one's waistband.

Can you please inquire about what TSA is doing to protect passengers from the transmission of disease, infection, and other germs that are easily spread by touch?

I'm extremely concerned that TSA is ignoring this public health risk.

It is standard operating procedure for health care professionals to change gloves and wash their hands between every patient examined. At a minimum, TSA agents should be required to change gloves before administering an enhanced pat-down.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It appears to me that we could learn from other airports. In airports outside the U.S. it seems their systems focus on detecting persons with hostile intent. They do this using highly educated and trained agents who are effective at detecting unusual behaviors, body language and other "tells".

Here we seem to have minimized any effort to training, or observation skills such as this, and instead focus on trying to detect the existence of hazardous materials, without regard or concern to any individual's intents.

Is there a reason, besides "cost" (which should not matter--- put a tax on every passenger to cover whatever system is used) that such apparently successful systems are rejected by Americans? What is it?

Yasmin Waring said...

After seeing this video of a recent pat down, I'm opting for the body scan! bit.ly/bM20zl

gemeg1 said...

Dear Blog authors --- please post an image of your full body scans on the blog site. We need to see who we're interacting with --- and maybe make a date for a drink or something more intimate.

Anonymous said...

So the reality of the situation is that none of this will stop some guy from shoving some PTEN up his rectum. So the question is how far is too far for security? Today body scans and pat downs are ok, but when the next guy is found with a canister of PTEN inside him, will we move to body cavity exams? So we will then have metal detectors, body scans, and stirrups?

Anonymous said...

I'm finding it extremely disturbing that parents have no idea what these so called,"Modified" pat downs of our children will entail. So basically we have no idea until we are there & if we still think it's too invasive & decide it's not worth traumatizing our children we get fined? How is that ok?
How is it ok to fine anyone that doesn't feel comfortable with people touching them? What harm are they doing by leaving?
As a sexual assault survivor, (and I use that term very loosely, because to this day the thought of anyone touching me besides my husband and my children makes me want to throw up), is the TSA going to pay for my therapy when I have a mental break due to a pat down? Will I be fined if I end up throwing up on the agent doing the pat down?
And you can spare us the whole, "you don't have to fly" bit. Some of us plan our vacations well ahead of time and purchased tickets months before we were even aware of these new procedures. Is the TSA going to refund our tickets? Or in the case of soldiers & their families PCSing to or from Hawaii like we had to do; what do you suggest they do, swim???

Bryan said...

"Myth: There has been an overwhelming public outcry against AIT.
Fact: A recent CBS News Poll found that 4 in 5 Support Full-Body Airport Scanners"

That poll is nearly a YEAR old - "Bob". How about THIS one? http://www.knoxnews.com/polls/2010/nov/111710tsa-poll/results/

Anonymous said...

I pity poor Blogger Bob. The TSA's propaganda tactics are clearly reminiscent of those used in authoritarian regimes like the former Soviet Union, and the misguided pseudo-logic used by Blogger Blob is disturbingly right out of George Orwell's chilling book, 1984. The difference is that those regimes were smart enough to also abolish free speech, making it very hard to argue with their doublethink. Blogger Bob, I pity you for having to deal with all of these comments, most of which you haven't responded to, because the fact is there is no response. All there is is another press release. But given the rate at which our government is trampling on our constitutional rights, there can be little doubt that free speech will be next.

TSORon said...

Hey Bob, I started to read the responses on this post yesterday but just couldn’t wade through it all. Far too many outright lies, misrepresentations, mischaracterizations, partial truths, and just plain ignorance. Almost made me toss my cookies. Its hard to imagine that the demographic of folks who claim to be the most open minded and technically savvy on the planet just can’t get their minds around the facts. They are so stuck going along with the media and a small select group of fear-mongers that they cannot separate the facts from the fiction for themselves.

You have done a great job providing the facts Bob, its just to bad that this is not what the people want. They prefer the hype, and no amount of fact is going to change that.

Anonymous said...

"Our officers are prohibited from bringing electronic devices such as cell phones into the AIT viewing room. This is a fireable offense and no such reports have been substantiated."

But you do nothing to screen them, and essentially never discipline your Officers.

I'm betting TSOs take their radios, wands, sidearms, etc. into the AIT viewing room. Who's going to notice a camera or cell phone?

Luke said...

Myth: The TSA respects 4th Amendment rights

Fact: They don't.

Anonymous said...

Myth: The TSA treats people w/respect
Fact: TSA agents routinely shout at people for no reason. The TSA considers everybody suspect and subjects them to a naked body scan or an invasive pat-down no matter what.
Fact: the TSA has no respect for people and has gone too far.

What is next REAL strip searches?

Anonymous said...

I have one thing to ask Bob... If I opt out under the 4th Amenment to the search or even better if I ask to see the warrant that allows the TSA to conduct a search of my person will they be able to produce one?

Z Thomas said...

All of this security theater does nothing, and is a waste of our taxpayer dollars.
If you are trying to prevent hijacking, don't worry about that anymore-the passengers have proven that they will take care of any problems that may arise.
If you are trying to prevent someone from destroying the plane in mid-air, then get over yourselves. There are much better targets with more people that are much easier to attack than an aircraft.
Random, plain-clothes Air Marshalls dedicated to specific threatened flights, and that's it. No more wasting my time and money on this nonsense for millions of innocent Americans daily.

Anonymous said...

Why is the TSA suddenly so afraid to post comments that are critical? In the past, the TSA and this blog have actually been vaguely responsive. Now all of a sudden you are in spin doctor mode.

I suspect it is because you really know in your hearts, you're on the wrong side of history. Not to mention basic human decency.

This is about TSA officials using security theater to cover their rear ends from future criticisms when the inevitable happens.

Living free means living with some extra danger. Get used to it or move to a police state. Don't turn America into one.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know clear answers to these questions:
- Can convicted felons be TSA screeners?
- Can convicted child molesters be TSA screeners?
- Will Janet submit to having a full body image of her publicly posted?

Anonymous said...

So far none of my commments have posted over the last 24 hours. I have not violated comment policy. Why?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40278427/ns/travel-news/

http://www.wbtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13534628

Anthony said...

AIT, which represents 3 minutes of flight radiation, is more deadly than terrorists. So flying has always been more deadly than terrorists.

Let me simplify the math. If 1 person dies a year from AIT radiation out of the 600 million people who fly, that's more people each year than have died from terrorist attacks since TSA took over.

The actual statistic is probably closer to 5 deaths from cancer out of 600 million flights per year.

If 100 people a year die from air flight radiation, that's also more people than ever die from terrorist attacks in a year.

The actual statistic is probably closer to 500 deaths from cancer out of 600 million per year.

If you count all the years people have been flying and you compare this number to the total number of people who have ever died in airline terrorism, it's obvious that you have more of a chance of getting cancer than be killed by a terrorist.

So back to the first thing I said:

AIT, which represents 3 minutes of flight radiation, is more deadly than terrorists. So flying has always been more deadly than terrorists.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
So now terrorists can use 11-year-olds to get bombs on airplanes? Great job, TSA!

first an outcry about young children being screened, so they did something about it and now its a problem. this blog is awesome!

Anonymous said...

Ayn said:
"Myth" twelve is hilarious, because it assumes your officers are professional.

the tsas people are as professional as the bloggers are realistic. again lets go back to privite screening which is funded by the airlines which are funded by the govt... i want my family's safety to be put before the profits of a private company and its stockholders. PERIOD

Anonymous said...

Myth: The TSA will treat you with respect.
Fact: The TSA will go to the ends of the earth to ensure your humiliation and subjugation. A flight attendant with a prosthetic breast was forced to remove her prosthesis - contrary to TSA policy I might add (but when has that ever mattered?)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40278427/ns/us_news/

Someone earlier commented on your press person's laughable comment about "shame" - she was right - TSA has no shame. Where does this end Bob? Rectal probes? Flying naked? Surgical inspection of our intestines?

Anonymous said...

when you get in line you are accepting an administrative search. You are consenting to the porcedures that are chosen for you. If you do not want to go through then do not get in line. Its probably going to come to the point where all passengers have to go through the machines. Right now its random. If most of the "good looking" women, "random", or "theyre singling me out" complaints will go away then have EVERYONE go through it. The reason that I can see for them making it random is because it takes longer to screen each passenger so they are doing it to keep passenger flow. They are trying to keep it to a minimum but again if thats not good enough then have everyone go through. Look for lanes to get much much longer and be prepared to show up 4-5 hours before your flight to get to the gate on time. It looks like the tsa is trying to compromise and make it random. Again you are consenting to the search when you get in line so it is your choice.

Anonymous said...

"You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

I think we know the answer from DHS and the TSA. Nope, no decency at all.

Anonymous said...

I will be required to travel soon and I will NOT be going through the new scanner. I don’t mind going through a metal detector however. I object because this entire thing is a waste of money, given to the hands of so many terrible TSA employees, and will not stop someone from blowing up a plane. Any of you who think this is actually protecting anyone should read into how many different ways someone can take down a plane. This will not save your life. I don’t know why people don’t understand that the people that do want to harm us will find a way. Reliance on technology to do everything for us is foolish.

The thing I don't think TSA and other people for this understand--some of us HAVE to fly for our jobs. So by your logic I should quit my job or get fired because of their policies? And if so... would you do the same? What if something similar happened with cars and new procedures interfered with your ability to get to work on time? If flying is a privilege then please explain that to my bosses and many others around the world who require us to do so.

In a perfect world with perfect people these policies *might* work as pat downs would be done, ALWAYS, by concerned, respectful, and caring people. However we know this is not an accurate description of most TSA staff.

I would really like a response OFFICIALLY from TSA on this...

[Setting-these policies have remained for a while and pat downs and AIT continues as is] What happens when this isn't enough and someone smuggles something inside of them? How many attacks like this would it take before we can't go without a cavity search? I would expect DHS and TSA to have people who try to plan for future increased incidents so I wish they would answer this..... how far will this all go in a continually worst case scenario? How far will they run with this false sense of security?
This is nothing but miniscule deterrence at the sake of privacy.

Anonymous said...

Bob,
Anonymous said...
Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive

fact: Your boss says otherwise

Pistole said "was more invasive than I'm used to"

I would like to know how Mr. Pistole would know how invasive the pat down is since no one who works for TSA has to be screened.
Why not tell the truth

Anonymous said...

We will win....this will NOT BE TOLERATED. It is disgusting, immoral, abusive and violates my rights. I don't care if Obama passed the law or not - WE THE PEOPLE will decide what policies will be enacted.

Hmmm...notice that EVERY POSTING on here is "anonymous". Gee, I wonder why that is?

Patrick (BOS TSO) said...

You've lost Orlando Airport...probably the first of many until sense and sanity return to your agency. And no, alas for you, airports are not required to use you or your policies.

Correction. Orlando Sanford, not Orland International.

Also, while said airports don't have to staff security with TSA personnel they are required to follow TSA policies and SOP... so the pat-down would stay.

Anonymous said...

"... Myth: Everyone who travels will receive a pat-down.
Fact: Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down...."

This is a false statement. My 18-yo son, who is a star athlete, was the victim of an enhanced grope down at CLE on 14 November while returning from a college recruiting visit. He asked if it was random. TSA told him no, it was because he was "suspicious." When he asked the officer to stop explaining what he was going to do and just get it over because his flight was boarding (LOL! He played too long with his potential new teammates), the officer became indignant and said that he was required to tell him what he was going to do before he did it.

Given this incident, the assertion "Fact: Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine ..." is demonstrably false.

Anonymous said...

Myth or Fact - $11,000 fine if you refuse to be grouped?

Anonymous said...

I have a fake hip... why shoudl I have to undergo the enhanced pat down /grope and feel to fly...Its a violation of the american with disabilities act. I have have to consult with a lawyer

Anonymous said...

"Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive
Fact: Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down."

Nowhere on the "fact" disputes invasive nature of pat-down. It is invasive but travelers can use AIT instead, which has about the same risk of death as being on the same flight as terrorists.

Anonymous said...

I just want to thank the TSA for making us safer and Blogger Bob in particular for dispelling all of the myths about the TSA. I really do feel much safer now and it clears up a lot of confusion in my mind.
PS- NOT!!!!! Hahahahahah. Fooled yah Blogger Bob!

Anonymous said...

I am a nun who has traveled back and forth to India over the last five years. Your blog said that if you do not set off alarms you will not receive a pat down. This is NOT true. Every time and I mean every time, that I go through security I get a pat down. I have never set off the alarm in the metal detector. I have never set off an alarm with the hand held wand. Yet EVERY TIME I am sent into the plexi glass cage and have to wait at least five minutes for a female to come and pat me down. The last time the woman told me it's because I wear long skirts. So how can you say this is a myth. I have received no consideration for being a nun. The pat down is in full view of everyone. To be touched like this is against my vows. To be seen naked is against my vows. Why not handle security as the Israeli do? Their track record is way better than yours and they rarely touch anyone and sure don't use the machines. They know all this is a waste of time and simply a cover up for being ineffectual.

Bobby D. said...

Blogger Bob, are TSA screeners permitted to wear radiation exposure badges?

All my research points to no, and if not - why not? Seems like the data gathered from these badges would quickly quell the public concern over the radiation dose on the backscatter machines.

Anonymous said...

Myth: this is legal
Fact: Our constitution should protect us against illegal search. The cops can't ask you to strip naked and take a picture or aggressively grab your stuff without probable cause and a warrant. This is the TSA over reaching because the cia let a guy in europe on a plane that was on a watch list. We have lost the 4th amendment so the terrorists won

Anonymous said...

Myth: this is a legit blog
Fact: anything negative is changed or not allowed on this blog

Anonymous said...

If I am allowed to travel Naked, then what are the procedures for Pat down and AIT scanning.
I understand we are not allowed to travel naked, else we get fined and arrested by Police before we face TSA. But the way things are fast approaching, I will NOT be surprised, if one walks naked into the TSA Zone if I may call it.

Anonymous said...

Ehem...I think you should go back to CBS for the latest poll- 86% against

Joseph R said...

"Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive
Fact: Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down."

Bullcrap! I've gotten three enhanced pat downs in the past 15 days at Dulles International where AITs are not yet up and running and I didn't trigger a metal detector.

IAD is not some backwater airport. It is where a large majority of TSA initiatives get deployed. I would anticipate my experience is consistent across all the major airports. You're spinning lies.

The credibility of this blog has always been suspect, but outright lies like this make it clear that under crisis TSA will say anything despite clear factual evidence and video/photographs demonstrating their failure.

Deny said...

Blogger Bob,

You should be ashamed of yourself. Why do you keep spouting these lies about the usefulness of these new procedures? The machines can only penetrate about 1/10th of an inch of skin. So a female with rather large breast, can place a bomb underneath the breast and your stupid machine still wouldn't catch it. Please tell us how seeing our naked bodies and groping our private parts makes good security sense, when most of the bags and cargo goes unchecked?

I personally feel that all this stuff that the department of Homeland Security is doing, is just an attempt to make it look like you're making us safer while deterring our attention to the real threat to our security. How can anyone trust that any agency within HSL will be able to prevent or thwart another major attack on the U.S.? How long did it for HSL to find Osama bin Laden again? Oh, that's right, after nearly ten years of searching he still is out there somewhere. Yet, we're supposed to believe the intelligence the TSA has that about the threat to American airports? Yeah right, this "intelligence" is more likely about things that have already happened. Nice try! Don't believe you cookie!

mark said...

[Letter to the President of the United States]

RE: TSA-Intrusive Pat Downs and Full Body Image Scanners

Dear Mr. President:

Security is one thing, but personal privacy cannot be sacrificed. Never. The TSA is out of control with these intrusive pat downs. This needs to stop now, it is just wrong. I fear our freedoms are diminishing and it will be the U.S. , not the terrorist becoming the intruder in our life.

The TSA chief has a personal interest in the company that makes the scanners, this is morally wrong! Private studies revealed the shoe bomber and other materials would not be picked up in the scanner. Why are Americans, adults and children being subjected to scanners that not really any good in the first place and displaying our private parts as well as being exposed to undo radiation. Surely, technology is not this far backwards!

I guess the question to ask yourself on this issue is would you subject your family, your children through this invasive process?

Please look at this issue, it's very important to me and my family, at present, I will not fly anymore due to this invasion of privacy by the TSA.

Sincerely,



Mark Leavitt

Anonymous said...

The TSA can claim all it wants we love being x-rayed and groped. Me, you couldn't pay me to fly right now.

Rights? You got no rights, so sit down, shut up, and listen to your TSA masters.

Anonymous said...

I fly every week for business and can't believe the crap that you are trying to make readers believe.

Most airports have both metal detectors and AIT body scanners. People are going through these machines based on the line they choose and since AIT so ridiculously slow, it is a FACT that more people go through the metal detector anyway.

Your enhanced pat downs are humiliating for anyone that goes through them.

Stop preaching about how this is for our own good and for our own safety. You are intruding on people's lives.

TSA is proof that the terrorists have won. You can list all the bullshit CBS polls you want but the FACT is that people don't want to put their health at more risk from travelling or be embarassed by your pat downs.

Anonymous said...

What happens when a TSA agent knocks out a medication/insulin pump or ruptures internal sutures, causing a potentially life threating infection or life threatening internal bleeding?

We've seen many examples of the TSA's insensitivity to those with prostheses and other medical devices.

Why haven't you manned each station with medical personnel to help with those who require extra sensitivity and a higher level of medical training?

Anonymous said...

"Myth: The pat-down is a punishment for opting out of the AIT."

Fact: Nobody said it was a "punishment".

It sounds like you're indirectly referring to Jeffrey Goldberg's piece in The Atlantic. Goldberg never said the searches were punitive, he said they were meant to be such an unpleasant alternative to the AIT that people would choose it over the searches. That it was intended to be demeaning.

You don't address that. It's deceptive to misstate or manufacture a "myth" for the sole purpose of denying it and avoiding an actual issue people are concerned about.

Anonymous said...

Fact: The TSA has gone too far. Time to stop.

Anonymous said...

"The number of complaints is extremely low."

Here's the truth; people are AFRAID to complain, because they will be treated like criminals and denied their rights.

There is a good reason that the policies of the TSA are now under scrutiny; it's because We The People are complaining!

Frank said...

OK. Myth or Fact:

Members of Congress can fly commercially without undergoing AIT screeneing or enhanced pat down.

Same is true for staffers flying with a member.

Same is true for family traveling with a member.


I intend to keep asking these questions until I get an answer. You can duck, Bob, but you can't hide.

winstonsmith said...

Thanks for finally publishing one of my comments.... too bad I had to publish as anonymous to get it done. Truth hurts doesn't it Bob. The TSA has lost all credibility it ever thought it had. Give it up. Drop the war on water, the shoe carnival, the useless id checks, the polyester-clad high school dropouts at the checkpoints, and John Pistole. The TSA is as useless as a WalMart manager in an actual store. I challenge any TSA agent anywhere to find his or her own hindquarters in a well lighted room with both hands with a map and the help of a supervisor. The amount of "contraband" I have slipped through checkpoints personally, and quite accidentally, makes your screening look more amateurish than the Keystone Kops.

Give it up guys. Stand down. You are worse than useless.

Luv ya... mean it.

Winstonsmith.

Keep spinnin...

winstonsmith

btw, it'll be a cold day in hell before I fly within or out of the US again while the TSA continues to exist.

Anonymous said...

Would everyone like to return to how things were before 911? Or would you like them to be able to find metal (like boxcutters or knives) or explosive devices? People keep forgetting that you are choosing to buy the ticket, choosing to go to the airport, choosing to get in the security line. If you object to the rules that everyone has to follow the solution is easy. Bus, car, train.If there was another plane into a high rise how many of you would not be screaming for the TSAs head? Each one would be placing the blame in one place. You have options. No one says you have to do the body scan. They provide the pat down option. If you refuse the pat down option you have the option of riding on a bus or in a car or a train. NO one says you have to fly.Just like driving is a privilege so is flying. There is no law saying you cannot object and refuse. Refuse all you want to and get out of the way for the law, and rule abiding citizens can get through the line. I strongly object to the term of 'sexual assault' being thrown around. BELIEVE me...getting a pat down in a security line is not the same thing and trust me I know. It sounds more to me like a bunch of people with entitlement issues who think they are above the law.

avxo said...

The TSA backed off pretty quickly when it came to screening pilots.

What's the matter? A couple of days ago, screening pilots was very important to ensure that we are all protected.

Today... not so much.

What's the myth/fact there Bob?

Anonymous said...

Bob, I have to give you and the TSA some credit. I have rarely seen a topic that gets both liberals and conservatives together in outrage. When firedoglake is linking positively to Ron Paul, you know whoever got them together is despicable.

I can only hope we can figure out and agree on a way to throw the TSA management (and you) out of work and into the gutter where you belong.

avxo said...

"Myth: All children will receive pat-downs."

That any children will is a concern, and I wish parents the best of luck in trying to explain to their children that it's ok if some people touch them, but not ok if others touch them, and how to distinguish between the "ok touch" and the "not ok touch."

Anonymous said...

Fact: You have definitely and irreversibly crossed a line.
Fact: Some airports are getting rid of you. Others will follow.
Fact: In the Bay area, DAs will bring charges against any of your screeners seen violating fliers’ rights. Others will follow.
Fact: Ron Paul introduced The American Traveler Dignity Act.
Fact: During all your years of operation, you have demonstrated over and over again, through the guards you have the audacity to call “officers”, how appalling your agency is.
The TSA should be abolished, and all of you tried in court for crimes against citizens.
I dare you to publish this, since you already censored two of my previous posts – alerting flyers about the EPIC lawsuit, and containing no objectionable language.

Anonymous said...

So the TSA has changed the rules, but I cannot find out how they have changed. I've personally gone to my local airport to talk to TSA and get more information on exactly what will be done to my child when I choose not to irradiate them. I was told that they would not have their genitals touched. I asked him if I could have a copy of the policy, or at least the memo so I could pass it along to other TSA personel we come in contact with at other airports, in case they were not clear on the matter. Nope. It's a secret. Anything I could read so I could understand what we were in for? Nope - it's a secret. Unless someone talks about it on a radio program. Or you, Bob, write about it on your Blog.

I travel with the family in a couple of days, and right now I have NO idea what my family is in for, and I cannot find out exactly what I am supposedly consenting too.

What is the difference between Enhanced, Modified, and Standard Pat Down? Where can I read about it so I will understand what I am supposedly consenting to when I bought that ticket last year when these policies weren't in effect?

When will you update the Traveling with Children section to include the forced imaging or forced touching - I keep looking there for information.

ReasonableCitizen said...

Don't Tread On Me.

The TSA says it does not have enough complaints about body scanners and enhanced pat down techniques.
Consider this one more.

kdt said...

Bob, you really top yourself with this one. I mean, usually you just limit yourself to one lie per post, but this one's a regular smorgasbord of half-truths and lies. You've been posting pretty hot and heavy over the last few days . . . is the heat getting to the TSA?

Anonymous said...

Myth: The TSA is in full spin mode.
Fact: We didn't bring enough quarters.

kdt said...

Fact: Passenger reaction to enhanced pat-downs is destroying TSA employee morale

TheLastLiberalinArizona said...

Myth: TSA has a duty to protect the public from terrorists.
Fact: Bowers v. Devito, 686 F.2d 616 (7th Cir. 1982) (There is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen. It is monstrous if the state fails to protect its residents against such predators but it does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, or, we suppose, any other provision of the Constitution. The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let the people alone; it does not require the federal government or the state to provide services, even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order.); (No duty to protect) = Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss;Cf. Reciprocial obligations.

November 18, 2010 5:34 PM

Bless you.

Anonymous said...

MR. PISTOLE: Everybody goes through the same process. So whatever their ethnicity or religious beliefs, which I'm sensitive to and appreciate, the bottom line is people are treated the same in terms of either going through the advanced imaging technology if that's available or to walk through the metal detector. And if they alert, then they would have to have that alert resolved. And the best way of doing that is through a pat-down.

Unless your name is John Boehner

Anonymous said...

The number of complaints AT THE AIRPORT are low, because people don't want to risk missing their flight as you needlessly detain and delay them if they dare speak up about how humiliated they feel from this Security Theatre. Just because people aren't complaining AT THE AIRPORT doesn't mean they are at all happy about this.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of you need to turn off the Glenn Beck and go outside and get some sunshine.

Anonymous said...

33 year old AZ resident here with internal hardware in my leg from a MVA...titanium rods and screws. going to be flying alone in dec. if i am understanding correctly, my leg is going to set off the scanner and i am automatically forced to be patted down. is my hospital medical card going to save me from TSA pat down abuse? we shall soon see...

Anonymous said...

Why can a TSA agent do this extensive "pat down" on innocent flyers, but police are prohibited from doing them on suspected criminals?

Anonymous said...

Why did you censor my question?

I asked how you make sure your Officers don't bring cameras or camera phones into the screening areas. With your radios, wands, sidearms, and other equipment, who is going to notice a camera?

I don't understand what is inappropriate or off-topic about this question, so I assume it's just that our Government Overlords can't handle criticism from lowly civilian subjects.

Anonymous said...

The $11,000 fine for opting out of AIT and requesting a pat-down isn't punitive?

Is it any wonder we don't trust anything you say?

Anonymous said...

Why is it the TSA can do this kind of pat down to innocent travelers, but the police can't do it to a suspected criminal?
Why is o.k. for TSA to take naked pictures of kids but for anyone else it's considered child porn & they can be arrested?
Why is it doctors tell us to limit our x-ray exposure, but TSA & FDA say it's o.k. for flying?

Anonymous said...

Bob said:"Myth: TSA Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) images can be stored on the AIT machines located in our airports."
Fact: AIT machines are REQUIRED to store images in "Test Mode" as per TSA specs. Someone associated with each machine will know how to go into "Test Mode" for maintenance...pictures WILL eventually get around.
See page 5 in this document:
http://epic.org/open_gov/foia/TSA_Procurement_Specs.pdf

Anonymous said...

Myth: Complaints about the pat-downs are extremely high.
Fact: Only a small percentage of the traveling public receives a pat down as they travel through the security checkpoint. Approximately 2 million people fly in the United States every day. The number of complaints is extremely low.

Fact: You never state what %age complains. At the time of my reading, there were 174 comments, 1 of which were favorable and 2 that appeared to be from TSA employees and were, at best neutral. So let's say 1 in 172 favorable comments. That's an obviously low 99.418% complaint rate.
The 4th Amendment: "Learn it. Know it. Live it." (bonus points for naming the movie quote)

Daryl Cobranchi said...

Myth: The TSA works for us.

Fact: The TSA is an out-of-control organization which should be disbanded (right after Pistole is fired).

Anonymous said...

The 4th Amendment & TSA searches:

I refer you to the Federal court case UNITED STATES of America v. OYEKAN and Keleni:

http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/786/786.F2d.832.85-1775.html

The Supreme Court has determined that the guarantees of the fourth amendment must be evaluated in conformity with the government's authority to regulate entry:
Consistently, therefore, with Congress' power to protect the Nation by stopping and examining persons entering this country, the Fourth Amendment's balance of reasonableness is qualitatively different at the international border than in the interior. Routine searches of the persons and effects of entrants are not subject to any requirement of reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or warrant.

United States v. Montoya de Hernandez, --- U.S. ----, 105 S.Ct. 3304, 3309, 87 L.Ed.2d 381 (1985).

United States v. Vega-Barvo, 729 F.2d 1341, 1345 (11th Cir.1984) (luggage search, pat-down justified by person's decision to cross border); United States v. Sandler, 644 F.2d 1163, 1169 (5th Cir.1981) (pat-down part of routine search); United States v. Grayson, 597 F.2d 1225 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 873, 100 S.Ct. 153, 62 L.Ed.2d 99 (1979) (no suspicion required for removal of paper from pockets); United States v. Flores, 477 F.2d 608, 609 (1st Cir.1973) (baggage, outer clothing may be searched even on a "random basis"); Henderson v. United States, 390 F.2d 805, 808 (9th Cir.1967) (contents of wallet, purse, pockets subject to routine search); but see United States v. Dorsey, 641 F.2d 1213, 1218-19 (7th Cir.1981) (case-by-case balancing required). At issue for fourth amendment purposes, then, is the validity of the continued detention of the women following the routine inspection, and the strip searches, x-rays, and rectal and pelvic examinations, in light of the fact that the fourth amendment "balance between the interests of the Government and the privacy right of the individual is struck much more favorably to the Government at the border." Montoya de Hernandez, 105 S.Ct. at 3310.
------------------------
All of this reveals that TSA scan & search policies for domestic passengers are in violation of the 4th Amendment and of Federal law. In fact, it now appears that the threshold for moving to searches and pat-downs of entrants to U.S. borders at customs checkpoints is higher than it is for our grandmothers & children who fly from Sacramento to Kansas City.

TSA first scans & searches our bodies, THEN asks questions. Customs officers must first make a reasonable determination through routine search and--most importantly--probative questioning, that you are carrying contraband before they can initiate aggressive search procedures that can include strip search, body cavity search, x-rays and even surgery.

The TSA seems to be pretending that the greatly reduced protections of the 4th Amendment against unreasonable search & seizure for people entering the U.S. from abroad now applies to anyone who buys an airline ticket and shows up at a domestic air terminal.

I would suggest that there is NO basis in the Constitution or Federal law for such a position by the TSA or ANY other Federal agency.

Anonymous said...

The 4th Amendment & TSA searches:

I refer you to the Federal court case UNITED STATES of America v. OYEKAN and Keleni:

http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/786/786.F2d.832.85-1775.html

The Supreme Court has determined that the guarantees of the fourth amendment must be evaluated in conformity with the government's authority to regulate entry:
Consistently, therefore, with Congress' power to protect the Nation by stopping and examining persons entering this country, the Fourth Amendment's balance of reasonableness is qualitatively different at the international border than in the interior. Routine searches of the persons and effects of entrants are not subject to any requirement of reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or warrant.

United States v. Montoya de Hernandez, --- U.S. ----, 105 S.Ct. 3304, 3309, 87 L.Ed.2d 381 (1985).

United States v. Vega-Barvo, 729 F.2d 1341, 1345 (11th Cir.1984) (luggage search, pat-down justified by person's decision to cross border); United States v. Sandler, 644 F.2d 1163, 1169 (5th Cir.1981) (pat-down part of routine search); United States v. Grayson, 597 F.2d 1225 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 873, 100 S.Ct. 153, 62 L.Ed.2d 99 (1979) (no suspicion required for removal of paper from pockets); United States v. Flores, 477 F.2d 608, 609 (1st Cir.1973) (baggage, outer clothing may be searched even on a "random basis"); Henderson v. United States, 390 F.2d 805, 808 (9th Cir.1967) (contents of wallet, purse, pockets subject to routine search); but see United States v. Dorsey, 641 F.2d 1213, 1218-19 (7th Cir.1981) (case-by-case balancing required). At issue for fourth amendment purposes, then, is the validity of the continued detention of the women following the routine inspection, and the strip searches, x-rays, and rectal and pelvic examinations, in light of the fact that the fourth amendment "balance between the interests of the Government and the privacy right of the individual is struck much more favorably to the Government at the border." Montoya de Hernandez, 105 S.Ct. at 3310.
------------------------
All of this reveals that TSA scan & search policies for domestic passengers are in violation of the 4th Amendment and of Federal law. In fact, it now appears that the threshold for moving to searches and pat-downs of entrants to U.S. borders at customs checkpoints is higher than it is for our grandmothers & children who fly from Sacramento to Kansas City.

TSA first scans & searches our bodies, THEN asks questions. Customs officers must first make a reasonable determination through routine search and--most importantly--probative questioning, that you are carrying contraband before they can initiate aggressive search procedures that can include strip search, body cavity search, x-rays and even surgery.

The TSA seems to be pretending that the greatly reduced protections of the 4th Amendment against unreasonable search & seizure for people entering the U.S. from abroad now applies to anyone who buys an airline ticket and shows up at a domestic air terminal.

I would suggest that there is NO basis in the Constitution or Federal law for such a position by the TSA or ANY other Federal agency.

Anonymous said...

Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down. It is one layer in our tool kit to address the nonmetallic explosives threat.

This doesn't make sense. To address nonmetallic explosives, you should be patting down people who don't alarm the metal detector.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe that these measures make us substantially safer. We are giving up more and more of our liberty and basic dignity for more and more marginal gains.

The recent policy changes make airline security not only intrusive and irritating but actively harmful.

I believe that most TSA employees behave as professionally as possible, but the "enhanced pat-down" is inherently degrading and offers many opportunities for the abuse of power. I should be able to fly for work or to see relatives without risk of sexual harassment. I do not consider the humiliation and radiation dose of the AIT an acceptable alternative either.

With this policy, TSA has chosen to do actual, immediate harm to American citizens in the name of preventing hypothetical danger.

This is stupid, offensive, and wrong.

Anonymous said...

Myth: the TSA makes you safe.

Sandra said...

txrus wrote, in part: "a female screener is 'asking' a male pax, who is surrounded by TSAers of every rank, 'Why are you opting out'. If it's not punitive, why ask in the first place? Why try to intimidate the pax into changing his mind by causing a scene like that?

We have often heard reports of travelers who question the TSA being "surrounded" by your screeners? What exactly is the point of that exercise, Bob?

It sure seems like intimidation to me.

txrus said...

Anonymous had to drag out the well-worn '9/11' excuse again when he/she asked

Would everyone like to return to how things were before 911?
***********************************

You do realize that the only reason the hijackings on Sept 11, 2001 were the success they were was because 4 pilots, following company policy at the time, opened the doors to the flight deck & cooperated w/the hijackers.

You also realize that not one single policy or procedure the TSA has implemented since its inception would have prevented the hijackings, right?

The airlines changed company policy & pilots will not longer cooperate w/hijackers under any circumstances. Policy is to now get the plane on the ground as fast as possible regardless of what is going on in the cabin.

The FAA, under pressure from the flight attendants union, banned box cutters, but since scissors w/blades up to 4 inches long (box cutter blades are 1 inch, btw) are allowed, one must conclude this is & remains purely symbolic to keep the FAs happy.

The TSA/Blogger Bob has been asked, many many times, over the years, every time THEY trot out the 9/11 boogeyman, what one policy or procedure they are wholey responsible for that would have prevented the hijackings had it been in effect on 9/10/01. To this day, they've never been able to provide one example.

Not.

One.

Only flights operating to/from/within the USA are subject to the TSA theatrics. This means that the majority of flights in the world at any given time operate outside the realm of the TSA & its stupidity. How many of them have been hijacked? Blown up?

Not.

One.

How many screeners have been fired for stealing from pax since the TSA came into effect? The number is easily approaching 1000 & that's just the ones we know about & who haven't gotten caught yet. How many have been caught running guns thru their airports? Smuggling drugs? Brought guns to work w/them?

You are more at risk of being a victim of a TSA screener than you will ever be of a true terrorist.

If you think anything the TSA does is somehow 'keeping you safe', there is ocean front property for sale in Arizona, real cheap, you may wish to invest in...

David from NYC said...

Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive
Fact: Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down. For this reason, it is designed to be thorough in order to detect any potential threats and keep the traveling public safe.


Not true, simply not true. DFW airport, 2 days ago. I'm traveling with 2 other people. The first person's belt sets off the metal detector, so he's asked to take it off, and then he is sent to a thorough pat-down and search. The second person I'm traveling with sets off no detectors at all, and then was searched in the exact same way. They took an extra 17 minutes (I timed it) and felt that the search was EXTREMELY excessive - for example, going through their wallets. What gives? There wasn't even at AIT machine there to be freaked out about.

Just know this, TSA folks, you're still coming off as random and silly. Nobody felt safer, just violated and inconvenienced.

Anonymous said...

"Far too many outright lies, misrepresentations, mischaracterizations, partial truths, and just plain ignorance. Almost made me toss my cookies."

It's nice to see you finally getting fed up with TSA's lies, wRONg!

Anonymous said...

Third Try

Bob, Bob, Bob, here we go again. You get kudos for spouting the party line. But, it still remains that your post is still filled with many half truths at best and outright lies at worst. I have no doubt you believe what you right and some of it is even true. Although based on my experience and observations I have to contradict several of your statements based on the real world. These observations and experiences are based on flying through Atlanta and LAX.

Pat-Downs:

1. Regarding children getting a modified pat-down. You fail to realize that boy or girl of 13 are still children. The contact as seen performed on adults is an illegal act anywhere in this country except for the airport apparently, and those individuals would be labeled pedophiles.

2. The pat-down whether intentional or not "it is a punitive action" for refusing the AIT (there is usually much yelling of OPT OUT, OPT OUT, making people think they have done something illegal). This also because of the sheer number of people not required to go through it nor receive the enhanced pat-down. This hard to understand considering Pistole said that everyone is being screened the same (this is an outright lie).

3. About everyone receiving a pat-down. This is somewhat true and part of the problem with the public outcries (see John Tyner). He asked for nothing more than to go through the regular screening that according to my estimation is somewhere in the range 75-80% of passengers. This is no partnership by definition of the term, more like a dictatorship/police state.

4. This brings up another point about complaints. When put into perspective of the number of passengers who complain versus those going through enhanced screening your estimation is disingenuous at best and more likely nothing more than a CYA lie.

To those of you who wish to claim if people don't like it don't fly, remember that if you are that afraid of terrorists you are also welcome to stay at home and let the government continue to provide a nanny state which is safe.
The rest of us will be enjoying life and freedom with all of its inherent dangers. At the same time we will continue to protect our constitutional rights.
Remember old Ben Franklin and the 4th Amendment.

Jodi said...

I will not fly. That's just it. I won't subject myself or my children to this kind of invasion.

(I will explain to the kids that I have to protect them from their own government's violation of their privacy in the name of . . . nothing, really. TSA keeps them away from their relatives and Disney World and the beach to create a poor illusion of greater safety. It's a wildly unfortunate civics lesson.)

So if the goal of the TSA is to keep people off planes altogether, then I guess we're there. And I guess in that sense, there's no security risk associated with us anymore. So good work, TSA!

Anonymous said...

We should be grateful our government allows us to travel at all. Many other countries have severe restrictions on personal travel. If the government fears the people it has the undisputed right to manage them in any way that promote its own survival.

Anonymous said...

censorship is alive and well!!!!!

Anonymous said...

So you can't store or transmit images? How then will you use the images as proof in court? Sounds like a lie.

Anonymous said...

Hands off my Hejab Mr. Pistole! TSA won't dare scan us in burkas or feel the wrath of CAIRE.
Your disinformation blog fails to mask incompetence.
Backscatter x-rays are deadly and the cumulative effects are UNKNOWN. TSA machines are exempt from safety regulation.
Machines have an engineering mode that can be activated by any 12-year old.

Anonymous said...

FACT: About 1/2 the "facts" in the article are outright lies or half-truths that do not fully address the question.

For example, the part about the children pat down. Modified procedures may exist - but they do not seem to be being followed. So, I'd call that a lie.

Anonymous said...

There are too many people experiencing pat downs that are invasive, embarassing, and traumatizing. We, as the traveling public, do not believe you, TSA. Your searches are invasive and horrific. My family will not be traveling by air until these policies are changed. Start profiling. Use common sense and stop groping!

Anonymous said...

I was abused by pedophiles as a small child which included both physically being touched (and worse) and being forced to "perform" naked on a stage in front of strangers. I don't care if the images are stored or not, it's still terrifying for me to be forced to be viewed naked by strangers even if it's a machine, and the pat down is even more horrible.

I know there are thousands like me who won't say anything so I feel I should speak up for those like me. I will be avoiding air travel for all but the most serious emergencies from now on, rather than be forced to remember and relive these horrible and terrifying experiences every time I wish to fly.

I think more thought should have been given to this policy especially as it regards women and anyone who has been sexually abused or assaulted, which is a lot of people.

D Kurth said...

This article is a lie.

Myth: Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down.

I was padded down AND went through the new screening machine..everyone going on the plane was forced to.

Myth: Backscatter technology is safe for all passenger

As a skin cancer survivor, one has to avoid all concentration of xrays on the skin. The dosage you talk about is if the xray is distributed through-out the body. Instead it is focused on the skin, and could cause more cancer.

QUIT LYING TO THE PEOPLE!

Anonymous said...

How can you possibly claim that complaints haven't escalated? Do you read your own site? Or do a Google search. Nobody can stand your policies anymore. Please go away!

Anonymous said...

If you accept the saying that "life is one-thing at a time", trading your privacy for security check shouldn't be a problem because you just can't have both according to the definition of 21century aviation industry. Its an obvious reality and evolutionary definition of safety we all have to leave with in our modern world today....Charles Edmond.

Anonymous said...

What is to stop a TSA agent who is viewing the scanner images to take a picture of the image with a cell phone? Think how much an image of a celebrity could be worth?

Anonymous said...

Hello! I'm concerned that you, Blogger Bob, assert that we, the public, should be wary of the stories we hear on the news and not to immediately herald them as fact, when you, yourself do. I am speaking here of the CBS poll that you are quoting to say that 81% of people think AIT scanners should be used.

THIS IS NOT A SCIENTIFIC POLL!

Who is to say that the people surveyed all understand what the body scanners do? I still talk to people daily who believe that the backscatter technologies see inside a body, which is not true. One simple question is not enough to call this fact. (I thought we all had learned to be wary of news polls when none of them predicted President Bush's second term.)

A better poll would 1) have location specific responses, and 2) would make sure that the subjects interviewed FULLY UNDERSTOOD AIT technology. This means that the subjects surveyed need to see what the TSOs who view the scanner images see, and then decide if those are appropriate for security.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what everyone is so upset about. No one is MAKING people fly...there are other forms of transportation. I, for one, am just happy to land safely, and if that means allowing TSA to do what they have to do, then okay. Everyone just needs to relax a bit.

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone want TSA "fired"? If private companies are hired you get people who are paid less to do an important job. The way I see it...you get what you pay for. Scary!

Margaret said...

I consider both the AIT and the pat down as an invasion of privacy and beyond what is reasonable. Benjamin Franklin said it best..."those who opt for security over freedom deserve neither". I for one believe government intervention has crossed way over the line and the TSA screening is another example of infringement on privacy and freedom. Never will I travel by aircraft because of the TSA. It takes me less time by other means without the hassle.

Anonymous said...

Putting aside concerns about the safety of the scanners for a moment, I think it would be very easy to correct a condition that is causing the most emotional difficulty.

Let's first assume that Bob is accurately (and repeatedly) stating the official TSA position that the pat down is not punitive, and is to be conducted in a respectful and professional manner.

The problem is that some TSOs apparently either haven't been told this requirement, or they choose to ignore it. They make the pat down punitive and humiliating by yelling at or delaying those who "opt out," and perhaps handling sensitive body parts with more roughness than is necessary for "good security." They may honestly believe that humiliation is entirely justified in the interest of "actively encouraging" passengers to choose the screening method that's easiest and most efficient for TSOs. And their bosses may even explicitly or implicitly encourage this treatment of "opt outs" in the interest of maintaining efficiency metrics.

Whatever the reason, some TSOs clearly are making the pat down punitive and humiliating, in violation of what Bob tells us is the TSA standard. But even with the current unprecedented backlash, the TSA leadership seems to be tolerating these violations if not encouraging them. That's the real problem.

The TSA could solve that problem by clearly flowing down the message to their employees that "opt outs" are to be treated courteously and professionally, and that TSOs will be held accountable for following the standards. Yelling at "opt outs" or unnecessary roughness will not be tolerated. And then Bob can issue a press release about the new standards, and encouraging passengers to file official complaints when the standards are violated.

That would be the most effective way to address the backlash, by working to gain the public's trust. I know that's contrary to the TSA's current culture that regards the public as enemies, and apparently believes that security is enhanced when the enemy hates and fears their agency. But that's the only thing that can address the anger of many members of the public who now feel that the TSA has exceeded the limit of what they're willing to accept in the name of "security." Their current approach of denying that the problem exists and insisting that those who say it exists are liars will only make things worse.

Margaret said...

Dearest Blogger Bob,

I am so sad for you, that you must respond to all of this ridicule. While it is understandable that the TSA is trying to do it's job. I question whether you as an American citizen understand the Constitution of the United States. Do you value the your right to privacy? Is there a better way to approach Airport security than invading those rights to privacy or are you of the persuasion that in order to remain free we must
check the millions of flying public who you consider potential terrorists. If you only had to check a few thousand suspects, the TSA would not even exist. After all the technology exists to detect many items as well as intelligent people who can spot a potential suspect. Again, I feel bad for all of the ridicule you are subjected to. Best of luck in your new job.

Anonymous said...

First, thank you for your willingness to allow comments. Although I may disagree with the content of the blog, I am very pleased that a government agency is trying to do this - both to blog to get information out there, and to allow comment in return. (Even when it simply amounts to being called a liar numerous times.)

Second, I agree with many of the other commentators that some of the Myth/Fact dichotomies and responses are unsatisfactory and/or somewhat misleading, such as the response to the invasive nature of the pat-downs and the inability of the WBI machines to record the images. Although, perhaps the blogger himself was unaware of the evidence against those points.

Third, on the punitive nature of the pat-downs -- the punitive nature of opt-out pat-downs has been recorded in several news articles as confirmed in off-the-record comment by TSA officials. For an example from August 2010, see: http://www.consumertraveler.com/today/tsa-admits-to-punishing-travelers/ -- in which the author states: "when meeting with privacy officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA later that month, I was told unofficially that there were two standards of pat-downs. One for the normal situation where passengers are going through metal detectors and a different pat-down for those who refuse to go through the whole-body scanners."

The policy itself may not be punitive, but the intentional implementation of the pat-downs is designed to be punitive for those who refuse the WBIs. As someone whose metal body parts will be seen as anomalies in the WBI machines, I'm designed for a punitive pat-down no matter what. I'd prefer to save time by simply opting-out, but given that TSA officials intentionally punish those who opt out, I can expect to be delayed unnecessarily and punitively patted-down, perhaps even moreso than would I be were I to go through the WBI (futilely).

Please reconsider these policies.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't TSA employees required to wear radiation badges while on duty?

Lisa Cawyer said...

The CBS poll did not mention anything about new scans showing you naked: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101116/17225811903/81-of-americans-support-naked-airport-scans-if-you-leave-out-the-naked-part-in-asking-the-question.shtml

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"For example, the part about the children pat down. Modified procedures may exist - but they do not seem to be being followed. So, I'd call that a lie."
thats a lie cause they dont "seem" to be being followed? huh?

Amee said...

To the person that says this is not sexual assault because we choose to fly. As a survivor of sexual assault, I don't see how there is a difference. Nobody to should have to hand over their dignity because they choose to fly.

As a survivor that was not only abused by my attacker, the police and hospital were even worse. Sexual assault is when you are touched in your private areas against your will. To me the pat-downs fit the bill. The fact that they are being done by government employee doesn't make the contact any less wanted.

I'm sure that our viewpoints have more to do with how we see ourselves. You call yourself a victim, I'm a survivor. I'm nobody's victim.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"This doesn't make sense. To address nonmetallic explosives, you should be patting down people who don't alarm the metal detector."
so just bring your explosives along with something metal and you get by, perfect logic.

Anonymous said...

so if you are pulled over for dui and the officer asks you to use a breath alyzer and you say no, then the officer has to assume that you are sober because you are opting out. just like if you go in for a patdown and you want to opt out then the tsa should believe that you have nothing to hide. if you dont want to be screened, which you are consenting to by being in line, then you will not be allowed through. makes perfect sense to me.

Anonymous said...

kdt said:
"Fact: Passenger reaction to enhanced pat-downs is destroying TSA employee morale"

yes reading this blog would destroy anyones morale. too bad everyone on here wasnt as worried about the corrupt senators and reps that vote on these things. fix the big stuff first then the small stuff will come next.

Anonymous said...

Myth: The full body scanners were objectively selected as a safe, effective, and non-invasive security solution.

Fact: Ex-DHS and TSA Directors face the loss of large potential financial gains if the scanners for which they have unethically lobbied are removed from service.

Russell said...

Blogger Bob,

I do appreciate you trying to diffuse the myths vs facts. But quoting Administrator Pistole does not make anything he said true or factual.

It would help me to believe what he is saying and you are writing if you could scan pages of the TSA guide or training manual where it states specifically what to-do and not to-do and also states these procedural items.

Thanks,

Russ

Anonymous said...

Bob,

What does TSA have against cancer survivors? Are you also exempt from the provisions of the ADA as well as the constitution?

You're disgusting.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40291856/ns/travel-news/?GT1=43001

Anonymous said...

Check out the following link to an article in The Raw Story, Nov. 21:
TSA screeners leave cancer survivor covered in urine

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/tsa-cancer-survivor-covered-urine/

Fact: With TSA on duty, there is no need for (mythical) terrorists.

Anonymous said...

Another reason why the TSA has gone too far. The second cancer survivor that has been humiliateed this week!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40291856/ns/travel-news/

Anonymous said...

Is this the modified pat down for children you are describing?

If so, this change in policy is absolutely crazy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skkCpnCm7iM

tws said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skkCpnCm7iM

i just sent that link to the whitehouse.gov site and asked them how a young boy stripped half naked in an airport is justifiable for national security

Anonymous said...

"Myth: All children will receive pat-downs.
Fact: TSA officers are trained to work with parents to ensure a respectful screening process for the entire family, while providing the best possible security for all travelers. Children 12 years old and under who require extra screening will receive a modified pat down."

Real Fact: The TSA will just strip search them in public!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skkCpnCm7iM

Anonymous said...

Follow the money...
Michael Chertoff and pals are reaping the financial windfall of the full body scanners at taxpayer expense. To hell with the 4th amendment and probable cause; we are all suspected terrorists now. Wow, and the border is Wide Open! Go figure...

Anonymous said...

This is mainly addressed to Virgina Mom yet it applies to all, as an employee of TSA I have to say as a Mom myself this is exactly the reason I work here. To ensure that my daughter, your daughter and all sons and daughters are safe when they leave my airport. The pat down and or AIT does what it needs to do to ensure your child, your parent, your partners safety in the air. I understand your concerns but in the end your security is our only concern .

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