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


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Anonymous said...

Even TSA Administrator John Pistole admits the enhanced grope-ups are intrusive:

Many people, from passengers to privacy experts, say they're a little too intrusive for comfort.

Testifying before a Senate committee, TSA Administrator John Pistole said Wednesday a pat-down he submitted to was uncomfortable...


Anonymous said...

First time reader. Shame on me for expecting any substance out of this place. All the answers are non-responsive and evasive. Check it... (Or don't! Censor the truth, Big Brother Bob.)

Myth: All children will receive pat-downs.
Summary of putatively responsive "Facts:" Some children will receive pat-downs, but we won't tell you who.

Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive
Summary of astoundingly non responsive "Facts:" Some passengers will receive pat-downs

Myth: The pat-down is a punishment for opting out of the AIT.
Summary of reply: We disagree with your assessment of your owns feelings as to what feels punitive to you. If you feel punished, it's your fault.

Myth: Everyone who travels will receive a pat-down.
Non-responsive summary: Some will receive a pat-down. Who? Haha! Won't tell you.

Myth: Complaints about the pat-downs are extremely high.
Mathematically inept reply: People who don't receive them don't complain, and the our as-good-as-nonresponsive, no-records complaints hotline isn't ringing for those who do. "Extremely high" should not be measured by complaints registered elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

For everyone who thinks this type of pat down is o.k., is it o.k. then for the police to do? They at least are dealing with people who are suspected of doing something wrong. Is it o.k. for the police to do to someone stopped for speeding? After all, we are more likely to be hurt or killed by careless driving than a terrorist blowing up a plane. The terrorists will find a way around these new security procedures as stated.
I will not fly anymore. I refuse to pay to be treated as a criminal.

Anonymous said...

Fact: Images have, in fact, been stored (as reported by CNET and other outlets this summer; To say "it's not possible," is a lie ... demonstrably so.

Fact: The pat-downs in US airports will not stop malcontents from boarding planes in other countries (as happened on 12/25/09). That goes without saying ... but apparently it still needs to be said.

Fact: Even people who go through the AIT machines, can still be set aside for "pat downs" on a random basis, for any reason or even for no reason.

Please address these, or don't bother saying anything at all.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe back-scatter X-ray imaging machines are safe for frequent travelers, children or teenagers. Where is the link to the FDA study? Has any long-term data been gathered? We need more than propaganda; we need evidence from an independent, credible source or we should all commit to bogging down the system by demanding pat-downs until X-ray mchines are eliminated.

Anonymous said...

Any scan or pat-down is a search. All searches are prohibited by the Constitution unless there is probable cause. Searching/scanning, whatever you call it, is ILLEGAL unless you have a court order and a warrant for that individual, naming him and what you are searching for, specifically (i.e., not "contraband"--it would have to be specifically named, such as "explosives" OR "firearms"). I refer you to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of these United States (you will notice that there are no exceptions made for "the public good"):

'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.'

(emphasis added)

Anonymous said...

Wow, you delete-o-meter just about doubled!

Doesn't that tell you something? Like maybe the TSA has gone too far and really antagonized a lot of American citizens into standing up against your abuse of power? Or do you really believe your own propaganda?

Anonymous said...

The TSA's scare-mongering to increase its own power is just McCarthyism, the two Red Scares, and internment of Japanese-American citizens all over again.

In 20 years, we will look back on this incident with shame

That is, unless the TSA and DHS get their wish and we live in a police state where (in the words of Orwell in 1984) "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever."

Not at all repectfully,
Winston Smith

Anonymous said...

I do have to give the TSA credit for one thing. No one else has been able to unite both the left and right in outrage.

You've managed to get firedoglake linking positively to Michelle Malkin. The TSA has actually managed to abuse their power so much, it stands a chance of uniting the nation in hatred against it.

Maybe something good will come out of this. Besides shutting down the TSA.

Anonymous said...

Myth: Mr. Pistole's comment - "we will not budge".

Fact: Neither will we. And we pay your salaries. Pistole wants a fight with the American people. You got it! And in the end, we will win.

Kimberly said...

Please explain this video

Anonymous said...

TSA Math: 2 + 2 = 5

I've seen this somewhere before. Hummm where would that be......

Just expressing my love for BB!

Winston Smith

Anonymous said...

Don't let all these negative comments get you down. You TSA guys are doing great work. All these whiners actually think Americans still have rights and are "free people." What a bunch of nonsense. Rights? Yah, whatever. We know better, don't we ;)

Two big thumbs up for the TSA!
Keep up the good work!

Comrade Ogilvy

Anonymous said...

You're still planning on highly invasive physical searches of 14 year olds? Security theater at its best.

RB said...

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.

November 20, 2010 3:35 PM

When will you cease to being ok with TSA doing what they have to?

Are you up for cavity checks?

That is the most logical method to bring contraband into the secure areas of airports.

Where do you personally draw the line?

Anonymous said...

Lies, lies, and more lies.

Why don't you acknowledge the many, many problems people are having with bullying, callous, insensitive agents? This blog is pure spin, all propoganda. We American citizens can see through that and as such, your credibility is dwindling by the minute.

Frankly, I side with Joe and Jane Citizen. Not you.

Anonymous said...

Myth: The TSA will ever respond to any of these points.

Fact: The TSA is using this blog as a 'safety valve': a way of letting the public 'let off steam' about their policies. This makes people feel better ('At least I told them how I feel...'), while accomplishing.... nothing. If you are REALLY upset with what the TSA is doing, STOP READING THIS BLOG. (Okay, finish reading this post first :-) ). Stop reading and posting here, and actually take 5 or 10 minutes to WRITE A LETTER to your representatives!!! It takes only a few minutes, but it might actually accomplish something, unlike posting here. Once you've completed that, then you can come back here.

Let me repeat that: Posting here is useless. The TSA is using this blog to keep you busy 'complaining' so you don't actually do something useful, like take a few minutes to write (not email- a good old letter on paper!) your representatives. If you really wanna see the TSA disbanded, stop reading this NOW and pick up a pencil.

Anonymous said...

My children have been taught that if anyone touches them in their private areas, it's wrong and to tell an adult and now they are witnessing your agent doing exactly that. How do I explain to them it is ok for their 13 year old sister to have someone touch her IN PUBLIC in front of them and in front of Mom and Dad and strangers and no one is doing anything about it?

Cricket said...

The terrorist no longer have to lift a finger. We will terrorize ourselves and our children for them. Shame on us for allowing this....

GL said...

First off, these procedures are a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution which forbids unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant and probable cause. Secondly, after working for the government for 11 years I know that you cannot trust a single word that any government official ever says. They are taught to lie and cover up the truth.

Anonymous said...

This is not making us safer. Chirtoff's machine would not have detected the Christmas day bomber because he was on an INBOUND flight from the NETHERLANDS. It was PASSENGERS who caught the guy! Get a grip! The machines don't do what you say they do, the TSA agents are not properly trained as demonstrated by many on-line videos, the are patting down 3-year olds, old people and Military personnel IN UNIFORM with ID and ORDERS. Returning soldiers who travel with weapons under their seats are subjected to the same mindless searches as regular passengers. Your bloated ineffective agency should be defunded and prosecuted!

Anonymous said...

The poll by CBS was stupid because most people answering it don't fly. The fact that you take that poll as a defense shows you are very weak in your understanding of Americans with a 4th amendment right. You've outgrown your welcome to invade our privacy. Time to take it back.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the blog post announcing the re-training related on this incident:

Anonymous said...

I dont under stand why they just dont use a dog they can detect anyting that they are train to and they coud find stuff that none of machines nor people could it would take the dog about 10 secounds to know if you had anything on you if thay are such sercurty experts they sould know this they could use a dog and just walk down a line and know if anybody had anything on them weather it be metal exslpsive drugs or what ever and a dog would know if thay had it in their body cavity and then they would not have to exspose the public to radiation or malisation tsa then tsa would not be humiliating the public just a simple walk around with a dog at the metal detector would be more sercurty than is in place now they would not spend tax payer money on equpment or resorses that is not near as secure as a simple K-9 just think what do you use now if you think there is exsploives on a air plane or bus or in a building answer K-9

Anonymous said...

Fact: TSA strip searches children in public!

Anonymous said...

Myth - This blog is sponsored by the Transportation Security Administration to facilitate an ongoing dialogue on innovations in security, technology and the checkpoint screening process.

Fact - The TSA hides their policies behind claims of SSI, inconsistent consistency, and by allowing it's employees to alter any procedure at a checkpoint on an individual basis. Rather than work with passengers they attempt to intimidate with statements like "Do you want to fly today, having entire check points yell "opt out", and surround passengers with 4 or 5 TSO's when they chose to opt out.

There has never been any dialogue on this blog and the TSA treats everyone like potential terrorists instead of American citizens.

Nick Jacobs said...

"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."

Even before the TSA started to implement this new reg I've had to deal with these pat downs. I have cerebral palsy, so when I go through security I am always pulled aside so they can test the potentially explosive nature of my leg brace.

Though the entire process is a hassle I understand the intention behind it. The pat downs are not very invasive. Unless the customer makes it a problem they will keep it PG. So far I have not seen any public strip searches. Contrary to what the internet says, the TSA agents are generally nice people just trying to protect their fellow man.
Every time I've gone through security I've always been treated with respect.

amazondoc said...

Wow, I guess censorship IS alive and well. I tried to post part of the following message at about 11 AM on Saturday....but, oddly enough, it never made it onto the published comment list. Trying again!

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

I can understand the need for REASONABLE searches, but these new policies are ridiculous. If anyone on the street tried these "enhanced patdowns", they'd easily be convicted for sexual assault. If the TSA needs to detect explosives, then for heaven's sake develop better chemical detectors and/or better bomb-sniffing dogs. Don't assault your own citizens just because you're too lazy to develop better technology!

Additionally -- some folks say "flying on an airplane is a privilege, not a right". What's next -- trains are a privilege? Buses are a privilege? Gathering in public places? Hmm....maybe travelling from one state to another is a privilege? You see where this slippery slope is heading, don't you??

And what's to keep terrorists from blowing up people waiting in line for pre-boarding searches?? Any place that people congregate is a potential target. Shall we outlaw public gatherings?? Or require strip searches at every gathering?? And sooner or later terrorists will start hiding bombs in body cavities. Will we all have to undergo cavity searches then??

Get real, TSA. This is NOT making us safer. Only more paranoid, and less free.

Anonymous said...

This is an obvious violation of the constitution. I am appalled and horrified.

Nobody believes your propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Why did Congressman John Boehner, the new republican speaker of the house, get a police escort bypassing the TSA security at the airport when he flew home to Ohio the other day?

I thought the TSA has stated that everyone is subject to the security requirements...

Lets be realistic... said...

I just wanted to say to all those who believe Meg McClain was handcuffed when leaving the checkpoint, go back and watch the video again!!! Look at her wrist when she first enters screening. She is wearing some sort of silver bracelet on her right wrist and she is holding her hands in the same manner at that point as she does when being escorted out!! She is not handcuffed, she is wearing A BRACELET!!!! She was out to get publicity for her show. She is trying to get her name out there and she had this planned before she even entered the airport. And again, TSA gets to take the heat and what an easy target for her. She knew that people like you would believe her made up story.

Anonymous said...

Following an accident in 2008, surgeons rebuilt my left ankle and forearm/wrist with titanium plates and pins. At first I carried my xrays and surgical report in the worries that I would no longer get through security. In fact, I have traveled through Canada, Europe, East Africa, the Caribbean, and the US since that time, and the internal hardware has never set off a metal detector. Will my plates and pins show on the new scanners and, if so, will that mean I am automatically selected for the pat down? Can you post something on what those of us with titanium implants can expect?

Anonymous said...

Not only are the new TSA security procedures intrusive and offensive, they pose a particular violation against children. I will not allow my children to undergo the new scanners because of the emission of radiation by these machines. There is no eye protection and all of the radiation must be absorbed by the skin and surface tissue of the body. There is no way to know the long term effects of this type of repeated exposure. Alternately, how can I allow TSA agents to conduct intentional touching of the groin, breast, inner thigh and buttocks of my children? Under any other circumstances this is considered sexual contact as described in Washington State RCW 9A.44.010.
There is no basis for this type of search to be done to a child unless there is cause for suspicion that the child is involved in committing a crime. We will not be planning any future trips that require flying. There is no policy that can be implemented to protect Americans against every possible tragedy, but the greatest atrocity of all will be our loss of freedom.

Anonymous said...

Bob, please respond to the TSA experience described in this video. Is the passenger's account consistent with TSA officer training? I think this experience is an example of the incompetence in TSA's overall execution of the new procedures. Sloppy, at best. Definitely unprofessional. And at worst, a security risk.

Adam said...

Here's the problem with backscatter radiation: the TSA has repeatedly told us that the FDA has certified it as "safe," even though we, as a species, have almost no experience with repeated exposure to this kind of radiation. It is completely unlike anything else that we have systematically exposed humans to, and we have no idea whether TSA policies are going to lead to a rash of malignant skin tumors in 5 to 10 years. There's no way to know until we get there.

And I don't want to be one of the guinea pigs in this giant, nationwide experiment.

Comparing backscatter radiation to the kind of radiation one gets from flying or from conventional bone x-rays just proves how thoroughly scientifically ignorant the TSA is. It's like comparing cell phone signals to visible light. It's that different.

In terms of blindly trusting the FDA for certification of safety, we need to keep in mind that this is the same FDA that approved thalidomide for morning sickness. Just because a government agency deems a technology "safe" doesn't change the reality of whether it is.

Anonymous said...

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.


my company MAKES me fly. If I'm touched or photographed by the Tsa on a business trip, I'll be filing a sexual harassment suit against my company. If enough business travelers threaten this, it might do some good.

Anonymous said...

Stop reading and posting here, and actually take 5 or 10 minutes to WRITE A LETTER to your representatives!!! It takes only a few minutes, but it might actually accomplish something, unlike posting here. Once you've completed that, then you can come back here.


Already did it. Even wrote two letters to Ron Paul requesting that he give each one to my state senators so they can't ignore the two I sent directly to them. Also wrote the White House for all the good that will do, and wrote my local airports, signed the ACLU petition, and wrote a letter to every airline I deal with.

Can I post now? :) ;)

Of course, I'm probably on every No Fly list in the world now. LOL. Which is fine... I'm happy to give Amtrak, Greyhound (which for the first time ever sounds GREAT), and cruise lines my money. No problem.

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find that your TSA screener's brains are electronic devices and should not be allowed in the remote screening rooms.

Anonymous said...

So the private videos of people and children being in appropriatly touched are all lies then. TSA, you need to quit insulting the intellegence of the american people. Its easy to spew out that everything is appropriate and call peoples complaints a myth, when in fact, there is hard evidence against it. Face it. You blew it big time on this one!!

Anonymous said...

Since these controversial policies of TSA's aren't implemented internationally and only domestically we're only offering "security" from those that are already in the US, correct?
Can anyone produce a referenced number as to how many of the airline/airport based attacks were domestic in origin?
If we are in fact only securing from withing what's the point? Most of major hubs that accept large numbers of international flights are often located in cities with much larger populations. If they can get on a plane in another country and make it here, we've already lost.
With such an open hole in our "security" why all the extra effort and burden on citizens within?

Anonymous said...

Don't you get more radiation from using your phone and television everyday than using the body scan.

Debra J.M. Smith said...

What is the "modified pat down" that children would receive?
--If parents find out the hard way that it is unacceptable and opts to take their child(ren) and leave, they could be subject to a lawsuit by TSA.

This article claims the following: "The TSA pat-down is invasive" to be a "myth."
--And yet that which followed the claim said, " is designed to be thorough..." That which is "Thorough" to some, is "Invasive" to others. And again, people risk getting sued by TSA if they opt out upon learning the truth in person.

The article's response to its claim that "Everyone who travels will receive a pat-down" is a "myth," is nothing more than a bunch of double talk.

Actually I found the entire article to be nothing more than a bunch of double talk, as is the article on the scanner machine.

Shame on who ever wrote it! You should be fired!

Debra J.M. Smith
Journalist at "Informing Christians"

Anonymous said...

Bob, we all know you and the TSA are full of crap. You really think people are going to believe these lies?

Anonymous said...

Oh great! My 13 year old daughter with a steel pin in her leg is going to get this enhanced "pat-down" the rest of her life? This is sick.

Anonymous said...

>When will you cease to being ok with TSA doing what >they have to?
>Are you up for cavity checks?
>Where do you personally draw the line?

I want to know too. Where is the limit? Two years ago it sounded like AIT/EPD was beyond your limit or at least something you would joke about. Today, you think it "just makes good security sense."

Do you have a limit Bob? Or is anything OK, as long as your TSA bosses tell you it is necessary?

Where do you draw the line? Or do you ever draw a line as long as you are drawing a paycheck? As long as you refuse to tell us, that seems to be what you are saying.

I'm guessing we will never get a straight answer in the form of "x would be too far." Seriously, we want to know. Where is the line for you Bob?

Anonymous said...

What about the fact that these machines take what is essentially nude photos of passengers. How is that not invasive? Furthermore, how can you claim that these machines do not store or transmit photos in light of the more than 100 leaked images from these machines?

Anonymous said...

You guys quote case law when it suits you. One of your own pages from '07 lauds the ninth circuit for upholding the search and conviction of a man trying to pass through airport security with drugs. From your own website:

"In determining whether the checkpoint screening, including secondary screening, was justified as a warrantless administrative search, the panel focused on each detail of the security operation and, using language from a Third Circuit decision, it described the officers' actions as "well-tailored to protect personal privacy, escalating in invasiveness only after a lower level of screening disclosed a reason to conduct a more probing search."

Invasiveness escalated only after a lower level of screening gave reasonableness. Stripping someone randomly has no reasonableness. The last GAO report I could find indicates there's no evidence the underwear bomber would have been caught with the new tech.

There are very valid reasons for the pushback, and blind marketing isn't going to make it go away.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like it, don't fly. Simple.

Anonymous said...

I am happy to have such security measures in place to ensure my safety.

Anonymous said...

I've also been patted down after walking through the metal detector and AIT device. I didn't set either of those off to deserve the pat down. I also received a random pat down a few minutes later while waiting for my plane at the gate. I'm sorry, but pat downs occur still occur on a random basis off the judgment of TSA employees.

SSSS for some reason said...

I keep seeing (and hearing) some people saying something to the effect that "Flying is not a Right but a privilege" and then various forms of if you don't like it [the TSA] then don't fly. Well, to all of you saying this, including the TSA, your wrong.

First, the Constitution and Bill of Rights combine to give me the Freedom to move about my country free in my person and secure from unnecessary Police Intervention in the form of Search and Seizure. The First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments specifically if you care to go read them.

Then, Flying *is* a Privilege. It is not, however, a privilege the Government grants and therefore the Government has no business placing unreasonable conditions upon that privilege.

The TSA is overstepping their authority and put themselves in between me and my Rights granted by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This will not do and I am joining the increasing number of people speaking out against the TSA and their policies.

I read somewhere there are 43,000 people in employ of the TSA and judging by the number of comments on this blog alone I think those of us against far outnumber the TSA agents so I don't think it will be too much longer before an actual revolution begins.

Anonymous said...

People with prostheses (i.e. hip replacement, knee replacement, etc.) will always set off the metal detector. As a result of TSA's policy, those individuals will always be groped.

Given the high number of people with such devices, I cannot believe your made up numbers regarding the supposedly small number of people being assaulted.

Jonathan said...

I do not approve of the two choices we are given. I think the TSA should do some research in other airports around the world and see if there is a better way.. These two options are unacceptable if you people to continue to travel like they have been in the past.

Anonymous said...

So now your agents are kidnapping children. Apparently, strip searching them and/or raping them isn't enough:

If you had any shame, you'd be disgusted.

Science guy said...

I am a frequent traveler and have no problem submitting to scans, pat downs, or whatever. However, I take exception to the description posted at saying that you are exposed to thousands of times less radiation than from a cell phone. This is a common poor description- as soon as it is one time less radiation, then there is none. Saying that a cell phone emits thousands of times more radiation may be more accurate.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"my company MAKES me fly. If I'm touched or photographed by the Tsa on a business trip, I'll be filing a sexual harassment suit against my company. If enough business travelers threaten this, it might do some good."

i think that you should talk to rb, he is all for tsa people quitting cause they are doing something wrong in his eyes. well i say you should quit your job so that you dont have to be made to fly. this is simple blog logic

Anonymous said...

The only way these people will be happy is they are not inconvenienced in any way shape or form. They obviously think there should be no TSA. My suggestion is to stop all scans and pat downs. Take down the metal detectors and anyone standing in front of the entrances. They object to security then offer them none. Make sure you put up signs that say "Setting rules for you to fly apparently somehow is not good customer service (I guess they are not police but customer service reps), and any searching and questions is apparently violating the 4th amendment. Therefore we will now practice what they wanted which is an honor system. We are no longer searching people or belongings for the sake of speed and convenience. If you should have trouble mid air I would suggest remembering your 4th amendment rights as your plane explodes or crashes.Have a night flight!"

Anonymous said...

Myth: Everyone who travels will receive a pat-down.
Lie: Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down.
Fact: A few days ago a friend got a pat down at the gate after presumably passing all the other security theatre earlier.

Harry said...

I don't get it--if this makes good security sense, why are we only doing it now?

Anonymous said...

Myth: The Scanners are safe.
Fact: Cumulative Radiation builds up where it is focused, in this case the skin, leading to a higher risk of cancer.

Myth: Children are not groped
Fact: According to this video of the new pat down:

TSA Agents put their hands down the pants of little boys.

Myth: Images are not stored
Fact: Images are required to be stored by federal law but are then cleared for deletion. The problem is that the deletion process isn't enough and so hundreds of images have leaked, according to these sources:

Myth: The pat down is not punitive
Fact: Every time someone says "Opt-Out" the agents act in a manner of intimidation. Many video and audio clips have already surfaced that the TSA has responded to so I don't need to provide sources, but the point is, if it wasn't punitive, then why treat people like it is?

Myth: Most people choose the scanners to the alternative.
Fact: This is actually true! But only because of what those alternatives are!

Myth: A Poll showed that 4 in 5 Americans support it.
Fact: A large sample size consisting of a diverse demographic of people who actually fly is required for an accurate poll. Less than 2000 people without any details isn't what most people would consider an accurate poll. Other websites ran their own polls which showed that 96% of people who fly will stop flying as a result of these scans. Other reports show that ticket sales have dropped substantially. This means that while people in line may choose one or the other, a larger group of people never even enter the line.

Myth: You will be fined 11,000 if you refuse both.
Fact: To date no one has been fined. This is because the 4th Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and the TSA is aware that if it moved forward with such a fine the case would be thrown out. It is much more effective for the TSA to maintain the threat of a fine than to actually attempt to levy one. The only fine on record to have been levied that I am aware of would be cases where people have touched the breasts of TSA officers who touched theirs in retaliation, and in those cases it had nothing to do with leaving a check point and the fine was actually in excess of 100k along with Federal Prison time.

Myth: The TSA is honest
Fact: The TSA has been caught in many lies in the media.

Although I doubt the TSA would approve such clear examples of truth to be posted, I am confidant that someone will at least read this. I would like them to know that they are not fooling anyone.

Charlie B said...

This blog is a total lie. Try to implement any of the "facts" or "rights" stated here and see what you get at the airport. You will get beaten or falsely arrested as have hundreds of innocent people at the hands of TSA goons. TSA agents can have misdemeanor and felony convictions, can be a sex offender watch list and do not even need a high school diploma. The porno machines definitely DO save the images and are not safe. TSA agents love to be tough guys and could not care less about actual safety or common sense. Sad how many are willing to molest people, but not surprising given the type of people the TSA employs as "agents."

Ideamotor said...

The fact that you equate non-ionizing background radiation the same as ionizing radiation in your explanation that backscatter machines are safe makes everything on here suspect. Everyone knows accumulated X-rays cause cancer. I've had bad jobs before where I was paid to distort the truth and I quit. I bet you have a spine too.

Anonymous said...

If the pat down is not punishment for opting out why did screeners in San Diego insist that Samuel Wolanyk STILL submit to a pat down after preemptively stripping down to his underwear?

How many lies must the TSA be caught in before being permanently silenced?

Anonymous said...

I do not support the use of these AIT machines. I believe they constitute a virtual strip search and I will not submit to one. The current alternative(Pat Down) is also unacceptable. To allow an officer to touch me in a way that would be illegal outside of the airport is insane. Especially since the only cause to perform that search is not evidence based but only my opting out of another intrusive search.

Anonymous said...

"Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive."

Your "fact" debunking of this "myth" doesn't even address the substance and it just blatantly ignores what the word invasive means in this context. Do you even know what invasive means? If you don't believe what TSA is doing is invasive — a TSA agent sticking her hands down a traveler's underwear, taking the shirts off of children, and removing breast prostheses of breast cancer survivors — then you you are WAY out of the touch with reality.

Anonymous said...

The scanners are not safe.

Anonymous said...

Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive

MYTH???? Your boss is in the news today calling the pat-downs "intrusive". The Secretary of State is in the news today calling the pat-downs "intrusive".

Seriously, how do you expect us to trust you with something so important as air security when every time you open your mouths you sound like either idiots or criminals?

Anonymous said...

Myth: Complaints about the pat-downs are extremely high.
Fact: (...) The number of complaints is extremely low.

Do you think that could just maybe be because every week or so we see another story about someone who did complain...AND YOU HAD THEM ARRESTED???

Phelps said...

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.

I've seen no proof of the sort. The videos posted are inconclusive, and I've never seen a direct statement before this one denying that she was handcuffed to a chair, and still haven't seen a statement denying that she was handcuffed or that her travel documents were torn up.

Were they or weren't they? They are factual, yes or no questions.

Anonymous said...

Fact: Our Constitution is the Law of the Land. What you are doing is ILLEGAL.

TmacDC said...

Sorry Administrator Pistole, you blew it! Your admission today that you withheld information on the 'enhanced' techniques shows you lack the sensitivity and leadership necessary for your position. Resign now. Our security and TSA are dependent on the cooperation of the traveling public. You through your wrongheaded implementation of this have compromised that cooperation. You need to go to restore some confidence in the Agency. I feel very bad for the poor TSA screen-ers who have been put in an impossible position by your unfortunate lack of leadership and communication skills.
...A Citizen living in Washington, DC, as feed up with this nonsense as the rest of the Nation!

Anonymous said...

Simple for me: I WILL NOT FLY UNDER THESE CONDITIONS. If I cannot drive, I will not go. End of story. You cannot tell me there isn't BETTER technology available to do this screening than this outrageous AIT. I AGREE THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE HIGH SECURITY, but it should NOT have to be at the expense of morals.

Anonymous said...

Is it actually legal for the TSA to use tax dollars to lobby against policy changes?

Anonymous said...

The real lesson of the TSA and patdown | #tsapatdowns |

catastrophegirl said...

Myth: "Fact: Backscatter technology is safe for all passenger" [your typo, not mine]

Fact: My medical devices cannot be subject to backscatter xray technology, it would be hazardous to my health. So it would be the grope-down for me.

But I also won't subject my medical devices to the inspection of people who are not trained to handle them. I had to take a 4 hour class and two tests before I was allowed to handle my OWN insulin pump, I'm not letting the TSA agent put their hands on it.

How long will these policies last when the airlines start to feel it in the wallet?

ELowrey said...

If anyone else touched me the way that a TSA employee is "allowed" to it would be a crime. Since when did a government agency policy supersede established law against sexual assault? Well, this policy has made it easy for me, I'll stop flying completely. Let the airlines die and blow away. I'm sure the government would be happy to take them over also.

Anonymous said...

The TSA quotes the 1973 case which allows for administrative searches in airports. This is the court's ruling which interprets the 4th amendment in the face of hijacking and terrorist threats.

Here's a snippet (it's long, but worth it):

"We hold further that while airport screening searches per se do not violate a traveler's rights under the Fourth Amendment, or under his constitutionally protected right to travel, such searches must satisfy certain conditions, among which is the necessity of first obtaining the consent of the person to be searched. "

So the court is pretty clear that a passenger should be asked before the pat down, and that a person might reasonably refuse and give up their flight.

However, the law does not support labeling that person as a terrorist, forcing them to pay a fine, etc without probable cause. The court would likely find these as punitive actions in place to coerce consent.

Does the TSA care to look to a different case for support of their policy?

Otherwise, see you in court.

Anonymous said...

harry said:
I don't get it--if this makes good security sense, why are we only doing it now?

because of this type of outrage... our enemies sit and use our insecurities and morals against us. they found the loophole (private areas) and knew that the tsa would not search there and placed the underwear bomb there. they are using all of this hard feelings against us! they are turning the american public against the govt. you can say that they are laughing at us but its the opposite they are getting what they want, chaos. plain and simple, the american public is falling for it. they want the security efforts to worry about this so that they will make things lax again and strike while we are fighting amongst each other. we should unite and not bring everything down. 9/11 should have made america stronger not weaker... as american citizes you should make a better effort to help out than to bicker.
and yes i know about the 4th amendment, but you are agree to the search by going to the screening no matter how they chose to screen you. by now everyone knows what to expect when you go through so how can you not object?

Anonymous said...

If the AIT is so safe, can I request a TSA employee accompany me through it (each and every time, and I mean EVERY time I fly)?

Anonymous said...

Al-Qaeda won on September 11th, 2001.
The United States of America is no longer a Free Republic (reminder "to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god,indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all..."). The US Government spends more time and money with "Unreasonable Search" and invasion of privacy with than is spent on securing our borders. Political correctness has US Citizens treated with less rights than common criminals let alone enemies. Proof? Ask your local Sheriff if he has the right to the same invasive treatment as TSA.
The current frisking/pat-downs are invasive and insulting. I travel all over the world and we have less rights here than abroad.
Also - If I, as a common citizen were viewing male, female, children in my home with the same Full Body Scan machines - I would be prosecuted.
THIS WILL COME back to bite us, the US citizens. We paid reparations to the Japanese Citizens which were locked up in WW II. Look back at history and then look at we, the US Citizens, are allowing our US Government to do with this TSA strong arm tactic! Instead of 110,000 Japanese Citizens its the full US Traveling Public. ALSO slippery slope - metal detectors are in our primary and secondary schools - why not have the principal of our schools view full body scans of your 12 or 13 year old children? Sound outrageous? This is not what I want for my children, my country now or in generations to come. Get our wits about us - Please. One mans opinion.

Anonymous said...

Fellow travelers, why are the so-called “pat-downs” – whether “secondary”, “enhanced”, “resolution”, “modified”, “opt-out”, and whatever else the TSA will come up next – still called pat-downs. They are full SEARCHES. Even Napolitano blundered when referring to them as “law-enforcement pat-downs”. These are ILLEGAL without PROBABLE CAUSE. So let’s call them what they are: SEARCHES.
Pistole and Napolitano should resign, or, better, be fired, and then be prosecuted. The whole TSA should be disbanded.

Let’s see, Blogger Bog, if this is posted.

Anonymous said...

Here are your choices:
1. Submit to an imaging technique that the TSA will not allow to be independently analyzed for its radiation potential and that, according to one scientist, could deliver a very high radiation dose should it malfunction
2. Submit to a gential/breast touching by a stranger or watch the same being done to your child.
3. Opt out of both 1 and 2 and be detained, questioned, presumed guilty until you prove yourself innocent and maybe receive an $11,000 fine like the guy at LAX the TSA is after.
And you wonder why the American people are so angry. Duh!

So what's the answer?
1. Reverse the stupid rules generated by Congressional left-wingers and expand profiling (yes, they do it now). Stop searching Jane Doe, age 13 and start searching the 25-year old male whose passport says Syria and Pakistan are favorite destinations and search all his traveling companions.
2. Submit the full range of imaging devices to Consumer Reports, a trustworthy independent agency for complete testing, including safety features. Demonstrate how the TSA calibrates and tests the machines and how often. Reassure us that these machines are 110% safe. Publish every bit of data on their safety.

Ultimately, we should all be complaining to our representatives and senators in Washington. They're the real culprits for empowering and not overseeing the TSA properly and we are sheep for letting them get away with it.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the head of the TSA and Homeland Security are tone-deaf and do not hear (or wish to hear) the valid complaints that are being raised. When is the last time that either of them flew commercial? Gee, even Hilary Clinton said that she would prefer to not be felt up by a TSA agent. It is time for both Pistole and Napolitano to resign, or be fired. Or, at the very least, to be filmed getting a very thorough pat-down!

Anonymous said...

Myth: "Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive"

Fact: Bull. Stop pushing propaganda.

Daniel said...

Blogger Bob- In light of your boss' recent statements, I demand that you post a statement acknowledging that your statement regarding the "myth" that patdowns are invasive was misleading and dishonest.

TuTu's Bliss said...

Just because people don't complain doesn't mean they are happy with their pat down. I would like to know the qualifications of the agents given this much responsibilty and access to my personal space and my children's bodies. Can you please elaborate on the screening process? Since these individuals have as much if not more authority than police officers I would like to know they have recieved an equal amount of training and proper background checks. Anyone going through security has noticed the agents often look frightened and uncertain themselves of their own "procedures".

Anonymous said...

Hi Cyborg Bob,

If the new screening procedures are in response to the Christmas underwear bomber why are they just now being deployed nearly a YEAR after the incident? If TSA wanted to make me feel safer and have SOME credibility AND catch the NEXT underwear bomber don't you think the added security measures should have been implemented on December 26, 2009? BTW it wasn't extraordinary TSA measures that foiled the 2009 underwear bomber - it was pure unadulterated luck. Apparently the same lucky streak that has endured for nearly a year since the TSA screening procedures have obviously been inadequate (given their necessity now).

Anonymous said...


Your "facts" state that no one is exempt from full body scans or pat-downs, right? Please explain to the flying public why national political office holders such as the new Speaker of the House and their families and their entourage are not subject to the same security screenings when they choose commercial air travel instead of a private jet? Maybe they should be! I think John B. complaint would prob be taken more seriously and carry more weight. Can you imagine our beloved elite political leaders being scrutinized like everyone else? Well, they're leaders. . .they should lead by example.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The reason people don't complain is because we don't trust TSA to do anything. TSA is non-responsive to the american public's privacy concerns and has shown a zero interest in doing things in a less intrusive manner. People do complain silently by not traveling by air.

Anonymous said...

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

The terrorists have won, our government willfully violates the rights of honest law-abiding citizens. There is no common sense in the blanket policies the TSA is imposing.

These body scans and pat-downs are not a reasonable amount of privacy invasion against the likelihood of finding evidence of a crime.

Law-abiding citizens displaying no suspicious behaviors should be free to travel unimpeded and unmolested by government agents.

I would rather live with the minuscule possibility of being killed by a terrorist than have our own government molest children, the infirm and the average honest law-abiding citizen, with no probable cause and no rational cause.

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "Any scan or pat-down is a search. All searches are prohibited by the Constitution unless there is probable cause."

Not true at all. Perhaps you should actually read the very Amendment of the Constitution that you quote, because it clearly says that not all searches are prohibited:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures [...]"

I'll point it out if you cannot see it: the Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches. Not all searches. And this isn't a semantic detail.

The TSA searches are conducted under the doctrine of administrative searches, which Courts have repeatedly said are not unreasonable searches and are not regulated by the 4th Amendment. and do not require warrants. See, for example United States v. Davis, 482 F.2d 893 (1973) and People v. Madison 520 N.E.2d 374 (1988).

Now, let's get one thing straight: I don't like the TSA searches going on right now at all. I think they are unreasonable, even if not necessarily from a Constitutional point of view and they definitely cross a line by about a mile. So they need to change and drastically.

Anonymous said...

Dear TSA,
I would like to ask a couple of health questions as I am terrified of dieing before I reach 50. Since the limit is only 4096 characters I will have to break this into at least a couple of comments/questions.Concern one: I have autoimmune disease and a dozen people of my immediate family have passed away from cancer (5 from radiation related) and chromosomally (in the DNA) I am at high risk for cancer: leukemia, breast, brain, and skin cancer especially. I don't even do mammograms and if I don't have to I don't even use my microwave oven. So I have to opt out of the scanner. It is not the eradication or reduction of my fertility from the radiation that I am concerned about since I am already manopausal. But I am terrified of cancer and the chromosomal changes that even small radiation amounts cause given that I am very high risk for cancer and of the vulnerable population group.

Will there be airports however that will force me into the scanner?

Anonymous said...

Concern two: I don't particularly mind being patted down as an alternative; I am very often singled out WITHOUT setting off any metal detectors since I have natural 32DD breasts (at least that is the only area I have received lingering pat downs, even without a bra on). Again I have no problem with this. My concern is the in the panties crotch examination. The skin on skin transmission of various STDs and even HIV when fluids are leaking are very easily transferred to passengers IF SURGICAL GLOVES ARE NOT CHANGED BETWEEN EACH AND EVERY PAT DOWN. Again I am not even 50 years old I do not want to die of HIV nor do I want to get genital herpes or other STDs transferred from other passenger's genital areas. So if I have observed that the TSA agent about to do the pat down on me has not changed her/his gloves, WILL I BE HAULED AWAY IN HANDCUFFS IF I POLITELY ASK THE AGENT TO PUT ON FRESH SURGICAL GLOVES? [TO SAVE MY LIFE AND HEALTH I WOULD EVEN PURCHASE A BOX AT A MEDICAL SUPPLY STORE BEFORE MY TRIP]. But via grape vine I am getting the impression that any questions, no matter how courteously or politely put will land one in jail and cuffs and getting hauled away. I am not questioning state authority, or the authority of the TSA; but I am terrified of getting new diseases and to die at a relatively young age due to the new measures.

Anonymous said...

I hear that you have BDO's that look for suspicious behavior from passengers and refer them for additional invasive screenings.

Is this correct?

What is considered suspicious behavior? I'm a survivor of a childhood sexual abuse that lasted years. I'm going to be very anxious and sick going to the airport now. Will my panic disorder be considered suspicious and ensure that what I fear as a possibility of being seen naked or touched in private areas by strangers going to in fact be now required because of my behavior?

There are many, many of us out here. I really cannot see how this is suppose to be normal or okay for the American government to do to us.

Anonymous said...

Here is a story I found about a woman who said she was "humiliated" by a TSA pat down. I don't if I want to opt for the pat down or just suck it up and go through the scanner.

Jo Anna said...

I travel by air on business 6 to 15 days a month. Like the pilots I am concerned about the increased radiation exposure. And, I do not want to be re-traumatized by an invasive search each time I travel (I have an abuse history.) Also, I want my 4th amendment rights honored.

How can I get a security clearance before traveling like other officials so I don't have to be subjected to this violation of my person and my rights?

Nancy Peske said...

PLEASE dedicate a blog piece to what the OFFICIAL policy is for children and what the OFFICIAL policy is for children with special needs, such as children with autism. There are many parents worried about how to prepare their children for air travel in the next few days.
We know the procedures are new and many parents are skeptical about whether every single TSA agent has fully processed them. We want to know the policies and our rights. Please help!

Anonymous said...

Wow, there certainly are a lot of self-righteous comments on this post.

Anonymous said...

The TSA owes us some clear answers on what these so-called "pat downs" entail. What are the limits? How far can the agent go? Can they reach inside your clothing? Access body cavities? Ask you to remove clothing or underwear? How do you know when an agent has gone too far and to alert the supervisor? What instructions are they providing to agents?

CEWare said...

Hmmmm. Wonder who you paid off at CBS??? Here's the latest MSNBC poll results:

QUESTION: What do you think about Opt-Out Day?
(Results of 54,586 votes with 3,735 comments)

78% - I support it. TSA needs to hear an angry public's concerns.42,629 votes

16% - I'm against it. Disrupting holiday travel is irresponsible, not helpful. 8,985 votes

5% - I don't care. I just want to make my flight without disruptions.2,972 votes

Anonymous said...

$4.3m YTD spent by scanner makers lobbying Washington to legislate their equipment.

Ex-TSA Secretary Chertoff now on scanner manufacturer payroll - what benefits did he receive from scanner manufacturers while in office?

With only minimal upper dermis penetreation, even creases in fabric can block the radiation - we spent $40m on scanners that don't work.

*None* of these "security" measures will prevent terrorist attacks.

Anonymous said...

One thing I have not seen mentioned in all this talk about scanners is: the requirement that everything in a persons pockets has to be removed first! That was my experience with scanners in Richmond VA recently. All items in my pockets had to be removed. This is extremely intrusive and a personal security issue and not necessary!

Anonymous said...

In the absence of any actual medical data beyond vague assurances from security personnel and not doctors and/or internet wackos on the other side, I contacted a friend who is also a pediatrician. I had a first-trimester miscarriage in September and asked if I should be concerned about a full-body scan if I'm pregnant again. She said there was no way in hell she'd go through one pregnant. Things are never actually declared "safe" in pregnancy. They are labeled "probably not dangerous" after years of use. I'm not interested in nine months of anxiety just so I can add to the body of data on this. My dentist won't x-ray my teeth if he thinks I'm pregnant.

Anonymous said...

To all the comments if you don't like the policy then DON'T FLY no one is forcing you to fly.

Dave said...

It looks like your 4 or 5 people support the new screening is wrong. A new ABC poll shows 50% of people think your gropings go too far and 33% don't like having the government taking nude photos of them. Where is the post about the new polling?

Anonymous said...

I flew from Las Vegas on Oct. 2. I set off the metal detector alarm. I had no metal on me anywhere. THE SCREENER SPECIFICALLY TOLD ME I WAS RANDOMLY SELECTED FOR THE PAT-DOWN. At no time was I asked to go through the body scanner and at no time did I refuse to go through the body scanner. I was required to stand on the secure side of the metal detector and wait 4 minutes for someone to come and perform the pat-down. At no time was I told I could have the pat-down performed at a less public location than immediately adjacent to the metal detector.

Weaseldog said...
"TSA Chief John Pistole reiterated today that the administration has absolutely no intention of ever changing its screening policy, insisting that the TSA is “the last line of defense for the US government” and that all the incidents of groping he was asked about were “appropriate” in the face of terrorists."

He doesn't contradict that Americans are being groped. Further he feels that this groping is protecting the US Government.

Protecting the US government from what?

Weaseldog said...

Not that long ago, a suicide bomber narrowly missed assassinating a Saudi Royal with an explosive in his rectum.

Your scanners and pat downs wouldn't detect such an explosive. Yet the blast could easily bring down an airplane.

John Pistoli insists that such a bomb would have to be removed or have a cord to be exploded. And so this is nothing to worry about.

He doesn't know what he's talking about and is unfit for his job for the following reasons.

1. The bomb that was used in the failed suicide attack was radio detonated. No wires needed.

2. Bombs as we know from hundreds of years of experience in civilian and military applications can be detonated with a timer.

3. Passengers are still allowed to use a restroom, where such a bomb could become 'externalized'.

In light of these obvious facts that would be obvious to a 10 year old, John doesn't seem to be a very bright guy.

So then, wouldn't it make sense then to perform cavity searches on all passengers? Your current safety procedures, clearly can't detect technologies currently used by terrorists.

Anonymous said...

We went through BWI today and saw all the news coverage. The TSA staff was polite as well as United and though we saw some people go through the XRAY others did not. My wife and I just discussed the process and I guess that we would rather see the flight safe. I think that people might consider smaller airports or better managed ones. As an example Dulles is a zoo compared to BWI. I think part of the total experience has something to do with the totl frutration factor. Choosing the better airport makes the whole process a whole lot easier. JMHO.

Anonymous said...

So what happens if I wear a tight skirt to the airport? If the skirt doesn't allow them to push it through my legs to grope me, will they just reach up my skirt?

Stephanie said...

Bob, can you please tell us what happens in a modified pat down for a 12 year old (or younger), so that parents can make an informed choice? Also, how was the age 12 chosen? Why is it considered appropriate for a 13 year old to receive the full, genital-touching pat-down (if they look suspicious or their parents don't want them to go through the AIT)?

Anonymous said...

I was "patted down" before the recent increased security and it was anything but nonenvasive! When I complained to the other TSA officers about the TSA lady's fingers under my bra I was told "well don't you feel safer?" No, I didn't feel safer I felt violated! I know I'm not a danger so why would being molested under the guise of safety make me feel any better? When I tried to file an official complaint I couldn't because I didn't ask my violator her name and badge number. Even TSA admits that a very small percentage of the complaints received are given attention. I haven't flow commercially since then and I won't until I am given more security options. For instance, I would be willing to remove my outer clothing for a same-sex agent rather than be touched or go through the body scanners. If TSA requires a same-sex officer for pat-downs, or piercing removal, etc. why is it acceptable for a man in another room to see beneath my clothing? I can't believe that TSA didn't think that anyone might have a problem with that. All this "increased security" will do is force terrorists to be more creative; that's what it's always done. If you really want me to be and feel safer then put an armed air marshal on every flight as was the goal years ago. If you can move heaven and earth to get body scanners so quickly then I think you could hire some retired military, or unemployed vets, as armed air marshals.

Anonymous said...

You allow your TSA agents to get away with things that would normally be sexual assault in another situation and for which they could be sued. But we cant even SAY anything for fear of being arrested.

TSA are not G-d.....they are public servants....and undertrained at that. I'm all for following rules...perhaps the TSA agents need to be retrained as to what constitutes proper pat-down (practically knocking a woman off balance would not be considered proper.)

Anonymous said...

The TSA's new rules aren't so much affecting my decision to fly...just my decision to fly to the US. Think I'll find another vacation spot this year, thanks.

Dianne L said...

Way to go John Pistole for not backing down like so many others do because of the various groups of whiners who seem to have nothing better to do than cause unnecessary problems for those people who are trying to protect our citizens.

If we could ask the people who died on 9/11 what they think of the additional security measures, I bet the majority would be in favor of them!


Anonymous said...

I just do not understand people anymore. Everyone wants more done to protect the security of our nation, yet so many criticize the government for taking action against terrorism. Yet the very same people will be the first to speak up when something happens and innocent people are killed with a less invasive search.

Anonymous said...

Myth: Your bodily privacy is not a right.

Read the 4th amendment. There are plenty of things we can do that increase safety and infringe on inalienable rights. Cowards submit more and more to soft despotism. Americans draw the line.

Anonymous said...

"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."
You should probably amend this, since you fail to mention that all of the radiation from the AIT is focused solely in the skin tissues, whereas an X-ray or natural radiation is spread evenly throughout the body. Skin cancer spreads fast. My uncle died within 3 months of diagnosis, and it wasn't a pleasant way to go since they had to remove 3/4 of his stomach. AIT needs more study. The FDA approves lots of things that it shouldn't.

Anonymous said...

@Dianne L

I think you do our dead a horrible disservice. I think they would be horrified that their deaths have been twisted and used to foist totalitarian practices upon a supposedly freedom-loving people. They would be ashamed of you and of all who simply accept this state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

Hey you, Yes you TSA employee reading this. Quit your job. It's the only moral thing to do.

Anonymous said...

With regard to the "FACTS"

-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.

1. I think that the policy should be made that a pat-down can be requested by an agent of the gender of the traveler's choice. If I'm agreeing (under duress) to a search, I should have the right to comfort in who's running their hands over me.
2. What rights does a traveler without a companion have to ensure the screening is kept above level? Would I be allowed to setup a video camera, or request another traveler I don't know does so?

Anonymous 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

Really?? How come I can't find a single comment on here supporting AIT?

Anonymous said...

as a security professional (penetration testing computers) I frequently wince whenever I hear about DHS or TSA in the news and this is no exception. they're relatively new agencies and the immaturity in threat modeling and risk assessment capability is evident.

I think the fact is you can't be 100% secure, yet these agencies are pressured into these bizare policies in an uneven, wildy grasping attempt at security perfection.

the fact that the actual health data for the scanners isn't published, and radiologists / oncologists are warning of the dangers is another concern, however not my area of expertise...

Bruce Schneier for head of DHS! :)

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting all day to see if my comment regarding BDO's and my anxiety about the possibility of your extra screening will ensure said extra screening to see if Blogger Bob could answer. But there has been a big gap in comments with none between November 23, 2010 10:57 AM to November 23, 2010 5:45 PM.

Why didn't my comment get posted? It was around 11:00 am if I recall.

Anonymous said...

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.

FACT the AIT and the pat downs are both unconstitutional and who ever came up with this crap deserves to lose their job if not go to jail.

Anonymous said...

During the testing period for the advanced imaging technology, I "opted out" and selected the pat down instead. (This was still when they used the back of the hand.) When I informed the screener that I was opting out, she yelled out "We've got a non-com!" I objected because I was being compliant I was just opting out of the imaging. Another screener said that people who opted out were making the lines go to slow and that they had to do something to make less people opt out. I guess the new invasive pat downs are the answer. Even with the new procedures, I will still opt out. But you can be sure that I will make sure the process is as slow as possible (private room, lots of questions, etc). Who knows, I might even offer the screener a tip (once they've finished feeling me up of course).

Anonymous said...

Myth: The AIT is dangerous

Fact: The AIT concentrates the radiation withing a few millimeters of the skin so while the dose or radiation may be low it is focused on a small area in potentially dangerous concentrations.

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. - Benjamin Franklin

We the people have spoken and said enough is enough - I would rather die a free man then live as a slave to fear and terror.

Frequent Traveler in the aviation industry said...

QUESTION: I see in videos that TSA inspectors wear rubber gloves. I am given to understand the pat-down may or will entail the inpector running their gloved hand inside your waistband and shirt collar. I certainly do not want a glove there that was previously insided the shirt/waistband of another person. Do they put on new gloves when performing a pat-down on a person?

Anonymous said...

Please be aware I am recording every moment of my screening since I use crutches as a mobility device when I am not wearing my prosthetic limb. Will there be a search warrant provided to me with probable cause should I require any and all AIT and enhanced screening. Will I be provided a procedural list of how the search will be accomplished and will documentation require signature from both sides consenting to such searches without a violation of Constitutional rights? Will you provide me copy of documentation that my AIT image is permanently deleted and unlinkable to my government issued identification and my plane ticket?

I'd appreciate the candor, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I won't be flying until these unconstitutional practices are rescinded. I will further not vote for any politician that condones these practices. I encourage every citizen to do the same.

Anonymous 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

I just read a whole bunch of proponents for the AIT saying the machines just show the passengers bones so are no big deal.

No wonder some people do not mind them.

David Nieporent said...

You forgot:

Myth: The AIT is an effective response to a legitimate security threat such as the underwear bomber.

Fact: The so-called underwear bomber was not a real threat to anybody except himself, and the AIT would not actually have detected him anyway; the use of the AIT is simply the result of lobbying by a politically-connected company that manufactures the machines.

Anonymous said...

Fact: Invasive is a relative term.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess if the TSA says the pat downs are not punitive that must be a "fact." "Facts" are so easy to create these day, aren't they?

Dale said...

So, this is a TSA blog...where the comments have to be approved before being viewable.

How many others besides myself have posted comments here that were not approved, for the simple fact that the TSA couldn't logically answer the question posted?

Let's try my questino again...
If the machines do not store, transmit or print the images, then what would they present as evidence in court if they chose to prosecute someone for having an illegal item on them in an airport?

Anonymous said...

I will not fly if it means I have to give up my rights and subject myself again to the TSA and its policies. As a servicmember, I had no choice--and I did what I was told. Now that I've been honorably discharged, I am beholden to no one about how I travel, and I will not subject myself or my family to this ever again.

You can bet that I've written my legislators, too. I'm determined that I will not vote for anyone who supports this violation of the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

Tsa needs to be abolished.
Support the American Traveler Dignity Act

Anonymous said...

Fun and games with the TSA:
"It's not a question of the law..."
Listen to this for some very unprofessional TSA agents attempting to interrogate someone. They don't know the law.

Anonymous said...

Enough is enough:

I trust my fellow passengers far more than I trust TSA. I'm good for 5 terrorists myself, at least.

Enough is enough TSA.

Anonymous said...

When my son went through SEATAC on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving the scanners were not being used, nor were they giving the new grope-down, They were in fact, using the old approach. The airport was extremely quiet at the time, surprisingly so given the day. We have heard from others that the same is true of certain primary airports elsewhere around the country where scanners were reported to be cordoned off. It looks like the TSA did this to prevent a public outcry and allow things to move along at a deceptively smooth pace.

Anonymous said...

Since when do 5 year olds carry bombs?And, uh, hello it's obvious where you can smuggle weapons now. So then what? A cavity search?! You have got to be kidding me, Bucko.

Sommer said...

Myth: Everyone who travels will receive a pat-down.
Fact: (Updated 11/23/10 to show percentage) 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.

Bob, you're lying. The Indian ambassador, Meera Shankar, was patted down in an airport that does not have an AIT after she passed the metal detector without incident. See for details. Posting falsehoods on this blog is doing nothing for the TSA's credibility.

Anonymous said...

As part of a Muslim family, I want to know why you think it is OK to bypass our beliefs of modesty with AIT and patdowns.

Abigail G said...

Why was I chosen for a pat down? I was flying through Philadelphia and gladly removed my shoes, coat, bag, etc. and walked through the metal detector (on October 31st, Phil. did not have body scanners). I did not alarm it, but was chosen for extra screening. I was wearing a long skirt, and was chosen for a lower body screening. It was probably the most invasive, disgusting thing I had ever experienced. I was not made aware that I could request it in private, so I was subjected to this in full view of everyone. I understand the need to escalate invasiveness of screenings when there is reason to, but I willingly complied with all TSA requests and was still chosen to receive extra screening and was handled rudely and with little explanation of anything other than "We have some new procedures." I don't want to fly anymore, because I definitely don't want to be patted down again, but it seems like there is no way to avoid it. I wear longer skirts because of my religious beliefs, so I am not going to change that, and I fear I will be chosen even if I comply and don't alarm on the body scanner or metal detector because of my clothing. That and I REFUSE to give up my constitutional rights to fly. Apparently, according to the TSA, you have your rights until you don't, and apparently the federal government is able to take them away.

Anonymous said...

Why can female not pat down males if the male requests to be pated down by a female?

Anonymous said...

What about women wearing a short skirt? Will they have to be taken to private room or can they be examined in public if they don't care about privacy (I, for one, would never have the time or patience to go to a private room and would rather deal with being in public)? And what about women wearing a dress? Dresses don't have waistbands, so how is this handled?

Anonymous said...

You never address the deepest and most obvious concern travelers
who end up undergoing a pat-down,
including myself, have... Do you actually touch the genitals of men or women? You seem to deliberately dodge this central question of greatest concern to most everyone. In doing so, you do not inspire confidence, but instead engender the very resentment you purport to wish to assuage! Please address this central issue in a forthright, honest and straightforward -- as well as sensitive -- fashion!
For safe and RESPECTFUL travel!

Anonymous said...

Despite the fact that only a minority of people have complained about the pat downs, you have not been paying attention to the nature of their complaints. The list on the ACLU website is alarming. The agents have apparently been reaching inside of underwear, touching skin, reducing people to tears ofhumiliation.PLEASE,Ms. Napolitano, You must do something about these issues as such procedures are TOTALLY unacceptable!

Mary said... said only 2% of the flying public are being patted down. But nearly 100% of those are the elderly and disabled. We set off the metal detectors with our knees, hips and other metal bits. My question, I would like an answer, Why is that because I have metal in my knees you think I have a bomb in my bra? You say here that only 78 airports have scanners but you fail to mention that both the underware and shoe bombers walked through metal detectors. How is patting down the elderly and infirmed helping this problem? What is TSA doing to help the victims of sexual abuse, surely you can understand that your new search is totally unacceptable to one of us. I now only fly out of scanner equiped airports so at the end of the month I have to drive 3.5 hours each way to attend my nephews, a member of the military, wedding. What is going to be done for sexual abuse victims?

Anonymous said...

Flew from Lihue Kauai yesterday. Declined the radiation and was pulled aside for the enhanced patdown. Here is my complaint--I was not told that my genitals would be touched or pressed. The TSA said she whould run her hand up my leg until it stops at the thigh, but not move over and press into my genitals--I am a female, a grandmother and was so mortified, I just cried and shook. The TSA agent offered to take me in private, but I felt that would have been worse. Its not that it was out in the open, but that a stranger was touching all my private areas. Touch my boobs, no big deal, but my genitals IS A BIG deal. I had to take a tranquilizer afterwards I was so upset. Terrible ending to a wonderful trip. The TSA needs to be more honest with people and tell them what they plan to touch and how.

Anonymous said...

Chances of getting mugged by a robber in public: 20%

Chances of getting killed by a terrorist in public: 0.00000000001%

Oh and by the way, TSA supposedly says that images taken on security checkpoints cannot store, print, or transmit images. Well that is a lie since any device or computer that takes pictures has RAM even if the device does not have a hard drive which means it can save the images.

Anonymous said...

More lies, again. You say a patdown will only happen if I opt out of the scanner. That is a lie. I am a disabled veteran in a wheelchair. I get groped every time. Why do you lie so much?

Anonymous said...

TSA ought to have LISTENED to the original employees that were recruited from the military with a security background, as well as PAY FOR the Israeli consultants to TRAIN on the non-verbal indicators.

Profiling OF BEHAVIOR works, look at El Al.

Maybe the political appointees ought to get out of their offices more often, and travel without the advance notices... and see what we the public endure daily.

ElPaso2008 said...

The TSA is violating the 4th Amendment to the US Constution prohibiting unreasonable searches and siezures, meaning those conducted without probable cause and the sanction of a judge in a court of law. End of story. Who do you think you are, Gods?

Anonymous said...

There’s nothing punitive about it - you cant be serious.

Anonymous said...

Here is a question. Why do I need to get a pat down if the United States Government has deemed me fit to provide me with a DOD clearance. Why can I not just provide my credentials? They are good enough to allow access onto a military installation but not good enough for a trip on a plane?

Anonymous said...

Myth: Scanners and TSA are about security.

Fact: TSA And scanners are a pilot program to teach Americans to SUBMIT to brown shirt authority and sort out those in non-compliance.
Myth: AIT Scanners do not provide definitive images of a body or body parts.

Fact: AIT Scanners today are equivalent to the 240 x 190 Grayscale Digital Cameras of 1995 (where you had to use imagination to make out the picture). Current technology growth will have these scanners equal to an MRI within months; just waiting on another "stimulus" purchase frenzy to deploy them to a shopping mall near you.
Myth: This is to keep airline travel safe.

Fact: This is about predictive equalization board (death panel) assessments and tracking under the draconian Obamacare purification program. As you submit to these scanners, you will be pre-diagnosed for tumors and irregular skeletal anomalies and then tracked rapidly and digitally into your cost-control (termination) therapy - before you even know you have a problem.
Read and understand UN Agenda 21, "Sustainable Development", and all of it's implications including the maximum population targets. This is not about what it is presented to be. Anyone that submits to the scanner is a bigger fool than those getting groped as they are perpetuating this evil system. Refusal to fly, again, read Agenda 21, that is one of the end goals of this multi-tentacled beast. We have to rally and exchange tyranny for liberty, and that will only occur when everyone participates.

And do not even get me started on the false-flag "underwear bomber" that they used for justification of this horror. Research it yourself Google "Kurt Haskall Flight 253" and make true judgment of this lie.

Anonymous said...

Myth: the TSA can stop a terrorist.

Fact: I and my family are through flying on domestic airlines.

Anonymous said...

MYTH: TSA is serving and protecting America from the evil do'ers.

FACT: TSA works with the evil do'ers and are bringing in a police state.

MYTH: TSA operates within the constitution.

FACT: TSA is illegally and unconstitutionally searching random passengers.

The number one FACT is that the American public are waking up, and it's evident on this website. The American public are the government, and soon they will exercise that right.

AirlineEmployee said...

Well, as an airline employee that goes through security many times a day as part of my job functions, the next time I get "patted down" I will record the officers name & ID and will sue TSA for violations of Massachusetts General Laws ... As an executive airline employee, the success of my airline is in my best interest --- any malice on my airline is against my professional and personal interests... Be warned. Touch me inappropriately again, get sued. Period. Done. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

4th Amendment...this is one of our (citizens of the United States of America) rights to all you people at TSA who HAVEN'T READ IT.

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...

How many weapons have you guys caught?

Anonymous said...

I'm just saying - that I'm not taking any chances - so I haven't been or will be flying! I been all over the world in my 30yrs on this planet! They won't be getting my money!!!

Anonymous said...

You know that the TSA needs to go when they employ PR people that have time to blog.
I fly about 50,000 miles a year and I am very familiar with the TSA's incompetence. I received a pat down for no reason at O'Hare a few weeks ago after going through a full body scanner, and so did the guy behind me.

Anonymous said...

if you have so little faith in the american goverment that you think that they lie to you at every turn, why do u still live here?

@Rscharper63 said...

Sorry, Bob, but many of your "facts" are simply opinions.

The CBS poll is junk. It doesn't offer any details about AIT. If the poll explained that it transmitted a naked image of your body, what do you think the poll would be?"
This statement is soooooooo false. AIT systems are only a blurred image of you. They use a protector to
make sure the images are blurred. Plus even if they were naked pictures they have a person who specifically reads the pictures and he/she never sees the person being viewed. And the person running the machine never sees the picture. Also, this garbage about it being to evasive of privacy is so not true. Would you rather have a safe plane or one who crashes into towers and causes nation wide problems.

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...blah blah blah.

First, you don't EVER address the "Myth" regarding the key word invasive. Ever. EVER.

So let me write it for you.
Fact: If a teacher, uncle, step-father, store clerk, priest [ok, maybe not priest], lawyer or indian chief touched my child the way your screeners do, they would be arrested.

What I'd really like to see is a actual list of those who have carried explosives on them that the TSA has prevented boarding a plane by this invasive myth.

Unknown said...

Myth: the TSA does not violate the 4th amendment.

Anonymous said...

can the tsa body scanner detect tape on the body?

Jazelle said...

Almost every time I go to the airport, I've been stopped for one of these pat-downs. I don't find it invasive, just a bit annoying. I have never had anything on my body nor set off any alarms. I'm not sure if I just happen to always get the "random pat-down" or what the case is. Perhaps I appear nervous or look suspicious, but I don’t believe so. I’m a 19yr old female, whose Black and Korean. I’m just confused why I am always chosen and wonder why the TSA never tell me why they’re patting me down.

Anonymous said...

travelers who are rallying against scanner technology because of concerns about cancer should be more concerned about stepping on a plane, researchers say.

According to an article written by University of Minnesota radiology researchers, here are some stats on just how much radiation you get on a plane and how it can impact your health:
•The amount of high-altitude cosmic radiation that travelers are exposed to during a six-hour flight is 200 to 400 times greater than a dose received by walking through one of the TSA’s backscatter X-ray scanners.
•For every 1 million air travelers, an estimated 600 additional cancers could occur as a result of exposure to high-altitude radiation. By comparison, they estimate one additional cancer death for every 200 million scans.
•The amount of radiation passengers are exposed to while flying is less than half of the radiation they’re exposed to when receiving a chest X-ray.

Anonymous said...

What's so great about reading this self-satisfied smuggery is the recent abyssmal failure of the TSA to find a needle in a stack of needles.

Wow, with all this technology and great training it seems like you guys wouldn't fail 9 out of 10 times.

Imagine if you failed at your job 90% of the time.


Anonymous said...

Very true zero of mine got through

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