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:

1 – 200 of 572   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Myth: The AIT is dangerous
Fact: I am a multiple time skin cancer survivor, my doctor (from John Hopkins) said I should never be exposed to a backscatter machine because the amount of radiation the machine gives off may or may not be unsafe.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to contradict the FACT but I was patted down recently in Albuquerque after the scan. I didask if there was something that showed in the scan but he said "nope". Either he lied, there really are random pat downs judged by guards, or the TSA policies are not implemented at ABQ.

Anonymous said...

"The machines used by TSA at our airports cannot store, print or transmit images. They simply don’t have that ability."

Another lie, Bob: The machines can and do store the images, and were ordered specifically with this capability in mind. Your current policy is to delete the images, but we all know how much a TSA policy is worth.

Anonymous said...

Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive

fact: Your boss says otherwise

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

Myth: There has been an overwhelming public outcry against AIT

Fact: The TSA is in full spin mode because of the outcry.

Myth: TSA Officers are sharing AIT images they are taking with their cell phones.

Fact: TSA Officers are prohibited from stealing, yet they still do.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

Why does the TSA continually appeal to a CBS poll that is not scientific, and is contradicted by several other polls? There are countless other polls that show many Americans are outraged by their 4th Amendment rights and other rights being crushed by the TSA.

United States citizens need to stand up with people such as Congressmen Ron Paul and John Mica and demand the TSA be abolished. John Mica is even on record saying he regrets helping to create the TSA.

fred said...

There is an obvious violation by the Government with these scanners:

These scanners violate the Constitution of the United States!!!!!

If you don't believe that statement You have not read the Constitution on searches and witness protections.

That should allow me and any one else to file a Civil Lawsuit against the TSA.

chris bray said...

Blogger Bob, you have a bureaucrat's gift for changing the substance of a criticism as you pretend to respond to it. You seem to be unable to notice what you're saying as you say it. Compare the format:

1.) Is the new pat-down invasive? No, it's only for people who set off a metal detector alarm or refuse AIT. (yours)

2.) Are you going to punch me in the face? No, blueberry pancakes. (my example)

Only you don't notice that your non sequiturs are non sequiturs.

You write that it's a myth that airports can opt out of TSA screening. This, of course, is not the point: airports can opt out of using TSA's surly, unprofessional, incompetent, power-tripping employees. If every airport does that -- I should probably say "when" every airport does that -- then the majority of your employees will have bullied their way out of a job.

And even when the TSA has destroyed itself, you'll all still be hopelessly obtuse about what happened, and raging at the "myths" that undid you.

Good-bye, and good riddance.

Anonymous said...

TSA MUST employ ONLY a registered nurse or a medical doctor to see the naked images of men women and children!

(ii)
TSA MUST provide evidence as studies performed and sumbitted to FDA to determine safelty. Without this, TSA"s safety statement is conclusionary. TSA may be putting millions at risk of developing cancer (1 in 5 women in US are succeptibe to develop breast cancer and this could be enhanced by TSA screenings) or other malformation, which do not develop overnight but takes several years to show physical expression.

Anonymous said...

Fact : a recent Reuters poll shows 96% of people will make alternative travel plans due to the new TSA AIT and patdown procedure.

Here's a link : http://blogs.reuters.com/ask/2010/11/12/are-new-security-screenings-affecting-your-decision-to-fly/

Anonymous said...

I wonder why there are no comments on this article of lies... I wonder if it's because the TSA is screening the replies.

SSSS for some reason said...

"...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.”

Shenanigans! I call Shenanigans! PASSENGERS will be screened and deemed safe, but your record so far for CARGO is about 1 in 4. How safe am I really if the bomb you so fear I have on or about my person is, in reality, in the cargo hold?

And this...
"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. ... The number of complaints is extremely low."

Shenanigans again!

A small percentage of people are complaining, and you only pat-down a small percentage of people. That would make the complaints actually very high.

The numbers of pat-downs are not the issue, it it the overly aggressive nature of the pat-down that is. And the punitive nature of the pat-down is the real issue. If the next line is going through a metal detector and not getting felt up, why do I, in this line, have to get groped because I don't want to be exposed to the excess radiation of your machine. Why can't I just go over there through the metal detector that seems to be an adequate level of screening for everyone in that line?

Anonymous said...

Your comment on the 'invasive' nature of the patdowns does not disprove your so-called myth.

You wrote :
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.


The 'Fact' portion does not even address the invasiveness (which was confirmed in statements by the head of the TSA). It's a lie to call this a myth when you can't even disprove it.

Anonymous 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?

Not to mention the fact that polling Americans about airline travel is notoriously unreliable because only 40% of Americans report having flown in the last year.

To say that there are not an overwhelming amount of complaints by claiming that only a few people get patdowns is ridiculous, too. The amount of patdowns is irrelevant, and to pretend like there is not a growing and significant outrage about this technique is just burying your heads in the sand.

I predict a change in your policy in the near future. The movement against this violation of due process is growing quickly.

Ayn R. Key said...

"Myth" three, there is a hidden lie in the answer. The pat-down itself is not the punishment, the extreme invasiveness of the patdown is the punishment.

"Myth" seven is the truth. You are using X-rays. They are unsafe. Your evaluation was a farce where you withheld critical information from the evaluators.

"Myth" eight is a half-truth. Most polls are overwhelmingly against AIT, but you found one that was the reverse.

"Myth" eleven is the truth, your capability is only turned off. but it is there.

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

"Myth" sixteen - why can we see the handcuffs in the video if handcuffs weren't used?

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

You 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."

There is NO choice. If a stranger walked up to you and said, "You must choose between being virtually strip searched or sexually assaulted, and you cannot leave," do you assert there is an actual choice? Of course not.

Intimidation and threats do not constitute free will or choice.

Anonymous said...

All children will receive a pat-down. No just some of them, just the ones whose parents don’t want them to be seen naked by a stranger.

The TSA pat-down is invasive. Touching anyone’s private parts without their permission is invasive, pretty much by definition, except when the TSA does it.

The pat-down is punishment for opting out… Get seen naked by a stranger or get touched by a stranger, but it’s not a punishment; we have to steal your freedom to keep you free.

Everyone who travels will receive a pat-down. No but anyone might. What are those options again? Oh yes, a naked picture for a stranger or be touched by a stranger and if you don’t want either of those, a 10k fine.

And on and on and on, I will not fly while these are the options.

Anonymous said...

Myth: There has been an overwhelming public outcry against AIT.

Fact: Organizations who rely one 1 poll to prove a point are in trouble

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

You 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"

You may want to update this post with a link to this even more recent CBS News Poll:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/15/national/main7056945.shtml

Anonymous said...

So, you're response to the so called myth that pat downs are invasive is "too bad"? I am pregnant and have been advised to "opt-out". So, I will be subject to an invasive pat down.

Would you mind telling me how much UNWANTED TOUCHING I'm going to have to endure to fly so I can make an informed decision before finding myself in an uncomfortable situation at the airport where I have to choose between getting fined and having to endure physical contact that I might find offensive?

Have you even thought about victims of sexual assault and how this is going to affect them. I can only imagine how coerced and intimidated they would feel in a situation like that.

Believe it or not, people opt out of the full body scan for reasons other than being criminals, and they do not deserve to be treated like them. This is a violation of my fourth amendment rights. I will sue, I will win. You can bet your teeth on it.

American citizens need to do their part and resist this infringement on our rights. Our rights are much more important than the false sense of security these invasive procedures provide. What's next? Cavity searches for evereyone? Because that's the most obvious place to hide an explosive. Are we all just going to be okay with that too? WAKE UP.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Your second myth was proven by your boss.

Can we trust with he says or should we trust what you say?

California Fire news said...

It was a factual, fair balanced reply..until the very end where you state regarding Radio Host Meg McLain
"many of her outlandish claims were proven to be unfounded".
Your post never proved anything all you did was substantiate her claims with video?

Anonymous said...

You guys had to recently change your policy towards children. So, you allow for child porn at the TSA by allowing children to go through these machines? Yet if I take a picture of my kid and have the photos developed at the local drug store, I get to go to prison or otherwise be investigated by one of your partner agencies? Ridiculous. I don't want my kids going through your machines, and I don't trust you to do a physical search of them after what I have seen. It's metal detector or nothing for me. Since I don't have a choice and am subject to at least a civil fine, I guess we just won't fly. Let's see what is happening to the industry when people stop flying altogether. I'm sure your overlords will love this. Well, I got news for you, Bob. We are your overlords and we dissent. Your definition of security is to react to the been-there-done-that tactics of the terrorists. If they detonate a bomb hidden in a body cavity, will random cavity searches be implemented by TSA and DHS? What a joke. Get out of my life!

Anonymous said...

(1) "Pat-downs are performed by same-gender officers" - You forgot the "when available" modifier

(2) "There’s nothing punitive about [the opt-out pat-down]". Then why are there reports about TSA officers yelling "Opt Out!" at the top of their lungs? Why not just hang a sign with a big red "O" around their neck?

(3) Have you addressed the point that more people will die in car accidents as more and more opt out of flying to protect their rights? Many more than will ever be killed by a terrorist attack?

(4) Is it true that people with insulin pumps are being harassed and told to do things that are medically unsafe?

Dunstan 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."

On average, how many out of the ~2,000,000 daily passengers receive pat downs, Curtis?

Anonymous said...

Definitely keep repeating the same things ad nauseum. That makes them all totally believable. Bah.

Anonymous said...

Lies.

Borepatch said...

I thought I'd drop a line to say that there's a blogger gathering tonight on Blog Talk Radio to discuss TSA Horror Stories.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/b-b-and-guns

I realize that you folks are stuck defending a lot of TSA activities to a very skeptical public, but there will be a lot of bloggers who get a lot of pageviews participating, not only calling in, but in the chat room as well.

I expect that if you show up (and I hope some of you do), the discussion will be somewhat heated, but you'll get some respect for stepping up to the public discussion.

I plan on being there, and hope to see some of you as well.

Anonymous said...

Well isn't that nice of ya—12 year olds and under won't get sexually assaulted...but once they pop into puberty, your employees can get to strip search and sexually molest them.

Hey Bob: Why not let your kids get the treatment your crap agency does to our kids? And if the nude-o-scope images are so tame, post them online.

...

Yeah, didn't think so.

daniel said...

These lies make me sick. Blogger Bob should be ashamed of himself.

Anonymous said...

So please please address how you plan to work with infants in arms who CANNOT go through the scanner. As a mom of young children including an infant will I always be required to have the "enhanced" pat down that is very very disturbing to me as a very modest woman. Will the infant be passed through the imager from 1 parent to the other assuming there are 2 parents at the check point? Please let me know what the policy is because I have already had to cancel our holiday flight plans due to my fear that I will molested at the airport due primarily to the fact that I have a child under the age of 2 that cannot be let out of my arms.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean she was proven not to have been handcuffed to the chair? There is no time stamp on the videos and there is a gap in the video.

If you can misuse the word "proven" then what else can you screw up?

txrus said...

Blogger Bob claimed:

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.

**********************************
The only problem is that the link BB referenced as 'Fact' turned out to be to his own blog entry containing the 2 CTV clips from the checkpoint during which the pax in question is out of frame for most of the time. That is hardly proving her claims to be 'unfounded'.

Also, on 11/16 I had the opportunity to observe these scanners & pat-downs in action @ BOS while I waited to board my flight. For a period of time, EVERY PAX GOING THRU THE NOS ALSO GOT A PATDOWN. EVERY SINGLE PAX.

THAT, BB, is a FACT.

Perhaps if you guys @ HQ actually got out into the field a bit more & saw what is REALLY going on, you wouldn't end up looking so silly to the traveling public when you make these claims.

Anonymous said...

With regard to this myth...

Myth: Complaints about the pat-downs are extremely high.

Your response should be based on the % of compliants of those that get the pat-downs. Not the total that go thru security. Also, how do you count the # of complaints? Ie. official compliants or vocal compliants during the procedure or a survey?

Anonymous said...

Whether or not these myths are true I am unwilling to give up my constitutional rights. This is in no way a reasonable search. I will simply not fly. Please remember that millions of others will quietly boycott the airlines. The costs of our boycott will be passed directly to other consumers and they will be priced out.

Sandra said...

It doesn't matter, Bob, that not every passenger has to suffer through a humiliating grope. What matters is that this grope exists at all.

Rebecca said...

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


Are you sure? It's being done randomly at airports without AIT/WBI even if one doesn't set off the WMTD. Please confirm or deny -

Additionally, you said in your own blog that pat-downs would occur randomly, which appears to be the case (Blog titled: New TSA Pat-Down Procedures):

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

Please confirm or deny, or clear up your contradiction.

RB said...

Just three for now:

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.

Reality: Some children will receive invasive pat downs.


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.

Reality: The Pat Down is very invaise to those who receive them.

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.

Reality: Bull Hockey!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

You sure sound like Kevin Bacon in Animal House - "all is well remain calm". You are a bunch of sick losers.

Anonymous said...

Sure feels like "Brown Shirts in Blue" how do you sleep at night?

Anonymous said...

No matter how much you lie and wish it was not so - it is punitive.

Anonymous said...

No matter how much you lie and wish it was not so - it is punitive.

Anonymous said...

Not all scientists agree with you that "AIT" is safe. For example, 4 at UCSF:

http://news.ucsf.edu/news-briefs/details/ucsf-scientists-speak-out-against-airport-full-body-scans/

Also, the reassurance that the person performing the pat down is of the same gender doesn't really reassure me. Maybe because I am old enough to realize that not everyone is hetersexual.

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.

Rebecca said...

Blogger Bob said, "Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive"

Huh. Your own boss said the following during to Senate Commerce Committee during Wednesday's oversight committee:

"It was more invasive than what I was used to." He added that it made him "uncomfortable".

You really didn't address the "myth". Even your boss says it's at least "more invasive", which certainly indicates it is indeed invasive and uncomfortable.

Seriously, how does the TSA really expect the general public to be happy if even your boss says it is more invasive and uncomfortable?

Anonymous said...

Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive
Fact: It is.

Anonymous said...

If 80% of the public is for the nude–o-scopes, then I wonder why almost 100% of the comments here are against them.

Keep spinning it, Bob. Fewer people believe this drivel with each new spin!

Anonymous said...

Define the "modified pat down" for children. No TSA agent is touching, putting pressure on, or feeling resistance on my kids buttocks or genitals. Nor will they be looking at them naked. And in 4 years, when my 8 year old is 12, there is no way some TSA agent will be feeling resistance against their genitals. Not. Gonna. Happen.

Oh, and a pat down being invasive has nothing to do with whether or not we're in a private room. It has to do with a TSA agent pressing his hand against my gentials.

And whether a pat down in punishment or not depends on the attitude of the TSA agent - plenty of examples out there of them treating it like a punishment.

Rebecca said...

Blogger Bob stated: "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 "

Yes, many of us may indeed support a AIT scan in the case of a SECONDARY screening. But many do not think it should be used for primary screening.

Frankly, relying on these polls isn't a great idea. CBS.com has the following poll up on the same site!

"Poll: Do New TSA Airport Screens Go Too Far?

Besides the Delays and Invasive Searches, New Screenings May Hurt Airline Industry; What Do You Think?"

The results as of 5:31 p.m. today?

"Enough with the scans and pat-downs! They're an invasion of civil liberties. 86%"

(http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/15/national/main7056945.shtml)

I can link any number of polls that show that people ARE complaining, Bob. To rely on a poll that really doesn't ask if people are happy about it, but only if it's okay to have one in the airport, is just kind of manipulative on your part.

(page saved in case comment not approved)

Anonymous 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.

Anonymous said...

Your Facts are Myths.

The Back-scatter X-ray has not been proven safe. The company that makes the machines had a say in the tests, and independent researchers say there are serious doubts. See this story on NPR's Morning Edition
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126833083
(if the link is blocked, you can find it on NPR's site, May 17 2010, by Richard Knox.)

The pat-down for people who opt-out is very punitive. When I politely said I would opt out, the TSA woman at the ID check stand said, "Oh, they're not gonna like YOU," and she proceeded to shout "Opt Out!" -- echoed by everybody at the security station. Then they purposefully make you wait fifteen minutes. It's all about punishment.

Pantalones said...

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

I would love to see and hear about these items on a regular basis.

Rebecca said...

Bob says: "Anybody can opt out of AIT, including children. "

What about unaccompanied minors above the age of 12 (which many airlines do not require an escort) but under the age of 18? Those under the age of 18 are legally not able to give consent and we've already experienced for ourselves (as well as WAY too many trip reports) the tendency of employees directing people to the machines when they don't even know what they are!

Rebecca said...

Blogger Bob said: " She was never handcuffed to a chair and many of her outlandish claims were proven to be unfounded."

I pointed out at the time that there was about 3 minutes of video missing from your posting. She still claims she was handcuffed to the chair for about 30 to 60 seconds.

The TSA can't prove it's assertion any more than Meg can at this time.

(screen print saved to verify submission)

Anonymous said...

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

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

Does not address whether the pat-down is invasive or not, merely who receives them.

"For this reason, it is designed to be thorough in order to detect any potential threats and keep the traveling public safe."

Which does not directly address whether it's invasive, and seems to hint that the pat-down is, in fact, invasive.

"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."

Again, not addressing whether or not the pat-down is invasive. Why does it have to be a same-gender officer if not invasive?

If this is the case, you should just write that it's not a myth, it's a fact. "The new pat-downs are invasive". Otherwise you lose credibility in disputing illegitimate claims.

Anonymous said...

Are you blocking comments, now? Looks as if TSA is in PR lock-down mode. Well, I'll give you another chance to prove you're open and transparent. Here's my comment, again:

Your Facts are Myths.

The back-scatter X-ray has not been proven safe. The company that makes the machines had a say in the tests, and independent researchers say there are serious doubts. See this story on NPR's Morning Edition
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126833083
(if the link is blocked, you can find it on NPR's site, May 17 2010, by Richard Knox.)

The pat-down for people who opt-out is very punitive. When I politely said I would opt out, the TSA woman at the ID check stand said, "Oh, they're not gonna like YOU," and she proceeded to shout "Opt Out!" -- echoed by everybody at the security station. Then they purposefully make you wait fifteen minutes. It's all about punishment.

daniel said...

Isn't it so convenient that Blogger Bob waits for several hours to approve any comments on his posts? That way, when people read his lies and propaganda, they won't be exposed to the comments. How convenient.

RoyBiggins said...

On "Myth" #2:

The new pat-down, as it has been described, IS invasive. Your supposed 'fact' ignores this reality. Come on folks...

Anonymous said...

Bob,

I am wondering what percentage of people who go through the AIT have an anomaly and thus a patdown?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those 4 out of 5 people who supports full body scanners! Keep up the good work TSA! You have major support out here! Thanks for all of your hard work and diligence. It's because of you that air travel has been so safe in the USA. As a mother of three who travels often, I appreciate all you do!

Anonymous said...

The Meg McClain video proves nothing other than it is an incomplete video showing intimidating body language by your colleagues.

And we don't believe a word you say.

(my first time posting here because I want as many voices to be heard-- we're sick of this abuse)

MM said...

Here is some truth. Touching the private areas of a airline passenger is not going to prevent someone with malicious intent from nefarious actions. Screeners who barely make a living wage, work overtime, may be tired, bored, otherwise inclined can easily misuse this technology and these procedures. TSA should rethink the very the foundations what is suppose to be accomplished by invading the most private areas of a persons body. I suggest starting with respect for all people. Instilling a sense of personal responsibility and ownership in the safe travel of all citizens and visitors. TSA has crossed the line with this new technology and with the alternative groping procedure.

Anonymous said...

Actually according to http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s107-1447&version=enr&nid=t0:enr:269

airports can opt of of TSA and would be smart to do so. TSA is out of control and time and again their failures in managing these situations have been shown evident.

Anonymous said...

University of California Scientists (including National Academy of Science members with expertise on x-rays and biology) have expressed concern about detrimental health effects of AIT: http://www.npr.org/assets/news/2010/05/17/concern.pdf

Airport security experts have questioned the effectiveness of AIT, one referring to it as a complete waste of money: http://www.gadling.com/2010/04/25/israeli-airport-security-specialist-full-body-scanners-are-a-w/

A Reuters poll suggests 96% of travelers will at least consider alternate travel to avoid intrusive imaging and pat downs: http://blogs.reuters.com/ask/2010/11/12/are-new-security-screenings-affecting-your-decision-to-fly/

The AIT machines have been specified to have the ability to store and transmit images: http://news-breaking.com/6/tsa-storing-body-images/

You can keep trying to spin it "Bob". The people don't believe you.

Anonymous said...

The spin here is pretty pathetic:

Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive
Fact: [irrelevant info about how many people get scanned instead]...it is designed to be thorough...[irrelevant info about the gender performing the search].

A coerced choice between violation by unseen agent or violation by gov't hands in my pants is no choice at all. Stop the madness.

But this blog post does bring up an interesting question: what ARE the complaint rates as a percentage of people who receive pat downs? How do they compare to the complaint rates before the recent "enhancements"?

Anonymous said...

Last I heard children were considered children until they were 18 years old.

Anonymous said...

THIS IS A LIE!

You are saying that only people who set off the metal detector or those who refuse AIT get the new pat downs.

Why then at BWI airport did i see EVERYONE who went through the AIT also get a pat down?!

In fact- the video of the radio host you posted shows people going through the AIT AND get a pat down?!

Rachel Kadel-Garcia said...

What does the "modified pat-down" for children consist of? For that matter, what does the standard pat-down consist of? What actions on the part of a TSO would make the search violate the policies against punitive or invasive searches? What handling of my body and my daughter's body am I implying consent to by entering the checkpoint? (Each of us is particularly likely, for medical reasons, to cause alarms on one or the other screening machine.)

Oh, and by the way, for people concerned about both A and B, the following is not reassuring:
"Myth: Everyone who travels must A.
Fact: A is optional -- anyone can opt out and choose to receive B.

Myth: Everyone who travels must receive B.
Fact: Only those who fail A or opt out of A will receive B."

Anonymous said...

Myth: TSA is honest

Fact: TSA is Dishonest

Anonymous said...

Myth: TSA is honest

Fact: TSA is Dishonest

Anonymous said...

Why is it that the Israeli security officials rely on neither invasive technology of groping passengers, yet they have an amazingly low incidence of aviation violence. Cant we emulate some of their practices to avoid punishing law abiding travelers?

Anonymous said...

"Myth! Patdowns are invasive. Fact! Um, yes, they're invasive, but we will tak about something else here instead."

Love it.

Anonymous said...

Last year, I went through the metal detectors. I was wearing a tank top, under-wire bra, and yoga pants. I set the metal detector off and the only thing I can think of is it must be my bra. So by virtue of that, I'd be forced to undergo this ridiculous pat down? Whatever happened to the hand-held metal detector wands? And why are the detectors so sensitive that they pick up the tiny amounts of metal in bras? Am I now supposed to go to the airport bra-less? It's just ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive

Your fact does nothing to talk about it being "invasive" and only clarifies who will receive the pat down.

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

A concrete number is provided for the amount of travel per day, yet the number of complaints and the % that is screened is very vague. Your threshold of "extremely low" might be different than the general public.

Myth:AIT is unsafe

There are questions about its safety.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126833083

Myth: AIT cannot detect powdered explosives.
Fact: This is false.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) concludes that it is presently “unclear whether the AIT [Advanced Imaging Technology] or other technologies would have detected the weapon used in the December 25 attempted attack.”
http://www.gsnmagazine.com/node/20003?c=

Myth: TSA Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) images can be stored on the AIT machines located in our airports.
Fact: Completely false .
If "something" is detected and it turns out to be a false positive and someone "over reacts", what evidence do you have to back up claims in court if no images are stored?

tws said...

sadly many of your points can now be credibly refuted. unfortunately this seems to just be one more smoke screen

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

You consistantly try to minimize the amount of times these patdowns happen. Since I don't have access to the number's I'm willing to believe that. But the content of the pat downs is still the issue. Even if one person is groped it is unacceptable. Just because something doesn't happen often doesn't make it any less wrong.

For those of us that believe in modesty and decency there is no good option. I'm all for good security but what you are doing is wrong. It is degrading and inhumane. When I'm traveling being groped by agents of the country I love shouldn't be something I should have to worry about.

On a side note saying "I'm sensitive" doesn't make you so...actions speak louder than words, and the TSA's actions are increasingly visible to all, and they speak loudly.

Wayne said...

Will the TSA consider using thermal imaging technology instead of x-ray imaging? Thermal imaging has been demonstrated to detect objects hidden on a person's body, without displaying genitals and breasts. If thermal imaging can be shown to be as effective or more effective than x-ray or millimeter wave technology, I think that the public would feel even more comfortable with body-scans. There is no danger from thermal imaging whereas we really don't know the longterm effects of repeated exposure to low levels of 3D x-rays. The studies cited by the TSA only measure current x-ray levels. Since thermal imaging does not intrude upon the sexual areas of a person's body (but does detect any object hidden there, as does x-ray or MMW), there would be even fewer requests to opt-out of imaging machines.

Does selection of the x-ray and MMW machines have anything to do with the heavy lobbying of former HSD Michael Chertoff to use these technologies used in machines manufactured by companies he now represents? If so, that is a conflict of interest and choice of imaging technology should be based on scientific merit and security effectiveness alone.

Anonymous said...

"Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive"

Um, how is this a myth? Your boss seems to agree!

""It was more invasive than what I was used to," Pistole told the Senate Commerce Committee during an oversight hearing on his agency. He added that it made him uncomfortable."

Are you even trying to conceal your lies anymore?

Anonymous 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.

Like what, nail clippers? Sewing scissors? And how many of these items wouldn't have been detected by the metal detector? You're not providing facts Bob - you making gross generalizations that could mean just about anything. If it weren't punitive, you'd put people who opt out of the Porno-scanner through the metal detector THEN frisk them if they ping...

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. "

Since you won't publish your complaint statistics - and because you have lied in the past about complaints, why should we believe this?

Anonymous said...

"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."

Johns Hopkins has already said you misrepresented their involvement in the AIT testing - and several physicists have disputed your statements concerning radiation levels. You're a liar Bob, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

By the way, you still haven't explained how it is that a federal employee has the authority to censor the content of this blog... violation of the First Amendment Bob.

Lucky225 said...

" 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."

All passengers also have a 4th amendment right to be free of unreasonable search and seizures. Pat downs for opt-outs are unreasonable, and the court has already ruled that a person who does not consent to a search does not then become probable cause for a search, yet the TSA seems to think refusing the scanners or pat-downs is probable cause, even if you decide not to fly and wants to hit you with a $10,000 civil fine.

There's a fact for you.

Lucky225 said...

" 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."

All passengers also have a 4th amendment right to be free of unreasonable search and seizures. Pat downs for opt-outs are unreasonable, and the court has already ruled that a person who does not consent to a search does not then become probable cause for a search, yet the TSA seems to think refusing the scanners or pat-downs is probable cause, even if you decide not to fly and wants to hit you with a $10,000 civil fine.

There's a fact for you.

Anonymous said...

You lie. "Invasive" is a myth? Get your FACTS straight. Direct quote from your own boss, John Pistole, before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, who says it IS invasive. He went through the procedure himself and told the committee it was "more invasive than what I was used to."

Anonymous said...

Myth: The TSA scanners cannot store or transmit images.
Fact: The procurement specification calls specifically for network & transmit capabilities as part of the scanner's specification, meaning that the scanners *CAN* store and transmit images. Furthermore, while policies are in place that disallow cellphones in the review booth, the policy is not enforced rigorously.

Myth: AIT technology keeps us safe.
Fact: AIT technology has not stopped a single case of a terrorist act, and the TSA has never been able to claim that it has.

Myth: AIT technology allows faster screening.
Fact: AIT technology takes 30% longer than traditional screening methods as passengers wait for radio clearance from the "booth". In addition, passengers must strip EVERYTHING - belts, wallets, paper, coins from their pockets - causing them to have to reassemble their entire person.

Myth: The public is safer with enhanced pat-downs.
Fact: The TSA's background check process recently allowed known pedophiles to work for the agency, and those same pedophiles are the ones that will sexually assault your 8-year-old daughter when you do not wish her to be scanned with AIT.

There, I hope this helps, Bob... Let's just be complete and well-rounded instead of one-sided.

Anonymous said...

How about we as the American public are at the point were we not longer like the TSA and just want you gone. We are past the point of you telling us fact from fiction. Fact TSA grabs peoples ....... you fill in the blank thats a fact!

Anonymous said...

um, i have flown four times since the enhanced screening rules came into effect. and i'm selected every time. coincidence?

Anonymous said...

and ALSO, the screeners put me through the scatter screener, and still aggressively pat me down because i had a ponytail. i'm sorry, but the implementation is completely flawed.

Anonymous said...

Fact: you are not touching my children, "modified" pat down or no.

Fact: you say it's a myth that "pat downs" are invasive, then refuse to answer the question. Is it invasive or not? Answer the question.

Fact: pat downs are punitive. TSA agents have said so directly.

Fact: you are more likely to die from cancer after a TSA screen than you are to be blown up by a terrorist on an airplane, even according to the TSA's low-ball numbers. Columbia University estimates cancer rates are 10 to 20 times higher than TSA estimates.

Fact: there is an overwhelming public outcry against these machines. Why else was your boss hauled in front of congress? That CBS poll was a survey of the general population not air travelers, and certainly not strictly representative of those who have been porno scanned and groped.

Fact: images can be stored, TSA has said so itself. We're supposed to rely on assurance that the capability has been "turned off".

Fact: don't care if airports are regulated by TSA, getting the unionized TSA gate gropers out is job one. We'll work with our congressmen and senators to get the whole rotten agency disbanded, and the pocket-lining Michael Chertoff sent packing.

Anonymous said...

Can you please clarify the myth or fact that sanitary napkins, tampons, adult diapers, and various medical items will show up on the AIT and likely result in a patdown anyway? Wouldn't it just speed things along for people with these items just to opt-out in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Curtis-

How can you say only people to refuse AIT and set off an alarm will receive the new pat down when a Senator at Wednesday's hearing said that he was patted down for no reason after an AIT scan?

Anonymous said...

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

Strawman. The concern is not that *all* children will receive them, it's that *any* will.


"TSA officers are trained to work with parents to ensure a respectful screening process for the entire family"

We've seen video to the contrary.


"Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive"

The fact you refute this with doesn't actually refute it at all. Even if its same gender or in private, it's still invasive.


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

Simply saying "no, it's not" over and over again does nothing to address this concern. When someone is placed in a position where they have to pick a scan or a patdown, the severity of the patdown has a coercive effect. You can deny it all you like, but it's just simply true.


"Myth: Everyone who travels will receive a pat-down."

Strawman. Who cares how many people it is? It's a violation of our civil liberties if even one person has to go through this.


"Myth: Complaints about the pat-downs are extremely high."

You're probably referring to the number of official complaints filed with your office, which we could probably expect to be low given that most people just want to get through the process and be on their way. It's idiotic to mistake that number as representative of the public's larger perception. There are millions of us who are pissed about this, which you're obviously aware of, given how you're trying to address these complaints.


"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."

And other doctors and scientists have come out saying that's not the case. Ignoring their claims by waving your scientists around does nothing to advance the discussion. Address their actual concerns, and maybe we'll get somewhere. Until then, all you're doing is expecting us to believe you simply because you assert we should. You don't have the good standing for that.


"A recent CBS News Poll found that 4 in 5 Support Full-Body Airport Scanners"

Oh wow, I had no idea someone had conducted a two-question phone poll. This changes everything.


"Myth: TSA Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) images can be stored on the AIT machines located in our airports."

It's not really comforting when you phrase the myth in such a narrow way. Ok, they can't be stored "on the AIT machines in our airports". Are they stored anywhere else? Maybe another device hooked up to the AIT machine? Or offsite somewhere? I'm not saying I believe this is the case, I'm just saying that you're really bad at your job. If you're supposed to be calming the storm, stop using weasel language.


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

... who then receive the patdown that we've already established is invasive. We don't want you seeing naked images of our kids OR giving them invasive pat downs.


"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."

Wait, what was the proof? The video was hardly the slam-dunk refutation you're portraying it as. There was nothing in that video that was conclusively contradictory of her account.

Anonymous said...

HEY BOB you DIDNT ASNWER THE QUESTION FACT PAT DOWN IS INVASIVE!!!!

Anonymous said...

So-called myths do not change fact: the TSA is engaging in security theater, and is of late twisting itself into knots to defend the indefensible. Oh, don't worry, dear public! Children under 13 only get a "modified" patdown.

Whatever, TSA.

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.

Though it is interesting that your final argument always comes down, "We're in charge and you can go to hell."

Anonymous said...

It is brilliant to see TSA on the defensive on this one knowing that it does not have a leg to stand on. Keep lying and spinning. Maybe you'll eventually get dizzy and finally fall down.

Anonymous said...

Complaints are low?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H9HNEtrvEE

Have you ever seen congress act so fast in your life? You are such a shill, it's disgusting.

Anonymous said...

This post is heavy-handed and inappropriate. The video actually vindicates Ms. McLain. And at this point, I think the traveling public is willing to believe the village idiot over the TSA, given the TSA's propensity to lie on this blog (and, as it turns out, in person).

Vilifying those who call you out isn't going to win you any points. Own your mistakes and you'll get a lot more respect. And then maybe work on not hiring pedophiles (Boston Logan incident) and other dregs of society, and your credibility will skyrocket! Meanwhile, I'll continue to believe those whose experience is that the TSA consists largely of people who are undereducated and overconfident.

This blog post is Exhibit A.

Jim said...

So what you're saying is that technology used by one government agency was approved by another. Yeah... I trust that completely.

If I were to walk up to someone and touch their crotch, I would be arrested and put on a list of registered sex offenders. The TSA has NO RIGHT to be touching people in such a manner. The Constitution protects us from unreasonable searches. These are unreasonable searches. Our military isn't even allowed to touch al Quaeda in such a manner.

Anonymous said...

Will you touch my genitalia during a pat-down?

Anonymous said...

Myth: US Citizens have rights, including those defined by the 4th amendment.

Fact: The TSA has decided that the 4th amendment no longer applies, and unreasonable searches without probable cause are now legal and justified in the US. The TSA is committed to working with you to violate your 4th amendment rights in a manner most humiliating to you.

Anonymous said...

Come on "Bob" you are going to have to do a lot better than this! Very 1st item on your post: "Myth: All children will receive pat-downs." then you say: "Children 12 years old and under who require extra screening will receive a modified pat down." So all children who opt of x-ray radiation/nude-o-scope pictures will receive a pat down. PR spin isn't going to cut it this time around...this is the "line in the sand" for a lot people like my wife and I. Can you imagine what the TSA would do if a "Rectum or breast-implant bomber" got thru?!?
How about if an Al Qaeda operative slips across the border and suicide car bombs a school or mall? Then what? 1/2 mile "car exclusion zones" around all schools and malls/theaters and Costcos?!? X-ray scanners and "pat-downs" for all of the above places? TSA is always reactive...time to fix the problem at the source.

Anonymous said...

Why do X-Ray technicians go to another room while the picture is being taken? So they don't get the radiation. I wonder what your screeners are exposed to day after day even if they are not in the line of sight. If the solution to the problem would be to step aside while the picture is being taken, the technicians wouldn't leave the room.

Also, how can we trust that your screeners are not carrying cellphones or cameras into the peeping room? Are they patted down, maybe even including their genital area? I can't trust your answers Bob.

justmyopinion said...

Hey Bob.... If I submit to AIT Screening and a medical implant which is on my right chest causes an alarm do I go through an entire body pat down of just a pat down of my right chest area? I would hope your answer is "just my right chest area". If I would have endure a whole body pat down, please expain why...

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob the Denver Post Photos tell a different story of were you guys like to stick your hands.

Anonymous said...

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.

So how is the TSA preventing officers from bringing cell phones and other recording devices into the AIT viewing area? Do they search them or just take their word for it?

eve11 said...

Bob,

"relative to the number of travelers", would eg, 20,000 people getting pat-downs per day be considered a small amount? This is eg, one percent of all travelers. To me it seems like a non-negligible amount.

Not to mention, if the TSA is planning to implement more scanners, and is eventually planning to eg, replace metal detectors with scanners, this number will skyrocket.

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. 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."
the 'fact' does not answer the 'myth', although I suspect you did that on purpose. Why not just be honest about what the pat-down involves? I think it would really reassure passengers to know exactly what to expect, and it would dispel these crazy rumours about assault! you don't want people thinking their genitals and their kids genitals are going to be touched by strangers, do you? because that doesn't happen, right? Hey! Why not make a video showing the new procedure in action, exactly as it is experienced by your passengers!

Anonymous said...

No Comments at all? Thanks Blobber Bob, you answered ALL of our questions!

Thomas said...

Yeah, that CBS poll sure means a lot. Here's one (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/15/national/main7056945.shtml) that says "Enough with the scans and pat-downs! They're an invasion of civil liberties."

When asbestos came out we all thought it was a miracle product. Time will tell whether AIT machines are safe.

Anonymous said...

I posted a point to point rebuttal but failed to mention something else. Assuming it gets posted.
The pat-downs as experienced would also be considered sexual assault when performed on adults anywhere else in this country. I also noticed that a DA in California has stated he would prosecute any TSO that takes advantage of this procedure. That should prove interesting.
Mr. Pistole when asked about cargo screening failed to even address this subject. He continued trying to defend the TSAs' new policies, which have proven to be ineffective at best.
I fine this appalling considering any intelligent person has long know the next attacks would be by cargo plane or cargo carried on passenger jets. Of course the reason for lack of screening cargo is monetary which is what most of this garbage has always been about.

Just an idea: do away with all controversial screening methods and deploy a proven method of bomb/bomb material detection. The use of dog, it works and is non intrusive.

Dan S. said...

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.


Bob, either you are misrepresenting the facts, or the TSA has misrepresented its specifications for AIT scanning devices in its RFP.

http://www.ectnews.com/shared/storyextras/69086-EPIC_WBI_FOIA_Memo.pdf

The RFP clearly states that any Whole Body Imaging device purchased by the Transportation Security Administration shall have the ability to store and transmit mode when the system is set to 'test' mode.

DId the TSA lie to your vendors (and the Congress, the GAO and the taxpayers) in its RFP, or are you and Administrator Pistole now engaged in a campaign to lie to members of the public and the news media?

Just for the record:
* Black ≠ White
* Up ≠ Down
* Left ≠ Right
* Physically can't store/transmit images ≠ “3.1.1.3.1.2
When in Test Mode, the WBI:
- shall allow exporting of image data in real-time;
- shall prohibit projection of an image to the IO station;
- shall provide a secure means for high speed transfer of image data;
- shall allow exporting of image data (raw and reconstructed.”

Anonymous said...

"Body cavity searches- it just makes good security sense!"

-Future post by Blogger Bob

Anonymous said...

Myths are stories used to convey certain truths a poetic manner. There are many myths that are still regarded as conveying meaningful truth.

Please use a term like 'fiction' to describes things that are false which are not stories conveying fundamental (and probably religious truths.

Anonymous said...

Myth or Fact: "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither."
The person writing this blog seems like a reasonably intelligent person. Do you like America? TSA is violating Americans constitutional rights. I am surprised that the person writing this blog actually willingly works for this organization. I will pray that you are able to find a better job.

Dan S. 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.


Please quantify "extremely low."

Is it "extremely low," because it's a small percentage of the "small percentage" of the "2 million people [who] fly... every day," or is it "extremely low" because you consider the "small percentage" small enough that even if 95% of those who receive an 'enhanced' pat down, that the TSA considers it "extremely low?"

How many passengers attempt to file a complaint with a Supervisor or TSM, but are rebuffed by TSOs or their supervisors, all of whom seem quite willing to put up roadblocks, including providing non-functioning phone numbers, improper website address, hide their identifying information and/or make intimidating statements to dissatisfied passengers who are attempting to file complaints? There is sufficient anecdotal evidence to support that this is SOP, official or otherwise, for the TSA, in order to minimize the appearance of impropriety by TSA personnel.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,

Here are some other Myths and Facts:

Myth: AIT screenings and Pat-Downs are necessary for safe air-travel.

Fact: Negative. Isreali Security has proven at their airports how efficient and effective security should be. Why doesn't the United States follow a working model rather than forge ahead with an unproven and dangerous secuirty process that is universally criticised by specialists, both here in the States and abroad?


Myth: Certain freedom must be sacrificed for security.

Facts: The TSA procedures are a violation of Article IV of the Bill of Rights. Recent statements that religous rights will not be recognized means that these procedures now violate Article I, also. Furthermore, the TSA procedures violate three federal laws regarding the rights to privacy and religion. Destruction of the Constitutional Rights of the citizen automatically render the nation insecure, thereby producing the opposite effect of the stated intent of these procedures.


This country's greatest strength and asset is its Constitution and the belief by the people that they have protected rights no individual or agency, until now, can repeal or otherwise eliminate. The continued attack on the rights of the citizen is by far, more damaging to this nation than any foreign terrorist. And that's a fact.

J. Avalokitesvera

Anonymous said...

Here we go again...

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...


"Entire Family". Including kids. In other words, the kids will receive patdowns.

Myth: confirmed.

Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive

Your 'Fact' does not dispute the myth. If anything,it confirms it.

Myth: The pat-down is a punishment for opting out of the AIT.
Fact: There’s nothing punitive about it


Repeating the same thing over and over does not make it true.

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.


So, all the people who claim (some of them onthis very blog!) to have passed thru the AIT,a nd STILL be patted down are... lying? ... mistaken?

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.


Ah, statistics. 10 people get chosen for pat down. All 10 (100%!) complain. TSA: "Only 10 complaints out of the millions who fly...".

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


Reality: Almost every single other poll out there shows the exact opposite. Why is that?

Continued...

Anonymous said...

Continued...

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.


Yeah, they can 'opt-out'... if they want to put up with the attitude the screeners give them. Yelling "Opt out! We've got an Opt-out!!", etc. Yeah, they can 'opt-out', if they want the TSA reaching between their legs and touching their 'resistance'.

Myth: TSA Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) images can be stored on the AIT machines located in our airports.
Fact: Completely false ...Administrator Pistole also addressed this on Hardball. (At 6:03 on the clip)


On the contrary- he admits they have the ability to do those things, but that that ability is "rendered inoperable", which could mean anything from 'hardware pieces removed' to 'password required'. It has been said before- just because a feature is disabled doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Stop lying, TSA!

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.


Are officers also prohibited from:
-making fun of anothers genital size?
-beating up another officer who makes fun of your genital size?
-pretending to find drugs in a passengers bags?
etc, etc, etc?

Face it, people do stuff that they are 'prohibited' from doing all the time. That's the whole point of the TSA- to stop people from bringing prohibited items onto planes. Yet you seem to think a mere rule will stop your employees from sneaking in a camera and taking a few pix of big-breasted women to show around to their friends.

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.


True- many of the things she claimed happened in the hour-long incident didn't happen on the 20 minutes or so of footage you released. As for what happened off camera, and for the other 40 minutes.... Well, you'll forgive us if we don't beleive you.

A Davis said...

Statistics are not on your side. If the number of people complaining is low, then you should also take into account the the chances of a person being killed in a terrorist attack on a plane is extremely low and that the number of terrorists stopped by TSA procedures is very low as well.

And how, exactly, are TSA officials prevented from taking cellular phones into the screening room? Are they patted down and screened like the passengers before they enter the room? It's going to take more than the word of an anonymous blogger working for the agency that has to defend itself left and right for us to feel secure in the fact that the images of our naked bodies aren't being stored for later enhancement and titillation.

Additionally, any pat down where my genitals are touched IS invasive. It is not for anyone but me to decide what constitutes as invasive on my person.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll ask the simple question, to which I know I will never receive an answer: "Bob -- How can you possibly post this stuff and go home and look at yourself in the mirror?"

You seem to be a guy with some public affairs experience. There are dozens of federal agencies out there who can use your experience.

Anonymous said...

Lets talk privacy. Are the communications/conversations between the TSA person looking at the scans and the TSA person with the person being scanned monitored?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen this animated video? http://securitydebrief.adfero.com/2010/11/18/tsa-screening-procedures-protecting-your-junk/

Pretty hilarious!!

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. 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.


Are you suggesting that:
a) Pat-down performed by same-gender officer is not invasive by definition. Anyone who finds it invasive has some mental condition.
b) One can opt-out from invasive pad-downs by choosing private screening.

Seems like your FACT is either a non-answer to the original question or just being dishonest.

Anonymous said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101118/ap_on_he_me/us_med_airport_scanners_safety;_ylt=ApOS01fVr_Kgo9XewOdCQWus0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTFkYWF1NnRiBHBvcwMxNDEEc2VjA2FjY29yZGlvbl9oZWFsdGgEc2xrA2dvdnRzYXlzZnVsbA--

"The thing that worries me the most is what happens if the thing fails in some way" and emits too much radiation, said Arizona State University physics professor Peter Rez.

The risk for failure is higher than in a medical setting because the machines are operated much more often, and by TSA workers without medical training, Rez said.

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.

"Though the scanner images do not reveal what's beneath the skin's surface, the radiation they emit could potentially affect breast tissue, sex organs and eyes, said David Agard, an imaging expert at the University of California at San Francisco."

Anonymous said...

Do you ever get sick of posting so much garbage?

Anonymous said...

Myth or Fact: The TSA is wasting taxpayer money persecuting John Tyner.

Anonymous said...

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

But you forgot to add another situation that you are forcing passengers into.

If you have a total joint (like me) and are selected as a random passenger,.you are NOT given the choice what scan to have. If TSA wants you to have the metal scan, that is what you are forced to have. It doesn't matter if you want the metal scan. If you are randomly selected, they CHOOSE for you whether or not you can HAVE the body scan. This happened to me. TSA refused to let me have the body scan and forced me out of the line I was in and put me in the metal scanning line.

Having a joint replacement, if you are one of those selected to go through the metal scan you WILL set off the alarm and you will be FORCED to have the pat down. Happened to me.

In television and in print, I keep hearing the TSA tell the public that we have a CHOICE. No we don't. For some reason, you keep leaving off the part that you can be randomly selected and it is TSA's choice what scan you can have.

Travelsonic said...

If the outcry is so small, then why is the coverage by CNN, Fox News, etc higher than I've EVER seen it before, and the amount of opposition on the comments section, radio show call ins, etc, so high?

And why do you really think one non-scientific poll proves your point? Research methods/skills you learn in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL tell you that this is sloppy research/data gathering at best.


" The machines used by TSA at our airports cannot store, print or transmit images. "

Have you ever, by any chance taken a basic Computer Architecture class, and learned about how a computer handles/stores/manipulates/transfers data? A computer must be able to transmit/store data - not just to get the images from the machine to the computer, not only to actually be able to render the data in a view-able form, but (and I AM guessing on this last one) saving them in case something DOES happen when you DO need it.

Anonymous said...

You're using "myth" in exactly the correct sense. Myths are truth-carrying stories, thus what you're really saying is that the passengers who have serious, legitimate concerns about this invasive, humiliating policy are telling the truth. Thanks for telling us what we already know.

Ms. Napolitano, please listen to reason and stop this nonsense. It's all security theater. You're not doing anything to improve security by keeping these policies in place.

Jonathan Byrne said...

Bob, you completely ignored the serious complaints and only addressed trivial or non-existent issues.

Why is TSA so secretive about the pat-down procedures? Why do they refuse to disclose how far their officers are authorized to take an extended screening? Why is their primary spokesperson only seen as an anonymous blogger?

This is not behavior that establishes trust. This makes people suspicious and deepens their concerns about abuse of power.

Anonymous said...

The "fact" from a CBS "poll" you refer to that Americans support body scanners is in fact a myth. How about the Reuters poll that shows 96% of travelers will adjust their travel plans due to the new invasive searches?

Anonymous said...

Spin, spin, spin, spin. Do you even read the comments? Apparently anyone who questions the safety and efficacy of the invasive and upsetting TSA procedures is a moron that has a defective mind.

You people should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

While the TSA has never caught a terrorist through their searches, they're doing everything they can to make sure that federal officers are subjecting as many citizens as possible to unwarranted searches and seizures.

Preston said...

I hope that in the light of your un reasonable searches and violations of 4th amendment rights that you are kicked out of every airport in this country. If not I think the airlines will soon have something to say,but I think it will be the first. Airports are already considering it with more to follow

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. My only two options for my 12 almost 13 year old daughter when we travel in December are either allow someone to view and take naked photographs (child porn) of her or allow someone to run their hands all over her body (child molestation) both of which are illegal by the way and I don't think the laws have exemption for TSA workers or anyone for that matter. I am sorry but this just isn't right!

Anonymous said...

Interesting article on the safety concerns over this radiation. Apparently minuscule degrees of risk can become quite important when usage is wide enough.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/business/19security.html?src=twt&twt=nytimes

"In the three weeks since the Transportation Security Administration began more aggressive pat-downs of passengers at airport security checkpoints, traveler complaints have poured in."

Anonymous said...

Oh, Bob. You must be a glutton for punishment.

In your "myth" about the pat-down being invasive you describe when a pat-down might happen and what it could involve, but you never actually refute the "myth" that the pat-down is invasive.

You tried your best, though, so I'll give you an A for effort.

Anonymous said...

Are TSA Airport Screeners Allowed to Wear Radiation Badges?

If not, is this not a major OH&S issue?

Anonymous said...

"Children 12 years old and under who require extra screening will receive a modified pat down."

Do you even begin to realize how this sounds? roll those words around your mouth again: 12 year old "who require extra screening" ... are you insane???

Sam said...

Thank you Bob.

A lot of the news is focusing on the more 'advanced' portion of the pat down... The portion that involves touching all parts with the open hand.

What I don't seem to see is how our agency is letting our passengers know that even if they get a pat-down, the current pat down is really only a bit more involved that what a passenger who had a pacemaker / defibrillator used to get.

Anonymous said...

Your security procedures are so bad that you fully scan people who have metal in them or attached to them (disabled, elderly) and you only sometimes subject people who don't have metal to screening for explosives.

And then you leave 4/5ths of air cargo unscreened!

That you so thoroughly inspect me and lots of old ladies in wheelchairs because we have artificial limbs, hips etc...you check us for bombs...strange that you check so few for them if they aren't disabled.

And now with the xray body scanners, you are asking us to be subject to xrays EVERY TIME we fly while people without disability will only be asked every once in a while.

There should be EEO lawsuits against you.

Perhaps the worst thing of all is that you put some of us through this but with the gaping holes in security --you aren't even making us safer.

Deal with cargo, deal with explosives for the whole population --not just people who set off metal detectors. This is so unbelievably stupid.

But I have little hope that you will fix this. While leaving other holes unsecured, you will order your staff to touch the private parts of 15 year olds.

And that's not about safety.

Anonymous said...

Israel does not use xray machines or touch anyone. They have not had a breach of security in over eight years. However...

All Israeli airport personel have a college degree. US?

All Israeli airport personel speak at least 2 languages. US?

All Israeli airport personel must be in top physical condition with training in Krav Maga. Does the US have ANY standards in this area? (I have seen TSA agents well over 250 lbs).

All Israeli airport personel are investigated on a regular basis. US?

In addition, fake bombs are put through the Israeli system to root out laziness. If an Israeli security agent misses--he is fired. On the spot. No mercy, no appeal. US?

Part of the reason Americans do not trust the TSA is because of the quality of employees. When someone is speaking slang, it is very hard to respect that person as a professional.

I realize that this blog is intended to put a "happy face" on the TSA. But the American people are not buying it. I predict layoffs in the near future.

Anonymous said...

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20022541-281.html

A University of California at San Francisco professor of biochemistry told CNET today that the Obama administration's claim that full-body scanners pose no health risks to air travelers is in "error."

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Just stop with the propaganda. Americans see these new policies for what they are, exercises in eroding the rights of free men and women. I don't even get mad at your justifications anymore. You sound pathetic. Time to save face and actually do some good for the people YOU SERVE. Just stop.

Denise said...

Can you provide us with the details of the modified pat-down process for kids 12 and under? Has it been universally implemented? How and where will they be touched? I'd really like to be clear on this before getting to the airport - thanks!

SEB said...

Blogger Bob, you say: "Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down."

Ok, wait. I saw pat downs with my own eyes at an airport gate, pre-boarding. Are you saying that these TSA employees were acting wrongfully and that I should complain? Or are you saying that these aren't enhanced pat downs?

Also, I would like to point out that the reason I don't complain about things like this is that I'm afraid that I'll be put on the no-fly list (or at least extra-screening list) if I do. At least I for one have not found a way to submit complaints anonymously. This may well be a reason that you don't see many complaints.

John said...

Myth: The TSA makes air travel safer.

Fact: There is not a single incident in which the TSA has stopped a terrorist threat.

Jade 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."

That isn't true. I didn't even get a chance to walk through the metal detector or given the option of AIT before I was picked out of the line and taken to a pat-down without being told that I was being taken for a pat-down.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that the new TSA pat down involves feeling the traveler's genitals? If so, wouldn't that be a clear violation of the 4th amendment?

Anonymous said...

Lies.

Anonymous said...

Is it true TSA employees who work with AIT machines are NOT allowed to wear radiation badges like health care workers are required?

Shouldn't TSA workers be required to wear such radiation badges when working with such radiation?

Anonymous said...

spin harder. you might solve the energy crisis.
i think its a bit late. the backlash is in full effect.

Anonymous said...

"Pistole emphasized that children under the age of 12 are excused from the enhanced pat-downs". Blogger Blog.... What does a 'modified' pat down for children under 12 entail? Because quite seriously I do not want any stranger TSA government agent or not touching my 3 year old if and when I decide to fly again. Thank you for your time.
Dawn

TSO Tom said...

Okay Bob, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here: Tell us why we should believe anything you've just stated? :-)

jay said...

I'm glad to see that you have a place for comments. The old style would have been take it or leave it.

Unmoderated commentary would be more democratic, but I doubt if I'd open that up were I in your shoes.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't TSA screeners wearing radiation badges? Almost anyone within the healthcare profession wears them when in environments that could have x-ray exposure.

Michael Z. Williamson said...

This site is a parody, right?

Mike said...

Myth: TSA Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) images can be stored on the AIT machines located in our airports.


Doesn't the RFP require that the machines be able to store the images? Further isn't the only thing keeping the AIT from storing the images at airport a username and password with sufficient rights?

G. M. Atwater said...

So, what about smaller airports such as Reno, Nevada, who do not possess AIT technology? There's an article about it in today's local paper expressing travelers' concerns, because the only screening available at RNO is the old metal detectors and wands - and the pat-down.

So, do these smaller airports continue to get by with the old methods? Or are the pat-downs mandatory in places like RNO, whee the AIT technology is not in place?

Anonymous said...

A client of Chertoff's firm is Rapiscan Systems, one of the makers of the scanners. Chertoff lobbied for the full-body scanners. Myth?

penguirl said...

Blogger Bob wrote: " Pat-downs are performed by same-gender officers…"

So tell me this, who does the pat downs on pre-operative transsexuals? Post-operative transsexuals? What about intersexed persons who were born with indeterminate genitalia?

Anonymous said...

You are LYING BOB. I know a women who was sexual assaulted by a male TSA agent just the other day. Police arrived at the scene and she is pressing charges. They told her no Female TSA staff was available. Caught on video too!

Anonymous said...

Are TSA screeners permitted to wear radiation exposure badges?

Bob said...

Some of these facts are provably false. Some of these facts are dubious.

For example: you will be patted down if you try to bring "family liquids" through security. I was traveling with my toddler and infant daughters last week and was singled out for a pat-down at LAX exclusively because we had two juice boxes for them. You are permitted to carry juice for toddlers that exceeds 3 ozs (per TSA website) and we would have been allowed to carry on the juice had I submitted to the pat-down. I declined, the juice was tossed.
So, pat-down fact #2 is false.

Also, the John Hopkins University applied physics lab offered mixed opinions about the safety of AIT devices. Dr. Michael Love at Johns Hopkins said, "They say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays ... No exposure to X-ray is considered beneficial. We know X-rays are hazardous but we have a situation at the airports where people are so eager to fly that they will risk their lives in this manner."
So AIT fact #1 is dubious and dishonest.

It is exceedingly difficult to believe or trust the TSA as continues to deal in half-truths and falsehoods about the basic facts. There is way too much PR at work here and way too little honesty and public service.

Fire away with the snark, Blogger Bob.

Big Sis said...

Is the TSA aware of the 4th Amendment? What about the Right to Travel?

If electronic strip searches and sexual assaults are not unreasonable searches under the 4th amendment, what exactly would be unreasonable? Body cavity searches???? Maybe we should just fly nude.

Why not deploy more explosive-sniffing dogs??? Why not deploy air chamber machines that sniff for explosive residues? That would be much less intrusive.

Anonymous said...

You wrote, "The number of complaints is extremely low."

Low is a totally subjective term.

Why not tell us how many complaints you've actually received? Ideally in both absolute terms and percentages.

You tell me the number; let me decide if it's low.

Anonymous said...

TSA Agents will be charged with sexual assault for inappropriate groping

http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/California+prosecutors+they+charge+agents+downs+inappropriate/3849206/story.html

Anonymous said...

Myth: TSA has never hired anybody who ended up becoming a convicted sex offender.
Fact: I can find at least ten former-employees who are now convicted sex offenders using my limited Google resources.

Anonymous said...

How is it true that enhanced pat downs are only performed on those who refuse the nude scanner or set off an alarm?

Look what happened to this woman: http://www.news10.net/news/article.aspx?storyid=106898&provider=top&catid=188

Stop lying TSA

Robert 99515 said...

The fact that these measures do not provide any improvement in security has been well documented by independent security experts. The fact is that the TSA has not addressed many of the privacy and security concerns, and has apparently has no intention of doing so. This is a bridge too far...

Anonymous said...

You lot aren't getting a cent from me until these invasive procedures are gotten rid of. You do realize they're in violation of the Fourth Amendment, do you not?

Anonymous said...

Are you trained to lie or does it come naturally?

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate the blog and the detail in this blog post - it seems like the flying public is being talked down to.

Even if only 20% of the public have issues with the new process that is still a sizable number. If 2 million people go through TSA a day, that means that 400,000 'customers' of TSA aren't happy.

Maybe these 400,000 have it wrong - and maybe the new process is safe and effective. Maybe its not - but I think its only polite and responsible to give credence to the fears of many citizens. Don't use words like "Myths" and "Facts" that imply there is a right and wrong answer. Instead listen and try to understand people's fears.

thanks!

Karl said...

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

What about random gate screenings?

Anonymous said...

TSA screeners have been caught stealing personal items from airline passengers at the check points...what the do you do about it or do you bury it in your claims form and by the way you can't attach photo or video files to their claims form...

Blogger Bob said...

Hey all. Before anyone gets any ideas that the blog is closed for comments, it's not.

As you can imagine with all the recent attention at TSA, we've got our hands full here at the blog. That's a good thing though...

West will be on board today to help moderate, so your comments will start appearing soon.

Thanks for your patience! Oh yeah, feel free to read my comment at Reddit addressing their concernes about the moderation of this blog. http://tinyurl.com/28jldr3

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

here's another one for you to read. have a nice day!!

Anonymous said...

Hello!
I have a question and don't know where else I can send it, so I hope posting it as comment is fine.

I'm from Germany and planing to visit the US, as a tourist, for the first time.

Do the rules of the TSA apply to all passengers, from all countries? Do I have to undergo AIT security when I enter the US, or only when I leave, or maybe not at all?

I'm concerned that AIT and the new pat down seems to be in direct violation of Germanys constitution.
So is the only option for me to not visit the US?
I'm not an expert in law, but I think I would have to be treated according to your law, of course, no matter how wrong it appears to be from my perspective. It is your right, and I respect that, to enforce your laws on anyone wanting to visit your country, but that would mean to me to seriously reconsider my plans, as long as these rules are in effect.

This is not meant to be polemic. It really, really is an important question to me.

Regards and greetings from Germany

Anonymous said...

If the radiological machines are entirely safe, then will the TSA assume 100% legal liability for any and all health conditions resulting from its use? Guess what...NO THEY WILL NOT!

They HAD to provide an opt-out provision that is offered to everyone just in order to avoid any legal liability.

So I'll ask again. If they truly are perfectly safe, why not assume full liability? Obviously they don't even believe their own statements.

Marshall's SO said...

Bob, on TS/S a screener wrote last night that there is no longer the 1 quart baggie rule and that any sized plastic bag can be used.

Is that myth or fact?

Anonymous said...

Myth: Body scanners and/or pat downs detect explosives.
Fact: Explosive trace technology detects explosives.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Bob, I bet lying constantly gets exhausting, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Safe is a relative term for the backscatter machines. They actually have a low chance of causing cancer, but it is a real one, and, multiplied by the vast number of people scanned, it is significant. Overall, the chances of dying because of these scanners are about the same as the chances that one of them could catch a terrorist.

Feel safer now?

Anonymous said...

Are TSA screeners permitted to wear radiation exposure badges?

Anonymous said...

Keep the spin going Bob!

Fact is, none of this makes us more than a very very tiny amount safer. Its simply not worth the tradeoff in liberty.

Its already much more likely to get killed driving to the airport than flying so this is a complete waste of time, money and loss of liberty.

This is all about government bloat and being a jobfare program.

Anonymous said...

As you can imagine with all the recent attention at TSA, we've got our hands full here at the blog

Myth: There has been an overwhelming public outcry against AIT

Fact: With all the recent attention at the TSA, they have their hands full.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, it must be pointed out that the CBS poll was taken before the public was generally aware
of the graphic detail produced by the scanning devices. Ask me a week ago and I would have said yes too. The new poll will show a dramatic change.

You can blog all you want, but what we have here is a clear violation of our constitutional protection from unreasonable search and seizure. This is a fact, not an opinion. What we have to decide as a country is whether or not we want to give away this right, as we already have with so many others.

Further, and perhaps more importantly, it is a complete surrender of our basic human dignity, both as passengers and TSA screeners. If you don't think your own employees are offended by this invasive procedure, you have your head in the sand.

The long term effects of repeated exposure to X-ray radiation is well documented. Frequent travelers, Pilots, and airline employees who are subjected to this exposure day after day will be the first to experience the harmful effects. TSA employees standing next to the machines for long periods of time are quite possibly accumulating lower doses that will add up over time. This is my opinion, but one could argue that more study needs to be done on these particular machines. I for one cannot imagine how these scanners produce such a highly detailed image without throwing out
a good dose of radiation.

Hopefully I have posted some relevant comments in a respectful way, but only time will tell if my comments see the light of day on this blog. I prefer to remain anonymous as I travel frequently and I do not want to get on some type of TSA list.

Anonymous said...

Myth: The blog is closed for comments

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

kak said...

Sorry to disappoint you but viewing children naked is still wrong. We will not submit and we will begin protesting the scanners. The only thing these are is an abomination. The Muslim world will see viewing women NAKED an abomination! This will only promote more resistance! Remove the scanners from the airports or we will!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it takes time to compose non-answers answers and have your boss approve them. Who is your boss?

Anonymous said...

You claim backscatter technology has been recently tested, but that's not the only type used by the new scanners, is it?

You also claim the TSA has found "weapons and other dangerous and prohibited items" during pat downs. Why so vague? If I understand correctly, such items would include shampoo.

Links to information about the arrests and prosecution related to these discoveries would go a long way toward supporting the idea that the TSA contributes to society. Because it seems much more likely that you're confiscating items that hypothetically are dangerous (or not easily distinguished from dangerous items). But in fact posed no threat to anyone, ever.

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. 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."
This is a blatant lie! I witnessed travelers being subjected to the "enhanced pat-down" WITHOUT being given the option to go thru the AIT machine, after going thru the metal detector WITHOUT setting it off. This happened on Tuesday, November 9th at Los Angeles International Airport, terminal 7, at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Anonymous said...

Dear Blogger Bob and TSA Officials,

As the mother of a fourteen year old daughter, I strongly object to the new screening policy. I understand that the TSA has put in place a number of precautions that should ease my mind about the AIT screening - but they don't. The fact of the matter is that someone will be viewing images of my daughter's body. Even if they can't see her directly and can't store the images they are still seeing images of my teenager's unclothed body. I find it unacceptable for anyone except her to be seeing her unclothed body. Even her physician gives her more privacy than the AIT allows. The TSA may be able to restrict the capturing of images and may be able to keep the security officer viewing the images from seeing my daughter in-person. But the TSA cannot possibly control how seeing those images of my daughter makes that particular viewing officer *feel* about seeing my daughter's body.

I understand that if we refuse the AIT screening then my daughter will then be subjected to a full pat down from a female security officer. I also strongly object to any pat down that involves my daughter being touched in places that nobody except her should touch. She is fourteen years old!! Again, even her physician allows her more privacy, dignity and respect than the new TSA policy.

It will be real shame if the new TSA policy restricts our flying. We have traveled to Peru to volunteer in orphanges, we were planning a service trip to Guatemala, and we have visit Germany annually so that we can stay in touch with family and friends. Those things are now impossible for us unless we subject our daughter to invasions of her privacy. My daughter's grandparents and cousins all live half-way around the country. It will be very sad if we see them less because the cost of air travel has gone up exponentially and we now have to drive 26 hours both ways in order to see them. It will also be regretful if United Airlines and American Airlines lose the revenue we contribute through our travels.

I understand that TSA is tasked with the difficult job of making air travel safe. But this new screening policy goes too far. My husband, a regular business traveler, doesn't mind the AIT screening for himself. I personally would refuse the AIT for privacy reasons and though I am VERY uncomfortable with the pat down I am undecided about whether or not that is enough of a barrier to prevent me from traveling. But for my teenage daughter - that is absolutely unacceptable!!! I strongly urge the TSA to reconsider this new screening policy. Perhaps TSA officials should look at this from a mother's point of view.

Respectfully,
Virginia Mom

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,

Can we get a single true statement out of you? Every spindoctor 'fact' you've put out here has been discredited.

If this is the quality of conduct we can expect out of the TSA, I am less and less surprised that it's been passengers and plane crews who've foiled the latest attempted attacks.

Anonymous said...

Does the TSA prohibit it's agents from wearing radiation badges?

benoit 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."

Please prove that she was never handcuffed to the chair. The evidence you showed was incomplete and therefore it is impossible for everyone even you to state that she was never handcuffed.

Fr. Innokenty said...

Everytime I am flying and wearing clergy attire I am patted down. Without setting off the alarm of a metal detector that I just walked thru and without having declined the AIT. I am flying frequently - so this "fact" that pat downs are only done if an alarm is set off or the AIT is being declined is a flat out lie!

Anonymous said...

Bob you are quite right about the increased dosages of radiation when flying at high altitude. Why then, would you want to expose a traveler or even more importantly a flight crew member for whom radiation is a job hazard to a higher dose of radiation? Radiation adds up over time and while the scanner is unlikely to be an ACUTE radiation risk (IE one scan will not give you cancer) total lifetime radiation dosage is an ADDITIVE risk. Even very small amounts of ionizing radiation count for anyone who has an elevated lifetime radiation exposure like pilots. These are X-rays your dosing people with bob, and X-rays are only a portion of the normal background radiation you mentioned, the most harmful part, unlike the Alpha particles that bounce off anything or Muons that hardly interact with anything. Your body scanners work because your using radiation that passes through clothing and interacts with our bodies.

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