TSA Defending Its Groin Grabbing Or Naked Image Security Techniques
from the so-next-we'll-have-someone-blow-up-the-airport dept
"What he's done, he’s violated federal law and federal regulations which states once you enter and start the process you have to complete it."On its own blog, the TSA's pseudonymous blogger "Bob" has also defended both the procedure and the potential for a fine for backing out of the search:
AIT is optional for everybody. However, if you decide to opt-out of AIT screening, you must undergo alternative screening, which will include a pat-down. As I've said before, there is nothing punitive about it- it just makes good security sense. Obviously a passenger can't completely opt out of all screening if they opt out of AIT. That would not make good security sense. AIT is deployed to help us find non-metallic threats, so if you'e selected for AIT and choose to opt-out, we still need to check you for non-metallic threats. That's why a pat-down is required. If you refuse both, you can't fly. It is important that all screening procedures are completed. This ensures that terrorists do not have an opportunity to probe TSA's procedures by electing not to fly just as TSA's screening procedures are on the verge of detecting that the passenger is a terrorist.This sounds logical for about half a second until you actually think about it (apparently the TSA is figuring you won't). That's because it's still letting most people in airports just go through the metal scanner. So, claiming that "all screening procedures" must be completed for all passengers is simply false. For the vast majority of passengers, they just go through the metal detector and are never screened for non-metallic items, contrary to the TSA's claims here.
As for that final claim, it's almost as if the TSA doesn't even think through the logical next steps. Let's say you're a terrorist with explosive underwear (the threat we're told this is designed to stop). You get selected for the backscatter naked scan, and refuse. Then you know you're about to be searched and you can't back out. What do you do? Your options are to get caught and arrested... or to blow the airport sky high right there with all the people around you. Which do you think is more likely?
The latest is that this debate has moved onto Congress, with Senator Lieberman asking a bunch of softball questions to TSA administrator John Pistole, where Pistole insists these techniques will actually help terrorist threats:
What I am concerned about, and I know many share this concern, is if we have an individuals who opts out of the advanced imaging technology--let's say Abdulmutallab had done that, if that had been the case in (inaudible). If he had opted out, thinking that, well, I'm not going to receive a thorough pat-down, so I can get on that flight, and if that had been successful on Christmas Day, I think we might be having a different dialogue here this afternoon and in the public.Ok, let's just be clear here. Abdulmutallab -- last year's underwear bomber -- was successful in getting on the plane. What stopped him was not TSA security, but passengers on the plane seeing what he was up to. That brings up a separate question. Has the TSA ever caught anyone with a bomb with these procedures, ever? Security theater doesn't make people safer.