Dear TSA, Pat me, scan me, swab me; just get me there safe

These was been a tremendous level of whining and hysteria in the media about are new TSA security checks. Travelers and some media personnel seem to be having heartburn with two things the TSA has recently introduced to improve security for us, the travelers – namely:

  • Full body scanners
  • Enhanced pat downs

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There is one and only one reason for these measures – our safety. I don’t know about you but I fly a lot and want to be safe on my flights. Unfortunately the terrorists have other intentions. As the undie-bomber proved, air travel is the soft under belly of our security cover. While it may be easier to place a bomb in a UPS package, the psychological and economic impact of a terror strike on a passenger plane will be extremely disruptive. Hence, the terrorists interest in breaching our security.

So, if I have to choose between subjecting me and my family to extensive security, including full body scans and pat downs, and flying safely, I am all for safety.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not for giving the TSA or any other government agency a free pass on how they treat passengers. It has to be within reason and with oversight. They are humans and we are giving them tremendous power and subjecting our privacy to their discretion. There will be those who will misuse it. But let’s not vilify the entire TSA and their hard work to keep us safe because of the potential of some pervert ogling at an x-ray quality image. Let them keep us all safe.

My final tip to people not wanting to be groped, go thru the scattergram machine. No one cares how you look thru your clothes. Especially if you have had a head start on overeating the Thanksgiving food. And don’t have anything on you that will trigger an alarm. In all the years I have been traveling, I have never tripped a metal detector alarm. And yes, I have never been patted down, before or since the enhanced patting.

Fly safe and thank the TSA agents for doing their jobs. Despite what all the noise and pushback may make it sound like, what they do is their job…

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  1. It’s especially sad to see things like this coming from an experienced flyer. The next logical step after this is cavity searches. Add “probe me” to your list.

  2. The latest TSA antics won’t prevent a determined terrorist, they just harass & delay legitimate travelers. The undie bomber wouldn’t even have to pass TSA security

  3. Carl, unfortunately there is no way to tell the legitimate travelers from the terrorists. We could start profiling and questioning every passenger like the Israelis. Is that a better option? Even if it was an option, it is not scalable to the air traffic in the US.

    I am not a TSA-apologist. I just want to be safe while flying.

  4. “Anything for safety.” Give me a break.

    The only thing you got right is the comment that there is nothing that can prevent dedicated terrorists. So why should the rest of us face gross violations of our rights, strip-searches and groping simply to board an aircraft. After all, that isn’t going to catch the people who are actually causing the problems.

    The TSA is an abomination and has proven at every turn that all they know how to do is screw up. Choosing to just trust their discretion with our privacy when they’ve demonstrated that they will almost certainly screw it up is simply foolish.

    It is time to grow a spine and demonstrate that we will not cower in fear. They psychological impact of the terrorists is being felt now as people around the world sacrifice their rights and freedoms rather than defend them.

    Such a shame.

  5. Wandering Aramean, You seem to be well traveled. Have you ever been to Israel? How do you think they have kept their air travel safe thru some of the worst terrorism ever faced by any country or India for that matter? There are layers of security, everyone gets patted – at least twice, everyone gets questioned and there is extreme profiling. Would you prefer that? Or is your alternative? A free for all – let’s have no security and take our chances with the terrorists? Sorry, I would take the bus than take a chance.

    Would I prefer a less intrusive TSA – sure. Who would not? But what are the alternatives? Everyone who is complaining is not providing an alternative.

  6. Funny you mention taking a bus. You stand a MUCH higher chance of being injured or dying on the bus than you do in an airplane.

    I’m not in favor of racial profiling. I’m not in favor of unnecessary and overly invasive searches. I am not in favor of being forced to show my “papers” every time I choose to fly domestically in the USA.

    I am in favor of a rational security apparatus where real threats are screened. The TSA is hell-bent on a reactionary approach to security, not a proactive one. They routinely demonstrate incompetence and inability to consistently follow their SOP or to control their employees. If they refuse to hold their own employees accountable for gross violations of civil rights then we have no choice but to hold the organization in contempt.

    I am in favor of actually screening the cargo – those UPS packages you cited above could have easily been sent as cargo on commercial flights with little or no screening – to close the gaping hole in the current security protocol that no one is willing to discuss in public.

    I am in favor of enforcing the rules uniformly across everyone who enters the “secure” part of an airport. When a gate agent or baggage handler can walk in with ZERO screening by anyone and while carrying any manner of prohibited items there is another gaping hole in the security apparatus.

    The TSA answers to no one. They operate with near impunity and regularly ignore trite bits of law, like the US Constitution. They are more the problem than the “terrorists” that may or may not actually be out there.

    True security comes from actually having a real target and securing against it. The TSA has chosen the shotgun approach in a single quadrant rather than a coherent approach. Believing that the TSA has the answers for our security needs requires wearing blinders and burying your head in the sand.

    Oh, and while I love the “just do it like Israel does” argument there are so many differences between both the threats and the infrastructure being secured that anyone who claims it would work in the USA simply isn’t looking at the actual requirements of such an effort.

  7. “My final tip to people not wanting to be groped, go thru the scattergram machine. No one cares how you look thru your clothes.”

    Enjoy your pre-flight coffee and dose of radiation.

  8. TSA tactics are nothing more than reactionary policy making. What happens when the next threat Is a suppository bomb? Don’t mislead people into thinking scattergrams are capable of preventing that as well.

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