In recent weeks there has been growing vocal anger regarding the Transportation Security Administration's procedures relating to pat downs and the use of full-body scanners. But amid all of the noise, what are the real complaints, and how much of the outrage is simply that - a growing chorus of bandwagon anger.
There certainly has been no shortage of horror stories - a shirtless boy receiving a pat down,¬† a flier had to show her prosthetic breast, a bladder cancer survivor whose urine bag broke during a pat down - and countless other stories of uncomfortable encounters with the TSA.
The coverage of the isolated incidents being reported raises the question of whether they paint a picture that isn't the reality for the vast majority of travelers.
The concerns: Fact vs. fiction
Polls have found a majority of Americans support the scans,¬†though they aren't as supportive of the TSA pat downs.
A CBS News survey showed 81 percent of people polled approve of the use of full-body X-ray machines. A Washington Post/ABC News survey found 64 percent of people supported the use of the machines, while 32 percent were opposed. When it comes to the use of pat downs, respondents¬†were practically split down the middle.¬† However, 37 percent of all Americans said they "feel strongly" that the pat downs are overly intrusive. Still 70 percent of Americans questioned in the Washington Post/ABC News poll said the new TSA rules made no difference in their decision to fly.
Our partners at Time.com, who are taking a look at the¬†TSA procedures, report that the head of the agency John Pistole has said the outcry has partially been fueled by media-fed misperceptions.¬†¬†He said that only a ‚Äúvery small percentage‚ÄĚ of the 34 million Americans who have flown since the new procedures took effect have been subjected to the pat downs.
Politico: Go ahead, touch my junk
The TSA even released a list of "myths and facts" about pat downs and other security measures.
No doubt passengers still have some concerns. What about their 4th amendment rights? Are the scanners safe? Do they even work? Can they actually stop terror attacks? How far is too far when it comes to a pat down? What are the medical implications of the procedures? And who exactly should be getting the pat downs?
For some, it‚Äôs a question of¬† pat down or blown up?
BusinessInsider.com: Sorry, Folks, We'd Rather Be Body-Scanned Than Blown Up In Mid-Air
"It wouldn't be a total oversimplification to boil the issue down to a single question: would you rather get screened or blown up," Time.com's Sora Song wrote. "The new TSA whole-body scanning machines are designed to catch potentially deadly threats ‚ÄĒ like, say, explosive chemicals in underwear ‚ÄĒ that metal detectors miss. The end result should be a safer flight. It's a no-brainer."
For all those complaining about the security check hassles, CNN contributor Bob Greene asks, would you rather have no security at all?
"Would you feel safe? Would you want to live in such a country?," he adds.
"You did, if you were a citizen of the United States before the 1970s."
Why all the hoopla?
The firestorm has only grown as close-up photos of the pat downs grace newspaper and website front pages, while the mockery has only grown on late night talk shows, "Saturday Night Live" and YouTube.
And let's not leave the press out of it. Howard Kurtz, writing for the Daily Beast, agrees in part with Pistole that the media are certainly part of the blame.
"From network newscasts to local TV, from newspaper front pages to a blur of web headlines, it seems untold numbers of women are having their breasts touched and untold numbers of men are feeling the intrusive hands of government guards near their packages," he writes. "Actually, that‚Äôs far from true."
And when it comes down to it, Kurtz said, part of the media attention is due to how easy the story is to tell - and that it has all the makings of the perfect press story.
"The narrative combines a number of elements: Hassled airline passengers (who can‚Äôt relate to that?); terrorism concerns; invasion of privacy, and a hint of sexual naughtiness," he said. "But the key here is that every local news outlet in America could send a reporter or a crew to a nearby airport and grab a piece of the action."
Then there's the whole "National Opt-Out Day" issue. It could either, as some organizations suggest, delay flights or completely fizzle out. As Time.com points out, it might just turn into a "More Like Opting Out Of Making Your Flight" scenario?
Airports have been doing pat downs since 911 and full body scans have been around 5 years. No one complain backed then. Why are they complaning now ? Its a little to late after 10 years of sticking your head in the ground.
You apparently don't fly much if you think there have been no changes in 5-10 years. Go fly, then post.
The woman being interviewed gave the answer..
Are airports that do not have full-body scanners less safe?
Therefore the converse must also be true: Are airports with full-body scanners more safe? No.
According to all medical/scientific sources, there is no definition of safe levels of ionized radiation (this includes backscatter and short-radio-wave scanners). I will never voluntarily walk in to a scanner for that reason.
Opt out everytime. More than a billion dollars of our ticket fees are being spent on this boondoggle for absolutely no increase in safety (see answer from former TSA official in interview posted). Enough is enough.
Yeah! I caught that too.
"Are airports without the scanners less safe?"
What TSA rule says the terrorist must wait to set the bomb off on the Other side of the scanner and pat-down line? They can always blow eveyone one up in the security line waiting to feel safe.
This is just more erosion of freedom under the Obama regime. If Obama believes that subjecting millions of law-abiding citizens to unreasonable searches is really necessary (and even effective), he should get out front and take ownership and responsibility for the behaviors of the TSA instead of hiding behind his bureaucrats and letting them take the heat for more misguided policies from his administration.
We have these machines and pat downs because of growing terrorist threats thanks to the Muslims. AND THEY ARE not supposed to go into these machines due to religious reasons!!!!!!! Give me a break. And the bomb sniffing dogs are unclean to the Muslims. This country is going to pot and the Muslims are definitely taking over. I am really starting to not like Muslims at all.
Frankly, this is an invasion of privacy that goes beyond anything we've had in the past. I won't be flying this weekend, and I support all those 'troublemakers' creating problems at the security gates over the next few days. In fact, if I could, I would make an effort to get screened so I could bring things to a halt. Sure, you'll be late to your binge eating episode, but you're probably late every year because you put this kind of travel off to the last minute. Wake up folks, this isn't the US we were born in, it's some superficial remnant of it.
It's one giant dog and pony show, not to mention a HUGE expensive gov't jobs program. Have we ALL forgotten that 9/11 was not done by explosives hidden anywhere but by islamic extremist individuals? Even last year's Panty Bomber would not have been caught by any of this because he initially boarded a plane outside the US. His arrving in the US was an intelligence failure, not something we missed on final screening. We are all having our privacy rights eroded, and for what? It's all "straw man" logical fallacies. Those of you who think there is "no problem" with all of this, what do you suggest when someone is found to have something in a body cavity? We will only get any of this right once we have a tight cargo security net and once we all get over the "horrors" of profiling. We know who wants to blow up planes, trains and automobiles and it's not little Johnny or Aunt Irma.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
There are exceptions to that.....CBP does not need that authority at a Port of Entry. What I am saying is everything can change. We should be willing to change if it will save lives.
This is not the govt. and this is a commercial airline, that has the upper hand in situations like that.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." – fourth amendment. If we choose to ignore it, this country is dead. If we choose to ignore it, we flirt with civil war. If we choose to ignore it, I no longer will support this government in any way shape or form and consider it tyranny. "Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God." Benjamin Franklin.
First link you make no sense. The Government is responsible for airline safety. The airlines does not want that responsibility. Please point out an airline that does?
I have got to believe the authoriies have some pretty hard evidence of a pending terrorist plot, otherwise TSA would not be going to such extreams screening passengers. Also, in the past the airlines would complain if their customers were inconvenienced too much by TSA. This is not the case today; none of the airlines have spoken against TSA's actions, which again leads one to believe that there is something going on the getneral public does not know about. If I were travelling over this holiday weekend, i would be rather safe than sorry.
Its an option to fly. You people crack me up becuse your the first to complain and the first to sue when something happens. 4th ammendment rights. Give me a break. Quit whining. You dont like it dont fly. Flying is not a right, its a privelage. Reasonable means when thee is rason, obviously we have threats and you worry about being scanned and safe on a flight. Got a better idea whiner.
@Matrix: Clearly, you're one of those "my way or the highway types." Guess what, pal? Everyone has the right to a viewpoint. I believe yours is ignorant and nearsighted. But then again, that's just my opinion. The point is, this entire process has made us into some bizarre police state where grandmas are being frisked. Kiss your freedom away.
Unfortunately, Matrix, it is you who are the whiner.
"Whaaa! Give me safety! I'll give up my freedom! Keep me safe!"
Priviledge? Yes. You are right. Flying is no more a right than is driving. But I suspect you would be very unhappy if a Police Officer pulled you over without probable cause and began to search your person and effects.
WIth respect, people need to quit complaining. By no means do I intend to reveal any horrifying images, but if a man is threatening to destroy the plane, you won't care about a 10 second pat-down.
Thus far the two guys who have tried it have either failed to light their shoes or scorched their own genitals.
Go ahead and give up your Fourth Amendment rights (what little the Supreme Court has left you) so you can imagine yourself to be safer.
As far as I'm concerned, I think we should expend our effort proactively rather than go to absurd measures to "thwart" yesterday's threat.
outrage....until the next plane blows up in the sky. Or whatever.
On average, 500,000 Americans die from cancer each year, about 40,000 die in automobile accidents, about 100 are killed by deer, and about 70 are killed by terrorists.
There are better ways to screen out terrorists than burning the bill of rights, but I've got to be fitted for my protective anti-deer armor before anything else.
However, the process of pat downs, the fact that Chernoff and George Soros have each had SUBSTANTIAL financial interests in these screening machines, and the fact that Israel a country for whom the threat is even more real than the US has never even considered these machines leaves me feeling nothing less than cynical.
THIS IS WRONG. PERIOD.
As Benjamin Franklin said – "He who is willing to give up a few liberties for the sake of safety, deserves neither – Liberty, nor Safety."
Keep the torch alive my John Hall, and my fellow brethren.
@linkpast – wrong. This a department of Federal Government (Transportation Safety Administration), so the 4th amendment DOES apply. Airlines used to run security screenings prior to and for some time after 9/11, but the party of "small government" decided to federalize the whole operation, hence the TSA.
@MarkE Obviously we need to exterminate all of the countries deer. It's the only way to ensure our nation's safety.
I have the solution, create 2 different flights. Sort of like smoking & non-smoking. One flight for those that prefer the extra measure of security and one for those that refuse the scans & pat downs & would prefer to have their rights & private areas unviolated. Problem solved. I will be happily boarding the flight that holds the people who went through the stricter security.
I will board the plane that is NOT carrying the cowards who are willing to give the terrorists just what they want. The plane that carries the Americans who look evil in the eye and say "You will not drive me to my knees in fear or cause me to allow my cherished freedoms to be taken away."
I prefer to fly with Patriots, not frightened bunnies.
Does it really matter that most Americans approve of scans? Wrong is wrong! Most Colonials were British loyalists at the time of the American revolution. They spit on the rebels. It has always been the minority that has upheld the fight for freedom. The same thing is happening now. You have the real Americans that are willing to take the high road and the sheep that just...well, do what there told.
I believe that to secure flights it is ENTIRELY REASONABLE to be serched. I think it is UNREASONABLE to allow the possiblity of bombings made more easily. The major reason that there has NOT been a US to US bombing is the ever present and ever more vigorus security checks here. Thats why the US got crap from England about OUR REQUIRED ADDITIONAL SECURITY MEASURES. We are the target of our enemies. THEY USED JETS BEFORE TO GREAT DAMAGE AND LOSS OF LIFE. Therefore the TSA is not unreasonably searching passengers. TSA, keep up the security measures.
I would rather be go through the x-ray or pat down than sit next to an undetected bomb. For the rest of you, try Greyhound or Amtrak.
If you could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the passenger next to you was say; Joseph Williams, age 39, construction worker. Born in Mississippi, resident of Little Rock Arkansas for the last 19 years. Home address, annual income, current vehicle make and model, wife's name, children's names, etc etc. Would you still insist that he be strip searched before being allowed to sit next to you? Are your fellow Americans truly out to commit suicide just to get you? We have the technology to know who every citizen is that gets on any plane, but for some reason we choose not to use it. I would suggest using our tech to ID people and using the 'enhanced' security on those whom we can't positively ID as one of our lifelong neighbors.
You are right....but if you want to fly THIS airline...you will be subject to search. People know this and accept that if they choose to fly with them. No one is forcing them to be searched. It is announced and posted. If you don't want to be searched, then you won't fly with them. Ask the friends and family members who lost thier loved ones on 9/11 if this is fair or not. I bet everone on those 3 planes wished this was in effect before that happened.
I agree with Jane, two kinds of flights are needed: one with "enhanced" security of taking shoes off, body scanners, and the other with the standard metal detector and X-ray of carryons only (and back to allowing liquids of any size). But I suspect the opposite: gradually the 'terrorized' people getting the full security treatment will allow their personal common sense to win out, as days go by and nothing happens to either group, they will opt for sanity and convenience.
I'll never understand the people who say, "Would you rather have this than no security at all?" As though somehow those are the only two choices and if we force them to stop molesting children we'll just do away with security and let everyone onboard unchecked. Seriously, people.
Well said, Leslie.
The US should get some training from Israel. Their security staff are highly paid professionals and they detect potential threats by talking to you. Period. And it works 100%. The US is not taking security seriously if it takes entry level workers and pays them a lousy salary (and part time for 3 years before you can go fulltime???) and poor benefits. This isn't a security system. This just doing the least possible so that the government can say it is doing something. All it is doing is frustrating and scaring a lot of people for nothing.
First off you obviously bought into the propaganda hook line and sinker. Second, what is the in between?
Well, Leslie, how would you implement security? Really?
How can reasonable cause be determined? At this point it has to be random because– lord forbid anything close to "profiling" is being done.
Amused – to have that level of security would require money for high salaries, benefits & pensions & that would mean higher taxes & God forbid we have that.
@ Amused – really? did you read the article? Let's try pulling off his suggestions without ringing all the RACIAL PROFILING! MY RIGHTS! MY LIBERTIES! CAN'T A GUY JUST PAY A FLIGHT WITH CASH ANYMORE? I DON'T WANT TO USE CREDIT CARDS!
Leslie, do you mean we have more of a choice than radiation or humiliation? ūüėČ
I truly hate that the American public thinks this is making us safer. I really want Congressman Holt's letter to be thoroughly responded to as he seems to be asking the most important questions. (google it)
I NEVER thought I would see the day when I would actually support a Republican – hey, I guess the 4th Amendment is for every one – who knew! ūüėČ
I have to credit the Republican party they are masters of using fear to scare Americans into believing that people are being touched in an inappropriate way. As a former TSA officer I can assure you that they take no pleasure in Pat downs. I once had to Pat down a Federal Judge because of a Medical Problem and I was more embarrassed then the Judge. Then you here we should move to the way Israel does Screening. While continuing my Career with the Government as a CBP officer I can assure you that American do not like to be questioned either. We have very short attention span.
This isn't a partisan issue. Democrats and Republicans alike are concerned about the new TSA procedures. They are horrible and ineffective. Wake up!
I don't think it's the Repubs playing fear politics on this one dude.
I agree. united Statesmen are such whiners. These people are doing their jobs, stop being brats.
It is a good thing our forebears did not just say "Hey. These British Soldiers are just doing these jobs. Get over it. We don't need those freedoms. Let's not be whiners."
If the American being questioned does like to be question, then guess what they shouldn't be flying. I agree we don't like to be questioned, but this is a more reasonable compromise than feeling up my genitalia.
BTW – to the clown Dave above – THAT'S YOUR IN BETWEEN BUTT WIPE.
Linkspat, you don't get it. THE POINT IS THAT THE POLICY MAKERS HAVE MADE A MISTAKE IN MAKING THIS THEIR JOB, you idiot.
You're right on the money Chris. Chris S. below is clueless. It's overwhemingly the Republicans and most prominently the Tea Partiers who are doing the whining. As "Jane" so thoughtfully put it if the whiners were really committed to the idea, there should be pat-down and non- pat-down flights. Of course VIRTUALLY NONE of the whiners would choose to fly on the no pat-down flights because they would know (if they have any brains at all), that it would be much or likely to suffer at the hands of terrorists on the no-pat-down flights.
Somehow I doubt that, Ray.
Terrorism works on those who can be moved to fear. It does not work on those who choose not to be controlled by fear.
Far better to attack the meek and timid.
Flying is a privilege, NOT a right. If you don't like it, then don't fly. Safety precautions should be our #1 priority, not your pity party feelings.
And that privilege does not, in any way, shape or form, preclude the public from raising objections in the way the TSA is enforcing security or the safety of their tools.
WRONG. You have failed your citizenship exam. Please return to whatever country you are actually from. 49 U.S.C. ¬ß 40103 : US Code – Section 40103: Sovereignty and use of airspace (2) A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace.
Ditto Dr. Octavius. I have the RIGHT to fly unmolested, and you have the RIGHT to stay home if you're scared.
JR, that is utter nonsense. If you wish to forfeit your rights and submit to unreasonable searches, then that is fine. However, you do not have the right to require me to forfeit mine. Perhaps you can start your own charter airline that requires strip searches, cavity searches, polygraphs, or whatever will help you get over your phobias. Commercial flying is already dramatically safer than any other form of travel, and any thinking person recognizes these latest search tactic as clearly excessive. If you wish to be perfectly safe, stay home.
JR, people with viewpoints like yours truly scare me.
Driving is not a right. However, I suspect that you would be quite unhappy if Johnny Law pulled you over without cause and started searching your person and effects.
Ahhhh....Herr Goebbels would be very proud of your JR....
FreqFlier- and you and those like minded will be the first one to complain when a plane goes down due to a terrorist attack...saying something like, "they need to improve security, why wasn't that person checked, etc...."
Can't believe how incompetant and stupid most of the people here are. you have a better chance getting killed by a drunk driver than ever dying in a plane. if you want to give up your rights than fine. give up your citizenship and leave this country.
You might be competant, but those of us that are competent would like for you to leave our country.
Ops may have made a type, but his/her point is spot on. YOUR irrational fears are not an excuse to force ME to be molested on my way to work.
And I made a typo, too!
I'm just tired of people saying "If you don't like ____ then get out of my country." I don't mind the typos or even misspellings, just the arrogance. In my America we can and often do discuss things. Sometimes I'm right, sometimes I'm wrong, but unless someone is just being a jerk nobody needs to say "If you don't like it, get out". I was trying to be ironic, but obviously I didn't get that across. I'll try to be more direct next time...
This subject is overblown! That terd from San Diego planned his patdown, like he talks that way "don't touch my junk".
Whitebread does not talk that way, it was planned and the news group picked it all up and ran with it.
I fly all the time, I don't give a S*** if they pat me down or I go through the body scanner, so what, its for our safety, IF YOU DON'T LIKE DON'T FLY...............DRIVE YOU MORONS!
Let's play "who's the moron"!:
– Cargo flies unscreened below you on every flight (assuming you actually do fly)
– No explosives have ever been found on a flight between US cities
– The scanners may not have caught the underwear bomber, and definitily wouldn't catch an explosive "pancake" on a terrorist's abdomen (watch Sanjay Gupta's recent CNN video)
– We know the scanners are detailed enough to show penis size from the Miami TSA that assulted a co-worker after being ridiculed. We DON'T know how detailed they really are because the TSA keeps that classified.
I'm just getting started, but I'll let you respond....
1.Actually that baggage is scanned. So you lack credibility in your ever so wide knowledge of tsa.
2. Flying is a right. You prob don't fly enough to understand anything outside of what the news tells you.
3. Patdown takes literally 2 minutes. Unless you have something to hide, stop whining. You are scanned in a court room or in any federal building . Get used to commonalities of what the world is.
This over-reaction is why others around the world dislike us. We have turned into a bunch of whiners. I bet that next week there will be a new show on the sleazy Fox TV called "Celebrity Pat-Downs" and all the crybabies will be glued to yet another piece of inane dreck!
Ridiculous. "Others" dislike us because of foreign policy, not because of our TSA you dolt!
I *seriously* doubt that it's our internal discussions on airport security which causes other countries to "not like us".
I suggest you actually educate yourself and read a bit about the history behind how this country was formed. Then, perhaps, you can hold an intelligent thought.
JV you are an internet coward of the lowest class. Your spinelessness and that of your fellow north americans (because you are certainly not an "American") brethren are why the world HATES you.
As Benjamin Franklin said – "He who is willing to give up a few liberties for the sake of safety, deserves neither – Liberty, nor Safety."
Keep the torch alive John Hall, and my fellow American brethren.
This over-reaction may well change others' opinion of the US. Up to now, US bound planes have had to comply with TSA mandated security and most non-US travelers do NOT like the procedures, or believe that they make a difference. I know many people who choose not to travel to the US because of this alone.
I for one will avoid flying as long as these procedures are in place, as there are no grounds for their effectiveness. Oh, and they are a CLEAR violation of the 4th Amendment.
This guys comments were blown out of proportion. phukin weirdo Americans still think like the puritans, these ppl are not trying to touch you that way, this is like a cop pat down, oh well get over yourself, they are just following protocol.