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TSA has met the enemy — the people

70 Comments
By Adam Geller

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If you know the TSA, you will know that they have always acted as though the enemy is -- the people.

Remember the TSA guy who planted a white powder on a woman just to see her reaction... just as a joke? Yeah. Well now he gets to look at nude 13 and 14 year old girls all day and take pictures with his cell phone.

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"started out with a strong measure of public goodwill" "all but impossible task" “There’s a growing sense that that line has been crossed.”

Sound familiar? To me, it sounds like Vietnam, Afghanistan, and the Happy Days TV series.

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Paragraphs... about three and four are extremely interesting to me. It IS a terrorist oriented system. It DOES react to terrorist acts. Is that a good thing? Doesn't it effectively give control over air travel to terrorists? All they have to do is get one guy on a cell phone in Yemen to say the word "bomb." and all of America goes into lockdown.

They don't even need a suicide bomber to create panic and outrage. Now THAT is service. Direct dial terror. Bin Laden can't order a pizza, but he can order up a crummy holiday for the whole US. I hope Al Qaeda sends Pistole a Christmas card, or flowers, or something. He isn't making their job harder, he is making it easier.

Does anyone question that?

And if it is not flier oriented, then the TSA has no problem at all suggesting, with a straight face, that nobody fly at all. Seriously. It makes their job easier to have fewer fliers. Pistole said that there is "no other way" to protect travellers. Really Mr. Pistole? Really?

Let's have some math fun. If you have 2000 travellers and you have systems that are 99.9% effective, then you have two terrorists getting through, probabilistically speaking. And if you "can't reduce that probablity any more", which is essentially what Mr. Pistole has said the last couple of days, then the only way to reduce "terrorism more" is to reduce the number of travellers. If you have only 1000 travellers, then you can keep your systems and have only one terrorist left. Way to go TSA!! Here is your bonus Pistole! You reduced terrorism!

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The body scans aren't so bad for me, as long as the photos are immediately deleted, which wasn't happening. The patdowns seem worse. I think the worst part of the security lines is the rudeness. It's possible to be polite and firm. I've heard people get shouted at and belittled by the security staff and immigration officers. One time, an airport staff told me to stand in a line, and a different immigration officer shouted that this line was for pilots and flight attendants "can't you read?" It's so stressful. I hate American airports.

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If you are a terrorist and you want to kill Americans, are you really going to go after air travel any more? They didn't in Spain or Mumbai. So why are we only fixated on air travel? A terrorist would be better off just blowing up the long TSA lines.

Let's face facts. Nothing will make us 100% secure. So let's set a reasonable level of security that is respectful of our rights and boudaries and get on with living. Because if and when terrorists decide to attack us again, they will adapt and find a way. If planes are too hard to hit, it will be something else.

Live, live well and get on with your lives America. If you really want to avoid future attacks, focus on our foreign policy and try to change.

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"I think the worst part of the security lines is the rudeness."

Almost the worst part.

"It's possible to be polite and firm."

Can I just say "Japan" here? I love the way they do their jobs with a poker face. Almost silent. Detached. They have to be organized because they can't rely on people speaking Japanese, so the cordons, rules, and procedures are all clear ahead of time.

"I've heard people get shouted at and belittled by the security staff and immigration officers."

Me too.

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New TSA logo: olegvolk(dot)livejournal(dot)com/919747.html

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Here's some data on the body scanner:

A typical dental X-ray exposes the patient to about 2 millirems of radiation. According to one widely cited estimate, exposing each of 10,000 people to one rem (that is, 1,000 millirems) of radiation will likely lead to 8 excess cancer deaths. Using our assumption of linearity, that means that exposure to the 2 millirems of a typical dental X-ray would lead an individual to have an increased risk of dying from cancer of 16 hundred-thousandths of one percent. Given that very small risk, it is easy to see why most rational people would choose to undergo dental X-rays every few years to protect their teeth.

More importantly for our purposes, assuming that the radiation in a backscatter X-ray is about a hundredth the dose of a dental X-ray, we find that a backscatter X-ray increases the odds of dying from cancer by about 16 ten millionths of one percent. That suggests that for every billion passengers screened with backscatter radiation, about 16 will die from cancer as a result.

Assuming that there roughly 600 million airplane passengers per year makes the machines deadlier than the terrorists.

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We wanted to go to Hawaii for Christmas- - but American airport security has turned us off . . we will likely NEVER be flying into the States if we can help it - - the security measures are intrusive.

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Israeli security - -- although time-consuming - - manages to screen potential trouble-makers without all this ado. Maybe American can learn something fro them ! ? ? ? !

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Finally some common sense from ... well Europe:

The security boss of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is calling for an end to endless investment in new technology to improve airline security. Marijn Ornstein said: "If you look at all the recent terrorist incidents, the bombs were detected because of human intelligence not because of screening ... If even a fraction of what is spent on screening was invested in the intelligence services we would take a real step toward making air travel safer and more pleasant."

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Growing dissatisfaction with TSA has even led some airports to consider replacing the agency with private screeners.

Sanford Airport has already replaced TSA screening with private companies. In a related poll more than 80% replied that "anything is better than the TSA".

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Even so, a poll earlier this month by CBS News found 81% of Americans support the TSA’s use of full-body scanners at airports.

Fear rules ... here some comment of someone who really knows what he is talking about: Rafi Sela, former chief security officer of the Israel Airport Authority

A leading Israeli airport security expert says the Canadian government has wasted millions of dollars to install "useless" imaging machines at airports across the country.

"I don't know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747," Rafi Sela told parliamentarians probing the state of aviation safety in Canada.

"That's why we haven't put them in our airport," Sela said, referring to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport, which has some of the toughest security in the world.

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We wanted to go to Hawaii for Christmas- - but American airport security has turned us off . . we will likely NEVER be flying into the States if we can help it - - the security measures are intrusive.

So do I. Sadly though we soon will see Japan as overly compliant apple-polisher to the US will follow suit and implement similar rules to the TSA ...

... as we have seen with the finger-printing of all foreigners as warm welcome treatment to Japan.

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Don't like the security?

Don't fly. It's a privilege, not a right.

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Even so, a poll earlier this month by CBS News found 81% of Americans support the TSA’s use of full-body scanners at airports.

Maybe they should only ask flying Americans.

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Don't fly. It's a privilege, not a right.

It's a service not a privilege.

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This was the last straw for me. Was planning a trip to the US for Xmas but instead gonna say Sawadee to Thailand !!

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"Don't like the security? Don't fly."

I love this one, it's comical. You can apply it to anything. Don't like your job? Don't work. Don't like the President? Leave the country. Don't like cold weather? Stay inside. Technically not flying is an option (and some take it), but for the majority of fliers, get real.

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I see the TSA as becoming the new punchline for "How's your love-life?" jokes...

"The only action I've had lately ..."

It's a service not a privilege.

Right on, SuziB.

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Let's have some math fun. If you have 2000 travellers and you have systems that are 99.9% effective, then you have two terrorists getting through, probabilistically speaking.

This assumes that those 2000 were all terrorists.

The reality is more that they get 99.9% of nail scissors.

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body scanners and pat downs would do nothing to detect a surgically implanted bomb. i don't think those bomb sniffers would either in that case. that being said, i don't see why the ban box cutters, sissors or even small folding knives like a swiss army knife. after 9/11 i don't think anybody would let someone hijack a plane with just a box cutter.

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I just came through Honolulu yesterday on my way to Tokyo, no pat down, no scanners, no hassle, no problem. Just the same thing as the past few years.

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I've flown out of the U.S. several times in the last few years, and aside from the ridiculous requirement of taking ones shoes off, has not been that bad. (Yes I know that requirement is related to the underwar bomber, but there's no proof that taking shoes off will stop another one.) All this talk of not flying to the U.S. as a quasi-punshiment for the security measures are obviously from ignoramasses who just don't get it. Why would you pass up an unprecedented and not likely to happen again opportunity to fly to and shop in the U.S. at rock bottom prices with the current deflated dollar?

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USA is land of freedom.

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Obama and his fellow ideologues want this. The authoritarian Left is drunk on power and cannot help themselves.

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LoveUSA, TimRussert:

Your posts above were jokes, right?

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When you daughters are felt up by older lesbian woman then tell me it's ok. When a young teenage boy is fondled by a grown man, then say its ok. When naked photos of you are released to the Internet, then complain. By thenits too late. Our revolution is on it's way. It is our duty to bear arms and stop sexual hassarisment. Homosexual's ar feeling you up. Deal with it or don't fly? Insane. The terrorist have won.

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LoveUSA, TimRussert: Your posts above were jokes, right?

Nope. Not mine. As serious as the 11,000 dollar fine you face in Obama's America if you refuse this unconstitutional nonsense. This is just one more aspect of everyday American life they seek control of.

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Pistole dutifully toes the authoritarian Democrat Party line:

"TSA Chief Pistole told tv commentator tCandy Crowley that the US could adopt Israel’s “top-notch” security procedures but won’t because, “Americans don’t profile.”"

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"This assumes that those 2000 were all terrorists. The reality is more that they get 99.9% of nail scissors."

Monkeyz. Good points. And a funny one there. I gave some thought to the math, and you know what I figured? After all the legitimate air passengers have given up, the terrorists will still be flying. So my little math lesson is illustrative, but it illustrates that you just can't stop the terrorists using probability and technology. You have to detect or eliminate their intent. You probably DO have to find bad people instead of trying to find potential weapons.

But eliminating passengers and killing the airline industry STILL makes the TSA's job easier. I think it is their plan.

Atlantic Monthly has reported a TSA worker as saying that the groping is intended to get people to choose to use the machines.

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"downs would do nothing to detect a surgically implanted bomb."

which would look at lot like a certain medical device I can think of off the top of my head.

And a colostomy bag full of (icky) fluid could be rigged up, etc.

See how dumb it is? Someone is playing the terrorists' game. Time for new approaches or time to realize we have to watch out for each other instead of relying on technology and machines to verify each of us.

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Atlantic Monthly has reported a TSA worker as saying that the groping is intended to get people to choose to use the machines.

Coercion is coercion. Offering you the less offensive invasion of privacy as a 'choice' is still wrong.

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Tim Russert

Authoritarian Obama regime? Not like the oh-so-constitutionally-astute introduction of this hysteria? PATRIOT I and II? The freedom of US security to read any email any citizen of any country sends? I consider that an invasion of privacy much more heinous than someone having a squint at my package.

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Looks like TimRussert and Noborito are leading the new charge from the right. I find it baffling that they clash with Mr. Creosote and MikeHunz, who, although also right wingers, are calling the protestors and Ron Paul pinkos, or something like that.

What is the stance of the GOP on this? Or the Tea Party? Does anyone know what Rush and Sarah are saying?

We have TimRussert, Noborito, ron paul, and ChristianPatriots and some in Congress calling for the TSA to cease and desist. These are libertarians? Tea Party? Who are you guys?

Then we have MikeHuntz and Creosote saying libs should shut up and get scanned. Calling protestors conspiracy kooks. These are what? Right wing GOP?

I guess the Dems are also split on this? I think they inherited this TSA mess and suspect that as soon as they do something, there will be some incident they will get blamed for.

All the more reason to believe that the TSA has everyone cowed and confused.

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"I guess the Dems are also split on this? I think they inherited this TSA mess and suspect that as soon as they do something, there will be some incident they will get blamed for."

Mr Klein2 - The Democrats did not inherit pat-downs, groping, and humiliating your fellow American. They have instituted this. The common sense alternative of p r o f i l i n g (something Klein2 does constantly in his posts...) works well for countries like Israel that have faced the threat of Islamist terror for decades. Why don't we adopt it? Because Obama and his fellow ideologues are beholden to a certain worldview and one of the lynch pins of this construct says that crime is pretty much an equally distributed reaction by the oppressed, and it is not the criminal they Democrats want to focus on, it is the rest of us.They believe we are the problem. This is the law and order parallel to the moronic and criminal "spread the wealth" mentality.

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america, you have created a fear and paranoia in your people that is surpassed by no other country on earth. the majority of americans still think it necessary to be on their guard because they have been brainwashed into believing that the war on terror is taking place in their own neighborhoods. what a country. if you have the choice, dont even fly through it. avoid it altogether.

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"Authoritarian Obama regime? Not like the oh-so-constitutionally-astute introduction of this hysteria? PATRIOT I and II? The freedom of US security to read any email any citizen of any country sends? I consider that an invasion of privacy much more heinous than someone having a squint at my package."

Google knows far more about you than the US gov does. Trust me. And yes, Obama and his ilk are authoritarian. Maybe you should visit the US. Your first ten minutes out of bed is a series of encounters with the Democrat Nanny State. What kind of lightbulb you will switch on, the size of the toilet you will use, new and increasing laws about the food you can buy or grow or sell, they can't get enough of central planning. The TSA is about to unionize, that is how you know they have Obama's blessing. These fascists need to be turfed out in 2012.

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TimRussert is exercising intellectual dishonesty by suggesting this is the Democratic party line. I think you're smart enough to realize that just because Obama is currently President doesn't mean he controls everything that every part of the government does. Typically conservatives have pushed for security over liberty (Patriot Act, water boarding, wire tapping, etc), while liberals have been the opposite. Unfortunately, you're too religiously anti-Obama to give any worthwhile analysis.

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Dick Cheney would had labeled these complaining Americans as unpatriotic. He was a huge proponent of the Patriot Act - security is more important than liberty or dignity.

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Agree completely with sharpies post..... the americans have a situation they are responsible for....

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While I totally agree that TSA procedures are way overboard, let anyone ratchet them down only to be hit by another attack, whether related or not, and that person is toast. The same people complaining about the intrusiveness now will go after that person with pitchforks.

Perhaps a certain fatalism is necessary to retain one's sanity. At the same time, a certain fatalism leads one to believe that the US is in a cul-de-sac it will not soon find its way out of.

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Quo bono?

Michael Chertoff,while head of Homeland Security used the office to push for them. Now his company profits from their use.

Its about shameless profiteering from fear more than anything.

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I recently went through a pat-down at a Canadian airport and it was no big deal...mainly because the security staff treated it as just another procedure and didn't talk to me like I was the dirt on the bottom of their shoe. Which is how American security and immigrations staff treat travellers.

A few years ago, in Japan, security went through my bags, asked all kinds of questions, were very business-like, not friendly but not demeaning either...they knew how to do their job cooly and efficiently. I immediately found myself thinking, "Wow, these guys are good. They know what they are looking for, they know what to ask and the do it so quickly you don't have time to think of anything but the answer they are looking for; no time for chitchat and no chance to feel defensive." After it was finished, I got a smile, a tip of the hat and a "Thank you for your cooperation. Have a pleasant journey." Why is that so hard for American security to do their job, do it well and not treat their fellow human being like scum. Not real difficult.

Anytime I have gone through the U.S., I have the impression that during their training, security staff and immigration staff have it drilled into their heads that if they act rude and intimidating, terrorists will just give up: "Ok, you got me, big scary TSA officer."

I will do whatever I can to avoid American airports if my destination is not actually the US. It is not, as someone suggested above, a way to punish the US for its security measures. It is just to ensure that I have a decent journey without being treated like I am considered subhuman.

I have no problem with the security measures. I think that is, unfortunately, the world we live in right now. I do have a huge problem with how the TSA carries out their job. They need better training.

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@Klein2: Well now he gets to look at nude 13 and 14 year old girls all day and take pictures with his cell phone.

And younger. And older. And males too. And you. And your spouse. Who knows what he fancies? Who cares? Could we leave the emotional/sexual non-sequitors at home please? Its bad enough these scanners and checks don't do much to protect us, but they are also a collosal waste of our tax money at the same time. We let this slide, and we can expect more of the same...and worse.

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"The common sense alternative of p r o f i l i n g (something Klein2 does constantly in his posts...) "

Hoping for a pat down are you?

Just kidding TimRussert. Don't worry, I will never profile you. You are certainly one of a kind.

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"Google knows far more about you than the US gov does. "

But Google doesn't care about me and Google does not want to put me in jail or make me pay a 10000 dollar fine just for walking into an airport. You are really missing the issues Tim. If Google violates my rights, I sue. If the TSA violates my rights, all I get is poked up the heiney. And THEN I get fined.

Anyway, TR, you are way out on a limb with this. I see how your agenda is to pin whatever you can on anyone but Bush and Cheney, but your beloved party is disagreeing with you. Why not tell us what is wrong with the GOP stance on this? What is Ron Paul doing to have you disagree with him so?

Or better yet, what is wrong with the GOP that they support the TSA in doing this to your fellow Americans? Are you willing to call the GOP complicit in its domination of true patriots. Take a stand that is not simply naysaying Obama. I dare you.

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The only problem with going to profiling as an alternative is that those who want to outsmart the security measures need only to recruit someone outside the profiling parameters.

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Klein2...you make it sound pretty expensive to go through the airport...$10000 after getting poked up the heiney? If you get poked up the heiney, doesn't that mean that you complied thus won't get fined?

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"the US is in a cul-de-sac "

What a great way of putting it. It has to go back to move forward. I agree entirely. It has gone too far and has gotten to a point where it can't progress, or even turn around easily. That sums it up well.

"And younger. And older. And males too. And you. And your spouse. Who knows what he fancies? Who cares? Could we leave the emotional/sexual non-sequitors at home please? "

I care a little. It is me. It is my mother. And my nephews and cousins. Why leave emotion and sex at home? I would be willing, but the TSA wants to feel genitalia and look at them. Never before have I been nude in public or groped in public, but the TSA wants to change that. It is an issue for many people.

TSA agents have stripped a woman's shirt off and laughed about it and about viewing it on tape. TSA agents have put powder in women's luggage just as a joke to see what they would do. Federal agents have been caught saving images, and TSA agents will be caught doing the same thing someday soon. TSA agents are not law enforcement personnel or medical personnel. It is not necessary to any of my arguments that every TSA agent be a pervert, but when you consider that even questioning these people is "unpatriotic", then one can imagine that being a TSA agent would be a lot more rewarding for Chester the Molester than being a janitor at a junior high school. It has been said before and it is true: TSA agents are the only non-medical people in the US allowed to view thousands of images of 13 and 14 year old boys and girls with no prosecution. Their searches are done without probable cause and would be considered sexual assault if done by almost anyone else.

You don't really argue with that, you just dismiss it. So thanks for letting me clarify that.

peachy: I think that is about as honest an assessment as I have seen. You talk about posture and demeanor, and it is true. I think that the deal is that TSA was created in haste with an impossible mission by an angry nation. I think their mission was probably "stop terrorists" and it probably should have been "promote safety of air travellers". Some people won't like that kind of warm, fuzzy stuff, but so far EVERY attempt has been thwarted by passengers. I think that is correct, isn't it? The simple fact that is constantly ignored is that the TSA keeps messing up and passengers keep making the big plays.

I don't understand the bureaucratic contempt and coercion re passengers at all. They seem to be killing air travel instead of promoting it. Who told them to do that?

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The American people are finally waking up to the fact that by giving up their personal freedoms the terrorists win without ever having another successful attack. The TSA does not make you safer, when has an attack ever been averted on the ground? In every case attacks have been thwarted by passengers or before they happen by the intelligence community.

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Klein2...agree with you wholeheartedly there. Well put. And yes, we could leave the sexual non-sequiters at home if we didn't have to worry about the unprofessionalism and behaviour of the TSA as pointed out above in what Klein2 wrote...not to mention the vast number other reports out there.

And yes, almost every attempt we have heard of was due to the courage, quick thinking and keen eye of other passengers. I say "almost every" because there must be some case out there somewhere that I am forgetting that was likely in the news regarding would-be attackers being stopped at the security points...there has to be at least one such story with all that expensive equipment. So far, I can only recall stories of disaster being averted due to sharp, untrained, unequipped civilians.

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Well not much surprises me about the land of the fee. Makes one wonder what other normal day events are "privileges" and not rights. So they will either take a naked picture of me or get to feel me up. Wonder what other freedoms the Americans will give up for "safety".

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TSA people should quit. Taking an oath to protect your country by feeling up men women, old and young alike.

For once, briefly, it would appear Americans are getting exactly what they have sown through decades of wars and ignorance.

You sold your economy to China, and your rights to Cheney and Bush.

haha... Really. It's pretty awesome if you think about the sheer scale of the loss to your country

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What is all the fuss here? DRUGS! Most comments here FORGET that so many people flying into the USA and all around the USA are smuggling DRUGS, not terrorists, just your plain Jane trying to make some extra money on the side or better yet, just a full time drug mule and gosh golee, these new porn style pictures are gonna show that cocaine etc..stuffed in your underwear. I am sure that the biggest complainers in the USA against TSA are druggies, drug mules etc..so all of these cry babies can go to hell, go back on welfare and take greyhound (the bus) of all of you not familiar with the USA.

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I am sure that the biggest complainers in the USA against TSA are druggies, drug mules etc..so all of these cry babies can go to hell, go back on welfare and take greyhound (the bus) of all of you not familiar with the USA.

In other words: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT! USA! USA! USA! THESE COLORS DON'T RUN! etc.

Yes yes, let's allow the government to see through people's clothing and/or touch every square inch of their bodies, including genitals. For safety from terrorists who want to destroy our way of live because they hate our freedoms! Oh wait... our way of life HAS been changed significantly since 9/11 and we have less freedom now than before.

What happens when a terrorist smuggles a device in their rectum or vagina? Will the TSA be conducting full cavity searches to keep us safe? Full body x-rays with all the radiation that comes with them?

Also, former Dept. of Homeland Security head Micheal Chertoff is employed by a consulting company with Rapiscan (the manufacturer of these scanning machines) as one of their clients. No conflict of interest here, no siree!

But remember, citizen:

WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

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They are doing nothing but exercising control under the guise of safety. They say they do it for that extremely small chance that someone is going to try to blow up a plane.

Now, what kind of terrorist, whom of which are often quite intelligent and do their research very well, will pass through a security point in a way they will get caught? If someone wants to take down a plane and have enough backing to do so, I doubt we can really stop that. Even then, they have every chance in the world to do more damage before a plane even takes off at the airport and that is currently nearly impossible to stop.

As I said, it's an exercise in control. If we refuse the scanner, we are punished with intrusive pat-downs that were ever so conveniently introduced when the scanners went into effect. They even went so far as to openly insult and belittle those who opt for the pat-down...

This is just one issue out of many in America today. I don't know about others, but just as my forefathers, I am not willing to give up my freedom for the sake of safety. The very thing they fought for is once again being thrown away...

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For those that think , I am not willing to give up my freedom for the sake of safety TOO BAD, stay away from airplanes and airports in the USA, go and enjoy your FREEDOM on Greyhound with a bunch of scummy ex felons who are kicked out of some crappy jail and told never to return. Me? I do not care about a little touchy touchy, and these scans showing my huevos? OMG! Please do not look at my chorizo nor my huevos! Grow up! This is life after 9/11!!

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Me? I do not care about a little touchy touchy, and these scans showing my huevos? OMG! Please do not look at my chorizo nor my huevos! Grow up!

You might do well to follow your own advice. The adults are talking now.

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For those that think , I am not willing to give up my freedom for the sake of safety TOO BAD, stay away from airplanes and airports in the USA, go and enjoy your FREEDOM on Greyhound with a bunch of scummy ex felons who are kicked out of some crappy jail and told never to return. Me? I do not care about a little touchy touchy, and these scans showing my huevos? OMG! Please do not look at my chorizo nor my huevos! Grow up! This is life after 9/11!!

This is the perfect example of how they want everybody to think. It is going to get much worse my friend...much worse.

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"that I am forgetting that was likely in the news regarding would-be attackers being stopped at the security points...there has to be at least one such story with all that expensive equipment."

Peachy. Oddly enough, there isn't. Let me know if you find a reference. I read an interesting interview this morning of a guy who would know, and he says there has not been one. The TSA coyly states, "we won't discuss successes", but you know it would, and it does certainly crow mightily about its mountain of confiscated nail clippers.

Elbuda, I was actually waiting and waiting for someone to bring up drugs. Was it you?

In the America I grew up in, here is how police work progressed: You established probable cause. Then you searched for a specific item related to a specific crime, usually with a warrant. Then you either found it, where you made an arrest, or you didn't and you had to let it go. There are some gray areas. For instance, if an officer walks is invited into a dorm room and smells marijuana or sees white powder on a table, that constitutes probable cause, and a search can progress.

Now here is the deal. I would never do this, because I am an amputee transgender person, so I have enough to worry about, but ... Let's just say I have 500 grams of coke in a baggy around my waistband and choose to be groped by the To Serve Alquaeda team. I THINK that the cocaine evidence is inadmissible because the Total State Authority is only looking for weapons, right? Just because they are looking for weapons does not make my body a public place, so search and seizure is a violation of my rights. And if it aint, it oughta be. Point being that I am not so sure that druggies or whatever are so concerned about this.

Aw heck. The point is probably moot anyway. Dogs find that stuff. I guess.

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Watched a documentary made before 9/11 (Discovery, "Blowback") yesterday, and I tell you what. The US has been at war against Afghan terrorism pretty well from the day the Russians left, and against fundamentalist islam since the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Achille Lauro. Beirut 1983. Lockerbie. I knew that, but anyway... it was nice to see something pre 9/11 because people were not hysterical way back then.

They showed footage of the WTC bombing and presented ominous shots of jetliners as the segment ended. I am not a conspiracy theory guy, but it became crystal clear that people KNEW that a jet attack was coming. It also became clear that this is a long term war against mujaheddin.

In that context, what should we be doing? If this all goes on for the next three generations, what should the US be doing now? Alternatively, if the powers that be have chosen this strategy as the correct one, what does it mean?

For the first question, I think I have become a fan of profiling. Never ever racial or religious profiling... but I will say that avoiding investigation of someone because of what they are is not a safe way to proceed. Stupid obvious profiling is worse than none at all because it will make us ignore threats, but scrutiny of certain people, if it is done right, is better than half-baked glances at everyone. I think that is the Isreali mode. I also think different means might be necessary to produce a sustainable program that will last for the next 30-60 years.

For the second question above, I have a dark suspicion that the TSA and CIA know things that they are not telling the American people. I think that this policy might be an attempt to tell people nicely that only essential personnel will be flying from now on. Costs and inconvenience will continue to increase as America battens down the hatches to exist in a world with a nuclear Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Myanmar, Venezuela, etc. all looking for payback. No matter how you slice it, if that is the case, life in general in the US is going to get a lot worse.

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preachy 871:

" The only problem with going to profiling as an alternative is that those who want to outsmart the security measures need only to recruit someone outside the profiling parameters. "

Recruit to do what? You can recruit people to do a lot of things, but you can not "recruit" someone to blow himself up, unless he believes in martyrdom and paradise -- i.e. is inside the profiling parameters.

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TSA is a total joke. It has not done much at all in preventing illegals other than invading peoples privacy. I learned a while back from working at the airport that they are told to treat everyone as a terrorist which I totally dont agree with at all. When you are at the airport, it is like being in an open prison with a lot of hidden cameras going on at the same time. I recently heard that there are over a thousand hidden cameras going on at the same time on a 24 hour period. The TSA needs to be done away with and a new agency created that will help people to feel better and not to infringe on their privacy. Heck, not everyone that travels is a terrorist. It is only a few people that make the whole look bad. If the TSA cant crack down on that few, than they are surely unprofessional people with now real qualifications. They are just a bunch of amateurs who don`t belong in the publics eye.

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"Security theater" is a term that describes security countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually improve security.

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@Klien2: if the dog smells drugs, then the cops have probable cause to search, but in the case of the TSA search, they are searching everyone, probable cause or not.

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WilliB...you are absolutely correct. I totally agree with you. But profiling starts with one's appearance...for example, if one looks Middle Eastern they might get searched. There are some folks out there who believing in martyrdom, etc. who don't necessarily look the part and thus would likely be overlooked for a search if profiling were the procedure in place.

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cactus. Yes. I know. That is why I think searching everyone is not good. Forget about my points with drugs. They have to do with rights, not procedures. They are a distraction.

Peachy. Profiling does not have to start with appearance at all, or religion, or name. There are many ways that it could be done "fairly" if you can believe it. Sampling and probability applied to data that the TSA and DHS already has could produce a decent system. I have counted more than 25 different things that the DHS, State Dept., and immigration do to process people before they ever get to a scanner at an airport.

I hate to say "this is what the Israelis do" because that is so tired, but let's just say they start processing passengers from the time they buy their tickets. If DHS did that, then as soon as 500 people get to the check in counter, then TSA would be able to take about 10 "interesting people from the line" and leave everybody else alone to be scanned in a reasonable way. The TSA would then not be choosing people by color or name, but according to other data.

MIT people will agree with me. Randomness helps. Not publishing the criteria or letting passengers see them helps. Creating uncertainty for terrorists while creating certainty for "average" people is a good way to do the job.

The TSA has exempted pilots, so the TSA is admitting that SOME people pose less of a risk than others. In a way, it is already profiling.

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alladin:

" If the TSA cant crack down on that few, than they are surely unprofessional people with now real qualifications. "

Even if the TSA had highly qualified personnel, they still would not be able to crack down on "the few", because identifiying them would necessitate profiling, and that is politically incorrect.

So, everybody gets groped. Get used to it.

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The TSA workers should be very careful in their approaches to the public. They should always remember that "In every rule, there is an exemption". So, they must examine first the situation they are in before doing any necessary actions because their actions can lead to violation of human rights. I remember what happened last Saturday when a TN female was imprisoned when Transportation Security Administration workers attempted to pat down her daughter Saturday. Her response led to her arrest. The woman allegedly grew to be belligerent and was arrested for disorderly conduct. This incident occurred after the Transportation Security Administration altered its procedure concerning the pat down of children last month. Now she may need personal loans to pay for the inappropriate behavior.

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