Airport scanners: A "perception of security"? Invasion of privacy? Health risk?

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Jim's picture

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/11/tsa_groping_procedure_a_resu... TSA 'groping' procedure a result of administration blindness to terror threat

Quote:
El Al, Israel's national airline, employs a smarter approach. Any airline representing the state of Israel is a natural - some might say preeminent - target for terrorist attacks. Yet El Al has one of the best security records in the world and doesn't resort to wide-scale use of methods that would under other circumstances constitute sexual assault. The Israelis have achieved this track record of safety by employing sophisticated intelligence analysis which allows them to predict which travelers constitute a possible threat and which do not. Resources are then focused on the more probable threats with minimal intrusion on those who are likely not to be terrorists.

Jim's picture

In Charlotte NC a couple of weeks ago

http://coldfusion-guy.blogspot.com/2010/11/airport-security-follies.html

Quote:
I had my first full body scan in Charlotte yesterday. I feel sorry for the TSA agent who had to view my picture! He probably had a vomiting fit afterward! So they take a handicapped guy who cannot walk (or barely walks) without crutches. They take my belt. Somehow my pants stayed up (thankfully for all those viewing!). I have to stand with my arms above my head. I cannot hold onto anything. I am tipping forward / backward & left and right. Ultimately I got the hand pat down anyway. This must be a fun job. The man uses the front of his hands to run up my inner thighs all the way up! For all this indignation (multiplied by hundreds of thousands of other ordinary people, handicapped people, and grannies) some guy can put on a sophisticated rubber face and get through security! Call me crazy but I see billions wasted. At MSP I used the elevator from the concourse level down to the baggage claim level. That elevator is guarded by a TSA in a chair leaning sleepily against the wall.

A high placed executive at a major airline told me this story:

The TSA agents have a quota of the number of minutes they are to be patting people down. The handicapped and the elderly are targets because it takes them more time ... thus fulfilling the quota of minutes.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Dayton Daily News- http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/airport-pat-downs-go-too... Airport Pat-downs Go Too Far

Quote:

The scanners are at Cleveland and Cincinnati airports while Dayton’s two will be installed after Thanksgiving, said airport spokeswoman Linda Hughes.

Until then, some passengers must undergo the body searches, during which TSA personnel run hands outside of clothing across the genital area, between buttocks and under breasts.

No way.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/11/17/forget-body-scans-pat-downs-le... Forget Body Scans and Pat Downs -- Let's Get Busy Profiling
By KT McFarland
The author believes that we are always one step behind terrorism-

Quote:
There's a saying in the military that generals always prepare to fight the last war, well apparently so do Homeland Security officials. Let’s use some common sense and start looking for terrorists, not frisking toddlers. And let’s put our resources into protecting all of us from the next attack, not the last one.

Kevin T. Bauder's picture

Returning from Denver a while back, I got the double-whammy.

First came the electronic strip search.

Then came the announcement by a TSA agent that the person viewing the scan was "indecisive" and that she was requesting [read that "demanding" ] a "patdown."

It's not a patdown. It's a grope, pure and simple.

In my opinion, there is no security threat that can possibly justify this surrender of civil liberty. No one should be required to submit to either a strip search (whether electronic or physical) or a grope without probable cause.

So, for the foreseeable future, all of my travel will take place by automobile, train, bus, ship--anything but commercial airliner.

If a site can be reached only by airliner, then I do not plan to go. The reasons to do it would have to be overwhelming.

I am now a no fly zone.

ChrisC's picture

i don't know that profiling will solve a lot of problems, but it sure will create a whole lot of new ones! targeting "foreign looking" people wouldn't stop folks like mcveigh or kaczynski, but it would penalize all kinds of law-abiding immigrants.

what i think would help is what i saw recently in holland. a security agent asked each person just a few questions like "where are you going", "what's the purpose for your trip", "when are you returning"... this is the same sort of thing border/custom agents do before they stamp passports and the same thing police do all across america. they are checking each person's story and if something doesn't make sense, they ask more. if they get a suspicious response or a contradictory story then you get the special treatment. but no one starts by looking under your clothes or groping you. and you don't automatically get the special treatment just by wearing a taqiyah.

Greg Long's picture

ChrisC wrote:
i don't know that profiling will solve a lot of problems, but it sure will create a whole lot of new ones! targeting "foreign looking" people wouldn't stop folks like mcveigh or kaczynski, but it would penalize all kinds of law-abiding immigrants.

what i think would help is what i saw recently in holland. a security agent asked each person just a few questions like "where are you going", "what's the purpose for your trip", "when are you returning"... this is the same sort of thing border/custom agents do before they stamp passports and the same thing police do all across america. they are checking each person's story and if something doesn't make sense, they ask more. if they get a suspicious response or a contradictory story then you get the special treatment. but no one starts by looking under your clothes or groping you. and you don't automatically get the special treatment just by wearing a taqiyah.


Chris, profiling is not just looking at appearance but also ask questions like you suggested. It is not either/or but both/and. That's how they do it in Israel. It involves a combination of factors--appearance, demeanor, responses to questions, etc.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Carol K's picture

Starting in January of this past year, those of us who fly into the US have already been undergoing all this 'junk' and that chatter has been going since that time.

I flew from Canada into WA state, at the end of Feb. of this year. I saw the new machine at the airport, in Canada, but it had not been installed at that time. Because security going into the US was strict, every single person going through security was subject to a pat-down. I had my 8 year old daughter with me at the time and they even tried to separate us so she could have her hand 'swabbed', at which I protested. I didn't mind the swabbing, per se, but I did not want us separated, even if she was in 'sight'. I felt sorry for the young lady having to do the pat-down, which really was a groping session. It was awful, but I tried to make light of it for her sake as well as mine and because I had my daughter there with me. I can understand them wanting to swab my child's hand, but there was no forewarning of this at all. No mention of whether or not there were chemicals on the swab or if it was dry. Just a push to get things through, and with a very, very full line up of passengers, I am sure their patience was being tried, as was ours.

My husband flies all the time. Going into the states is much more strict then coming out of the states, but apparently that's about to change.

Earlier this year, you were able to see a list of all the airports that had the body scan machines. I don't know if that is still possible.

I have in my own mind, declared I would not be subject to a body scan. If this is important to anyone, they should check the airport they are departing from and the airport they arrive/depart from at the end of their journey. In Sept. I flew from Canada to England. I knew going to England that they may require a body-scan or optional pat-down. That was at the time of my booking. The rules kept changing, almost daily. At one point they were saying anyone who refused the body scan would not be allowed to fly. By the time I actually took the trip, several months after booking, they had decided to relax those rules a bit, since they were now being challenged with 'pornography' laws regarding the body scan machines. Since I was flying direct to Canada, I did not have the same rules being applied to me that my fellow American travelers were being subjected to, flying from the other terminal.

I hope lots of people challenge this. It is not effective. I believe profiling is a much better system and certainly a better use of funds. I am glad to see more people finally making noise on this. Those of us out side the US have been trying to voice our concerns, but honestly, I know I have been met with cynicism from my dear American family because they just didn't realize what they were up against, until now.

Respectfully,

Carol

SDHaynie's picture

My family and I began to work as missionaries in Chile in 2000. At that time I thought all the security checks that we had to go through in Santiago were ridiculous in comparison to what we went through here in the States. Post 9/11 (and now living back in the States) I wish that the US would let up and be as easy going as the airport in Chile!
I also agree with the comments about Israel's methods...why don't we adopt them?
I have not travelled by air since the body scan machines and pat downs started, but it sounds like I am going to be checking Amtrak first if I have to travel long distance.
I am reminded of a quote by Benjamin Franklin..."They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." I don't agree with all of Franklin's sayings, nor do I approve of his deism/rationalism, but I will say a hearty "Hear, Hear" to this quote. How much longer before we have neither liberty nor safety?

Shawn Haynie

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

From http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/11/27/how_airports_should... Real Clear Politics

Quote:
At best, avoiding terrorist profiling wastes scarce resources by subjecting everyone to the same time-consuming, often humiliating searches that have ignited public rage ...
At worst, TSA officers might encounter a bomb-wielding passenger who matches the terrorist profile, but then breeze him through security so he doesn't feel uncomfortable. The result could be the sky-high calamity that Americans have feared since September 11.

So instead of asking questions of and inspecting people who actually fit the description of the average terrorist, the TSA is focusing on people with serious physical problems that have left them wearing colostomy bags and prosthetics.