What’s the Alternative to Intrusive TSA Security?

November 17th, 2010

By Tom Carter

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is deploying more full body scanners at airports, and they’ve instituted new and aggressive pat-down procedures.  If you opt-out of the full body scan for any reason, or if they pick you at random, you’re going to get petted, patted, groped, and stroked in all your private places.

The press and the blogosphere is alive with complaints, horror stories, and threats to boycott airline travel.  In the article just below, my friend Dan Miller very effectively makes the points that TSA’s procedures violate the Fourth Amendment and aren’t totally effective.

What’s the alternative?  Would you rather risk being blown out of the sky than have your body scanned or your privates groped?  Even though TSA security procedures can’t be 100 percent effective, they will detect some threats and deter others.  That means that people won’t die in a terror attack against an airliner.  Some of those people may be you, your family, your friends  — or me.

So scan and grope, TSA.  I can take it, quietly and cooperatively but with gritted teeth.  I hope a better way can be found, and soon.  But until then….

Despite the uproar, TSA isn’t backing down, even for those who object to screening on religious grounds.  According to the Administrator,

TSA chief John Pistole told the Senate Homeland Security Committee … that passengers who refuse to go through a full-body scanner machine and reject a pat-down won’t be allowed to board, even if they turned down the in-depth screening for religious reasons.

“That person is not going to get on an airplane,” Pistole said….

I understand why people are angry.  The photo above shows a TSA officer, apparently a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, patting-down a nun.  The photo, actually from 2007, is all over the internet and seems to be legitimate.  But why the outrage?  Qualified Muslim women are obviously allowed to join TSA, and the one in the photo may be more outraged about terrorism and more concerned about the safety of the flying public than you or I.  And what better place to hide explosives than under a nun’s habit, whether the nun is real or an impostor?

What pains even more is an incident a while back in which a happy, smiling three-year-old girl (left) was reduced to hysterics and screams of “Stop touching me!” during a TSA pat-and-grope.  Click here or on the image below to see a video news report of the incident.

The little girl is the daughter of a local TV reporter, and he caught much of the incident on cellphone video.  Then he went back to the airport and filmed a report, to include interviewing a TSA supervisor.

Adults and especially children are being touched in ways that would normally result in someone going to jail.  Enraging though that might be, I have to ask again:  What’s the alternative?  Islamic terrorists have shown a complete willingness to strap bombs on children and blow them up.  Who says the child couldn’t be an adorably cute, all-American-looking little girl?

Some say that we should stop patting-down nuns and little children and start doing what the Israelis do.  Sounds nice, but it won’t work.  Israel is a small nation under siege, and Israelis expect to live in a high-security environment.  They don’t have to deal with that many passengers.  They already know a lot about people even before they show up at the airport.  And they profile passengers (gasp!).  So much for that solution.

I asked, “What are the alternatives?”  Well, there are some, but they’re either impractical, impossible, or illegal.  Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Defeat Islamic terrorism.  Sure, that’s the answer, but the question is how?  We’ve been fighting them since 9/11, but the truth is we aren’t even fighting the real enemy for the most part.  After we defeated the Saddam regime in Iraq, we went on for years fighting for…something.  After we defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan and drove out all or most of al-Qaeda, we’ve gone on fighting for…something, and there’s no end in sight.  Meanwhile, Islamic terrorists continue to direct attacks against us from Yemen and other places.  Now we have an Administration that won’t even admit that there’s such a thing as a “War on Terror” and prefers to treat those determined to destroy us as common criminals.  Defeat Islamic terrorism?  Not likely, and certainly not soon.

Get serious about homeland security.  That means overcoming all the PC nonsense that hogties us now.  The threat is from Muslims, foreign or home-grown.  We could profile openly and without reservation.  When a person shows up at the airport who is obviously Muslim or otherwise looks suspicious in the opinion of a trained TSA officer, he, his wife, his kids, and his dog could be scanned and patted-down.  That would be unfair for the vast majority of Muslims, and I’m sorry about that.  Maybe that would even discourage Muslims from emigrating to the U.S., and I’m a little sorry about that.  Are we willing to do this, even though it strains the Constitution to nearly the breaking point?  No, and we shouldn’t be.

There isn’t a viable alternative for those who have to travel long distances.  The price of flying is going to be scanning, patting, and groping for the foreseeable future.  That means continued victimization of nuns, retired U.S. Army officers, and now and then an innocent Muslim who gets randomly selected.  Worse, children are going to continue to be touched in ways that under any other circumstance would constitute illegal molestation.

And there’s one thing we all should do:  Treat TSA officers with the same courtesy and respect we show police officers, firemen, EMTs, soldiers, and others who do often unpleasant jobs in order to protect us.  Personally, I haven’t encountered or observed a TSA officer who wasn’t polite and professional.  Once I got a close inspection and a detailed pat-down (not the new style) after I beeped the metal detector.  When it was over, I shook the officer’s hand and said, “Thank you.”  Didn’t cost me anything, and probably made his day.  Give it a try next time.


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22 Responses to “What’s the Alternative to Intrusive TSA Security?”



  1. Dan Miller |

    Tom,

    Although it often happens, I don’t like the Constitution to be “stretched” at all, but reluctantly agree that in some rare instances it may be necessary for our survival. In the case of the new TSA procedures, and those are the ones about which all the fuss is being made, I think they go beyond stretching and I don’t think we have reached the point at which they are necessary for our survival — I refer, of course, to the survival of the United States rather than to the survival of the TSA. It has been reported (I have no independent verification) that the Former Assistant TSA Administrator on Security Checkpoints stated that “Nobody likes to have their 4th Amendment violated going through a security line, but truth of the matter is, we’re gonna have to do it.” If we have indeed reached that point, how far can the TSA be permitted in the future to go down the slippery slope? Random anal cavity searches on the off chance that someone might have a bomb there? Random bare breast examinations for recent surgical scars on the off chance that a bomb may have been surgically implanted? There have to be limits somewhere, and I think they have already been passed. Should we just go along in the hope that things probably won’t get worse? I don’t think so. The problem transcends mere inconvenience and prudishness.

    You say,

    The threat is from Muslims, foreign or home-grown. We could profile openly and without reservation.

    Yet you continue as to profiling,

    That would be unfair for the vast majority of Muslims, and I’m sorry about that. Maybe that would even discourage Muslims from emigrating to the U.S., and I’m a little sorry about that. Are we willing to do this, even though it strains the Constitution to nearly the breaking point? No, and we shouldn’t be. (emphasis added)

    I don’t think that reasonable “profiling” — sophisticated behavior analysis, for example — would stretch the Constitution, and certainly not to the point of breaking. I do think that the current TSA procedures stretch it to and perhaps beyond the point of breaking; they are also “unfair” to all domestic air travelers and not primarily to those most likely to be dangerous.

    The Fourth Amendment is one of the most important of our guarantees of freedom and, as far as I am aware, no effort is being made to differentiate between those from whom the threats are coming and those from whom they are not. Assuming for the sake of argument that “profiling” might be done so as stretch the Constitution, and it needn’t be, I would prefer that the focus be on those who, as you state, are the source of the threat. Should other similar threats arise, they should meet with similar profiling. Should there, for example, be spates of terrorist attacks by Methodists, applauded by high level Methodist bishops and disparaged by few coreligionists, then I suppose some level of profiling might be appropriate. Until that seems likely, I don’t think so.


  2. Tom Carter |

    We’re not ready to start profiling yet, and we probably shouldn’t, as I said. It’s a slippery slope from there to profiling people for all kinds of things. It’s all too easy to brush that concern away if you’re not in one of the categories of people who will always profile for police attention.

    And, sad to say, cavity searches may be just around the corner. We’ve already had one bomb hidden in the crotch of an incomptent (who wouldn’t have profiled as a Muslim, by the way). The new TSA procedures might have caught that guy, provided he had been body scanned or patted-down. Of course, it would have had to have happened overseas, and folks outside our borders are getting a little impatient with our security demands. And there are already cases of attempted bombings with explosives stuffed up the bomber’s nether region. I don’t know if a body scan would find something like that, but it would be nice to have a non-intrusive technical means of doing it.

    I’m back to the same question — what’s an alternative that’s practical, possible, and legal? The answer can’t be that we just have to accept that on any given flight we may get blown up.

    You know better that I do, but I’d be willing to guess that this whole issue would survive a Supreme Court decision, which would probably go along the lines of “falsely shouting fire in a theater.”


  3. Dan Miller |

    Gee, Tom, I think we disagree. Would the new TSA procedures survive a Supreme Court decision? If the case gets there, in several years, we may find out but I don’t think the procedures should survive. On the other hand, lots of stuff I thought shouldn’t survive has.

    Still, maybe our concerns are excessive. Although you note,

    Adults and especially children are being touched in ways that would normally result in someone going to jail. Enraging though that might be, I have to ask again: What’s the alternative? Islamic terrorists have shown a complete willingness to strap bombs on children and blow them up. Who says the child couldn’t be an adorably cute, all-American-looking little girl?

    Much the same could said about infants and the very old and infirm.

    The little girl in the very recent video (no longer available on You Tube due to a copyright problem) probably is no longer in danger unless she ain’t really all that little: Transportation Safety Administration chief John Pistole recently “emphasized that children under the age of 12 are excused from the enhanced pat-downs.” Lacking much ability to guess at ages, she does look a tad younger than twelve to me. Nevertheless, at least we don’t have to worry about them despite the video unless things have changed even more recently than Mr. Pistole’s comforting words. I’m absolutely, totally and one hundred percent completely confident that Mr. Pistole knows whereof he speaks and that the extraordinarily well trained TSA agents do only what they should. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said that “I’m wildly excited that I can walk through a machine instead of getting my dose of love pats,” I guess different folks get “wildly excited” by different things.

    In any court test, the question will be “how are the new TSA procedures applied in practice” rather than how the TSA chiefs say they should be applied.


  4. Tom Carter |

    I found a website, Prison Planet, that still has the video. It’s run by a kook radio guy named Alex Jones, and I wouldn’t otherwise recommend it. The link in the article has been updated; you can click that link or here.

    This incident wasn’t a pat-down under the new procedures, but it’s still disturbing. And how wise it is to exempt children under 12? Muslim terrorists have long shown that they aren’t averse to strapping a bomb on a child much younger than that.

    I don’t like all this security at airports any more than anyone else. But until we can find a better way — other than just giving up and accepting the huge risk — I think we’re stuck with it.

    Does all this mean the terrorists have won, at least in a limited sense? I guess they have, which makes it all the more important to find them and kill them whenever we can.


  5. Brian |

    Tom, the fact is that we already profile as policeman. I used to work a neighborhood that was about half Mexican and about half Salvadoran. You can bet the farm that when I saw Anglos or blacks in that neighborhood, I came up with any legal reason I could to pull them over and find out who they were. Invariably, they were lost or were trying to score dope.

    The same is true of seeing blacks or Latinos who happen to be driving beaters through River Oaks or Tanglewood. The blacks and Latinos that live in those neighborhoods drive $100,000 cars just like everybody else in those neighborhoods.

    I never ginned anybody, and I’m not suggesting that that should start. Any officer worth the pot metal his badge is made of can spot a traffic infraction of some sort easily. Most people can’t drive 100 feet without violating some traffic law or other.

    Nor am I suggesting that Arab and Muslim be the ONLY criteria used to determine who might be a potential terrorist. But it is a starting point.


  6. Michael |

    My objection to this is that this is another, and fairly large, step down the wrong path in a futile attempt to keep ourselves safe from the Islamist attackers. We should not surrender our rights, our privacy and our dignity in the face of this threat as we have been doing, more or less gradually, since 9/11.

    Temporary extraordinary measures might be justified after a sudden attack while our enemies are ruthlessly eradicated, but its now almost a decade since 9/11 and the impositions are growing worse and feeling permanent.

    We have fought a half hearted, half named “War on Terror” including dropping food packages on our enemies, and in the meantime increasingly treating ourselves as if we were criminals who have no rights.

    The problem is a government and society whose value system is so confused that they would rather tolerate what amounts to sexual abuse, even of children, in the form of body scans or intrusive pat downs than be accused of “profiling”, let alone actually prosecute the war that has been declared on us by the Islamists.


  7. Dan Miller |

    Lots of anger and unhappiness out there.

    Here is an article on Israeli airport security.


  8. Dan Miller |

    According to this article, a different technology is deployed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. It costs about the same as the new TSA virtual strip machines, uses substantially lower doses of different radiation and detects “metallic and non-metallic materials, including explosives, gels, powders and liquids.” The stuff detected is displayed on a “generic mannequin figure instead of on the actual image of the passenger’s body.”


  9. Brian |

    Wow. Imagine that. In sex-crazed Amsterdam, where you can walk the red light district and literally window-shop for companionship, they don’t even display the real victim’s passenger’s body.


  10. Tom Carter |

    Hard to believe how angry people are about all this. I’ve been reading news reports and blogs, plus listening to a little talk radio. Some of it is clearly exaggerated, and some of it probably isn’t true. For example, Dan, in the article you linked to, the writer says he “had valuable items stolen from my checked bags by TSA employees.” Given that checked baggage is out of his sight and handled by many people who aren’t TSA employees, I would need to know what his evidence is before I’d take it seriously. I would also point out that items were stolen out of checked bags now and then years before all this terrorism business began. Another, and worse, example was something I heard on an extremist talk radio show that I won’t even link to. A young female employee of the radio station was called upon to recount her experience in which a male TSA officer did an enhanced pat-down, felt all her private parts, etc. I think that’s probably an out-and-out lie.

    I’m still waiting on someone to propose workable alternatives. The other alternatives that have been discussed won’t work in the U.S. for various reasons. So what do we do? Give up the intrusive security and accept that a plane will be blown up once in a while? Back away from these problems and focus only on people of Middle Eastern heritage and Muslims, accepting even greater violations of rights than we endure now and accepting that a terrorist who doesn’t fit the profile will slip through now and then? Those aren’t realistic answers.

    I would say, though, that there needs to be some kind of special policy for air crew members. They have to go through this crap several times a week, on average, and there has to be a better way. And if you think about it, if the pilot wants to fly his airliner into a building (or into the ocean, as an Egyptian pilot once did), then the security check isn’t going to deter him.

    The only realistic answer for individuals is just not to fly if it can be avoided. That doesn’t help me much because I have to fly transcontinental two or three times a year. For my part, I’m just going to grit my teeth and bear it.


  11. Dan Miller |

    Tom,

    I agree that there is much nonsense out there and that it does stimulate unreasonable rage. Here is one of the worst of the lot I have read. The headline refers to something very bad which happened during a “grope.” However, the text of the article notes that the pilot in question declined both the virtual strip and the grope and was sent home with out being allowed to fly. It does not further mention the alleged bad thing. The pilot therefore apparently did not, in fact, experience what the headline claimed. That, not to put too fine a point on it, was inflammatory and stupid.

    I put this sort of crap in the same category as articles claiming that President Obama is a Muslim and that he was born in Kenya; I have no idea what, if any, religion President Obama may adhere to (and I don’t much care) and I don’t know where he was born; even if he was born in a different universe there is nothing to do about it, at least until the 2012 elections.

    There is more than enough reason to think that the TSA has gone too far and to be concerned that it may go further yet, and that President Obama is not a good president without that sort of nonsense. It is counterproductive to say the least.

    I’ll continue this comment tomorrow; I just got a request for (another) talk radio interview about my Strip and Grope article starting in a few minutes and had better get ready for it.


  12. Brian |

    I’m trying to figure out how profiling, starting with religion and nationality, is more odious than what the TSA is doing now. I’m trying to figure out how it would be less safe to focus more attention on the group of people that form the only known pool of terrorism.

    Profiling doesn’t mean we jack with every Arab Muslim that buys a plane ticket here, it just means that they bear closer scrutiny if they are checked off on other characteristics that fit the profile, with nationality and religion being a starting point only.


  13. Dan Miller |

    Brian,

    Religion and nationality are only some of the factors to be considered, not the only factors. Israel seems to be doing a very good job of it in a highly endangered part of the world by focusing on behavior and comparing it with recognized behavior patterns from the time folks get to the airport to the time when they board the aircraft. That requires human intelligence rather than blind reliance on technology. Both have important roles to play.

    We all use our understanding of suspicious behavior to avoid danger. It’s called situational awareness and it works most of the time even without technological aids.

    To the extent that the present (and likely future) TSA procedures focus on finding bad stuff, rather than on finding bad people, they will ineffective and provide at best a false sense of security.

    Oh — the radio interview went well, but was too (*$#$ short because of a need to break for CNN.


  14. Tom Carter |

    Emmett Tyrrell, a conservative columnist and founder/editor of The American Spectator, makes some interesting points on the whole TSA controversy and how it got whipped up. He points to a CBS News poll that found 81 percent of Americans don’t object to full body scanners, meaning they won’t opt-out of the scans and get an enhanced pat-down except in unusual cases. The CBS report also points out that TSA already does behavioral profiling (as opposed to racial/ethnic/religious profiling).

    For those who keep saying that the U.S. should adopt Israeli security procedures, it would be helpful to read a bit on what those procedures actually involve — get to the airport at least three hours early, security checkpoints with armed guards before you even enter the airport property, lengthy and detailed interviews in the airport, extensive database checks on each passenger, detailed searches of all baggage, and a complete willingness to blow up your laptop or anything else they think looks suspicious. They also rely extensively on profiling and subject Muslims to “special attention,” and they have access to information on passengers based on intelligence and police files.

    There are two reasons this wouldn’t work in the U.S. First, we won’t engage in racial/ethnic/religious profiling. Second, with as many airports, flights, and passengers involved as in the U.S., the whole system would immediately back-up and grind to a halt.

    And then there are those who say we ought to rely more on intelligence, especially human intelligence. I don’t know what they mean by that, but I’m not sure how much more could be done. By its very nature, intelligence cannot be 100 percent effective, especially where terrorists are concerned. Human intelligence, in particular, is very difficult because it generally involves some kind of penetration, and getting someone inside a terrorist organization is extremely difficult.

    One last point: I suspect that a majority of the people who so strongly object to what TSA is doing agree with the idea that there’s a War on Terror and support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, they don’t want their taxes raised to support the wars, and they don’t want to be personally inconvenienced in any way. But what the heck — I’m sure most of them have “support the troops” decals on their vehicles.


  15. Brianna |

    Tom, if I read your article correctly, I believe you just argued that we should simply deal with the necessity of being touched in ways which could legitimately qualify as sexual assualt by government officials for the sake of security, explicitly asks us to refuse to consdier a viable alternative for the sake of PC, and reminds us not forget to be nice and polite to the guys doing the job of committing the assualts in order to *fail* to keep us safe while flying the unfriendly skies.

    I literally cannot come up with any honest response to this which would also be appropriate to display in a public forum.


  16. Tom Carter |

    Well, you can twist it around that way if you like. Want to take a shot at proposing functional, practical, legal alternatives that would work? Mind you, not libertarian theory, not what you imagine the Founders would have approved of, not how John Galt might have handled it, not what we imagine the Israelis do in one little country — but things that would actually work in the real world that Americans live in today.


  17. Brianna |

    You can call what I said “twisting” all you want, but all your accusation means is that you said what you did in a nice way and I said it in a blunt way. And you can claim that my solution of “behavioral, ethnic, religious and racial profiling” (there, I said it) is impractical all you want, but that won’t change the fact that the only *reason* it’s impractical is because our governing officials have decided that the truth is something which it is immoral to consider if that truth might offend somebody. And if Muslims don’t like that solution, well frankly, they can stop flying, since the alternative seems to be to drive the airline industry *out of business* by making everyone else too disgusted with terrible security to want to do what it takes to get on a plane. Maybe that will finally impel them to actually deal with the problems in their own ideological backyard rather than complaining that the Western world isn’t *tolerant* enough of their barbaric, backward, violent, totalitarian ideology.


  18. Dan Miller |

    Tom, in one of your November 17 comments you observed that if we start profiling “it’s a slippery slope from there to profiling people for all kinds of things.” In the same comment you noted that “sad to say, cavity searches may be just around the corner” from the current TSA procedures. That would also be a trip down the slippery slope. Both slippery slopes need to be considered and decisions need to be made as to how far is too far. TSA agents, their immediate supervisors and even higher level TSA personnel should not be given great latitude in deciding how far is too far – quite likely most have little if any of the training to make such decisions. The government agencies with which I have dealt have generally been more interested in their perceived missions than in constitutional and legal limitations on performing them. Constitutional protections, particularly as provided by the Fourth Amendment, are essential and to the extent that they are pushed aside we are in big trouble.

    There have been instances where TSA agents have simply gone way too far and they have been highlighted by some of the media – as they should be. Some may well be exaggerated, but probably not all. To the extent that they are aberrational and evidence a lack of adult supervision, they are bad. Perhaps with heightened scrutiny they will cease; or, perhaps not.

    As to Israeli airport security measures, I have never been to Israel and have no personal knowledge. This comment posted to a Pajamas Media article noted,

    As one who has passed through Israeli security a fair amount of times, I agree it is far better than ours. Unfortunately, it is very difficult, almost impossible, for the USA to emulate. Israel is a much smaller country with (on average) a much more educated and motivated populace. It takes very skilled people to do what they do in security. Can you imagine what that would cost in our country, considering the number of airports?

    I have no idea what it costs in Israel or might cost in the United States, absolutely or in relation to passenger revenue miles traveled, per capita income or GDP. I doubt that the data are available. Some of the Israeli procedures may be adaptable to US airports, some not. Would the monetary cost be too high? How high is too high?

    Considered in totality, the constitutional protections available in the United States are probably unique. They are also very important and should not be shoved to the side either to provide a possibly false sense of security or to gain the hearts and minds of people who would prefer us to be dead.

    You refer to a recent public opinion poll suggesting that eighty one percent of Americans don’t object to full body scanners. That may be true; however, the poll apparently did not seek information on whether the respondents had traveled recently, intended to travel in the near future or had recently decided not to fly. Such information would have made the poll results a bit more informative. I suspect that a substantial percentage of the respondents fell into none of those categories and perhaps considered the whole matter not to be their problem. Although I have not flown in the United States for several years and have no intention of doing so in the foreseeable future, I do consider it not only my problem but an important national problem.

    How far down the slippery slope to abrogation of which of our constitutional rights are we prepared to go? As far as the TSA wishes so long as we feel safe and without regard to whether we actually are? I hope not.


  19. Brian |

    There is another issue here which is being overlooked. If the TSA, in their most undecidedly unconstitutional searches, happens to find explosives or some other contraband, we might save a flight, but how would we prosecute? Evidence obtained outside constitutional bounds is routinely tossed out of court, as it should be, as evidenced by the recent acquittal on all but 1 of 285 charges to someone that should have been tried in a military tribunal. Is that the result we want out of what the TSA is doing?

    You don’t go to an apple orchard if you want peaches.


  20. Tom Carter |

    Dan, there seems to be a pun or two in all that “slippery slope” business! Everything you say makes perfect sense, but I still don’t know how we deal with the security issues in some other acceptable and practical way. I would note, though, that the problem isn’t what “TSA wishes,” and the procedures certainly aren’t up to individual TSA officers. These are issues within the purview of TSA, DHS, and the Administration at the highest levels.

    Brian, I think you made a very valid point. If TSA’s procedures are judged to be unconstitutional at some point (which I doubt), then we might not be able to convict someone who was caught during screening. However, that’s preferable to letting the terrorist get through and blow up an airplane.


  21. Dan Miller |

    Brian,

    I think I understand the problem, but it is clear to me that saving a lot of passengers aboard an aircraft is of greater importance than prosecuting an unsuccessful domestic terrorist in our civilian courts. Such folks probably could not be tried by military tribunal; the powers that presently be don’t even want terrorists apprehended overseas for terrorist activity there directed at United States territory to be tried by military tribunals.

    Could a foreign terrorist who brought a bomb on board an aircraft outside the United States and was thereafter prevented from detonating it because he was searched “unreasonably” by a U.S. marshal on board the aircraft within the U.S. borders be tried by military tribunal? My guess is that in the current political climate he would not be.


  22. Dan Miller |

    Here is a possibly useful article on how Israel profiles. It notes, among other things,

    Israeli officials profile. They don’t profile racially, but they profile. Israeli Arabs breeze through rather quickly, but thanks to the dozens of dubious-looking stamps in my passport — almost half are from Lebanon and Iraq — I get pulled off to the side for more questioning every time. And I’m a white, nominally Christian American.

    If they pull you aside, you had better tell them the truth. They’ll ask you so many wildly unpredictable questions so quickly, you couldn’t possibly invent a fake story and keep it all straight. Don’t even try. They’re highly trained and experienced, and they catch everyone who tries to pull something over on them.

    Because I fit one of their profiles, it takes me 15 or 20 minutes longer to get through the first wave of security than it does for most people. The agents make up for it, though, by escorting me to the front of the line at the metal detector. They don’t put anyone into a “porn machine.” There’s no point. Terrorists can’t penetrate that deeply into the airport.

    Some of the procedures would not work for US domestic flights, which require no passports. Language would also probably be a barrier to use of some of the techniques. However, others procedures might work. I wonder how intensively the DHS/TSA is looking into the possibilities.


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