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Posted at 8:43 PM ET, 11/20/2010

TSA issues 'pat-down' travel message

By Washington Post Staff Writers


Can't see the video above? Click this link.

With the busy Thanksgiving travel season upon us, the increasing deployment of full-body scanners at airports has civil libertarians and members of the flying public concerned about screening procedures. Transportation Security Administration Administrator John S. Pistole issued a video message " to offer a few tips and some important information we'd like you to know before you go through security," including the rights of travelers faced with the new methods.

People who decline the advanced imaging scanners, also referred to as virtual strip searches because of the images produced of the unclothed human body, are subject to enhanced pat-downs, which some see as inappropriate. All three of Washington's major airports are using the new scanners.

Consumer rights activist Ralph Nader has called the new security measures "extremely voyeuristic and intrusive."

In the video Pistole says you can opt out of using the full-body scanner, but if you make that choice "you will receive a thorough pat-down by someone of the same gender. If you alarm either the metal detector or the AIT, you will also receive a thorough pat-down by someone of the same gender."

Pistole adds that travelers can request that the pat-downs be conducted in a private room and can request that it be "witnessed by a person of your choice."

An Ashburn man, Brian J. Sodergre, is organizing a national "opt out" day to encourage passengers to say no to using the new body scanners. He wants people to insist on public pat-downs if they are traveling on the day before Thanksgiving, which is one of the busiest travel days of the year.

According to a Web site for the day, "the goal of National Opt Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change. We have a right to privacy and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we're guilty until proven innocent."

Related stories:

Dealing with Thanksgiving airport security

Instead of a TSA airport search he'll take the train

TSA officials get 'pat-downs'

Will you undergo a pat-down?

Full-body scanners installed at Dulles

By Washington Post Staff Writers  | November 20, 2010; 8:43 PM ET
Categories:  Airports, Aviation  
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Comments

A 61 yr. old gentleman with a urostomy bag was recently compelled to undergo a TSA 'pat-down', during which the bag came loose and drenched him in his own urine. No apology or offer to help was forthcoming from the TSA employees. What an unfortunate incident. Well, at least it wasn't ME. And what's the big deal anyway? I have important business meetings to get to on time, and I can't be bothered by people who get upset because my government is denying them basic rights - which I am more than thrilled to surrender. Let them walk to their destination instead of flying, because to be honest, I'm a whimpering, whiney, spineless little coward who clings to any security fantasy theatrics that TSA may devise.

Posted by: 82ndairborne | November 20, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

The TSA can go pound sand. I have 2 more times to travel this year by air and then I am done. I own a business, I travel frequently, or did. I just bought a larger car to travel by ground and I can afford to fly. I will drive from now on. The price of liberty is apparently defiance. Screw Obama, screw the TSA. Nobody and I mean nobody is fondling my crotch.

Posted by: MoreOfTheSame | November 20, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Apparently these top TSA people have been working too hard or are shell shocked from too much criticism, they have lost all perspective. When was the last time a plane was brought down by a bomb in the U.S.? There can be no guarantee of safety and even if there was, was good is safety without human dignity? Clearly that was recognized by the authors of our constitution who expressly forbade these unreasonable searches.

Posted by: vmax02rider | November 21, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: meganalaniz | November 21, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Boycotts are ok but the real weapon we have against the TSA is our choice to not fly. You can get anywhere in the USA in 3 days or less by train and bus: What we should do is to refuse to fly. Until the TSA drops its full-body scans and invasive pat-downs I refuse to fly, PERIOD. Mark Montgomery NYC, NY boboberg@nyc.rr.com

Posted by: boboberg | November 21, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

The TSA is completely clueless, all their policies are inefficient and lack common sense. Now they are banning printer cartridges in luggage? Why would a terrorist be stupid enough to try that again? They will just hide the bomb somewhere else.

For all the money and manpower they pour into the TSA, it is only serving to inconvenience 99.99% of the flying public, it is NOT contributing to the capture of a single terrorist.

Posted by: twigmuffin | November 21, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

OK let's remember the reason for the inhanced imagery and pat downs. Public saftey. Imagine the public reaction if a bomd brought down an airplane. We would be screaming for the head of TSA. Therre may be better ways out there to screen passengers but unfortnately few companies are developing them. You don't like the way TSA is doing the screenings? There is a sure way of changing it. DON'T FLY. I know this might sound stupid to a lot of people but there is no place in the continental US you can't get to by car and/or bus. It just takes longer. If enough people stop flying THE AIRLINES would make the TSA find a better way.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | November 21, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

So it a terrorist next targets a railway station or bus station, are we going to have the same TSA procedures there? How about concerts or football games or at a symphony or opera? When does this police state vigilance stop? Where does it end? And why isn't it pointed out that TSA chief Chernoff gave the pornoscanner contract to one of his business clients? Or that the underwear bomber was twice reported to a US government agency a month before he flew and he wasn't put on a no-fly list?

Posted by: foosgame44 | November 21, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

To build on foosgame 44, after the would-be Times Square bomber last summer, were all SUVs searched before entering Manhattan? No. The TSA is out of control. And the airlines are cowed.

Posted by: sue1047 | November 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

.

Hey Democrats,

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration tried Sunday to quell an uproar over pat-downs at US airports, with air travelers in revolt against the new security measures described by some as invasive and humiliating.

BYE BYE

DEMOCRATS

.

Posted by: kstobbe1 | November 21, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

perpetual wars as a path to peace ... and having folks head organizations that have been conditioned as a condition of their employment ie FBI background checks ... does not think twice about violating the 4th amendment of fellow CIVILIAN citizens.
WE ARE NOT IN THE MILITARY OR LAW ENFORCEMENT ...
we have a different filter.
something else ... I dont trust folks that are so inauthentic that they die their hair ... come on Pistole you are greying .. let it go .. You are in good physical health yes ... but you are not young .. you are greying dont fight it .
be authentic. be free to grey publicly .. who knows you might like the feeling of freedom instead of identifying with your false self.

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | November 21, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The TSA terrorizing a young crying boy, forcing him to remove his shirt because he was too afraid to put out his arms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSQTz1bccL4&feature=player_embedded

This is all about control. This machines unsafe and untested. The machines and gropings are illegal and most importantly IMMORAL.

From an engineer's perspective who's researched the available data, whole body mass was used to calculate radiation exposure, not skin surface, and, there is no available testing data.

Flying is done safely and has been done safely without any of this for GSA and charter passengers, well, forever. They don't give up their constitutional rights to fly, so why do commercial passengers need to either.

And Groping - ILLEGAL and IMMORAL not any way to paint this as acceptable.

As an aside, on my last groping, I noticed that 60% of the people chosen for screenings were large breasted women. Since when have large breasted women been a security threat. If so, half of the women in Orange County would be in prison.

Posted by: smi314 | November 21, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

This ham-fisted approach is going to KILL more Americans than it saves. You cannot consider this in a vacuum... for every action there is a reaction. In this case, there will be disenfranchised travelers who will decide to drive rather than fly. There were 401 million domestic departures out of major US airports last year - if just 2% of those travelers decide to drive 700 miles to their destination and back, you will have 12 BILLION additional road miles. At 1.7 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles (2007), you will have 200 additional deaths in this country - just about the same as bringing down an airliner. OVERALL SAFETY IS A WASH AT ABSOLUTE BEST. More than likely... more people will die from this than will be saved.

Posted by: mb56 | November 21, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

This ham-fisted approach is going to KILL more Americans than it saves. You cannot consider this in a vacuum... for every action there is a reaction. In this case, there will be disenfranchised travelers who will decide to drive rather than fly. There were 401 million domestic departures out of major US airports last year - if just 2% of those travelers decide to drive 700 miles to their destination and back, you will have 12 BILLION additional road miles. At 1.7 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles (2007), you will have 200 additional deaths in this country - just about the same as bringing down an airliner. OVERALL SAFETY IS A WASH AT ABSOLUTE BEST. More than likely... more people will die from this than will be saved.

Posted by: mb56 | November 21, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

This ham-fisted approach is going to KILL more Americans than it saves. You cannot consider this in a vacuum... for every action there is a reaction. In this case, there will be disenfranchised travelers who will decide to drive rather than fly. There were 401 million domestic departures out of major US airports last year - if just 2% of those travelers decide to drive 700 miles to their destination and back, you will have 12 BILLION additional road miles. At 1.7 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles (2007), you will have 200 additional deaths in this country - just about the same as bringing down an airliner. OVERALL SAFETY IS A WASH AT ABSOLUTE BEST. More than likely... more people will die from this than will be saved.

Posted by: mb56 | November 21, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

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