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Posted at 8:45 AM ET, 11/19/2010

Will you undergo a 'pat-down'?

By Michael D. Bolden

11.19.10 Update: Responding to all of the discussion about body scanners and the new pat-downs, the TSA posted its own set of "facts" and "myths" about its blog.

Here's a sample:

Myth: Airports can opt-out of TSA screening. Fact: All commercial airports are regulated by TSA whether the actual screening is performed by TSA or private companies. So TSA's policies - including advanced imaging technology and pat downs - are in place at all domestic airports.

Myth: Everybody who travels must undergo AIT screening.
Fact: Advanced imaging technology is optional - anybody can choose to opt out and receive alternate screening, which will include a pat down.

Myth: TSA Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) images can be stored on the AIT machines located in our airports.
Fact: Completely false - TSA's machines should not be confused with the recent stories about the U.S. Marshals Service. The machines used by TSA at our airports cannot store, print or transmit images. They simply don't have that ability. Administrator Pistole also addressed this on Hardball. (At 6:03 on the clip)

Read the entire blog post here. Then post a comment below and tell us what you think.

Original post: Traveling during the holidays can be trying enough, what with crowded airports, missed connections and the thought of spending long hours arguing with relatives over dry turkey.

But many travelers are dreading the thought of even going through airport security this year. We're used to removing our shoes and belts and slipping the laptop from the case, but now you may have to use a full-body scanner or undergo an enhanced "pat-down" as part of the Transportation Security Administration's new policies.

Tensions are obviously high. A California man posted a recording of his recent confrontation with TSA agents over a groin check at San Diego International Airport; and a man in Indianapolis was arrested for punching a TSA agent in the chest after going through a body scanner and asking about increased security measures.

An Ashburn man is even organizing an "opt out" day to encourage passengers to say no to using thew new body scanners. He wants people to insist on enhanced pat-downs instead on the day before Thanksgiving, which is one of the busiest travel days of the year. And to insist that the screening be done in public.

Has all of this affected your plans? Are you flying or driving for the holiday? Or maybe you have decided to stay home. Will you use the new body scanners or request a pat-down instead? Post a comment below, or e-mail transportation@washpost.com.

Driving and travel resources

Related stories:
Dealing with Thanksgiving airport security

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

TSA officials get 'pat-downs'

Full-body scanners installed at Dulles

By Michael D. Bolden  | November 19, 2010; 8:45 AM ET
Categories:  Airlines, Airports, Aviation  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: MARC Brunswick Line delays
Next: The weekend and beyond

Comments

I don't want to be zapped with unecessary x-rays or groped. I'm switching to Amtrak.

Posted by: Washington Post Editors | November 18, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

All this airport security talk is making me horney.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | November 18, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

We need this level of security on trains, busses, subways, bikes, and cars. If it saves one life, isn't it worth it?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 18, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Maybe just outlaw clothing and underwear. If everyone is naked it would be easier to see a bomb fuse hanging out of somewhere...

Posted by: UnitedStatesofAmerica | November 18, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"We need this level of security on trains, busses, subways, bikes, and cars. If it saves one life, isn't it worth it?"

No. The Israelis don't use any of this crap (and they don't make you remove your shoes), yet they've had no problems with airline security in many years. It's all security theatre. I heard a report on WTOP where the head of the TSA said that children under 12 will not be required to undergo the procedure. That simply proves that this is not about security at all, as nothing is stopping terrorists from using children as mules.

With that said, if kids did have to go through the groping, I'd hate to be a parent having to explain to a kid why he should let the airport screener "touch him" in a way that he's not supposed to let anyone other than the family doctor touch him.

Posted by: 1995hoo | November 18, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

No "pat-downs" for uus, Michael! We refuse to "opt out" of naked scanners only to be sexually molested/assaulted, instead. We intend to Boycott Flying COMPLETELY, until sanity returns! Please join us: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Flying/126801010710392

Posted by: fakedude2 | November 18, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I am so looking forward to the response when some idiot sticks a bomb up one of his orifices, making fully body and body cavity searches mandatory for all Americans who wish to travel. And I'm really looking forward to hearing the silly sheep bleat "Well, if it means I'll be safe, I don't mind". The 'terrorists' must be splitting their sides laughting at all this....

Posted by: 10emlet | November 18, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

We need this level of security on trains, busses, subways, bikes, and cars. If it saves one life, isn't it worth it?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 18, 2010 4:44 PM
__________________

Actually, no.

Posted by: 10emlet | November 18, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

The answer to this stupidity is quite simple. Organise a no fly week and watch how fast the TSA and other travel restrictions either disappear or are restricted to only the rich bourgeoisie while you, the working class proletariat are forced to provide for your rulers well being. When you have had enough of the humiliation the revolt begins and you revert to a two party system from the two class system the republicans created for your best interest. Sarah Palin will be the straw that breaks your backs and it will be fun to watch you try to reclaim that which the Bush mafia stole from you.

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | November 18, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

The law makes no exception for government employees. Anyone else doing this pat down search would be charged with a felony. Where do we draw the line? This was a reactive decision, not a proactive one. Freedom is lost in small increments. Have we become a nation of sheep being lead by the incompetent? This administration continues to infringe on our rights and fails to use common sense solutions which would include profiling. The radical Muslim terrorists continue to gain control over our lives.


Posted by: takebackamerica1 | November 18, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

How much freedom will you pay for the ILLUSION of safety?

Anyone can send a bomb in cargo. Haven't you been watching the news? Bombs already almost got through in cargo.

I will not fly until I can fly without radiation scans or being molested. Count me as living in a "no fly zone" until my fourth amendment rights are respected.

Posted by: MontanaOpinion | November 18, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

They're going to have to arrest me. This is ridiculous, it's based on fear. A terrorist act will happen, no matter what we do. We can only be aware and make wise decisions; this is not a wise decision, this is a violation of our rights (fourth amendment), personal space, and self-respect.

Posted by: rebeyeh | November 18, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

They're going to have to arrest me. This is ridiculous, it's based on fear. A terrorist act will happen, no matter what we do. We can only be aware and make wise decisions; this is not a wise decision, this is a violation of our rights (fourth amendment), personal space, and self-respect.

Posted by: rebeyeh | November 18, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

They will have to arrest me.

Posted by: rebeyeh | November 18, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

We don't need al-Qaeda to make us suffer; we have TSA enhanced pat downs. Our war on terrorism has been most effectively waged against civil liberties. These enhanced techniques are outright sexual assault, a behavior officials would normally prosecute. Our government is violating and ignoring its laws.

The government must obtain a court order in order to listen to someone’s conversation, yet it thinks it can just molest its citizens by calling it an enhanced search to avoid a legal order. Show us the probable cause to molest citizens?

Apparently water boarding was not lesson enough, now the government is slowly torturing its own citizens.

We are smarter and better than this. No one wants another terrorist attack, but torturing ourselves will not make us safer. Attacks will keep being attempted. We have seen that with the package bombs most recently.

It is ordinary upstanding people who pay attention to their surroundings and inform the authorities when they see something questionable who really make us safer. If you don’t believe me, why do you think intelligence and law enforcement agencies have tip lines?

Place the burden on the enemy, not the good upstanding people just going about their daily lives. Looking at, excuse me, FEELING someone's genitals focuses us in the wrong direction. We need to be focused on the enemy, and winning hearts and minds. If we don’t, we are going to create more enemies from within. It seems appropriate to tell TSA to get their head out of someone’s @$$3$ - literally!

Terrorists can never take away our esteem, our liberty, or our zest for life, but our government can and is. TSA has played right into the hands of al-Qaeda.

Who needs terrorists when we have our own government officials to give us nightmares?

Posted by: AmericaIsBetterThanThis | November 18, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Pat downs would be fun if guys could insist on a good lookin chick to feel us up. If I am flying First Class I should expect her to give me the "happy ending"!!!!!

Posted by: wexford96c | November 19, 2010 2:04 AM | Report abuse

FOMER HOME LAND SECURITY HEADS LOBBIEST FOR FULL BODY SCANNERS. Looks like the lobbyist won http://www.nowpublic.com/world/full-body-scanner-lobby-michael-chertoff-rapiscan-2552674.html http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/The-TSA-and-the-full-body-scanner-lobby-80284847.html

Posted by: thomasuras | November 19, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Michael,

I travel frequently via air frequently for work and leisure, so I've encountered both the patdowns and scanners. I'd have to say that nothing (aside from delays) agitates me more than going through the TSA line. It is always a "game time" decision for me as to whether I will opt for the enhanced patdown or the increased radiation exposure and possiblity of my naked image exposed. Making it random doesn't help - why should I be subjected to the additional screening when the gentleman or lady next to me possibly not have? How does that make me any safer?

I understand the need for safety and I'm all for doing everything possible to stop another hijaking or attack, but there has to be a better way. There needs to be a meaningful dialogue between our government officials, the transportation industry, and fliers to come up with a solution.

Posted by: chass80 | November 19, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Getjiggly1's comments were sarcastic, folks. He is pointing out that we are just as exposed on trains, buses, subways and other public venues, but it would be crazy to impose this level of security there. And indeed, it would be.

Posted by: Itzajob | November 19, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Whatever the TSA says, I do believe that the images can be stored. Why would a company make an expensive machine and not enable the option to store an image, especially if the image is needed for legal prosecution.

Posted by: jdwalters | November 19, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm not flying until this is changed.

For hundreds of years people have given their lives to defend our freedom - allowing it to be taken away dishonors their sacrifice.

We should follow Israel's model for security.

Posted by: violet13 | November 19, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Of course this government push for full body scanners seriously intensified after the Christmas Day "underwear bomber" last year after the Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. Right?

But in a Congressional Hearing last January 27 it was revealed that the underwear bomber was being tracked and was ALLOWED to enter into the U.S.

Here's that part of the Congressional Hearing transcript:

REP. THOMPSON: Okay. So — all right. So he has a visa. So what does that do? In the process, does it revoke the visa? Does it —

MR. KENNEDY: We — as I mentioned in my statement, Mr. Chairman, if we unilaterally revoked a visa — and there was a case recently up — we have a request from a law enforcement agency to not revoke the visa. We came across information; we said this is a dangerous person. We were ready to revoke the visa. We then went to the community and said, should we revoke this visa? And one of the members — and we’d be glad to give you that out of — in private — said, please do not revoke this visa. We have eyes on this person. We are following this person who has the visa for the purpose of trying roll up an entire network, not just stop one person. So we will revoke the visa of any individual who is a threat to the United States, but we do take one preliminary step. We ask our law enforcement and intelligence community partners, do you have eyes on this person, and so you want us to let this person proceed under your surveillance so that you may potentially break a larger plot?

REP. THOMPSON: Well, I think that the point that I’m trying to get at is, is this just another box you’re checking, or is that some security value to add in that box, to the list?

MR. KENNEDY: The intelligence and law enforcement community tell us that they believe in certain cases that there’s a higher value of them following this person so they can find his or her co-conspirators and roll up an entire plot against the United States, rather than simply knock out one soldier in that effort.
-------------------------------------------------

Just for a source verification here is the link to the actual audio/video of this Congressional Hearing. The above verbal exchange starts at the 34:12 point into the meeting. LINK: http://homeland.edgeboss.net/wmedia/homeland/chs/flight253.wvx

Posted by: Cincy911Truth | November 20, 2010 3:29 PM | 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 1:45 AM | Report abuse

I had already had promised my family in New England last year that I would be there this Christmas so I did not have a choice but to travel. After hearing about the new procedures I was adamant: I would not fly until the TSA was completely abolished. My solution was to take a train up and get a ride back.

Another reason I would fear taking a plane is if my partner had to go though the nude-o-scope or got an "enhanced pat down". I would resist what was happening to her. Yes, I have no doubt would be restrained and unable to do anything. Yes, I would probably end up in jail and on the no-fly list. Yes, I would most likely have to pay a fine. It would be nothing though compared to the therapy bills if I allowed that to happen and I did not try to stop it.

Posted by: karaharkins | November 22, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"Whatever the TSA says, I do believe that the images can be stored. Why would a company make an expensive machine and not enable the option to store an image, especially if the image is needed for legal prosecution.

Posted by: jdwalters | November 19, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse"

Exactly. Yet another thing about which the government is, again, lying. It is only a matter of time before either the computer system is hacked into or a disgruntled/titillated employee makes these images available somewhere online. Just wait.

Posted by: linguist64 | November 22, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

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