TSA’s John Pistole shovels the sh*t yet again

If you’re of a literary bent, you may already know the following statement. It was famously said by writer Mary McCarthy of fellow writer Lillian Hellman:

“Every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.”

McCarthy said it in 1979 on the Dick Cavett Show. Hellman sued McCarthy; Hellman lost.

I often repeat this great line when I’m talking about TSA Administrator John Pistole.

In the latest propaganda extravaganza by Pistole, he trots out so many whoppers I have a hard time keeping track. Then again, they’re the same things he’s been repeating for years, ever since he implemented the Reign of Molestation. He also dances around questions and doesn’t answer them, the same way he’s been doing for years. But let’s take a look at a few passages anyway:

QThat’s the basis for the PreCheck program?

A. It’s based on the notion that the vast majority, if not everybody on any given day, almost 1.8 million people that we screen every day, are not terrorists. They simply want to get from Point A to Point B safely. We started with the elite frequent fliers. Because we knew from intelligence that they were less likely to be a possible terrorist.

Gee, most people aren’t terrorists? No kidding? Wow, I’m so glad you told us that! Because I thought The Terrorists Are Everywhere!That’s certainly what the TSA’s procedures are predicated on, and what you and your ilk keep telling us to hype up a state of fear. That’s how you get people to applaud their own abuse. So why are you now telling us that most of us aren’t terrorists? I’m so confused.

Notice that Pistole said “we started with the elite frequent flyers.” Do you, gentle reader, believe that decision was “because we knew from intelligence that they were less likely to be a possible terrorist”? I don’t.

I believe it’s because the airlines don’t want to piss off their cash cows, and frequent flyers are exactly that. As I’ve explained so many times, the airlines are complicit. The airlines are complicit in the TSA’s abuse. But they don’t want to push it too far, or more people will stop flying. So they protect their precious frequent flyers. The rest of you peons are on your own.

Pistole touts Pre-Check, which, again as we’ve detailed so many times, is an extortion racket. And one that doesn’t even work as advertised. You’d get better results with the Mafia.

QWill you be expanding the program beyond the current 40 airports?

A. We started with the 20 largest airports. It doesn’t make any business sense to be in the smallest ones. We’re at the point that we will only add airports selectively if there is a business case that can justify it. But we have a goal to have 25 percent of all travelers in the United States by the end of the year go through some form of expedited physical screening.

How telling: “It doesn’t make any business sense to be in the smaller ones.” Of course, because this is about business, not security. It doesn’t pay to let The Little People in on the Pre-Check boondoggle. They and their podunk airports aren’t worth it to the airlines.

QWill you ever lift the ban on liquids or allow people to keep their shoes on as the Europeans do?

A. We know because of Richard Reid [the so-called shoe bomber] in December 2001 that nonmetallic explosives can be concealed in shoes or in underwear. That is still a viable threat, as we’ve seen twice in the last three years.

Ah, yes, let’s trot out Richard Reid and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab again! So handy when you want to promote hysteria and paranoia. Tell me, Mr. Pistole, the day somebody tries to light his hair on fire, will we all then have to be shaved before we board a plane? After all, can’t be too safe!

The NYT reporter didn’t ask Pistole about body cavity searches. That’s too bad, but then we already know that 1/3 of Americans would be just fine with body cavity searches, so I guess there was no need to ask him about that.

The reporter also didn’t ask about the strip-search scanners and their notorious failure rates or invite Pistole to follow the money to explain why these expensive, ineffective, privacy-busting machines are everywhere.

QDo you worry that all the layers of security in place over the years — the liquids ban, the shoes — are too reactive and backward-looking and don’t give you enough leeway to look at future threats?

A. We don’t want terrorists to repeat something they’ve attempted or been successful doing in the past. All you have to do is look at the past three plots attempted against Western aviation.

Notice that Pistole simply doesn’t answer the question. But he doesn’t miss a chance to bring up those supposed “three plots” again, none of which had a chance in hell of bringing down a plane: one was highly questionable, another was absurd and easily thwarted by passengers, and another was revealed to have been engineered by the CIA.

QStill some say what T.S.A. does is just security theater.

A. I strongly disagree with that assessment. Every morning, I start with a classified intelligence brief. That’s the starting point of the highest risk. This whole notion is dispelled by the fact we still get on average four weapons at checkpoints and 2,000 small knives.

Oh, noes! Not the knives again! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! “2,000 small knives.” Heaven help us! Forget the fact that knives are getting on planes left and right, and always have been. Nah, why let little niggling things like facts get in the way? Tell me, Pistole, how do you walk through an Ace Hardware or Home Depot without having a heart attack?

Read the rest of it if you have the stomach.

(Photo: Capt’ Gorgeous/Flickr Creative Commons)

  • Sporty_Teacher

    He doesn’t even answer the first question!

    Q. The experience of going through airport security has become a long, annoying, sometimes arbitrary, and often inconsistent experience. Why is that?

    A. When I got here, there was still in large part a
    one-size-fits-all approach in place. Meaning whether you’re a 200,000 mile-a-year flier or a once-a-year traveler that knows nothing about aviation security, we basically treated you the same. And I frankly didn’t see that as being sustainable long term. What we’ve been working on in earnest over the past two years is what we call risk-based security. Our job is not to eliminate risk but to try to manage or mitigate risk.

    ****He seems to think that he inherited a problem from his predecessor and HIS decision to move away from a “one-size-fits-all approach” is such an awesome idea that everybody is going to love. Um….no. The rapid expansion of body scanners and the increase in “enhanced pat downs” happened under HIS watch and that’s what passengers HATE. So in a way, he’s kind of patting himself on the back for coming up with a *brilliant* idea to help alleviate the suffering HIS own policies have created.

    I’m sorry, but unless I can get on a plane without the TSA thinking I’m a terrorist while maintaining complete control over my own body, then whatever Pistole comes up with will still be a “one-size-fits-all” approach. I personally had no problems when the one-size-fits-all approach involved metal detectors.

    Here’s another one that leaves me scratching my head:

    Q. But still the tolerance of the public is not infinite. Passengers could stop flying as much. Congress could step in and say the T.S.A. is overdoing it. Do you keep this in mind or do you not think about it?

    A. Sure, I think one of T.S.A.’s jobs is to promote the
    free movement of people and goods with the best security. I didn’t see the one-size-fits-all as being sustainable. Clearly treating everybody as a potential terrorist, I didn’t see this as being sustainable.

    ***What kind of a response is that??? Yet again, he fails to answer the question but has no problem bringing up the whole “one-size-fits-all” nonsense again.

    I get so discouraged when I read BS like this and lose hope that anything will ever be done about the travesties going on at our airports. I have stopped flying, write my legislators, talk to people, etc. and then I read this, and I get so frustrated.

    downs” have happened under HIS watch. And that’s what flyers hate. Flyers hate HIS new rules.

    • Sporty, indeed. As I said, “everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.”

  • Some factual content for consideration.

    1) All “plots” – Reid, Umar, and the double-agent who requested a new bomb- are all outside the United States.

    2) About 54% of passengers do not go through scanners, so technically 54% do not have their underwear checked….over 325 million passengers a year. Reporter did not ask the correct question about why this gaping hole has resulted in no issues.

    3) Pre-Check. I don’t believe they have proof that frequent fliers are any less risky than non-frequent flyers. The Phillipines 1997 bomb was set by an Al Queda bomber who later was involved in one of the two World Trade Center attacks. He frequently flew airlines. Reid travelled through Israel a few months prior to his failed attempt with a non-working bomb.

    In short, people who don’t fly seem to be safer risk.

    4) The follow-up on Europe procedures should be “Why is the US not brave enough to allow shoes and liquids like Europe, a continent that sees much more terrorist attacks than the US?”

    Well, nauseating as usual. Pass the barf bag….we are hitting turbulence.

    • TSAisTerrorism

      And again! why do we continue to ignore the greatest threat to aviation. The greatest threat to any security apparatus no matter how onerous or benign is the inside threat. ALWAYS the inside threat. Why are we consistently ignore it?

      • TSAisT, because the United Sheeple of America want it that way.

        Someday, if/when something blows up or somebody gets killed because of somebody behind the scenes, or at the sardine-can checkpoint itself, as we’ve pointed out hundreds of times, there’ll be a great hue and cry: “Oh, noes! How did this ever happen?! We never saw it coming!”

        And so it goes.

        • TSAisTerrorism

          I know this.

          You know this.

          TestJeff knows this.

          I put my question out so hopefully some of those people will start to ask that question.

          Pipe dream, I know, but I do what I can to keep from going crazy reading “interviews” like this one.

  • frostysnowman

    Gah! I’d rather punch him in the stomach.