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)