John Pistole gets his knickers in a twist — again

TSA Administrator John Pistole seems to have a thing for underpants.

I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that he’s the one who instituted sexual assault as a condition of getting on a plane in this country.

As we have detailed so many times, Pistole doesn’t flinch from over-exaggerating threats (which we all know are out there anyway) or outright lying. And he’s at it again.

At the Aspen Institute, a forum that, under the guise of intellectual discourse, gives blowhards a chance to strut, Pistole once again ginned up the dire threats facing us all from explosive underwear.

How does this man walk around in life, afraid as he clearly is of tighty-whities blowing up left and right?

Pistole regaled his audience with tales of a “new underwear bomb” supposedly being developed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

TSA equipment ‘wasn’t calibrated to detect [the device], and all of our 800 bomb-sniffing dogs had not been trained for that specific type,’ Pistole said of the recently discovered bomb.

So he admits that the TSA’s pricey, corporation-enriching machines won’t do squat to prevent these bombs, yet we still have to be subjected to the former in order to escape the latter. Sure, makes sense to me.

Since Pistole never misses an opportunity to exploit the scourge of panty-bombs, to a breathless audience only too eager to lap up his supposed expertise, let me reprint here a paragraph from a previous post containing facts that Pistole neglects to mention:

. . . 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.

And let me repeat, again, what we all already know: yes, there are threats out there. Yes, there are people trying to come up with ever more clever ways of blowing things up. We get it. But stripping and groping us at every turn, and destroying our civil liberties, isn’t going to mitigate those threats.

If you went by Pistole’s logic, assuming he has any, you’d have to be in favor of body-cavity searches for everyone before they get on a plane. While 1/3 of Americans are fine with this, the rest of us have more sense. As do, praise be, many of the commenters to the original article, who ridicule Pistole for his incessant fear mongering.

(Cross-posted at ABombazine.)

UPDATE: Well, well, well, turns out this is a story from last year, though the Daily Mail is just reporting it now. Which means that Pistole has been frothing over panty-bombs all this time, yet has already admitted that the TSA’s procedures do nothing to prevent them. So why, then, do people still have to go through these procedures??

We know why. It’s obedience training.

  • What you do see quite a shared reality and what may have previously helped us with a few more interesting things.

  • Detch57

    I have an idea of why it is that TSA wants to keep the mailing address and name of every Transportation Security Director secret, but I think that under FOIA, that we citizens are entitled to know this information, but before you send me over to file a FOIA request, note that I have already done so, and it is still – many days later – unanswered.

    What I am encountering with SMF in Sacramento, is that there is a very coordinated effort on the part of TSA for keeping information from Kimberley Siro, the Federal Security Director. I had to go through 5 people and then simply gave into my frustration and called my Congressional Representative to get the mailing address for TSA in Sacramento, CA. They want me to send things by e-mail, and that’s just fine for anything I would write on a post card. Most citizens do not know that e-mail is as public as a billboard. The TSA offers no encryption for e-mail, and you can be absolutely assured that many people will read any e-mail sent whether it is intended for their eyes or not. When one does not want something public, then Postal Regulations still offer some – but not much – protection and/or privacy for communications. All phone conversations are recorded when you call TSA, and every passenger is scanned to the skin and I do not for a moment believe that images of our naked bodies are deleted when we leave the screening area. So this absolute disregard for privacy is very consistent with wanting us to send any communication by e-mail.

    I was told that TSA at SMF had received 2 letters from me, which is a lie because one of the letters was in my right hand when they told me that. It may be the case that they had two e-mails. This makes me think that perhaps they did not just delete my electronic communication upon seeing my name. I still have a great deal of confidence that Kimberley Siro has not read what I sent, but only that her staff has. Still, my complaint is that we should be able to contact every FSD at every airport any time we want to especially over abuses and out-of-control situations.

    I was maimed by a TSA agent the last time I flew, and I have been screaming about it ever since. Still TSA takes months to deal with something and all I got so far, was a series of insults from TSA’s own James Smith at SMF, a brief conversation with Kimberley Siro, a couple of telephone calls from the TSA Ombudsman, and a single non-auto-response from TSA telling me to contact these other agencies to file a criminal complaint, and threat of imprisonment for being angry and upset at not only the pain and scarring I suffered when they ripped open my surgical wound and dislodged my drainage tube on the 14th of June but the abuse I am still dealing with. It’s a sad state of affairs that one cannot say something without being threatened with imprisonment and a worse state of affairs when TSA can scar and mutilate you, blame you for doing so, and then threatening to have you prosecuted. If I did to them what they did to me, I would certainly be sitting behind bars somewhere, but since I am a mere citizen, I am threatened to be prosecuted. What’s wrong with this picture? It’s called “blame the victim” and it is a popular sport among Federal agencies.

    In the meantime, I would appreciate any support for my plight. TSA’s address in Sacramento is

    Kimberley Siro, Federal Security Director

    4540 Duckhorn Drive Suite 200

    Sacramento, CA 95834


    • Susan Richart

      Detch, you need a lawyer to do your fighting for you.

      Can you tell us more about what happened to you? I am going to assume that you told them you had a sore area due to recent surgery and then they pressed on it extra hard, opening the wound and dislodging the drain. Am I close to being correct?

      SMF used to be such a friendly little airport; it’s sad to see this happening and sadder still to note that the TSA at SMF seems to be out of control on several issues.

  • TSAisTerrorism

    A note on the update to this story, which indicates this is a year-old story recycled. It’s not that the Daily Mail is just now reporting a year-old story, it’s that Herr Pistole himself recycled this story.

    Based on my Internet research, the Aspen Security Forum takes place every year around this time. This year it was held July 17 – 20, 2013. According to their website. “The 2013 Aspen Security Forum is presented by the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Program in partnership with The New York Times and CNN’s Security Clearance blog. ASF 2013 is proudly sponsored by Academi, IBM, Microsoft, Raytheon, Target, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.”

    The story of the “evil genius” “Underwear 2”, who is essentially an intelligence community patsy anyway, first surfaced on Bloomberg on May 21, 2012. And Johnny Boy, not one to give up an opportunity to fearmonger, trotted out Underwear 2 at 2012’s Aspen Security Forum. The facts were essentially the same as we now know them: improved detonator, upgraded explosives,. TSA unable to detect it using ETD, scanners, or gropings. IOW, TSA is useless. At the time, though, Pistole was scant on specifics.

    And now, Pistole spoke at this year’s forum, and it would appear that Time published Pistole’s rehashed story on July 19, 2013. Only now Pistole provides details: “a new type of explosive we had never seen. According to Time, “The use of a new explosive has been previously reported, but Pistole continued with less familiar details about Underwear 2 that reflect the growing sophistication of Asiri’s sinister craftsmanship. He said the device included redundancy, by mean of two different syringes to mix liquid explosive compounds–’a double initiation system,’ apparently a response to a failure of Abdulmutallab’s initiation process. In essence, Pistole said, ‘they made two devices.’

    Finally, Pistole said, the new bomb was encased in simple household caulk in an effort to trap vapors that might alert any bomb-sniffing machines or dogs that did happen to be capable of identifying the explosive.”

    So, still, TSA is completely worthless. But the kicker is in the closing comments. To wit:“They want to show that we can spend billions and billions of dollars,” Pistole told Ross, “and we still can’t stop them.”

    And what’s the narrative here? The Senate has just threatened to cut TSA’s budget. Ergo, TSA needs More MONEY! because Terrorists! adn Everywhere! and We! Can’t! Stop! Them! With! What! We! Have!

    Indeed, this story is a year old. But it is trotted out for a second showing by Chief Pervert Pistole. It seems clear to me 2 things: 1) TSA is totally irrelevant. If the very worst thing we have is a more than year old plot, then these “terrorists” really aren’t as prolific, talented, or effective as we’re led to believe and 2) the body scanners and gropings are as totally ineffective as we’ve always known.

    Yes, it is a rehash, but not because the news media screwed up and reported on a year-old story. It’s a rehash because Dear John wants to shove fear in your face!

    • Thanks, TSAisT. You should be writing for TSA News!

      • TSAisTerrorism

        Aww, shucks. And quit my day job? Oh, right, I don’t have one at present! 😉

  • Frank Clarke

    I’m surprised my prediction that we’d someday be traveling naked and anesthetized in cargo containers hasn’t yet come true.

    • Frank, we’re almost there. And plenty of Americans would be just fine with it.

  • RonBonner

    Do I have to wash them first?

    • Susan Richart


  • When my hometown, St. Petersburg, tried to seduce the White Sox away from Chicago back in the day, a local newspaper there had everyone send their socks to our City manager. I’m not suggesting anyone give up her pricey La Perla undies, but maybe a campaign of shipping tighty-whities and granny-panties to Herr Pistole might eventually have the effect of keeping him out of the underwear we’re actually wearing. What a creep.

    • Daisiemae

      I think you are onto something. Paula Deen fans are sending empty butter wrappers to Food Network. Why don’t we send underwear to Pissy?

      How can we organize this?

      • TSAisTerrorism

        Oh, this is brilliant!

        As a kindred spirit, you know I go through roughly a stick of butter a day. How did I not know about this?!?!?!?! I am totally sending one it.

        Of course, I’m not so much a Paula Deen fan, as I have a great affinity for her. Though she is from Savannah, and my family is originally from Kentucky, you know that the accidents won’t match. However, Deen sounds uncannily like one of my aunts. It is my greatest joy to turn on her show during my afternoon couch nap and slip into sweet dreams thinking that Aunt Debby is making me some great feast for when I awaken.

        • Daisiemae

          You can find it on the We Support Paula Facebook page or

          But we have to make sure we don’t get mixed up and send butter to Pissy and underwear to Food Network!

          I’m not quite certain what Food Network would do with the underwear, but I know Pissy would find something really perverted to do with all that butter!

          • Susan Richart

            Oh, Lordy, I’m choking with laughter!

          • RonBonner

            Cavity checks?

          • Daisiemae

            Could prove a little messy. But hey! What’s a little mess as long as we’re safe?

            Maybe he’ll discover a way to make popcorn while he’s at it. All good theatre needs popcorn, right?

    • Chris Bray

      This would cause me heartfelt joy. I’m going for a long, hot walk before I strip my underwear and put them in the mail.

      • Not sure how to go about it, but here’s a potential tag line:

        The TSA: They’re obsessed with our underwear–so let ’em have it!

        • frostysnowman

          I’ll send mine in, too!