TSA to force people through scanners

As many people have discovered from the latest news, the Department of Homeland Security has suddenly decreed publicly what anyone with reasonable observational skills knows they’ve been planning from the get-go:  that the TSA will, at whim, force passengers through the strip-search scanners.

I repeat that this has been the plan from the beginning. I said so at a now-defunct group blog where I used to write called Cogitamus, long before TSA News existed. Those who made predictions to the contrary have been proven wrong.

You have highly expensive technology — never mind that it’s been proven, repeatedly, to be ineffective — combined with a determined fearmongering campaign that induces people to believe there’s a terrorist hiding around every corner, along with five years’ worth of trying to force people into scanners, and you’re going to let passengers opt out?

Nope.

It was only a matter of time, and now that time is here.

The news reports on this development quote the DHS directive (AIT stands for “advanced imaging technology”):

“While passengers may generally decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening, TSA may direct mandatory AIT screening for some passengers.”

Some passsengers. Which ones? Whichever the TSA decides. On whim, which is how they decide everything. (At least that part isn’t new.)

Run into an agent who woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Or just a power-tripper with a bad attitude? As before, they can make your life miserable. And to repeat, for the umpteenth time, just because you go through the scanner doesn’t mean you won’t also be pulled aside for a grope. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, and never have been, as the TSA itself admits. So tired of hearing people lament that they were shocked to discover this at the airport.

Who do you think will be singled out for extra scrutiny, in addition to the random unlucky, that is? Use your imagination. (But remember — we don’t live in a police state! We’re free!)

Since the TSA has already defied several court orders pertaining to the scanners, I can’t imagine that the lawsuits that are coming over this latest policy will persuade them to do anything differently.

Oh, and the incessant, tedious credulousness of the media in reporting this development is also predictable. USA Today, Time Magazine, Fox, you name it — all are reporting that the scanners are good detecting hidden objects, when this has been proven to be false time and time again. Just one example, from SlashGear:

No more detailed explanation for the change is given. However, it seems likely that the scanners’ ability to single out metallic objects hidden around the body – and that might have been missed by a physical search from a TSA agent – is seen as invaluable for whoever security services believe presents a greater-than-normal risk.

Wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The scanners have a shit “ability to single out metallic objects hidden around the body.”

Congratulations, America. You’ve been lining up like sheep for the past five years, acquiescing to anything and everything the TSA has been doing, essentially answering, when they ask you to jump, “How high?” And now they’re demanding that you jump even higher.

Merry Christmas!

(Cross-posted at ABombazine)

Ft. Myers TV station airs accidentally accurate TSA logo

Gotta love this!

WBBH in Ft. Myers, Florida, apparently aired a report with a tweaked DHS/TSA logo behind the speaker. Instead of the letters “TSA” for, of course, “Transportation Security Administration,” only the letters “TA” appear. They represent, in case it has to be explained, “Tits and Ass”; and depicted on each side, if you look closely, are breasts and buttocks.

Thanks to our writer Amy Alkon for the story, which she got via Kevin Eck at Adweek. Hats off to the clever person who tweaked the logo, though I do have to wonder if it actually aired this way or if the image was changed afterwards for this still shot. Either way, the tweaked logo is a more accurate representation of the TSA!

James Bovard on the TSA & assorted comments

UPDATED BELOW.  

Do go over to Jim Bovard’s column at the Washington Times not only to read about his recent TSA experience (he and I have been in touch by email for a few years), but also to read the comment thread, where we have this wondrous gem of Aristotelian logic and Platonic beauty. It’s brought to you by “Harry Huntington”:

It is unfortunate that just as we face a heightened risk for terrorism this paper displays poor judgment to print an unsupported attack on TSA. TSA is one of the most effective agencies in the US government. How do we know this: since TSA was started there have been zero terrorist attacks on US airlines. That result is amazing. If planes were being bombed and hijacked there would be some reason to complain. That is not happening. We should be grateful that TSA is as good as it is and ask TSA to be even more vigilant. We also should consider using TSA to check all other forms of mass transit in the US: trains and busses. We likely also should use TSA to screen all cars traveling across state lines.

Ah, Harry. How lovely you are!

My response, by the way:

“TSA is one of the most effective agencies in the US government.”

Ha ha ha ha! Thank you, bless you, for giving me a hearty laugh this morning. I won’t bother presenting all the years’ worth of empirical evidence proving you wrong, because plenty of research shows that empirical evidence only causes people to dig their heels in further. I will only repost your comment far and wide so that others may share the joy.

I urge you all to pile on. (Warning that the page is full of annoying pop-up ads).

Photo courtesy of James Bovard

UPDATE: Honestly, I can’t tell anymore if “Harry” is serious or pulling our leg. After looking through his Disqus profile, I could go either way. But I think he’s being sarcastic. So hats off to you, Harry, and apologies for taking you seriously. You have to understand that we run into people all the time who would like nothing better than to expand the TSA and institute searches outside our front doors. And they’re not being sarcastic.