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)

Nathaniel Rich in the NYT on scanners, TSA’s coercive tactics

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Novelist Nathaniel Rich has written an op-ed for the New York Times on his refusal to go through the strip-search scanners (although it strikes me as inappropriate that the op-ed appears as part of the “Anxiety” series, as if it’s about some quaint neurosis instead of an important civil liberties concern). Continue reading Nathaniel Rich in the NYT on scanners, TSA’s coercive tactics

Yes, there’s a better way to screen air travelers

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If you look enviously at the TSA Pre-Check line whenever you’re at the airport — where pre-cleared air travelers breeze through the checkpoint without having to be scanned, remove their shoes or face a humiliating “enhanced” pat-down — then join the club.
Continue reading Yes, there’s a better way to screen air travelers

Why are there so many TSA puff stories?


On any given day there will usually be several articles about the TSA in the media. This is typically a mix of stories on yet another arrested TSA screener or press releases fed to lazy reporters by the TSA announcing that they found a lighter in the shape of a hand grenade and protected America from secondhand smoke. Continue reading Why are there so many TSA puff stories?

Déjà vu: crimes, thefts, and TSA “standards”


Yesterday we reported on the latest TSA theft. If it sounded familiar, in more ways than one, it isn’t just a case of déjà vu. The only thing more consistent than TSA thefts in recent years is the agency’s hollow statements about TSA worker integrity and agency standards. Continue reading Déjà vu: crimes, thefts, and TSA “standards”