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Airport Security Protests Fizzle and Inspections Continue as They Must

Airport Security Protests Fizzle and Inspections Continue as They Must

Protests against airline security procedures did not materialize last week despite a media campaign in which a variety of hopeful instigators clamored that the public would not tolerate the invasion of privacy.  While the new procedures — x-ray technology that sees through clothes and pat downs that include private parts — are bound to make people uncomfortable, the vast majority of passengers accept that the threat of attack is serious and the security measures reasonable.

The sniping at the Obama administration and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and claims that TSA procedures are unconstitutional on the one hand and misguided on the other don’t hold up to scrutiny.  First of all, flying is optional.  We choose to do it by paying for a ticket and accepting the rules that go with the privilege of flying.  The government, rather than the private airline companies, conduct security operations, but no one is forcing passengers to get in line.  Second, flying is not something you do in the confines of your home, where you would expect the most 4th amendment protection from government search and seizure.  The question of whether it’s reasonable to conduct these admittedly invasive searches in an airport security line depends on the level of protection needed and the availability of other options.

While the U.S. has been lucky that the shoe bomber, underwear bomber and other attempts have failed to bring down a plane, there is a clear threat to aviation security.  The procedures are the best that experts can come up with at this moment.  No doubt less invasive, and more effective, machines are on the drawing board.

Another argument is that the scanners and pat downs can’t stop every conceivable threat.  True, but the new procedures increase the chances of a successful inspection for dangerous materials.  They take more time, they see more, and they make it more difficult to plan and carry out an attack.  That is enough to justify their use, even if something slips through.

The people in aviation security from front line screeners to administration decision makers deserve credit for doing a difficult job where a single mistake can cost many lives and the enemy actively tries to exploit errors and weaknesses.

Marc Seltzer is also a contributor to SupremePodcast.com, a weekly U.S. Supreme Court case review podcast.  A complete collection of all Marc Seltzer’s writing and podcasts is available at marcseltzer.com.

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11:14PM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

It has not cought one mOslem so far. What a big waste of time

11:00PM PST on Dec 13, 2010

Noted

12:48AM PST on Dec 12, 2010

On the other hand, if TSA didn't hire all of the people of the caliber they seem to hire, they'd be running around loose on the street all the time, how would you like that?

12:46AM PST on Dec 12, 2010

I guess if one really decides not to fly, there are always the cruise ships, what with rampant crime and legionnaire's disease, floating around aimlessly for a while with no utilities, and about the only thing good I've seen about a cruise ship is that one has never crashed at any airport in the world! I think I'll just sit her in my rocking chair on my primitive island in the pacific and laugh my ancient. wrinkled butt off!

9:17AM PST on Dec 10, 2010

Stupid sheeple. The need for security is purely contrived. The power elite pull the strings and dummies wobble.

7:38PM PST on Dec 9, 2010

People realize the need for security!

1:24PM PST on Dec 9, 2010

Sounds like it would be a lot more sanitary to have sex with the TSA agent instead.

Boy, if they see this, they'll probably make that a 3rd option.

Thanks for that more detailed scanner info Debbie.

Regards...

8:59AM PST on Dec 9, 2010

That health department confirmed one other case of wound infection of this rare bacteria experienced by another passenger that passed through the checkpoint after her. Pistole has not put requirements into the procedures that agents are required to change gloves. The gloves are there to protect agents from diseases..but not to protect passengers. This volunteer is a ICU nurse in her profession. She said that if any hospital, clinic or doctor allowed nurses, CNA or doctors to touch people in the genital area and not change gloves AND use hand sanitizers after the exam, they would be severely fined, put on probabion and then closed. They also could be sued by any patient harmed. Not the TSA..you cannot sue our government agency (as she found out from an attorney). She can't sue the agent because he was following proper procedures. Pistole knows that he is lying to the public about the radiation, is refusing to even look at the damage from emotional and health problems and refuses to acknowledge that the scans have been put onto the intervnet and on facebook by different agents competing for the best or worst looking passenger. It is criminal what they are doing. I wish I knew how to write a petition (a good one..I mean). I have been asking everyone who agrees with me to call the TSA administration, write to President Obama and Congress and call every airline to complain and demand changes. It would be better to get organized into one large group working together.

8:49AM PST on Dec 9, 2010

A few days after the flight, she began to have some problems and went to her doctor. he found that she had pelvic lice. She is single and having no relations with anyone. She was shocked. She finally called the airport and they "refused comment" and she then called the city's health department who said to not worry, it was easily treatable and was probably just from the gloves the agents were working. She suddenly realized that as she stood nervously in the line and watched other people going through the pat downs that not once did the agents ever change the gloves. When they put their hands inside the front of your pants and underwear, they go down all the way to front of your genitals. Our centers contact health departments across the country in various cities to go and just observe the actions of the agents. Of the 46 that have done so, so far only two have ever seen any agent change gloves between searches (and those were only certain individual agents). This creates a health risk for people being searched. Another woman (volunteer this time) had hernia surgery and was recovering when she had to fly to the bedside of her dying father. She was searched so roughly that the incision broke open (after telling them about the incision and surgery). She developed a severe infection of the wound two days after the flight, was hospitalized and the bacteria was a very strange one. She would have had to come in direct fluid contact with another infected wound to be contaminated

8:39AM PST on Dec 9, 2010

From the very beginning of the development of the machines, groups of doctors have requested independent varification of the actual amounts of radiation from every scan. They have been refused. Postole likes to use the concept that passengers will experience lass radiation than two minutes in the airplane in flight. My husband just shakes his head because what he is saying is that there is and will be a huge range of amounts of radiation. If two people fly two different directions on any given day, the amount of solar radiation they will receive will widely vary (depending on the thickness of the ozone layer at that point). It is not constant. It the same two people fly the same route but at different times of day, again it will not be the same (differences in sun spot activity changes moment by moment). So Pistole is actually telling the public that the amounts will be variable. A third safety issue beside radiation is health issues. I saw a woman at our center last week. She flew out of Chicago's airport right after the new changes went into affect on Nov. 22. She went through the scanner with only a T-shirt (no bra) and sweat pants to ensure that she would not need a pat down. But according to the agent, there was an alarm. She requested a female agent and privacy and was refused. Two male agents held her by the arms and a third searched her. Totally triggered a PTSD flashback of her gang rape from 15 years ago.

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