Lars Larson: The TSA issue keeps getting bigger and bigger

There are so many different ways you can take this controversy. The fact is this, America needs a safe system for getting people on and off airplanes. That system should include profiling. It should not include special exceptions for Muslims or anyone else.

It should include the use of the best technology including those brand new scanners that can see under your clothing. If you don’t want somebody seeing under your clothing, you may have to go for the patdown search. If you don’t like that, don’t get on the plane.

This is very, very simple stuff. Start with the premise there are bad people out there who want to blow up Americans and the planes they ride on. We need to keep those people off the airplanes. They are going to use every trick in the book they possibly can.

It makes perfect sense. But, for Janet Napolitano to say patdowns are not intrusive, well, let’s see her take one of those patdowns and say that again with a straight face on the camera.

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Posted by at 06:28 | Posted in Measure 37 | 48 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Rupert in Springfield

    Thia is one of those areas where previous government behavior is affecting the current trust of the situation.

    First of all, why in the world would anybody opt out of a scanner for the pat down? Well, the answer is they simply dont believe the government doesn’t store the scanner files and that the results of the scan aren’t lurid.

    Why don’t they believe the government when they are reassured that the scans are not stored and are not lurid? Probably because Janet Napolitano is not exactly the picture of competence when she assures people this is the case.

    This entire thing could have been handled far more competently and the reason it was not is because we have a dopey person heading up an agency with a dopey rules of engagement – non offense first, security second.

    It started with the absurd decision not to profile. This lead to 20-40 year old Muslim males waltzing through airport security while granny and the kids got extended searches. The lack of profiling set the tone, people knew security was taking a back seat to something and in this case that something looked like idiocy.

    Now we have the inane decision of allowing opting out of the scanners for the pat down. Well who in the hell made the decision to have an opt out? Last time I checked I couldn’t opt out of the metal detector, I couldn’t opt out of having my bags X-ray’d. Did anyone run this as a pilot program, say at a couple of airports?

    The answer is airport security has been handled in a ham handed fashion for years. This is just the latest sillyness. The decision should have been made to either use full body scanners or not. No opt out.

    Maybe someone should just sit down with Janet and explain to her a pretty basic rule about security. You have two choices from the get go – you can profile, or you can not profile. If you elect not to profile, then you must extend security procedures to everyone. If you do not do that, then you really are just playing pretend.

    This is a real simple problem. First, disallow opt out. Second, you fire on the spot any TSA person who is caught retraining a scan, or even joking around about anyone they have scanned. This is what would be done to anyone manning the dressing rooms in a department store, so it is hardly harsh. If the TSA union complains, laugh at them. Plenty of people out of work, probably not too hard to work a scanner, bye bye joking TSA employee.

  • buddeshepherd

    There are several issues involved here.
    First of all, people do not trust the government. They don’t believe that the government would tell them the truth on the safety of the scanners. They don’t believe the government will not keep the scans. Many people don’t really believe you can blow up an airplane with that small a bomb.
    The absolute ineptitude of the bombers has become a joke. The shoe bomber? The underpants bomber? It is like a Saturday Night Live skit. Next it will be a shark delivering a candygram. Even the printer cartridge bomb was kind of a joke. Was it labeled ACME and addressed to the Roadrunner?
    Then there is the whole bumbling nightmare of the TSA.
    They all have that attitude of self importance that comes from the special protection of being a Federal Employee, and you know they should be serving fries at Burgerville.
    The TSA and the scanner fiasco has become the poster for US government ineptness. It is intrusive and probably ineffective.
    There will never be another hijacking with a pocket knife because passengers will beat the crap out of the hijacker, yet we can’t take nail files on the plane. There will never be another shoe bomber, it didn’t work, yet we must take off our shoes at the airport. There will never be another underwear bomb, it didn’t work, yet we have nude scanner. The TSA is woefully behind the curve and has become pathetic.
    There has to be a better way!

  • Ricky

    Has anyone tried profiling like Israel does? It seems to work.
    Plus, I always ask for the girl to do the love pats on me.
    Makes flying a great experience again.

  • Kingston

    I hear Israel does not use these scanners

  • valley p

    Rupert writes: “This lead to 20-40 year old Muslim males waltzing through airport security while granny and the kids got extended searches. ”

    No one “waltzes” through airline security. Not even the flight staff. And why do you assume bin Laden is not smart enough to figure out that if we rely on profiling “Muslims” that he can’t then pack granny and the kids with explosives. A good number of the suicide bombers in Israel were young, teenage girls and women.

    And how do you profile a Muslim exactly? They are not all dressed in “Muslim garb”. They are not all from the Middle east. They don’t wear Korans around their necks. They are not all named Abdullah. They don’t all walk around shouting Death to America, especially when in airports. Assuming one is bent on suicide, do we think they would make their identity obvious to us?

    budde…writes: “The absolute ineptitude of the bombers has become a joke. The shoe bomber? The underpants bomber? It is like a Saturday Night Live skit. Next it will be a shark delivering a candygram. Even the printer cartridge bomb was kind of a joke. Was it labeled ACME and addressed to the Roadrunner?”

    Now that is funny stuff. Good work bud. “Candygram for Mongo. Mongo like candy!”

    • Founding Fathers

      Right, VP, and how do you profile people like Tim McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, and the Turnidges? Oh, yeah, they’re all right-wingers. So should all right-wingers be subject to pat-downs?

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Right, VP, and how do you profile people like Tim McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, and the Turnidges? Oh, yeah, they’re all right-wingers. So should all right-wingers be subject to pat-downs?

        You really are out of the loop aren’t you?

        You wouldn’t have needed to profile McVeigh – All you would have needed to do was simply pick up the phone.

        Hello – FBI here

        HI, FBI, this is the NRA, we have a nut case, his name is Tim McVeigh, he is planning on blowing up some buildings and we are worried about him, you might want to look into it.

        OK – Sorry, I just answer the phones, cant really do anything for you.

        Hello – FBI?

        Yes, this is the FBI, what can I do for you?

        Hi, well, this is the Michigan militia, we have this guy Tim McVeigh, he is about to blow up a federal building, do you give a rip?

        Sorry Michigan militia guy, no can do, I’m off in about five minutes, can you call back tomorrow?

        Yep, thats pretty much the way it went down with McVeigh. Not a lot of reason to profile when you have plenty of people trying to turn the guy in and no one paying much attention.

        • Founding Fathers

          Do you have any actual EVIDENCE that the FBI knew in advance about the OKC bombing?

          Or is this, as usual, rabid speculation.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Do you have any actual EVIDENCE that the FBI knew in advance about the OKC bombing?

            Nope, but then again I never made such a claim, contrary to your rabid speculation on the matter.

            What I said was that the FBI had been warned about McVeigh as a violent individual who intended to blow up something. I did not say that the FBI had prior knowledge of the OKC bombing specifically.

            This came out in the Senate militia hearings after the Oklahoma city bombing. Both Wayne LaPierre and the head of the Michigan militia had warned the FBI that McVeigh was a loon who bore watching. The basis for the militia doing this, was that McVeigh had urged outright violence and been thrown out of the group for doing so. The basis for the NRA’s actions was he resigned from the organization with a particularly loony letter that claimed the group was weak because it did not advocate violence.

            Got it now because I want to be real clear on this.

            I never claimed the FBI knew in advance of that particular bombing.

            I did claim that they had been warned in advance that McVeigh was out there and was planning to blow up something.

            My father in law is retired FBI and in no way am I claiming that the FBI was involved in a cover up or a conspiracy. Did they drop the ball? Sure.

          • valley p

            Here is what you wrote: “Hello – FBI?

            Yes, this is the FBI, what can I do for you?

            Hi, well, this is the Michigan militia, we have this guy Tim McVeigh, he is about to blow up a federal building, do you give a rip?”

            Then you wrote, in response to: “Do you have any actual EVIDENCE that the FBI knew in advance about the OKC bombing?

            *Nope, but then again I never made such a claim, contrary to your rabid speculation on the matter*

            So, you claimed the FBI got a phone call warning specifically of McNut planning to blow up a federal building, implying the one he actually did blow up. Then you gt all haughty and claim you never made such a claim.

            Can you now see why some of us get a bit confused over what you mean? You yourself seem confused over what you mean.

          • Founding Fathers

            VP, it’s typical right-wing behavior when they’re caught saying or writing something ridiculous — they claim they didn’t say or write what they actually said or wrote.

            I think “Rupert” is really “Dupert”, since he seems to be nothing more than a right-wing dupe.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        Of course the hilarious counterpoint to this would be how do we profile home grown left wing terrorists?

        Well, the answer to that one is simple, for the next two years at least. Simply check the White House guest list.

        hmmm, Bill Ayers, check. Bernadine Dorn, check

        • valley p

          Given all the people who “visit” ((tour) the White House, there is probably a Rupert from Springfield on the list also. But a different Rupert from a different Springfield.

          “The” Bill Ayers, the once and former “terrorist,” now a college professor, has never been invited to the White House by Obama. But then you probably want to see the birth certificate as well right?

        • Founding Fathers

          Then there’s Luis Posada Carriles, a terrorist whom the Bush administration went out of their way to help. Fortunately, it does look as though he may finally be brought to justice, despite the efforts of those on the right to help this terrorist go free.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >And how do you profile a Muslim exactly?

      Call the Israelis and have them send a guy over. One two or three week training session and you are probably set to go. They use profiling and it works pretty well for them.

      This isnt hard stuff – if you think it is then I would invite you to simply look at the names of the terrorists we have apprehended already trying to or being stressful in blowing up planes. Not a lot of John Smiths there.

  • Anonymous

    I might be tempted to accept any of these security measures if I could see some sort of statistics showing the number of terrorists they caught, the number of hijackings they prevented, or the number of lives they saved.

    But just tempted.

    Here is the bottom line: a terrorist could just walk into a crowded movie theater with a bomb, or poison gas, or some other weapon, and kill 500 people in an instant. Yet we do not allow such security measures to go see a movie.

    Yes, it is true, an airplane can be turned into a missile and kill thousands more while doing horrendous psychological damage – plus impossible to estimate other financial damage – to the nation. But we have new countermeasures to prevent that. Pilots can dead bolt cabin doors. And passengers and crew see threats differently today than they did in 2000. When the 9/11 hijackers took control of the planes, just about everyone there assumed they would be taken to a place like Iran as hostages, not used as projectile weapons. By the time the first 3 planes had hit, the world knew the paradigm had changed. People like Todd Beamer made the instant connection and changed the response.

    These security measures might prevent deaths, but they won’t stop another 9/11 because that method of terrorist attack simply will not work again. So now we have to consider them as only saving the lives of passengers on one plane – still important, don’t get me wrong, but then if we are only talking about the people on the plane, then what makes them worthy of this level of heightened scrutiny compared to, oh, everyone who walks into a shopping mall on any given Saturday?

  • Marvin McConoughey

    I don’t like the new security rules, but then, we have enjoyed a long period without a terrorist attack on an aircraft. The TSA faces a difficult choice: Draconian, but possibly effective, measures, or a less intrusive, but possibly more fallible system. Now, the choice is clear: Avoid the draconian. But tomorrow, should catastrophe occur, the TSA would face enormous criticism for not doing all it knows how to do to prevent an attack.

    The pilot scrutiny should be reworked because they can be singled out for prior clearance and be subjected to numerous other safeguards that I will not detail here. For the rest of us, the TSA approach is less simple to dismiss.

  • Mary’s Opinion

    In September of 1999 I went to Scotland. The flight plan took our plane over Lockerbie, Scotland the crash site of Pan Am flight 103 on December 21, 1988. The captain announced to the passengers that the metal wreckage we could see below us was the remains of that flight. Airport security both in the U.S. and Scotland was reasonable. I thought at the time “whatever it takes to keep us safe.” I never dreamed the day would come when I would have to choose between an xray that would show me naked or allowing a person I had never met before to touch me in an intimate and inappropriate way. This security measure is so over the top. To those folks who have no problem with it I say “how much of your personal rights and freedoms are you willing to give up to a government that is increasingly aggressive in its efforts to take your personal rights and freedoms from you?”

    If Muslim women in traditional clothing are granted exemption from the x-ray or pat down, I want exemption for all 70 year old grandmothers who wear gym shoes and learned in our American culture that we have a right to personal privacy.

  • RobinWonders

    I totally agree… I am so sick and tired of exceptions made because it might offend Muslims. Well, how about the fact that it might offend Americans… oh I’m sorry, we don’t count anymore.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    The exemption for Muslim women thing is not entirely true. Where this comes from is a CNS interview in which objections by groups such as CAIR to Muslim women being searched were brought to Janet Napolitanos attention. When she was asked if an exemption would be made she did not flat out reject it.

    Stupid handling by Napolitano? Of course. Flat out exemption? Not quite.

  • Kevin Starrett

    Lars, I could not disagree more. These TSA zombies are feeling up 3 year olds. This is not keeping us safe.

    If Americans will put up with this crap, the battle is already lost.

  • Mary’s Opinion

    According to an article from the Associated Press, full-body X-ray security products cost up to $170.000 each. There are about 385 scanners located at more than 60 airports already. $170,000 X 385 equals $65,450,000. We can’t put a dollar value on the lives of the people on board an aircraft but must provide for their safety without invading their person.

    Because of strong negative response to X-ray screening from pilots, there has already been modification of the screening process for pilots at some airports.

    The TSA has grown to at least 67,000 employees in less than nine years. Is this President Obama’s non-military security force that he talked about during his presidental campaign?

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