Are You Thankful for Airport Security?

Headed to the airport today? Anticipating having to undergo the new, high-tech full body scanner?

According to NJ.com, at Newark Liberty’s Terminal B — the airport’s international terminal — none of the passengers going through security this morning had to pass through a full-body scanner, or receive a full pat down. They were screened through standard procedures.

While these folks might have gotten by with a bit less security scrutiny this morning, the new body scan procedures are causing an uproar amongst some air travelers, prompting a proposed national boycott of the full-body scans for today. There are many questions about the whether the new scanners are a violation of privacy, civil liberties and possibly harmful.

The body scans, which show a naked (albeit sketchy) image of the passenger, take about 10 seconds, but people who decline the scan get a more time-consuming full pat-down by the Transportation Security Administration.

Even if a small number of passengers opt out of the scan, experts say it will mean longer lines at security checkpoints.

NJ.com says that TSA Administrator John Pistole urged the flying public not to join the boycott, warning that widespread participation in the planned protest of the controversial screening technology could cause holiday travel problems for everyone.

Last week, documented by a cell phone video that went viral on YouTube, a 31 year old software programmer was thrown out of San Diego International Airport when he refused to go through with the full body pat down. In the video, John Tyner can be heard telling the TSA agent that “I don’t understand how sexual assault can be made a condition of me flying.”

Take our poll and tell us what you think. Will anyone be boycotting today?

Photo credit to Inha Leex Hale

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Yet another B-Net poll designed to skew the results.

    Combine the results from the second and third option to see a more accurate poll.

    (and really: What’s so hard about making a poll with 2 answers when that’s appropriate?)

  2. its a security circus/theater
    I can not believe that so many people believe these searches are actually effective against a determined terrorist.

  3. As to the actual topic: I fly to frequently and both sides of my family are to prone to skin cancer to willingly submit to an unnecessary extra 6 – 10 x-rays a year.

    If I get selected for a full-body scan, I’ll be getting the pat-down instead.

  4. Sure herb. No issues.

    All El Al passengers have to arrive 3 hours before the flight. ALL passengers are interviewed, quite often more than once. ALL luggage goes through a decompression chamber. Airports have heavily armed military personnel on site. Security agents are trained by the military and paid twice what TSA people are paid.

    So I suppose that you would be willing to undergo all of this, which would of course be much worse here due to the fact that busy American airports handle many, many times the traffic that Israeli airports do.

  5. Herb: You beat me to it.

    Not sure if these pat downs will improve security, it remains to be seen.

    But, yeah, why not follow the Israeli model, which has a proven track record?

  6. I only thank God that my bi-monthly flying days were pre-9/11. I can’t imagine going though this stuff on a regular basis.

    But for the INfrequent flyer, stop complaining and get those arms raised!

    Why? Because you’d be the FIRST to complain when something horrific happens— Why didn’t the Gov do MORE to protect us– Can’t have it both way.

    So when I travel, I intent to wear something sexy and give my “handler” bedroom eyes— But that’s just my style!

  7. herb, El Al does NOT “just profile”.
    Every person is brought up in an elevator with two questioners. That’s EVERYBODY Herb, including the fair haired fair skinned ones like (you perhaps) and me, and not just the darker complexioned ones with or without burkas.
    And I speak from personal experience, unlike some of the folks you listen to on the radio.

  8. I just received this email from a friend and thought I share it here — I wish it were true!

    A great alternative to body scanners at airports
    The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners at the airports.
    It’s a booth you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on you. They see this as a win-win for everyone, with none of the whining about racial profiling. It also would eliminate the costs of long and expensive trials. Justice would be swift. Case closed!
    You’re in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system: “Attention standby passengers — we now have a seat available on flight number ____. Shalom.”

  9. yeah, Dag, I got that email joke too. The other joke that made the rounds had to do with women flying naked on all flights as a surefire way to keep Moslem fundamentalists off the plane. Of course, you won’t see too many priests or rabbis either.

  10. My big problem I have with these body screenings is that they are decidedly endangering us with only a hope to relieve danger. That is, the x-ray they are using is being imposed upon us mandatorily despite the inherent dangers of x-ray. Even a lot of doctors came out about three weeks ago in a big challenge to the safety of those x-rays. But we are supposed to ignore what the doctors say about the danger of these x-rays and instead believe what the non-medically trained TSA head says!

    I absolutely believe these x-rays carry all the same dangers as any other x-rays. X-rays didn’t suddenly become safe just because it is thee TSA using them!

    I also believe there are OTHER ways to check for the non-metal bomb material — and this angle has been completely overlooked in this debate!! The TSA has been incredible narrow minded about this.

    So, the only option we have been presented with to avoid the danger of the x-ray is turn down the x-ray and instead go to a body molesting. Now, mind you, there is very little that could be hidden right in that two-inch or so area of the crotch that is the biggest problem of these searches. And so many other ways to bring things in instead — like the way prisoners do, up their rectum — that it is almost hilarious that the TSA thinks they need to molest the populace or that they will actually keep out such material by using these molestations and full-body x-rays.

    Secondly, under pressure, the TSA last Friday agreed to exempt children from these molestations. Well, sorry, but if you do that you make the searches completely, 100% worthless. You see, the OLDEST trick in the book is to slip contraband past security by hiding it with the children and babies! The children are the FIRST place bombs will be! It just is the reality of life. So, if you exempt the children, the rest is absolutely, completely useless — really making it not a matter of security, only a matter of molestation.

    Third, and maybe the most significant, is that it is completely unnecessary to use either the x-ray or the molestation. That is not the ONLY way to detect non-metal explosives. The metals will be detected by the metal detector. So the x-ray and molestations is only for the non-metal bomb material. Well, we have been using bomb-sniffing dogs for many decades to find those materials. And they have been very good at it. Its even what the police and military use. The dogs neither expose you to x-ray nor to molestation. Safe and not demeaning or tramatizing. So,why must the TSA be so narrow minded and misleading by insisting this is the only way safety can be assured!?

    They have been playing the game of “be afraid, be very afraid,” in an effort to get you to yield to anything they say, even if there are better alternatives. Well, any time you are presented with that kind of assertion, you should “be in doubt, but very in doubt.”

  11. Dag, that is exactly what the Israeli decompression chambers do to luggage. Any explosives triggered by changes in pressure, etc. are detonated when put through the chamber.
    No people yet, but that day may be coming!

  12. There were over 800 million passengers who traveled via air in the United States last year.

    That’s a lot of dogs.

  13. Personally, I’d rather have a dog sniff my crotch than a TSO stick his hand in it.

    But, be that as it may, I just don’t see how this stops liquid or non metal explosives from getting on the aircraft. I’d be willing to undergo the process if it would stop dedicated terrorists from getting explosives on the plane, but it won’t. Drug “mules” have long since found an effective “mode of transport” which these machines would do nothing to prevent.

  14. I’m with Prof- you want to look, more power to you! Go right ahead.

    Seriously people, this will be yet another short-term solution in an ever-changing battle to keep up with the few with bad intentions. This too soon shall pass, and we’ll either have another more widely accepted solution, or something else to complain about, making the body scanners look not that bad afterall.

  15. I think people will be so shamed by the full body scans that they’ll finally lose weight. That should improve the view in most airports. I’m tired of seeing rolls of fat spilling out of sweatpants and unshaven triple chins.
    So we’ll solve our nation’s obesity problem and security problem in one strategic move.
    Problem is, Haband’s stretch waistband factory may have to start to furlough its workers.

  16. None of this would have prevented 9-11. You can’t x-ray, body search, or sniff out what people intend to do.

  17. Got the pat down a couple of weeks ago. Wasn’t given the scan option, don’t think it was ready to go. Had to get the pat down b/c the wire in my bra set the metal detector off! They were very respectful and vocalized to me what they were doing and what part of the hand they were using etc. Only thing that bothered me was that they had to pat my 2 year old down too, because I held his hand walking to the pat down area.

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