Airport security has gone too far

November 19, 2010


— Ah, the airport, where modern folk heroes are made. The airport, where that inspired flight attendant did what everyone who’s ever been in the spam-in-a-can crush of a flying aluminum tube — where we collectively pretend that a clutch of peanuts is a meal and a seat cushion is a “flotation device” — has always dreamed of doing: pull the lever, blow the door, explode the chute, grab a beer, slide to the tarmac and walk through the gates to the sanity that lies beyond. Not since Rick and Louis disappeared into the Casablanca fog headed for the Free French garrison in Brazzaville has a stroll on the tarmac thrilled so many.

Who cares that the crazed steward got arrested, pleaded guilty to sundry charges, and probably was a rude, unpleasant SOB to begin with? Bonnie and Clyde were psychopaths, yet what child of the ‘60s did not fall in love with Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty?

And now three months later, the newest airport hero arrives. His genius was not innovation in getting out, but deconstructing the entire process of getting in. John Tyner, cleverly armed with an iPhone to give YouTube immortality to the encounter, took exception to the TSA guard about to give him the benefit of Homeland Security’s newest brainstorm — the upgraded, full-palm, up the groin, all-body pat-down. In a stroke, the young man ascended to myth, or at least the next edition of Bartlett’s, warning the agent not to “touch my junk.”

Not quite the 18th-century elegance of “Don’t Tread on Me,” but the age of Twitter has a different cadence from the age of the musket. What the modern battle cry lacks in archaic charm, it makes up for in full-body syllabic punch.

Don’t touch my junk is the anthem of the modern man, the tea party patriot, the late-life libertarian, the midterm election voter. Don’t touch my junk, Obamacare — get out of my doctor’s examining room, I’m wearing a paper-thin gown slit down the back. Don’t touch my junk, Google — Street View is cool, but get off my street. Don’t touch my junk, you airport security goon — my package belongs to no one but me, and do you really think I’m a Nigerian nut job preparing for my 72-virgin orgy by blowing my johnson to kingdom come?

In “Up in the Air,” that ironic take on the cramped freneticism of airport life, George Clooney explains why he always follows Asians in the security line:

“They pack light, travel efficiently, and they got a thing for slip-on shoes, God love ’em.”

“That’s racist!”

“I’m like my mother. I stereotype. It’s faster.”

That riff is a crowd-pleaser because everyone knows that the entire apparatus of the security line is a national homage to political correctness. Nowhere do more people meekly acquiesce to more useless inconvenience and needless indignity for less purpose. Wizened seniors strain to untie their shoes; beltless salesmen struggle comically to hold up their pants; 3-year-olds scream while being searched insanely for explosives — when everyone, everyone, knows that none of these people is a threat to anyone.

We pretend that we go through this nonsense as a small price paid to assure the safety of air travel. Rubbish. This has nothing to do with safety — 95 percent of these inspections, searches, shoe removals and pat-downs are ridiculously unnecessary. The only reason we continue to do this is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling — when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable and universally known. So instead of seeking out terrorists, we seek out tubes of gel in stroller pouches.

The junk man’s revolt marks the point at which a docile public declares that it will tolerate only so much idiocy. Metal detector? Back-of-the-hand pat? OK. We will swallow hard and pretend airline attackers are randomly distributed in the population.

But now you insist on a full-body scan, a fairly accurate representation of my naked image to be viewed by a total stranger? Or alternatively, the full-body pat-down, which, as the junk man correctly noted, would be sexual assault if performed by anyone else?

This time you have gone too far, Big Bro’. The sleeping giant awakes. Take my shoes, remove my belt, waste my time and try my patience. But don’t touch my junk.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group. letters@charleskrauthammer.com


Liberty_One 7 years, 7 months ago

Government--doing things to us that are illegal for a private citizen to do. Thanks, liberals. Any more of my rights you want to give up?

kernal 7 years, 7 months ago

Why do you think Liberals are responsible for this?

SnakeFist 7 years, 7 months ago

Actually, its the cowardly conservatives who approve of these sorts of intrusions in the name of personal security (e.g., the Patriot Act, torture, elimination of due process, etc.). This stems from their egoist notion that they, as individuals, are all-important, therefore their personal safety is all that matters.

BigAl 7 years, 7 months ago

Liberty_One... that is total BS. This was all put in on the Patriot Act under George W Bush and his Republican pals. The Democrats were the people talking about this taking away our freedoms. The republicans were totally silent on that and 100% supportive of all this "security".

You can hammer the liberals all you want but that is a fact. This was all brought on by Republicans.

By the way, Krauthammer supported the Patriot Act when it was convenient due to a Republican being in the White House.

The right-wingers can't have it both ways.

SnakeFist 7 years, 7 months ago

But its conservatives who think the one legitimate role of government is to "keep us safe" - even if its from people who are so incompetent that they can't successfully light their own underwear on fire.

"Taking people's land without their permission" refers, I assume, to the government's Consitutional "takings" power. I've never thought of the Constitution as a liberal document.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 7 months ago

I think you hit the nail on the head, SnakeFist.

Liberty_one is equating conservatism with libertarianism. Doesn't realize...or want to acknowledge...they're really quite different.

And, as you previously pointed out, the right of eminent domain is in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

SnakeFist 7 years, 7 months ago

But, under your definition of liberalism, conservatives who want the government to have the power to dictate whom we can marry, when we have to reproduce, what we can smoke,snort, or inject, and whether a mosque can be built on private property are actually liberals. It sounds like you equate conservativism with libertarianism.

jimmyjms 7 years, 7 months ago

George W. Bush is a liberal. Up is down, black is white, ignorance is knowledge.

kernal 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm referring to vertigo's "A politician". Just fyi. I wouldn't want to further confuse Liberty_One.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 7 months ago

this has to be the stupidest false logic i have ever heard on these boards, and i am even talking pre marion.

your idea that liberals made the government too powerful so the conservatives exploited that flaw to create a loss of liberty and freedom in the post 9-11 anxiety is all part of the liberal failure of the usa

you have lost what little of your mind you had left.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 7 months ago

i think it is quite direct and to the point to point out that you are simply full of crap.

whats_going_on 7 years, 7 months ago

probably a little bit of both, but sounds like deliberately in this case. He had absolutely NOTHING to say about everything you just wrote...that was seriously pathetic. Good work, lol

Liberty275 7 years, 7 months ago

As much as I hate to do it, I'll have to agree with vertigo. The moment we start exempting anyone from searches, the terrorists, which aren't utter idiots except for that belief in god thing, will recruit/brainwash someone that can make it through security unchecked with 20 pounds of explosives.

We really have two choices: check everyone or check nobody. On the bright side, when I fly I've already had enough xanax that it doesn't matter to me if people touch my junk or they take the plane down. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

Liberty275 7 years, 7 months ago

You can look at it that way if you want. OTOH, under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, everyone is equally subject to law anyway, so you can as equally say the constitution has won.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago


If we're going to do it, let's check everybody.

But let's figure out a better way to do it - one that is effective and a bit less intrusive, if possible.

Personally, I think full-body scans are ok, and maybe the best option right now.

Liberty275 7 years, 7 months ago

Probable cause = boarding a plane (which is a voluntary act).

I'm not disagreeing with you, but where would you put probable cause? Skin color? Association? Religion? I'm not sure we have the ability to sufficiently narrow probable cause to make you happy while actually thwarting attacks.

Like I said before, it's really an all or nothing decision. That's the only impartial means of serving the public in this case.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 7 months ago

Um...I don't think Jesse said...or implied...anywhere that "people have given up the right to object to" being searched when they choose to fly, so I don't understand why you presume he presumes that.

Heck, I think he'd agree that we can all complain all we want. But objecting to something doesn't guarantee you don't have to still deal with that something you're objecting to.

I should have thought it would be obvious to anyone following this thread that "That right's not taken away unless you opt out of it in choosing to fly" does NOT refer to the people's right to object but, rather, their right to not be searched.

Liberty275 7 years, 7 months ago

Nobody said you can't object. If you object, that's cool. You just don't get to fly which you don't have any guaranteed right to do anyway.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

Oh puhleeze, Chuck. This invasiveness is a perfect example of why you need to be careful what you wish for. The hysteria over "security" that has been the drumbeat of Fox and the teapartiers who watch it (and cheer your columns) is what led us to the establishment of the American KGB.

The Obama administration is merely continuing what BushCo and the Republicans started. And you can bet if he does anything to moderate those policies, he'll be attacked for it-- Chuckie likely leading the charge.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 7 months ago

Bozo, for one, welcomes his ant overlords.

It is hilarious to watch this turn into a partisan issue when it is clearly a matter of ineffective government under both parties.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 7 months ago

The real problem with this is that airport security has morphed from the good-faith (and successful) efforts made during the Bush administration to prevent another 9-11 to Obama's pathologically obsessive fear of what an air disaster caused by terrorists would do to him and his administration politically. In other words, Big Sis is just following orders from people above who don't ever have to go through security. This isn't likely to change soon, no matter who holds the presidency. It is, however, entertaining - just like the stone-cold, deafening silence from radical feminist groups after Bill Clinton's Oval Office sexual escapades came to light and were proven - to observe the stone-cold, deafening silence from most doctrinaire liberals who would be screaming bloody murder at how invasive all of this has become if a Republican were in the White House.

aa469285 7 years, 7 months ago

So by your logic, Clinton allowed the WTC to be bombed the first time, the USS Cole to be attacked, the embassy in Kenya....and on an on. This is absurd. Islamic terrorists were responsible. Not the President of the United States. Maybe you should change your handle to "justtheopinion..."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

That post was dripping with even more hypocrisy than usual, Cato. Good job!!!

cato_the_elder 7 years, 7 months ago

You oughtta know, Bozo, as it was precisely the hypocrisy of those of your ilk to which I was drawing attention.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

What precisely is "my ilk." I was opposed to BushCo's police state, and I'm still opposed to it under Obama.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 7 months ago

Let's explore that. Do you support or oppose TSA's current airport screening practices?

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 7 months ago

Oh, come on, Cato..."Obama's pathologically obsessive fear"???

And exactly what has Obama said that leads you to believe that he, personally, has a pathologically obsessive fear of terrorist attacks?

Do you honestly think that GWB was personally involved in the development of airport security? Or that Obama is?

Now, I don't blame GWB for 9/11. But I also don't give him credit for there not being another 9/11 on his watch. Nothing personal. It's just that bin Laden has always been a careful, long-term planner. The odds were that there wouldn't be another major attempt during Bush's administration. And that, when it came, it wouldn't be the same type of attack.

Sure...we can always count on copycats and wannabes. But it seems that it's passengers who thwart the genuine copycat attempts, not airport security. And that applies to both administrations.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 7 months ago

Acorn, you're apparently not familiar with the multiple terrorist attacks that were thwarted after 9-11, in a number of locations, during the Bush administration. Not giving Bush any credit for that is either naive or malicious.

whats_going_on 7 years, 7 months ago

Not giving Bush any credit for that is either naive or malicious.

....you do the same thing to the current admin, so that is a bit hypocritical.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 7 months ago

Since when? While I think that the current TSA procedures are misplaced and it's clear that there have been at least two near misses, if Obama can finish out his one term without the occurrence of another 9-11 I'll be pleased to give him credit for that.

Jonathan Becker 7 years, 7 months ago

Let me see if I understand this: John Tyner's junk is so special that it should not be inspected? It must be nice to have such an inflated ego about something so small. If he does not want his junk inspected, walk away, hire a car and drive to wherever Tyner's junk has to be. That way if Tyner's junk is surrounded by C4 or PETN and he goes BOOM!, the loss of life is a plus for the rest of us.

The TSA cannot get by with a .992 batting average. It is this simple: Tyner's junk gets touched or he does not fly. There is no constitutional right to get on board a plane.

SnakeFist 7 years, 7 months ago

"There is no constitutional right to get on board a plane."

No, but there is a Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago


The question would be whether these kinds of searches are "unreasonable" or not.

SnakeFist 7 years, 7 months ago


I'm taking the position that both imaging and fondling every air traveler's genitals is unreasonable under any circumstances.

Liberty275 7 years, 7 months ago

But aren't you volunteering to travel by air, making the decision whether to be imaged or fondled one made by yourself?

SnakeFist 7 years, 7 months ago

No. First, I don't buy the argument that by desiring to travel in the most time-efficient manner I have implicitly given up my Constitutional rights.

Second, I could just as easily argue that by volunteering to travel by air, you have made a decision to expose yourself to the risk of terrorist attack. Just as there is no right to fly, there is no right to fly absolutely safely.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

You can take that position stated above.

But it's a bit extreme.

How would you propose we make air travel more secure?

Profiling seems more like a constitutional violation than searching everybody.

SnakeFist 7 years, 7 months ago

Air travel is sufficiently secure. Don't buy into the neocon fear-mongering which is just an excuse to grab more government power in the name of keeping us safe.

Liberty275 7 years, 7 months ago

"First, I don't buy the argument that by desiring to travel in the most time-efficient manner I have implicitly given up my Constitutional rights."

Do you give up your constitutional rights by driving a car? Are you free to drink single malt scotch while behind the wheel? How about when you are at home?

"Second, I could just as easily argue that by volunteering to travel by air, you have made a decision to expose yourself to the risk of terrorist attack."

Duh. We are always exposed to that threat.

BigAl 7 years, 7 months ago

That is what the Democrats said when George W Bush and Co took away our freedoms under the Patriot Act.

triplegoddess13 7 years, 7 months ago

Start checking everyone. You can't accurately decide who is going to cause a problem on a plane and who isn't just by looking at them. Those that are complaining about the long lines and checks will be the first ones complaining when another plane goes down because that 'white guy' over there didn't look like he would cause problems.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 7 months ago

So can Obama and Big Sis, and their doctrinaire leftist followers who ought to be wetting their pants over this.

Moderateguy 7 years, 7 months ago

At this point, if it's not within 2 days drive each way, we will not be going. I hate the airline industries arbitrary fare policies, bag charges etc. to begin with. I refuse to stand idly by while some wannabe gropes either my lovely wife or my 5 year old daughter. I realize not flying is the deal; I'm fine with that.

Of course the airline industry will get federal money to cover the lost airfares of folks like us. Too big to fail.

kernal 7 years, 7 months ago

Touch my junk and I'm filing charges, Bubba. I don't give a ff who you work for. "Just saying."

Brian Laird 7 years, 7 months ago

Well, we will just have to hope that there is never a "Suppository Bomber". :)

Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

Some people are more special than others.

"The head of Homeland Security has indicated the government is considering the request of an Islamic organization that has suggested Muslim women be allowed to pat themselves down during a full body search that is part of new enhanced procedures at airports."


mbulicz 7 years, 7 months ago

"The head of Homeland Security has indicated the government is considering the request of an Islamic organization that has suggested Muslim women be allowed to pat themselves down during a full body search that is part of new enhanced procedures at airports."

The writer says this but supplies no statement or release that confirms this. Therefore, we can only assume from the facts given that the organization has made a request, and that the request has reached the TSA. There's nothing in there that suggests they are "considering" this any more than they are considering the other inane requests they get daily.

It's like me turning to you and asking, "Would you eat babies?" Immediately I turn to the other person in the room and point at you and say, "He's considering eating babies."

Absence of response is not evidence for acceptance.

Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

"If I had known this would happen because I wore a skirt, I would not have worn a skirt to the airport."


She should have worn a burqa.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm trying to get your point, Godot. Are you saying that Muslims don't get searched the same way that others do?

mbulicz 7 years, 7 months ago

According to what? There's nothing in the Greeley Gazette article that says anything more than the request has been made and "considered".

Take this one-sentence paragraph: "Barack Obama’s Homeland Security Czar, Janet Napolitano, is considering changes to the procedures to address the issues raised by CAIR." There is no fact or substantiation following this statement. The writer moves on to the next unrelated point. It's a hit piece, nothing more than a headline referring to a thesis statement stuck between unrelated facts to make it sound relevant.

There is absolutely no substance to this argument, though it sounds like a new cable news non-controversy like the NY mosque.

kernal 7 years, 7 months ago

There are still passenger ships across the Atlantic, aren't there?

QuinnSutore 7 years, 7 months ago

Next time I fly, I'm going commando, wearing a kilt, and popping a Viagra an hour before my flight.

I hope they will feel as uncomfortable as they make me feel.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

Maybe they'll like it.

You'd be sorry then, I imagine.

SnakeFist 7 years, 7 months ago

Krauthammer is an idiot: There is no connection between wanting every American to have access to healthcare (a liberal notion) and requiring every American to be sexually assaulted in order to board a plane (a conservative notion).

Betty Bartholomew 7 years, 6 months ago

Every American needs to have health care because they'll need to be on birth control before going through airport security!

QuinnSutore 7 years, 7 months ago

The shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, and now, the butt bomber.

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

Coming back into the U.S. this week, it was all that the foreigners could talk about. One more example of how we manage to offend the allies we supposedly need while making zero progress towards safety.

sciencegeek 7 years, 7 months ago

OK, people, think a minute.

Nowhere else in the world are these things being done to the citizenry. We became a laughing stock when we started removing our shoes. There are other countries who are under attack by extremists of every ilk, and they don't go overboard. Why is that? What are they doing that we aren't?

Yes, we're a target, but we aren't the only one--think about Israel. That country has had a target on its back since its inception. How do they secure their flights? Not with body scanners and patdowns.

Let's look at other nations and see how they protect their people and their dignity, and go from there.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

The suggestion that we should modify our military actions and foreign policy is a very good one.

It should get more airtime than it does.

If we continue to create enemies, we aren't making ourselves any safer as a nation.

SnakeFist 7 years, 7 months ago

On this, I agree with you completely. The average American has no idea what his own country has done and is doing overseas and how other countries and people perceive us because of it. For example, we supported both Saddam Hussein and the Taliban when it was (supposedly) in our interest to do so and without regard for the impact on the Iraqi and Afghan people.

RoeDapple 7 years, 7 months ago

Hmmm . . . Preparation H-Bomb anyone?

sissezz 7 years, 7 months ago

Bottom line, we ALL wanna be safe when we fly. So get over yourselves get checked and keep it movin.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 7 months ago

Fascinating. You miss several bigger points. First: at what point does this stop? Would you be ok with cavity searches in the name of safety? Second: when people suggest that those who wish not to go through this procedure not fly, one is ignoring the economic consequences of that advice. Sure, it is a choice to fly - not a right - but imagine if the economy was constrained by people choosing not to fly? A two-day business trip to Denver is economically prohibitive if one is only left with driving as one's options. But hey... we ALL wanna be safe.

kernal 7 years, 7 months ago

No sissezz, I agree with Liberty One on the this statement. There should be a better way. The method we are using now will lead to other problems. Do you want a child to think that because TSA personnel can do a body check to him or her, any adult can because adults have authority and Mommy or Daddy said it was okay at the airport?

There needs to be a better way. I will not fly if this is what I have to succumb to!

RoeDapple 7 years, 7 months ago

Bottom line. You are way more likely to die from the flu picked up from your fellow passenger than from a terrorist attack. Flying is and has been the safest form of travel for over fifty years. How many of you have to have that one last cigarette before you board or won't even fly because of your smoking addiction? Keep your filthy effin' hands outa my crotch and everyone elses, I'll take my chances.

Buncha hand wringing, paranoid, OCD bedwetters.


verity 7 years, 7 months ago

Yes, the terrorists have done exactly what they set out to do---terrorize us. And we are destroying our own freedoms because of the terrorists. If Bin Laden is still alive, I imagine he's laughing himself silly. He won, people. We are now involved in two unwinnable and extremely costly wars and acting like a bunch of scared idiots.

verity 7 years, 7 months ago

Oh, and our country has been divided in ways he probably never even imagined and is tearing itself apart. He could hardly have dreamed of a better outcome (for him).

booyalab 7 years, 6 months ago

This is truer than you know. I'm never taking greyhound again. (not to mention the lovely prospect of a beheading)

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 7 months ago

First they came for my belt and I didn't speak up because I wasn't wearing a belt

Then they came for my shoes and I didn't speak up because I wasn't wearing shoes

Then they came for my beverage and I didn't speak up because I didn't have a beverage

and then they came for my junk and no one was left to speak up for my junk.

pizzapete 7 years, 7 months ago

In the age of "girls gone wild" and people sending digital pics of their privates, I'm surprised so many are uptight about this. I don't want to get patted down anymore than the next guy, but I will go along with it if necessary. I have been completely strip searched in front of 3 people twice upon return to the US. Not very cool, but the government had suspicion I might have some weed or something on me. Yea, they didn't find anything, but they had me stand naked while they filled out their report and kept me over an hour after the flight. Now that is some real government intrusion and happened to me twice, way before 9/11. All in the name of freedom I guess.

pizzapete 7 years, 7 months ago

Sarcasm, I was searched in this manner as I was found to have rolling papers and no tobacco. Welcome back to America, the land of the free.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 7 months ago

Here is the thing though, Pete. I'm all about security, but I would argue this is ineffective and - at best - represents a continual moving of the "what is appropriate" line. I think it is significant that every TSA administrator I've seen on TV refuses to categorically rule out cavity searches and instead says something like "we think this is working right now." Right now. As in, with changing threats come changing intrusions to keep us safe. A year ago, belts and shoes were appropriate... so what happens when someone smuggles binary agents in body cavities? If I were running AQ, that's exactly what I'd do. Even if it didn't work, it would turn the airports into a total disaster. Do you ever see an end to the upward spiral of "security measures?" I don't. The nature of the war makes it impossible.

Further, I think it is silly when people make statements like "if getting naked in the airport is what it takes to be secure..." Really? Perhaps these people should volunteer to get naked to prove their loyalty to the system. They say those things because they know it won't happen. If there was really a threat of being asked to strip, they'd never say it.

I also thought it was telling that a government administrator basically told elected officials that he had no plans to change policy. Perhaps he forgets who works for whom in that structure? The TSA (and really the DHS) are unwieldy, ineffective agencies. Suggesting that a lack of an attack has proved their methodology is effective is like suggesting Space Command is effective because aliens haven't invaded. One can't prove a negative.

Seth Peterson 7 years, 7 months ago

I hardly ever agree with the Kraut, but he hardly ever comes out with such a strong stance against 'conservatives' or Republicans and BushCo. Security is absurd, and a farce designed to help white people feel safe (in the words of George Carlin). Unfortunately policies such as this are hard to get rid of because of the emotional attachment and initial reaction most people have to the concept of changing or reducing 'security'.

After going through Security did the Kraut sit in a chair, in the sky and partake in the miracle of flight at hundreds of miles of hour? This is the best stance anyone can take when it comes to flying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZT...

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

If you don't like it, don't fly.

Flying on an airplane is not a right.

I think the measures taken are silly and ineffective, but to claim your rights are being violated is ridiculous.

No one is forcing anyone to fly. It is a choice. There are no rights being violated, only inconvenience.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

The question is whether the search is "unreasonable" or not.

cooltrix 7 years, 7 months ago

Personally, I think they should just pat everyone down, why profile, why stereotype, we want equal rights, there it is. If it keeps me and my loved ones safe, I'll do it. I do think its going too far when strangers are inspecting infants/toddlers nappies. I'm not saying don't check it out, I'm just saying, how about we let mum or dad take it off and show that's its clear instead of a stranger!

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 7 months ago

Why stop there? Why not strip everyone, strap them into their seats so they can't move and catheterize them. That would be safe.

MrRighty 7 years, 7 months ago

To settle the "is it Rep's or Dem's fault" argument from before AND elegantly segue into the latest comments.....we can all thank Clinton for being a PC puss when we could have shot bin Laden on two different occasions (before and after the WTC bombing) and he told the snipers to stand down. And for all you "this war was Bush's doing" folks, it could have never happened without the Aye votes of a majority of Dems in Congress to fund it. So soon you Dems forget that. Where's the condemnation for them? That's what I thought. There. Done. Now we can blame Dems for 9/11 and all this TSA crap in one fell swoop and also make them complicit in the Iraq War. I love delivering a clean neat package. LOL. Now that was totally tongue in cheek but, in all seriousness, I think we all need to take our heads out of the PC toilet and flush it permanently. The fact of the matter remains; national security is an often inconvenient and dirty business that isn't always suitable for Sunday School conversations. The fact that almost ALL serious terrorists of interest are Muslim foreigners or foreign nationals is not racial profiling, its fricking statistical fact. We are paying a hefty price now for being stupid in the past. We have all these new rules and regulations, heightened fear, and a whole new revenue-sucking bureaucracy because weak people refused to make tough decisions. Those same weak people STILL refuse to make tough decisions and thats also why our economy is so trashed and we can't decide what war, if any, to fight properly or just run away from. In the end you can talk about all your rights to privacy but seriously, who gives a damn what some TSA agent in a locked room 50 feet away from you that you will never meet sees as you pass through a scanner? Do you have three nipples? Both sets of genitalia? I mean really. I personally fall into the "don't touch my junk" category as well and thus I will happily submit to the scan and expect you to do the same or go home. Why? Because I feel I have the right to travel safely. If that means YOU might be uncomfortable for 10 seconds so be it. You still have the right to refuse both and get in the car or take the train instead. Sheesh! Start worrying about real problems people....like how our kids will pay off all this damn debt that politicians from both parties in two complete branches of our government seems hell bent to spend for their own political gain while they lie through their teeth and say its to help us.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 7 months ago

Actually, no, you don't have a "right" to feel safe on a plane anymore than flying is a "right" for people who dislike security theater (like me).

A couple of relevant questions... Are TSA agents subjected to these (or more intrusive) searches before their shift begins? A TSA agent only needs the bare minimum clearance and a high school education, so without daily cavity searches prior to entering secure areas, these people could endanger the system.

Will politicians and pilots remain subject to these searches or will they be opted out and get special preference? The same argument that suggests a pilot should not be subjected to this treatment can be used to suggest they should.

MrRighty 7 years, 7 months ago

OK...let me re-phrase that....after all the money we spend on DHS and travel security, I expect to get my money's worth and not have to worry about what you have between your buttcheeks when you board. I don't "like" any of this any more that you do but, if you're going to complain about this new procedure, ask what wasn't working about the current system? Did a plane explode while I wasn't watching the news? One would hope that this new invasive process was created to address a recent incident or an exploited gap in our current security measures. To date I see none....only another opportunity for government to spend more and grow bigger. To address question # 2, I know how a lot of people talk about TSA agents but almost all of them I've ever dealt with have been nothing but professional and courteous. To address question #3, probably not. IN FACT....I believe there still exists a "streamlined security program" for frequent travelers. If you fill out all the papers just right and pass a series of background checks, common citizens can receive special credentials that allow them to bypass a lot of the secuirty crap. I'm not sure if that still exists but I think so. As far as politicians and pilots go, when I read that a (typically ex-military) pilot decided to go terrorist and crash a jet into Lake Michigan or the Congressman from the State of XYZ is caught carrying an explosive onboard a jet, then I'll start worrying what TSA does with them.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 7 months ago

You are succumbing to a logical fallacy. The absence of a known attack does not mean success. It is impossible to prove causal linkage with such sparse evidence. I don't believe the new procedures are cost effective and I do not believe the intrusive nature is worth the return.

TSA agents may be courteous - I won't argue that - but they are not inherently more security aware than anyone else. The only requirements are a GED and a clean criminal background. Not exactly a difficult set of requirements. Why should I trust these people? Shouldn't they be subjected to the same exact measures - or more - than a passenger? Wouldn't it make us more safe if these people were subjected to a cavity search every day?

I am pretty certain you are incorrect about the streamlined program. I think it was discontinued. You are right that no American pilots (only 50% military now) or senators have been successful at crashing a plane in a terrorist attack. However, at least one American pilot has tried (a former military pilot) and at least one Egyptian pilot has succeeded.

So let's play a situation out... Say next month several AQ agents succeed in bringing in binary explosive agents by hiding them in body cavities. Would you then advocate that the logical step is to implement random cavity searches? Would you be comfortable having a 20 year old high school drop out perform said search on a daughter or wife?

verity 7 years, 7 months ago

Why would a pilot carry a bomb or any such thing? He's in control of tons of steel and flammable fuel. If he wants to take out the plane, all he has to do is aim it at the ground. Bang, all gone.

MrRighty 7 years, 7 months ago

If you 'carefully' read the last four lines of my post, your question becomes moot. Oh and, by the way, aircraft are aluminum. LOL

MrRighty 7 years, 7 months ago

I suppose it depends on how attractive you think the frisker is. LOL. Good post that keeps the issues in proper perspective.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 7 months ago

This just in. A three year old girl was fondle searched at the Chattanooga Airport by TSA. You can hear her hysterically screaming, "Don't touch me!". The encounter was videoed by her own father with a camera phone who just happened to be a reporter! It's hit the web and it's being taken down as fast as it goes up. For now you can see it at http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/news_cut/archive/2010/11/5x8_-_111710.shtml

Scott Drummond 7 years, 7 months ago

Chilling glimpse of the life ahead under the sway of our jack-booted right wing thug political system. What is most scary is the cheery, sing song message they've apparently decided to put out through their media tools to just teach your child that the molestations are a "fun" game. How sick is that?! How insanely sick!! Today's children being prepared for their status as tomorrow's compliant wage slaves.

Godot 7 years, 6 months ago

Wow! scott340 now labels Obama a jackbooted right wing thug! Somebody put him on the watch list!

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

All of this argument back and forth is just another example of class envy. If any of you worked hard enough, you could have your own plane by now and not have to worry about this stuff. No x-rays and no junk touching unless you wanted it. Cindy McCain was right -- traveling on a private airplane is the "only" way to travel.

verity 7 years, 7 months ago

As usual, Bea hits it out of the park.

CHEEZIT 7 years, 7 months ago

Why don't they have passengers sign a waiver. If your plane blows up the airline can not be held accountable. they would do the trick right???

booyalab 7 years, 6 months ago

This has nothing to do with the airline companies.

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

This is the same Krauthammer who has spent most of the last decade routinely defending every government invasion of people's privacy?

What's Kraut afraid of? Only guilty people care if government inspects your emails, monitors your telephone calls or slips a gloved finger into your body cavities!

What a partisan hack.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

It is a strange column.

I wonder why he's suddenly changed his tune.

Jay_lo 7 years, 7 months ago

I think the whole privacy issue thing could be resolved fairly readily. The TSA contends that they need humans to view the full body scans because a computer might not do as good a job at interpreting something as "suspicious".

I believe that all full body scans should be sent through a computer that would interpret anything unusual as "suspicious". Then only these images would be sent through to human viewers who would then be on alert to look for whatever it was that the computer picked out instead of groggily viewing image after image that probably contains nothing.

Any innocent person who knew that they had nothing "suspicious" on their body could then logically assume that their image would not be viewed by any human and therfore would not worry about their privacy to such an extent that they would choose an invasive pat-down over the scanner.

independant1 7 years, 7 months ago

TSA screeners - "a high school diploma, a general equivalency diploma, or experience that the Under Secretary has determined to be sufficient for the individual to perform the duties of the position." (does the requirement imply no diploma/ged may be required?)

X-Ray Screener average hourly wage is $14 and the yearly salary around $29,000.

One word, morass.

Richard Payton 7 years, 7 months ago

Would the new TSA training video be considered porn? Does the new TSA job application ask appliciants do you know how to grope? What happens to the mile high club? Rememeber the ad: Fly the friendly skies?

independant1 7 years, 7 months ago

Ben Franklin: 'Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.'

monkeyspunk 7 years, 7 months ago

Why do people always paraphrase Ben? Oh right, because if they quoted him directly, it wouldn't have the same desired spin.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

It is important to emphasize "ESSENTIAL" and "TEMPORARY".

kernal 7 years, 7 months ago

According to more stories being told, you evidently shouldn't fly if you have any type of prosthetic device, feeding tube, or anything that is inserted into your body due to cancer.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

If you don't like it, don't fly. I also believe that it is, at base "security theatre". These measures are silly and ineffective.

However, no rights are being violated, as no one is forcing anyone to fly.

"No shoes, no shirt, no service" comes to mind. How dare these businesses violate freedom of speech guaranteed in the Constitution!

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

I suppose the same probable cause that they had eight years ago when invasive security measures were first introduced. Security check points, metal detectors, baggies with liquid, random pat downs, computer removal, bag scans, shoe and belt removal.

These measures did not exist before 2002, and the Bush administration instituted them. These actions are what transformed air travel and led to your "unconstitutional searches". These have existed for eight years.

The current pat downs and anonymous body scans are consequences of a decision made eight years ago about security at airports.

So, to answer your question, the same probable cause that existed eight years ago when airport security and searches were first introduced.

Betty Bartholomew 7 years, 6 months ago

Isn't "No shoes, no shirt, no service" the antithesis of the TSA's current approach? I'm pretty sure they're currently in a "A shirt, a shoes, no service," frame of mind.

Betty Bartholomew 7 years, 6 months ago

Please ignore my abuse of articles... "a shoes"... sheesh.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

So what is this probable cause? I am not a lawyer, but it could have to do with the fact that you are voluntarily identifying yourself with a certain population (air travelers), among whom are known to be those who would try to use the airplanes in terrorist acts. The key is voluntarily.

I think this same idea of probable cause is used to justify drunk driving checkpoints. You are voluntarily identifying yourself with a group (late night drivers) among whom are those who are drunk and violating the law. The police have no reason to pull you over except that you are driving at that time and place, and it is known that drivers at that time and place can be drunk.

I do not necessarily agree with this from a constitutional perspective, but I think this is it.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

So, then, what your saying is that some violations of the fourth amendment or ok and others are not? Drunk driving checkpoints involve more than just a few questions. They can involve balance tests, breathalyzers, body searches, and car searches.

The implied probable cause in each case is that you are voluntarily self-identfying as a member of a certain group, among the numbers of whom are those that violate the law.

While flying you are self-identifying as an air traveler; and while driving at night you are self-identifying as a night driver. Both classes contain those who would break the law.

I don't like the new security measures either. I think they are stupid and unecessary.

However, there is nothing new about them. They do not all of a sudden violate the 4th. This happened eight years ago when invasive security measures were first introduced.

This is just more populist tea-bagger outrage directed at the Obama administration. Where were these folks eight years ago when the Bush administration fundamentally violated the 4th amendment and fundamentally changed air travel with the invasive security measures?

Liberty275 7 years, 7 months ago

This a thorny issue with both sides having very good points. What hasn't been mentioned are the poor TSA employees. What you guys are calling "groping" is probably the last thing a TSA inspector wants to do. Given the "groping" is same-sex, I'm going to venture most agents are heterosexuals and find the idea of touching junk that looks like their own (size and circumcision status notwithstanding) pretty revolting.

independant1 7 years, 6 months ago

my fav - *It's not a grope, it's a freedom pat

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

Be ready to offer a stool sample if requested.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

"Toucha toucha toucha touch me, I wanna be dirty Thrill me chill me fulfil me Creature of the night."

kcaj 7 years, 6 months ago

Amazes me how many people give up their rights so quickly because Katie Couric & Barry Saltillo say so. Wow, oh yeah, also, it's in their best interests. That's a classic line. It really works for almost anything. I'd like to see them try to sell that to George Washington. Not gonna happen. Here's a new thought: think for yourself. Does this seem right? Not in this country.

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