X-Ray, Invasive Patdown or old status quo?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by KnightWriter, Nov 16, 2010.

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  1. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
    I give Mr44 as hard a time as anyone, but I'm going to defend him here, even if I'm not sure I agree with him. I don't think he's being unreasonable.

    I will certainly not make light of the incidences that have been reported. But of my friends who have travelled very recently, none of them understand what the big deal is. So this might be an issue with the individual agents regarding ineffective training, which of course TSA is certainly responsible for.

    Now I tried to read everybody's posts, so forgive me if I missed this, but has it been addressed as to why TSA is implementing these procedures? What was wrong with what we had been doing up until now?

    Perhaps I'm being my old cynical self, in that I'm a firm believer that behind many ideas there is a private company looking for $$$, I do agree with whoever posted (I think it was Lowbacca) regarding how Chertoff was pushing the scanners while at the same time the company who makes them are a client of his.

    But more importantly, we should ask why these enhanced procedures are necessary in the first place.

  2. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    But see FID, that's where the line gets to be drawn in your direction.

    No other country gives the person a choice. Repeat that. Now repeat it again. The pat down isn't even the primary method. It's used as an alternative or an "opt-out" method. Like I said earlier, if that's a police state, then it's a police state run by Strawberry Shortcake. And every single country in the world that has air travel has some sort of checkpoint/scanner/whatever. Yeah, it's annoying. Yeah, it's inconvenient. Yeah, it's imperfect. But it's the system we have, and I just don't think "annoying" approaches anything near the end of the free world as we know it.

    It's not enough to say "Oh, let's just adopt the Israeli method" or something similar, because you don't know what a police state is until submachine armed guards force you to open your trunk just to get into the airport. There's no choice there, it's just a matter of course, but required due to Israel's situation. But I guess the benefit is that you don't have to get your crotch grabbed. The US could adopt a policy like that- but it's going to have to go hand in hand with an honest discussion on free movement. If it's just the pat downs that bother people, then take away the choice and get rid of the pat downs. Either you stand in a scanner, and/or talk to 3 different interrogators or you don't fly.

    It's like KK's point. I understand his claim that he's not against all checkpoints, he's just against the checkpoint method that bothers him. But every single person is bothered by something, so what should the overall policy be? Related to that, I'd like to see John Tyner in an Israeli airport. After the first encounter with security, the 3 hour interview process, and the distinct lack of choice, he'd probably beg to be groped just to get out of there. But the grass is always greener in the other yard.

    EDIT: And DS, I think you've just illustrated the economy of scale. The article I previously linked to mentioned that 36 million people have gone through "enhanced checkpoints" since they have started. Out of that, there were 700 complaints. The ratio there is exceedingly small. Now, that doesn't include people who had complaints but didn't file them, but it also doesn't list how many of those 700 were any kind of serious concerns. There is always going to be extreme examples. It's the same with anything.
  3. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
    I'll certainly back you on Israel/El-Al. I've flown on it, and calling them strict is a vast understatement. My wife and I are both Jewish, and we were interrogated for a good 45 minutes, by three different two-man teams, because we had to change our flight.

    Again though, my question though would be why these new methods were instituted? What was insufficient about our now old procedures?
  4. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Well, the response from the TSA is the two attempted bombings/hijackings that occurred over the last two years. The "Christmas bombing" on the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit was attempted by the Nigerian foreign national who had plastic explosive sewn into the band of his underwear. Of course, such explosive is undetectable by conventional metal detectors, but would have shown up on a body scan or pat down of his underwear band. Which is why policy in this area was created. Binary explosives are also the rationale behind the "travel size" shampoo restrictions which have been universally adopted.

    Again, I've always said that no method is iron clad. If someone wants to blow up a plane, they are going to. But I also just don't view a scan or even an enhanced pat down as a monumental attack on civil liberties. Even if such an attack never happens again, I think having your underwear band patted down is a small, small price to pay in the big picture.

    Here's an op-ed from Fox News of all places which mirrors this point:

    It's titled "America, Let's Give the Drama and Hysteria a Rest"

    Some TSA dude named Frank got to third base with me the other day while I was on a business trip. Neither Frank nor I were thrilled with the experience... it was all a bit rushed and kind of awkward. I doubt we'll be seeing each other again. Which clearly didn't bother Frank because, by the time I had put my belt and watch back on, he was all about the next fella' in line. Security makes for strange bedfellows to be sure.

    I report this in a rather clinical manner because honestly I could care less about the intrusive nature of the pat downs or the new body scanners with super X-ray vision. My point being... Give the drama and hysteria a rest.


    I might also point out that the news is reporting that the massive internet fueled "checkpoint boycott" that was supposed to take place today never materialized, because I'm sure most people don't care, and just wanted to get onto their destination and be with their loved ones.




  5. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Obviously my first sentence was a joke, but there was a serious point being made with that article.

    Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the sacrifices both you and our nation have made to combat terrorist were too great? That there comes a point where it just isn't worth it? Imagine if we had tried to build kamikaze proof aircraft carriers in WW2? We could have built a ship outside of the ship that would have been a giant metal shield. There comes a point where force protection just becomes prohibitively expensive and we put some kind of price on human life. We do it every day in the civilian world, even if we don't like to admit it. We live in a world of risks, and terrorism is just one of those risks. These body scanners aren't as effective a strip search, and I don't think it is clear it would have stopped the underwear bomber. Internal explosives placed in body cavities are a real threat as well, what solution do you propose to keep us safe from that threat if not strip searches?

    There is a rather prescient cartoon from 1972.

    Every time an attack fails they get us to waste more resources on security, when with the underwear bomber it isn't clear technology would have saved us, but better use of intelligence would have helped and now it is impossible to use planes as missiles. You can only destroy the plane.
  6. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Well, according to the Government Accountability Office, it's not evident that it WOULD show up on a full body scanner. This comes from a story pre-histeria. Not to mention that we ALREADY had the steps in place to stop the Christmas Day bomber, but the government failed to act correctly. Giving them more tools to not use correctly seems less logical than fixing how they dropped the ball entirely on this one anyway.

    Except this arguing against a strawman. The checkpoints are not the concern, it's what happens at those checkpoints.

    So again, I go back to what was the pressing necessity for this? If the logic is "terrorists did it once and it didn't work" then why are you not saying that we have an even more pressing need for cavity searches randomly because an attack with THAT method happened successfully.
  7. firesaber Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2006
    star 3
    Failure of our Govt to track suspected terrorists and letting them get on planes, having explosives put on TWO air liners. Oh and remember the Times Square bomber, yeah they pulled him OFF the plane to arrest him. Still got through all the air port "security". Yes, our old system worked wonders [face_laugh]
  8. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    How does citing the Times Square bomber justify the new screenings at all? He didn't have anything on him, and if anything that just shows that the problem isn't the screenings, it's the flow of information.
  9. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
  10. firesaber Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2006
    star 3
    Indeed Sir, that was my point. Now couple that with a poorly thought out screening program and you have our previous and I dare say current recipe for nonsense.
  11. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    4 Amendment Wear

    Good to hear they're trying to fight back, but really...all I have to say is: This is totally the American way. Making a buck off of everyone else's misery. I do applaud the effort to shame TSA workers, though. Just that making money off of it seems wrong in a way.
  12. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Heck, they've been selling these for a while to make a point at the metal detectors: http://securityedition.com/cards/
  13. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    Sorry I'm late to the party. I'll just jump right in and state my opinion:

    There is no aspect of life that does not involve risk. To try to create a risk-free bubble will only succeed in making your life more miserable than it has to be because, inevitably, it will pop. And what will you have to show for it? Thousands of cases of near-sexual harrassment that weren't even neccessary? Keeping the people of America safe is all well and good, but to create a state where personal freedoms are given away in the name of "safety" is just eating away at everything our country is founded upon.
  14. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    This exactly. I'm late to the party as well and have only read the first four pages but here's my take.

    We have sexual assault victims traumatized, cancer survivors with urine dumped all over them, and children screaming "Stop touching me!" as TSA agents grab their butts.

    Enough. Already.

    Yes, if there is another terrorist attack, people will scream that the government (and likely, Obama personally) didn't do enough to prevent it.

    But we are barking up the wrong tree. I think background checks are absolutely the way to go. Along with crossing the terrorist watch lists with the no-fly lists. (As I understand it from a post on the YJCC, it is up to the individual airlines to keep terrorist watch list members off the planes, but could they not be required to do so? It would make more sense than groping 3-year-olds.)

    The Ball Bomber from last Christmas should have never been allowed on any plane. His own father had reported him to Homeland Security for "extremist religious views." He bought a one-way ticket and boarded the plane with no checked bags and no carry ons. He was on the terrorist watch list. And let's face it, anyone who is crazy enough to blow up his junk for his religion, is probably crazy enough to stick a bomb up his butt as well, so yeah...is TSA going to start giving colonoscopies?

    As far as profiling, I see no need to profile "all Muslims" or "all people of Middle Eastern descent" but really, could we not profile people who have been reported to Homeland Security by their relatives? People who have had regular contact with known members of Al Qaida?

    And we as Americans need to own up to the fact that government cannot protect us from every possible risk.
  15. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    And that's why my main point all along has been for everyone to relax. AG, the problem is that your entire post can be dismissed as an over-reaction.

    Yes, it's unfortunate that the above example exists. But that's a single incident among millions..tens of millions. It's the result of a mistake, not a failure of the actual policy. The problem is that the knee-jerk reaction is to treat the exceptions as the norm, as the exceptions are the ones that get media coverage. No one reports it when 1,000 people in a row go through a checkpoint without incident, it's the one sensational incident that gets the news coverage. How many people have flown now, since the last article was looked at here? It's probably up to 60-70 million people, including the busiest travel weekend of the year. And there were no major incidents or protests anywhere in the country. Think about that. It seems to me that those who actually go through them have a "what's the big deal?" mentality, as opposed to those who just read about specific incidents and react to their faux outrage. Actually, the utter lack of anything major over the past weekend is more of a comment on the actual policy that anything else.

    As far as profiling, I see no need to profile "all Muslims" or "all people of Middle Eastern descent" but really, could we not profile people who have been reported to Homeland Security by their relatives? People who have had regular contact with known members of Al Qaida?

    And you actually think this is a panacea? That spending 45 minutes in an intensive interview room is less invasive that going through a scanner? So, if an acquaintance reported you to homeland security, would you willingly accept intensive interrogation every time you flew just to uphold the core of your above suggestion? Or would you scream bloody murder at the indignity because "you're really innocent and only real terrorists should be profiled?"

    Or what type of news coverage do you think would be generated the one time the well respected middle eastern author is detained and interrogated just because her name matches one on the no-fly list until it's sorted out? Or the Peace Corps worker who associates with members of al Qaeda and gets banned from airline travel?

    It seems to be that there's a segment of the population who thinks that the only "correct" answer is the one that the government didn't choose, and I could easily see the opposite take place. That is, if the government implemented EL AL style interrogations and searches, instead of scanners and pat downs, the same people here would point out that quick easy methods are available such as scanners and pat downs, and the entire cycle would start over again.
  16. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5

    Is that larger or smaller than the segment of the population who thinks the only correct answer is the one the government did choose?


    Care to explain how that exact same logic can't be applied to terrorist instead of those being screened? There is one incident of an underwear bomber, and was the result of multiple other mistakes, and you got a knee-jerk reaction to treat that exception as the norm. Which is just in fact what the terrorists want because they get us to over-react, spend billions of untold billions of dollars on security measures that are overly invasive and unproven to stop the actual threat. Not to mention that if they do stop that particular threat, there is always somewhere else they can attack.

    We just need to face up to the fact we can't stop terrorism completely, and short of cavity searches and mandatory nudism things will get through security and maybe people will die. But no plane will ever be used as a weapon again as long as passengers are able to act. We can't stop every traffic accident, and we let thousands of people die for our freedom to turn left. I'm willing to risk my life and the lives of air travel passengers to not be touched in the genital region or virtually strip searched. And the fact that people haven't made a ruckus about it is a stupid argument. There are a billion people in China who love their internet being monitored and blocked, that doesn't make it any less of a violation of human rights.

    A little terrorism isn't a big deal, and we need to stop freaking out about it. Mr.44, your entire posting history could be dismissed as an over-reaction.

  17. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Can I get an AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMEN over here, please? AAAAAAAAAMEN.

    Thank you very much.

    We take a risk just getting up in the morning. We take risks doing just about anything in life. We live with more risk than most of us will ever be aware of. But we do it anyway, and it doesn't stop at airport doors.
  18. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    =D= =D= QFT.

  19. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
  20. anidanami124 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    I'm willing to risk you're life to drive how ever fast I want if you die oh well that's life. That's the danger of life. I'm willing to risk you're life to break into you're home. If I have to kill you oh well. That's the danger of life.

    You can use that line for anything. Let's try it. I'm willing to put the my co-works lives at risk just to drink a bottle of Jack Daniels at work who cares if I get to drunk to do anything safe.
  21. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    So...not wanting my children to be molested and not wanting to be sexually assaulted myself, is the equivalent of driving recklessly or drinking at work? :oops:
  22. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    There's a difference between risking someone's safety by doing something dangerous to yourself and risking someone's sefety by violating someone.
  23. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Yeah, I am not under any circumstances willing to subject my small boys to having their testicles touched by a stranger so that you (general "you") can feel safer on a plane.
  24. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    As a general rule, I won't let anyone touch my kids' genitals. How old are your kids? I ask because before I was molested, if it was really hot and I was in all-male company (more out of deference to the ladies than any sense of shame), my clothes would come off, so I guess the scan wouldn't be so bad. (Afterward, expect me to wear bulky clothing covering everything but my head and hands, constantly. Years before I was comfortable again, but that's for another discussion.) Too bad the scan wouldn't have stopped the underwear bomber.
  25. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    They're 5 and 3. And yes, they strip around the house all the time, and the scanner would concern me more than them. But they've also been told that under no circumstances is anyone allowed to touch their "personal regions." The incident with the 3-year-old girl involved a pat down because she had a tantrum over their taking her teddy bear and putting it through the scanner. Why did she need to be patted down for that?
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