• 24 NOV 10
    • 0

    1325: The Real Airport Security Debate: Would You Rather Be Groped or Zapped?

    From Reader Supported News (Highly recommended News blog):

    David Corn

    Groped by a TSA agent or zapped by harmful radiation?

    That may well be the real airport screening debate. But in the past weeks, there’s been an uproar in the media only over the new intrusive examinations being used at airport screening by the Transportation Security Administration. And this past weekend, the Obama administration officials sent signals that these policies could be eased. On “Face the Nation,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she wouldn’t submit to such a pat-down: “I mean, who would?” Yet on CNN, John Pistole, the TSA administrator, said, “No, we are not changing the policies because of that, because of the risks that have been identified because of the current threat stream.” Yet hours later, he throttled back on the rhetoric, telling Politico that screening procedures “will be adapted as conditions warrant” to make them “as minimally invasive as possible, while still providing the security that the American people want and deserve.” And during the NATO summit in Lisbon on Saturday, President Barack Obama said, “You have to constantly refine and measure whether what we’re doing is the only way to assure the American people’s safety. And you also have to think through, are there ways of doing it that are less intrusive?”

    This all suggests the administration may be worrying about a popular backlash against the more intrusive pat-downs that began three weeks ago. This controversy has been fueled by such pat-down horror stories as the one involving a 61-year-old fellow who survived bladder cancer and who uses a ursotomy bag. On his way to Orlando, Florida, he was searched by a TSA agent who hit the bag, causing it to break open. Urine spilled and dribbled down his shirt to his pants, and ran down his leg. (This episode raises the question: Do we really need to have pee-soaked passengers in order to keep terrorists at bay?)

    The fuss over pat-downs seems to have displaced the fuss over the full-body scanner images that can show more than TSA agents really need to know about passengers. (Travelers declining the full-body scans are being subjected to the new, too-close-for-comfort physical exams.) Yet the true worry may not be an invasion of privacy but chromosome damage and cancer.


    For the full article go to: http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section

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