The TSA: Freedom Crusaders and PR Geniuses

John Tyner, the California man about whose experience with the Transportation Security Administration's new security procedures I wrote yesterday, is now being investigated by the TSA: "Michael J. Aguilar, chief of the TSA office in San Diego, called a news conference at the airport Monday afternoon to announce the probe. He said the investigation could lead to prosecution and civil penalties of up to $11,000."
TSA chief John Pistole was grilled about Tyner's case Monday on CNN.

"The bottom line is, if somebody doesn't go through proper security screening, they're not going to go on the flight," Pistole said.
But of course Tyner was not allowed to leave, either, because the TSA contends that once you reach security, the security check has to be completed, to ensure you're not carrying a bomb or something.

Problem is, not everyone gets screened with a full-body scanner or enhanced pat-down. When you buy a ticket, you arrive at the airport not knowing if you're just going to be ushered through a metal detector, or, as happened to Tyner, randomly singled out for more invasive security screening.

People need to have the right to opt out of invasive screening and leave the airport without repercussions, for crying out loud.

All of which, frankly, is moot, anyway—because, as I pointed out in comments, groping someone does not help uncover items hidden in orifices. Unless they are going to require every passenger to submit to the full body scan, and then do full body cavity searches on every single damn passenger who refuses the body scan, there's always going to be a way for people to sneak stuff onto an airplane.

And guess who knows that? People who want to sneak stuff onto an airplane.

That this glaring exception to the efficacy of enhanced pat-downs isn't even being mentioned in public discussions is evidence of how utterly stupid (and dishonest) this entire debate really is.

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