Diary

Exactly what is the TSA groping for, anyway? (UPDATED)

Junk

Did I miss the news about a terrorist smuggling a blackjack or billy club through an airport checkpoint last summer by hanging the weapon in his pants?

Where was I when the female jihadist breast cancer survivor got through security with plastic explosive in her bra, disguised as a prothesis?

These things MUST have happened – otherwise, why would the TSA abandon the standard metal detector/quick frisk method of clearing passengers in favor of the new intrusive body-scan/groin groping technique?

What was the old method missing? Good Lord, those of us who’ve been stopped and stripped of a pair of nail clippers can attest to the thoroughness of the “old way” of doing things.

Didn’t the metal detectors and police-style pat-downs catch the various knives, guns, straight razors and sharpened knitting needles that people tried to smuggle through before. We know they did – the TSA and its defenders point to all the weapons confiscated under the old method as a reason for even MORE thorough measures.

Really? More thorough than getting half-undressed, going through a metal detector, having my jacket and shoes scanned, having them look under my hat, and even THEN facing a police-style frisk?

How much more thorough need we be? I don’t remember a plane being hijacked in America by someone who carried a weapon in their anal cavity (yes, it was tried by a suicide bomber on the ground overseas, but not here.)

So why the added security all of a sudden, right before the busiest travel season of the year. (And couldn’t they have given the new procedures a test-run during an off-peak season?)

No, I think I know why the new scanners were put in place – in a word, money. After last Christmas’ failed bombing attempt, panic followed, stupid proposals were made, tech companies – which had probably already been lobbying for the scanners – lobbied even harder, some administrator put them in his budget, and an order was placed… when budgets are approved, you GOTTA spend the dough, right? We are only now enduring the idiotic repercussions of decisions made early this year.

11/22 UPDATE: We find out today that the two companies that are selling the machines to the Federal Government have connections: One uses a lobbying firm that spent $4.3 million on lobbying and employs former FAA official Linda Daschle (wife of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle); the other scanner maker didn’t have to spend as much – probably because it had hired Michael Chertoff (former Secretary of Homeland Security and a big proponent of body scanners) and went on Obama’s recent boondoggle to India.

Would the new scanners and pat-downs have caught the underwear bomber? (TSA Chief John Pistole says it would have.)

Remember, the bomber had one part of the explosive device (the plastic explosive) packed into a condom, hanging from his crotch. How would a scan have caught a penis-shaped explosive hanging in the crotch area? For even the new pat-downs to find it, I would think the TSA groper would have had to literally squeeze or rub the bomber’s Johnson.

The bomber’s primary explosive, needed to set off the plastic explosive, was a liquid, and carried in a syringe. (How did THAT get through, anyway… was it under three ounces, or carried on in a Baggie?)

So, I repeat my question: What is the TSA groping for that its old security methods wouldn’t have caught?

Groping for reality, I’d say.