What’s the TSA’s policy? Search me!

Just a few days before the busy holiday travel period, the Transportation Security Administration has decided to change the rules of flying – again.

At the beginning of this month, the agency began enforcing its name-matching requirements for airline tickets. Passengers must now provide their full names as they appear on a government-issued ID, their date of birth and their gender when they book a flight.

After a terrorism scare involving explosive devices shipped by cargo, the government banned printer cartridges from luggage.

And the TSA started implementing several new screening measures, including an enhanced “pat-down” protocol for air travelers who opt out of a full-body scan.

The agency appears to be phasing in these new procedures unevenly, leading to frequent confrontations with air travelers. At some airports, passengers are being randomly asked to go through the scanners, while at others, they must all be screened by the machines or by hand. At one airport last week, passengers were both scanned and frisked.
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TSA sends defiant “holiday travel message” to air travelers: Prepare to be patted down


TSA this afternoon sent a defiant holiday travel message to air travelers: Prepare to be patted down.

A full transcript is below.

But the video is telling. TSA Administrator John Pistole looks tense, sounds almost angry, and claps his hands twice — a sign of either nervousness, or defiance. I’m reading defiance into it.

This is his stand against the tsunami of public criticism over enhanced pat-downs. He is determined not to back down, even though many air travelers do not support the new procedures.
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Yes, pat-downs are “more invasive” but here’s what you can do about them right now

So TSA Administrator John Pistole had his day on the Hill, testifying in front of the Transportation Security Administration Oversight Hearing. I predicted earlier this week that this could be an interesting meeting, but I was wrong.

Far from the “grilling” that mainstream media outlets claimed Pistole got, I found the exchange to be more of lovefest.

Guess the TSA isn’t the only part of government that has lost touch with the people.

Pistole did say a few interesting things. First, he admitted the pat-downs were “more invasive.” Duh! But watch his expression when he makes that confession after the opening statements (link to video at top). Is that defiance I see in his eyes? Why yes, I believe it is.

Second, he suggested children under 12 wouldn’t be patted down. We’ll see how long that policy lasts, or how uniformly it’s enforced.

The TSA administrator also said John Tyner, the San Diego-area passenger who who left Lindbergh Field under duress on Saturday morning after refusing to undertake a full body scan and is being investigated by the TSA, is basically off the hook.
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ENOUGH!

TSA Administrator John S. Pistole will testify at a Transportation Security Administration oversight hearing in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.

Maybe our elected representatives will tell him what their constituents have been saying since the beginning of this month.

Maybe they will say, “enough!”

Enough with the full-body scans. The technology is unproven and may be ineffective and unsafe. It violates our privacy. We never asked for the machines, and we are not asking for them now.
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TSA threatens to fine passenger who refuses full-body scan

As the TSA’s use of full-body scanners turns into a national debate, it appears the agency is taking a harder line against passengers who resist.

Last week, TSA agents in Florida allegedly handcuffed a passenger to her chair after she refused both a full-body scan and a pat-down. (Surveillance video of the incident called parts of her story into question.)

And yesterday, a traveler at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport who declined the full-body scan and agreed to be frisked, but complained about the invasive procedure, was threatened with a fine.

It happened to Karen Cummings, the same woman who received an enhanced pat-down when it was being tested in Boston this spring.

If the threat against her is part of TSA’s new enhanced pat-down protocol, then this is a troubling shift in policy that is only likely to intensify the discussion about the use of full-body scanners.
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