Skip to main content

TSA Backlash Week: John Pistole Gets The Business

The leader of the TSA went before the Senate today to defend his agency's invasive airport screening techniques. Apparently he demanded to be given pat-down before giving the green light to the technique:
"“Yes, it was more invasive than what I was used to,” said Pistole. “Of course, what’s in my mind … is what are the plots out there, how are we informed by the latest intelligence and latest technology and what do we need to do to ensure the American people that as they travel that we are being thorough.”

“So yes, it is clearly more invasive. The purpose of that is obviously to detect the type of devices that we had not seen before last Christmas. I am very sensitive to and concerned about people’s privacy concerns and I want to work through that as best we can.” 

Pistole told a separate panel of senators yesterday that the pat-down technique is so thorough that, had it been used, it would have thwarted the suspected Christmas Day bomber, who allegedly hid an explosive device in his underwear. "

Is it churlish to note that the Christmas Day bomber actually was thwarted? Sure, he got through airport security, but once he started trying to accomplish his evil act, the plane's passengers and crew intervened. And it seems to me that ought to be OK. The man was stopped without body scanners and without invasive patdowns -- as, incidentally, was Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber" who forced all of us to take off our footwear every time we go through security. Al Qaeda keeps failing, and we keep ratcheting up security anyway. God help us when and if they're successful again. The anal probes probably won't be far behind.


KhabaLox said…
"Sure, he got through airport security, but once he started trying to accomplish his evil act, the plane's passengers and crew intervened. And it seems to me that ought to be OK"

I hate the new procedures as much as you, but I don't think we "it ought to be OK" that bombs get on planes and our safety is left to the incompetence of bombers or the quick actions of passengers.

Behavioral Pattern Recognition as practiced at Ben Gurion ought to be the order of the day at all airports. The problem is, it costs a lot more than groping, and it's not clear that we are willing to pay the financial or political costs.

Popular posts from this blog


I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…