"“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.