Monday, December 6, 2010

Stu Bykofsky's TSA Math

Stu Bykofsky does the math:

Since Nov. 19, when TSA began counting complaints about screening, it registered a little more than 1,000. During the same period, TSA screened 22 million passengers, I was told by TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis. Do the math and tell me this is a major issue.

This seems a little misleading to me. I had my own unpleasant encounter with a TSA screener last year -- documented in the pages of Philadelphia Weekly -- and skipped reporting the dude to his supervisor because I had a plane to catch. I've got to wonder if complaints about TSA abuses don't reflect any number of similar schedule-driven decisions by other passengers.

And in any case, the real debate isn't about abusive TSA screeners. It's about the procedures the TSA applies to passengers in the normal course of things. The bodyscanners and junk patdowns might not generate a ton of official complaints, because they're part of the normal procedure and everybody knows that. That also makes them far more irritating--and threatening to the country's overall sense of liberty and freedom of movement--than the occasional rogue agent.

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