Is this the beginning of the end for the TSA’s full-body scanners?

Time to make the scanners disappear?

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the mainstream media last week ignored a legitimate grassroots protest against the TSA’s allegedly invasive full-body scanners.

Oh sure, there were whispers of National Opt-Out Week here and there. The trade publication Government Security News reported them, although it left readers with the impression that this action would fizzle. A lone op-ed in a New Jersey newspaper recognized the protest and supported it.

The TSA briefly acknowledged Opt-Out Week in a blog post that came across as both wooden and threatening. Wooden, in the sense that it described the opt-out options in almost clinical terms; and threatening in the sense that it implied passengers could be arrested for taking photos of the screening process (“While the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances may,” it warned).

But most media outlets — staffed by junior editors and wide-eyed interns during the American Thanksgiving week — simply blew off Opt-Out Week.

They’re clueless

They don’t understand. Opt-Out Week wasn’t the end of the protest. It is the beginning.

Organizers claim they made their point, bringing attention to a screening method that is, by some accounts, both dangerous and unconstitutional. Enough passengers made the pledge to opt out until the TSA decommissions these poorly tested machines, their numbers growing every day, that it’s only a matter of time before screening areas reach gridlock.

And then the TSA will have a decision to make. Does it abandon the last of these scanners and try something different? (It’s already quietly backed away from the most controversial X-ray scanners.) Or does it double down on its foolish investment in an unproven technology, buying more machines, refusing to subject them to independent tests, and insisting that the body-scanners are safe — and that we should just take their word for it?

I’m betting they’ll unplug ’em.

You’re wrong

My story about opting out of the TSA’s scanners last week drew a massive response on my consumer advocacy site, on the Huffington Post and on LinkedIn.

Most of them were well intended but, unfortunately, terribly misguided. I’ll summarize them here.

“I’m not going to let my Thanksgiving vacation be held hostage to your little protest.”

No worries. I flew last Monday, and I opted out, and there were no noticeable delays. In fact, there were no reports of delays anywhere, which makes me wonder if, like the last time we protested the scanners, TSA agents simply waved passengers through.

That’s what they did with me.

“I’m a million-miler, elite-level frequent flier on [insert name of airline]. Your silly protest is disruptive to the rest of us who just need to get to their destination.”

No you’re not. Experienced business travelers avoid Thanksgiving week at all costs. Besides, if you’re a real road warrior, you already have TSA Pre-Check credentials, and might be able to breeze through security. Talk to the hand, my friend.

“Your post was sensationalistic and irresponsible. The government has repeatedly reassured us that full-body scanners are safe, and can be used as a primary screening method. Also, my nephew, who is a TSA agent, says the machines are absolutely harmless.”

Sometimes you’ve gotta cut through all the rhetoric and tell it like it is, and if you think that’s sensationalistic, then I’m guilty as charged.

I, for one, am not going to take the government’s “word” that its scanners are safe, and I’m definitely not going to believe your nephew. Get a Ph.D, conduct an independent test on the scanners, and then let’s have a conversation.

Say, why don’t we all meet in that Texas warehouse where they’ve mothballed those X-ray scanners? We could do it between your nephew’s chemotherapy treatments?

“Air travel is a privilege, not a right.”

Wrong. Freedom of movement is a recognized constitutional right. And air travel is a form of movement. Bottom line: You have the right to fly without being hassled.

“Your post gave comfort to the enemy. I question your patriotism.”

I question yours. Protesting the TSA’s irresponsible screening methods isn’t just my right as an American citizen; it’s my duty. The enemy would be even more comforted if we didn’t have this debate. That’s a sure sign that the bad guys have won. Think about it.

I understand some of your comments, though I disagree with many of them. Sometimes the rightness of your cause isn’t apparent until it’s in the rear view mirror. Only then does everything fall into place.

I agree with the protesters. The TSA’s wrongheaded scan/pat-down proposition raises basic health, privacy — and yes, civil rights — issues.

Maybe someday you’ll understand.

Do you think the opt-out protest will change the way passengers are screened?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • crash025

    I always mention this:

    Given that it produces a significant amount of false positives, I’d rather volunteer for the massage than be subjected to it.

    EDIT: Often times when I mention the Hamburg study the officer’s faces just go blank. They’re used to reading off a script and attempt to minimize the opt-outs.

  • sirwired

    Yes, the scanners are stupid. Yes, they provide virtually no additional useful security. But a protest like this is a really poor way to oppose them.

    The protest has only two possible outcomes, neither of which advances the cause:
    1) The protest actually works and gums up security lines; thereby really annoying those in line that are in the huge majority of people that (rightly or wrongly) don’t care.
    2) The protest doesn’t cause any disruption (either through lack of participation or TSA waving people through; doesn’t matter) and that is “tells” our esteemed elected and TSA officials that resistance to the scanners is a non-issue.

    I don’t blame the media for not covering it; the last one I remember was a complete bust.

  • Bert

    No machines just pat downs for everyone is what will happen and no metal detectors.

  • BobChi

    I voted no, but not because I disagree with the protest. The only people who can make change happen are the Members of Congress, a dysfunctional organization if there ever was one.

  • Daisiemae

    I voted no because of two reasons. First of all, there will not be enough people to opt out to make a significant difference. People are too shallow and self absorbed to inconvenience themselves for the benefit of the greater good.

    Second, the politicians (both Dem and Rep) and bureaucrats don’t care if we opt out. They are all making big bucks either directly or indirectly from this atrocity and they are not about to cut off their supply.

    However, I do think opt out protests together with all other forms of resistance is valuable. The opt out protest is a drop in the bucket. It takes many drops to fill up the bucket, but at some point, the bucket will overflow, and change will occur.

    The Civil Rights movement did not produce overnight change, but in my own lifetime, I have seen massive changes that would have been inconceivable when I was a child.

    A woman’s right to vote, to hold public office, to own property, to own an individual bank account, to make decisions about her own health care without her husband’s approval….all of these changes took decades to come about.

    Workers’ rights to safe working conditions, to fair treatment and fair pay, and child labor laws…all of these changes took decades to come about.

    So although I don’t expect the scanners and abusive behavior of TSA to disappear any time soon, the opt out protest together with all other forms of resistance is vital. We must keep relentless pressure on TSA and all government officials. We must publicize the unconstitutionality, the criminality, and the immorality of TSA and all its supporters. We must cry their wrongs from the mountain tops! We must continue to find creative ways to oppose this monster of evil.

    This is the manner in which oppressed people ultimately overcome their oppressors. Indeed, we have already seen some reactions from TSA as a result of our protests. We must keep it up until there is not one scanner or one blue glove left in existence.

    So….do I think the opt out protest will change the way passengers are screened? No. But the opt out protest together with continuous resistance in multiple forms will ultimately produce significant change…just as it did with Civil Rights, Women’s rights, and Workers’ rights.

  • Lisa Simeone

    Yes, crash025, we have reported on the high false positive rate of the scanners umpteen times at TSA News Blog.

  • TonyA_says

    This is one issue that I find very difficult to understand. Go to any country outside the USA and Israel. Observe how airport security is done for both international and domestic flights. If the flight is NOT BOUND FOR THE USA or ISRAEL, I don’t think you will have anything to complain about. Now take any flight WITHIN THE USA and compare. Notice how much more hassle you go through. WHY?

  • cjr001

    See, the problem isn’t people who want to protest.

    It’s the people that are willing to give up all the rights just to get from A to B that are the real problem.

  • cjr001

    The last one was NOT a bust, but thank you once again for perpetuating a lie. And because of the lie, you, too, are part of the problem.

  • EdB

    It’s the non-patriot claiming the patriot is a non-patriot because the patriot is exercising his patriotic duty. (It’s still too early for me)

  • Poley King

    It was not a bust last time as full body scanners were turned off. Mission complete.

  • EdB

    Hey, don’t forget about the first one being a lie too. I’m sure during the civil rights movements, there was a large group not wanting to “upset” the man. Keep things the way they are because it will just cause problems for everyone else. They may not want to be inconvenienced now but I bet they are some of the first ones to take advantage of the change.

  • Christopher Elliott

    Now I’m confused.

  • EdB

    Claiming you are a non-patriot for exercising you patriotic rights argument. i.e. you aren’t an american if you vote – for example. You aren’t a patriot if you protest against the government – even though that is what this country is founded on.

  • Kairho

    I’m still trying to figure out what a “TSA Pre-Check card” is?

  • TonyA_says

    Who defines who is a patriot? Or what patroitism is?

  • cjr001

    This has the chance to get way too political way too quickly. :)

  • TonyA_says


  • frank windows

    Select frequent travelers are eligible for this program. It’s old-fashioned screening: your shoes stay on your feet, your liquids stay in your bag, and you go through a metal detector, not the Cancer-Matic.

  • Kairho

    We know what the program is (take advantage of it frequently). It’s the “card”…

  • frank windows

    Good thing people like Mahatma Ghandi and Rosa Parks didn’t feel the way you do.

  • frank windows

    Right on, Chris!

  • judy serie nagy

    Having just completed two trips across the country with connecting flights and two metal joints, I am again reporting no problems with TSA. I still haven’t encountered an obnoxious TSA agent … unfriendly is the worst it’s ever been. If people want to change the way we are treated at airports, we need to offer alternative ideas, not just complain about what we currently endure.

  • EdB

    Well, the Oxford Dictionary for one I guess (and in regards to the use of the word enemies, might I add both *DOMESTIC* and Foreign….

    Definition of patriot
    1 a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.

    2 (Patriot) trademark an automated surface-to-air missile designed for preemptive strikes.

  • EdB

    And so just because you didn’t experience any problems, I guess none exist. Guess all these people who have reported problems are just liars trying to stir up trouble.

  • EdB

    But don’t you know, they were just trouble makers. They couldn’t except the position and role society dictated they should play and was just stirring up discontent for the fun of it. (and for those who don’t understand sarcasm, I am supporting Frank’s position,)

  • William_Leeper

    They are referring to the secure flight pre clearance that has been rolled out to some frequent flyer members. Supposedly it speeds the screening process, allows shoes and light jackets to be worn through the check point, and laptops do not have to be removed from their cases.

  • EdB

    We know what the “program” is. It’s the “card” part that is confusing. Never have heard of an actual card being issued to those people. There might be one, but no one has ever mentioned on who uses that program.

  • Christopher Elliott

    I’ve got your card right here …

  • William_Leeper

    Yes, I’m not 100% on the card either…I have never heard of one. I thought that was all electronic, and part of the boarding pass and such!

  • whateverak

    I agree with most everything you have said, but in your response to the alleged million miler elite frequent flyer, you say he can use TSA Pre, but in my experience, that rarely works and not just because it’s random on who actually gets to do it, but, for me, because most airports that I go through don’t actually have it. Also, I signed up for TSA Pre with Alaska Airlines, but I traveled to Salt Lake City on Delta recently. When I was leaving, I went to the TSA Pre line, but because I had signed up with Alaska not Delta, I was told I don’t qualify. If that program is going to actually work, they need to consider it a national program and you’re either registered for it or your not.

  • Flip 44

    We just went thru an election cycle where the candidates, for the most part, did not talk about what is really meaningful for the welfare and beneficial for the public: the masses.

    The protest as you recommend just tells the TSA where to back off (for the moment) and not make waves that brings their problems to the fore. When no planes have been blown out of the air, they are the ‘good guys.’

    Disruption on a mass scale is the only way to get their attention. But that is not where the changes are made, it is Congress. And for them that is at the bottom of the totem pole. Especially when so many hands are filled with ‘Judas Silver’ where the lobbyist win: money talks, our voices are drowned out.
    This is such a complex problem. Those who opt out and those who just want to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible when they travel, overlook their inconvemninece and disregard ‘what is good and proper.’

    Write your congress person! At the very least it will lessen your anger.

  • JenniferFinger

    I voted no, but that’s because while the principles behind a protest are reasonable, I don’t think that a protest will actually do anything to accomplish the end of the full-body-scanner use. All it does is express that the protesters don’t like it…just as Occupy Wall Street registered dissatisfaction with business practices but didn’t do anything to change them.

  • Parisfox

    Sad to say….this administration will continue to do exactly as it wishes whether it’s constitutional or not. So many Americans have become “sheep” that they don’t realize how our constitutional freedoms have been eroded.

  • EdB

    That can be said of most any administration. Remember, it was the previous one that brought us the TSA and warrantless wiretapping.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Ed – you’re discussing semantics here.

    If the definition you give were the standard, then I don’t think the likes of John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin could be considered “patriots”, and I’d beg to differ with that.

    (And, side note, it’s “with regard to”, not “in regards to”)

  • Parisfox

    Ed…also, the Oath of Office of the President contains a promise to protect the Constitution of the United States from enemies both foreign and DOMESTIC which hasn’t been done for some time now.

  • Parisfox

    The reason this country is in the shape it’s in is because way too many people haven’t been paying attention to things political.

  • Parisfox

    We can only hope (and pray) that this will be the end result.

  • EdB

    I was responding to a question of who is to define patriot/patriotism. I gave one example is all. Not the only one. In fact, the Webster definition include supporting the government in it’s definition. Something that I personally don’t agree with as being a definition of patriotism.

  • Parisfox

    LOL….more sarcasm….I, too support Frank’s position…and yours.

  • Lisa Simeone

    Kairho, click the link.

  • Aaron Gold

    And which organization was it that brought this upon us? One syllable, rhymes with “Shush.” It’s not right that the current President has not done anything, but let’s not pretend the Republicans would do any better — remember, Romney’s solution was not to protect our rights, but to privatize the TSA, so that we could get groped and irradiated at a profit.

  • Aaron Gold

    PS, have you written to your senators, congresspeople, and the President to complain? I have, but I wonder how many people complain in places where it can’t do any good. I got an answer to my emails — not the answer I wanted, but an answer. Why don’t you email them instead of complaining? If we all did that, it’d make a difference.

  • Aaron Gold

    Judy, if you were irradiated by one of those insufficiently-tested machines or had a TSA agent touch your body in places you wouldn’t normally let a stranger touch, YOU HAD A PROBLEM. Just because the TSA agents weren’t obnoxious doesn’t mean all is well. I opt out of the scanners every time, gotten “secondary screening” (with full groin fondle) once, and have never encountered a rude agent — but that doesn’t mean the TSA isn’t broken. Smiling faces or not, the TSA’s screening procedures are unsafe and ineffective. As citizens, we should DEMAND safe, effective screening that does not violate our rights! Remember, it’s OUR money they are wasting.

  • Correctamundo

    It is electronic. Figure of speech, people.

  • TonyA_says

    But, we can change them, right?

  • dourdan

    I have never been a part of an “opt out week/day” but when ever i fly i have seen people who opt out, get separated from their bags.

    meaning their bag goes through the x-ray, then waits while the person who opted out has to 1. wait for the TSA employee to come for the pat down, 2, get patted down (which cane take up to 60-90 seconds extra- just long enough for someone to steal you bag.)

  • TonyA_says

    In Europe and other parts of the FREE World, to protest means blocking the streets, marching with banners, and demanding some change. They do cause real disruption. See

    I’m sorry but the only commotion I read in the USA this Thanksgiving was about a bunch of consumers fighting over a $9 cellphone at Walmart and some kind of pink bikini panties at Victoria’s Secret.

    So cjr001, you are right. There must be a lot of folks who just don’t give a damn.

  • EdB

    I was just watching a video that Christ posted on another site where a Buffalo Transit Authority Police officer was trying to justify the use of the scanner by saying how there hadn’t been another 9/11 incident since. What a lot of people who say that don’t realize is that if we had the current screening procedures in place then that we have now, 9/11 would *STILL* have happened. Why? Because at the time, box cutters were not on the prohibited list and cockpit doors were not secured like they are now.

  • LFH0

    Your observation is concise and correct. As Christopher Elliott stated, there is a constitutional right to travel, but that essentially is a right to travel on your own (on foot). Using other means of transportation in order to travel can be regulated (consider: using an automobile for travel very much should be regulated since such travel requires minimal skill in order to protect public safety). It is the convenience of using faster forms of transportation which has caused so many to give up their other rights in order to arrive at a destination sooner.

    I have given up on commercial air transportation because I don’t want to give up those rights (especially my Fourth Amendment right to be free from sexual groping). But as I take the slower road by railroad and motorcoach, I remain dubious of even being able to stay on the ground and remain in possession of those rights. I think the reasoning for permitting such searches for air travel could be applied as well to surface transportation, and might well be pursued by those accepting of airline-type searches as being “normal” to the extent that they should be applied equally across the board to all forms of transportation (notwithstanding the differences inherent in the modes).

    Between some citizens who care not about the rights we fought so hard to protect, and other citizens who have no clue about statistical theory and what constitutes acceptable risk, this may just be hopeless.

  • jebaker

    I voted yes as wishful/hopeful thinking. Certainly the warehousing of the xray tech machines says volumes. Let’s hope this trend continues.

  • MarkieA

    Completely agree! I’ve always wondered why it’s considered “bad form” to discuss politics among friend, or just out in public. I agree with you that in times like these, it’s more important than ever to discuss politics.

  • MarkieA

    Judy – You may be new to this forum; a lot of folks here have suggested MANY MANY alternatives. This is not a forum full of whiners and complainers; many good, seemingly realistic alternative ideas have been voiced here.

    Additionally, I think you need to define “no problems”. Was your baggage searched for no reason? Did you have to go out and buy special liquid containers for your creams and lotions? Did you have to remove your shoes? Were you guided through a special scanning device? Were you touched/groped/fondled by a stranger? All of these can be construed as “problems” for some people. Just because you’ve accepted this behavior doesn’t mean it’s not a problem.

  • MarkieA

    Not sure of your point. Are you saying that you don’t opt out because you’re afraid that the TSA will steal your stuff?

  • franstravels

    When passing through the airport in Boise, I was told by a screener that the body scanners were not X-rays, they were CAT scans. When I pointed out that CAT scans are a very sophisticated form of X-rays, he insisted that they were not; they were CAT scans and those are not X-rays. Scary that the people running the machines don’t even know what they are working with.
    Ever read the sci-fi story, Marching Morons?

  • franstravels

    Of course, all of this “front of the house” “security” drama ignores the gaping holes in security on the ramp and behind the scenes. As one with a bit of a background in aviation (not a professional, but a private pilot married to an aviation professional), I shake my head at the TSA’s attitude and behavior. They could be doing a lot of serious, effective actions elsewhere, but instead I get to be groped when I choose not to be digitally stripped. (Even though the TSA instpector was a woman about my age who was very professional and polite, the experience was horrifying. I ended up grabbing my bags as soon as it was over, running to the ladies room, stripping in a stall, throwing out my bra and panties, and putting on the clothing I had in my carry-on.I was inappropriately fondled when I was a kid,but I did not expect this procedure to bring back those memories.So my otions are scanning or flashbacks. Great.)

  • EdB

    I lived in Boise for 12 years so that doesn’t sound too far fetched. Should have asked him if he ever saw them replacing the CATs in it to know for sure or what breed of cats were being used. *grin*

  • dman

    “And air travel is a form of movement. Bottom line: You have the right to fly without being hassled”. Bull. Tell that to the people killed by the 9-11 terrorists.

  • TonyA_says

    What? A CT scan has 100-500 times more radiation than an ordinary x-ray.
    I hope the TSA Agents hair do not begin falling after all that exposure.

  • EdB

    Call it bull all you want, but that doesn’t the fact you have a right to travel by plane. The part about the people killed on 9/11 is only an emotional argument and has no bearing on the facts. The facts being, even if we had the current screening procedures in effect on 9/11, it would still have happened. Why? Because box cutters were not prohibited. Oh, and they would have set off the current metal detectors today. No need to be irradiated to find those.

  • BMG4ME

    I don’t know if it will change things. I hope it does. The current security doesn’t actually make airplane travel more safe.

  • BMG4ME

    Also in Europe and other parts of the free world (at least in the UK and Israel) you don’t have to take our your shoes and belts. The biggest joke is flying from New York to Tel Aviv, where you go through the real security that El Al puts you through, and then you still have to go through the regular airport security.

  • BMG4ME

    It’s not Congress that is dysfunctional, it’s the system that allows a President and the houses to be of opposing political views.

  • Opinionated12cents

    I live in Ak. flying is the way we get around. I have only flown once in 8 yrs. Not wanting to be treated as a criminal nazi, I decided not to fly. The one time I had to I wouldn’t go through the scanner and wanted a physical pat down for safety….it took 5 minutes for them to bring someone to do it, everyone else were lined up like lemmings through the machine. It was a few months ago. It made me aware that the publicity on pat downs just programed folks to go with the flow. They were surprised that I requested a pat down, and it made me aware how few ask for it as they didn’t have anyone there to even do it. There comes a time you either stand for your beliefs, or you sell out. Those who dfo not stand…stop lying to yourself and others.

  • Daisiemae

    I can sympathize with you so much. I was also molested as a child. When I first learned about the scanners, I was horrified. “But what about victims of rape and sexual assault,” I cried.

    Then I learned about the gropings, and I knew I could never fly again. I could not sleep for a month. Every time I laid down, visions of myself surrounded by blue shirted thugs were all I could see.

    I kept trying to convince myself that I could go through the scanner, but every time I imagined it, I started shaking and crying. Needless to,say, I am never flying again.

    So I can definitely understand your primal reaction to being molested yet again…and by an agent of the federal government at that. I had an overwhelming reaction just imagining it. I can’t imagine how aweful it must feel to actually go through it.

    I’m very sorry this happened to you, and I’m incredibly angry and outraged that my tax dollars helped to pay for it to be done to you.

  • Opinionated12cents

    me too….hopeful with a yes

  • Daisiemae

    Also the fact that passengers and crew were told by the government to cooperate. That will NEVER happen again.

    All the terrorists had were box cutters. If the passengers and crew had not followed government orders….if they had resisted, 911 would never have occurred.

    And yet we continue to follow government orders and believe they will “keep us safe!”

  • Opinionated12cents

    those under 60….have never lived under the freedoms we once had, so they do not even know what they have lost. We older Americans know what we have lost, and it therefore upsets and means more to us.

  • Opinionated12cents

    There was a time a letter or call meant something to them. Not now…Email aren’t even read…..think about the millions we have been sending…not making any difference…we must accept the fact, once elected…they just don’t care beyond their own power grabs.

  • Opinionated12cents

    You aren’t thinking…..private meant we the taxpayers wouldn’t be picking up the tab for outrageous union pay, benefits and retirement forever….the ones who fly and the airlines would, and that is where the real chance to rid ourselves of TSA would happen….people would balk at the fees and so would the airline. Don’t let your ‘politics or attitude blind you.

  • Opinionated12cents

    No passengers to board on time causing delays on every flight ….really think the airlines would go for that for long?

  • Opinionated12cents

    good points, thanks for your clarity

  • Opinionated12cents

    Hello….research the REAL ID….AAMDA…the power given to Janet N. to use the biometric ID for even driving your car. It’s global, UN and can go as far as anyone that holds her job wishes. Even for a simple purchase of meds etc. Scary stuff coming down the pike

  • LFH0

    Fortunately, I have neither an automobile nor a license to operate one.

  • JenniferFinger

    No, but I don’t think that there will be “no passengers to board on time causing delays on every flight.” I doubt that there would be enough people protesting, due to the needs of enough passengers to get someplace by a specific time and being willing to put up with the full-body scanning for that to happen.

    I also don’t think that the protesting in and of itself will result in any changes to security policies. What changes happen won’t occur at a grass-roots level but at policy-making levels, such as if Congress passes a law or the President issues an executive order. But neither seems likely.

  • naoma

    I did not want to go through the x-ray but was pushed into it. Then when I got to the “other side” I was “frisked” again and hands were wiped with something and i had to wait for the results. (I passed). BUT as I went to the end of the area and waited for my husband who had computers that had to be searched, I saw a large man being patted down. I was embarrassed to watch. They patted him up and down, between his legs (groped him), and then went from his feet back up again!
    I’d never seen this before and asked a nearby policeman if they do this often. He said: “Oh, yes, all the time.” It was not a pretty sight. But, the man “passed the groping.” I felt sorry for him.

  • naoma

    Also, I was recently in Europe and whizzed through the security. Guess I did not look “suspicious” over there. No shoe removal either. But then, they had no “shoe bomber.”

  • pauletteb

    Sorry, Elliott. Most of us simply don’t care!

  • Pam

    Unfortunately I don’t see anything changing anytime soon. People don’t know how to or want to protest. Maybe we need to revisit the days when citizens knew how to protest.

  • blobclark

    and that “not caring” is the problem with society today .

  • opi

    Since the inception of this unconstitutional agency. I have reduced my “flight” needs significantly…. only now used as last resort or not at all.

  • Jeff Le Fevre

    I am in AWE at the responses your article received. Except from perhaps the person who thinks they’re defending their nephew’s job at the TSA. I used to do contract work for the TSA (technical support). They’re a security agency, yet I can’t count how many of them got upset when we “changed the password [they’d] had for months/years” (against their own policy). Or how many of them kept the default password we gave.

    Don’t get me started on rights violations, their uselessness (have people forgotten the 12″ razor blades TV’s Adam Savage took RIGHT THROUGH TSA security?), their recent theft ring bust…

  • Debra Alboucq Bacon

    I traveled last weekend and was appalled that the TSA employees are using the metal detectors … while the travelers are forced to choose between a full body scan and an “enhanced” pat down search. These are the same TSA employees that claim the machine is “safe”.
    When I asked (politely) for the supervisor’s name in Omaha airport so I could file a complaint with TSA, I was informed that he would not give me his name. Unfortunately for him, his name is printed on his badge.
    When I called the TSA customer service number (which went unanswered), I choose the voicemail option to leave a call back number; however, one needs to listen closely to the number that the system recorded because it is a local Omaha phone number. I overrode that fake number with my *real* number and am waiting for a call from Ms. Bogus, the TSA customer service manager.

  • Derrek Helgeson

    he who gives up freedom for security deserve neither!!

  • dadadave

    Also pilots now are free to be armed . On September 11, 2001 they were not allowed to be armed and THE TERRORISTS KNEW THAT.

  • Matt

    An observation:

    I’m currently at a conference where the organizers offered to fly me in and pay for my entire stay. I chose to drive the 9 hours to avoid the TSA. I actually like to fly, but I haven’t in several years because of the increasing TSA presence.

    I resent having to choose between hours in a car versus scanning/groping. Does anyone really think that scumbags can bring a plane down with box cutters again? I happen to believe that replacing those scanners and most of the TSA agents with Sky Marshalls would be worlds more effective.

  • Eddie Edwards

    As a frequent flyer between the UK and the US I am appalled by the attitude of the majority of TSA employee’s. Their default position of aggression and bullying is only surpassed by the Immigration team that greet you at the end of a long transatlantic flight. They seem to be suspended in some sort of viscious liquid that allows them to perform simple tasks at least twice as slowly as anyone I ever met before. However, give a hint of attitude yourself and you can find yourself at the back of a very long queue waiting the inevitable ‘security search’ . Once inside – America is a warm and friendly place – welcoming and vibrant. TSA and Immigration are your very worst advert for America!! The irony is all the wonderful posters stuck around the place with all the promises that these services make about how they are committed to treating you !!

  • Buster Irby

    As an engineer I feel the body scanners are not safe unless they have been tested and proven safe. Even then, without historical evidence, the long term side-effects of the being scanned is unknown.

    Furthermore, the current TSA, does not make me feel any safer today than I did pre-911.

    I personally would like to see a rapid checkin process for trusted passengers, using an infalable biometric scan such as a retna scan. If I am a trusted passenger, then my shoes, my luggage and my laptop computer are not important security risks and do not need to be searched or scanned. Put trusted passengers in a separate line and expedite their check-in. Do whatever kind of background check you want before you allow travelers to be placed on the trusted passenger list.
    I want ot go back to showing up 30 minutes before departure on domestic flights instead of an hour and a half to two hours.