"Q: Is this security theater?" "A: 100 percent. It won't catch anybody."

Via Hot Air comes this Popular Mechanics interview with security expert Bruce Schneier, who coined the trenchant term "security theater" to characterize most of what the Transportation Security Administration has been up to since its creation. Security theater refers to policies and actions that might make people feel safer but have zero impact on our chances of getting blowed up real good.

Snippets:

Q: The machines have shown up in the wake of the so-called underwear bomber, who tried to blow up a plane with chemicals stored in his briefs. Would this technology have stopped him?

A: The guys who make the machines have said, "We wouldn't have caught that."...

Q: Has there been a case since 9/11 of an attempted hijacker being thwarted by airport security?

A: None that we've heard of. The TSA will say, "Oh, we're not allowed to talk about successes." That's actually bullsh*t. They talk about successes all the time. If they did catch someone, especially during the Bush years, you could be damned sure we'd know about it. And the fact that we didn't means that there weren't any. Because the threat was imaginary. It's not much of a threat. As excess deaths go, it's just way down in the noise. More than 40,000 people die each year in car crashes. It's 9/11 every month. The threat is really overblown....

Q: Does it surprise you that at last, after several escalations in the TSA's level of intrusiveness, the public seems to have finally rebelled?

A: Back in 2005, when this full-body scanner technology was first being proposed, I wrote that I thought this would be the straw that broke the camel's back, because it would unite conservatives and liberals. Nobody wants their daughter groped or shown naked....

Q: Have you had a pat-down?

A: Yes, actually, just a couple of days ago.

Q: Is this security theater?

A: 100 percent. It won't catch anybody.

Whole thing here.

Reason suggests 44 ways to say TSA:

For a full list of recent Reason.tv vids about the TSA's one-free-grope policy, go here.

Schneier in Reason here and here.

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  • Tim||

    Back in the day, if you went into an airport and asked somebody to fondle your sack, you'd be arrested...

  • Larry Craig||

    Man, tell me about it!

    *shuffles shoes under stall*

  • Almanian, Jingle Writer||

    "See the USA!
    After TSA
    has groped your nads
    and molested all your kids.

    Don't we LOVE to fly!?
    But I wonder why
    security is
    such a fucking joke?

    See the USA!
    After TSA!
    Submit to us
    and you'll be on your waaaaaay!

    Don't you love to fly!
    Through the clear blue sky!
    We're from the government
    and we're here to help!"

    With apologies to Dinah Shore and Chevy.

  • Brn||

    So what happens if you are flying out of a smaller airport that doesn't have the AIT machines yet? Are they groping everyone or just using the older methods? I presume the latter. So this is another example of only catching stupid terrorists.

  • JD||

    From what I've read, you only have to get scanned or groped if you set off the metal detector. So if you're at an airport where the scanners aren't in use yet and forget some coins in your pocket, the TSO is going to get to second base.

  • ||

    Nope, where they have the scanners in place, you have to go through or get groped.

    Where they don't have the scanners in place and you fail the metal detector, they just wand you looking for metal.

  • West Texas||

    The answer to this question is assuredly the latter. I flew out of Terminal A at Laguardia just this morning and it was the same old stuff: no naked scanner, just a metal detector and x-ray belt. Shuffle through, pick up your stuff, and go.

    TSA will vehemently deny it, but the grope appears to be a intended as a deterrent against opting out of the naked scanner machine when you are told to go through it.

  • ||

    I can only think the TSA policy is an attempt by the power brokers to drive Obama's numbers so low he doesn't run again.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    With Janet Napolean-ette (or whatever her last name is) -- a direct Obama appointee -- running the TSA?

    I don't think so. Much more likely it's just another side to the same liberal Democrat face that gave us ObamaCare, like it or not.

  • ||

    What's to stop someone from starting a grope free airline that flies out of it's own air strips?

  • Abdul||

    I'm pretty sure all international airports are covered by FAA rules, and in order to get one, you have to have TSA staff.

    I read an article a little while ago about a small airport in Alaska that has a few flights to Canada. Because these are international flights, they had to get their own TSA contingent even though it's not landing jumbo jets.

    I'm sure you sleep better knowing that Kathleen Parker won't crash a seaplane into Sarah Palin's pontoon boat.

  • robc||

    You dont have to have TSA staff, Orlando is getting rid of them for example, but you still have to follow TSA regulations.

  • ||

    Props to Orlando, and news to me.

    As someone pointed out in a related thread a week or so ago, instead of TSA agents we should just use military personnel. They could spot pretty quickly if someone was packing anything. Of course that would mean having to bring the troops home, and it would mean firing all of those TSA employees. Think of the jobs lost, man!

  • ||

    Just send the TSA to Iraq. Problem solved.

  • ||

    "" but you still have to follow TSA regulations.""

    I think it's DHS regulations, which dictate to the TSA.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Sanford-Orlando, Not Orlando International Airport.

  • Wesley||

    I fly out of Beaumont, TX occasionally. That airport has 3-5 flights per day to Houston, plus charter flights whose passengers are subject to screening. It has a lot of TSA agents there standing around most of the day. However, they don't have the dick measuring machine, and they don't grope everyone. They use the metal detectors and grope randomly-selected people named Abdul.

  • Abdul||

    It's not random if it's everyone who is named Abdul. Trust me, I have special insight on this matter.

  • Spoonman.||

    Why the crap would you fly to Houston when it's a 1.5-hour drive?

  • Wesley||

    Free parking.

  • ||

    Because you're connecting to another flight that will take you somewhere further away.

  • Ted S.||

    Why would you want to go to Houston?

  • Brett L||

    Because you're in Beaumont?

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Why would you want to go to Houston

    Because you're in Beaumont

    Nice.

  • Steve||

    I think that would be illegal. I think these machines and pat downs are overly intrusive without probable cause, but still, we need to search everyone because there is no way of knowing who might be a terrorist.

  • ||

    Exactly! This is why every car even driving towards the airport should be stopped and searched. No questions asked. It is for your safety. And anyone who purchases an airline ticket should have their houses randomly searched for explosives. It is for your safety.

  • GroundTruth||

    And their children and elderly parents held as hostage for their good behavior during their trip too!

  • STEVE SMITH||

    STEVE SMITH LIKE NEW TSA RAPE! STEVE SMITH APPLY FOR JOB SNIFFING HIKER ACORNS! STEVE NO RAPE. STEVE ONLY SNIFF! STEVE PROMISE!

  • Janet Napolitano & Ray LaHood||

    Us, and Our Army.

  • Janet & Ray||

    @ James Ard. FTC! Not the Federal Trade Commission!

  • Gray Ghost||

    You may find amusing the following Salon link to "Ask the Pilot" (the only reason to ever go to salon.com, imho.). http://www.salon.com/technolog.....index.html

    In it, the Pilot mentions that the ground crew and support staff---e.g: the cleaners who vacuum the aircraft after every flight---are largely exempt from the security theater Mr. Schneier mentions above.

  • Viscus Roomer||

    It's OK, Gray Ghost. The ground crew and support staff are mostly undocumented workers.

  • GroundTruth||

    Actually, I believe that those folks may be subjected to what may arguably be worse; having a TWIC card (transportation workers identification credential). TWIC requires a background check, fingerprinting and verification each time you enter the "secure area".

    If they are not currently required to get TWIC'd, they will be, since the eventual plan is to have air and seaports fully "secure".

  • The Administration||

    Mr. Schneier is obviously a disgruntled employee of some kind.

  • ||

    Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just... do things. The politicians have plans, the terrorists have plans, Obama's got plans. You know, they're schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I'm not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. So, when I say that fondling you in public was nothing personal, you know that I'm telling the truth. It's the schemers that put you where you are. You were a schemer, you had plans, and look where that got you.

    I just did what I do best. I took your little plan to see your family or take a vacation and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this airport with a few high school dropouts and a pair of blue gloves. Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan." But when I say that one little terrorist stuffs explosives in his pants in a failed attempt to blow up a plane, well then everyone loses their minds!

  • ||

    So what happens if you are flying out of a smaller airport that doesn't have the AIT machines yet? Are they groping everyone or just using the older methods?

    Answering that question would constitute aiding and abetting the terrorists.

  • Brn||

    Well, I will find out on Saturday (I'm flying to Abu Dhabi for a job interview, so if anyone will be groped, it will be me).

  • Max||

    Feeling better is no small thing. Having having that copy of Atlas Shrugged up his ass doesn't make Gillespie any smarter, but it does make him feel better. Getting lots of contributions from dimwits doesn't make Reason and more interesting, but it does keep it afloat.

  • ||

    arf. Arf! ARF! ARF!

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Getting lots of contributions from dimwits

    I note that you're one of the more (ir)regular commenters here.

  • ||

    Max is pissed because nobody told him it was okay to shove the *paperback* edition of Das Kapital up his ass. Those corners were sharp, right, Maxie?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Q: Has there been a case since 9/11 of an attempted hijacker being thwarted by airport security?

    A: None that we've heard of.

    I can tell you this is absolutely false. There's a slack-jawed TSA-er in Phoenix right now with a nice Gerber Multi-tool in his pocket that he took from me when I forgot it was in my laptop bag. I'm certain that the Gerber would have turned me from a mild-mannered, middle-aged, suburban dad and engineer into a violent, Allah-bothering, jihad-crazed sociopathic hijacker had I been allowed to proceed with it.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Yeah, I had the same thing happen to me a couple years ago in Richmond, VA. I completely forgot I had my old Leatherman tool in my briefcase. I had had it for about 15 years - my dad had given it to me.

    This was a couple years ago, before the militaristic treatment by the airport security folks, and the security guy actually was very nice about it - he really did understand that I honestly forgot it was in there and he really did seem to feel bad about the situation when I told him my dad had given it to me 15 years before.

    He even asked if there was someone with me that I could give it to to carry it back home, or if I had time to go put it back in my car in the long-term parking lot.

    Unfortunately, I was there alone and it didn't seem like I would have enough time to go back to the lot and make my flight, so he said, "I'm sorry, but I do have to take it, then." He tossed it into a big 40-gallon trash can full of Swiss Army knives and Leatherman tools.

    They auction them off in lots on eBay.

    At that point, I thought a neat little business/service would be to have a kiosk right there at security with a credit card reader selling USPS flat rate boxes and a mail drop box so you can pack up such items and mail them back to yourself.

    Probably would be a huge hassle to set up something like that, though.

  • robc||

    Even better might be small lockers to rent for $1/day or something. Then you could have picked up your leatherman when you got back.

  • JD the elder||

    Unfortunately lockers at airports and train stations have largely gone the way of the dodo, for - you guessed it - security reasons. Someone might put a bomb in one, apparently.

  • robc||

    My idea was an airport store that put stuff in lockers for you. Thus, they could store your knife or toothpaste, but wouldnt store your bomb, probably.

    And, uh, if you want to set off a bomb outside security at an airport, not much stopping you now.

  • Rrabbit||

    But what if somebody puts a nuke into those small lockers?

  • ||

    Or they could sell those post office shipping boxes to you (at cost), and you could just send your stuff back to your home. Maybe not cheap, but better than getting screwed by the TSA.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    I believe I've told this story before, but I forgot to stick my multitool in my bag before checking it for a flight from Toyama to Tokyo once. The security folks were most helpful: they pulled out a plastic bag right at the screening station, had me fill out my personal data twice, handed me the one copy for a receipt, popped the knife and other copy in the bag and whisked them away to parts unknown. On arrival I went to the "forbidden articles" counter and collected it. Took awhile, 'cause the counter wasn't manned until after all the bags were unloaded{*}, but what the heck.

    {*} I suppose this was a rare event: I've only even seen one other person waiting there. Those Japanese are very mindful of the rules, 'ya know.

  • Almanian||

    Ditto my prized "Ford Audio Systems" penknife in Memphis. I'm with Barely - "they should have something so I could just mail this to myself...hey...business opportunity...fuck, I gotta get on this plane NOW..."

    I. Hate. Airports.

  • Thom||

    In 2002 or 2003 you could get such a mailer at the Burlington VT airport, as I learned trying to fly home from there one day.

  • Fat Crack Ho||

    Back in 1990, I went through security in Jacksonville, NC, forgetting that I had a Balisong butterfly knife in my carryon. Same deal, I simply handed it over to the screener, as my flight was aobut to board. Point is, had this happened 20 years later, I'd have made CNN and would be sitting in a cell right now.

  • Mango Punch||

    Austrian Economist Steve Horwitz was on CNBC's "Street Signs" yesterday talking about the TSA. Might link later (not going to bother finding the link right now).

  • Mango Punch||

  • Mango Punch||

    TSA procedures lead to death - by increasing proportion of people who drive.

  • Mango Punch||

  • MNG||

    Can anyone tell me what the constitutional situation is here? Like road blocks these situations don't seem to have much if any probable cause. Is it supposed to be reasonable because the intrusion is randomized and "minor" in relation to the magnitude of the threat? I'm not sure how searching children passes as reasonable, though I guess the counter is that terrorists would not be above using a child to smuggle stuff.

    This makes me think the Founders got it wrong. Probable cause should be the test for both warrants and warrantless searches, not reasonableness. With reasonableness the government can always point to a parade of horribles that is technically possible from missing someone to ratchet up their side of the calculus...

  • ||

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    Probable cause refers to the warrant, not to the search. I see the words "shall not be violated", but I don't see 'except by the TSA'. (By this logic, I wonder how long until movie theaters start feeling up people looking for smuggled candy...)

  • Fabius||

    Exactly, the national reading comprehension failure with regard to the fourth amendment has long astounded me. The amendment says that the right shall not be violate, and then it gives the requirements for obtaining a warrant to lawfully search and seize. Among the requirements for the warrant is probable cause. How in the hell we all read that and determined that what it meant was that probable cause justified warrantless searches is beyond me. If probable cause is necessary to obtain a warrant and probable cause eliminates the requirement that one have a warrant, then there would never be any need for a warrant at all. All warrantless searches are unconstitutional, regardless of probable cause.

  • The Obama Administration||

    Can anyone tell me what the constitutional situation is here?

    Are you serious?

  • ||

    Can anyone tell me what the constitutional situation is here?

    "We do it because you can't stop us."

  • MNG||

    I mean what do you think and/or have you heard of any legal challenges? If so what grounds are they based on and how are they doing?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    It is based on the "voluntariness" - i.e., you voluntarily choose to fly. There is no constitutionally-protected right to fly on a commercial airplane, so you don't have to go through these procedures if you don't want to. Drive instead if you don't like it. Which is what I'm pretty much doing anymore, unless I have to make a longer trip in a short time.

    And I really don't care about the naked picture machine. I'd rather stand in the little booth with my arms raised than have some mouth-breathing, blue-gloved government employee fondle my ass crack. I really don't think anyone is going to be interested in seeing my body scan, and I don't care if some other mouth-breathing government employee sitting in a closet somewhere sees it.

    If I have to do one or the other (and every single time I've flown in the past year, I've been directed to the body scan machine - I guess I have that terrorist look about me), I'll take the stroll through the machine - it's less intrusive and quicker.

    But if I have to travel 500 miles or less, and I have the time to do it, I'll just drive instead.

  • ||

    "Voluntariness" has nothing to do with it. You do have a constitutionally-protected right to travel, and air travel is a straightforward derivative right.

    It's a special administrative search, and therefore "reasonable" under current 4th amendment jurisprudence. The line of thinking that reached that conclusion was heavily dependent on the fact that magnetometers were a [i]de minimus[/i] search, and the same can not be said of the current regime.

  • M. P.||

    I agree with Dr. K. All the laws thus far concerning administrative searches at airports have stated that these searches are reasonable but they must be minimally intrusive. I'm all for security at the airports but these searches have to be effective and can't erode our way of life. I may be willing to have certain rights taken away from me by the President but he has to convince me that there is a benefit. If almost all the security experts say that these new safety measures are not more effective than other less intrusive measures (behavioral profiling, bomb sniffing dogs, better intelligence), well why should I have more freedom taken away?

  • ||

    Ditto Doc. The facts determine whether a search is "unreasonable" under the 4th Amendment. If Big Brother has a minimally intrusive search (as with a magnetometer), then he needs only need a minimal basis for performing that search. When he has a much more intrusive search--such as fondling breasts or balls or using technology that sees behind clothing, then he needs a more specific basis to conduct that search. The mere fact that you choose to fly is an insufficient basis for suspecting you of terrorist activity, and therefor an insufficient basis for conducting a full body scan or "pat down."

  • GroundTruth||

    Barely Suppressed Rage said: "There is no constitutionally-protected right to fly on a commercial airplane"

    Can you square that with the Ninth Amendment ("The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.") ?

    Seems to me that the 9th is rather clear, even as a 'negative' liberty, that if you can scrape together the bucks to buy the ticket, the Feds can't stop you from flying.

    The First Amendment right to assemble peacefully also suggest a derivative right to travel to the point of assembly.

  • ||

    You might not mind now, but what about when they decide to keep those pics of you naked.

  • Tigre||

    There are lots of things that are voluntary that the government has no legitimate power to prevent you from doing.

    And for some of us, such as residents of Alaska, Hawaii, and the island territories, we don't have much choice about flying. I wish I could just decide not to fly and drive instead. When I lived in the Lower 48 I drove the 1200 miles home from grad school nearly every time I went. Where I live now it's two hours (in good weather!) to the next town and four hours to anywhere big enough to have a movie theater. We drive 12+ hours round-trip to visit friends for the weekend and do some shopping. We don't mind driving! But now home is a five-day drive through another country, which just isn't workable most of the time. So if you can drive, go ahead. I'd do it if I could. Just don't act like everyone has the same options as you.

  • The Real Steve||

    As long as the SCOTUS decision supporting sobriety checkpoints as "reasonable" stands, there is no legal challenge that will work. (Unless they just make it up, which seems to be SOP.)

  • MNG||

    And if the TSA's functions were privatized what would be the constitutional or legal ramification? What authority would a private actor have to search people? I guess you consent when you buy the ticket, but I imagine you consent to a reasonable search, and if I were an airline owner I'd be worried about being hit with all kinds of suits about the searches exceeding reasonableness.

    Wouldn't private owners have powerful incentives to come up with just as stringent and offensive measures? Planes and lawsuits are expensive (not to mention loss of reputation).

  • 0x90||

    I think it is not an either/or situation. Private owner A sees TSA-style security as a strong marketing position. Private owner B disagrees, and instead, obtains release waivers from passengers, which protect his company from civil liability in the specific event of a terror-related incident. Private owner C combines the two, offering passengers a choice: go through security, or sign a waiver.

    I leave it to you to work out the ramifications of each position with respect to each company's insurance and operating costs, and their effects on each company's ticket-pricing position. My opinion is that the market in general would begin by tending toward C, but would eventually arrive at B.

  • 88keys||

    The challenge with C is that the ones who went thru security did not sign a waiver. If a waiver-signing bomber kills security-searched innocents, you can bet that Company C will fold.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Just requires two classes of planes. Secured and loaded with waiver signers.

  • jkl||

    The trouble is that if something goes wrong on the plane when it is in the air it is not just the passengers whose lives are in danger, but all of the people living in the path of the wreckage. How does your solution help to protect them? What waiver do they sign? The TSA is not just protecting the people on the flight, but all of the US Citizens that live underneath the flight paths that crisscross the nation.

    Why not have the machines replace the realistic virtual models with more generic human form models and simply call out areas that warrant further investigation?

    As for the pat down, perhaps someone could develop a machine that you stand in where air bladders are inflated to take sensor readings of various locations to determine if there is evidence of a concealed weapon? It would feel like a big robotic hug.

    What if the person doing the pat down was a registered nurse? People don't seem to have a problem with medical professionals groping them and you would get a free screening for testicular cancer or breast cancer!

  • Spazmo||

    Planes and lawsuits are expensive

    Having no customers is expensive too. If airlines were responsible for their own security they'd have the leeway to experiment and hopefully strike a better balance than the TSA's hamfisted, across-the-board idiocy.

    You can bet that something like fantastically expensive body scanners that couldn't detect underwear bombs and were hated by customers would not last long.

  • Jack||

    Private security would leave one glaring market failure: The cost of improper security barred by others.

    Example: If Airline A hires improper security, one of their airplanes gets hijacked and crashed into a building. Building owner is burdened by the cost of the airlines improper security.

    You could argue that the building owner could sue, however the history of those types of lawsuits (think oil spills) shows they don't work too well.

  • Fat Crack Ho||

    Just because the TSA's functions would be privatized doesn't mean their methods would be. With profit at stake, but with the realization that they would be held liable if their negligence let slip a hijacker, they would find some sort of balance. My guess is they'd gravitate toward "softer" security, a la Ben Gurion style. As it is, with no profit motive, the TSA is free to use ineffective methods administered by ineffective people, with zero regard for the airlines' bottom line. Simply put, they have no stake in the outcome.

  • speechwriter||

    "Simply put, they have no stake in the outcome."

    No skin in the game, you mean. There's an old saying in Illinois; or in Tennessee...umm, uh, that goes like: the TSA had the keys to the plane, and they it drove into the ditch...and when that happens, uh, ummm, ...can't get fooled again.

  • ||

    Speaking of which: ("you can't stop us") has anybody filed a lawsuit yet?

  • ||

    Constitutionally, of course these searches by government agents without probable cause or a warrant are unconstitutional. The rote defense, of course, is that you consent to them when you show up at the airport. If you need me to demonstrate the absurdity of that defense, I will.

    Having it done by non-governmental employees doesn't change the constitutionality at all. They are still agents (in the broad, legal meaning of the term) of the government.

    All we lack, of course, are judges who aren't completely deaf to the Constitution, and this could easily be stopped.

    Airlines, of course, would remain free to require whatever screening they wanted before you got on their planes. But an airline that required gate rape when others did not would quickly go out of business.

  • MNG||

    Nick, you're just not sophisticated enough to realize that somehow, somewhere one of these scanners or gropey security agents could catch a terrorist. It may be in an alternative universe or merely in the theater of my mind, but I assure you that one day it will happen. And on that day you and John will have a lot of apologizing to do for working the ref.

  • MNG||

    Ah, MNG spoof! Why not the barking dog I wonder?

  • pmains||

    Because you try to be coherent. Max doesn't bother.

  • pmains||

    And you seem to be aware of what the topic is. Max just posts randomly, like an idiot yapping dog.

    But, really, browbeating John into admitting that conceivably someone somewhere might be made safer by the Toothpaste and Scissor Authority -- even though no evidence has been presented to that effect -- was stupid.

  • Chad||

    Externalities!!!

  • ||

    Maybe someday, they will catch someone, but at what cost. As it stands now, including (a) the four hi-jacked planes on 9-11, (b) the Aussi fellow who used a jarra wood knife to try to hi-jack a plane a few months later, (c) the shoe bomber, and (d) the panty bomber, ground security is 0 for 7 here and abroad.

    Passengers are 3-3-1 (with no disrespect for the passengers who ended up in Shanksville, you have to call that a tie). Remarkably passengers are 3-0 since 9-11 when we all learned that highjackers are not looking to go to Cuba anymore.

    TSA claims it caught 130 prohibitted items with the body scanners, but would not say what they were--with the exception of a needle full of heroin hidden in some poor addicts pants and a ceramic knife--the rest were probably pocket knifes and leatherman tools. The needle was unlikely to be used as a weapon, and if the knife carrier tried to start something, the passengers probably would have improved their record to 4-0 (BTW--carrying a concealed weapon is not evidence that the carrier intends to use it unlawfully--I sure as hell would like to be armed for my own protection next time I fly).

    The fact of the matter is that any terrorist with two brain cells to rub together can find a way to evade the screeners provided he understands the basic procedures used to screen passengers. For example, two 3 oz bottles of the right chemicals will make a nice explosion when mixed in the bathroom of a plane. Since a plane is a closed system, it does not take a lot of explosive force to breach the skin.

  • West Texas||

    D+

    This is a really poor MNG spoof. He/She/It (hell if I know) is not a knee-jerk statist liberal like Chony T from Chicago.

    He/She/It is often misguided when it comes to natural law and property rights but otherwise is a pretty decent commenter and definitely not a troll that needs spoofing.

  • Chlorophyllite||

    A question for all you legal scholars. As the minions gear up for the raids on wewont fly.com and optoutday.com tomorrow night, what will the charges be? Conspiracy to disrupt air travel or straight out terrorism?

  • Almanian||

    Disrupting Commerce --> Commerce Clause ---> Win!

  • GroundTruth||

    Seeing as how the plan is to just opt out of the stripsearch machine and gum up the works with the lengthy pat-down, what crime have they committed? They have followed the very rules set down by the allpowerful, allwise, TSA.

  • Chlorophyllite||

    Gum up the works? That would be considered a crime. My question still stands. Is the gumming out and out terrorism or just disruption of service.

  • Bryan||

    Gum up the works is NOT a crime, people asking to be be pat downed is an option they give. If asking for a large soda at breakfast vs coffee is ok why shouldn't this be?

  • ||

    As the minions gear up for the raids on wewont fly.com and optoutday.com tomorrow night, what will the charges be?

    Off to Gitmo for indefinite detention, no charges necessary. Perhaps a press release about endangering national security, aiding and abetting terrorism, failure to Respect My Authoritay . . . .

  • ||

    There is no constitutionally-protected right to fly on a commercial airplane, so you don't have to go through these procedures if you don't want to.

    There is no Constitutionally protected right to take a train, drive, ride a bicycle, etc. So, under this reasoning, anyone travelling by any of these means can be stopped by a government agent and searched.

    Does anyone really think that's what this means:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,

    Really?

  • sarcasmic||

    Didn't you get the memo.
    The constitution has been reduced to seven words:

    general welfare
    regulate commerce
    necessary and proper

    That's it. The whole enchilada.

    Basically it means that the federal government can do whatever the fuck it wants, so you can go fuck yourself as soon as the federal government gives you permission.

  • ||

    Imagine, for a moment, the number of ways this sentence could be completed:

    There is no constitutionally-protected right to do X, so you don't have to go through these procedures if you don't want to.

    Off the top of my head:

    (1) Buy your food at a grocery store. Grow your own damn food if you don't want to be scanned or groped.

    (2) Use electricity in your home. Use a wood stove and kerosene lanterns if you don't want the government to be able to toss your pad whenever they want.

    The fallacy, of course, is that your right to be free from search is not limited only to situations where you are exercising some other Constitutional right. It is right that you have always and everywhere.

  • Thom||

    Exactly. Additionally, it's been argued that these things don't infringe on your right to travel, since you have other travel options. It's the equivalent of the government saying that you don't have first amendment rights when publishing websites because you have the option of publishing a newspaper. Logic eludes.

  • ||

    ..and they do say that

  • ||

    There is no constitutionally-protected right to fly on a commercial airplane

    I would say, "There is no Constitutionally-protected right to a risk-free environment."

    But I'm a libertarian rat-bagging tea fucker.

  • ||

    Wouldn't private owners have powerful incentives to come up with just as stringent and offensive measures?

    Private carriers would have powerful incentives to screen *effectively*.

  • Thom||

    Wasn't this the theory before 9/11? The reason why no such incentive exists is because the airlines were protected from their insufficient security on that day.

  • Rhywun||

    Except the first one to do so would spend years in court defending any such "effective" screening while being dragged through the mud by the media. Who wants that?

  • ||

    The reason why no such incentive exists is because the airlines were protected from their insufficient security on that day.

    Nice try. The airlines were operating under government rules in effect on that day.

  • ||

    Hey Gillespie,

    "getting blowed up real good."

    That's the second reference to Joe Flaherty on the old Second City TV show in two days.

    Well done, Sir.

  • ||

    The New York Times want to help:

    So how to prepare your child?

    By matter of factly telling them that there will be big machines to walk through at the airport, and that a nice police officer might ask to pat their clothes to make sure they aren’t accidentally taking anything they shouldn’t onto the plane. The officer won’t hurt them, and, like a doctor, they are allowed to touch them even though they are strangers.

    "Lie back and relax, honey. See, it's not so bad."

  • ||

    Close your eyes and think of London

  • prolefeed||

    At that point, I thought a neat little business/service would be to have a kiosk right there at security with a credit card reader selling USPS flat rate boxes and a mail drop box so you can pack up such items and mail them back to yourself.

    I've seen that at one or more airports -- can't remember which one(s).

  • prolefeed||

    So how to prepare your child?

    By matter of factly telling them that there will be big machines to walk through at the airport, and that a nice police officer might ask to pat their clothes to make sure they aren’t accidentally taking anything they shouldn’t onto the plane. The officer won’t hurt them, and, like a doctor, they are allowed to touch them even though they are strangers.

    I prepared my children by telling them that if they fly, they might have to choose between having strangers working for the government viewing them naked, or having their private parts groped by those strangers. I also told them that I wasn't flying anywhere any more, and that their mommy couldn't make them fly if they didn't want to be subjected to this molestation.

  • airline pilot||

    That video forgot my favorite nickname for TSA: Thugs, Slackers, and Alcoholics

  • Neu Mejican||

    I don't know if the "warrant" question applies here.

    It seems that the constitutional questions hinges on whether or not buying a plane ticket, knowing that getting on the plane will involve an intrusive search of your person and possessions, implicitly gives consent to that search.

    These policies are well advertised, but if you are surprised by them a decide to relinquish your consent, it seems you have a right to leave and get a refund on your ticket. The idea that you can't pull out of the process once it is started is the point at which the TSA has clearly gone beyond any constitutional authority.

    As long as you have a choice, the warrant is a non-issue, it seems.

    Discuss.

  • Neu Mejican||

    The fallacy, of course, is that your right to be free from search is not limited only to situations where you are exercising some other Constitutional right. It is right that you have always and everywhere.

    Unless, of course, there is probable cause and a warrant has been issued...which means it comes down to some sense that the search is reasonable and specific.

    At least as far as the 4th goes.

    If you want to assert that you have that natural right regardless of what the 4th says. In which case, the 4th, properly, is about when and how the government has the power to violate that natural right.

    And since that is what the bill of rights IS about, when the government has the right to violate your natural rights, then it seems there is some room for debate on whether the current process over-reaches.

    Again, it seems to come down to implicit consent to me. Not sure where I come down on it yet, but that seems to be the central issue.

  • ||

    As long as you have a choice, the warrant is a non-issue, it seems.

    Discuss.

    So, you come down on the side of, "If you don't want to be subjected to the hysterical weak-kneed will of the lowest common denominator, don't fly."?

    I prefer to believe people so risk-averse they are willing to submit to any indignity, however outrageous, merely to synthesize in their minds a delusion of complete safety (from a ridiculously remote risk) should be the ones who should stay off airplanes and remain indoors sucking their thumbs.

    I almost would consider getting on a commercial airliner, solely in order to goad the other passengers into a full-fledged weeping, pantspissing panic about the mechanical integrity of the aircraft. "But the TSA says there aren't any mad bombers on board, so we've got that going for us."

  • Neu Mejican||

    I am just talking about the constitutional objections. Not whether this is good policy.

  • ||

    I apologize for unnecessarily maligning you.

    With this "implied consent" argument, and the Commerce Clause, any pretense of protection from random fishing expeditions seems to have been flushed down the toilet.

  • ||

    Terror Support Agency

  • ||

    Racial profiling isn't the answer. Hiring people with the mental abilities to do behavioral profiling is. Fire all of these clowns who can't hack that task, hire half the number back with those skills and get rid of the police state while actually increasing security and catching people actually breaking the law, not some poor mom trying to take her special needs son's formula on the plane, or some grandmother's nail clippers.

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