Last week TSA Administrator John Pistole told the Senate Homeland Security Committee "it is clear we have to be one step ahead of the terrorists," because "there is an ever-evolving nature to terrorist plots." Why is it, then, that the TSA always seems to be one step behind? A guy tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, so now we must take off our shoes in airport security lines. Terrorists plotted to bring down an airliner with liquid explosives, so now we must discard our beverages before going through the security checkpoint and keep our toiletries in tiny bottles. A would-be saboteur sewed 80 grams of explosive powder into his underwear, so now we must submit to full-body scans or intimate encounters with TSA agents that never have a happy ending—and might not even have caught the underwear bomber himself. If the TSA really were trying to be one step ahead of the terrorists, it would be anticipating bombers who find even better hiding places for their explosives. Yet today Pistole insisted "we're not going to get in the business of doing body cavities."
Groping little girls until they cry, giving women an experience "worse than going to the gynecologist," bursting the urostomy bag of a bladder cancer survivor—these are all acceptable (though regrettable) tradeoffs in the quest to create the illusion of security (from terrorist bombs, if not the probing hands of TSA screeners). But according to Pistole, feeling around inside passengers' rectums and vaginas is a grope too far. For now.