The response to the stepped up TSA screening procedures have been less than enthusiastic lately.
A few days ago, a San Diego man, refusing to submit to a full-body X-ray, recorded his run-in with TSA officials in which he refused to be searched during an enhanced pat-down procedure. According to reports, blogger, Johnny Edge, claims he was pulled out of line and asked to go through a backscatter X-ray machine. When he refused, he was told he would have to be patted down. According to Edge, he was informed that the search would consist of a TSA officer “running [his] hands up the inside of my legs until they felt my groin.” Mr. Edge wasn’t having that. Instead of quietly submitting to the search, he told the TSA officer, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.”
Score for one for the little guy.
If the TSA thought the press on their new search procedures couldn’t get any worse, they were wrong. Today, news broke that a three-year-old girl was subjected to a pat down while trying to clear the metal detectors at a Tennessee airport. It all started when three-year-old Many Simon wouldn’t let go of her teddy bear to allow it to be scanned. After it was taken from her for screening, her father recalls she had a “tough time” going through the metal detectors and set it off twice. Instead of pulling the toddler and her family aside to investigate and perhaps screen them again (and without scaring the child), the TSA official patted Mandy down to make sure she wasn’t hiding anything suspicious. You know, like fruit snacks and crayons.
At the center of the debate over the new TSA procedures are the new full-body X-ray machines. These backscatter machines produce life-like, naked images of travelers, and help officials to spot suspicious items. However, they also give travelers reason for concern. Despite reassuring the public that their images will never be saved or made public, Gizmodo.com reports that over 35,000 X-ray images from machines similar to those used in airports were saved by U.S. Marshalls at a Florida courthouse. A hundred images have been leaked to the media. This makes us wonder just how safe TSA screened images will be.
The TSA’s enhanced screening procedures have been met with great controversy and have many worried about traveling over the upcoming holidays. Although the government has the difficult task of keeping the public safe, some say the new rules are invasive and go too far.