The TSA, the United States Transportation Security Administration, has announced that it’s going to do a very government-like thing. They’re even going to give it a nice fancy name so as to avoid calling it what it is, that being something you and I would more than likely get arrested for if we tried it.
While few have noticed, U.S. airport security workers long had the option of using five different types of physical pat-downs at the screening line. Now those options have been eliminated and replaced with a single universal approach. This time, you will notice.
The new physical touching—for those selected to have a pat-down—will be be what the federal agency officially describes as a more “comprehensive” physical screening, according to a Transportation Security Administration spokesman.
Denver International Airport, for example, notified employees and flight crews on Thursday that the “more rigorous” searches “will be more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before.”
“I would say people who in the past would have gotten a pat-down that wasn’t involved will notice that the [new] pat-down is more involved,” TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson said Friday. The shift from the previous, risk-based assessment on which pat-down procedure an officer should apply was phased in over the past two weeks after tests at smaller airports, he said.
I’ll almost certainly never get the chance to do it myself, but man oh man can I ever not wait until “I wasn’t assaulting anyone, I was simply providing a more comprehensive and involved physical screening” becomes somebody’s legal defense.
And here’s where things get worse, as if that should even be possible.
Why did I say that this is a very government-like thing? That would be because the reason the TSA feels the need to ramp the groping level up from let’s go back to my place after dinner to you might want to get yourself tested is because it’s original molestation program wasn’t working well enough. NO, really.
The change is partly a result of the agency’s study of a 2015 report that criticized aspects of TSA screening procedures. That audit, by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General, drew headlines because airport officers had failed to detect handguns and other weapons. An additional change prompted by the report was the TSA’s decision to end its “managed inclusion” program, by which some everyday travelers were allowed to use PreCheck lanes to speed things up at peak times.
“Dammit, we’re not finding enough weaponry in nutsacks and hoo-has! We must redouble our efforts, tighten our gloves and go deeper into those nutsacks and hoo-has! Those guns are in there somewhere!”
“But what if we’re going about things the wrong way…”
“Shut up and get your elbow into that man’s ass! And don’t forget to take off your watch.”
That has to be how this decision was made. It’s pretty clear after all these years that almost nothing this agency does is based on common sense or actually trying to make things safer.