Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Will Passengers Still Have To Undress?

Last week in Las Vegas I went through the nudie scanner, but reported that the output has been modified from naked images to a Gumby-like drawing with questionable areas marked with dots. As I wrote then, I saw my output and the scanner identified the screw in my knee. Thankfully, no one was stupid enough to ask to see my scar.

The Boston Herald reports that TSA employees at Logan will be trained to look for subconscious cues as they question travelers:
But security experts wonder whether Transportation Safety Administration agents are up to the challenge after an embarrassing string of blunders — including patting down a 95-year-old grandmother in Florida and making her remove her adult diaper and frisking a 3-year-old girl who screamed “stop touching me” at a checkpoint in Tennessee.

“I’m not convinced that the TSA has good enough people to make the Israeli approach work on a large scale,” said Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor who has followed the TSA at his blog, Instapundit.com.

But he noted, “Almost anything would be an improvement over the clown show we’ve got now"...

Under the SPOT program, as passengers hand over their boarding passes and identification, specially trained agents will ask three to four questions — from “Where have you been?” to “Do you have a business card?” and “Where are you traveling?” — while looking for “micro expressions,” such as lack of eye contact, that might hint at nefarious intent.

Suspicious individuals will be pulled aside for more questioning, full-body scans and pat-downs. If the encounter escalates, agents will call in state police.
If passengers pass that test, will they still have to undress and be x-rayed? If so, how many terrorists does TSA expect to catch with this new program that they aren't currently catching?

The article also brings up the civil libertarian angle regarding profiling. I'm all for profiling. I'd rather Muslim males aged 15-55 traveling on one way tickets with passports from certain countries, or even people who look shady, receive a little more attention than young children or grannies in wheelchairs or Medal of Honor winners anyway.

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