(Doug Bandow/Cato Institute) – Anyone who has gone through the new pat down procedure at airports has gotten a pretty good idea of what a strip search is like. You don’t have to take your clothes off, but TSA officers slide their hands up your thigh until they meet “resistance,” which, as anyone familiar with the human anatomy knows, means your genitals.
Most people can avoid the TSA’s new presentations of Security Theater by going through the old metal detector–as long as it is available. Unfortunately, with a knee implant I set off that machine, so I automatically receive a secondary inspection. Which means playing the TSA Grope and Fondle Game.
The alternative is the fancy imaging machine. Travelers don’t get to see the images, but they are quite explicit. Which means, yes, they show your genitals. Apparently TSA staff call them “d*ck measuring devices.” In fact, one TSA staffer recently assaulted another when the latter apparently judged the former’s, er, “assets” to be a little on the small side after the machine captured them in the background.
For the first time many members of the public are getting upset. After all, the “grope and fondle” doesn’t prevent a real terrorist from hiding contraband in their body cavities. But please don’t point that out to TSA. We know what would come next.
Protests could grow over Thanksgiving. Regular business travelers like myself are used to the routine. But when Grandma learns that TSA is taking pictures of her privates, and Grandpa gets felt up as a result of the Korean War shrapnel which he still carries around, the outrage may grow.
Boing Boing has posted some hilarious t-shirts that describe the new TSA experience. It’s time for airport shops to start selling them–and for passengers to start wearing them. And to tell their newly elected representatives on Capitol Hill that they are tired of having their privacy invaded and dignity trashed to provide meaningless Security Theater for others to watch.