Wednesday, December 22, 2004

TSA Pat Downs

News today that the TSA will reform the way that they perform "Pat Downs" on woman passengers and will keep searches limited to the "chest perimeter" area. No more searching the cleavage or outer breast area. That sound like a sound idea to me.

I travel usually once or twice a month and have seen woman in my opinion harassed by the TSA. Although there are lots of honorable and good people in the TSA rank, I have seen several that I would have to say lack professionalism and I would not want them holding the power to decided just how far they were going to pat down my wife or another female family member.

Woman pat down woman travelers, but I have seen what I would describe as a power trip element of both woman and men within the TSA ranks. Whether it be a person who is perhaps on the upper-low end of the social spectrum or the lower-middle end, the chance to be in charge and control of other people that they feel are above them or promote that self important attitude has to be a factor. I would suggest that most TSA employees do not have the financial where with all to travel by air more than on occasion. Power can be a corrupting force and that applies to the TSA like anything else. Power corruption can be a down-up thing like the TSA and collective unions have proven, not just an up-down senario.

Shortly after 9/11 I got on a list since I was traveling weekly and must have taken a one way flight. After that I was pulled out of line for a search every flight ( every single flight for six months ) and if it was a transfer I was pulled out on the connection. It was not convenient and I did not like it but after awhile I just had fun with the TSA. My favorite deal was to wear a really old and smelly pair of leather sole sandals for the shoe screening. I only wearied them for the screening and changed into another non-offending pair of shoes after the screening. I got more than my share of satisfaction from that alone. These sandals were work in the yard, sweat laden nasty things.

The TSA spends about 99.9999% of their time searching upstanding and law abiding citizens and visitors. Its an important job but it is a hassle for the passengers and I think there could be many improvements to the whole process starting with some common sense and basic investigative tactics . But its unconstitutional to "profile" so elderly citizens, kids, professionals, all americans of all backgrounds, and other very low risk passengers will continue to be given the once over in a less than user friendly setting.

Seems like a random selection of non-Muslims/non-Arabs and all suspicious non-Muslims and then any Muslim or Arab traveler, would be a better process. Profiling of likely terrorist airline passengers just makes sense and would provide more time for the type of searches that high risk candidates pose. Would kind of be a hassle if you were Muslim or an Arab, but they could always wear old, smelly, leather sole sandals and laugh to themselves like I did. Seems like a reasonable thing all in all...............