From Huffington Post -
President Barack Obama has asked security officials whether there’s a less intrusive way to screen U.S. airline passengers than the pat-downs and body scans causing a holiday-season uproar.
That is not what he asked. Further down in the article, they say what he actually asked, which was, “Is there another way to catch a bomber like the Nigerian man who had explosives in his underwear?” And his experts said no.
For now, they’ve told him there isn’t one, the president said Saturday in response to a question at the NATO summit in Lisbon.
But there are some other questions, President Obama could be asking. For instance, should the American security establishment always focus on the last attack? Since that enables terrorists to literally “call the tune.” They decide what security we deploy. You think that’s overstated?
Let me try it out on you. I take a toothbrush into the lavatory and with the sharpened decorative star off my cowboy boots cut it into a makeshift but entirely effective shiv. I then cart this thing back into the plane and get caught. Do you think you’ll be carrying a toothbrush onto an American plane for the foreseeable future? Don’t get me started on the cowboy boots.
I want you to picture five guys, Middle Eastern or not, having those kinds of discussions, not what will succeed in harming an aircraft but what will make the Americans do stupid things ceaselessly demeaning their citizens.
“I understand people’s frustrations,” Obama said, while acknowledging that he’s never had to undergo the stepped-up screening methods.
He feels your pain but not directly.
Passengers at some U.S. airports must pass through full-body scanners that produce a virtually naked image. If travelers refuse, they can be forced to undergo time-consuming fingertip examinations, including of clothed genital areas and breasts, by inspectors of the same sex as the passenger.
My general perception is that body cavity searches are the one frontier left for the intrepid explorers of the TSA.
Obama said he’s told the U.S. Transportation Security Administration: “You have to constantly refine and measure whether what we’re doing is the only way to assure the American people’s safety. And you also have to think through, are there ways of doing it that are less intrusive.”
He implied to them that they should make it better.
At this point, that agency and counterterrorism experts have told him that the current procedures are the only ones that they think can effectively guard against threats such as last year’s attempted Christmas-day bombing. A Nigerian man is accused of trying to set off a bomb hidden in his underwear aboard a flight from Amsterdam with nearly 300 people aboard.
So, let me get this straight, we have organized our entire TSA screening process as if another person was going to wear a bomb in his underwear?
Obama said that in weekly meetings with his counterterrorism team, “I’m constantly asking them whether is what we’re doing absolutely necessary, have we thought it through, are there other ways of accomplishing it that meet the same objectives.”
For now it sounds like there aren’t, and travelers will face potential pat-downs and scans.
“One of the most frustrating aspects of this fight against terrorism is that it has created a whole security apparatus around us that causes huge inconvenience for all of us,” Obama said.
No, you are creating a vast security apparatus and you’re not asking the right questions, just the conventional ones.
The President has the power to say, stop. The President has the power to say, “This is one step too far. We don’t have to sacrifice our dignity and our honor to our fear.”
Don’t hold your breath for that one.