WASHINGTON - Amid protests, the TSA is not backing down. They have ordered all passengers to be groped at security checkpoints.
Passengers across the country are in revolt over the new TSA techniques – which include groping and fondling – but Transportation Safety Administration chief John Pistole and several senators from both parties defended the new, enhanced airport security screening procedures as necessary in the face of a persistent and evolving terrorist threat in a hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
“We must grope all passengers. Groping and cavity searches are the only way to make sure passengers are safe,” Pistole said.
Pistole, calm and confident in the face of an increasing public outcry against the procedures, talked extensively about the repercussions of last year’s attempted Christmas Day bombing being the impetus for the enhanced screenings before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, TSA’s oversight committee.
“We know the terrorists’ intent is still there,” Pistole testified. “We are using technology and protocols to stay ahead of the threat and keep you safe. Terrorists will also have to be groped, so we think we are scaring them away.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said prior to Pistole’s testimony that she believed TSA was doing the right thing. “I, personally, don’t mind being groped. I think Americans are a bit uptight when it comes to their body. It’s actually qutie nice to be fondled by a stranger in a uniform.”
McCaskill went on to say that it wasn’t technically groping. “It’s more like love pats. And I approve of them. God knows we need more love in our society.”
McCaskill and Pistole acknowledged the public concern that has made mini-celebrities out of some passengers who have opposed the new imaging scans and enhanced pat-downs. Pistole, a former FBI agent, went so far as to say he submitted himself to the groping and fondling and found them to be “much more pleasant than I thought.”
However, Senator George LeMieux of Florida thought the groping was invasive, saying they had gone too far and that he “doesn’t want (his) wife to be groped or fondled.” He even suggested looking more at the Israeli model of behavioral profiling in airport screenings, which has been largely successful but also criticized as racist.
However, Pistole defended the groping because of the next generation of “non-metallic” explosives currently being used by terrorists. “We have to be vigilant.”
There are some passengers that like the new policy and are flying more than ever. “I love it! I try to fly 3-4 times a day,” said Jonathan Mettier of Louisiana. “I usually put a tube of toothpaste down my pants, just to make it more interesting. This is FUN.”
Let the groping begin!!