As you've probably heard, the TSA introduced a new extra-invasive body search protocol on Oct. 29, just in time for the rollout of whole body scanners at 65 airports. The old school pat-down was nothing if not thorough. Why is the TSA suddenly getting even more invasive?
My theory is that the agency wants to bully people into submitting to their very expensive and unpopular new toys. It's now common knowledge that the whole body scanners render a naked silhouette of your body. Most people don't believe the TSA's assurances that the data storage and transmission capabilities of the machines have been permanently and irreversibly disabled by the manufacturer.
Some activists are threatening to opt out of the scan en masse. If enough people did so, the delays could cripple air traffic. The TSA is letting it be known that if you opt out of whole body scanning (aka AIT), you will get patted down.
The TSA won't say exactly what the new search involves, but we do know that agents are now expected to use the fronts of their hands to feel passengers' clothed breasts and genitals. It seems far-fetched that ordering TSA agents to run their fingers over passengers' junk is going to catch significantly more explosives than the old back-of-the-hand taps to the inner legs.
The new body search procedure seems designed to make the scanners look attractive by comparison.
[Photo credit: Billypalooza, Creative Commons.]