Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: With one of the busiest travel weeks of the year kicking off, some airline passengers are kicking back at the higher level of airport security - which is what I’m writing about in my daily letter.
Dear Mr. President,
I was thinking the other day about how I’ve never really had an uncomfortable experience with security at an airport. I’ve had plenty of inconveniences, but boo hoo, who cares? We all have to put up with some of that these days as we try to secure ourselves against terrorist threats.
But then I saw a series of photos taken in Denver of the new pat down procedures being used by TSA to check folks out and I thought, “Well, yeah, I can see how this bothers folks.” Hands on crotches. Hands on breasts. Hands in all sorts of places that would get most of us fired on our jobs. And I found myself raising questions.
First, how far is too far? If the goal is true security, why not strip search each passenger, pilot, flight crew, ticket agent, and baggage handler every time he or she comes within 500 feet of a concourse? I know the answer. That would be so invasive that it would create a riot of public backlash, and it would use so much time and labor that the cost would be prohibitive. So, we’ve established that security, while important, is not immune to compromise.
Second, are all airport workers being subjected to these types of searches every day? I know the answer to that too, and it is no. I’m sure the argument is that they have passed some type of security clearance, but we’ve uncovered plenty of spies in some of the most top secret areas of government with very high levels of clearance. Shouldn’t we expect to discover moles in the airport staff some day, too? And wouldn’t they, with their inside knowledge of the system and access to the hardware likely be much more dangerous than a passenger?
And third, would you, your wife and daughters be happy to submit to this? I realize this is a pointless question, because the truth is, you’ll never have to. And that’s kind of the point. What is bothering people, I think, is that suddenly security - which has already been steadily stepping up for years - appears to have taken another big leap and we have no real idea why. Is there some new, terrible threat we’re not being told about? Have you concluded that all past efforts were lame and insufficient? What’s happening?
I think anything you can do to clear up those questions for the public, will also help quiet the fervor.
Hope your weekend is off to a good start. Raking some leaves today. Want to come help? Ha!
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