Saturday, November 13, 2010

Say it Ain't So

To keep the hysteria going over TSA's new X-rated security gauntlet Drudge links to a CNN story that contains this gem:
Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has issued its own travel advisory over pat-downs many "describe as invasive and humiliating."

Muslim women who wear a hijab and are selected for secondary screening because of a head scarf should remind TSA officers "that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They should not subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down," the group said.
Wait, surely certain women are not being exempted from full-body pat downs due to their religious garb. Here's what TSA's website says:
You are permitted to wear loose fitting or religious garments during the screening process. You may be directed to additional screening if your clothing (religious or otherwise) is loose fitting or large enough to hide prohibited items. If you are directed by the security officer to proceed to additional screening, then you will undergo a combination of hand-wand screening and/or pat-down inspections that could include any portion of the body and head area that requires further examination.
Is that clear? Well then it's not supposed to be--the nature of security is keeping the bad guys guessing, so telling everyone exactly what to expect would be counter-productive. This was illustrated in TSA's October 28 announcement about enhanced pat-downs. The one thing they seem unequivocal on is profiling for enhanced screening--never. The question now is whether they are profiling in reverse to keep certain people from enhanced screening.

It was only a matter of time before CAIR and other Muslim rights groups protested vigorously given the option of being seen virtually naked or having someone pass their hands over sensitive body areas--these are folks who largely blush when women go sleeveless. And while many are developing sympathies with the "opt out" folks, acceding to CAIR's demands would pretty much instantly prove all this new screening as meaningless kabuki. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if terrorists realize that certain groups dressed a certain way are given easier treatment in accessing aircraft then that's the way they'll go. Again, repeating from the CAIR press release:
Before you are patted down, you should remind the TSA officer that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They SHOULD NOT subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down.
But that doesn't sound like TSA policy, it sounds like CAIR's fatwa. One has to wonder how a TSA agent is supposed to know if someone is actually a Muslim (or Catholic nun, or anything) at screening? Does the system that generates an "ssss" on the boarding pass tell them? If so, how does it know? Secondly, if they don't, and can't profile, what are the odds women appearing to be Muslim will be 'randomly' pulled out of line for extra scanning? And if Muslim women wearing the hijab start getting their privates tickled how long will it be til some nut blows up a security checkpoint? We await the explanations.

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