Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's the Bra Threat Level Today?

I am baffled that the TSA has a manpower shortage. The job has obvious and ever-expanding perks that should appeal to teenage boys and--judging from the number of middle-aged men looking at porn on public internet terminals in my library--other segments of the population. If you work at Logan Airport and work your way up the local TSA hierarchy, in a few months you'll get to see people naked. And if you work at the San Francisco Airport, you may get to feel someone up the old-fashioned way.

One Nancy Kates recently went to San Francisco International Airport to board a flight to Boston. She is apparently amply proportioned, shall we say, and the larger-than-average-underwire in her bra set off the metal detector. She was told that she could fly only if she submitted her breasts to a pat-down. She offered to take off her bra instead, which satisfied local TSA security concerns.

There's no word yet on whether she was able to put her bra back on before boarding the flight or whether her underwear is now lying on top of a pile of confiscated nail clippers.

Nancy Kates says she will talk to the ACLU about how to respond to this incident. She was four hours late getting to Boston, but she had at least one consolation: since Logan's full-body scanner hasn't been installed yet, she didn't have to worry about anyone staring at her bare breasts.

Closing thought: with the technology to see people naked, and the option of groping people for security reasons, what do you want to bet Scarlet Johansson gets added to one of those TSA-extra-scrutiny lists?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

America's Finest at Work, Part V

In June the TSA began putting the names of people who show up at airports without identification on a watch list of people who broke security regulations or acted suspiciously (like trying to sneak on board with a 3 oz. can of shaving cream in their carry-on). At last count the list had over 16,000 names.

But this past Tuesday TSA chief Kip Hawley told USA Today that the Administration will no longer keep records on travelers who show up at their airport without ID.

It's just as well: how would they know whom they were keeping records on?

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