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TSA Invasive New Pat Down To “Lessen Cognitive Burden” On TSA Agents-NSFW illustration

March 10, 2017

TSA admits that the “cognitive burdens” on staffers forced them to allow TSA screeners to use their fingertips to pat down women’s breasts and both genders’ genitalia. Basically TSA is saying their agents are too stupid to find guns or explosives using the backs of their hands, flyers will now be subject to “invasive” (according to web news source) pat downs.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has declined to say exactly where—and how—employees will be touching air travelers as part of the more invasive physical pat-down procedure it recently ordered.

But the agency does expect some passengers to consider the examination unusual. In fact, the TSA decided to inform local police in case anyone calls to report an “abnormal” federal frisking, according to a memo from an airport trade association obtained by Bloomberg News. The physical search, for those selected to have one, is what the agency described as a more “comprehensive” screening, replacing five separate kinds of pat-downs it previously used.

The decision to alert local and airport police raises a question of just how intimate the agency’s employees may get. On its website, the TSA says employees “use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body. In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.

You can always pay an extra $80 for the TSA-precheck, which might be well worth the money if TSA admits that the cognitive burden of pat downs is too great for its staff. Otherwise, TSA refuses to state how the pat downs will occur, what will be touched and how. Passengers are already subject to a virtual strips search, and now, pat downs akin to a police department arrest scenario. Great time to fly, people.

You gotta know that when airports have to inform local police that passengers will most likely report their “search” as a criminal activity that there is huge problem.

Personally, my daughter who had a TSA agent yell at her, tell her she would separate her from me to take her to a private screening room for a pat down alone, all because of sequins on her shirt, has decided she no longer wants to fly. This from a kid who started flying and traveling with me when she was one-year old. She is the age at which she will be making decisions about the course of her travels, and she is also at the age to be determining whether or not she will fly. She will not. I won’t force her.

I filed a complaint. I spoke with supervisor, who told me there was nothing he could do. My daughter said she didn’t mind her sparkle neckline being patted down, but she was almost in tears at the yelling by the TSA agent. She no longer will voluntarily go through an airport.

While standing in line at the airport, I was also subjected to shoving by the TSA agent, to the point that I received bruises on my shoulders and arms from other passengers’ bags hitting me as the TSA agent pushed them back to “maintain the line.” No one was out of line, really, but some people got confused about whether they were supposed to stand on the line or behind it when they were supposed to approach with their tickets and I.D.

The G– airport TSA agents had also been stealing passengers’ belongings as they went through security, and while an investigation was launched, the damage was done. TSA agents in Michigan really struggle. Apparently their “cognitive burden” was too great. Essentially TSA won’t say how many people are subjected to pat downs, but there are estimates, and while the agents may be too stupid to find guns on people, the real issue was not finding guns in bags. Pat downs don’t help with that.

The TSA screens about 2 million people daily at U.S. airports. The agency said it doesn’t track how many passengers are subject to pat-down searches. These searches typically occur when an imaging scanner detects one or more unknown objects on a person or if a traveler declines to walk through the machine and opts for the physical screening.

“Passengers who have not previously experienced the now standardized pat-down screening may not realize that they did in fact receive the correct procedure, and may ask our partners, including law enforcement at the airport, about the procedure,” TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson wrote March 3 in an email, describing why the agency notified police.

The pat-down change, first reported Friday by Bloomberg News, is “intended to reduce the cognitive burden on [employees] who previously had to choose from various pat-down procedures depending on the type of screening lane,” the ACI-NA wrote in its notice.

Physical screening has long been one of the public’s strongest dislikes about airport security protocols. The TSA has all pat-downs conducted by an employee of the same gender as the traveler and allows a passenger to request a private area for the screening, as well as to have a witness present. Likewise, the traveler can request that the pat-down occur in public view.

Because they TSA agents couldn’t decide how to screen,cognitive burden and all,  everyone gets their butt felt up.

Denver reports that there will be “more intimate contact,” but fails to specify how and where:

At Denver International Airport, employees were notified last week that the searches “may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before.”

The TSA isn’t saying how agents will be touching travelers, but the agency notified local police in case anyone reports an “abnormal” search. Typically, travelers only get a pat-down if something was triggered during screening or they opt out of going through the body scanners.The TSA used to have five types of pat-downs. Now, there will only be one way and they’ll still be performed by agents of the same gender.

Still, the pat-downs have long been disliked by travelers and a more rigorous, invasive search will not be liked by some.The change comes after agents found a record number of guns last month, according to the TSA blog.

In one day, 21 firearms were found at airport security checkpoints across the country. A loaded magazine, a variety of knives and a live smoke grenade were also found.

If you opt out of the digital strip search or “body scanner,” then you will be subjected to a pat down. CBS reports that TSA claims that passengers won’t spend more time in security because of this, but it’s impossible to see how TSA can justify that statement.

A 2015 study found that TSA agents missed 95 percent of planted dangerous and hazardous items planted at security checkpoints as part of an undercover test.

The TSA says the new pat-down policy will not extend the amount of time a passenger spends at a security checkpoint.TSA officers of the same gender as the passenger will use the back of their hand for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body, including breasts, groin, and buttocks, the TSA website says.The TSA also says that passengers will be told by the officer exactly what they will do before doing it. Passengers may also request a private screening.

If you look at the TSA screening notice on the TSA website, it states that pretty much TSA agents are allowed to molest you, all in the name of safety, of course. Other people’s safety, actually, but obviously not your own, during the TSA molestation procedures:

A pat-down may include inspection of the head, neck, arms, torso, legs, and feet. This includes head coverings and sensitive areas such as breasts, groin, and the buttocks. You may be required to adjust clothing during the pat-down. The officer will advise you of the procedure to help you anticipate any actions before you feel them. Pat-downs require sufficient pressure to ensure detection.

TSA officers use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body. In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.

TSA appearing to be in an extreme state of public denial, stated that most flyers won’t notice the difference, but at the same time, had to warn stakeholders that there were more intimate procedures required. You don’t warn the money people of a change in procedure unless you expect a fall-out. When forecasted earnings are going to be hit that so hard that stakeholders have to be notified of impending doom, you know that the situation is bad. TSA blithely announced no one would even notice its new invasive pat downs, a.k.a. TSA molestations:

Invasive is not the word I would use,” said TSA spokesman Michael England, referring to the new pat-down. “We feel like this new procedure will be more effective in finding prohibited items. This is a simple change of procedure that 99.99 percent of people are not even going to notice.”

So, I didn’t come up with this, but this is the image created when I pulled up consumer responses to TSA screen measures:


boing take on TSA screenings

The person who created the post, above, states he was hit in the testicles by TSA agents as retaliation for asking about not crushing his laptop:\

If the TSA thinks that you’re suspicious — or if you opt out of the “optional” full-body scanner — you get a junk-touching “secondary screening” in which the screeners “pat you down” by rubbing the backs of their hands on your genitals and other “sensitive areas” (they can be pretty rough — a screener at ORD once punched me in the balls to retaliate for me asking him not to rest the tub containing my bags on top of my unprotected laptop).

But it’s about to get much worse. Under new TSA rules, screeners will be able to lovingly cup and fondle your genitals and “sensitive areas” during a secondary search. The new guidelines call for searches so invasive, local TSA outposts have been told to notify local cops to expect accusations of sexual assault from fliers.

I predicted this. The day the TSA started letting its best-connected, wealthiest fliers buy their way out of the normal screening procedure, it was an iron-clad certainty that the way everyone else gets treated would get worse, and worse, and worse. We have not hit bottom. I predict cavity searches for “very suspicious circumstances” by 2020, with no way to opt out and choose not to fly once the party gets started.

Generally, studies have shown  that men feel safer in TSA screenings and pat downs than women, and that influences buying decisions for women. As in my post yesterday,, feelings of safety impact women. Feelings of personal safety impact life choices, obviously.

TSA costs and spending have risen exponentially over the years, but at what cost to passengers? Canada kept some data about the “welfare loss” or lost revenue from security charges, not just procedures back in 2011 and posted losses of $2.2 billion:

Using 2011 data, Gillen and Morrison (2015), estimate the welfare loss in Canada due to the imposition of security fees for that year.16 According to these estimates, in 2011 there were 690,000 fewer passengers flying to/from and within Canada as a result of the air transport security charge. This translates into $227 Million in forgone revenue to the airlines and an economic welfare loss of $2.2 Billion.17

TSA screenings and long lines alone cost airlines money, as 2016 predicted record losses in profits:

The data indicates that millions of Americans will either skip planned spending on travel or will spend less (replacing plane trips with road and rail means those travelers will not journey as far, U.S. Travel economists note). All told, the lost travel spending will total $4.3 billion for the three-month summer peak season—a figure that would have directly supported 37,500 additional domestic jobs.

“To put these figures in perspective, the problems at TSA security lines are costing our economy almost a billion and a half dollars in spending and more than 12,000 jobs every month,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.

…We’re looking at convincing data that says hundreds of thousands of people are potentially reconsidering whether to get on an airplane every single day. Given the importance of travel to both our economy and our way of life, it is not an overstatement to call that a national crisis in need of a national solution.”

A Forbes economist has a view of the TSA that argues that for all the people the TSA pushes into the driving lane, which is more dangerous than flying, TSA isn’t really “saving” lives:

There is no free lunch (or free pat-down).  When you do one thing, you give up the opportunity to do another.  Even if the TSA has made us safer and saved lives (it hasn’t), these saved lives have come at a cost.  For every life saved in a TSA-prevented terrorist attack, more lives are lost on highways as people substitute away from air travel and toward driving.  Getting rid of the TSA would mean fewer dead people, on net.  That’s a win in my book.

People Respond to Incentives.  When you change the costs and benefits of something, people change their behavior.  By making flying more costly, the TSA encourages more people to drive.  Even when we take terrorism into account, flying is far safer than driving.  As a result of the TSA’s new “enhanced pat-downs” and nude imaging, people are going to die today, tomorrow, and indeed every day from now on who wouldn’t die if flying were more convenient.(emphasis added)

The inefficiency and questioned need for TSA regulations has reached such a fevered pitch that Trump is calling for TSA budgetary cuts, something that is definitely necessary considering the success of the TSA programs like “Behavioral Analysis,” which focus on how often people yawn and blink. (I don’t make this shit up–I can’t.)

For example, the TSA’s budget cuts would include a $65 million reduction for the agency’s totally useless behavioral detection officers.

A November 2012 audit by the Government Accountability Office found that, after 10 years of running its behavior detection program, the TSA could not demonstrate its effectiveness. The TSA even admitted that it did not have any way to measure whether the program worked, aside from counting “referrals to local law enforcement” (which turned out to be a list of people arrested for everything from unruly behavior to public drunkenness, the GOA found, but not a single instance of a legitimate national security threat).

“Until TSA can provide scientifically validated evidence demonstrating that behavioral indicators can be used to identify passengers who may pose a threat to aviation, the agency risks funding activities that have not been determined to be effective,” the GAO concluded, using auditor-speak for “this program should be defunded.”

Undeterred by the audit, the TSA is still using behavior detection officers (at an annual cost of around $200 million) and has expanded their use at some airports, seemingly in an attempt to prove their usefulness. Guidelines for the program, published in 2015 by The Intercept, show that the TSA’s crack team of behavior-monitoring agents are told to identify potential threats (like Reason’s Ron Bailey) who yawn too much, blink too little, breathe quickly, make eye contact with security personnel, or don’t make eye contact with security personnel. Truly stunning that they haven’t busted any terrorists with this pseudo-science, isn’t it?

In case you thought that sort of thing was fake, and it’s not, t has a real list of behaviors the TSA monitors with its “behavioral analysis.” Be sure to watch closely. A problematic contact lens could get you arrested. Let’s “lessen the cognitive burden” on TSA agents and all fly naked.

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