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TSA Embarks On Major Strategy Shift

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— On this anniversary weekend of the September 11th terror attacks—the head of the Transportation Security Administration believes we are safer than we were 10 years ago, but that the nation remains vigilant.

Jon Pistole, head of the TSA, said he appreciates the partnership of the American people as airport security remains a touchy issue for many travelers that have endured shoe removal, liquid restrictions, and pat downs.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Pistole said his administration is embarking on a major strategy shift, including a pilot program that will reduce pat downs of children and a “trusted traveler” program that will allow for expedited screening for frequent travelers of American and Delta, who are willing to turn over background information.

New software will display generic line drawings of body scans, rather than nudes.

But for now security is ramped up for the 9-11 anniversary weekend at airports and train stations.

“At train stations, they may see one of our viper teams; Visible Intermodal Protection and Response teams designed to be a visible deterrent to a possible terrorist,” Pistole said.

Those measures were already in place prior to information on an alleged terror plot involving New York or Washington over the weekend.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Margie Shafer
  • Bill Fisher

    Yet another attempt by TSA to mislead the public with hollow promises. TSA has employed the “Big Lie” strategy in their effort to convince Congress and the public that the organization is not as corrupt and arrogant as it actually is.

    They rely on an endless of streams of lies, obfuscations and denials in an attempt to convince the public that the abuses which are obvious did not occur. There have been dozens of instances where victim or witness accounts have been disputed by TSA, only to be confirmed after being captured on video. This explains their aversion to attempts to record them at checkpoints.

    When the scanners were put into service in November TSA contended that the images were cartoonish and according to Blogger Bob at TSA could be shown to children. In August, Denver TSA area director Pat Ahlstrom, said of the scans up until now “They were graphic, no doubt about it,”

    TSA has also avoided mentioning that the Rapi-Scan backscatter x-ray units will not get the privacy software and will continue to display the very graphic nude images Mr. Ahlstrom describes.

    When an ABC producer reported that a TSA screener reached inside her underwear and made direct contact with her vagina, Pistole denied it saying” that never happened” which he later changed to “that never should happen” when the woman went on national television and recounted the incident.

    Then in December in response to reports that a young boy was essentially strip searched in Salt Lake City TSA again categorically denied that the event took place until video surfaced on You Tube. Again TSA was caught lying and was forced to recant their earlier statement.

    The same has been true in the wake of every child pat down that has been reported, TSA states they are revising their screening procedures but continues to grope and traumatize innocent children. This happened after the 3 year old girl was recorded screaming while the screener molested her and again after the Salt Lake City incident, and yet again after the 6 year old girl in New Orleans and most recently after the infant groping in Kansas City.

    Other similar incidents have been reported including the Tennessee mother who was arrested for trying to prevent TSA from groping her adolescent daughter. Security video later revealed that they did in fact molest the young girl just as her mother feared.

    Under Pistole’s policies, TSA screeners have been turned into de facto child molesters and sexual assailants. They have admitted that the pat downs involve direct contact with passenger’s genitals including those of children, meeting any reasonable definition of sexual assault. By their own admission, TSA frisks over 60,000 passengers every day.

    Much like the childhood story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, some Americans have refused to acknowledge that the Emperor is indeed naked, even though their eyes tell them he is. Fortunately, many have begun to realize that this agency and its management are corrupt and operating against the interests and will of those they supposedly serve. It is long past time to dismantle this agency and prosecute those responsible for this travesty.

  • Wimpie

    No amount of safety, no measure of security, NO NUMBER OF LIVES SAVED is worth sacrificing the founding principles of our nation.

    This is (ostensibly still) the land of the free, not the land of the safe. Freedom means risk and 235 years ago, some people decided that given the choice between living safe lives of submission to authority, or taking their lives in their hands and being free, they would rather have liberty at the expense of personal risk.

    Yes, if TSA stops doing what it is doing, planes may be blown up. Maybe we’ll have another 9/11. Maybe we’ll have 911 more 9/11s. It will be sad, people will be hurting and mourning. But that is the price we pay for liberty. When people say “freedom isn’t free,” that’s where that slogan comes from. When Thomas Jefferson said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” it was not intended as some sort of anarchist screed. He was saying that sometimes, in order for there to be freedom for all, good people must stand against oppressors and, sometimes, sacrifice themselves in order to do so.

    And for godsakes, nobody is even asking any American patriot to fall on their sword. What we’re talking about is the people standing up and saying “Enough is enough” to the TSA. Saying “If we have to choose between being less safe in the air and enduring the wholesale sexual assault that you neander-thugs perpetrate against us every day at terminals across the nation, then we’ll keep our 4th-Amendment rights and take our chances. Now get the hell out of our airports.”

    Anyone who values safety over liberty is not espousing American principles and, in point of fact, this can be confirmed via the words of Benjamin Franklin himself. It’s been quoted a thousand times before but it rings absolutely true each and every last time. “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    America. Land of the free. Not “Land of the free, except in airports or when we’re really really scared, void where prohibited, some restrictions may apply.”

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