Morning Poll: TSA Pat-Downs and Body Scans

by ARLnow.com November 19, 2010 at 8:29 am 3,510 91 Comments

Rep. Jim Moran couldn’t give a hoot about the controversial “naked” body scans and saucy pat-downs now in place at America’s airports.

The recently re-elected congressman told TBD’s NewsTalk that he supports measures to make air travel safer, even if they’re invasive or embarrassing.

“I could care less whether somebody feels me up or somebody sees what I look like without my clothes… I think it’s something you just have to live with.”

Do you agree?

  • Brett

    Welp, Jim Moran is going to be getting an angry letter and phone call from me today.

    He may not care, but what about someone’s 8 year old kid? He probably flies 1st class everywhere he goes. He’s so out of touch he would be better off being a congressman for moon people.

    • Westover

      Mr. Moran is fine with assaulting 10 year old kids for touching his Saturn, I don’t think he cares too much about 8 year olds getting felt up in the name of security.

    • Lou

      Ain’t it funny how one the campaigning is over, the real moran shows up.

    • BrownFlipFlops

      Mr. Moran, like most members of Congress, probably does not even fly first class – he probably uses a corporate jet, provided by the legislative affairs department of a company or association interested in how he votes. His security hassles are limited to whatever he runs into at the VIP lounge in Signature Aviation at DCA, IAD, or another local field. He doesn’t care about this issue, because it’s not even on his radar screen. That, or L3 Communications, the maker and seller of most of these machines, has found a way to be more convincing than his constituents.

      • Westover

        Ethics rules no longer allow Members of Congress to use corporate jets. And he can not purchase First Class tickets with official funds, however he can accept upgrades with points that he earned on official travel.

        • BrownFlipFlops

          Thanks for the update, Westover. I went and looked at the new House Ethics Manual on line, and it looks like you’re correct. Sorry for the outdated info.

    • charlie

      i think Moran has proven that he thinks it is okay for HIM to assault kids. Right, I know, just teaching them a lesson. Sorry, don’t buy the lame excuse.

  • jkb

    I wonder exactly how much less Mr. Moran could care?

    • david

      This is exactly what I was thinking.

  • AJ

    @Brett: what about someone’s 8 year old kid? that’s going straight for the pearl-clutching, isn’t it? OMG, think of TEH CHILDREN!

    that said, my willingness to vote for moran again in the future is getting diminished by the day.

    • Brett

      YES THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!! I don’t have kids, but if they asked my 8 year old son/daughter to go through those things, I would flat out refuse to allow it. And if the TSA wants to then grope my kid, be prepared to throw down. I expect an increase in TSA applicants who are former Catholic Priests when they find out the US gov’t is ok with feeling up children in the name of safety.

      Children aside, if you have a history of cancer in your family and fly frequently I would avoid these machines like the plague. The studies performed about the health effects of these scanners was not performed properly. The FDA did not account for potential risks of skin cancer where the radiation is concentrated. They focused entirely on the effects to the inside of the human body.

  • BoredHouseWife

    It is a joke. We are paying to get molested by uptight strangers. And then get dosed with radiation at levels unknown. All so we can get stuffed in a tin can. If a terrorist wants to suicide bomb a plane, they will not have issues cramming it up their butts.

    • Hillz

      That’s why they have scanners – because they will stuff it up their butt.

    • Clarendude

      Or surgically implanted. This is the problem – any person that is desires and is willing to blow themselves up just for the cause of killing a bunch of random Americans is a crazy extremist (obviously) and will resort to the most extreme methods imaginable. Therefore to attempt to remain “safe”, the most extreme methods will progressivly need to be employed to attempt to stop them. My biggest problem with the tactics being used is it is getting everyone more and more habituated and accepting of submission to these kind of pat down searches and whatever else the government comes up with to keep us “safe”. And each time the system fails and one rare, crazy person succeeds, the methods get more extreme. It does seem like the majority though are willing to tolerate it without much of a fuss. The root cause I think is that Americans (not all, but most), more than a lot of other countries, have an excessive obsession with being ‘safe’, while at the same time seem very poor at actually assessing risk and are unforgiving to their leaders when something bad does happen.

      • cj


      • charlie

        the other problem is that there are a zillion other ways to strategically take out a bunch of people. if that is what one wanted to do. we have this heightened security for passengers on planes and that is IT. no other items are searched and no other modes of transportation have this. Maybe everyone riding METRO should get frisked?

        • Jared

          A bomb going off on Metro would actually be much worse than a single plane getting blown up, in terms of both loss of life and costs of repairs, commuter delays, etc. If we are seriously taking a “no-tolerance” approach to security risks, we absolutely should scan everybody who gets on the subway.

          But we don’t, because that would be idiotic.

          Unfortunately, TSA isn’t doing the math here.

      • Burger

        Yes, keep being a lemming for the government. Please point to an instance, in any terrorist action not just air travel, where someone surgically implanted a device on themselves to blow up an object.

        Ignoring the ability for most high grades explosives to remain stable inside a person’s body (i.e. explode by go inert) and the fact any stable amount of explosive would need that would to a plane would look like a giant tumor on a terrorist I’d rather not turn and cough to get on a plane.

  • TGEoA

    No, the terrorists haven’t won, but rather the filthy union chiefs

  • stevis

    His point is also undermined by the fact that TSA has not interdicted a single terrorists, and these measures will not help them do that.

    Spend the money on good policing, intelligence work, and bag scanning, not privacy violations and molestation practices.

  • Jason S

    What he is basically saying is “I don’t care how *you* are treated for *my* safety.” because is smart enough to know it won’t be the same treatment.

    • Doug


    • Absolutely! Also remember that Jim Moran has the 2nd shortest “commute” to his district than any other Congressperson. He flies a lot less than other members of Congress. (more than the average person, but far less than someone with a district that isn’t 3 miles from Congress).

  • I love that the entire population is subjected to this ridiculious theater while the most effective tool that TSA could use is handicapped from them by political correctness. They are supposed to ignore the fact that the majority of the people responsible for these measures are of a certain ethnic and religious group, spreading their attention on the whole population….

    • Brett

      Better yet, expand the attention beyond those of certain ethnicities and observe behavior and visual clues. Stop frisking the 65 year old women in a wheel chair and pay attention to the guy wearing a winter coat in July.

      • JD32

        I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but they already do that.

  • G

    I was recently screened by the body scanner when I was flying back to DC… I don’t see what the big deal is. Who cares if some stranger sees the outline of your body. It seems a lot less invasive than the pat-down, yet a few women behind my opted for the pat-down instead. Either way, I don’t think either of these measures will prevent the problem. We’ve seen that the terrorists are always one step ahead of us, and they will just figure out other ways around the system (e.g. putting bombs in checked bags). TSA’s policies are based entirely on what the terrorists have already tried, not what they will try.

    • G::NativeArlingtonian

      Checked bags are all sent through x-ray machines before being loaded onto the plane. The machines are more high powered than the machines used in the airport proper.

      • G

        So then how did they get the bombs inside the ink cartridges on to the planes recently? I don’t think the x-ray machines are fool proof.

        • Ali

          Checked bags are xrayed. Not all cargo is.

  • QPGirl

    I have never understood why TSA doesn’t consult with El Al security experts. In Israel they interview everyone coming through the airport, they don’t x-ray and probe them, and they have not had any security incidents in years.

    • Everwood

      I agree 100 percent.

    • MB

      The US is not Israel (despite frequent confusion on this point). Israel has exactly one international airport, and air travel is generally not required for domestic travel. Yes, there can be some useful technique lessons drawn from El Al. No, they cannot be a model for the US.

    • Burger

      Because El Al has one airport to worry about with minimal air traffic. How many commercial airports are in the US. It would be a logistical nightmare.

    • McGruff

      ICTS International is an Israeli company.

      ICTS International and its two subsidiaries, ISEC and PI, provide security services to the Schipol airport and Delta Airlines. The firm’s security system came under scrutiny and as part of the international investigation into how Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (crotch bomber) was able to board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 with explosive materials, garnering criticism for “its possible responsibility for the security failure at Schiphol.” While this story was widely reported in the Israeli and European press, mainstream media outlets in the United States gave it no coverage.

      ICTS was also responsible for security at the Charles de Gaulle Airport where Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber”, boarded American Airlines Flight 63 in December 2001.

      ICTS’ subsidiary, Huntleigh, shared security duties at Boston’s Logan Airport on September 11, 2001, where two of the four planes hijacked for use in the attacks originated. According to Logan Airport officials, the company provided provided gate and baggage security services for United Airlines. Huntleigh faced multiple lawsuits for alleged screening failures by its workers at Logan Airport, but denied any liability for those cases. After reforms to the security system in the US following the 9/11 attacks which resulted in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) taking over the task of screening passengers and baggage, Huntleigh ceased providing security to US airports.

  • G::NativeArlingtonian

    I frankly don’t care what Moran said… and I don’t care about the body scanners either. So somebody sees me naked? Big deal. And a pat down? That is a different deal, but those are usually for the people who refuse the scanner. The scanners offer a bit more potential for flying safely and for that I am OK with it. Besides, there are far greater indignities in life… just ask any male over 40 and any woman smart enough to get their gyno exam each year. But you deal and get over it like an adult.

    • charlie

      Good points. but those exams and the resulting pictures and images are kept much more guarded and confidential. I really don’t want a bunch of TSA people sending a picture of me, my wife or others around the world. I don’t trust them to properly care for those images.

      • G::NativeArlingtonian

        Except that the images don’t show your face. They look like weird xrays or MRI’s. Its not like people are imagining… Its not the old XRAY specs in the back of comic books. You don’t see nudity.

  • LP

    Flying is a privilege, not a right!

    Have a pat down done or drive/train/walk/bike ride to your destination. The TSA employees don’t want to do this anymore than you want it.

    • Jason S

      Flying is a private transaction between an individual or organization and an airline, there is no privilege about that. Let’s just make everything a “privilege” and legislate who can or cannot do it.

      • LP

        Really? It is a privilege. It’s only for people who can afford it, if it was a right, anyone could fly.

      • JD32

        Right, but by engaging in the private transaction you explicitly agree to these screening procedures. I’m not sure I understand your point here.

        • MB

          I don’t think “explicitly” means what you think it does.

          • JD32

            Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s precisely the word I was looking for. But go ahead, enlighten me. What do you think it means?

          • MB

            People learn better by doing, right? So let’s do this. You show me where, in the process of buying a ticket, it says that you agree to submit to either a backscatter screening or a personal search that involves touching your genitals. I’ll even let you pick the airline. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

        • DW

          JD32 is correct. Read the fine print before clicking the “Purchase” button the next time you buy an airline ticket. It does EXPLICITLY state that in order to fly, you must comply with whatever security procedures the airline, airport or TSA may have in effect.

  • Brett

    I encourage everyone who is a citizen of the 8th district of VA to contact Moran via his website: https://forms.house.gov/moran/zipauth.shtml

    Please let him know his lack of concern does not mean his constituents aren’t frustrated by the invasion of privacy and unnecessary health risk these machines create. Bring this guy back to Earth.

    • G::NativeArlingtonian

      I won’t…because Moran’s attitude is not the problem here. If anything it strikes me as someone as fed up with people’s general attitudes towards security and safety. People are being ridiculous. If you want to fly, then deal with what comes with it. In some ways I think Moran is demonstrating that if an elected official will deal with the measures in place, so should the people.

      • Brett

        If these scanners are the answer to our security woes, why don’t we use them at bus terminal, train stations and sea ports for cruises?

        There are far easier ways to commit an act of terrorism then by using an air plane.

      • Doug

        Do you really think the TSA would feel up Moran or Nancy Pelosi? They will claim some kind of executive privilege and by-pass the screenings all together.

        Really brave words from Moran >>>>“I could care less whether somebody feels me up or somebody sees what I look like without my clothes… I think it’s something you just have to live with.”

        But would he allow his wife (LuAnn Bennett) to be “felt up” or care who sees what she looks like without her clothes? Or how about his daughters, Mary and Dorothy? I seriously doubt it.

        I care less about TSA doing their pat downs or x-ray on me but it’s another story with my wife and daughter.

  • Really?

    You people are crazy. In case you have forgotten, there appears to be a small, but dedicated group of crazy people who wish to kill us and spread terror. I’ll say that again – these people wish to kill us. You and me. Very unfortunately, this is the world we live in. Security measures are pretty important to deter this very small, but very crazy group of individuals. If you don’t like it, feel free not to fly.

    • Hillz

      Amen. The minute something else happens though, surely it will be the government’s fault for not protecting us enough.

    • Opacy

      If anything, we’re not taking security seriously enough. We need surveillance cameras in every home, and tracking devices installed in every American. It’s for your own safety, don’t complain.

    • Burger

      Benjamin Franklin –

      “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

      Seems like I am giving up an essential liberty apt when you are talking about someone groping your groin to simple get on a plane to travel.

  • G

    And why are people getting so upset about the pat-down now? It’s been going on for YEARS. I have been patted down at least a few times years before body scanners were introduced.

    • Donna

      Because the pat-down is no longer just a pat-down, it’s now full-fledged touching/grabbing/fondling.
      Cupping of breasts and genitals.

      I will not allow some stranger to do that to my children.
      It’s insane.

      • G

        So then they can do the body screener. Honestly it took less than 10 seconds when I went.

        • Gregg

          There are medical and radiological professionals that have stated publicly these scanners have been rushed into service without sufficient testing to ensure they are actually safe. I think I have the right to complain if I’m forced to choose between a groping and cancer. But if that IS my only choice, I’ll take the groping.

          • G

            You’re probably exposed to more radiation while flying in the plane itself.

          • up in the sky

            You get a larger dose of radiation in 15 minutes of high altitude flying than you do from a scanner. It is inconsequential, except for those who wish to profit from scaring other people.

  • anon

    Am I the only one more annoyed by the 3ozs. of liquid rule? I’ll take a full body groping if I can bring a full sized toothpaste and a sealed bottle of wine in my carry-on.

    • Greg

      A bottle of wine and a full body groping sounds like a good Friday night…

  • Jared

    Yes, there are terrorists who want to kill us. But why are we obsessed with their killing us using airplanes? September 11 was a mass tragedy not because the terrorists blew up the planes, but because they used the planes as weapons by gaining access to the cockpit. With the cockpits secured, the September 11 attacks don’t happen.

    If the terrorists really want to kill a bunch of people in spectacular fashion, they should take out a bridge or tunnel. They should blow up the Rose Bowl with 92,000 people inside. They should blow up the Mall of America on the day after Thanksgiving. There is literally an endless stream of possibilities for terrorists who want to kill a bunch of people.

    And yet we don’t inspect every car that goes over every bridge, and we don’t pat down shoppers going into malls, and we don’t scan every person heading into the Oakland Coliseum, even though there’s a near certainty that there’s several violent criminals among Raider fans.

    Where does it end, people?

    • SA Resident

      Off-topic comments don’t need to be cross-posted here from i-hate-jim-moran.com.

      The terrorists have not won, but they have gained a lot of ground. In classic isolationist fashion, our response is: hey, that used to be our ground and I’ll pretend that it still is! What they ARE winning is the bang-for-the-buck calculation. With a relatively cheap investment, terrorists have forced us to change our lifestyles and culture and spend billions to protect against all remote occurances, because we value human life and they have a tiny group willing to use humans as weapons.

      This discussion has been miscast from the first post. This is not about wanting to roll security practices back to salve indignation about an 8-year old you don’t have. Instead, it should be about how do we deal with an encroaching threat without eliminating air travel and several other perks and amenities of a civilized society, and handing even more ground to the terrorists?

  • Teyo

    The problem is that every time the TSA screws up, we are the ones that have to endure more hardship while they are the ones that get more funding. They let the shoe bomber through and now we have to take our shoes off. They let the liquid bombers through and now we can’t pack liquids over 3 oz and get to spend $4 on a bottle of water once we go through security. They let the underwear bomber through and now we have the choice of being blasted with radiation or getting molested. These scanners don’t see certain types of explosives (like the PETN that they found inside those printer bombs) so a terrorist could very well shove a condom-full of it up his ass and walk through the scanner without a problem. Once something like that happens, am I going to start getting a colonoscopy every time I fly?

    Maybe if they did their jobs properly and were proactive instead of reactive to every threat with this endless charade of security theater, we wouldn’t even have to have this conversation.

  • Andrew

    Here’s hoping there will be a Democratic challenger to Moran in 2012. That’s the only way he’s going to leave…

    • Lou

      The Party would never allow it.

      • LaLa

        Or you could’ve voted for Patrick Murray..instead of just voting based on party affiliation..

    • Novanglus

      I’m hoping they move his street to Wolf’s district after the census comes out.

  • G::NativeArlingtonian
  • MB

    Jim Moran is dead wrong, and needs to get some calls letting him know. His office number is 202.225.4376. Please be polite and clear in your position.

  • Donna

    That poll is ridiculous.

    How about I don’t want myself or my small children felt up by TSA *AND* I don’t want to be blown up by terrorists.

    • jan

      nor so I. I also don’t want to die in a car crash, but that doesn’t keep me off the roads.

  • DT

    Moran doesn’t care about anything you care about. He never has, he never will. Keep on blindly voting for him though. It makes you one letter different than his last name.

  • Don’t just “opt out” of naked scanners only to be sexually molested/assaulted, instead. Boycott Flying COMPLETELY, until sanity returns! Please join us: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Flying/126801010710392

  • JD32

    Gladly; please refer to Continental’s Contract of Carriage:
    “By purchasing a ticket or accepting transportation, the passenger agrees to be bound thereby.”

    “Passengers and/or their baggage are subject to security screening, including but not limited to, security profiling, physical pat-downs and inspections, x-ray screening, manual bag searches, questioning of Passengers, and use of electronic or other detectors or screening or security devices, in the sole discretion of the government, airport or CO, and with or without the Passenger’s presence, consent or knowledge. Neither CO nor its employees or agents is liable for any damage, loss, delay (including refusal to transport), confiscation of property, injury or other harm relating to or arising out of security screening or Passenger’s failure to submit to or comply with such security screening.”

    You explicitly agree to these terms when you purchase a ticket.

    • Burger

      Of course, it is an adhesion contract but why get in the way of a good legal arguments.

      And please don’t give me you can drive. My choice to fly generally revolves on the time spent to get where I need to go. I see no need for myself to be groped on a plane to avoid sitting in a car if I wish to travel to Florida.

      I’m not against security but the entire TSA is for show and this is just further proof of it.

  • Straight_Shooter

    Welcome to socialism ladies n gentlemen. You wanted “change” well here it is. This has nothing to do with safety. This is about “knowing you place” in our new socialist republic, or is there really a person out there who thinks molesting American children will prevent Arabs from blowing up an airplane?

  • Straight_Shooter

    The next step is when Islamic Terrorist (yes I said it “Islamic Terrorist”) hiding C4 in their body cavities. What then? Subject our children to a body cavity search?

  • Lordhelemt

    This sickens me. No, not the body scans but that I actually agree with “Moron”. You had your chance to get him out of office 3 weeks ago.

  • Bluemont John

    If we don’t address the motivations for terrorism, we’ll never stop terrorism, because we can’t protect against every possible attack at every possible place and time.

    Currently, the main motivation is US military and political support for Israel. This is not an opinion but a fact, stated by the terrorists themselves, including bin Laden: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE58D0CX20090914

    If we want to achieve an immediate cessation to terror attacks, we can start by unilaterally ceasing arms sales and by insisting that Israel honor its Oslo Accords agreement to stop settlements, which they never did–and to return its occupied lands in the West Bank and Gaza and the Golan Heights.

    I say this as someone who culturally has MUCH more in common with the mostly progressive and high-tech Israelis than with most of the Muslims in the Middle East. But we’ve intervened over there for 60 years, and all it’s gotten us is attacks. And no one over there (on either side) is better off, either.

    • Real World Economics

      Or we could just dissolve the United States of America and go back under British rule (or in this case, surrender our country to the terrorists). We can put our tail between our legs and throw Israel to the wolves (which is what Obama is in the process of doing), but it will not change things in the long run. The radical Islamic Terrorists will just come up with another talking point of why they are attacking us. They are sworn to destroy us. They hate us and our way of life. The Koran teaches destruction of all “Infidels”. If you are not Muslim, you are an Infidel and it is their mission to destroy you. Unfortunately, some take this teaching more literally than others. If you believe the Bible, it says that those that stand with Israel will be protected and rewarded while those that stand against Israel will be destroyed. The answer is not to surrender, it is to prevail. Unfortunately, that is not something that the current leadership of this country wants to do – they would rather going around apologizing for our success.

  • Martha

    I was x-rayed at O’Hare on Wednesday when I flew back to Reagan from Chicago. When I arrived at the airport, I saw a far just off the tarmac and the entrance to the United terminal was closed. About 40 police and fire vehicles, including hazmat and canine units, were waving people to the next terminal. I figured this was not a drill and it made me more amenable to the security checks.

    At security, I was selected for the “random” x-ray. All they said was “Stop right there. Stand on the feet outlines on the floor. Then raise your arms up and put them behind your head like the picture shows.” Then they said, “Now step forward and stand on these two feet and face your belongings.” A TSA guy stood in front of me until he heard a message in his earpiece. Then he said “female cleared.” This extra screening took about 2 minutes. The guy behind me refused and they didn’t seem to know what to do. There was no separate room to examine him. I think holiday travel is going to be slower than usual.

    When I got on the plane, I sat next to a TV reporter who called about the incident. It was cased by a piece of luggage that someone left at the curb and eventually claimed. I’m not so concerned about the privacy aspect, but I don’t want the extra radiation.

  • Martha

    That should have been fire on the tarmac.

  • McGruff

    Moran got pinched taking bribes in the early 80’s when he was a vice mayor of Alexandria. He copped a plea and now he’s a senator 4LIFE. We can all thank him for juicin’ in Walter “an illegal in every pot” Tejada.

    As for the TSA pat-downs, when the guy gets to my crotch im just gonna gently run my fingers through his hair and give him a wink 😉

  • g_clifford_prout

    I kinda look forward to a same sex molestation. It’s been years for me.

  • DW

    I rarely agree with Jim Moran, but in this case, he’s correct. The people who are blasting the TSA in this forum and others for implementing the new security procedures are the same ones who would blast TSA even harder is the new security wasn’t implemented and a terrorist took advantage of it and brought down a plane. I can see the headlines now: “Even After 2009 Underwear Bombing, TSA Still Fails to Check Passengers for This type of Bomb”.

    • Jason S

      They’re the same people? Odd, because you didn’t cite any source. We just “know” they are the same people, right?

    • br

      No, I blast security for allowing someone on an international flight without a passport, still identifies himself by name as someone who is on a No-Fly list, and whose parents warned the Justice Dept. of his intentions two weeks earlier.

      If you’re so scared of being hit by lightning, don’t go out in the rain; don’t think that allowing someone with a badge who probably was delivering pizza last week molests your young niece is going to statistically help you just because a lobbyist says so.

  • wondering

    if the full body scan and the x-ray can me all excited, will that show up too?

  • br

    This is a pretty badly worded poll. It includes a phrase most too scared to realize reality say: “I’d rather be felt up than be blown up.” It’s like that’s the only two options. Like, if kids aren’t molested, THEIR plane will blown up, guaranteed, when in reality, the odds are already far less than being struck and killed by lightning. You know, the idea of hiding stuff under your junk is not a 21st century invention, and we’ve had how many commercial flights be junk-bomb free without the groping?


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