the uproar over the new TSA screening procedures "overblown" and
"immature," Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus praised the majority
of Americans polled who are okay with the body scanners at airports and
scolded those who stand opposed to the searches.
"'Don't tough my junk' may be the cri-de-coeur - cri de crotch? - of
the post-9/11 world, but it's an awfully childish one," the columnist
writes in her Nov 24 column
for the Washington Post. Marcus argues that the new procedures are
simply a "marginal invasion of privacy" when compared to the devastating
consequences of a terrorist attack that could happen without them.
However, Marcus admits that the new body scanners are "uncomfortably
graphic," some TSA workers may "go too far" in the pat-downs, and the
procedures might not be fully successful.
to whether the techniques work, Marcus writes "whether this is real
security or security theater is to some extent unknowable; the plot
deterred cannot be measured. We do know that, without the enhanced
imaging, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab got on a plane with enough explosives
to blow it up."
In the next sentence she freely admits that the new techniques might
not work all the time. "The new screening might not catch every would-be
bomber," she writes, but it could "be useful in the interim" before the
terrorists attack again. Of course, the interim since the Christmas Day
bomber stands at 11 months and counting.
However, since there is "not a less intrusive alternative," Marcus
writes, the American public should endure the inconvenience for the sake
of national security. Besides, she argues, the body scanning images are
viewed by total strangers at the TSA and promptly deleted. Only if
passengers "balk" at the scanners must they succumb to the pat-down she
admits is "intrusive."
Yet Marcus tries to soothe the uproar over these pat-downs, pointing
out that people expose their bodies to medical personnel. "I undergo the
pat-down, if I must, for the greater public benefit," she brags.
-Matt Hadro is News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.
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