Evidence against the effectiveness of the TSA and their new screening/pat-down horror show continues to mount, and this time, the latest complaints of TSA abuse are coming from babies. Or, well, their mothers.
Salon published a post on Christmas Eve by Wilson Diehl about the inexplicable pat-down her 1-year-old received while going through security on their way to Seattle. That’s right – the TSA checked for bombs on an infant.
Diehl walked through the metal detector with her baby, and when her bra set the metal detector off, she was selected for additional screening. Meaning she – and her baby – were suddenly terror suspects.
From her post:
“It’s just my bra!” I shouted, for all of eastern Iowa to hear. “Can’t I just go to the bathroom and take it off and then come through again? Or one of you could carry the baby through and I could come through again on my own. It’s not her,” I reiterated. “It’s my bra.”
“I’m sorry,” the TSA guy said, seeming more annoyed than sorry.
Ultimately, the female assist called to examine the baby avoided her diapered bits and simply “waved a hand nearish the baby’s torso and called out, ‘OK, she’s good.’” as a gesture of kindness and sympathy toward an obviously distraught Diehl. But that only furthers the point that the TSA is inept. I’m not trying to condemn the officer who mercifully averted the groin of an infant, but rather to say that if the TSA is going to have such ridiculous rules about searching people for weapons and explosives, they would do well to heed them. Is any of this safety charade helping? I’ve heard harrowing tales of ineptitude and abuse like this from people all over the country. I haven’t once heard where the new screening procedures have thwarted a terror threat.
Which brings me to a piece on TIME’s Healthland blog, in which Bonnie Rochman recounts her family’s holiday travels and the snafus they faced at airport security. After Rochman and her three children were scanned and patted, her eldest son Aviv shouted, “Mama, I know how you can sneak an explosive onto an airplane. You put it in the front of your underwear, because they don’t touch you there.”
Aviv may be right. We all remember the havoc explosive underwear caused this time last year when the Christmas Day Underwear Bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, lit his legs on fire. The head of the TSA told Senators back in November that “pat-down techniques are so thorough that they would have thwarted the suspected Christmas Day bomber,” but I’m not so sure. Here we have two instances of the TSA patting down – and failing to pat-down – children. It seems highly unlikely that an obviously Westernized parent (or any parent, for that matter) would be willing to offer his/her child up as a martyr for jihad, no matter how annoying or badly behaved the child may be. I’m not saying we should make U.S. airports screening-free, but we have to stop terrorizing our own citizens before they even board a plane – especially those that aren’t old enough to walk.