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Enhanced Airport Screening Controversy

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Enhanced Airport Screening Controvery - by Stephen Lendman

On November 23, Washington Post writers Jon Cohen and Ashley Halsey III headlined, "Poll: Nearly two-thirds of Americans support full-body scanners," according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, even though "half of those polled say enhanced pat-down searches go too far."

A new Zogby (11/19 - 22) poll disagreed, saying:

At 61% opposed, "(i)t's clear (most) Americans are not happy with TSA and their enhanced security measures recently enacted. The airlines should not be happy with 48% of their frequent fliers seeking a different mode of transportation due to these enhancements." 

Neither should passengers facing molestation and harm to their health. More on that below.

Calling enhanced screening a "virtual strip search," the ACLU also objected, saying:

"We need to act wisely. That means not trading away our privacy for ineffective (and overly intrusive) policies. Ultimately, it is up to the American people to figure out just how much privacy they want to abandon....The ACLU represents those who value privacy in this debate."

AP reported it already received over 600 complaints, passengers saying "they were subjected to humiliating pat-downs at US airports, and the pace is accelerating, according to ACLU legislative counsel Christopher Calabrese." 

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He added: "It really drives home how invasive it is and (harassing) they are....All of us have a right to travel without such crude invasions of our privacy....You shouldn't have to check your rights when you check your luggage."

Public outrage also makes headlines, passengers complaining about intrusive screening, especially being groped. The more often they fly and endure it, the louder perhaps disapproval will grow, especially for techniques some critics call ineffective.

Reports also call them heavy-handed. A Michigan bladder cancer survivor, wearing a body bag to collect urine, said its contents spilled on his clothing after a Detroit airport security agent patted him down aggressively. He called the experience "absolutely humiliat(ing). I couldn't even speak." Other accounts are also unsettling, and for what!

Screening Fails the Test

An October 28, 2006 Ron Marsico Newhouse News Service article headlined, "Airport screeners fail to see most test bombs," saying:

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'Screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport...failed 20 of 22 security tests conducted by undercover US agents last week, missing concealed bombs and guns at checkpoints throughout the major air hub's three terminals, according to federal security officials."

On October 22, 2007, Thomas Frank's USA Today article headlined, "Most fake bombs missed by screeners," saying:

Screeners failed to detect them at "two of the nation's busiest airports," Chicago O'Hare and Los Angeles International." The failure rates "stunned security experts."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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