It’s November 1, 2010, and the TSA’s Secure Flight rules are now fully in effect. But the requirement that you provide your gender, birthdate, and precise name on your ID is nowhere near as notable as the TSA’s increased insistance on getting intimately familiar with your private parts.

Jeffrey Goldberg gets the lowdown. And I mean low down.

In part because of the back-scatter imager’s invasiveness (a TSA employee in Miami was arrested recently after he physically assaulted a colleague who had mocked his modestly sized penis, which was fully apparent in a captured back-scatter image), the TSA is allowing passengers to opt-out of the back-scatter and choose instead a pat-down. I’ve complained about TSA pat-downs in the past, because they, too, were more security theater than anything else. They are, as I would learn, becoming more serious, as well.

“[...] starting tomorrow, we’re going to start searching your crotchal area” — this is the word he used, “crotchal” — and you’re not going to like it.”

“What am I not going to like?” I asked.

“We have to search up your thighs and between your legs until we meet resistance,” he explained.

“Resistance?” I asked.

“Your testicles,” he explained.

“That’s funny,” I said, “because ‘The Resistance’ is the actual name I’ve given to my testicles.”

Go read the whole thing. And the sequel. Then you can make a more informed decision as to whether or not to opt out of the backscatter.

pixel Turn your head and cough: New TSA security procedures in effect today
Categorized in: airport security, TSA

7 Responses to “Turn your head and cough: New TSA security procedures in effect today”

  1. frostysnowman Says:

    Weren’t the backscatters originally supposed to be for secondary screening only? That’s what the TSA told us. Now they are first level and if you opt out you get molested instead?

    Does anyone know what the rules are for children? Neither option would be viable for my 10 and 5 year old daughters in my opinion.

  2. travel guide perth Says:

    I do believe it is secondary to a pat down. Being tested for it first should be voluntary.

  3. lefty&righty Says:

    Um, can we get a new name for the imaging device please? I mean, ‘backscatter’, just has some sick kind of ring to it. Eh, maybe i’m strange.

  4. Upgrades and Downgrades: Baggage check-in, cellphone room keys, defending AirTran, TSA | Upgrade: Travel Better Says:

    [...] theater If existing efforts to change TSA policy have failed — and if the policy itself has continuously gotten worse for travelers — then perhaps a back-channel effort to effect change may be in order. Reader Ed sends in [...]

  5. frederick duggendorf Says:

    Wow, good thing I haven’t had by testicles backscattered. I would be embarrassed when my grapefruit-sized sperm factories show up on the screen.

  6. Is the TSA checkpoint now the most dangerous space in the airport? | Upgrade: Travel Better Says:

    [...] travel discussions here in the US have been over the full-body screenings by TSA officials, and the opt-out option of a full-body groping, including breasts and [...]

  7. Darren Says:

    I really have to wonder how many TSA agents hate groping members of the same sex.

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