Pre-Boarding Pat-Downs May or May not Be Necessary; A Waiver to Any Group (Other Than Pilots) Will Render Them Completely Pointless
Further to Marc’s post, on the one hand, the TSA has yet to explain the logic of scanning or patting down, in search of weapons and other deadly contraband, airline pilots minutes before they enter the cockpit and come into possession of the ultimate ability to terrorize a commercial flight.
On the other, in an alarming signal that either political considerations or political correctness may possibly trump homeland security, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Monday did not explicitly rule out exempting persons of a particular gender and a certain religion (the specific gender and religion are irrelevant) from pat-downs.
I honestly don’t know whether the intrusive pat-downs are an intrusion necessary to protect a planeful of innocent people or an over-the-top violation of privacy by an out of control Big Brother.
Let’s be clear, however. ANY exemption would completely nullify the panoply of pre-boarding screening measures to which all flights and fliers are currently subjected – and for obvious reason. The exemption, intended in this case to respect the religious requirement of privacy of an innocent person, will inevitably draw not so innocent posers on future flights, thereby breaching the security of the flight.
If this – safety and security – truly is the goal of the scans and pat-downs, there can be no exceptions. If one exception is made, the TSA needs to dispense with the examination of all passengers and wave everyone straight onto the plane from the parking garage. Every passenger gets screened or none do. The continuation of any passenger screening measures once a single group is exempted would not only be a complete waste of passenger time and TSA resources but would turn all air travel security measures into a sham, and an obvious one at that.