Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano seemed to signal on Monday that the TSA's controversial airport screening procedures, including pat-downs, will be altered. The TSA will "make adjustments or changes when called upon," Napolitano told reporters. John Pistole, the TSA's administrator, also described the new security methods as an "evolving program that will be adapted as conditions warrant" — but later insisted the policy would not be changed. Could the furor over pat-downs prompt the TSA to scrap them? (Watch John Pistole defend pat-downs)
The GOP will force changes in the TSA: The political pressure on the TSA will only get worse, says Jared Whitley at the Daily Caller. Our new Republican-led Congress will be "delighted to flex its muscles to stop TSA's intrusion," and Democrats can prevent it from becoming a wedge issue by voting with the GOP. Given the votes at stake, "TSA will, eventually, stop performing naked body scans and pat-downs."
"The choice is not between security and privacy: TSA is sacrificing both"
This is the new, unpleasant, reality: Privacy advocates are calling for a "National Opt-Out Day" on Wednesday, urging travelers to skip the "virtual strip search" machines and choose to be patted down, says an editorial in the Rochester Post-Herald. But both scanners and pat-downs are here for good. As long as we have terrorists willing to stuff their underpants with explosives, we will have to accept that this "loss of privacy" is permanent.
"Editorial: Grin and bear it for 'virtual strip search'"
If we change course, the terrorists win: If "standards were relaxed," says former undersecretary of Homeland Security Stewart Baker, quoted in Politico, another bombing attempt would be inevitable. "It's so obvious what Al Qaeda will do," that lawmakers will be forced to support the TSA's policies going forward. "Anbody who votes to end it would be held accountable if [a bombing] happens."
"TSA pat-downs a 'tipping point' in terror fight?"
America needs to get over 'terrorism hysteria': What we need to scrap, says Ken Adelman at The Washington Post, is the national panic over terrorism. We're already as protected as we can be against Al Qaeda. These new measures are simply "performance art" intended to "reassure passengers they're safe." We should learn how to live with the terror threat. "Some terrorist attack will come. Some people will be killed. But we'll survive."
"Let's end terrorism hysteria"