The TSA’s Cynical Security Theater

by Jonathan H. Adler

Critics of the Transportation Security Administration’s new body-image scanners and aggressive pat-downs wanted to make last Wednesday into a day of protest at airport security checkpoints. Not much happened, so “Blogger Bob” at the TSA Blog crowed that “opt out day has turned into a TSA appreciation day.” But one reason for the lack of opt-out protests could have been that there was nothing for travelers to opt out of — the TSA deactivated the scanners and associated pat-downs at some of the nation’s busiest airports. If that’s the case, the TSA is tacitly conceding that travelers don’t like the new system — and traveler anger is likely to grow, as the new scans and protests were only operable at less than one-fifth of airport security lanes in the first place.

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