Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Weekend Interview with John Pistole: In Defense of Scanners and Pat-Downs

From the Wall Street Journal:
Fortunately, for him, John Pistole seems to have a sense of humor. This may be a job requirement now for the post of administrator of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. Along with a thick skin.

The agency is a political lightning rod and the butt of many jokes over its approach to airport security—especially since the TSA expanded the use of full-body screening machines and extensive pat-downs, provoking a national backlash.

Mr. Pistole takes full credit, or blame, for this policy change. He's less eager to claim credit for popularizing a slang meaning for 'junk'—as in San Diego passenger John Tyner's warning at his TSA pat-down, 'If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested.' Or for popularizing the notion of an overweening 'Big Sis' (scrawled in marker on a protesting passenger's naked back at a Salt Lake City TSA check last week) trampling on passenger rights. Or for inspiring the 'Message from TSA' Saturday Night Live skit that went instantly viral. Punch line: 'The TSA: It's our business to touch yours.'

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