Minutes from Today's TSA "Oversight" Hearing (Corrected)
0 comment Friday, June 6, 2014 |

Today the Senate Subcommittee for TSA Oversight held a hearing. John Pistole showed up to answer questions. I watched it live on a webcast.
Take-aways: Pistole Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill referred to the pat-downs as "love pats" (here's an independent link if you don't believe me). The TSA is going to leave John Tyner alone and they're sure as hell not going to change their screening procedures. Children 12 and under can be exempted from groping. (No word on whether they are also exempted from the radiation machines).
Highlights, in chronological order:
Pistole says in opening statement that the new "adjustments" to the pat-down" challenge social norms." Do ya' think?
This is a partnership "with the traveling public."
Removing your shoes and taking stuff out of your pockets is called "divestment."
There is a mobile screening program being used in NYC.
Pistole and Janet were patted down before they foisted it on the public. Oh, and any senator in the committee is welcome to get a pat down from "an experienced TSO officer" so they can see what it's like. (There were no takers)
Gee, the naked people pictures on the internet might have been photo-shopped. They're just so graphic.
Functions are disabled for retention, storage or transmission of naked pictures and no cell phones are allowed in naked people viewing rooms.
A new day may dawn with "automated target recognition." It only shows a stick figure and any weird object shows up as a square. Only that part of the body where the square shows up gets patted down. Alas, there are too many "false positives" with "ATR" but boy will it be great when we get it. Right now we're in "an interim period."
The FLRA ordered TSA to hold an election on "exclusive union representation" but not collective bargaining. This makes no sense to Kay Bailey Hutchison or Pistole.
Senator Johanns wants to know why he had to go through the naked people machine and get a pat-down when he didn't set off any alarms. He even showed his Senate ID! What the hell, man! Pistole has no idea. Maybe it was "random." He will "look into it." But wait! The images aren't stored!
Why are crew passes taking so damn long? TSA has been testing a crew pass for two years. Pistole: I just got here in July. We are making progress.
Isakson says Napolitano was insensitive when she said "don't fly if you don't like our screening." Enters a 3-page letter from one of his Diamond-flyer constituents into the record. Pistole: children 12 and under don't have to be groped. (He never says children can skip the radiation machine).
McCaskill is upset because some countries have no screening for cargo. Pistole agrees and says private shippers may boycott those countries and refuse to ship their stuff.
Pistole says reasonable people can differ whether TSA has "struck the right balance" with the naked people machines and the groin-groping pat downs. Alrighty then. Public outrage might be "reasonable."
Profiling is the elephant in the living room.
Jim DeMint was pathetic.
Should the flying public feel threats have increased or decreased since 9/11? Pistole speaks words but doesn't answer the question. Says maybe the bad guys are so scared of TSA now that they'll go for "softer targets." Nice.
Kay Bailey asks if TSA is really going to fine this "high profile man" Tyner and anyone else who says no thanks to the screening and goes home. Pistole hedges a bit. Kay Bailey presses on. Pistole capitulates and basically says nothing will come of the Tyner investigation. Fines are for people who try smuggle stuff.
All agree a classified hearing is needed and the meeting is adjourned.

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