Here’s Verne Troyer, an actor famous for his Mini-Me role in the Austin Powers movies among others, suffering the indignity of a TSA pat down.
— Verne Troyer (@VerneTroyer) June 15, 2014
Of course, we’re all aware the TSA is doing this. We’ve all heard the jokes. Most of us have probably sighed and acquiesced as a rubber-gloved bureaucrat dressed up like a cop picks us out of the security line for an extra-thorough rub down.
What’s frustrating is the degree to which we’ve just accepted this as the norm. Want to fly on an airplane? You have to subject yourself to invasive federal search and seizure first.
The 4th amendment? Yeah, right. The federal government has already been collecting and reading our electronic communications wholesale. What makes you think anyone is going to care about people getting their private areas fondled at the airport?
Of course, the efficacy of this sort of intense screening is very much in doubt:
The Government Accountability Office said its investigation found that the results of the TSA program — called Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques — were “no better than chance.” Under the program, agents identify suspicious looking people and talk to them to determine whether they pose a threat. The investigators looked at the screening program at four airports, chosen on the basis of size and other factors.
“TSA has yet to empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of the program despite spending about $900 million on it since 2007,” said Steve Lord, who directed the investigation for the GAO. He said the GAO, which is the research and investigative arm of Congress, “conducts active oversight of the TSA for the Congress given their multibillion-dollar budget.” He said “the behavior detection program is viewed as a key layer of aviation security.”
That may be the most galling reality of this whole mess. If we’re going to be subjected to invasive screenings, it would be nice to know that we’re giving up our privacy and dignity for security policies that actually, you know, work.