NY Times: With Hair Pat-Downs, Complaints of Racial Bias

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. Well here's a question... If they find big masses of unexplained bobby pins, does that mean somebody would have to completely disassemble their hair? Who decides what's a normal vs. a suspicious use of a bobby pin? And how can we be sure it's a bobby pin and not some little bobby-pin-like bomb component? I mean, if WEI can be small enough to be hidden in a waistband, bobby pins would be totally suspicious, no? This could get seriously offensive for somebody with a complicated hairstyle.

    Thinking more about this, I'm totally down with this being cast as a racial issue. The BET article won me over. Every subset of the population that gets pissed off about their own group getting singled out is a new group of people open to learning about all the other TSA abuses. I was totally oblivious to the abuses of the elderly and disabled, for example, before scope-n-grope came out and I learned my kids and I would be subject to groping and a radiation porn shoot if we fly again. But now I'm up in arms about all of it, including plenty of stuff that isn't relevant to me personally.

    Though I do think the number of white women getting patdowns should also be a concern, not just because I am one, but because it points to this effort to drum up fears of domestic extremists among us.
    Cartoon Peril likes this.
  2. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    And this points exactly to the entire stupidity that is TSA.

    They see an anomaly. They are told to pat it down. They pat it down. They don't feel anything. They send the person on their way.

    Working as I do with imaging equipment the anomaly is more likely to be something than not something. The mental midgets putting these policies in place say, "Pat it down, don't find anything, good enough send them on their way!" These incidents tell me that the pat downs aren't finding something that is there. Now, whether or not they should be doing such is an entirely different question.

    Again, we are told these machines can detect explosives. And they don't.
  3. Cartoon Peril

    Cartoon Peril Original Member

    The problem with these TSA fools is that if everyone is a potential terrorist, then no one is a potential terrorist. If TSA cries "wolf / TERROR!" 2,000,000 times a day, nobody will listen when a real threat emerges, so that's actually good for real terrorism. And TSA doesn't take their own talk seriously, otherwise they would be conducting themselves in a completely different fashion, such moving the checkpoints to a bomb proof area, or having vehicle checkpoints at airport entrances.
    phoebepontiac and Doober like this.
  4. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    It should show up on AIT, but with the ATR system, the TSO does not know what is there, or even a specific (think within a couple of inches) location of the actual alarming item (of course, if you patdown the hair you *theoretically* would find the item). Not all airports have the AIT, so then you would have more patdowns of this nature occurring.
  5. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    Without specific imagery or video, I could not comment intelligently on that, but I do not anticipate balding men would be the type of hairdo that would inspire a patdown of the area. Short and stringy is a multi-format style, is it spiked up? Define short? See? There are tons of variables that are not covered in a basic description such as balding men (could have long hair in the back or sides that would cover a prohib), short and stringy (if it is styled or spiked could easily cover a prohib)... Too many variables to comment intelligently without pics.

    I know that is probably not the answer you were looking for, but each situation in the checkpoint is different, so clarification that I would have immediately with one glance requires a bit more elaboration...:(
    AngryMiller likes this.
  6. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I did not confirm that for you, merely that if contraband is found, it is to be turned over to the LEOs responsible for that area. I have never sent anyone on a bag check, or participated in any type of screening endeavor with the specific purpose of finding contraband - quite the contrary. After working undercover drugs in a previous version of myself, there are telltale signs and items in a bag that could have easily led to someone with a "dime bag" getting jacked up in our checkpoints - if that were the actual intent or even an ancillary intent to the screening process. I have always been taught (and in turn taught others) that the screening is for WEI and if you find other stuff while looking for those items, call the Supe.

    Add - I also confirmed that many tactics used by drug mules are viable for the delivery of destructive items. Sorry, missed that in the beginning of the comment!:)
  7. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    Off the collar and ears, lying flat. Length less than 3" long. Think military type haircut. Can't begin to tell you how many times they've been rubbing down my hair.
    Rugape likes this.
  8. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    3" is enough to conceal a small pen-knife, the vast majority of small to medium sized commercial detonators.... maybe... big maybe. I do not see as many here as I hear about at other airports (of course, we have less traffic too...).

    Side note, Air force military style, or Marine military style? cause, you know there is a huge difference between the two and I could hide a ton more under Air Force regs than under Marine regs... Even though they are pretty much technically the same wording...:)
  9. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    Air Force.
    Rugape likes this.
  10. Well, here's another question. I understand that certain small WEI components could fit inside a hairstyle, and the bigger the hair, the more easily something could fit in it. But is there a credible threat that people are attempting to doing this? Is there intel? Is this a legitimate risk? Or is this just a fantasy scenario somebody in DHS dreamed up that could maybe, possibly, in a James Bond movie, happen? Because you know, I can fit a lot more in my body cavities than I can in my hair. Just saying.
  11. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    This one came from Ferris Beuller's Day Off where the secretary pulled several pencils out of her hairdo. We all know that the pen is mightier than the sword so it stands to reason that a person using their hair to conceal writing implements is well armed.:rolleyes:
    phoebepontiac likes this.
  12. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    Stop the presses there. The legal authoritah (such that it is) for the administrative search comes not from drug interdiction but WEI. Not just the evidence should get tossed but the whole administrative apparatus that comes up with an incentive program for search and seizure beyond their scope. "Bad guys" seems overly vague.

    Worse still, it is isn't serious interdiction, but a craven numbers game, to bump-up busts to rationalize their own existence, feed the contracting and budgetary bloat it has become. That explains the $250 reward. It's a war on opinion, for the hearts and minds that control the spigot. Publicity theater posing as security theater.
  13. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    You were smarter than I was, I went Army, then went TDY to Hahn air base and realized that the Air Force cared a bit more about their people. Thanks for serving.

    P.S. I got nothing on why your hair gets patted down, unless you have something in it. Sorry AM.
    AngryMiller likes this.
  14. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    Many of the threats are theoretical, in any security situation part of the job is thinking up creative ways to do something nefarious and incorporating preventative measures to keep that threat at bay. I worked a nuke site, and one of the questions they always asked during big inspections was the naked preggo... If you are standing door guard here, and a female that is 8 months pregnant and naked jumps the fence and comes towards you screaming in a language you don't know, what do you do? The correct answer (per the SOP) was warn once fire a warning shot, warn again and then shoot her. It was a silly question and an even sillier scenario, but then there was intel that enemies of the state were smuggling weapons and explosives in fake belly containers. Many (if not all) of the threats that TSA is screening for have been used before in some iteration. I can't tell you about the intel we get as an organization (the stuff I get is covered as SSI, and that could get me in trouble) and the main flow of intel is not given to me. Cavities are a viable transport method, but there are simply not methods available that can screen for that effectively in a checkpoint environment. I know some of this stuff that is put out sounds like it came from a Bond flick, but many of the things that you shake your head at, are actually simple ways to carry something dangerous with you.
  15. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    Lol nothing in it. Never, ever go through any AIT. This is during the 'enhanced' patdown. What with thinning hair, short, and lying flat, the ability to hide anything in it is pretty remote. This is just a power move on their part to intimidate me.

    Army? Glad for your service as well. When ROK went from MPC to green backs the army folks were cashless for well over a week. They couldn't buy a hamburger on base or eat in the mess hall if they were on separate rations. Grrrrr. Not good. At that point many relied on Won to buy food off base.
    Rugape likes this.
  16. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    Bolding mine: How many of these "threats" that the TSA is screening for have been used in the USA by ticketed passengers boarding a commercial aircraft which will be travelling within the continental borders of the United States? My guess, would be NONE!
  17. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I would venture none at this point, because I would probably have heard of it by now. However, we are constantly accused of being a simply reactionary organization, and at this point, some of the procedures are in place to prevent threats that have not been used here - I would think that is more in line with being proactive.
  18. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    Again, I have no reason based on the description for you getting your hair patted down. Have you filed complaints at the airports you experience this at?

    Luckily, I went to Europe instead of ROK, I heard that the duty was pretty rough there and being over 6', I was almost assured I was going to the DMZ.
    AngryMiller likes this.
  19. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Simple ways to do certain things but the question remains is anyone really trying to introduce contraband via hair?

    I simple don't think it is happening. TSA is grasping at wisps of fog thinking there is a fire.
    Rugape likes this.
  20. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    I complain all of the time. TSA doesn't like me at all. At MSP there are TSOs who would rather get in trouble for going on break early than to deal with me. I comply then complain. Not interferring.
    Rugape likes this.

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