WaPo Columnist to Upset Air Travelers: 'Grow Up, America'

Calling the uproar over the new TSA screening procedures "overblown" and "immature," Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus praised the majority of Americans polled who are okay with the body scanners at airports and scolded those who stand opposed to the searches.

"'Don't tough my junk' may be the cri-de-coeur – cri de crotch? – of the post-9/11 world, but it's an awfully childish one," the columnist writes in her Nov 24 column for the Washington Post. Marcus argues that the new procedures are simply a "marginal invasion of privacy" when compared to the devastating consequences of a terrorist attack that could happen without them.

However, Marcus admits that the new body scanners are "uncomfortably graphic," some TSA workers may "go too far" in the pat-downs, and the procedures might not be fully successful.
 

Referring to whether the techniques work, Marcus writes "whether this is real security or security theater is to some extent unknowable; the plot deterred cannot be measured. We do know that, without the enhanced imaging, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab got on a plane with enough explosives to blow it up."

In the next sentence she freely admits that the new techniques might not work all the time. "The new screening might not catch every would-be bomber," she writes, but it could "be useful in the interim" before the terrorists attack again. Of course, the interim since the Christmas Day bomber stands at 11 months and counting.

However, since there is "not a less intrusive alternative," Marcus writes, the American public should endure the inconvenience for the sake of national security. Besides, she argues, the body scanning images are viewed by total strangers at the TSA and promptly deleted. Only if passengers "balk" at the scanners must they succumb to the pat-down she admits is "intrusive."

Yet Marcus tries to soothe the uproar over these pat-downs, pointing out that people expose their bodies to medical personnel. "I undergo the pat-down, if I must, for the greater public benefit," she brags.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014