Concerned about the TSA's new porno-scanners and enhanced labia-fondling pat-downs? Mayor Bloomberg says shut up and spread 'em. Hizzoner claims he even got a pat-down himself—before boarding a private flight in D.C. He described the experience as a reminder "that we live in a dangerous world" and told reporters yesterday, "We have to stop all this shilly-shallying and understand if you want to be safe on airplanes we have to make sure that we keep you safe. If you have a better idea, call Janet Napolitano. I'm 100% in sympathy. She wants to make sure we're safe." As do the TSA screeners, who would like you to know that they're not getting off on seeing you naked or touching your junk.
"We just want the public to understand that we're not perverts," screener Ricky D. McCoy tells the Daily News. But a few bad apples have besmirched the TSA's sterling reputation: three women have accused screeners of touching them inappropriately, a cancer survivor says his urostomy bag broke during a pat-down, and a breast cancer survivor says the TSA made her take off her prosthetic breast. Also, did they really need to have this guy front and center when the AP was shooting? He's straight out of Central Casting! "We have major problems because basically TSA never educated the public on what was going on. Our agency pretty much just threw the new search techniques out there," says McCoy.
So far it's unclear what effect National Opt-Out Day is having on on today's flights. Initial first-person reports over Twitter suggest that things are flowing smoothly at LaGuardia and JFK, and many travelers have been surprised to find that there are few full-body scanners installed at those airports. The Delta gate at JFK doesn't have them yet, and at LaGuardia it seems that only American Airlines has them. Here's a fairly representative tweet from the front lines: "From bags checked to through security at JFK, six minutes. No #patdown, no scanner. No lines and very friendly security!" Looks like we'll have to rely on the weather and Spirit Airlines for our holiday nightmare travel posts today!