Five reasons to opt out of TSA pornoscanners this weekend

Marilyn sez, "Chris Elliott gives 5 good reasons to participate in the Opt Out protest against the TSA's full-body scanners over this Thanksgiving weekend and so far, 65 percent of the people reading his column on Huffington Post say they will take part (including me)."

1. They're not adequately tested and could be dangerous. Unfortunately, the scanners you'll be asked to walk through haven't been properly tested. The latest independent evaluations are actually based on data provided by the TSA. The government wants us to trust it, but it won't give us a reason. That's unacceptable.

2. They're easily foiled. It's not difficult to sneak a weapon through a full-body scanner, according to several reports. The career criminals who might want to do us harm have figured out how to get around the scanners already.

3. They're too expensive. At a quarter of a million bucks a pop, the scanners are a huge waste of taxpayer money. To use one, or to allow one to be used on you, is is an endorsement of an iffy technology. It also lines the pockets of undeserving security contractors, say critics...

5 Reasons I'm Opting Out Of The TSA's Scanners (And You Should Too) (Thanks, Marilyn!)


  1. Reason #1 is reason enough – I just say “I’m not going in there” to the TSA personnel.   

    Only once have I been asked “Why not?” and I tell them about reason #1, adding, “You may want to reconsider standing close to that thing for a prolonged period.”

    Bringing up any of the others reasons is just asking for “special hassling.”

  2. And remember when refusing, just be polite and friendly about it and you’ll find that your subsequent experiences will be conducted as pleasantly as is possible when a stranger is cupping your crotch in the middle of an airport.

  3. I have always opted out but it seems everytime I have they have increased the level of discomfort as a way to stop it.  I do have to say the TSA agent in SFO recently was very nice and understanding, dont know is after some of the bad press they got recently or what.

    1. Citizens are allowed, as per the TSA website, to take video of pat-downs on their phones, as long as you don’t impede the TSA’s progress. It has been reported that the pat-downs are less invasive/aggressive when the agent knows he/she is being recorded. However, you would need someone else (a companion or a stranger not affiliated with the airline or airport) to take the video.

      1. It has been reported that the pat-downs are less invasive/aggressive when the agent knows he/she is being recorded.

        As it is with all bad cops.

  4. “ok, i’ll go through with you”

    everyone just say that to every tsa officer

    “i’ll do it if you’ll do it”

    you’ll be doing it how many times a year? and them how many times a day?

    then wait for the scientific evidence to arrive

  5. Both times I’ve had the opportunity to opt out, the TSA agents asking were not happy. In both cases (at 2 separate airports) they dropped the customer service smiles, pointed me over the screening area, and made me wait 5-10 minutes extra while they took their time “finding” someone to do the pat-down.

    I get to the airport early so there’s no problem for me, but I could see some of my fellow opt-outers getting antsy at the prospect of missing their flights. The agents doing the pat-downs were professional and pleasant, but the other ones were definitely giving me the stink-eye.

  6. I’ve never had any issues time-wise or hassle-wise with the pat downs.  But then, I also add  time like gracchus.

    1.  I think the opportune time would be to hand this to them when they ask you if you have anything in your pockets. 

      I’ve opted out every single instance I’ve flown since they’ve installed these scanners, and I swear they’re getting more and more methodical around the groin.  Too bad I live in a flyover state with a train-hating governor so my job forces me to use air travel.

      1. If you’ve been diligent about doing your Kegel’s, you should be able to give the agent a nice surprise.

  7. Or, go First Class. My recent trip from PIT, I somehow managed to get a first-class ticket. There’s a separate line, to a separate security gate, with their own metal-detector – no mmwave, no pornoscanner. If you pay more, you get better treatment. I hate that, and that is supposed to be illegal.

    1. I’ve flown first-class through Boston Logan, Philadelphia International (both domestically and internationally) and Phoenix Sky Harbor, and all that the priority/first class line does is get to the ID check desk faster.  No priority through the screen process itself, just entry into it sooner.

      1. Could have just been how PIT was that day. There was one guy in front of me to check IDs in the First Class line. There were 80-120 people in a steerage lines waiting, which had backed-up past the glass elevator.

        I didn’t get any included wine in First Class.

  8. I have never been through a pornoscanner and opted out at numerous airports around the US, and honestly, the only time I’ve ever been hassled about it was at JFK on a busy day. The agents made loud remarks to each other about how they thought people shouldn’t be allowed to opt out and so forth, but I held my tongue, let them do their patdown, and moved along. And I have to say, at SFO and RDU the agents were downright pleasant about the whole thing.

  9. I always opt out, just to mess with them. I have no illusions that the guy reaching around in my pants is eager to do it.

  10. I think everyone should take a page out of Derek Small’s book and travel with an aluminum wrapped cucumber in their pants on the way home from Thanksgiving. Just to mess with the TSA.

    1.  Isn’t carrying an aluminum wrapped cucumber in your pants when flying a practice of devout Pastafarians?

  11. When the Israeli Government rejected these machines as worthless security devices when they examined them I knew that our T otally S tupid A gency was putting on a very expensive security “show” for us.

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