Ed Driscoll

Did the TSA End-Run National Opt-Out Day?

Found via Prof. Bainbridge on Twitter, a commenter on Gizmodo writes:

Yeah, there are no problems today because backscatter machines are TURNED OFF at many airports and they are doing normal security procedures. Interesting that they’d rather risk people’s safety than endure a PR disaster. By not giving people the chance to opt-out, they effectively take control of the story. Of course, by their logic, if there was such a heightened risk, then these machines should be used all the time (especially on a day when so many people are going to be flying). A move like this demonstrates that safety isn’t their foremost concern; they just don’t want to lose a big gov’t contract. And of course, if there was some sort of attack today because the backscatters were turned off, then it’s “See? We TOLD you so.”

Meanwhile, Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post advises her readers to stop being so childish when it comes to the TSA, in much the same fashion as Gloria Allred, who said that if you must be probed, you might as well lean back and enjoy it, as she does.

(And speaking of Allred…)

Update: As Allahpundit notes, Gizmodo has since updated their post with a denial from the TSA:

Twitter lit up a few hours ago over this post at Gizmodo compiling tweets from passengers claiming that the scanners had been turned off at some airports in order to speed people through security. But see the update; TSA denies it, and in fact, there are AP photos on the wire of people going through the machines today at O’Hare (and Logan in Boston). O’Hare, as the country’s central hub, logically should have been one of the first ‘ports to abandon the scanners if the plan was to avoid any opt out difficulties, but the photo doesn’t lie. In fact, TSA is actually crowing about it on their blog under the headline “Opt Out Turns Into Opt In.” (Follow the link for a heartwarming pic!)

One lingering question, though. Did some passengers opt out of the process altogether by canceling their plans to fly?

In any case, what is to be done with the bureaucratic clusterfark that is the TSA, to paraphrase one of the original fans of Big, Big Government? That’s the subject of a new article from Glenn Reynolds.