1. These procedures make sense only if you believe there is no alternative. In Europe, they ask questions of travelers and they are trained to spot nervousness and other reaction that would indicate a need for further screening. There are many alternative methods, but they require training, discretion and use of ordinary brain power, things TSA assumes it employees cannot accomplish.
2. Since they can only put people through the scanners or rub between the legs on a selective basis, what good is the whole process? The TSA is geared to treat the slightest "indicator" as though it were DEF CON THREE. This is brought about by a stupid, top down management scheme where the screeners are given very little discretion and are basically treated like robots. If the machines are vital, everyone should go through them. That would, however, end air travel as we know it, so the TSA is taking a tough stance only with people who are unlucky enough to be ordered through the machines.
3. I am a reporter no longer involved in daily news gathering, but in the years that I was so employed, I have witnessed, with my eyes and on video, police officers "going too far" with pat downs of people they were arresting. What I mean is that it was obvious they were feeling people up for whatever sexual charge they got from their actions. This behavior was undeniable, when you view the video. I have seen it repeatedly. This will happen to many people at airports and there is essentially nothing they can do about it. This is a state crime against citizens.
4. The government insists these machines are safe, but in 20 or 30 yeas if people are coming down with cancer, they will be nowhere to be found. They will deny any link to the machines, even if the machines are later shown to be highly dangerous. How many times have we witnesses the government and other "authorities" telling us something is safe, only to learn later that it was not?
5. No one knows how unborn babies would be affected by going through the X-ray machines. What about a woman who has just become pregnant and is unaware? Who is going to help her and take care of the baby if the fetus is damaged? Who will cure the heartbreak? No one.
6. The former head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, is involved in selling these machines. This appears to be yet another example of a government official cashing in on his tenure after leaving office.
7. There is a way that the TSA could have used these machines to good benefit, and even forced people to undergo aggressive rubbing, but their approach is "one size fits all", every person who goes to the airport is a potential terrorist. This is insane, but that's the way they chose to operate in the aftermath of the national panic under Bush following 9-11, 2001. They will continue until the public and a higher authority, the president, makes them adopt a new approach. I have no faith that president Obama will take any such action. His attention is elsewhere and he is not generally challenging the government, in any field, to change its ways.
8. These machines and aggressive rubbing will not be tolerated by the American public, causing great embarrassment for the TSA. Then, they will have to explain, if the machines are so vital, how they manage to protect the public without them.
Doug Terry 11.19.10 (with added comments)