Once a lighthearted and humanizing look at the people behind airport security, the Transportation Security Administration's official blog has switched over to playing defense against a nation of critics.
In the last few months, TSA's own Blogger Bob has gone from warm, happy and tongue-in-cheek to stale, whiney and downright defensive.
Amid the nationwide furor over advanced imaging technology and enhanced pat-downs, Blogger Bob has responded with countless posts titled something to the effect of "Response to Claims that TSA...." And how does Bob opt to make the traveling public feel better about exposing themselves and their children to backscatter and millimeter-wave technology? With this cold, clinical list of "facts on TSA X-ray safety." I feel better already.
This change of tone obviously isn't surprising. But, really, what's most interesting about the TSA blog is the reader comments. Again, over the last few months, the tone has changed from universally, continuously annoyed by the drudgery of air travel to concerned, scared and full-on outraged.
For the traveling public, it's no longer just a matter of inconvenience or discomfort; it's a matter of civil liberties and physical safety. And the TSA blog has become an unparalleled forum for citizens to vent their frustrations and question TSA's practices. For example:
"Talk about the Fox guarding the hen-house. Plenty of non TSA medical sources out there saying the opposite. These machines are a health hazard and any TSO reading this better be getting danger money to stand next to em all day. Hope you guys have solid health plans...your gonna need em.""Nice attempt to distract from the real concern about backscatter x-ray being used on *people* by focusing on the safety standards for well-established baggage x-ray technology.
Why didn't you have your Health Physicists evaluate the backscatter x-ray?
Why did TSA insist on choosing backscatter for most checkpoints over the much much safer millimeter wave?
Why do you refuse to let your screeners wear dosimeters when on duty? Do you also prohibit passengers from wearing dosimeters through the backscatter or in the checkpoint vicinity?"