November 10, 2012
Nearly one third (!) of Americans would accept ‘TSA body cavity search’ in order to fly. Majority of Americans adults think a law making it illegal to disobey the order of a TSA agent in any public place is reasonable…
A new survey commissioned by Infowars and conducted by Harris Interactive has found that almost one third of American adults would accept a “TSA body cavity search” in order to fly, with a majority of Americans also feeling a law that would make disobeying a TSA agent in any public place illegal is reasonable.
The shock results emphasize the level of indignity Americans are willing to tolerate in order to travel.
They also highlight how the TSA’s reputation has remained largely intact despite a series of scandals and widespread criticism from innumerable public figures.
However, on other fronts the poll provides good news for those concerned with how liberties are being lost in the name of stopping terrorism. For example, a clear majority (65%) of American adults feel that TSA pat down policies that in some cases involve TSA agents touching travelers’ genitals are unacceptable.
The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Infowars from November 5-7 among 2059 American adults.
American adults were asked the following question as part of the poll;
“Given the recent reports concerning the threat posed by terrorists who plan to implant bombs within their own bodies, how willing, if at all, would you be to undergo a TSA body cavity search in order to fly?”
A total 30% of American adults said they would be “willing” or “somewhat willing” to accept a body cavity search. 57% would be “completely” or “somewhat unwilling” to submit to it and 13% answered “don’t know”.
Although the exact definition was not explained in the question, given that the term “body cavity search” refers to the most intrusive search imaginable, one normally performed on dangerous felons before they go to prison, the fact that almost one third of American adults would submit to such an invasion of their privacy simply to get on a plane is astounding.
Those concerned with how much power has been concentrated into the hands of TSA workers, who are after all federal employees and not police officers, would also be disturbed at the response to the following question;
How reasonable or unreasonable do you feel it is that travelers should be made by law to obey every command given by a TSA agent inside an airport or any other public place given the threat posed by terrorists?
A total 57% of American adults said this was “completely” or “somewhat reasonable”. A minority of 43% said passing a law that would mandate total obedience to a TSA agent was “completely” or “somewhat unreasonable”. Out of that figure, just 16% thought it was “completely unreasonable”.
Surprisingly given their traditional distrust of big government, 60% of Republicans thought it reasonable compared to 64% of Democrats and 46% of Independents.
We recently highlighted the fact that back in 2008, the Department of Homeland Security seriously pursued the idea of making travelers wear electronic shock bracelets that could be activated in the name of incapacitating “terrorists.” In reference to that news story, the survey asked the following question:
In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security expressed an interest in having travelers wear electric shock bracelets that would both track travelers through the airport as well as allow airport officials and flight crews to incapacitate potential terrorists. How willing, if at all, would you be to wear such a bracelet in order to fly?
35% of American adults would be “completely” or “somewhat willing” to wear the shock bracelet, compared to 52% who would be “completely” or “somewhat unwilling”. Republicans were more likely to be willing than Democrats, 41% to 34%.
Given the rash of stories about TSA agents touching travelers’ genitals as part of pat down procedures for those who “opt out” of body scanners, the poll posed the following question;
In some cases, the TSA’s more invasive pat down procedures now include agents touching travelers’ genital area through their clothing. How acceptable, if at all, do you feel this is, considering the potential major threat posed by terrorists?
Despite the fact that this policy is already underway in some instances, a full 65% of American adults found TSA workers touching genitals “completely” or “somewhat unacceptable”. A further 35% of American adults found this “completely” or “somewhat acceptable”. More Republicans than Democrats (12% to 9%) were likely to find this “completely acceptable”.
Asked how the TSA is performing in its screening duties at U.S. airports, 77% of American adults said the federal agency was doing an excellent, good or fair job. 23% of American adults thought the TSA was doing a not very good job or a bad job in its duties. Despite sustained negative media coverage of the agency’s activities, of that latter netcategory, only 9% in total thought the TSA was doing a “bad job”.
More Democrats than Republicans (84% to 73%) responded that they thought the TSA was doing an excellent, good or fair job.
The results of this poll again underscore how ignorant many Americans remain of their rights at airports and other transport hubs where TSA agents are present. The results also clearly indicate that a substantial portion of Americans, around one in three, are willing to tolerate virtually any indignity if it is performed in the name of safety and security.
Click here for the survey results in full.
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