The Transportation Security Administration might be able to see through your clothes when scanning for explosives or weapons (not that it's easy to make heads or, uh, tails of anything on those images), but at Denver International Airport, you can reclaim your dignity by wearing a bathing suit.
At least, that's what two permitted protesters attempted the day before Thanksgiving — National Opt-Out Day, as it was called — according to DIA spokesman Jeff Green, who worked the holiday and monitored the security lines and traffic at the airport. "We did have two Speedo-clad gentlemen standing in the terminal with the Opt-Out leafletters, trying to interview passengers for a homemade video," he says. Protesters at airports in California and Utah also used the technique, as a way to bring attention to their arguments that the full-body scans are unnecessary, intrusive and an invasion of privacy.
"Our folks that manage the terminal did consult with the Denver Police Department to determine whether it was indecent exposure or in violation of any laws, but it was determined that it was not," Green says. "All laws are enforced here."
National Opt-Out Day
In all, only four people at DIA actively protested the TSA's full-body-scan policy by urging people to opt for hand searches instead. The Denver protesters, part of a Libertarian-leaning organization called Campaign for Liberty, also handed out leaflets talking about personal freedoms and quoting from the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution; group spokesman Chris Maj couldn't be reached for comment. (But check the Latest Word blog at westword.com for followups.)
Although the group's permit allows the protesters to be at DIA for thirty days, Green doesn't know if they plan to return. "I think they got a pretty good sense of what the public response was going to be," he says. "They either didn't notice or didn't care."
In more airport news, CLEAR, the registered traveler program that scans your eyeballs for fast security checks, is back in business under a new owner after going bankrupt. On Tuesday, company reps were standing under the American flag at DIA's south security checkpoint, talking about how it's the "first and only biometric-based secure ID program for airports."
But CLEAR has another asset: Michael Chertoff, the former Secretary of Homeland Security, is on the company's board — even if he wasn't in evidence at DIA. Chertoff, who started the Chertoff Group, a security consultant, after he left the Bush administration, has come under fire for representing a manufacturer of the full-body scanner — even as he promoted its use.
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"Also, so the cynics don't get wound up, my firm has, over time, you know, represented people, advised people in the area of scanning and every other kind of security device you can imagine," Chertoff said recently. "So you have that disclosure."
Scene and herd: Even before the Broncos' 36-33 loss to the St. Louis Rams Sunday, it was clear that the video scandal that cost Josh McDaniels a $50,000 fine has also cost the young coach any fans he may still have had. Outside Invesco Field on game day, a vendor was peddling "Not My Coach" T-shirts. Running $15 each or two for $25 — and also available at www.NotMyCoach.com — the shirts are a play on the "Not My President" T-shirts so popular with Tea Party activists.
"Broncos fans are in agreement, McDaniels has dismantled what was once a Super Bowl contending team," the website reads. "It's time for new leadership at the top. Show your disgust for the current coaching regime by sporting one of these fashionable t-shirts around D-town."