Aggressive pat-downs and new airport X-ray machines are part of President Obama’s effort to redouble attention to transportation security after the attempted suicide bombing on a plane in Detroit last Christmas. After Republicans said Obama failed to grasp the terrorist threat, now, says the Washington Post, he is under attack from the opposite direction, as travelers complain that the latest measures go too far. That – and polls showing public support for the X-ray machines – has left White House advisers feeling “frustrated” by an onslaught of media coverage focused on the treatment of passengers rather than the dangers the measures are designed to prevent.
“Everyone is a little bit surprised that less than one year after a suicide bomber was sent to the United States to blow up a plane over Detroit with a bomb in his underwear we would be having the debate that we’re having right now,” said one administration official. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration is “trying desperately” to strike a balance between security and individual privacy – a balance Obama had pledged to restore after accusations that the Bush administration had tilted too far in the direction of security after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.