Airport security uproar frustrates White House advisers

Vince Coglianese Contributor
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For a White House often accused of being lax on national security, the uproar over invasive security techniques at airports is a head-snapping swing in the other direction.

Aggressive pat-downs and new X-ray machines are part of President Obama’s effort to redouble attention to transportation security after the attempted suicide bombing aboard an airplane landing in Detroit last Christmas. That incident exposed Obama to scathing criticism from Republicans who said he failed to grasp the terrorist threat the nation faced.

Now, the administration is under attack from the opposite direction, as some travelers complain that the latest measures go too far. That – and polls showing broad public support for the X-ray machines – has left some White House advisers feeling “frustrated,” as one put it, by an onslaught of media coverage focused heavily 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,” another administration official said Monday.

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