The perceptions-and-behavior-modification campaign is designed to neutralize the American public's opposition to the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) move toward electronic strip-searches and invasive groping of airport passengers.
Caught off-guard by the widening public backlash to the excessively intrusive "security" procedures at the nation's airports, the Department of Homeland Security is trying to disarm the public of its opposition.
(Photo: A Muslim TSA guard, wearing sharia-compliant head covering, gropes a Catholic nun during a "security" search at a US airport.)
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano isn't off to a very good start, saying that the electronic strip-searches and the invasive groping of passengers who refuse a strip search are necessary because of the Nigerian terrorist who arrived in the United States with explosives in his underwear in December 2009.
However, what Napolitano did not say was that the CIA had specific advance warning of a possible terrorist attack by that very individual - in the form of an urgent face-to-face meeting that the terrorist's father requested with the CIA station in Abuja - and that the CIA and TSA failed to ensure that the terrorist was placed on the TSA's no-fly list.
Because of that government failure, the TSA is now forcing the entire traveling public to submit to electronic strip searches, be groped in the breasts, genitals and buttocks by TSA personnel, or be arrested or fined.
Napolitano began the propaganda campaign against the American public with a November 15 op-ed in USA Today. Starting off with the example of the Christmas bomber and the need for a "layered approach" to screening terrorists (without mentioning the CIA's failure at the outermost layer), Napolitano says the strip-search machines are necessary, safe and preferred:
"As part of our layered approach, we have expedited the deployment of new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) units to help detect concealed metallic and non-metallic threats on passengers. These machines are now in use at airports nationwide, and the vast majority of travelers say they prefer this technology to alternative screening measures.
"AIT machines are safe, efficient, and protect passenger privacy. . . .
"All images generated by imaging technology are viewed in a walled-off location not visible to the public. The officer assisting the passenger never sees the image, and the officer viewing the image never interacts with the passenger. The imaging technology that we use cannot store, export, print or transmit images." (Emphasis added)
Much of Napolitano's points are of debatable accuracy or truthfulness, and a lot of the public isn't buying her argument, or her euphemisms such as "pat downs." (I've been through the "pat downs" and think the term "heavy petting" is more accurate.)
It's propaganda time
So now, the government finds itself having to launch an aggressive propaganda "public education" campaign to manipulate public perceptions, attitudes, and behavior. Here's what AP is reporting right now:
". . . airports have been urging the government to engage in an aggressive public education campaign regarding the new screening, said Debby McElroy, the [Airports Council International-North America] executive vice president.
"'TSA is trying to address a real, credible threat, both through the advanced imaging technology and through the pat-downs,' McElroy said. 'We think it's important that they continue to address it with passengers and the media because there continues to be a significant misunderstanding about both the safety and the privacy concerns.'"
The government's domestic propaganda campaign is just beginning. As far as Homeland Security is concerned, we must submit - or else.