Monday, January 4, 2010



By : Mr. B. Kyle Hosenfeld, Ph.D., Acting Commissioner for Airport Security, Department of Homeland Security (appointed by President George W. Bush, 2005-present); Former Chief Financial Advisor, Traxxx Garment Manufacturing Company, Inc., Toledo, Ohio (1990-2005); Lingerie Expert (since childhood); Ladies Hosiery Hobbyist (1976-present).

Terror does not take a Holiday. Terror does not distinguish between the old year and the new year. For terrorists, every day is another opportunity to kill Americans and disrupt American business. Here at the Department of Homeland Security, we know that.

That is why we never rest. We are committed to protecting the American people from Muslim fanatics, as well as any other fanatics who attempt to depress the stock market through violence. This holiday season, we saw that terrorists remain determined to strike America. Almost a decade after 9/11, a Nigerian Muslim named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow himself up on a packed airliner above Detroit. To accomplish his dastardly plan, he packed explosives into his underwear. Thankfully, they did not detonate; he succeeded only in setting his own pants on fire. The New York Post dubbed him "The Crotch Bomber." The Daily News called him "Fruit of the Loon."

We concur. But despite Abudulmutallab's failure, we understand that the American public remains concerned about terror. For that reason, we have instituted new airport security measures to assuage anxieties concerning hosiery-borne weapons of mass destruction. We believe that we can stop terror attacks before they happen. And that means searching every piece of underwear in the airports--and that means all of it, right down to the buttocks.

Searching underwear is the only way to verify whether an airline passenger is really a terrorist. In the past, we have seen that various garments can carry weapons. Learning from the past, we here at the Department instituted a new airport security principle: Target the offending garment. When Richard Reid tried to detonate a bomb in his shoe in 2001, we decided that all shoes are dangerous and must be searched. In the years since, Americans learned that they had to take off their shoes before boarding an airplane.

We should apply the same rule in this case. Here, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to detonate an explosive in his underwear. The "offending garment," then, is underwear. Just as we required all Americans to take off their shoes at airports because Richard Reid transformed shoes into an "offending garment" in 2001, so too must we require Americans to take off their underwear today. It is the only way to ensure maximum safety for all.

We do not believe that Americans will find it inconvenient to remove their underwear prior to boarding aircraft. In 2001, Americans understood that Richard Reid nearly blew up a plane with a shoe-bomb, so they willingly suffered some inconvenience by removing their own shoes in the years that followed. In 2010, Americans understand that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab nearly blew up a plane with an underwear-bomb, so they will not mind suffering some inconvenience by removing their underwear, too. When safety is at stake, Americans do their part. Underwear is no different than a shoe. When removing a garment is necessary to protect America from Islamic terror, we are confident that Americans will gladly--and publicly--take everything off.

We recognize that civil liberties advocates will object to our new underwear search protocol as excessive. They will say that requiring all Americans to remove their underwear will encroach upon their dignity. They will say that it will invade their privacy. They will even say that it will embarrass children and women, especially overweight ones.

We disagree with these contentions. For one, we point out that privacy must yield to national security concerns. We all like privacy. But when it comes to preventing terror, we all must be prepared to bare all for safety. If we are a little embarrassed about our bodies, we must learn to overcome our shyness, whip off our underwear and put it on the automated x-ray conveyor belt. Second, the United States Constitution does not guarantee "dignity." Even if stripping naked in public were somehow "undignified," we reject the assertion that an official, Federally-mandated underwear search violates "dignity." If nudity occurs pursuant to law, it is not undignified. More to the point, we are certain that every American would rather sacrifice their dignity by removing their underwear in front of leering, apathetic Transportation Safety Agents than be blown up in midair. Viewed in that light, we see absolutely no merit to the claim that mandatory underwear searches violate "privacy" or "dignity."

Mandatory underwear searches will do more than merely stop terror. They will also yield beneficial secondary effects. For example, many drug traffickers elude detection by packing narcotics in their underpants. By requiring everyone to remove their underwear, we would eliminate that subterfuge for good. Furthermore, mandatory underwear removal will enable Federal agents to identify dangerous, ugly, unpleasant and malodorous genitalia. Under applicable Federal statutes, such genitalia are "weapons of mass destruction" that subject the possessor to felony terrorism charges. Until now, it has been difficult to locate dangerous genitalia because they are generally camouflaged under trousers, skirts, underpants and stockings. But thanks to the new underwear removal procedures, we will be able to effectively enforce the law against recalcitrant genital terrorists.

In sum, we here at the Department are committed to protecting Americans, no matter the cost. We believe it is logical, consistent, effective and reasonable to require all airport travelers to remove their underwear prior to boarding any flight originating on American soil. Contrary to all objections, this is not a drastic step. It is no different than the regulation requiring Americans to remove their shoes. By orienting airport security scrutiny around the "offending garment" principle, we achieve theoretical and logical consistency for our enforcement efforts. Not only that, we also increase safety, deter terror and reduce genitalia-related crime in interstate commerce. We achieve all these salutary goals merely by requiring Americans to take off their underwear at security checkpoints. Balancing the burdens against the benefits in this case, we must conclude that we have found a winning procedure.

In a final step, we have also determined that all travelers with the word "Abdul" anywhere in their names must be forbidden from air travel. That includes American Idol judge and pop singer Paula Abdul, as well as avowed terrorists such as Abdul Sheikh Mohammed. Although liberal activists and Middle Eastern scholars will doubtlessly claim that this measure sweeps too broadly, we respond that we have conclusive evidence that people with the name "Abdul" stand a much higher chance to commit terror than people named Swanson, Harrison or Clark. When it comes to security, we must consider probabilities. And in this case, we are simply playing the numbers: Abduls are more dangerous than Clarks.

It is safe to fly in America. Do not let terrorists like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab discourage you from taking a trip. Despite his nefarious attempt to kill Americans with explosive underwear, we have emerged from this crisis safer than ever before. We have learned that both shoes and underwear are mortally dangerous. To that extent, we have tailored our security protocols to ensure that neither shoe nor slip poses a threat to law-abiding Americans. From this day forward, we promise to search every last undergarment that passes through any airport in the United States.

Terrorists beware: We will search your underwear.

And behold America's resolve: We are not afraid to take off all our clothes, even for a Podunk flight from Tuscaloosa to Memphis. Even if we weigh 500 pounds, we are unafraid. We will take it all off.

When in doubt, just remember our new slogan:

Because security begins with safe underwear®.


Timoteo said...

I never laugh any other time the way I laugh at your the way, I think Paula Abdul SHOULD be allowed to fly, just prohibit her from wearing underwear !

Timoteo said...

P.S. Searching underwear has been an avocation of mine since high school.

Balthazar Oesterhoudt said...

Thanks for the comment, Timoteo!

If you're interested in professional underwear inspection, may I suggest applying to:

Transportation Safety Agency
Undergarment Security Division
Attn: Undercommissioner Leggett
176500 Howrey Boulevard, Room 45-001
Washington, DC 00002
United States of America

Sarah said...

time to stock up on fancy underwears!