In an interview with Fallows and Goldberg, the TSA's John Pistole reacts to concerns that airports are becoming a "Fourth Amendment free" zone:

If people take an affirmative act of engaging in, in this case, aviation -- they want to get on a plane -- they're taking an affirmative act to do that. Then, yes, there is authority to do the administrative search for public safety purposes. As I've said a number of times, I think reasonable people could disagree as to the precise technique used on each person. So for you, it may be patting around the knees or the armpits. You might be sensitive there. For others, it is groins.

My solution. Do not fly if you can possibly help it. Conor is pissier:

Americans take affirmative action to do almost everything – to drive a private vehicle into a downtown area, to board a bus or a train or a ferry or a subway, to attend a concert or a baseball game or a political rally, to do their Christmas shopping at a mall rather than online, to crowd into a dance club on Saturday night, to buy their vegetables at a crowded outdoor market, etc. All these venues are plausible targets for a terrorist attack.

Suddenly air travel doesn’t seem so different – not to me, anyway.

Does Mr. Pistole believe that all the places I’ve described afford citizens less protection from the Fourth Amendment because everyone there made an affirmative decision to be present?

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