If you've ridden public transit in the Washington, DC metro area recently, you're familiar with the soothing voice of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, which tells you periodically in Metro stations that "you plan a vital role in the security of the Metro system."
Today, that soothing voice took to the pages of USA Today, where Napolitano placed an op-ed to assure readers that U.S. air safety has come a long way since the attempted bombing last Christmas.
In the course of that discussion, Napolitano touted the new body-scan machines that have caused so much controversy:
Because technology also plays an important role in securing passengers, cargo and the entire international aviation system, we've also accelerated the most significant deployment of new screening technology to U.S. airports since metal detectors were installed in the 1970s. This Advanced Imaging Technology, or AIT, allows us to quickly, safely and discreetly screen passengers for non-metallic explosives that could be hidden under clothing. As of this month, the Transportation Security Administration has deployed nearly 500 AIT units to more than 75 airports nationwide.
And she suggested, in a round-about way, that people should comply with these scans without protest:
Finally, the public plays a vital role in safeguarding the security of our aviation system. From maintaining a sense of vigilance, to being strong partners in our aviation screening and security efforts, the flying public serve as active participants in the effort to keep all of us safe.
Which is basically what the recorded Napolitano tells Metro riders every day. Except, instead of asking travelers to point out suspicious packages, this "strong partner[ship]" probably involves not complaining or asking for a pat-down.