Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Napolitano's "Pants on Fire"

Politifact comments on this quote from DHS head, Janet Napolitano:
"Well, actually, very, very, very few people get a pat-down," Napolitano replied. "It’s only under very limited circumstances. They do, however, get -- those who are patted down -- tend to get on YouTube." she quipped.
By TSA's numbers, 3% of passengers get a pat-down, which works out to roughly 1.8 million pat-downs per month.
That doesn’t sound like "very, very, very" few people to us.

If Napolitano said that "a small percentage of passengers" get patted down each month, she would have been correct. But she talked about "people." In addition, she used the superlative "very" three times, even though the TSA’s own figures show that the numbers of passengers who receive a pat-down can top 1 million in a single month.

We rate her statement Pants On Fire.
Like a good bureaucrat, Napolitano managed to lie while simultaneously not answering the question ("Will we go past the grope-and-grab phase? The machines that scan the bodies and so forth? Are there better ways of doing it?").