Politics
 
 
NOV 22, 2012 4:26 AM 3,270 Comments

  • Author Bio

    Scotty is an investigative reporter who writes for Bulwarker. His background is in American history, with a focus on politics and culture.

  • The moral cost of the TSA

    As the holidays approach the topic of air travel draws more attention to the methods used by the T.S.A.. Several privacy and rights groups have pushed for a boycott of body-scanning machines (that emit radiation, and record naked profiles). Their goal is to force the T.S.A. screening officers to conduct physical “pat-downs,” with the hope of creating awareness of exactly how this procedure invites abusive violation of one’s rights and person.  Screening for safety reasons is expected, and the boycott groups understand this, however they question the integrity of officers and procedures used. There are numerous reports of officers abusing their authority to the point of molestation (not to mention reprimands and arrests for theft). Other cases have shown that accused child-abusers joined the ranks of the T.S.A. and were given carte-blanche power positions to interact with air travelers, including minors.

    Aggressive behavior by a T.S.A. officer recently caused a Congressman’s 17 year old niece to be exposed in a public terminal.

    Texas Rep. Ralph Hall has announced he’s teaming up with Rep. Saxby Chambliss to launch a federal investigation into the airport security division after Hall’s grand-niece had her boobs exposed while she was travelling.

    Apparently, Hall’s grand-niece on a high-school trip to Australia two years ago when a T.S.A. agent picked her out for a pat-down. According to records just released by a Freedom of Information Act request, “during the pat-down of her stomach area” the straps of the girl’s sundress came undone and the girl’s boobs were exposed for the whole room to see.

    Read the rest

    It’s unfortunate that it took a personal experience for Congressman Hall to get involved in combating the blatant abuse the T.S.A. continually exercises. Had he simply reviewed the mounting charges by passengers claiming to have been violated–to the point of filing an official complaint–he would be regarded more than a reactionary. Still, it’s good that more representatives are becoming aware of what passes for federal “security measures” at the airports. One wonder’s if Hall will now throw his weight behind the newest Texas bill meant to ban pat-downs without probable cause.

    Texas Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) on [11/12/12] prefiled House Bill 80 for voting on in the state legislature. The bill, also known as the Texas Travel Freedom Act, would make it illegal for agents of the TSA to perform pat down procedures at airports.

    According to the Tenth Amendment Center, the bill “would make it a criminal act to intentionally touch ‘the anus, breast, buttocks, or sexual organ of the other person, including touching through clothing,’ without probable cause in the process of determining whether to grant someone access to a public venue or means of public transportation.”

    There is also extra protection for minors under the bill:

    A public servant acting under color of his office or employment commits an offense if he…removes a child younger than 18 years of age from the physical custody or control of a parent or guardian of the child or a person standing in the stead of a parent or guardian of the child.

    Early last year, the state of Texas attempted to pass legislation that would have done the same thing as Simpson’s bill. HB 1937 had passed the state House and was on its way to the Senate when the federal governmentstepped in to make sure that the state [backed down due to Federal Authority threats].

    Read the rest

    The Federal government intervened last time to kill the bill. Will Hall stand, with several other vocal congressional representatives, at the federal level, and stand strong in favor of the state’s right to curb aggressive behaviors taken by the T.S.A.? It’s known various groups are already taking the hardline via boycott and recording to stand up to the screening officers.

    Via Facebook:

    OPT OUT and FILM Week takes place November 19, 2012- November 26, 2012

    THIS IS OUR OPPORTUNITY TO PEACEFULLY RESIST OPPRESSION AND SEND A MESSAGE TO THE TSA LOUD AND CLEAR

    They will no longer use the threat of molestation to intimidate us into going through health damaging body scanners!

    We will no longer tolerate them violating our civil liberties and human rights!We will no longer allow the TSA to stick their hands down our pants and touch our private parts!Any TSA agent who chooses to violate our rights and freedoms will be put on display [recorded with video] for the world to see!
    Read the rest 
    In response to the boycott a T.S.A. spokesman has commented that they do “not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances may.” This doublespeak means that you’re taking a gamble if you intended to film your pat-down experience (and ostensibly anywhere in designated security checking areas). While your state may claim you have a right or not to record, the facility could be recognized as government property and subject to their rules.
    Along with the opt out crowd are those who are boycotting the airlines altogether. They would rather stay local or drive to their holiday destination. John Stossel makes an interesting observation about the cause and effect of such a decision.

    But having to deal with lines, groping, and rude agents may not be the worst thing about the TSA. The worst thing may be that, to avoid the TSA, some people drive instead of fly – and that is far more likely to get them killed.

    Read the rest 
    Stossel goes on to examines the decline of holiday flyers and the rise of holiday drivers since the T.S.A. was formed. He attributes the danger to more people on the road, and that driving is more accident prone than flying. In the end everyone concerned agrees that something must be done, quickly and correctly.
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