Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The TSA needs to go

An excellent appraisal:

The Transportation Security Administration has taken quite a beating in the news cycle so far this year. In late April, screeners were caught taking bribes to allow drugs to pass through Los Angeles International Airport. Recently, a 4-year-old was detained, yelled at, patted down and otherwise terrorized for hugging her grandmother, who hadn't completed screening yet.
In April, the TSA made us safer by terrorizing a 7-year-old with cerebral palsy. CBS DC reported that Dina Frank cannot use metal detectors because she walks with crutches and leg braces. The thorough pat-down of the 7-year-old caused the family to miss their flight.
No doubt such incidents will prompt people to call for the TSA to be streamlined, for the administration to adopt "new procedures" or for other Band-Aids that will create the illusion of decisive action.
This is insufficient. The TSA should not be streamlined. Administrators should not "review screening procedures." Screeners don't need additional training. The TSA doesn't need to be tweaked. It didn't "go too far" in these specific instances. Its very existence goes too far. The TSA never should have been created in the first place, and it should be abolished now. Immediately. Without hesitation.
The TSA's existence is an assault on American liberty and simple human dignity, as anyone who has had his or her genitals touched during an "enhanced pat-down" can tell you. Some still say we should be willing to trade off a little bit of liberty in order to get security, but this is a false trade-off. The TSA does not provide security. It provides what security expert Bruce Schneier calls "security theater." The TSA only exists in order to give people the illusion of safety. Someone in an airport somewhere in the U.S. is being subjected to an unreasonable search by a gloved TSA screener right this minute. The cruel irony is that he or she is being stripped of liberty and dignity and is being made no safer for it.


anonone said...

It is more than just to give the "the illusion of safety." The TSA is being used as part of a long deliberate strategy of destroying individual human dignity and personal freedom. Couple the TSA and taking naked pictures of you with radioactive devices with the recent Obama-supported SCOTUS decision that cops have the right to strip-search you for whatever reason they want, and you can see how Americans are being forced to accept greater and greater destruction of our fundamental rights to privacy, liberty, and freedom.

And, unfortunately, the destruction of our civil liberties has overwhelming bi-partisan support.

Tyler Nixon said...

Amen, a1. You nailed it. It's pure "security theater" designed to condition the citizenry into further and further submission to agents of the almighty government, no matter what the level - local, state, federal and no matter how invasive, abusive or just plain tyrannical.

It's the new normal in the "people's" paradise...

Dana Garrett said...

Yeah, let's get rid of metal detectors, pat downs, baggage checks, and bomb sniffing dogs. They assault our liberty to ride on planes with terrorists who will take advantage of lax security procedures.

Steven H. Newton said...


A reasonable person would recognize that there is a middle ground between no security and demanding that a 12-year-old with cerebral palsy be taken out of her wheelchair and frisked.

There were always bombing sniffing dogs, sky marshals, random baggage checks.

How many people has taking off their shoes saved?

How many people has arresting or refusing flight to people who expressed outrage over being groped saved?

How many people has forcing a woman to take a pair of pliers and remove her nipple ring before she could board a plane saved?

Read the TSA's own policy documents-- many of these changes were not made for terrorists but to cut down drug trafficking.

But that's ok--keep framing the issue that anybody who wants to get rid of the TSA and find better ways to do security at airports with respect for civil liberties as a dangerous radical, and you'll keep losing.

Andrew R Groff said...

Here, here Steve. The TSA has been responsible for exactly no (NO) actions which would have prevented anything but someone brushing their teeth on board a commercial plane. Our security has not been enhanced and has, in effect desensitized everyone to the issue. The TSA has never served a realistic purpose save to give the American population the perception of security while violating their unalienable rights (4th Amendment). They are the thugs and goon squads deployed by the Federal government in a make-work effort to keep those unemployment numbers in check. From the looks of things these days, perhaps the TSA could screen their employees a little better as well. We need to get back to the same level of security the Europeans and Israeli airports use everyday. The TSA is a boondoggle and a complete waste of resources.

Keydet1976 said...

The TSA is a failed enterprise that allowed politicians to pretend they were doing something to protect the public. As it has been pointed out we are probably less safe than we were in 9-11; and on top of that we have imposed our stupid standards on the rest of the aviation world (International Flights coming to the US) at what cost to other nations?
If we want true protection, we will adopt the Israeli methods which is layered security, profiling, and the use of very sophisticated observation and detection techniques. It would be more expensive but for the average flyer it would be a hell of a lot less intrusive.

tom said...

I must question your use of the word "enterprise" which means "a business venture or undertaking".

While the TSA is certainly making Michael Chertoff rich by awarding contracts to his companies, you cannot legitimately call it a business.

delacrat said...

Stop-and-Frisk needs to go.

Dana Garrett said...

You mean no one could plant anything on a 12-year-old with cerebral palsy? It's never occurred to terrorists before to use children to carry out their crimes? Oh, wait. Yes, it has in Viet Nam, Sri Lanka, the Middle East....

delacrat said...


12-year olds with cerebral palsy, very scary.