Count me in the “I’m not flying if it involves naked scanners and genital groping by the TSA” crowd. I answered that way, along with 96% of almost 50,000 (as of this writing) other respondents to a poll on the subject up at Reuters.
This morning’s USA Today features a column by Janet Napolitano calling for restraint and lauding both the new procedures in place and the people in charge of implementing them. It does not inspire confidence.
There seems to be at least one outright untruth in the article. Napolitano says, “The imaging technology that we use cannot store, export, print or transmit images.” Yet the machines used in a federal courthouse in Florida have stored over 35,000 such images. Further, while the account is vehemently denied by British authorities, a Bollywood star claims to have autographed printed copies of his scan for airport employees.
But the real outrage comes later. Napolitano asks for the help of Americans in thwarting those who would do us harm. She says,
As always, we also ask the traveling public to be on the lookout for unattended bags or suspicious activity. Alert travelers have helped thwart plots and crimes in the past, and we encourage everyone to remain vigilant during a time when we know our enemies would like to strike. If you see something suspicious, report it to an airport security official or law enforcement.
But Secretary Napolitano is being extremely selective about the reports she wants to get from Americans. She’s down with hearing about threats to Lives if they involve unattended bags. But if those same Americans report threats to their Liberty from the tyranny of the government in the guise of out of control and drunk on power TSA employees or if we object to naked scans of our selves or our loved ones in violation of the 4th Amendment Right to be secure in our person and papers from unreasonable searches – well, then we should just shut up.
Leave your shoulder bag on the ground while you visit the bathroom and you might get gang tackled by TSA. Refuse to raise your hands above your shoulders in the scanner or object to a complete stranger groping your genitals or those of your wife or children and you might get the same treatment.
It’s a “Who guards the guardians?” scenario. The TSA investigates others deemed by themselves to be threats but no one investigates at all when the threat comes from the TSA itself. And we wonder why there is so little trust in government. Instead of “securing our rights” which is the self-evident truth of the role of government as recorded in the Declaration of Independence, government has, once again, become the greatest threat to those rights. If you happen to be flying and disagree, the TSA will subject you to a most unpleasant experience, the least problematic aspect of which might be that you’ll miss your flight.
Look for more encounters with TSA like this one from a man who told the screener, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested” (video after the jump). I have to say, though, given the circumstances, he seems a poster child for restraint and moderation. I haven’t yet had the “privilege” of this extensive a violation of my rights by the TSA. However, were I in line and the TSA were suggesting grabbing my testicles or the groin area of my wife or my children, arrest would be the last thing I would threaten the screener with. Assault, and repeated assault at that, would be more likely …