Archive for airport security

Freedom to shoot people trumps our freedom to go about our business

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because FREEDOM

Today's Los Angeles Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Union urges armed TSA agents," Nov. 5

Rather than confronting the real problem — the easy availability and ubiquitous presence of guns in our society — arming some Transportation Security Administration agents would be yet another step toward a quasi-militarized society.

It was not long ago that the representatives of the arms merchants were calling for armed teachers in our classrooms.

The widespread availability of guns has begun to limit the freedom of law-abiding citizens to go about their daily lives. We have reached the point where a trip to the mall, the airport or a courtroom might become a desperate battle to escape the crossfire.

Ironically, even as the National Rifle Assn. invokes freedom, our freedom to go about our business is being assaulted and curtailed by multiple layers of armed groups. We must intelligently confront the threat to our freedom that firearms represent in our country, as every gun owner is law-abiding until he isn't.

Alfred Sils

Woodland Hills

I'm a huge supporter of unions, but that doesn't mean I always agree with their positions. More guns in the hands of more people whose job it isn't to use them? No thank you.

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PhotOH! Toy "security check point" bombs on Amazon (no pun intended)

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From Sign of the Times Department:

toy security check point

"We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock." What? It wasn't popular enough to bring back? The kiddies and their parents just weren't that into it? Gee, can't imagine why.

Maybe because they didn't include a "Private Interrogation Room Playhouse," handcuffs, or optional action figures gawking at the potential terrorist when an optional alarm buzzer (batteries not included) sounds when optional metal bomb parts trigger it? They also left out shoe bomb accessories and lawsuit forms.

No wonder it's wasn't a big seller.

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Spokeswoman: TSA turns away Sen. Rand Paul. UPDATED, VIDEO ADDED.

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Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I hope to gawd there is video.

(CNN) -- Authorities blocked U.S. Sen. Rand Paul at the Nashville airport Monday after the Kentucky Republican refused a pat-down at a security checkpoint, his spokeswoman said.

Paul went through a scanner at the airport and set off an alarm, said his spokeswoman, Moira Bagley. He wanted to go through the body scan again instead of getting a pat-down, but officers of the Transportation Security Administration refused, Bagley said.

UPDATE by Laffy: He wasn't detained, per the TSA, and ironically, he was on his way to speak at the March for Life (TSA Prevents Rand Paul From Speaking at March for Life). The hypocrisy never ends.

As one of my Twitter pals said, "Rand Paul refuses a pat down as too intrusive but is okay with the govt forcing women to have sonograms."

NBC News' Tom Costello reports that, according to sources at the TSA, Paul was not detained, but was escorted by police out of the checkpoint.

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VIDEO- Airline pilot: "The [TSA] message was, 'You've angered us by telling the truth.'"

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The truth hurts, TSA?

SACRAMENTO, CA - An airline pilot is being disciplined by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for posting video on YouTube pointing out what he believes are serious flaws in airport security.

The 50-year-old pilot, who lives outside Sacramento, asked that neither he nor his airline be identified. He has worked for the airline for more than a decade and was deputized by the TSA to carry a gun in the cockpit.

He is also a helicopter test pilot in the Army Reserve and flew missions for the United Nations in Macedonia.

UPDATE HERE:

Within days of the video appearing on YouTube, a team of four federal agents and two sheriff's deputies appeared on the pilot's driveway to confiscate his federally-issued handgun and badge in what the pilot believes was an obvious attempt to intimidate him.

Additionally, the pilot's state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon was suspended by his county sheriff. [...]

The pilot said he had resigned his position as an FFDO and was told by a TSA representative the resignation would result in the case being closed. [...]

"... Really, the only way this news story got traction is because of the government's response," he pointed out.

H/t: HnstyNgov

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VIDEO-BLUNT: Don't TSA Me, Bro!

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Blunt is a lot like letters to the editor. YOUR take, short, to the point.

You have a voice, now use it.

A special thanks to Roxi Copland for allowing me to include her musical talents in this and future Blunt webisodes.

For more information about how to contribute to Blunt, follow this link.

It’s your turn. Go.

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Sr. citizen on TSA "pat down" experience: "You'd make an elderly woman...remove their Depends, come back through security...wetting themselves?" "Yes."

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Note: The woman in this photo is not the author of the post below.

The following was sent to me in an e-mail. This comes from the mother of one of my Twitter friends. It is unedited:

I'm a frequent flying consultant in NC with clients all over the US-also a senior citizen with hip replacements. Since 9/11 I've undergone hundreds of manual screenings by TSA.

Nov 15 I flew to Austin TX on a business trip. I had not heard of the new "enhanced pat down" procedures so was shocked when the agent began without warning aggressively rubbing my body with the front of her hands -breasts, waist, buttocks, and legs with 4 firm touches to the genital area once sliding up each leg from the back, once on each leg from the front.

When I protested, I was told, Either this "pat down" (the media need to make it clear, there is no patting - never has been - only rubbing, only now much more aggressively) or the body scanner which was not at my security station. When I questioned the risk with the scanners, I was told I could "choose another means of travel."

Since my clients are far away, that's not an option. I would have to close my business if I could not fly. The media should make it clear: If you are anywhere else in the US and a stranger touches you in this fashion, it would be assault. The new procedure is not just a little "enhancement," (government Doublespeak) but a major shift to an aggressive body search.

Also patting is the friendly, affectionate touch one might give a baby or a beloved dog. TSA has never patted. Even though the prior procedures were offensive I submitted to them believing it was the best way to keep us all safe. The new procedures are more than offensive-they are criminal.

Even before the change, a TSA agent after wanding me asked me to step into a private area. When I asked the purpose, she said she had "felt something unusual" in my bra. (The underwire and metal adjusting clips for the straps always set off the wand.) I protested but protesting or questioning TSA always results in a belligerent response. She insisted that I go to a private area with her and another female agent and lift my shirt so that she could examine the "unusual" something.

The other agent probed and said she felt nothing unusual but the first agent would not clear me to fly until I had lifted my shirt so that she could see my bra. The "something unusual" was the end of my bra strap-a 1 inch strip of polyester.

America, now don't you feel safer?

On our return trip from Austin Nov 17 I was once again subjected to this assault. Austin has no body scanners. This time I requested that my husband join us so that he could witness what the agent was doing. While her search was just as aggressive and invasive as the one in Charlotte, it was quite different in technique. I have experienced great variation in the manual body search techniques.

This time I asked the agent what would happen if they searched a woman passenger and felt a thick sanitary napkin or Depends. She looked uncomfortable with my question, but said "I'd have to ask her to go back and remove it and come back through security." I persisted. "So you'd make a woman who was menstruating go take off her bloody napkin and come through security, possibly soiling herself?" "Yes," she said, "but that hasn't happened." I persisted.

"And you'd make an elderly woman or man go remove their Depends and come back through security, probably wetting themselves before you'd let them board?" She hesitated, flushed, and said, "Yes." TSA. Keeping America safe from menstruating women and incontinent senior citizens.

Janet Napolitano tried to reassure us that the aggressive body searches are done by a person of the same gender, and that we can always request a private screening. My response is that assault is assault no matter who does it, and I don't want a private screening unless I'm forced to by a TSA agent because if my human rights are going to be violated, I want as many witnesses as possible. The last thing I want is to be violated in private by a government agent, with no witnesses except another government agent.

To all those who protested "big government run amok" in the last election, this is the
worst of big government.

It is important to note that these screeners are low-wage, unskilled, poorly trained people who have been given enormous power over the basic human rights of Americans, with no
experience, insight, or skill on how to use that power with the great care that it demands.

Unlike health care professionals or even law-enforcement officers, they do not receive years of training and mentoring, and they are not screened for judgment and sensitivity or anything like customer relations skills.

For once I agree with Charles Krauthammer (11/18/10): "We pretend that we go through this nonsense as a small price paid to ensure the safety of air travel. Rubbish.

This has nothing to do with safety - 95 percent of these inspections, searches, shoe removals and pat-downs are ridiculously unnecessary. The only reason we continue to do this is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling - when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable and
universally known.

So instead of seeking out terrorists, we seek out tubes of gel in stroller pouches." And make a cancer survivor remove her prosthetic breast. And break a man's colostomy bag.

And make a woman remove her skirt.

And probe a grandmother's bra.

And make a menstruating woman and incontinent grandpa soil themselves.

And traumatize a rape victim by having a uniformed official probe her
genitals.

There has to be a better solution. A cleared flier's list, perhaps. I once was cleared to work on site at the nuclear facilities at Oak Ridge and Savannah River. But I'm not cleared to board a plane.

We'll never make flying 100 percent safe, and we'll never come up with a perfect screening process, but we have to find a better way. This "enhanced" process is handing the terrorists a great victory - the brutal stripping of our human dignity and human rights.

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The Nation: Washington Lobbyists & Koch-Funded Libertarians Behind TSA Scandal

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There's no smoking gun yet, but according to this article over at The Nation, the Koch Brothers and their little friends may be behind the latest "Don't TSA me, bro" controversy.

Why am I not surprised?

While this issue is certainly important—and offensive—to Americans, we are nonetheless skeptical about how and why this story turned into a national movement. In fact, this whole campaign feels a bit like déjà-vu: As the first reporters to expose the Tea Party as an Astroturf PR campaign [1] funded by FreedomWorks and Koch-related front groups back in February, 2009, we see many of the same elements driving the current "rebellion" against the TSA: Koch-related libertarians, Washington lobbyists and PR operatives posing as "ordinary citizens," and suspicious fake-grassroots outrage relentlessly promoted in the same old right-wing echo chamber. [...]

We could take it all at face value and just trust that they're all "ordinary guys." Or we could ask, "Who profits?"

One person who seems to have the answer is Rep. John Mica, the Florida Republican who is set to chair the Transportation Committee. [...]

The links between Mica, the libertarians, the Kochs, and the TSA scandal are only now emerging...

There is much more. Please go read the whole thing.

As the piece says, the issue is an important one, privacy issues are a concern, and invasive practices should be questioned. But this is a multi-faceted story (starting with the Koch Brothers and straight through to political and profit motives) that needs to be examined in depth. Thanks to The Nation, we're on our way.

UPDATE: The Nation responds to Glenn Greenwald's criticisms of their piece.

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