If you are a regular reader of the Hurricane, you know that we have been covering the new enhanced (read “illegal”) searching and groping now going on at our nation’s airports. Some believe, including me, that the TSA implemented the aggressive pat downs of those who refuse the full body scanners to force travelers to submit to the scanners (read “nude photography without your consent”). Their plan likely was to make the pat downs more and more invasive until they got what they wanted…everyone going through the scanners to avoid having their genitals caressed by rubber-gloved federal agents.
The TSA plan backfired, though, after airport security horror stories surfaced, pundits started decrying the new policy and now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying she wouldn’t go through the procedure if she didn’t have to. The outcry has been loud and continuous, with a major internet based protest set for Wednesday, intended to shut down airports the day before Thanksgiving. That protest, which could wreck the holiday for millions, is ill-timed and unwise, but the intent is correct: to stop this lunacy that doesn’t make us any safer.
A case in point: I had my own experience with TSA groping while traveling late Saturday night. I was going through security at a major airport with my 5 lb. poodle, Mimi, who is a constant companion for me since I spend much of my travel and work time alone. For those who haven’t been through security with a carry-on-sized pet, the normal procedure is to take the pet out of their travel case and carry them through the metal detector, putting them back in after clearing security. I did just that, and no alarms were set off when we passed through. However, because Mimi was wearing a little dog sweater, she was singled out for “enhanced” screening. The TSA agent actually patted down my poodle, even though she is tiny. The agent said she got the pat down because she was wearing a sweater. No, I wasn’t stupid enough to point out that I was also wearing a sweater, and asking why I wasn’t being patted down. I kept my mouth shut and I let it go, cowed by my own rush to make my flight to go home for the holiday.
This whole issue is stupid. The outrageous government intrusion into our privacy and clear violation of our right against unreasonable search and seizure is the result of decades of incompetent government policy and poor management of our security and intelligence. Ignoring the origins of terrorism for now, there is so much more that could be done to improve our security, but rather than do those things, we are allowing old ladies, kids, and now toy poodles to be singled out for “enhanced” screening. How idiotic.
Time for the Obama administration to fix this; not that I expect anyone to actually do that.