” On April 3, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will hear an appeal for a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) filed by two Harvard law students in 2010 claiming that their Fourth Amendment rights were violated by “nude body scanners” and “enhanced pat-downs.” The First Circuit is also allowing Freedom to Travel USA, an anti-TSA advocacy group, to make an appearance and oral arguments.
A victory on the side of the two students, Jeffrey Redfern and Anant Pradhan, would definitely be a win for civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. But even if, however, the lawsuits are struck down, this case will help continue to highlight and expose one of the most pervasive institutions of government abuse that exists in America.
This case alone is just one of many that the Freedom to Travel USA, Redfern, and Pradhan have helped bring to the public’s attention. They have put pressure on the TSA for not disclosing enough information about the capability of its scanners and attacking them for their veil of secrecy and dismissive nature towards worries over the health effects.
What makes this specific TSA lawsuit that much more interesting is that fact that Freedom to Travel USA includes ”very, very conservative people and Occupy arrestees” as supporters. Usually the bipartisan consensus consists of the authoritarian right and left colluding to expand power and restrict liberty. But much like the grassroots swell that arose from Senator Rand Paul’s anti-drone filibuster, this may unite the populist left and right in another worthy cause.”
Illustration by Ben Garrison
A sharp-eyed reader called this dose of insanity to our attention and we thought our readers would like to know how seriously the government takes those ” draconian cuts” to it’s budget .
While you may stand in line for an extra hour to board your plane you can rest assured in the knowledge that the TSA thug holding you up is comfortable in his/her new uniform , socks and belts included …
If you find yourself losing patience as your legs go numb from standing in line be sure to save a measure of pity for that poor public
tyrant ”servant” that has to pay for his own shoes and dry cleaning …. Oh the horror …
” The Transportation Security Administration agreed on a deal last month worth as much as $50 million to buy new uniforms for rank-and-file agents, despite concerns that imminent budget cuts would result in furloughs and 90-minute flight delays.
Agency officials signed the contract just days before the start of the $85 billion in federal budget cuts known as sequester.
On Feb. 22, the same day the contract was signed, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the sequester cuts could result in flight delays as long as 90 minutes at major airports in Chicago, New York and San Francisco and warned about furloughing air traffic controllers.
The deal does not include shoes or dry cleaning, according to CNSNews.com, which first reported the story. TSA did not respond to requests for comment.
Blackburn also is taking issue with a union-negotiated deal in which TSA security officers get a higher uniform allowance than combat Marine lieutenants, who receive a one-time allowance of $400.”
” Because there’s nothing more threatening than a disabled tot in a hot-pink wheelchair and Velcro sneakers, TSA agents singled out 3-year-old Lucy, who has spina bifida, for extra screening at Lambert-St. Louis Airport in Missouri. Irritated parents Nathan and Annie Forck kept the camera rolling, despite agents insisting filming was illegal.”
” The TSA was created to replace the patchwork of private security companies that handled airport security in the pre-9/11 era. Its budget quickly ballooned: Since 2002 the number of TSA agents has risen from 16,000 to more than 50,000. Still, to a traumatized public, any amount of overreaction in the name of preventing another terrorist attack seemed acceptable.
More than a decade later, it’s time to move on. For one thing, the attention paid to terrorism in the U.S. is out of proportion to the relative threat it presents. Since 2000 the chance that the death of a U.S. resident resulted from a terrorist attack was 1 in 3.5 million, according to John Mueller and Mark Stewart of Ohio State and the University of Newcastle, respectively. Out of the 150,000 murders in the U.S. between 9/11 and the end of 2010, Islamic extremism accounted for fewer than three dozen. In fact, extremist Islamic terrorism resulted in just 200 to 400 annual deaths worldwide, outside the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq—the same number, notes Mueller, that occur in bathtubs in the U.S. each year.
Yet the TSA still commands a budget of nearly $8 billion—leaving the agency with too many officers and not enough to do. The TSA’s “Top Good Catches of 2011,” reported on its blog, did include 1,200 firearms and—their top find—a single batch of C4 explosives (though that payload was discovered only on the return flight). A longer list of the TSA’s confiscations would include a G.I. Joe action doll’s 4-inch plastic rifle (“it’s a replica”) and a light saber toy. For all the face cream, breast milk, and live fish that vigilant screeners collected in airport security lines last year, the TSA didn’t spot a single terrorist trying to board an airline in the U.S. “
Illustration By Glenn McCoy
” HONOLULU, HAWAII – Wade Hicks Jr., of Gulfport, Mississippi, spent four days in Hawaii, but he wasn’t in the islands since October 14 to enjoy sunshine, palm trees and paradise.
Half way through his journey from San Francisco to Japan aboard a military flight, during what was supposed to be a brief stop over on Oahu, a senior U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement agent, accompanied by two heavily armed military guards, informed Hicks he was on the “No Fly List.”
The agent told Hicks he would have to find other means of transportation off our remote Pacific island, which was 2,500 miles from where he started.”
” Conservative radio host and Breitbart Editor Dana Loesch had her vagina groped during an advanced screening by the TSA at Phoenix Airport, with Loesch complaining that she is targeted for such treatment almost every time she flies. “
” In the video, Loesch complains to the screeners that she is “subjected to this almost every time I fly.” In her You Tube blurb, Loesch links to a previous incident in Providence, Rhode Island, where her husband was molested and had his genitals groped after TSA workers claimed he was covered in “nitrates.”
“After concluding that I wasn’t a terrorist hiding weapons in my vagina, the TSA agents allowed me to go,” concludes Loesch.
Groping travelers’ genitals has now become a routine part of TSA screening procedures.
Hundreds of complaint letters about the TSA’s invasive security procedures which were released last month under the Freedom of Information Act include numerous horror stories about TSA screeners directly touching people’s genitals during pat downs. There have also been numerous cases of public figures having their “junk” touched.
Could Loesch be a routine target of TSA harassment due to her public criticism of the agency?
As we have documented, people who opt out of body scanners or those who simply fail to display the proper level of obedience to TSA screeners are routinely subjected to punishment by means of invasive grope downs or other forms of retaliation.
Journalists who are critical of the TSA have also been singled out for retribution.
CNN reporter Drew Griffin was also put on a TSA watch list immediately after he filed reports critical of the organization back in 2008. “
Some reflections on our present state of affairs from Gun Owners of America
“In America nowadays, when all you have to do is infer that someone MIGHT be up to something that appears to be possibly terroristic in nature you can shred the 4th Amendment right and do whatever it takes in pursuit of him.
Then we have the TSA. Workers whose starting salary grade is $17,000 a year are given absolute power over whether you are allowed to travel or not. And I don’t mean that these people are stopping you because you have brought anthrax on a plane or reek of plutonium. They can kick you off just because they don’t like you. I feel bad for all the beautiful women who are subjected tocancer causing backscatter screens just because some agent wants to get his jollies off. Or for people who have been sexually assaulted having to relive the experience at one of the agents grope fests.
Not only is the government fighting to keep the TSA in airports they are trying to expand it to bus terminals, train stations and on the streets.”