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IS IT TIME TO DO AWAY WITH THE TSA?
by Dennis R. Roach
(Nov. 24, 2010) — When complaints first began to be lodged against the new security procedures recently adopted by the Transportation Security Agency, an amelioration of the most offensive aspects may well have been sufficient to satisfy the sensitivities of most airline passengers. If discretion had trumped the non-essential intimate contact on the part of the TSA inspectors, the public would probably have met the agency halfway. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the omniscient hierarchy within the TSA chose to pretend to omnipotence and declared their inspired practices immutable and eternal. Because of the arrogance and feigned higher wisdom of the policymakers that infest the TSA, it is difficult to imagine the traveling public satisfied with anything less than the decertification, defunding, and dissolving of this malformed organization.
TSA would have us believe that their invasive procedures are absolutely necessary and the only sure method of avoiding terrorists being able to slip contraband on board an airliner. I went through the U.S. Navy’s nuclear power program and served aboard a nuclear power submarine for four and a half years. Subsequent to my military service, I was employed as an Auxilliary Operator in a civilian nuclear power plant. To enter the plant’s environs, it was necessary to pass through a full body metal detector, SUCCESSFULLY, then an “Air Puff Gas Analyzer.” All the while we were under the observation of trained security personnel who could, would, and did randomly select an incomer and give the standard hands-on frisk which police officers give to every suspect before applying cuffs. The security officer also had the authority to frisk any individual who, for one reason or another, provoked doubt. To the best of my memory, no site inspector or company plant was ever able to smuggle a simulated weapon or package into the plant without its contents being first identified, and they did try! As well, not a single worker ever lodged a complaint against a security officer for an aggressively intimate frisk. The intimate invasion insisted upon by the TSA does not add even one half of a percentage point security-wise to the standard frisk performed by a trained security officer. In no way does it require a giant leap of imagination to conclude that the so-called “security” gropings performed by the TSA agents are fundamentally and solely an instrument of intimidation under a false claim initiated by a power-mad government attempting to “put us in our place.”
If this abuse were unique to this effort, it might be passed over as an over-zealous agency carried away by a burning desire to provide for the safety, health, and welfare of the citizenry. But such is not the case. The TSA has proclaimed loud and long that the risks to health presented by the X-Ray Scanners is so miniscule as to be a non-factor. It has now been brought to light that this also has been misrepresented. Scientists in no way affiliated with the TSA have raised serious and alarming warnings regarding the “safety” of these scanners. A physics professor by the name of Peter Rez at Arizona State University in Tempe conducted his own study, finding the radiation exposure ten times what the TSA estimates. A separate and unconnected team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco were also alarmed by the erroneous information being fed to the public, alarmed to the point that they jointly wrote a letter to the White House declaring, “There is good reason to believe that these scanners will increase the risk of cancer to children and other vulnerable populations. We are unanimous in believing that the potential health consequences need to be rigorously studied before these scanners are adopted.” Did we all catch that? “…need to be rigorously studied before these scanners are adopted,” and yet with this warning in hand, Obama ordered the deployment and coerced use of these machines. Well, so much for “an over-zealous agency carried away by a burning desire to provide for the safety, health, and welfare of the citizenry.”
But the most repugnant deception has not yet been mentioned. A little investigative journalism on the part of New York Times reporter Susan Stellini revealed that the institutions touted by the TSA as having determined that the scanners were safe for general use actually limited their testing to insuring that the radiation levels emitted by the scanners fell within the guidelines established by a committee within the American National Standards Institute. Strangely enough, with few exceptions, this committee was made up of representatives of the company which manufacture and sell the scanners and agents of the Department of Homeland Security, which desperately wants to acquire and use them! They KNEW that their data was defective but chose to just let the public run the risk; they’ll never find out anyway.
We the people have been deceived, verbally abused by arrogant TSA agents, lied to by the Department of Homeland Security, made to stand virtually naked before a scanner operator for “inspection,” subjected to sexual assault, and sometimes left to fend for ourselves with our clothes around our ankles and medical apparatus detached, disarranged, and often disconnected while the TSA inspectors walk away with never an offer of assistance. Through it all, the Department of Homeland Security, along with its TSA stooges, has tried to maintain a virtuous and angelic innocence, making the claim that they did it all for our own good. Is it enough to just modify a few procedures, or is something a little more drastic called for?