Nov 212010
 
 November 21, 2010  Surveillance

While Buffalo Niagara International Airport gets ready for an anticipated opt out protest on Nov. 24, while the Orlando International Airport tries to assuage the fears of parents and grandparents about harm to children,  and while Jerry DeMarco calls TSA “filthy, rotten slime” for strip-searching a young boy, here’s a roundup of a few other articles and editorials on the TSA security outrage from this morning’s papers:

The Holland Sentinel editorial board writes, in part:

Taking off your shoes in the airport is one thing, but do we really have to bare our bodies for strangers to be safe? Everyone, of course, wants to guard against terrorist attacks, but the new technology and more aggressive pat-downs may not be buying us much more security. Our security system continues to react to the last threat, and terrorists are no doubt thinking up new ways now to get around the latest technology. What will the TSA do to us when we find a terrorist has hidden explosives in a body cavity? It wasn’t technology that thwarted the “underwear bomber” and the 2001 “shoe bomber” or foiled the plot last month to blow up U.S.-bound cargo plans. It was alert passengers and crew members and good old-fashioned intelligence work that saved the day.

Jessica Fargen of the Boston Herald reports that local Tea Party organizations are calling for their members to opt out. She also writes:

One 60-year-old grandmother from Westport who opted for a pat-down over the full body scan told the Herald she felt “dirty’’ and “horrible’’ after the procedure last month.

“She felt all around everywhere, my whole body out to my fingertips,” said the woman, so fearful of government retribution that she asked for anonymity.

Jim Terry writes, on Renew America:

… Now, we have a government justifying its actions, in the name of security, performing assault on its citizens. Black’s Law Dictionary defines assault: “In criminal law and tort law, the threat or use of force on another that causes that person to have a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact.”

Under any other circumstance, actions reported to be taking place at American airports by agents of the United States government would be criminal assault and in some jurisdictions, sexual assault.

Death by 1000 Papercuts writes:

The unfortunate reality is that the bad guys seemingly understand our system, our attempted fixes and our mentality just as well as we do. They spend all of their time doing so, where we tend to wait until a crisis presents itself.

The sad truth from the Government Accountability Office concerning advanced imaging technology and an analysis of the attempt to bring down Northwest flight 253, they said:

“While officials said AITs performed as well as physical pat downs in operational tests, it remains unclear whether the AIT would have detected the weapon used in the December 2009 incident based on the preliminary information GAO has received.”

The Associated Press, who reported that incoming Speaker of the House Boehner didn’t go through the aggressive patdowns we do, also reports:

… the TSA has demonstrated a knack for ignoring the basics of customer relations, while struggling with what experts say is an all but impossible task. It must stand as the last line against unknown terror, yet somehow do so without treating everyone from frequent business travelers to the family heading home to visit grandma as a potential terrorist.

The TSA “is not a flier-centered system. It’s a terrorist-centered system and the travelers get caught in it,” said Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University who has tracked the agency’s effectiveness since it’s creation.

New York City Councilman, who introduced a measure to ban invasive searches at all New York airports, has a guest commentary in todays New York Post, where he points to the conflict of interest that Michael Chertoff, former secretary of Homeland Security, may have had that was not disclosed to the general public at the time:

What Chertoff neglected to mention to the nervous American public, while shilling for a machine that wouldn’t have stopped Abdulmutallab, is that, as the head of The Chertoff Group, he was now being paid as a lobbyist for Rapiscan, a company actively pursuing a contract for these scanners. Within days, Chertoff’s client received an astonishing $173 million to manufacture and install these machines in airports across the country.

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