TSA security theater is reactive and ineffective

Golly, it seems like most everyone except ranking members of both major parties are saying the scanners are dangerous and the new procedures invasive and ineffective.

It aims at compliance and submission, says the Pirate Party of Oklahoma, in an enimently sensible interview with Third Party and Independent Daily.

What is the Pirate Party’s response to the TSA/DHS’s roll-out of the new and highly invasive body scanner screening procedures and “enhanced pat-downs”?

Marcus Kessler: The Pirate Party is really not surprised that the TSA is pushing heavily to get these machines deployed. Every time a new plot is discovered, such as the “Christmas Bomber” or the “Printer Cartridge Plot”, it becomes more obvious that the current tactics and security theatre orchestrated by the TSA are ineffective. Not surprisingly, instead of realizing that the current system does not provide any meaningful safety, the TSA responds to each incident with further reactionary and ineffective directives.

We don’t think that having to choose between “show your scrotum on screen or let us touch your scrotum” qualifies as a reasonable search according to the constitution. The physical pat-down is also more time consuming, often requiring passengers to wait on a qualified employee that has been trained on the enhanced pat-down, or an employee of the same gender. At the same time, many airports that use the imaging devices have reduced the number of lanes that can be used for screening. This leads to longer wait times which requires passengers to decide whether to allow the TSA to view their naked body, or opt-out of the screening and risk missing their flight.

Has airport security gone too far?, asks the Wall Street Journal (emphasis added)

The larger question is whether the TSA’s tech-centric approach to security makes any sense at all. Even the most modest of us would probably agree to a brief flash of quasi-nudity if it would really ensure a safe flight. That’s not the deal the TSA is offering. Instead, the agency is asking for Rolando Negrin-style revelations in exchange for incremental, uncertain security improvements against particular kinds of concealed weapons.

It’s the same kind of trade-off TSA implicitly provided when it ordered us to take off our sneakers (to stop shoe bombs) and to chuck our water bottles (to prevent liquid explosives). Security guru Bruce Schneier, a plaintiff in the scanner suit, calls this “magical thinking . . . Descend on what the terrorists happened to do last time, and we’ll all be safe. As if they won’t think of something else.” Which, of course, they invariably do. Attackers are already starting to smuggle weapons in body cavities, going where even the most adroit body scanners do not tread. No wonder that the Israelis, known for the world’s most stringent airport security, have so far passed on the scanners.

We should take heed if Israel thinks scanners are worthless

Third party and independent activists united in opposition to full-body scanners and enhanced pat-down

From the very beginning, opposition to the scanners made for strange political bedfellows: the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association were early opponents of TSA plans to deploy the scanners throughout the country. The breadth of the opposition is even more apparent when one considers the positions of third party and Independent political activists. Independent, Green, Libertarian, Pirate Party and Constitution Party activists are united in their opposition to the TSA’s new security protocols.

The widespread political opposition to strip-search scanners and enhanced pat-downs has finally resulted in some movement among Democratic and Republican party lawmakers to investigate the controversial programs. Bipartisan groups in the New Jersey and Idaho state legislatures have begun efforts to ban the use of the machines in their respective states, and the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has announced that there will be a full committee hearing on Transportation Security Administration oversight today.

Oh gosh, the fossils on Capitol Hill are starting to think about maybe doing something, after a no doubt long series of ponderous hearings, of course. Instead, how about we all keep the pressure on and force them to act quickly and decisively.


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