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TSA: since last week

The Suitcase (detail), 1990. Michel Potage, French (artsuggest.com)

TSA wants you to know they’re still on the job and here’s what they found (fewer guns and more “artfully concealed” stuff) during the period between March 9th and 15th, 2012:
  • Firearms: 16 loaded; 3 unloaded
  • 5 artfully concealed prohibited item found at checkpoints

Over at the TSA Blog Week in Review, they’re showing a photo of mass quantities of ecstasy pills found in someone’s underwear which apparently they were required to report to the police. An anonymous comment asked:

If you “have” to report drugs to the police, then you are acting as agents of the police, and are therefore bound by the 4th Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Where are your warrants?

Just another right you surrender when you buy a plane ticket?

Journalist Scott James did some investigating after his partner’s $700 phone went missing after he passed through a security checkpoint at San Francisco International Airport last December and the problem was treated with disinterest by TSA agents

The incident also made me wonder how often valuables disappear during security screenings at San Francisco’s airport, and if our experience with airport authorities was typical. I decided to find out. The challenge, I quickly learned, was navigating the dizzying multitude of jurisdictions involved. No single agency or individual seemed answerable for the problems.

And a new law was just passed making it easier to airports to choose private security contractors in place of the TSA which could save us all some serious money.

Since 2001, a little-known law has let airports seek permission to stop using federal screeners. But airport officials said that the T.S.A had been slow in allowing the switch, and last year the agency said it would stop accepting additional requests.

That angered Representative John L. Mica, Republican of Florida, whose district includes the Orlando Sanford airport. Mr. Mica, the chairman of the House transportation committee, included a provision in aviation legislation strengthening the ability of airports to use private screeners. The law passed last month.

  • I’m no attorney, but that sounds like the worst argument I’ve ever heard for the 4th amendment. Why not get rid of metal detectors as well? Wouldn’t they violate your 4th amendment rights as they are technically searching your person for items that might be prohibited without a warrant being issued? Why do they even bother x-raying luggage because wouldn’t that be a breach of 4th amendment rights too? What makes these searches not unreasonable is there is actually cause for alarm when it comes to plane travel because of what has occurred in the past. If nobody hijacked a plane and nobody blew up a plane I would agree that the searches are unreasonable. If terrorists moved their hijacking and bombing to trains and bus travel, you’d see screening set up there too, and I’m sure you’d complain in the same way you are complaining about the TSA, by making fun of all the things they find and how they never seem to find a bomb.

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