TSA Continues To Harass Tots and Seniors

What I want is men who will support me when I am in the wrong.

These words were uttered by a British Whig politician, William Lamb, Lord Melbourne, in the early 19th Century, reportedly in reply to a fellow politician offering to support him when he was in the right. The principle the words embody, however, might as well be emblazoned on the employment contract for each TSA (Transportation Security Administration) manager, especially those at the highest levels of this federal bureaucracy.

The latest example of TSA leadership supporting its personnel no matter how outrageous the conduct, can be seen in the agency’s response to an incident in which a wheelchair-bound, 95-year old woman was pressured to remove an adult diaper before TSA agents at Northwest Florida Regional Airport would permit her to board a flight to Michigan. When details of this most recent controversy involving overly intrusive TSA pat-downs surfaced, the agency quickly circled the wagons and declared its people did everything “professionally and according to proper procedure.”

In other words, telling a cancer-stricken, 95-year old woman travelling in a wheelchair, that she cannot board a commercial airliner for which she has paid her fare and been “cleared” to travel, unless she takes off an adult diaper that a TSA agent deemed to be suspicious, is “professional” and “proper.” If that is “proper” and “professional,” I’d like to see what might constitute behavior that is “unprofessional and improper”; not that it matters — TSA leadership takes the position that whatever its agents do is, by definition, proper and will be supported by supervisors all the way up the chain of command.

This is the very same agency that within the same week in which this incident occurred, told the public it was “revising” its policies and practices regarding criminal-like pat-downs of small children. This PR gambit came in the wake of the highly publicized groping by a TSA agent of a six-year old girl at Kansas City International Airport. In fact, however, the “revision” was nothing but public relations double talk. The TSA still claims to have the power to conduct however intrusive a search it desires of any passenger, no matter their age or infirmity; and regardless of whether there is any articulable suspicion they are attempting to bring anything dangerous on board an aircraft.

The linguistic gobbledygook was displayed clearly in a statement made by TSA Administrator John Pistole in announcing the “new approach.” In the agency’s continuing effort to smooth-talk the public into supporting its intrusive activities, Pistole declared that, “every traveler is a critical partner in TSA’s efforts.” “Critical partner,” indeed; only in the sense that a robbery victim is a “critical partner” in ensuring they will not be harmed if they simply succumb to the perpetrator’s demands.

Clearly, President Obama is not inclined to step up and rein in the TSA or its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security. And thus far, TSA has resisted efforts by the Congress – especially the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, headed by California Republican Darrell Issa – to consider any reasonable limitations on the agency’s vast power over law-abiding citizens.

Whether citizens of this country will arise from their fear-based stupor to declare that “enough is enough,” and demand they stop being treated like common criminals simply because they need to travel by air, remains to be seen. Thus far, despite occasional public revulsion at individual incidents, the fear mongerers are winning.

By Bob Barr – The Barr Code

85 comments Add your comment

Polka Dotty Jones

June 29th, 2011
12:34 pm

I am not going to rant and rave (although I DO feel like it). Just want say that I believe these random searches are NOT keeping us safe and are merely cosmetic. Without profiling passengers, these searches are just futile exercise and are not preventing terrorism. A tremendous waste of Americans’ freedom, time and money!

Mo Schreibman

June 29th, 2011
12:36 pm

They should be made to change diapers as long as they are inspecting them in the first place.

Deborah Newell Tornello

June 29th, 2011
12:36 pm

Commenter ‘q’ says: “Unfortunatly (sic) you have to live with these intrusions because terrorist (sic) will use any means (i.e. old or young person) to kill Americans. Underwear bomber, shoe bomber, child suicide bombers etc. If you don’t like it take Greyhound or Amtrack. No security at all!!”

First, I would ask q if he is okay with having the TSA perform mandatory, random, rectal exams on would-be passengers, because there have indeed been incidents of suicide bombers hiding explosives this way.

Well?

Ultimately, Americans must realize that there IS NO SUCH THING as perfect, 100% protection from terrorism. As they stand in lines of people numbering into the hundreds, waiting to be screened, x-rayed, groped, or otherwise searched, do they not realize that they’re vulnerable to an attack right then and there, standing in line? It has already happened in Russia. So what would they have the government do–begin strip-searching people two miles away from the airport? How about shopping malls, stadiums, university lectures? Do we search everyone, all the time, and should all those searches include internal exams, since we know that the terrorists will exploit this and hide their weapons wherever they think authorities *won’t* look?

Second, ‘q’ is WRONG about Amtrack or Greyhound not having security at all. The TSA not only shows up at train stations and bus stations to carry out these unconstitutional searches–scans, “enhanced pat-downs”, and luggage searches–they are also accompanied by well-armed officers from ICE and metro police as part of their “VIPR” program, making the coercive nature of these searches even more obvious.

If citizens do not stand up for their rights, they are essentially giving them up. And once you’ve given up your rights, good luck ever getting them back. I would note that we are now halfway through the year 2011.

Rose

June 29th, 2011
12:55 pm

I guess “judgment calls” are a thing of the past. Because most of the TSA agents are “highly qualified, professional” and what else – not much, or they wouldn’t be doing that job. I’m sure they’re fairly mortified as well. But what does it take to be a TSA agent?? I’m guessing not much.

My mother, who is 91, and was in a wheelchair as she was recovering from a fall, ICU, hospitalization, rehab and was flying home. They patted her down. My brother, who is in good shape, just walked through security – no total body scan, no pat down, just whatever security there is in Atlanta – where you just empty your pockets and walk on through.

Makes a lot of sense huh?

I’m a patriot and believe in keeping us safe, but as many people have pointed out – they don’t do this at bus stations, train stations, etc. Like a terrorist can’t bomb them or malls or stadiums, etc.

Amy

June 29th, 2011
1:07 pm

But you will NEVER see TSA take off the head covering worn by Muslim women….THAT would ve profiling.

Paul

June 29th, 2011
1:43 pm

Bob, thanks for demonstrating your well honed low-key humor at a recent speaking event. I asked if you knew what TSA stood for, and when I explained that it was “Too Stupid for Arby’s” you responded with “hey wait a minute – I LIKE Arby’s”.

michael

June 29th, 2011
1:43 pm

Americans are so naive. Of course TSA needs to check diapers, regardless of who they’re on.

You’d think after 9/11 they’d drop their genteel sensibilties and realize what true guerilla tactics entail. Diapers have been the favorite spot for smugglers for years, because they realize that Americans won’t go there.

Hell, if people will carry things inside their bodies, of course they’ll slip them into undergarments, rectums, etc.

bob

June 29th, 2011
1:44 pm

I remember someone telling me that they will never fly again unless airport screening IS ELIMINATED! I thought about it and if we had roming Airport security, like we have in public, instead of any screening then no terrorist could take any planes because at least 5 or 6 passengers would shoot him dead.

Then again I believe an armed society is a polite society.

angry doughnuts

June 29th, 2011
1:53 pm

Fact: Intrusive passenger screening – groping, stripping, under-clothes pictures – are NOT making air travel any safer.

Why? You ask…

Because everyday 100,000’s of airport employees (incl. TSA clerks) and vendors enter the secure side of this nations’ airports – WITHOUT BEING SCREENED.

Because cargo is being put on your plane WITHOUT BEING SCREENED.

You are nothing but a DAMN FOOL if you think intrusive passenger searches are making you safe on an airplane.

Mission Creep

June 29th, 2011
1:59 pm

FYI morans -

TSA has ALREADY expanded to trains, subways, busses, and ferries. Oh, also roads and highways.

In fact, TSA has taken to searching little kids AFTER the get disembark Amtrack; not because of any threat.

BUT BECAUSE THEY CAN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1B3AubsTBo

Mel

June 29th, 2011
2:38 pm

While watching an interview with Saxby Chambliss on a local morning show, he made a comment that really showed me how politicians think. When asked about the latest search controversy with the TSA, he said that Americans knew that it was for THEIR own good. (emphasis mine) As long as the elitists in Washington do not consider themselves American, exempt themselves from the mindless regulations imposed on the little people (the ones that vote them in) and have the mindset that they can trample on the Constitution it is time to clean them out. No more career politicians.

Pablo

June 29th, 2011
2:38 pm

It has been my experience when traveling that those TSA agents are either so skinny they can’t keep their size 2 pants around their waists, or so fat that they couldn’t even catch a cold. So, whenever I find myself in the position of having no other option but to travel by air, I curse the muslim ideology that gave birth to this comedy of errors, and enjoy watching them trying to convince me that by making sure I do not carry a cup of coffee with me will make air travel safe for everyone…

Larry

June 29th, 2011
2:38 pm

The minute our government no longer trusts us, they better start fearing us! Fight the TSA.

jj

June 29th, 2011
2:42 pm

The only way the pressure can be exerted is by the airlines. I know this is an impossible request but if everyone in this country did not fly for one week, and told their carrier it was due to TSA I guarantee you the carriers would lobby the hell out of Washington to get this changed. Imagine every airport in the country empty except for airport employees, that would be quite a sight.
I am a multi million miler who has an implant and gets stopped/mugged for every single flight.

seabeau

June 29th, 2011
2:51 pm

Let the flyers pay for this foolishness!!

TruthBe

June 29th, 2011
4:56 pm

[...] mandating no traveller may fly in American airspace unless TSA agents first see and/or feel …TSA Continues To Harass Tots and SeniorsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)TSA must apply common sense when searching passengersTbo.comNo [...]

Father Murphy

June 29th, 2011
6:24 pm

I like it when they give me a body search!

oldguy

June 29th, 2011
10:01 pm

Hey all,
If you like the way you are treated like cattle now by the TSA just wait until the Feds control your healthcare also!!
Actually cattle are treated with more respect than flyers, at least PITA looks out for cruelity to animals, who looks out for cruelity to people!
With all of the harrassment etc, I have yet to see a report where TSA has intersepted a bonified terrorist strictly by airport inspection. Any takers??
The underware bomber?? His bomb was defective and he was restrained by a GERMAN national trying to save his own skin.
The Shoe Bomber?? A steward and passanger saw and smelled him trying to light his shoe bomb.
Sooooo
we are 0 for 10 years by this fall with the TSA!!!
Reminds me of the story of the old English Major who retired to London after 40 years in India. Every day he went to his local Pub and ordered a Gin and Tonic. Finally the bartender asked him “sir, why do you always order a gin and tonic, Its a hot weather drink and it is as cold as blazes outside!” The Major replied confidently “because it keeps the Malaria away!” The bartender replied, “But sir, there isn’t any malaria within 1000 miles of here!!” to which the Major responded, “and it does a dambed good job too!!”. Thats the TSA!!!

And realize that we had airport screeners and metal detectors before 9/11 but the terrorists knew our parameters (utility knives were not banned) and they took advantage of them; including the policy of not fighting a hijacker for fear of violence.
I believe it was Napoleon who said “he who protects everything protects nothing!”
The answer:
Basic screening but profile!! Look for the terrorist not just the weapon. Keep the terrorists guessing at the level of security, do random intensity runs. Take most of the TSA out and use the money to provide MANY more undercover ARMED security guards, as many as 2 per long flight, with orders to shoot on site of a hijacking!
i.e. much like the Israeli do!
But most of all…..LOOK AT THE LIKELY TERRORIST!!! They are young and male and Muslim; not always, but 95%+ so put your effort where the likely terrorist is and to hell with the profileing!!

oldguy

June 29th, 2011
10:10 pm

BTW Some of us have to fly….
I go to Spain to visit relatives
My daughter lives in Vancouver, Canada Its a 4 day drive for me and Rail is almost as long (and actually more expensive than flying!!).

[...] TSA Continues To Harass Tots and Seniors | The Barr Code. Share this:EmailFacebookRedditDiggPrint Posted in Opinion, TSA – Tagged adult diaper, [...]

Mike

June 30th, 2011
7:01 am

TSA really needs to be reigned in. They are nothing more than a federal crime wave committing continuous crimes and civil rights violations against the American people.

At Travel Underground, one of our members has a compiled an incredible list of TSA crimes and abuses committed over a seven-month period:

http://www.travelunderground.org/index.php?threads/master-list-of-tsa-abuses-failures-lies-lawsuits-etc-submitted-by-fisher1949.146/

Please work to reform this rogue agency. Whether you are a terminally ill 95-year-old or a healthy 6-year-old, American travelers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Mike, Executive Director
Travel Underground
http://www.travelunderground.org

Blog Soup

June 30th, 2011
8:17 am

Did I say “a bomb on every flight”? My bad. I meant a box cutter on every train. No, that’s not it. I meant an exploding cigar in every newborn delivery waiting room. Aw, that’s not it either. I meant to write that if Bob Barr were the head of the TSA or any government bureau, then we’d all be F’d. He is the candle-in-the-wind demagogue from H…E.. Double Hockey Sticks, man.

Bob Barr plays only to the indoctrinated choir, yet he refuges behind freedom imagery like any incontinent scoundrel hidse behind his depends – while the cherished notions of our founding disinfectors become diluted and uninspiring, (and clothespinned).

Bob Barr belongs behind Bobbies, bars and barbed wire.

Point of order: British cops are called “Bobbies”. So were New York City cops called “bobbies” in 1850.

This has been another bwa barb on Bob Barr from the blog bard. Hope you enjoyed it. More2come.

U C, I gotz a big problem about Bob Barr, who can’t write worth a lick, yet we are asked to endure his violation of everything decent folk come to be expectins whens theys reads somethings.

I gotza bigs problems wid it.

Peace out.

thewatchdog

June 30th, 2011
8:26 am

It was on the news this morning, a Muslim from Nigeria got on a plane at JFK with an expired boarding pass and flew to Los Angeles.. Now, you tell me, why a six year old girl and a 95 year old woman get the full invasive search, all in violation of the 4th Amendment,(to be secure in ourselves).
What is going on? Is the TSA a bunch of incompetents that are trying to [make work] for themselves by finding the most least likely, most vulnerable target to search and at the same time letting a Muslim fly with an expired boarding pass.
This is the 4th of July weekend, I am going to spend time perusing the Constitution and finding out how far the U.S. has strayed from our founder”s idealiasm for a great and prosperous and democratic country.

ncgreybr

June 30th, 2011
10:47 am

Just wait until we see a bomb go off in a plane and they trace it back to a wheelchair that a 95 year old took on board and it wasn’t checked because of the recent uproar! THEN we will hear those same people calling for the headS of the TSA honchos to roll because “They didn’t do their jobs and protect us!”

Liberalism = retardation

June 30th, 2011
11:10 am

Bob, there’s a reason Libertarians never ever ever get elected to office. Yeah, this is a huge problem but there are even bigger problems that you keep ignoring. For instance, the current Retard in Chief has the leadership skills of Jimmy Carter and we’re all paying for his stupidity and inexperience. How’s about writing about something relevant?

Liberalism = retardation

June 30th, 2011
11:11 am

Quickest way to end this problem is to profile Muslims. Israel does it and they haven’t had one single problem.

Liberalism = retardation

June 30th, 2011
11:13 am

“Of course TSA needs to check diapers, regardless of who they’re on.”

How many bombings have old white people been involved in?

Zero.

Now STFU.

thewatchdog

June 30th, 2011
2:39 pm

I am a “Jeffersonian Constitutionalist.” So henceforward, I will be taking a Jeffersonian perspective to all of Bob’s utterings. During the session of congress neither house will adjourn for more than three days. “To RAISE AND SUPPORT ARMIES BUT NO APPROPRIATION OF MONEY TO THAT USE SHALL BE LONGER THAN TWO YEARS.” Now, the war in the middle east has gone on longer than two years and at a cost of 3 and one-half trillion dollars. Jefferson would call this an outrage to the Constitution.

Oscar Greasemanelli

June 30th, 2011
4:42 pm

“THEN we will hear those same people calling for the headS of the TSA honchos to roll because “They didn’t do their jobs and protect us!””

No I wouldn’t.

AssumeThePosition

June 30th, 2011
7:52 pm

“Clearly, President Obama is not inclined to step up and rein in the TSA or its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security.”

Because he’s WEAK. He talks a good game, but he’s not managing the government the way the President is supposed to. Likewise with the various wars we’re involved in, he’s allowing the generals to call the shots. He’s just an onlooker.

joey

July 2nd, 2011
9:45 pm

Keep in mind most of the mental giants at tsa are smarter than the politicians on the left, May GOD help us all!

joey

July 2nd, 2011
9:48 pm

Personally, I have started rooting for the terrorists!

joey

July 2nd, 2011
10:12 pm

At least they know how to profile a terrorist, I just can’t imagine them searching little old ladies and babies!

more power

July 4th, 2011
7:21 am

hey bob:

Your buddies in congress created this “patriot” act that took away legal rights from ordinary people and the corrupt TSA, another paramilitary police force that gets to order people around like slaves at airports with their fancy badge. Congrats!