The TSA’s Response to the Breast Milk Incident

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

(Jonathan H. Adler)

Last week, I posted a link to this video of one woman’s experience with airport security after asking to have her breast milk visually screened instead of x-rayed (as TSA procedures allow).  At the time, I said I’d like to hear the TSA’s side of the  incident, as the video appears to show TSA employees engaged in fairly egregious conduct.  I also contacted the TSA directly seeking their response to the incident and associated allegations.

The TSA has now responded on the TSA blog — and the response is not particularly reassuring.  Rather than provide any detail or clarification of the events on the video, the post acknowledges the woman in question was unhappy with her “screening experience” and “experienced an out of the ordinary delay,” claims the TSA investigated the incident, and reports that “the officers received refresher training for the visual inspection of breast milk.”  Really?  That’s it?  What’s offensive about the video is not the officers’ apparent lack of familiarity with the protocol for visual inspection of breast milk, but the apparent retaliation against a traveler who sought to avail herself of established TSA procedures.

If the TSA really has investigated this incident, it should, at the very least, make the investigation’s conclusions public and report on any disciplinary measures taken (or provide an explanation for the failure to discipline those involved).  If, as the TSA claims, it is official TSA policy to “strive to provide the highest level of customer service to all who pass through our security checkpoints” and its “policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy,” then it should be more forthcoming about incidents like this.




The Volokh Conspiracy

The TSA’s Response to the Breast Milk Incident

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

(Jonathan H. Adler)

Last week, I posted a link to this video of one woman’s experience with airport security after asking to have her breast milk visually screened instead of x-rayed (as TSA procedures allow).  At the time, I said I’d like to hear the TSA’s side of the  incident, as the video appears to show TSA employees engaged in fairly egregious conduct.  I also contacted the TSA directly seeking their response to the incident and associated allegations.

The TSA has now responded on the TSA blog — and the response is not particularly reassuring.  Rather than provide any detail or clarification of the events on the video, the post acknowledges the woman in question was unhappy with her “screening experience” and “experienced an out of the ordinary delay,” claims the TSA investigated the incident, and reports that “the officers received refresher training for the visual inspection of breast milk.”  Really?  That’s it?  What’s offensive about the video is not the officers’ apparent lack of familiarity with the protocol for visual inspection of breast milk, but the apparent retaliation against a traveler who sought to avail herself of established TSA procedures.

If the TSA really has investigated this incident, it should, at the very least, make the investigation’s conclusions public and report on any disciplinary measures taken (or provide an explanation for the failure to discipline those involved).  If, as the TSA claims, it is official TSA policy to “strive to provide the highest level of customer service to all who pass through our security checkpoints” and its “policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy,” then it should be more forthcoming about incidents like this.




The Volokh Conspiracy

TSA’s Strip/Grope: Unconstitutional?

November 28, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

By Jim Harper

Writing in the Washington Post, George Washington University law professor Jeffrey Rosen carefully concludes, “there’s a strong argument that the TSA’s measures violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.” The strip/grope policy doesn’t carefully escalate through levels of intrusion the way a better designed program using more privacy protective technology could.

It’s a good constutional technician’s analysis. But Professor Rosen doesn’t broach one of the most important likely determinants of Fourth Amendment reasonableness: the risk to air travel these searches are meant to reduce.

Writing in Politico last week, I pointed out that there have been 99 million domestic flights in the last decade, transporting seven billion passengers. Not one of these passengers snuck a bomb onto a plane and detonated it. Given that this period coincides with the zenith of Al Qaeda terrorism, this suggests a very low risk.

Proponents of the TSA’s regime point out that threats are very high, according to information they have. But that trump card—secret threat information—is beginning to fail with the public. It would take longer, but would eventually fail with courts, too.

But rather than relying on courts to untie these knots, Congress should subject TSA and the Department of Homeland Security to measures that will ultimately answer the open risk questions: Require any lasting security measures to be justified on the public record with documented risk management and cost-benefit analysis. Subject such analyses to a standard of review such as the Adminstrative Procedure Act’s “arbitrary and capricious” standard. Indeed, Congress might make TSA security measures APA notice-and-comment rules, with appropriate accomodation for (truly) temporary measures required by security exigency.

Claims to secrecy are claims to power. Congress should withdraw the power of secrecy from the TSA and DHS, subjecting these agencies to the rule of law.

TSA’s Strip/Grope: Unconstitutional? is a post from Cato @ Liberty - Cato Institute Blog


Cato @ Liberty

Huckabee: It’s time for Obama to send the first family through TSA’s new screening

November 23, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Oh my.


Via Greg Hengler, why not? Why not at least send them through the scanner, just as a PSA to remind passengers that they can skip the junk-touching if they’re willing to stand in front of the machine for a few seconds? Frankly, I’m surprised that The One hasn’t mobilized Napolitano and TSA chief John Pistole [...]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

TSA’s greatest hits: Searching prosthetic breasts, young boys, & leaves traveler covered in urine

November 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

I don’t know how many horror stories it will take for Americans to endure any more of this crap of violation and invasiveness from the the TSA.

Three more horror stories were just released yesterday of what people endured from the TSA.

One is of a TSA agent removing the  prosthetic breasts of a cancer survivor, video of a young boy getting stripped searched, and another cancer survivor left covered in urine.

Liberty Pundits Blog

The TSA’s Humiliating and Ineffective Security Policies

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Download Podcast | iTunes | Podcast Feed

On today’s edition of Coffee and Markets, Brad Jackson and Pejman Yousefzadeh discuss the surprising fundraising figures from this year’s election, a run away TSA bent on humiliation, not security, and more.

We’re brought to you as always by BigGovernment and Stephen Clouse and Associates. If you’d like to email us, you can do so at coffee[at]newledger.com. We hope you enjoy the show.

Related Links:

By any measure, Democrats raised more from PACs in 2010p
One Hundred Naked Citizens: One Hundred Leaked Body Scans
Amid airport anger, GOP takes aim at screening
What’s Darth Vader doing in Dubai?

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Big Government

Clownitano & TSA’s credibility problem

November 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


Photoshop credit: Another Black Conservative

Readers know I’ve been one of DHS Secretary Janet Clownitano’s most vocal critics — dating back to 2006, when she supported a disgraceful 9/11 memorial in Arizona poisoned by left-wing radicalism, through 2008, when the shamnesty wolf in enforcement clothing was tapped by Obama to head DHS, and, of course, over the past two years as she demonized conservative activists, botched 9/11 history, and turned homeland security into a bigger joke that it already has been.

J-Nap is now the focus of a massive national backlash over the new, invasive TSA screening procedures. She takes to the pages of USA Today to defend herself:

Nearly a year after a thwarted terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound airliner last Christmas Day, the recent attempt by terrorists to conceal and ship explosive devices aboard aircraft bound for the United States reminds us that al-Qaeda and those inspired by its ideology are determined to strike our global aviation system and are constantly adapting their tactics for doing so.

Our best defense against such threats remains a risk-based, layered security approach that utilizes a range of measures, both seen and unseen, including law enforcement, advanced technology, intelligence, watch-list checks and international collaboration.

This layered approach to aviation security is only as strong as the partnerships upon which it is built. In addition to the more than 50,000 trained transportation security officers, transportation security inspectors, behavior detection officers and canine teams who are on the front lines guarding against threats to the system, we rely on law enforcement and intelligence agencies across the federal government. We require airlines and cargo carriers to carry out specific tasks such as the screening of cargo and passengers overseas. We work closely with local law enforcement officers in airports throughout the country.

And we ask the American people to play an important part of our layered defense. We ask for cooperation, patience and a commitment to vigilance in the face of a determined enemy.

When Obama homeland security officials won’t even name that “determined enemy”, who can blame Americans for refusing to cooperate?

DHS Secretary Clownitano has cuddled with the Muslim Brotherhood, and exhibited extreme delusional behavior and dhimmitude in the face of jihadi threats. Now, she’s telling us to show a “commitment to vigilance?”

The only thing I can possibly say in her defense is that TSA’s credibility problems long predate her tenure.

Two words: Norm Mineta.

Flashback:

[60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft]: Are you saying, at security screening desks, that a 70-year-old white woman from Vero Beach, Florida, would receive the same level of scrutiny as a-a-a Muslim young man from Jersey City?

Mineta: Basically, I would hope so.

Another flashback reminder: The photo now featured on the Drudge Report of a Muslim TSA agent frisking a nun is from 2007:

nunfrisk.jpg

The caption at Flickr (hat tip - reader KH):

From the photograher, Dean Shaddock:

This was captured as I collected my things from airport security (Detroit Metro Concourse A). I think of it as something like a Rorschach test. Is an elderly Catholic nun being frisked by a Muslim security agent the celebration of blind justice? Or is it simply an admission of absurdity?

From Thousands Standing Around to Taking Scissors Away to Touching Sensitive Areas, TSA has stood for an incompetent, political correctness-addled, homeland security bureaucracy from day one.

As the historian Arnold Toynbee put it so well: “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.”

Michelle Malkin

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