EDITORIAL: TSA grabs union contract – Washington Times

EDITORIAL: TSA grabs union contract – Washington Times.

Pushy airport screeners to become even less accountable to the flying public

When Congress decided to take over airport security, it was never about safety. That became clear on Friday when Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners formally agreed to a contract that will add 45,000 dues-paying members to the ranks of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).

This public-sector union forces members to hand over between $14 and $16 out of each paycheck, meaning the organization stands to collect as much as $16 million each year. This money will help turn out the vote for Democratic candidates and subsidize a number of liberal causes. This year alone, AFGE members directed about $1 million toward electing Democrats like Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Tim Kaine of Virginia — only 3 percent of the funds went to GOP candidates. The union spent $2 million on lobbying government mostly to ensure federal workers get paid more to do less.

Under the new TSA contract, employees will win annual leave based not on their performance, but how long they’ve held on to the job. They’ll also be able to wear shorts when it’s hot, with the tab for the new wardrobe picked up by the taxpayers. House Transportation Committee Chairman John L. Mica, Florida Republican, blasted the deal for focusing on “tie tacks and tattoos” instead of issues that actually matter. Those tie tacks can’t exceed 1/2-inch in diameter and must be gold or silver in color. Tattoos must be covered by a sports sleeve or band that does not detract from the uniform. TSA must also provide office space for designated TSA union officials to work on union business at taxpayer expense.

Over the past decade, the public has been forced to shell out $57 billion for an agency that has made flying an ordeal. All of the groping and indignities passengers have been subjected to has been for naught. TSA has never caught a single terrorist, yet it continues to insist on spending billions on pornographic scanning machines. The European Union, by contrast, refuses to adopt the technology.

In an April report, the EU’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks found, “at the population level the possible effect cannot be ignored in the assessment of acceptability of the introduction of the security scanners using X-rays for passenger screening. Due to the substantial uncertainty regarding the potential occurrence of any health effects, risks for special groups within the population could not be evaluated meaningfully, although a higher risk related to exposure in childhood was noted.” X-rated X-ray machines were put in place here after a major lobbying campaign from the companies that eventually landed the lucrative scanning contract.

This is how Washington works. Instead of focusing on what needs to be done to improve safety, we have a jobs program designed to re-elect Democrats and enrich lobbyists.

The Washington Times

 

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EDITORIAL: More TSA lies – Washington Times

A TSA officer screens a piece of luggage.

A TSA officer screens a piece of luggage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EDITORIAL: More TSA lies – Washington Times.

Obnoxious agency is caught fibbing to Congress again

Frequent flyers are no fans of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The blue-gloved bureaucrats are experts in making trips to the airport as unpleasant as possible. As a joint congressional panel revealed Wednesday, the agency’s biggest failing is its inability to grope the truth.

Earlier this year, the House Oversight & Government Reform and Transportation & Infrastructure committees got wind that the TSA has 5,700 pieces of security equipment worth $184 million gathering dust in a Dallas, Texas, warehouse. For example, a total of 492 explosive trace detectors that cost $30,000 each have been sitting in storage for more than a year. When congressional investigators were dispatched to learn more about what was going on, TSA did everything it could to stall them.

The congressional auditors finally arrived on Feb. 15 to find a warehouse crew had been busy working from 5 a.m. that morning to shove as much of the embarrassing horde as it could out the back door. The TSA had provided the committees with a written inventory that undercounted the equipment on hand that day by 1,300 items. “Congress was misled,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, the Oversight chairman. The California Republican is threatening a criminal inquiry into the incident if the agency fails to come clean about what it has been doing.

The warehouse shenanigans racked up an estimated $23 million in depreciation costs for taxpayers as the pricey equipment lost its value while boxed away on a shelf. A $500,000 cargo scanner has a useful life of only seven years, and some of the higher-tech scanning devices became obsolete before the TSA gets around to deploying them. That’s not a bad thing in every case. Fourteen pornographic “advanced imaging technology” machines were locked away in the Dallas facility. America would be a safer place if every single one of those devices were consigned to the dark corner of an abandoned building.

We are told that these X-rated x-ray scanners are needed because an al Qaeda operative failed in a 2009 attempt to detonate a bomb in his underpants. The scare was renewed May 7 with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s announcement that a sleeker, more comfortable set of combustible undies had been captured in the hands of Islamists overseas. TSA’s ultimate boss, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, insisted her agency’s invasive contraptions would have discovered the dangerous dainties.

Government Accountability Office counterterrorism expert Stephen Lord knows from field testing whether that statement is true or not. He would not say in an unclassified session whether the scanners would have caught the new bomb. “We’ll take that, and I’m going to predict it’s going to be, ‘No, they couldn’t,’ ” said Mr. Issa.

To sum up, TSA is buying millions in equipment that it isn’t using, throwing away taxpayer funds. Some of the equipment it does use invades privacy without identifying any real threats. This mess is the result of the agency’s hasty creation in the wake of the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. After a decade, TSA has proved itself mismanaged and ineffective. It’s time to pull the plug.

The Washington Times

Nashville Airport: A Constitution free zone? – Tea Party Nation

 

English: A TSA officer screens a piece of luggage.

Image via Wikipedia

Nashville Airport: A Constitution free zone? – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips

Today, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was detained at Nashville International Airport while trying to board a flight to Washington to attend the Right to Life March and Senate business.

 From Fox News:

 Sen. Rand Paul’s office says he was held by the Transportation Security Administration on Monday, although TSA officials deny characterization he was “detained” at Nashville Airport after an incident at the security gate.

Paul’s father, presidential candidate Ron Paul, tweeted early Monday, “My son @SenRandPaul being detained by TSA for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner in Nashville. More details coming.”

Moira Bagley, the senator’s spokeswoman, told Fox News that Paul (R-Ky.) called her after he went through a “full body screener,” described to her as a body-imaging machine, and was stopped for an anomaly around his leg. The senator lifted his pants leg to show nothing was there and offered to go back through the machine, but the TSA official said no, only a full-body pat down would suffice. 

 Bagley said Paul refused, resisting on the grounds that it infringes on his rights and “private property.”

Paul’s office said that the TSA official told the senator to sit down in the security area and was not given an indication of when he would be allowed to leave. Security then escorted him out of that area, but let him remain in the airport. He missed his flight.

A law enforcement official said Paul was not detained, despite claims to contrary. According to TSA, Paul triggered an alarm during routine airport screening using “millimeter wave imaging technology,” which creates a generic image to protect passenger privacy. When an alarm occurs a yellow box indicates where on the body to look for the anomaly. An individual is then patted down.

  The Transportation Security Administration is a joke.  They strip search 95 year old women in wheel chairs but are so politically correct they cannot even speak the words “Islamic Terrorist.”

 Perhaps even worse, the TSA has never heard of the Constitution.   Not only is there a Fourth Amendment issue related to unreasonable searches and seizures, but there is another issue related to Senator Rand Paul.

 Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution forbids a Senator or Congressman from being detained when they are going to or from Congress.

 Of course, if you are going to ignore one part of the Constitution, what does it matter if you ignore another?

PAUL: TSA’s intrusions undermine security – Washington Times

 

English: An image of Susan Hallowell, Director...

Image via Wikipedia

PAUL: TSA’s intrusions undermine security – Washington Times.

Senator or not, we’re all stripped of our freedom and dignity

By Sen. Rand Paul = The Washington Times

Today, while en route to Washington to speak to hundreds of thousands of people at the March for Life, I was detained by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for not agreeing to a patdown after an irregularity was found in my full body scan. Despite removing my belt, glasses, wallet and shoes, the scanner and TSA also wanted my dignity. I refused.

I showed them the potentially offending part of my body, my leg. They were not interested. They wanted to touch me and to pat me down. I requested to be rescanned. They refused and detained me in a 10-foot-by-10-foot area reserved for potential terrorists.

I told them that I was a frequent flier and that just days ago I was allowed to be rescanned when the scanner made an error. At no time did I ask for special treatment, but I did insist that all travelers be awarded some decency and leniency in accommodating the screening process.

My detention was real and I was repeatedly instructed not to leave the holding area. When I used my phone to inform my office that I would miss my flight, and thus miss my speech to the March for Life, I was told that now I would be subjected to a full body patdown.

I asked if I could simply restart the screening process to show that the machine had made an error. I was denied and informed that since I used my phone, to call for help, I must now submit or not fly.

Let me be clear: I neither asked for nor expect any special treatment for being a U.S. senator. In fact, this case is not about me at all. This is about every single one of us and how we are sick of the intrusive nature of our government.

While sitting in the cubicle, I thought to myself, have the terrorists won? Have we sacrificed our liberty and our dignity for security? Finally, the airport head of TSA arrived after I had missed my flight. He let me go back through the scanner and this time the scanner did not go off. The only comment from TSA was that some of the alarms are simply random.

So passengers who do everything right, remove their belts, remove their wallets, remove their shoes, their glasses and all of the contents in their pockets are then subjected to random patdowns and tricked into believing that the scanners actually detected something.

I have been through some of this with TSA Director John S. Pistole before. Last spring, a 6-year-old girl from Bowling Green was subjected to an invasive search despite her parent’s objections. Mr. Pistole claimed that small children were indeed a risk because a girl in Kandahar, Afghanistan, had exploded a bomb in a market in Afghanistan. But Mr. Pistole, this girl wasn’t from Kandahar and she wasn’t in Afghanistan. Isn’t there a significant difference?

In writing, he replied that TSA concluded because a child in a market in Afghanistan exploded a bomb, all American children needed to be evaluated as potential threats. My response: If you treat everyone equally as a potential threat, then you direct much attention to those who are never going to attack us and spend less time with those whose risk profiles indicate a need for tougher screening.

Random screenings not based on risk assessments misdirect the screening process and add to the indignity of travel. Those passengers who suffer through the process of partially disrobing should be rewarded with less invasive examination.

Ever since the news of my struggle with TSA, the phones in my office have been ringing off the hook with calls from citizens who sympathize with my frustration, as they, too, feel their liberties are being compromised every time they travel. My office is being inundated with their stories of assault and harassment by TSA agents. This agency’s disregard for our civil liberties is something we are expected to understand and accept. But we are tired of being insulted and we are tired of having our dignity compromised. TSA was created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but was it necessary? Has it overstepped its bounds? Is it respecting the rights of citizens?

It is time for us to question the effectiveness of TSA. America can prosper, preserve personal liberty and repel national security threats without intruding into the personal lives of its citizens.

Every time we travel, we are expected to surrender our Fourth Amendment rights, yet willingly giving up our rights does not make us any safer. It is infuriating that this agency feels entitled to revoke our civil liberties while doing little to keep us safe.

Is the TSA looking at flight manifests? Are we researching those boarding the planes? Are we targeting or looking at those who might attack us? Apparently not, if we are wasting our time patting down 6-year-old girls.

If a federally funded TSA is going to exist, then its focus should be on police work and it must respect the rights of citizens. The TSA should not universally insult all travelers; it should however research, track, monitor and target people that are, in fact, threats to our nation.

This blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against unwarranted search and seizure, has insulted many citizens, and rightfully so. I, along with many other travelers, do not view traveling as a crime that warrants government search and seizure. In fact, I view traveling as a basic right, for Americans are free to travel from state to state as they please.

I refused an unnecessary patdown and stood up for my rights as an American citizen. This is a battle Americans face every time they fly. It is my firm belief that TSA should not have such broad authority to violate our constitutional rights in ineffective and invasive physical searches, thus I will further push for the reinstatement of traveler privacy and rights. I will be proposing legislation that will allow for adults to be rescreened if they so choose.

Sen. Rand Paul is a Republican from Kentucky.

Your papers please – Judson Phillips – Tea Party Nation

 

English: Backscatter Imaging "Backscatter...

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Your papers please – Judson Phillips – Tea Party Nation.

If you thought travel by commercial airplane was starting to look like something out of a bad movie about a police state, you will love what is coming next.

 From the same people who have failed to make airline travel any safer but have managed to annoy the hell out of everyone short of the Pope, their version of safety is coming to a neighborhood near you.

 From the LA Times:

 The Transportation Security Administration isn’t just in airports anymore. TSA teams are increasingly conducting searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and other mass transit locations around the country.

 “We are not the Airport Security Administration,” said Ray Dineen, the air marshal in charge of the TSA office in Charlotte. “We take that transportation part seriously.”

 The TSA’s 25 “viper” teams — for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response — have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year. Department of Homeland Security officials have asked Congress for funding to add 12 more teams next year.

 According to budget documents, the department spent $110 million in fiscal 2011 for “surface transportation security,” including the TSA’s viper program, and is asking for an additional $24 million next year. That compares with more than $5 billion for aviation security.

 TSA officials say they have no proof that the roving viper teams have foiled any terrorist plots or thwarted any major threat to public safety. But they argue that the random nature of the searches and the presence of armed officers serve as a deterrent and bolster public confidence.

 “We have to keep them [terrorists] on edge,” said Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University in Washington. “We’re not going to have a permanent presence everywhere.”

 U.S. officials note that digital files recovered from Osama bin Laden‘s compound in Pakistan after he was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in May included evidence that the Al Qaeda leader had considered an attack on U.S. railways in February 2010. Over the last decade, deadly bombings have hit subways or trains in Moscow; Mumbai, India; Madrid; and London.

 But critics say that without a clear threat, the TSA checkpoints are merely political theater. Privacy advocates worry that the agency is stretching legal limits on the government’s right to search U.S. citizens without probable cause — and with no proof that the scattershot checkpoints help prevent attacks.

 Since 9/11, there is only one real security improvement that has made any real difference.  That is reinforcing cockpit doors.  Since 9/11, every time someone has even whispered the words “Allah Akbar” passengers have risen up and fought back.  Since 9/11, not only has every would be hijacker or suicide bomber failed, the passengers have kicked the crap out of him in the process. 

 Yet these clowns want to do for other forms of transportation what they have done for airline travel. 

 Now, not only can we be microwaved, harassed, groped and have our shoes forcibly removed at the airport, they are going to now do that at bus and train stations too.

 Perhaps we could start by doing some simple things like, identifying our enemy.  Our enemy is not the Knights of Columbus.  The Southern Baptists have not been hijacking any airplanes recently and Joel Osteen has not been encouraging Christian suicide bombers. 

 Let’s start by identifying our enemy and let’s start by going after our enemy. 

 And while we are at it, let’s put some competent people in charge of our national security. 

 Of course, that excludes Obama and his entire regime.

The TSA is now officially jackbooted thugs. – Tea Party Nation

The TSA is now officially jackbooted thugs. – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips on December 27, 2011 at 8:39am in Tea Party Nation Forum

When you really need to make air travel inconvenient, you need the clowns at TSA.  When you need to ignore real threats, like young men from Muslim countries in favor of strip-searching 90-year-old women, you need the TSA.

 But now, the TSA has gone from being the butt of jokes and the source of inconvenience to an organization of jackbooted thugs.

 What has happened?

 No, it is not the Viper Teams they are sending out to expand their reach and make America look ever more like a police state. 

 Over the holidays, the TSA decided to make a point and it destroyed luggage belonging to Todd Starnes of Fox News.  Todd is an anchor on Fox News radio and a blogger.  He is one of their best talents.

 Todd posted photos and tweets about what happened on his twitter feed (@toddstarnes). 

 To make the story as short as possible, Todd was traveling with his luggage, which had a Fox News logo on it.   The TSA ripped the logo off of his luggage, then sliced his luggage open, sealing it with tape that said, “Inspected. Transportation Security Administration.”

 Gee, I wonder how many bombs slipped through security while the TSA goons were vandalizing Todd’s luggage?

 Why did the TSA goon vandalize Todd’s luggage?  Well, the obvious answer is because he does not like Fox News.  The less obvious answer is because he thought he could. 

 The TSA thug thought he could send a message and his union and his employer would make certain he was protected.

 Last night, Todd said, “TSA says it could take up to 6 months to investigate my bag they destroyed.”

 Todd, let me give you some free legal advice.  This was not a bureaucratic screw up.  This was not a case of bad service or even an accident.  You were the victim of a crime.  At the very least you were the victim of a violation of your civil rights.  There was also vandalism to your personal property.

 Forget the TSA; file a criminal complaint with the FBI.  I would also file a criminal complaint with the local authorities where your bag was inspected. 

 The news reports do not say where he flew out of and where the bag would have been inspected.  In Tennessee, where I am licensed to practice law and where I spent 10 years as a prosecuting attorney, that vandalism would almost certainly be a felony.   There are a couple of other felony charges that would be applicable too. 

 Even if Todd does not file criminal charges, the FBI and federal authorities should look into this as a criminal matter.  I would hope they would but given the corrupt nature of the Obama regime, I doubt it.

 One other thing that should happen is that our Congressmen and Senators should pull themselves away from having clueless celebrities come to Capitol Hill for hearings and instead schedule a hearing on what happened to Todd Starnes’ luggage and other TSA abuses. 

 In the meantime, we all need to very concerned about what is happening in this country.  The TSA becomes more aggressive in attacking Americans, and yet does little to advance the goal for which it was created, namely making travel safe.

 Republican candidates have named the agencies they would like to see dismantled if they become President.  The TSA should rise to the top of that list.

TSA’s power grope:EDITORIAL – Washington Times

TSA’s power grope: EDITORIAL – Washington Times.

Rogue agency reaches out and touches people outside airports

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has always intended to expand beyond the confines of airport terminals. Its agents have been conducting more and more surprise groping sessions for women, children and the elderly in locations that have nothing to do with aviation. It’s all part of TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) program, which drew additional scrutiny following an Oct. 18 blitz in Tennessee.

As part of a “statewide safety operation,” TSA employees fondled travelers at bus terminals in Nashville and Knoxville, hunting for “security threats.” Truckers were harassed at four Volunteer State highway locations between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. – prime time for terrorism, apparently.

Brian Gamble, a Florida firefighter, caught one of these intrusive VIPR operations on video after he got off a train in Savannah, Ga., earlier this year. “They had the scanners and everything there,” Mr. Gamble told The Washington Times. “They had them pull up their shirts, patted them down, wanded them. There were a couple ladies in our group getting searched. … It’s kinda ridiculous when you’re coming off a train – it doesn’t make any sense.”

Expect a lot more touching in the months ahead. “TSA conducted more than 8,000 VIPR operations in the past 12 months, including more than 3,700 operations in mass-transit and passenger-railroad venues,” boasted TSA Administrator John S. Pistole in June testimony before the Senate. His 2012 budget calls for expanding VIPR by 50 percent.

That means more searches, but it doesn’t mean more safety. As the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted, “TSA had measured the progress of its VIPR program in terms of the number of VIPR operations conducted, but had not yet developed measures or targets to report on the effectiveness of the operations themselves.” That’s a nice way to say that TSA is acting for action’s sake.

By nature, the government bureaucratic leviathan constantly seeks to expand itself, regardless of need. It is the duty of elected leaders to keep this impulse in check. Sadly, however, aside from a handful of members, a timid Congress lets TSA go wild out of fear of being blamed should a Madrid-style attack happen on our shores.

The faith that this blue-gloved federal force would be able to detect and prevent a catastrophe from happening is misplaced. TSA has yet to catch a single terrorist. We don’t need obscene screening methods at airports, and we certainly don’t need them on our highways or bus stops. TSA needs to be wrestled under control.

Obama’s Freefall in the Polls -19% and Dropping…..can you hear us now? (via Voting American)

Obama's Freefall in the Polls -19% and Dropping.....can you hear us now? Dear President Obama, “Now is the time for all American’s to rise up and speak with a loud voice.  2012 will be upon us before we know it and there is no time to waste.  This is the time to tell your family and friends to get involved.  This is the time to get them informed and this is the time to get them involved.  America hangs in the balance my friends.  Our very … Read More

via Voting American

Is the Second American Revolution Coming? (via Voting American)

Is the Second American Revolution Coming? To President Obama and all 535 Voting members of the Legislature It is now Official that the Majority of you are Corrupt Morons  The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke.  Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke. Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is broke. War on Poverty started in 19 … Read More

via Voting American