Airport Security Addendum

If you have visited this site in the past and spent any time in the Rants and Raves Logbook, you probably know that I am an opponent of the current TSA security measures at US airports because they: violate our Constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure under the mantle of an all-too-convenient principle known as “administrative search; subject innocent travelers who present zero threat to radiation that has not been proven to be safe; require travelers to submit to demeaning, intrusive groping of private parts, and; ignore the potential for a terrorist attack through un-scanned, un-probed access to airliners by thousands of ground crews.

I probably don’t need to repeat that I don’t like TSA. To compare it to the Gestapo is outrageous, but so is their abuse of hastily acquired power.

Based on a recent article in AVweb, last Thursday, security expert Edward Luttwak, a senior associate at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, joined by other critical voices in Washington, said that Constitutional rights issues are not the only problem with current TSA procedures.

According to Luttwak, a test conducted in Europe asked German prison guards to try to sneak explosives past three different backscatter X-ray machines now used at U.S. airports, and they “did so with ease.”

Based on that test, Luttwak says the International Air Travel Association (IATA) believes there is no case for the devices in airport security. Ralph Nader, Congressman Rush Hold and professional pilot Michael Roberts all added their own opinions on the full-body X-ray machines, but focused mostly on privacy, freedom and rights issues. In that context, Luttwak’s argument stands out, and he detailed what he believes are better solutions that the IATA also supports.

AVweb: The alternate method supported by Luttwak and IATA calls for segregation of fliers into groups based mainly on their travel habits. Luttwak: “The guy who has traveled 50 times in the last 50 weeks without blowing up an airplane is unlikely to become a terrorist the 51st time.” Air Transport World reported in December that IATA would like to see that concept integrated with electronic data pre-screening that would divide travelers into three categories — known traveler, regular, and enhanced — for three separate levels of screening. The IATA estimates that some 90 percent of travelers would fall into the known or regular lanes with 10 percent receiving more scrutiny based on their risk factor as determined by pre-screening. Ultimately, biometric data might be used to allow those deemed to present the lowest risk to move through checkpoints without stopping for personal interactions.

TSA is out of control. It is a perfect example of government intrusion run amok with knee-jerk reactions that do not enhance security while they criminalize the flying public. Those of you who think of this as just a minor inconvenience and accept it as the price we all have to pay for being safe are fooling yourselves. Wake up and realize that the TSA security theater is playing a feature film for your benefit titled, Smoke, Mirrors, and Illusion.

Your price of admission? Losing another bit of freedom.

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