When I joined the United States Marine Corps in August 1970, I took an oath to the Constitution. I take that oath more seriously today than I did then. Although I was young, it was a solemn commitment which I will never regret. The orders sending me to Viet Nam never came, but we were all prepared to give our lives in defense of our country.
Therefore, it is not easy for me to take issue with an agency that purportedly helps keep the American people safe. Nevertheless, I have come to the conclusion that the TSA – Transportation Security Administration – as it presently operates is rolling the dice with our safety on commercial flights.
I fly about 250,000 miles a year, which gives me considerable experience with security checks. Americans have come to view these invasive encounters as the price we pay to keep airplanes from being highjacked or blown up. In fact it is smoke and mirrors – the facade of security with no substance behind it.
Every time I go through the “see you naked” machine it identifies hot zones that require further search. Those zones always seem to include the groin area. Some men might find it flattering and a little funny that this sensitive region of the body makes metal detectors ring and x-ray machines flash red. However, in the age of Islamic terror, there is nothing flattering or funny about it. When the machine shows “something” near untouchable areas of the body, even though nothing is there, an agent has to run both hands to the top of your thighs, across the front of your pants outside and inside, making contact with your most private zones. Women have a little different physiology, but it can’t be any fun for them either.
Because I detest these assaults on my person, I was motivated to apply for my Known Traveler Number. That is a number assigned by TSA to those who file an application, go through a background check, pay an $85 fee and interview with a TSA agent at one of their designated offices. My application was approved. I had my precious KTN. I could breathe a sigh of relief. No more airport gropings, or so I thought. As it turns out, even after getting your coveted number, you can be “randomly selected” for the full body screening. The week after I was approved as a Known Traveler, I was randomly selected for a full body screening and the nightmare began all over again. Apparently even “known travelers” aren’t known well enough.
It is the understatement of the millennium to say that the screening machines are poorly calibrated. Law abiding citizens are treated Iike terrorists and asked to endure humiliating searches because the machines show “something.” Kevin Payne had to watch his ten year old daughter subjected to a two minute pat down because of a false positive for explosive material on some liquid the girl had in a pouch. Instead of retesting the liquid, they immediately began groping the child. She said, “I was very scared. I had no idea what was going on. I was confused and felt like screaming and running out of there.” Two minutes is a long time to feel all over anyone’s body, especially a ten year old girl.
Although TSA agents seem to go above and beyond in searching innocent Americans, a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General probe released in May showed that they missed 67 out of 70 tests carried out by special investigators. That is a 96% failure rate. One undercover investigator got through security with a fake bomb strapped to his back. In other words, they see things that are not there and miss things that are. That same IG report said that 73 airline workers were found to have terrorist links.
It is time to start identifying people with terrorist intentions instead of making the American people suffer for the sake of political correctness. Here is what citizens should demand.
First, Congress must investigate TSA, especially the effectiveness and calibration of the machines that are being used to identify dangerous substances.
Second, machines which consistently give false positives should be replaced. Perhaps a new kind of machine needs to be used because the ones we have are not working.
Third, TSA agents must be trained to profile for five characteristics: 1) Is the person a Muslim? 2) Is the person of Arab, African or Middle Eastern origin? 3) Has the person traveled to the Middle East or a country which harbors terrorists? 4) Has the individual visited websites or social media that spew terrorist propaganda? 5) Is the person between the ages of 18 and 30?
This is not racism or “Islamophobia.” It is common sense. It’s about time the TSA got its hands out of our underwear and politicians got their heads out of the sand. The agencies charged with protecting our homeland security should cooperate and share information with TSA to identify and apprehend terrorists, and leave the rest of us alone.
Every American should contact your Congressional Representative to demand that the Transportation Security Administration stop the general assaults on law abiding citizens and start profiling for likely bad guys. Until the politically correct nonsense stops, TSA should be renamed the “Touching Sensitive Areas” agency.
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