Below, read a response from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison regarding my written complaint about invasive, unconstitutional, humiliating, sexually abusive and unwarranted violations of our privacy and our persons when boarding aircraft.
I began flying commercial airlines in 1967. Then, all that was required to purchase a ticket was money and cash was preferred. Airlines would even accept personal checks.
Expansion of Government power over flying citizens began with the Air Marshal program in 1968. Uniformed Air Marshals profiled potential hijackers of overseas flights. There were two simple components to federal strategy that ended hijackings of overseas flights: (1) limited fuel – just enough to satisfy minimum FAA standards and (2) Air Marshals that profiled passengers, some riding along incognito.
The USA homicide rate is 5 per 100,000. Note that it is not 100,000 per 100,000. Good police work using simple profiling methods detects and causes the capture of criminals 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
Now we have TSA goons, yes, goons, that are not trained as law enforcement officers, have no experience as law enforcement officers, but doing the work of law enforcement officers. Their heavy-handed tactics are giving rise to a growing chorus of outrage by the flying public, including me. Marry this with fascist policies of the Obama administration and you have tyranny. There, I said it – tyranny.
I read simple-minded comments to news articles where citizens say they don’t like those intrusive, invasive procedures, but they “feel safer”.
At this point, I quote a founding father, Benjamin Franklin.
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
And so it was I wrote to my two U.S. Senators. Herewith, Senator Hutchison’s reply:
Thank you for contacting me regarding airline safety and security. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
As the Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, I understand the importance of aviation security. Since our nation was attacked on 9/11, we have instituted many effective policies to protect us against the threat of future terrorist attacks. Many of these policies naturally impact the transportation sectors in the U.S., particularly at airports. Unfortunately, these security policies systematically failed with the nearly successful terrorist attack on one of our airliners on Christmas Day 2009 by an Al Qaeda-trained Nigerian terrorist. This disturbing incident highlights the evolving nature of terrorist threats against our country.
In response to the December 25, 2009 attempted attack, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced plans to enhance passenger screening and detection capabilities, including an increase in the deployment of advanced imaging technology (AIT) machines, also known as “body imaging scanners”, from 878 units to 1,800 units by 2014. The AIT produces an image of a passenger’s body that a screener can use to identify objects or anomalies on the outside of the physical body. TSA officials have also indicated they hope to use this technology for primary screening where feasible, rather than as a strictly secondary measure. However, passengers concerned for their personal privacy may always opt for traditional screening methods.
We must ensure that the federal security agencies entrusted with protecting us can adapt the detection and prevention measures we employ to stay ahead of these changing threats. It is clear that the current measures in place were inadequate to prevent this type of plot. The country was very fortunate that when the device malfunctioned the crew and passengers of flight 253 acted heroically. Our nation must do better.
Along with this increased commitment comes an increased responsibility on the part of the security agents and administrators. TSA must pay close attention to the privacy concerns of individuals, consistently demonstrate reasonable judgment, and perform its duties in a highly professional manner. Failure to exercise sound judgment and professionalism is not acceptable. Please be assured that I will continue to do everything in my power to hold security providers accountable.
I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me on any issue that is important to you.
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator284 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 202-224-5922 (tel) 202-224-0776 (fax)