Even Congress can’t stop the TSA from assaulting passengers

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by TSA News Blog, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. TSA News Blog

    TSA News Blog News Feed

    A FOIA request by governmentattic.org, which the TSA only answered after more than a year’s delay, has shaken loose some 200 pages of complaints about patdown procedures that TSA received between November and December 2010. Among these letters were several from members of Congress and congressional committees. The following excerpts give a flavor of Congressional sentiment about the TSA.​
    From Representative John Duncan of Tennessee:
    Based on news reports and conversations I’ve had with my constituents, I feel strongly that the choice the TSA presents to a family traveling this holiday season is an impossible one: either subject their children to the new AIT machines, or those children will be subject to a police-style pat-down search normally reserved for criminals.​
    On the November 15 edition of NBC’s Today Show you said, ‘The policy is that children 12 and under will not receive that type of pat-down.’ While 12-year-olds might not get the enhanced pat-down, I cannot understand how anyone could defend a 13-year-old child getting a police-style search of their body.
    From Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia:
    I have received numerous complaints and have heard concerns from hundreds of constituents in Georgia regarding these new pat-down procedures. Specifically, constituents question the increasingly invasive nature of these procedures given the heavy burden the traveling public is already facing. What are the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA doing to address these concerns? Has TSA undertaken any efforts to improve communication with the public on these more aggressive screening procedures? In addition, in light of recent news reports alleging inappropriate conduct by certain TSA employees when conducting pat-downs, what measures have TSA and DHS taken or plan to take to ensure the professionalism of its employees?​
    From Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine:
    As you know, since the nationwide implementation of enhanced pat downs there has been a significant outcry about the use of the new screening procedures.​
    These new searches are a novel procedure both for the traveling public, and your front line TSA officers, and I am not convinced that Transportation Security officers have received adequate training in what is clearly an invasive procedure. I request that you provide me with detailed information about the training each TSA officer receives before administering an enhanced pat down. In order to provide the public with more information, I also request that you describe the requirements necessary to be certified as a TSA officer, and the training necessary to perform pat downs, on the TSA website.​
    I urge TSA to investigate other screening options that will reduce or obviate the need for pat downs.​
    From Representative Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey:
    I am sure you are acutely aware of the widespread skepticism and public outrage these policies are generating . . . As a father and grandfather, I was particularly disturbed by the video of a three-year-old child being patted down by a TSA agent while the child screamed and cried in the arms of her mother. Surely, clarification and refinement of the guidelines must be undertaken, as well as enhanced or remedial training for TSA agents. I look forward to your prompt reply to my concerns.​
    From the House Committee on Homeland Security:
    As you know, on September 22, 2010, the Committee on Homeland Security held a Member briefing on a pilot [program] that TSA was conducting at Boston Logan International Airport and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport to evaluate enhanced passenger screening protocols. At that time, Members viewed a demonstration of the protocols and expressed concern about their intrusiveness as well as about the risk of inconsistent nationwide implementation and urged TSA to work to educate the traveling public on the need for these reforms. Subsequently, TSA, over a two-month period, began implementing these new protocols at our nation’s airports.​
    Before implementing this new, more invasive patdown procedure, TSA, as a preliminary matter, should have had a conversation with the American public about the need for the changes. Even before that conversation, TSA should have endeavored to ensure that these changes did not run afoul of privacy and civil liberties. Coupled with its duty to provide aviation security to the traveling public, TSA also has a duty to ensure that its procedures have been reviewed by experts in privacy and civil rights for constitutionality. In the absence of an Executive branch level Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that would evaluate decisions such as this, it was crucial that the Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Officer and Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties thoroughly evaluate and publish written assessments on how this decision affects the privacy and civil rights of the traveling public. To date, the Department has not published either a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) nor a Civil Liberties Impact Assessment (CLIA) on the enhanced pat down procedures. Without a published PIA or CLIA, we cannot ascertain the extent to which TSA has considered how these procedures should be implemented with respect to certain populations such as children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. By not issuing these assessments, the traveling public has no assurance that these procedures have been thoroughly evaluated for constitutionality.​
    From the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure:
    The new pat down procedures are overly intrusive, especially if a legitimate reason for the more probing search has not been established. The use of these procedures should be limited to secondary screening for alarm or anomaly resolution, or for those who have been identified by a Behavior Detection Officer (BDO). This very invasive process should not be used for primary or random screening of passengers and should not be used on children.​
    The level of public angst is a clear indication that TSA has missed the mark on properly balancing the rights of citizens with the need to screen travelers. Treating every passenger as a suspect or a criminal is an inefficient use of scarce resources.
    My favorite letter is from Representative Michael Conaway of Texas:
    To put it mildly, the contact that [my constitutuent] was forced to endure would have been criminal if the agent touching her did not have a badge. Unfortunately, given the recent deluge of news stories, it is clear that story is not an isolated incident or a lapse of judgment by a single individual. Rather, this new screening procedure is official policy, handed down from you and your employees at TSA.
    We are facing a pernicious enemy who seeks to terrorize Americans, this is not in question. However, the policy that the Transportation Security Administration has implemented is hated by almost all who come into contact with it because it is degrading and offensive to those who are subject to it.​
    We cannot protect the public by humiliating them. I believe that there are other options available to keep the public safe and focus our limited resources on those who would do us harm.​
    The American public deserve better than this. They deserve an adult conversation on the dangers to the flying public, the efficacy of screening procedures, and the ability for the government to keep all people safe at all times. Our rights and liberties are not a product of some rule handed down by the TSA administrator, nor even are they granted to us by our Constitution; they are the embodiment of our humanity and an endowment from God. We ought to be a bit more forthright and cautious before we sacrifice them on the altar of homeland security.
    I would appreciate if your office would extend an apology to [my constituent] for the treatment she endured because of the policies that your office approved. As well, I would like a full accounting of the rationale behind the enhanced pat down procedures and an explanation of how the new rules keep the flying public safer.​
    What’s most striking about these letters is how utterly impotent even Congress has been to stop the molesting – these letters were written 18 months ago, yet the TSA is still grabbing and groping and grinding the genitals of thousands of travelers every day.
    A staffer told me recently that every single member of Congress continues to hear complaints about the TSA. I’ll admit it: seeing that even members of Congress, under a deluge of phone calls and letters from their constitutuents, can’t stop TSA Administrator John Pistole from ordering his underlings to sexually abuse innocent people makes me feel hopeless.
    How exactly did one man declare himself above the Administrative Procedures Act, above the Americans with Disabilities Act, beyond the reach of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, invulnerable to Congressional oversight, and immune to prosecution for all the children molested at his orders? Can nothing stop this monster?
    (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/Daniel Borman)
  2. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    This impotence results from Congress having abdicated all its responsibilities for at least a decade. We need to clean out the House & the Senate. They're a pack of lazy, incompetent scoundrels out to line their own pockets at the expense of the Nation and their constituents.
    Frank, Caradoc and jtodd like this.
  3. jtodd

    jtodd Original Member

  4. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I'm willing to bet that all of those Congresscritters that wrote the complaints to the TSA still voted to fund the thugs.
  5. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    The DHS oversight committee had this to say:

    The answer of course, is the TSA cannot talk to the public about this. It's all SSI... Why do they need outside opinions on constitution when they have Francine, who is great at Googling. Everyone at TSA HQ who pushed for this should be lined up against a wall.
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  6. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I don't want to talk with TSA about how they will sexually assault me.
    Monica47, FaustsAccountant and jtodd like this.
  7. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Not just at HQ. Anyone participating in carrying out these "protocols" at the checkpoint should, too.
    jtodd likes this.
  8. JoeBas

    JoeBas Original Member

    Now hold on just a minute. First you tell them you won't pay them Welfare without doing work, and now you tell them you don't like the work they found???

    I have some sympathy for these poor front-line souls. They really are just doing what they're told.

    So for not knowing to not do something wrong when told to, they shouldn't be lined up. They should get a brief time out to learn their lesson. Say, 20 to life.

    You can even pardon one every year, to make a big object lesson about it. 40 years from now on "TSA Pardon Day" it's "Damn, someone just did 4o years in prison for following orders. I wonder if I should be following mine?...".
    Elizabeth Conley and Caradoc like this.
  9. Frank

    Frank Original Member

  10. Frank

    Frank Original Member

    A tad excessive. I'd settle for whatever the going rate is for lewd conduct/sexual battery/rape in the jurisdiction the pedosmurf is employed.

    Save the wall for those who like to make "attitude adjustments" on passengers.
  11. JoeBas

    JoeBas Original Member

    Throw in lifetime offender registration and you have a deal...
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  12. Affection

    Affection Original Member

    Suspiciously, the complaint I sent on November 6th, 2010, 10 days before I decided to file suit, is missing from this collection of documents.

    Could it be that way more than 200 complaints were sent?
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  13. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    The ACLU got around 1000 complaints, did they not, in the first two months of the new protocols?
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  14. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Amy Alkon @ Mens News Daily: TSA: More Power Than Congress
    Sommer Gentry blogs at The TSA News Blog about the FOIA request by governmentattic.org, answered by the TSA after a year's delay, that shook loose 200 pages of complaints from November and December 2010 about patdowns. These included a number of letters from members of Congress and congressional committees. The best is this one from Rep. Michael Conway of Texas ...
  15. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Check his voting history. I'll bet that Rep. Michael Conway voted in favor of funding the TSA after filing that "complaint."

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