There is a revolt going on in America — and the Tea Party has nothing to do with it.
As the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ramps up its invasive practices in the name of “safety,” more and more Americans are looking at one another and asking just when it was that they signed up to be groped, manhandled, and generally humiliated merely to hop a plane to Ft. Lauderdale for Aunt McGarity’s 70th birthday.
After several recent attempted terrorist attacks, the TSA has taken screening to a substantially more intrusive level. Not only does the agency now expect passengers to endure an advanced- full body imaging scanner (which use high-frequency radio waves to see through clothing), but, for those who refuse, an extra special pat-down is in order.
In late October, TSA implemented what it calls “enhanced” pat-down procedures at airport checkpoints. Previously TSA “officers” would use the back of the hand. Now, they are expected to use their open hands to feel the entire body — including breasts and genitals.
With passengers now finding themselves forced to go to second-base with a stranger, some are beginning to stand up and yell — a la Howard Beale — “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
And the cry is getting louder.
In June, the House overwhelmingly voted 310 – 118 to severely limit the invasive “whole body imaging” scanners. The bill is currently awaiting approval by the Senate.
Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz — sponsor of the aforementioned piece of legislation — told The Daily Caller that he is very concerned about the recently implemented pat-down method and is planning both hearings and legislation to combat it.
“We need to get rid of this false choice of having to trade our liberties for security,” he said. “That is a false choice. We need to insist on more effective security that is less invasive. You can get from here to there.”
Even airline pilots are refusing to submit to the invasive screening. The U.S. Airline Pilots Association has told their pilots specifically not to endure the new full-body screening machines as “TSA has offered no credible specifications for the radiation emitted by these machines.”
In a letter to union pilots, president Captain Mike Cleary laid out the concerns the union has with what he describes as TSA’s “unacceptable” procedures.
“Although an immediate solution cannot be guaranteed, I can promise you that your union will not rest until all U.S. airline pilots have a way to reach their workplace … the aircraft … without submitting ourselves to the will of a TSA behind closed doors. This situation has already produced a sexual molestation in alarmingly short order. Left unchecked, there’s simply no way to predict how far the TSA will overreach in searching and frisking pilots who are, ironically, mere minutes from being in the flight deck.”
Further indication of the frustration that is boiling over is the popularity of new Internet sensation John Tyner, a software engineer from Oceanside, Calif. who was thrown out of the San Diego International Airport and threatened with a $10,000 fine for refusing to go through the scanner and balking at the invasive pat down on Saturday.
Tyner then posted the confrontation — in which he requested the TSA agent not “touch his junk,” and argued that if it were not the government groping him, the action would be considered sexual assault — on his blog, which now has over 4380 comments and over 200,000 hits on YouTube.
Chris Calabrese, the legislative counsel for the ACLU’s Technology and Privacy Issues, echoed Chaffetz, saying that the American people are going to continue to reject these kinds of invasive screening methods.
“One of the common themes I keep hearing is: ‘But this is America, I shouldn’t be treated like a common criminal.’ and that is what people feel like,” Calebrese said. “They feel like we have crossed some kind of invisible line where it is okay for a stranger to touch my child in a place where I would never let anyone touch her – but yet I am supposed to say that is normal if I am going to travel on an airplane.”