NOTE: My statements are not necessarily my opinions. I often post point-counterpoint essays in which I strongly take one side of an issue and later counter that with antithetical views. This intellectual exercise helps me see the merit in opposing opinions and augments my creativity.

1. Former Director admits TSA is violating the Fourth Amendment
2. Woman groped by TSA screener

One of my friends (Deena Stephens) detailed what the TSA did to her:

“In 2005 I was groped by TSA in Atlanta. This was not the type of pat down in place today by any standards. I was randomly chosen and made to stand in front of passengers, extending my arms over my head while the screener rubbed my breasts in the same manner as my Ob-Gyn conducts a breast exam and then using her fingers pulled my nipples. Then she used the same care between my legs. There was not one inch of my genitals that this woman did not touch. This was not a pat down but extremely intrusive. This was done after I had gone through the standard x-ray as well as endured their baton check. I was not boarding the flight but rather accompanying my kids to their gate as they were being dropped off and flying unaccompanied to their fathers in NC for a Christmas visit. This agent had no right to use her fingers instead of the backs of her hands to touch me in such a fashion. It was a most embarrassing and dehumanizing experience.

While I was being subjected to this treatment, another TSA agent was meticulously going through my purse especially looking through my credit cards and ID. When I focused my attention on the agent perusing my pocketbook the woman sternly told me to look back at her and I refused. I said, “That is my purse over there and I will be focused intently on my identification.” To this day I think they were wanting to find some contraband on my person or possibly looking for any cash.”

Deena's concern is well-founded (see NYC agent arrested in latest TSA theft allegation, which mentions “a series of recent theft allegations against TSA employees”). This grossly exceeded the bounds of propriety and bordered on a sexual assault. As John Tyner (the man currently at the forefront of the news regarding his protracted run-in with the San Diego TSA) correctly pointed out, these intrusive TSA checks would indeed be sexual assaults if done by anyone other than the government (or a doctor with the patient's consent, of course).

Now the question becomes: does the government have the right to search someone because there is a one-in-fifty-million chance he or she might be a terrorist? The Constitution says no. According to the Fourth Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Without “probable cause,” supported by an “Oath or affirmation,” no search is constitutional. Having a pulse is not probable cause.

Mo McGowan, a former Assistant TSA Administrator and Director of Security Operations, admitted the TSA is violating the 4th Amendment. On Fox News, he said, “Nobody likes having their 4th Amendment violated going through a security line, but the truth of the matter is, uh, we're gonna have to do it.”

No, Mr. McGowan, the TSA is “gonna have to” follow the Constitution. The problem for the TSA is that such searches are unconstitutional and hence illegal. McGowan likely isn't smart or educated enough to fully grasp the alarming implications of what he said so cavalierly, tacitly suggesting the federal government is now so powerful—and us citizens so weak—that they can revoke any provision of the Constitution whenever they wish. Again, not legally.

Regrettably, the TSA is resorting to patting and groping airline passengers because liberals have cowered the government into rejecting profiling, which common sense and a long track record of success in Israel suggests is highly effective. Hence, the TSA expects Americans to voluntarily relinquish their 4th Amendment rights so airport screeners can put their hands on the breasts of hot Main Street soccer Moms and in the crotch of 12-year-old all-American girls so young Islamic men chanting passages from the Koran can breeze through security, lest anyone think we're politically incorrect enough to admit that such a man is statistically much more likely to be a terrorist than a frail 88-year-old grandmother from Iowa in a wheelchair.

As Charles Krauthammer astutely noted:

“We pretend that we go through this nonsense as a small price paid to ensure the safety of air travel. Rubbish. This has nothing to do with safety—95 percent of these inspections, searches, shoe removals and pat-downs are ridiculously unnecessary. The only reason we continue to do this is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling—when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable and universally known. So instead of seeking out terrorists, we seek out tubes of gel in stroller pouches.”

If our national leaders wonder why so many people loathe them, they should look at this and similar examples of pusillanimously caving in to the Left because shredding the Constitution is easier than having the courage to do the right thing. As Harry Truman was fond of saying, “If you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen.” If our leaders don't have enough spine and brains to govern without trampling the Constitution, they should get out of Washington and get out of our lives. We deserve better.

Abiding by the Constitution and following all laws are mandatory for everyone, from children to the President of the United States and his increasingly large band of federal agents. If federal agents violate the Constitution, they are breaking the law. Good people follow the law; bad people do not. As President Bush said, “You're either with us, or against us.” No federal agent should break the Constitution to perform his or her job, so they and their superiors must decide if they are with us or against us. If they insist on continuing to violate the Constitution, they are not with us.

A TSA officer wrote that “in private, most TSA officers I talked to told me they felt the agency’s day-to-day operations represented an abuse of public trust and funds.

I agree.

He added, “All the old, crass stereotypes about race and genitalia size thrived on our secure government radio channels.” That's an excerpt from Dear America, I Saw You Naked: And yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.

Related topics

TSA: Stop wasting our time and do your job before the terrorists do theirs

Notes:

  1. TSA Under Fire for Mistreatment of 7-Year-Old Girl With Cerebral Palsy
  2. Relax Folks, TSA Stopped an 18-Month-Old Suspected Terrorist
  3. Suit: Man Held 20 Hours After Asking to File TSA Complaint
    Comment: Another example of what happens when government is too big to care about our rights.
  4. TSA, Under Fire, Wants to Upgrade Its Service
    Excerpt: “A teenager was wrongly ordered to go through a body scanner with her insulin pump, even though the machine can, and did, damage the device. A 4-year-old girl became hysterical when an officer insisted on patting her down simply because she hugged her grandmother, who was awaiting a pat down.”
  5. TSA Detains Woman Due to 'Attitude'
  6. Airline refused to let woman board because they said she showed too much cleavage

Have you heard this poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller showing the indifference of German intellectuals after Nazis began purging selected targets, one by one?

In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist;

And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist;

And then they came for the Jews,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew;

And then … they came for me …
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

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