Chambliss Speaks Out About Invasive TSA Procedures

November 22, 2010 15:52 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 32 comments

Via the Politics Insider.

[C]onstituents 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?

Furthermore, I seek clarification of TSA’s screening policy with respect to children. I understand from Administrator Pistole’s recent testimony that children under the age of 12 are exempt from many screening procedures. However, I have had numerous reports from families with children that have undergone very rigorous and potentially invasive screening in recent weeks. Can you please clarify the standard practice for screening young children?

What amazes me is that airlines are silent on these new procedures. If the TSA doesn’t modify their procedures, air travel will take a nosedive.

ricstewart November 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Oh, so now he’s going to pretend to be concerned about anyone’s civil liberties?
Please.

Goldwater Conservative November 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm

ric,

This site is populated with civil liberty hating conservatives. What do they care about civil liberties or their defense?

After all, there is no group more universally hated by these people than the ACLU.

Red Phillips November 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Really? Us non-interventionists conservatives who weren’t fear mongering about the “War on Terror” have been concerned about civil liberties from the start. Ever heard of this guy named Ron Paul? That said, I am seeing a whole lot more outrage about these new procedures on the right than the left.

David Staples November 23, 2010 at 9:02 am

You’re comparing Ron Paul to Saxby Chambliss? Really? Thanks for the laugh!

John Konop November 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm

The concept behind risk management monitoring model is not to tell people how you are monitoring the system. If people know they will game the system.

Risk factors:

1) Does anyone really not think a terrorist would not use children?
2) Does anyone think a terrorist would not use non-Middle Eastern looking people via threat?
3) Do you not realize not all Muslim people look the same and they could get a fake ID?
4) How else do you suggest we search people?
5) Do you feel safe not searching people?

This is not a simple solution that can be solved by the talking mentality on both sides. I could point out many more issues security must think about.

This issue should not be used as political football by any side. The truth is we live in tough times with no easy solutions on how to keep the country safe. Fighting terrorism is not like fighting a country. And you can not intimidate someone who is willing to commit suicide to kill you.

Charlie November 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm

“If the TSA doesn’t modify their procedures, air travel will take a nosedive.”

I will not confuse the anecdote of my actions with data, but I already avoid flying if possible within the Southeast region. It’s not just the TSA, but the whole “airport” experience. I love flying, but I hate airports.

When possible, I’ll even drive on my trips to Norfolk and/or DC, often combining trips to both locations, just to keep from having to deal with late flights, crowded planes. random security procedures, and fees to carry bags or to change an itenerary for an earlier flight.

Flying doesn’t offer a value proposition if the trip is less than an 8 hour drive now, and if I have more than 3 days, I extend that to a 10 hour radius.

Goldwater Conservative November 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I miss trains. Sure it takes time, but they are comfortable and the cocktails are priced correctly. I haven’t flown commercially since the early nineties, but aside from the free glass of sparkling wine they offered before take off they charged me $8 for a single mini-bottle of Stolichnaya.

Maybe that is the real reason for the pat downs! To keep people from bring outside booze onto airplanes.

Obi's Sister November 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm

The last time I went to DC, I took Amtrak. It was cheaper than AirTran, there was no bag limit, no one dug through your toiletries looking for weapons-grade nail clippers, no one fondled your undergarments, the seat was roomy with a nice footrest, each seat had an electrical outlet, the attendants didn’t charge you extra for pillows. You could take your own food and drink, or have a snack from the snack car. The people all around me were respectful. The attendants were splendid – very friendly and helpful. My particular trip was overnight; when you get sleepy, you just go to sleep. When I woke the next morning, it was to the Virginia countryside, covered in snow. We pulled into DC Union Station, I got my bag. Next to the bag pickup area is a Starbucks. Trip Karma smiled upon me.

Granted, it wasn’t The Orient Express, but the entire round-trip experience was, to be honest, surprising. I hadn’t traveled by train since I was a child, and I hadn’t heard the greatest things about it since then. But my dread of the security line (like you I love to fly) pushed me to find another way. I’m glad I did.

mountainpass November 22, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Train and bus stations are the next places that searches will be conducted.

seenbetrdayz, Ph.D. November 22, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Just outlaw flying altogether. Then wait for people to come through the terminal and board planes. Bingo, you’ve found your terrorists.

But seriously, I don’t think either major party is concerned with maintaining civil liberties. Sure, they took a huge hit under Bush, but I didn’t see Obama rolling back Bush doctrine as much as I saw him finding use for these newly born powers. It always works that way. One party creates a power while the other party *****es about it. Then tables turn, and so forth and so on, etc. What have I always said?:

The two major parties are more interested in OUTdoing each other than UNdoing each other.

Three Jack November 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm

i like boortz’ idea…build solid concrete rooms where security checkpoints are now. each traveler must enter the room where all methods of triggering explosives will be tried. if nothing blows up, traveler can proceed…otherwise we eliminated a dirtbag without need of an expensive trial.

Ken in Eastman November 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Floor cleaner is, indeed, cheaper than a trial.

KD_fiscal conservative November 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I haven’t flow since the new procedures, so I don’t know how “invasive” the new screenings really are. But are they really worse then any of the new procedures under the Bush admin. The same people who defended all the loss of civil liberties under the previous administration (Hannity, Limbaugh…) are now vigorously attacking the new policies under the Obama admin.

I’m not sure how I feel about the new TSA screening, but can someone please fill me in on losing some civil liberty and privacy, in the name of protecting the greater good of the country, under the previous administration is different than what the current administration is. I honestly want to hear a intelligent explanation why(who knows there may be one).

B Balz November 24, 2010 at 10:17 am

Step 1. Obtain “Animal Farm”
Step 2. Read same

This is a real agency:

Homeland Environmental Threat Analysis Division, the Extremism and Radicalization branch of the Office of Intelligence & Analysis (IA) division of the Department of Homeland Security.

Harry November 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I understand Orlando airport is opting out of TSA for a private security service. I would prefer to be fondled by a private security service, rather than the government.

I don’t know why we don’t quit playing politically-correct, everybody-gets-the-same-treatment, and adopt the Israeli (El Al) methodology:
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/744199—israelification-high-security-little-bother

Lady Thinker November 23, 2010 at 12:14 am

The searching I have seen on TV is consistent with an arrest, not a Terry stop.

B Balz November 24, 2010 at 10:19 am

Harry is correct. The system used in Israel is superior, costs less, and works very well. You know you are going to get the 3rd degree, you expect it, and you deal with it, because if you don’t you must be dirty.

Lady Thinker November 24, 2010 at 9:36 pm

I agree with Harry also and think we should adopt Israel’s strategy.

Gerald November 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm

I wish people would quit playing the El Al (Israel) card. First off, Israel, a Jewish quasi-theocracy, does not have our equivalent to the Bill of Rights or equal protection under the law. Now the people who support profiling may always want the Bill of Rights to apply to THEM but not anybody else, but a federal judge – especially a strict constructionist that conservatives claim to favor – would be compelled to view things otherwise.

Second, Israel only has ONE AIRPORT. It is MUCH EASIER to screen ONE AIRPORT in their TINY COUNTRY than our gigantic patchwork covering our HUGE COUNTRY. Third, Israel has NOWHERE NEAR the international traffic that we do. (Our terror suspects are generally foreign-born, not domestic.) Fourth, as a direct result of Israel’s not even pretending to offer “equal opportunity for all”, few Muslims/Arabs/Palestinians have the means for air travel anyway. (Check out their poverty/unemployment rates. And they don’t exactly make it easy for Palestinians to get visas and such. Of course, as Palestinians tend to be a “fifth column”, it is difficult to blame Israel in some respects, but still more evidence of why their situation cannot be compared to ours: THEIR SOCIETY COULDN’T BE MORE DIFFERENT FROM OUR OWN!)

Also, while this may come as a shock to people, Israel IS NOT a major target for international terrorists. Again, Israel’s terror problems are INTERNAL, plus problems with their neighbors like Syria and Iran, who would rather arm Hizbullah. It is America that attracts people from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, London and such. Why? Because Israel is only the “Little Satan.” We are the “Great Satan.”

Also, even if you ignore the vast differences between Israel and America … there is the simple fact that not all Arabs (or people who “look” Arab) are Muslim, and more to the point not all Muslims are Arab. Two of the attempted airplane bombers were black (Richard Reid and the Nigerian). And there are PLENTY of white Europeans from Chechnya, Kosovo and places like that to use, plus white Americans like Johnny Walker Lindh.

Profiling won’t work. The people who insist otherwise are more interested in fighting conservative racial/cultural battles (i.e. folks who have defended police profiling blacks for decades) than they are in fighting terrorism.

c_murrayiii November 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm

FYI Israel has 2 international airports, Tel Aviv and Negev, and they have at least 10 domestic airports. The screening procedures are in place at all their airports.

B Balz November 24, 2010 at 10:20 am

Why do people call it ‘profiling’ when everyone gets the same treatment?

Harry November 22, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Profiling DOES work. You may not like it…but that’s the facts. The US can’t afford trying to be politically correct in every facet of society. All humans are NOT equal, and we have to quit pretending we are.

TheEiger November 23, 2010 at 9:22 am

“All humans are NOT equal, and we have to quit pretending we are.”

For some reason I just had a flash back to 1962. I’m assuming you probably said the same thing back then too. You sir are ignorant. You might believe in profiling (which is fine by me if you can defend your position), but have you ever read the Declaration of Independence?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ”

I don’t know about you, but I love my country and the principles it was founded upon. There are other ways of keeping travelers safe. As someone has already posted. Do you honestly think that al qaeda will not start recruiting white Muslims from the Baltic Region. I guess that would take a someone using logic to think things through before they start spouting off non since.

Harry November 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm

All humans are not equal.

B Balz November 24, 2010 at 10:21 am

Correct. And as much of a shock as it may be, some people ARE more important.

Lady Thinker November 24, 2010 at 9:37 pm

In reality, I agree, some people are more important. It is in legalese that people are equal before the law.

Lady Thinker November 24, 2010 at 12:17 am

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ”

When the Declaration of Independance was written, the principles it was founded upon did not include Native Americans, slaves, or women. The rights you enumerated were strictly for and about white men and all humans were not equal. That would not come about for a very long time. Even now, all people are not equal and probably never will be except in the legal sense.

I love my country too but I am glad that women were finally recognized in 1919. The Native Americans got their Bill of Rights in 1968. Way too long for that to happen.

http://www.answers.com/topic/indian-civil-rights-act

Buzz Brockway November 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

The problem is that these new TSA procedures assume every passenger is as likely as the next to be a terrorist. Clearly that’s not the case.

While what Israel does may not transfer exactly to the U.S. we can learn a lot from them. They’re more worried about people than things. You’re right that we can’t simply say “look at all Muslims” because terrorists will change tactics, but virtual strip searches and groping passengers isn’t the answer either.

Daniel N. Adams November 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm

I too am tired of hearing the Isreal card being played… We already have too much of a police state here. When there is peace in the middle east, then there might be something there to mimic.

Steve November 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

“Has TSA undertaken any efforts to improve communication with the public … [W]hat measures have TSA and DHS taken or plan to take to ensure the professionalism of its employees … Furthermore, I seek clarification of TSA’s screening policy with respect to children.”

Translation: “I don’t really oppose any of this, but people are pissed so I have to say something”.

Is anyone really interested in “clarification”, or “improved communication”… or are they just interested in not being irradiated or groped?

JeffD November 23, 2010 at 10:59 am

“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

ACCmoderate November 23, 2010 at 11:38 am

In regards to Israel, don’t buy the line “behavioral profiling.” I flew through Tel Aviv last year, they’ll stop anybody with a hit of melanin.

More importantly, Ben Gurion is a much smaller airport than those in the United States. It had 10.9 million passengers in 2009. Hartsfield-Jackson had 88 million. Logan Airport (the 19th busiest in the US) had 25.5 million. Israel is able to have an “efficient” system because it isn’t a heavily trafficked airport.

I can’t help but laugh at the people getting upset over the TSA procedures. Firstly, the number of individuals actually pulled aside for a pat down is incredibly small. Listening to Fox, MSNBC, or CNN, you’d think they grope people from the moment they walk in the door. Secondly, I’ve never received a pat down at an airport, or anywhere else for that matter, that I felt violated me sexually. As someone who flies on a regular basis, I can safely say that I’ve never been “groped” by anyone at the security checkpoints. The guy that was worried about having “his junk” touched was just trying to generate hits for his blog.

No one has a “right” to fly. It’s a choice that we make. When you buy the ticket, you assume all the headaches that come with flying: delays, security checks, crappy pretzels. People have known about the scanners for a while (CNN ran a story about them months upon months ago). People know that if they are uncomfortable with the scanners, they can opt for a pat down. If you’re uncomfortable with either of these options, take them into consideration before you decide to fly somewhere. Seriously, it’s called being a responsible adult vs. being a whiny female dog.

I think it’s ironic that the talking heads that rallied in support of NSA wiretapping and the PATRIOT Act would be so up in arms about security measures at American airports. Then again, guys like Hannity have never had much of a backbone to begin with.

These measures keep us safe. If you’re not comfortable with them, fill up your tank and get ready to drive.

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