Somewhere, George Orwell Is Waking Up To Say, “I Told You So!”

As my colleague Lisa Simeone has been pointing out for some time now, the “some animals are more equal than others” line is alive and well at the TSA checkpoint.

Bart Jansen writes at USA Today that those who have the bucks to pay to get into the TSA’s “Pre-check” program can do so. Who will pay? Businessmen, wealthy people, people not on a budget. The rest of us will continue to get our hoohoos grabbed by the hamburger clerks pretending to do security work same as we all have been these past years.

The Transportation Security Administration plans to dramatically expand its program to get travelers through airport checkpoints faster by inviting them to pay a nominal fee for voluntary background checks.

TSA’s Pre-check program offers travelers separate lines at checkpoints, where they leave on shoes and light coats and keep laptops in their bags. The free program operates at 40 airports and now covers members of frequent-flier programs for Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, United, US Airways, and Virgin America airlines. Airlines invite frequent-fliers to apply with little more than the information provided when buying a ticket.

But TSA Administrator John Pistole announced Friday the agency will expand eligibility for the program to include travelers who pay a one-time fee of $85 for five years, to cover an application with identifying information such as address and birthplace, a background check and fingerprinting.

Yes, that’s right. Your Fourth Amendment right to not be searched without probable cause will still be taken from you; but if you pay a fee, strangers employed by your government might no longer grope your sex parts at the airport. “Might” is still the operative word, because, as we’ve written more times than I can count, Pre-Check doesn’t guarantee you a grope-free experience.

As for the people who trade money and privacy to avoid being sexually assaulted in the name of security just because they need to take a business trip or want to be there for Granny on her 90th, think about it: You’re being treated like a criminal — being fingerprinted and giving information that is not your government’s business unless you have committed a crime.

If you’re not speaking up about this, you’re part of what’s enabled the degradation of our rights.

P.S. And if you think government is there to protect you, you should know that this little pay-to-avoid-groping dealie was brought to you by the sleazebags occupying the U.S. Senate.

  • TSAisTerrorism

    This new program is such a joke. It shows in glaring light Pervole’s abject stupidity.

    The people eligible for PreCheck already have it. So now he thinks the equivalent of 150 million people are going to pony up $85 for the privilege of maybe keeping their shoes on?

    What a moron. The only people left who aren’t already enrolled in PreCheck are the same people who spend days scouring the Internet to save $2 off of airfare and do everything they can to avoid paying a $25 checked baggage fee. These same people sure as shit aren’t going to pony up that kind of money.

    I predicted over a year ago that the entire program would be a huge bust, and it would appear I was right. I now boldly predict that this new iteration of that failed program will also go bust.

  • frostysnowman

    Another way to speed up the process at check points would be to get rid of the scanners and gropings, and go back to using the metal detectors, which work better anyway. And what’s to stop a possible terrorist from applying to and being approved for Pre-Check? So many things are wrong with the program. It should not be allowed. I think it violates the 14th amendment.
    And a bit off-topic: I don’t understand why people who fly first class get special, shorter lines at the check points. The 9/11 guys sat in first class. Wouldn’t that make the first class passengers more of a risk by TSA standards?

    • RonBonner

      It’s a TSA program. So many things are wrong with TSA. This is just one small item amoung 100’s

  • RonBonner

    Government has systematically collected personal data on everyone in the country. Those who travel by air are already in TSA databases. So exactly why can’t the PreCheck style screening be the default level of screening for everyone? TSA already knows enough about our lives to determine if one of us presents any kind of threat.

    This expansion of Pre Check is anti-American. Another source of revenue for TSA.

    If TSA would just knock off the current bullshit screening practices and use basic screening procedures in place for Pre Check now, only elevating with clear cause then we would all be better off. No one would get special treatment based on economic status the security needs of travelers, airports, and airlines would be accomplished without the rancor many travelers have for TSA clerks.

    What TSA needs is a leader. TSA certainly has none now.