Responses to TSA Propaganda 101

by Lisa Simeone on January 25, 2012


The Department of Homeland Security was burning up bandwidth Monday, dispatching teams of TSA operatives to post pro-agency comments in the various articles about the illegal detainment of Senator Rand Paul in Nashville.

They were countered by the thousands of commenters who took them to task. Because TSA assaults and crimes on air passengers happen so often, this TSA propaganda has become a staple of comments sections nearly every week.

To help the TSA, I propose an idea for more efficiency, something DHS head Janet Napolitano recently said she’s looking for.

Since these TSA statements are the same ones that have been recycled for more than a year now, it would speed things up if there were a common reference number assigned to each one so the TSA could just post its propaganda by number. Readers could then post a reply based on facts.

A sample list follows:

TSA Propaganda: There hasn’t been a terrorist attack since 2001, proving that the TSA procedures are necessary.

Fact: There were no attacks between 2001 and 2010 even without scanning and groping passengers.

TSA Propaganda: These procedures are necessary to prevent another “Underwear Bomber.”

Fact: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was stopped by passengers, not the TSA. The same goes for Richard Reid, the so-called Shoe Bomber. Not to mention, neither man had anywhere near the amount of explosives needed, or knowledge of how to use them, to bring down a plane.

TSA Propaganda: Rand Paul was seeking special treatment by asking to go through the scanner a second time.

Fact: Sen. Paul has in the past been allowed to go through the scanner more than once when the machine false-alarmed on him. In addition, thanks to his exposing of the groping of a six-year-old girl, the TSA now allows children to be scanned several times before a pat down is required. They obviously allow a repeat scanning for some adult passengers, too, so not “everyone” is subject to the same rules.

TSA Propaganda: You do not have a constitutional right to fly. If you choose to fly you must submit to the rules of the TSA. Otherwise take a bus or train.

Facts: Flying is a right. 
Flying is a means of travel, and everyone has a right to travel and to do so by a means of their choice. See Supreme Court case (U.S. v. Guest 383 U.S. 745 (1966)): “In any event, freedom to travel throughout the United States has long been recognized as a basic right under the Constitution.”
Another US Supreme Court case, Shapiro v Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969) strongly supports the right to travel:
“The constitutional right to travel from one State to another . . . has been firmly established and repeatedly recognized.’ United States v. Guest, 383 U.S. 745, 757 . This constitutional right, which, of course, includes the right of ‘entering and abiding in any State in the Union,’ Truax v. Raich, 239 U.S. 33, 39 , is not a mere conditional liberty subject to regulation and control under conventional [394 U.S. 618, 643] due process or equal protection standards. 1 ‘[T]he right to travel freely from State to State finds constitutional protection that is quite independent of the Fourteenth Amendment.’ United States v. Guest, supra, at 760, n. 17. 2 As we made clear in Guest, it is a right broadly assertable against private interference as well as governmental action. 3 Like the right of association, NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449 , it is a virtually unconditional personal right, guaranteed by the Constitution to us all.”

As for taking the train or bus, TSA VIPR Teams are searching at train stations in Savannah, Los Angeles, Tampa, and many other cities. They also conducted warrantless random car searches at Sarasota airport.

TSA Propaganda: TSA says its agents did not detain Sen. Paul: “Passengers, as in this case, who refuse to comply with security procedures are denied access to the secure gate area. He was escorted out of the screening area by local law enforcement.”

Fact: He was detained in a glass cubicle for 30 minutes and threatened when he stepped out of the cubicle. He was again threatened when he tried to use his phone.

TSA Propaganda: The TSA screeners were just doing their jobs.

Fact: The excuse of “just doing my job” was demolished at the Nuremberg Trials.

TSA Propaganda: The TSA is needed because private screeners failed to stop the 9/11 attacks.

Fact: The FBI and NSA were tipped off in advance about the 9/11 hijackers but refused to share information with each other and did not alert the airlines or private screening firms. It was negligence on the part of our intelligence agencies that allowed 9/11 to happen. Furthermore, no bombs were brought onto planes on 9/11. There were more bombs brought onto planes in the 1960s than at anytime since then.

(Photo: Jason Ford/Flickr Creative Commons)

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