My colleague Chris Elliott asked the other day how much worse the TSA could possibly behave, given that its employees consistently defend the indefensible. Well, here’s one answer, and TSA Administrator John Pistole provides it:
Bad enough to charge you with assault, extort a guilty plea out of you, and then praise your assailants as “performing their security duties with professionalism and integrity.”
Writer Becky Akers got her hands on an all-staff memo John Pistole sent to TSA employees updating them on a couple of court cases where passengers were charged with an offense after defending themselves from TSA assault. One of those passengers was folk hero Yukari Miyamae (fair disclosure: I contributed $200 to her legal defense fund).
Only in a world where the dystopian musings of Franz Kafka, George Orwell, and Aldous Huxley have come true could people who defend themselves from physical assault be charged with a crime. And either be found or be forced to plead guilty by a judge who sides with the assailants. (Then again, we crossed that bridge a long time ago, when we, as a country, codified torture, indefinite detention, secret charges, secret evidence, and secret trials.)
Not only has the TSA turned the law on its head, it’s turned language on its head — a longtime practice of propagandists — and not for the first time. Instead of instructing his employees not to grope passengers, which ample evidence proves is routine, Pistole writes that a passenger groped a TSA agent. He uses the same word TSA critics and victims have used to describe what’s going on in American airports.
Such deliberate disinformation is called doublethink. Orwell is turning in his grave.
(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/Jeremy Tenenbaum)