TSA News Blog on HuffPost Live

I was a guest on Alyona Minkovski’s program on Huffington Post Live last night, along with Declan McCullagh of CNET and a frequent flyer named Marc Marrero.

AOL picked it up and put together a shortened segment called “TSA Watcher: Agency’s Actions Are ‘Ethically Indefensible’.” As it turns out, said segment is an edited version of remarks by yours truly.

Since it’s a spliced-together chunk, you won’t get all the references (one of which was to Chris Elliott’s latest column). In any case, I think you’ll also want to see Declan’s and Mark’s comments, so there’s a link at the end of the video to the original at HuffPo Live.

And apologies, dear reader, for the schlocky visuals in my segment. I was aghast when I saw it. Though I was in a room full of bookshelves, the computer was situated in such a way that what you see is a decidedly unprofessional-looking background — my gowns and hubby’s gym clothes. Luckily, the cats weren’t wandering around. Next time I do one of these, I’ll make sure to re-position the computer.

(Photo: HuffPost Live/AOL)

  • Peggy

    Great Job, Lisa.

  • Daisiemae

    Great job! Keep it up.

  • Good job Lisa!

    REMINDER: The use of any scanner is still a significant violation of the 4th amendment, as the method is more than what metal detectors and breathalyzers do.

    The scanners just search our whole bodies without detecting anything SPECIFIC. This is akin to taking a blood test for drunk driving and the test looks at everything and reveals results for AIDs, Hepatitis, Cholesterol, Various Drugs, your genetic code for dispostion to certain diseases, and Alcohol….because it has to look at EVERYTHING first. Then, someone reads through all the data to see if you had alcohol.

    So, I would suggest the scanners search your whole body without any ability to positively identify an explosive on one’s person. Because it does a general test, and can’t even identify what it finds, the government is doing a blanket search, at random (they guess at your age to avoid certain things, they let families with children bypass scanners sometimes, they randomly pick people out for scanners, and they always patdown wheelchair bound people and don’t use scanners with them).

    This is no different from searching your entire house to find illegal guns, but they have to look at and in everything. If the precedent is set about our bodies, then house searches for security purposes are equally valid (and less intrusive as no one is touching your genitals). Clearly, the courts don’t allow this search. Our persons should be inviolate as well, even in public places.

    Now, one can argue that metal detectors detect metal which might indicate presence of a gun, blood tests are only for Alcohol, dogs sniff our Explosive particles, ETD machines “kind of” sniff out explosives IF they are the expensive ones, etc.
    So far, the courts have allowed the tests I just mentioned because they kind of limit the search to a specific item, so even though warrantless, they do “name a specific thing to be searched for”.

    Please continue to be vigilant concerning all scanners – there is a principle at stake….the 4th amendment. If the scanners which still have false positives and put 10.5 million people a year at risk for criminal touching…versus the absolute 0.0% increase in security as measured by a reduction in the number of suicidal airline passengers with working non-metallic bombs before and after scanners for 50 years in the US…are allowed, then the 4th amendment is basically dead.

    Unless you are a criminal, in which case you have rights still.

    • Jeff, totally agree. I have been against the scanners on civil liberties grounds from the beginning. Way before anybody was talking about safety concerns. Though I don’t minimize those concerns, I think they are, in this context, a red herring. Because even if the TSA were to come up with 100% Unequivocally Safe scanners, I’d still be against them. They are a gross intrusion and 4th Amendment violation.

      • CelticWhisper

        I agree.

        Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad the Rapiscan scanners are leaving the airport, because it represents at least a little victory and I’m sure that Michael Chertoff isn’t happy about his precious toys being forced out of the air travel realm by Congress. Also, I think it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate these victories when we get them because it keeps us from burning out or giving up hope.

        That said, to me, the gropes are the big problem. They were instituted as a means of forcing people through scanners by making the alternative that much worse. Without the gropes to use as a bludgeon, opt-out numbers would skyrocket and I, for one, might (MIGHT!) be willing to fly again if opting out only meant a cursory handheld metal-detector wanding (HHMD in Travel Freedom parlance). I think that focusing on outlawing the Pistole-spec “enhanced” molestation patdown is a good next step. Fighting directly against MMW scanners might be a hard sell to the general public who don’t consider the civil-liberties implications of airport screening and would be inclined to think “But they just got rid of a whole bunch of them! What, is that not enough? These people are NEVER happy.” Banning the grope is both a relatable cause that people can rally behind and a substantial focus shift to a different, but equally repugnant, aspect of TSA tyranny.

        If Round 2 of the TX anti-groping bill actually succeeds, we’ll have a template to propagate the change to other states as well. I’m hoping it does, as if so, I plan to push very aggressively to get similar legislation introduced in IL. Even if for no other reason than to rub it in the face of Jan Schakowsky, sniveling excuse-factory that she is, that her apologetics for TSA fly in the face of the laws of her own home state.

        Anyway, long story short, I think that if we can gut the gropes, MMW scanners will be rendered neutral as a simple matter of course, since opting out will be a choice requiring no trepidation or misgivings and people can refuse to their hearts’ content.

        • Daisiemae

          We can dream, can’t we?

  • Fisher1949

    Go girl! Glad you’re on our side 😉

  • davidgilmore

    Good interview. And it’s great to see the cause getting traction in (of all places) Texas!