2015 Airport Security Symposium – UPDATED

UPDATE: Open to the public, pay what you can. Doug says he realizes the $199 conference fee is out of reach for a lot of people.

Douglas Kidd of the National Association of Airline Passengers has organized this Airport Security Symposium for Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C. He’s lined up plenty of speakers, including Alaska state rep and TSA critic Sharon Cissna, consumer advocate and friend of the blog Charlie Leocha, one-man investigative research team Jonathan Corbett, security expert extraordinaire Bruce Schneier, and several of us who write for TSA News — Sommer Gentry, Wendy Thomson, and me.

The full list of speakers, agenda, and all details are here.

The day-long symposium goes from 9am to 6pm and features not only speakers but break-out groups, panel discussions, dinner, and an awards ceremony. It’s open to the public; so please, if you’re in the area or can be, do come and make your voice heard.

Here’s Doug’s description:

This symposium brings together passengers, security experts, and other interested parties to examine airport security from the passengers’ perspective.

The purpose of the symposium is to identify and address weaknesses and failures of current TSA policies and procedures, and develop practical solutions to the problems faced by passengers and security personnel, with the goal of improving both security and the passenger experience.

Doug has put a lot of work into this. He deserves all the credit. I’m participating because I think it’s important, not because I think we’re going to change anything. Sorry, but that’s my view. But you don’t win battles if you sit on your hands and do nothing. You win by fighting, no matter how long it takes. I have said in these pages countless times that I don’t think this battle will be won in my lifetime. So be it. I’m still going to fight it as long as I live.

And since education is a huge component of this struggle, a symposium like this is vitally important. If we’re going to enlist other people on our side in the fight for civil liberties, we have to tell them what’s at stake. Yes, I know we’ve been doing that at TSA News for four years now, and some of us have been doing it independently for even longer. But there are always new audiences to reach. And there are always people who until now have sailed through the TSA gauntlet unscathed. They still don’t get it. Will they ever? I don’t know. But we have to try.

I’m reminded, as I often am, by the searing, poetic words of Chris Hedges. These apply now:

“I want to succeed. I do everything possible to succeed. But that’s not finally what’s important. It’s important that you resist, because if you don’t resist, you are complicit with the obliteration of everything that is about justice.”

Another TSA agent charged with child porn

I get tired of having to write the same stories over and over again. Such as this one: yet another TSA agent caught with child porn.

We’ve written so many times about these kinds of crimes I’ve lost count. I try to keep track in the Master List of TSA Crimes and Abuses, but it’s impossible; no one person can do it all. Meanwhile, here’s the latest story:

A federal grand jury has returned a four-count indictment against as 27-year-old man from the North Houston area in relation to the sexual exploitation of a child, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Christopher Lynn Persky is charged with one count each of production, distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography.

. . . sent images of child erotica to an undercover agent using the chat feature on a known child pornography site. At that time, Persky allegedly provided his full name and further claimed to work for TSA, according to the criminal complaint. He is no longer employed by TSA.

Oh, well, that’s nice. He no longer works for the TSA. Wonder how many children he groped before he was caught?

But hey, that’s okay. It’s a small price to pay for security! After all, can’t be too careful, what with all those terroristy children roaming around! Thank god somebody’s groping them! It’s For Your Safety™ !

Please sign this fab TSA petition

Come on, folks, let’s get this up to at least 150 signatures. If we do, it’ll go live on the main White House petition site. It was written by our perennially creative contributor Chris Bray.

You may recall that we’ve tried petitions in the past, including one that went nowhere thanks in no small part to the fact that the White House’s site went down for several hours and they didn’t extend the petition-signing time to account for that. In other words, we got shortchanged.

Let’s not let that happen again. This time, the petition is a brilliant satire of the TSA’s behavior, especially the recent case of TSA supervisor Maxie Oquendo sexually assaulting a young woman at La Guardia Airport under color of authority.

Come on, let’s make this happen! I know most people can’t be bothered with this issue in general (boy, do I know it), but you can at least have a little fun with it. Sign the petition here. And then repost, tweet, disseminate however you like far and wide.

(Cross-posted at ABombazine)