stop the TSA madness
Here’s the letter I just sent to my senators and district representative:
I am writing to express my extreme displeasure with the new policies and procedures of the Transportation Security Administration.
As you know, TSA has recently begun implementing “backscatter” X-ray technology at airports around the country, and for those who choose to opt out of being scanned by these new devices, they are conducting wildly inappropriate physical searches on US citizens.
For one thing, the backscatter scanners have an unproven safety record. There are other, more effective means of screening passengers that do not require subjecting citizens to any quantity of radiation. Scientists from major American universities are very concerned about the effects of these machines, as evidenced from recent letters to Cabinet from the University of California at San Francisco, and at least two pilot unions oppose the use of these scanners.
Regardless of the health risks, the nature of the technology is simply not appropriate, and despite statements to the contrary by TSA officials, the machines do amount to a “virtual strip search.” This is not an acceptable way for the United States to handle security with everyday citizens, even in a climate of concern about global terrorism. Again, a program based on behavior profiling, with full-body scans only being conducted with probable cause, is the only appropriate approach.
Regarding the pat-downs conducted for those who opt out of full-body scans: reports are now frighteningly common across the internet and news media that these searches are invasive enough to be considered sexual harassment or even sexual assault.
I travel by air at least twice a year with my wife and children (ages 5 and 3). I should not be forced to choose whether my children will be subject to irradiation or a potentially traumatic physical search.
The most important matter, and the real heart of the issue, is that the TSA’s new policies are a clear and blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution: “Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches, and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions.” There is absolutely nothing reasonable about either the use of backscatter X-ray machines on ordinary citizens or the invasive physical searches that TSA is conducting.
This simply cannot be allowed to continue in the United States. I am asking you as my elected representative to make these TSA practices a top priority for you until they are ended and the TSA understands the clear Constitutional limits on its authority.
I thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.