My comment for Barbara Boxer

Left at her online comment form:

I fly regularly, both for work and to visit my family in New Jersey. I have probably taken at least one round trip flight every year of my life, and lately I fly several times a year. I am not a threat to aviation.

Why does the TSA treat me and every other traveler as if we were criminal suspects, then? The new x-ray scanners are profoundly invasive, and potentially threaten travelers’ health. They would also be easy for terrorists to evade. The alternative to this dangerous and invasive x-ray is an invasive search that I would consider sexual harassment. As someone who has to fly for work, and to see my family, I object to this Hobson’s choice (travel and be sexually violated or do not travel and lose my job and family).

The new pat-downs have been compared to what police do during a probable cause search, which would make sense if TSA agents had probable cause to search me and my fellow passengers. But they don’t. Since the crash of United 93, every attack that got as far as the airport has been foiled not by TSA, but by the flight crews and passengers. That is a strength of our system, and the adversarial, distrustful, insulting, and deeply invasive searches now being implemented weaken that successful line of defense.

In the TSA oversight hearing tomorrow, please ask why some more sensible balance can’t be found, and why passengers who rightly opt out of these invasive searches are subject to $10,000 fines and civil suits.

What are you telling your Senators?


  1. #1 Elf Eye
    November 16, 2010

    Sent to my senator, Warner of Virginia:

    Scanning that enables a screener to see beneath an airline passenger’s clothing and pat-down searches that extend to men’s and women’s genitals and women’s breasts are sufficiently intrusive to be unreasonable in the absence of probable cause. TSA employees are functioning as agents of the government and as such ought to be subject to the Fourth Amendment, which establishes “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The right to travel is fundamental to a free citizenry, and no one should have to waive his or her constitutional rights in order to board an ordinary conveyance.

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