Enhanced patdowns for Congress

Techdirt explains “Why Congress Isn’t So Concerned With TSA Nude Scans & Gropes: They Get To Skip Them“:

Earlier this week, in holding a hearing with the head of the TSA, our congressional representatives didn’t seem too concerned about the public complaints about TSA security procedures: the naked scans and the gropings. Want to know why? Perhaps it’s because, on the rare occasions that they fly commercial, they get to skip security. The NY Times notes that Speaker of the House John Boehner (who does regularly fly commercial) got to walk right by security and go directly to the gate. In defending this, Michael Steel, head of the Republican party pointed out that this is true of all Congressional leaders — which doesn’t make it any better.

I recall that Ted Kennedy had been on one of the lists requiring extra scrutiny, and pilots just managed to be allowed onto planes without cumbersome screening. So I just assumed congresscritters had to go through the same nonsense.

Maybe not, but if not there’s no good reason. With pilots, it makes sense to skip or at least scale back the screenings. They don’t need to hijack the plane to cause havoc, and many are permitted to carry firearms on the aircraft.

But what about Congress?

Can we trust that every member of Congress has the safety and interests of the US at heart? Sadly, no. A significant number of Republicans in Congress are actively blocking passage of a treaty that would allow the US to resume monitoring of Russian nuclear stockpiles, and reduce the number of nuclear weapons to a slightly more manageable number. Congresscritters have stood against necessary economic policies, and continue to do so. There is a significant group of Congresscritters who want the US to default on the national debt, essentially declaring bankruptcy and destroying the world economy to prove a (fairly undecipherable) point.

Let’s be clear: policy differences should never be equated with treason. My point is that votes which were once routine have now become partisan games. Raising the debt limit and passing START are the sorts of routine, bipartisan things that no one opposes unless they want a global financial crisis or nuclear war, or are simply and utterly clueless. And these folks continue demagoguing these issues after having their ignorance corrected. So it’s malice.

Threatening to invalidate Treasury Bonds or to end the nuclear stock monitoring provided by START is surely a graver threat to national security than anything al Qaeda has ever done, and would be far more disruptive than anything al Qaeda has even considered attempting. The least we can do is screen these fanatics at airports.

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