TSA Caving To Pat Down Pressure?TSA manager tells Alaska Senator that agency is considering changing its policies
Paul Joseph Watson
June 3, 2011
Following pressure from lawmakers that resulted in the Department of Justice resorting to threats of federal blockades last week to stymie a bill in Texas that would have made TSA groping a felony, a top Transportation Security Administration official has indicated that the agency might be about to cave on its aggressive pat down procedures.
During a roundtable session in Anchorage Alaska hosted by U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, TSA Field Operations Manager Scott Johnson said the agency was “considering changes in its screening techniques,” reports the Associated Press.
Instead of groping young children and searching babies’ diapers, the TSA is looking at treating passengers differently based on their potential risk, a policy that would “rank populations of air passengers as more or less potentially dangerous.”
“There are probably people that we have to take a closer look at than others,” said Johnson.
However, subjecting individuals deemed suitable for a “closer look” by the TSA to more aggressive screening may have little to do with stopping terrorists considering the fact that the TSA apparently judges the biggest threat to be journalists who criticized the agency and were then put on a watch list as a form of punishment.
“This whole idea of risk assessment … trying to determine what’s high risk, what’s a low risk, how they manage that, I think was a good statement and a new policy that they have,” said Senator Begich, noting that body scanners which do not show intimate details of a person’s naked body are in the pipeline. However, worries about the radiation threat posed by such devices, an even bigger concern, were not addressed.
The round table session was organized by Republican State Rep. Sharon Cissna’s United States for Travel Freedom Caucus, a group that is pushing for legislation to be enacted across the country that would ban TSA molestation.
Cissna, a 68-year-old cancer survivor who suffered molestation and abuse in her youth, made shock waves back in February when she refused to submit to a TSA grope-down and was subsequently prevented from flying from Seattle, Washington to her home in Alaska.
“It’s a paradigm shift that has gone on here, where suddenly it’s all right to teach kids that it’s all right to have strangers touching them in the most personal places,” she said.
Last week, the Department of Justice and the TSA used financial terrorism to nix HB 1937 in Texas, a bill that would have made it “A criminal act for security personnel to touch a person’s private areas without probable cause as a condition of travel or as a condition of entry into a public place,” shortly before the legislation looked to be on its way to passage in the Senate having passed the Texas House unanimously.
The DOJ and Homeland Security intimidated lawmakers into dropping the bill after they threatened to shut down all the airports in Texas and prevent any commercial flights from operating out of or entering the state.
While any change in policy by the TSA should be welcomed, let’s not forget that following the national outcry at the end of last year against intrusive airport screening that was spearheaded by the Drudge Report, John Pistole’s promise that the TSA was looking at making the process “less intrusive” was never fulfilled, and if anything the grope-downs became more aggressive, with TSA goons directly sticking their hands down people’s pants.
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