They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
– Ben Franklin
Just how much liberty are you willing to give up for some “temporary safety”? Would you let government agents search your home without a warrant? Would you subject yourself and your children to strip searches? Would you allow someone to take naked pictures of your children? Let your little girls be groped?
If you’re planning a flight, brace yourself for a lot more than you’ve planned.
Voyeuristic equipment has been deployed at airports around the nation that more than violates your privacy – it violates the Constitution as well as child pornography and obscenity laws.
While the Fourth Amendment doesn’t specifically mention “electronic” strip searches, here’s what it does say:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Constitution says we are protected against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” I, for one, think strip searching innocent people – whether electronically or not – is unreasonable.
In Germany, protesters of the naked “full-body scanners” stripped to their underwear and painted their bodies with messages like: “Be a good citizen, drop your pants.” What’s ironic is they were less exposed than all the onlooking travelers. Maybe that’s why the German government said “no” to the EU full-body scanner plan, describing it as “nonsense.”
Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for safety and security. I’m also for selecting the most likely suspects to perpetrate an act of terror. What about catching the terrorists? Ralph Nader and the Electronic Privacy Information Center have written to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security calling for public hearings. They report that “A March 2010 GAO report concluded that it was unclear whether scanning devices would have detected the explosives hidden in the underwear of a man who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airplane last Christmas.”
Rushing into something that has not been adequately studied is nothing new for the Department of Homeland Security. The $30 million TSA “puffer” scanning units were canceled, according to Nader, because “they were unreliable.” Another costly mistake that warrants congressional review.
Apart from the violation of the Fourth Amendment and child indecency and pornography laws, there is a significant safety risk.
“On April 6, 2010, a group of distinguished scientists at the University of California-San Francisco wrote to Dr. John Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser, urging a more rigorous review of this technology citing the absence of any real, independent safety data. … The scientists cite potential harm to pregnant women, women genetically vulnerable to breast cancer and those with compromised immune systems.”
Medical reports in England reveal that while the dose of radiation is reported to be “small,” it concentrates on the skin – one of the “most radiation-sensitive organs” with a dose that may be “up to 20 times higher than first estimated.” And yet, Americans are subjected to this potentially dangerous radiation without so much as a review of the medical evidence.
Oh, and those machines? They can and have recorded those naked images. Nader’s letter also points out: “… although the TSA has said it will not retain images of scanned passengers, documents obtained by an EPIC FOIA revealed that the TSA required that scanners have the ability to store, record and transfer detailed images of naked air travelers.” It’s already happened in England where an Indian film star’s naked pictures were copied and circulated.
Although there is evidence that passengers, including pregnant women, children, HIV and cancer patients, are not given an option, others have reported being given an unacceptable option: Either let TSA agents, gawkers and airport bystanders see you naked, or subject yourself and your children to something that if it were done outside the airport would be referred to as sexual assault.
The word from those who’ve been through the new system is that those who refuse to comply with the electronic strip searches are publicly pointed out and subjected to government molestation. They report that the “back of the hand” pat down is being replaced by the full-palm grab and grope. What could have landed someone behind bars is, apparently, becoming the new airport norm.
And now it’s no longer limited to same-sex agents. Men, apparently, are running their hands between the legs of women and children, groping breasts of the non-scanners. Some, reportedly, get both treatments by power-tripping TSA agents.
At the heart of this is the warped view of the Obama administration that targets American citizens as “enemies,” while refusing to recognize those who have declared jihad against us as “terrorists.” Instead, Obama’s Department of Homeland Security declared pro-Constitution, pro-life, pro-family, pro-Second Amendment veterans as the “most dangerous” terrorists of all.
Thankfully, those great Americans rose up last week and reminded those arrogant elitists who’s in charge. It’s time to rise up again. Because those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety will lose both.