As the lame-duck session of the 112th Congress begins, millions of Americans are looking to the elected members of the 113th Congress to fix a host of problems ailing the country. The economy and job creation aside, one of the most pressing issues is reining in out-of-control federal bureaucracies. The Environmental Protection Agency comes to mind, as does the Department of Agriculture’s promotion of GM foods.
But additionally concerning is the rapid expansion of the size, scope and reach of the Transportation Security Administration, which continues to usurp authority and trample constitutional rights of more and more Americans – especially those who aren’t flying.
The TSA and its mother agency, the Department of Homeland Security, was hurriedly established during the harried, hysterical weeks following the 9/11 attacks. Once designed to replace private airport security firms that were blamed for allowing the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists to slip past checkpoints and take over four commercial airliners with razor blades, the TSA has since grown into a regulatory, bureaucratic behemoth that now claims jurisdiction over other modes of travel, including bus and train stations.
‘The future of transportation security will be gathering intelligence technologically’
In the future, the agency will want to track all of your daily travels, no matter where you go, according to predictions made by some security experts.
“Air travelers are increasingly subjected to revealing full-body scans or enhanced pat-downs – all in the name of keeping the skies safe,” writes Bill Briggs at NBC News. But apparently, we ain’t seen nothing yet.
“As America prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in the U.S., security experts question whether freedom, speed and personal space will one day return to air travel – while still maintaining high standards of safety,” he wrote in August 2011.
Technology, which is increasingly serving as a double-edged sword these days, could produce what security experts foresee as a bumper crop of detection tools in the future. That could include biometrics, electronic fingerprinting and behavioral analysis, all of which would produce quicker, smoother and less intrusive travel screening in the years ahead.
Others; however, envision a Big Brother-type of government that gets even more intrusive, perhaps even requiring chip-embedded passports or other travel documents we’d be required to carry that would reveal to federal transportation watchdogs everything about our daily travels – commutes to work, to sporting events, shopping centers – even to social gatherings.
All, of course, in the name of “security.”
Ed Daly is one expert who sees both versions of events transpiring.
“The future of transportation security will be gathering intelligence technologically while people are moving at the speed of life, not beginning at a point where passengers are queued up, delayed, stripped down and probed,” he told Briggs.
Using technology to abuse liberty is no ‘solution’
Daly, the director of intelligence-watch operations for iJet, an Annapolis, Md.-based firm that offers risk management solutions for some 500 multinational corporations and government entities, talked about tweaks in software that can instantly read, record and categorize everything about your person – from your face to your license plate – that he says must be expanded to all public buildings and modes of transportation, from airplanes to trains, buses and subways.
“[However,] if technology fails to provide an adequate solution, the option in the face of future attacks would be further restrictions and potential for humiliating human-to-human interaction,” he said – pretty much what is taking place already, via the TSA.
Can you imagine this agency, which hires criminals and perverts, whose administrators seem to take some sort of sordid pleasure in adopting search-and-surveillance policies that seem designed to cause humiliation or subordination, having access to this kind of highly personal, highly invasive information?
The founding fathers could not have foreseen biometric technology or x-ray scanners, but they knew human nature, which is why they adopted clear-cut, unambiguous constitutional protections for American citizens.
Will the 113th Congress become the first in modern history to reaffirm them, beginning with the castration of the TSA?