Time To Back Off On The TSA?

   Nobody likes being patted down by the TSA.   However, when terrorists are planting explosives inside the stomachs of dogs and agents receive information that fanatics might do the same with children, it puts TSA officials in an incredibly difficult position.

The Daily Mail reports that “Kamikaze canines,” dogs stuffed with explosives, were discovered at the Baghdad Airport two years ago but that it was not released to the public.

“French terrorism expert Christophe Naudin said: ‘This highlights the determination of al-Qaeda militants to wreak destruction by literally any means possible.  ‘Live animals are transported on passenger planes as well as cargo planes, and airlines and airports need to be on constant alert.  ‘Western security services are also aware of the possibility that terrorists could use children carrying bombs inside them to destroy aircraft.'” –Daily Mail

A video that’s being circulated showing a 3 year old girl being “accosted” by a TSA security agent, leads one to believe the agent was doing something wrong.  The agent was doing her job.   Maybe she could have done it better, maybe not.  However, it leads to the question of just how far we want the TSA to go in its effort to protect the flying public.  What’s reasonable?  Was the little girl “accosted?”  I think not.  If she were my daughter would I be unhappy?  I’d be furious.   Should the TSA provide their personnel with additional training on dealing with small children?  Perhaps they should.

Is this kind of invasiveness reasonable in a free society, and to what degree have we lost the war on terrorism when the bad guys have succeeded in taking away our basic freedom of knowing we won’t be sexually assaulted at an airport?  It begs the question of “how much security is enough?”

Since there are apparently no limits as to what terrorists will do in their drive to kill innocent people, will the TSA eventually make us all strip down for a body cavity search?  How many people will just stop flying?

Complaints, are expected to increase in number as many Americans encounter this new search procedure for the first time over the upcoming holiday season. I do not look forward to the possibility of being groped by some stranger the next time I fly.  Since experts are divided on the necessity of the new security procedure, you have to wonder if the government may have moved forward with this without having thought it through.  It’s been known to happen.

As for the 3 year old girl, it’s difficult to believe that a two-minute (or less) conversation with the child’s parents wouldn’t have been enough to lead the TSA to conclude that they didn’t fit any known terrorist profile.   Instead,  an innocent child has been left with a trauma that could stay with her for the rest of her life.  Score one for the terrorists.  They now have us terrorizing ourselves.  In this case, we terrorized a 3-year old girl.  We did it.  Not them.

Are these TSA “officers” being adequately trained?  Do they have the ability to make a call as to whether someone might or might not be a terrorist, based upon anything other than a physical search or a full body scan?

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal , an audit of the TSA by the Department of Homeland Security, “..found instances of screeners being told by managers to sign off on completing training they never took, screeners trying to go through recurrent training in break rooms with co-workers chatting, and screeners training with images from old X-ray machines after upgraded machines with different displays were already in use.”

Some years ago, the fast food industry replaced cash registers that had numbers on the keys with a new and “improved” version that has little pictures of fries, hamburgers, shakes and other products imprinted on the keys, so that employees need only push a picture of the product to ring it up.   In other words, it dumbs down the process by eliminating the need for doing simple math.   Almost no thinking and very little training is required.  The TSA may be doing the same thing with airport security, narrowing the window for human error and eliminating the need for adequate training, by taking thinking out of the process.   The problem, is that it’s not hamburgers, fries and shakes that are being processed, it’s people.   It may be time to bring thinking back into the equation?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.