The TSA Screening Process – Giving Up Essential Liberty for Security

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Published on: September 26, 2014

Everyone who seeks to board an airplane has to be subjected to the screening process, sometimes gross molestation pat-down, by the Transportation Security Administration—or do they? According to the conclusion drawn by ACLU staff attorney Hugh Handeyside, government employees and politicians get preferential treatment simply for being employees of the government and politicians.

It appears ordinary American citizens who travel via air transportation are lumped into an “aviation security caste system” while those of the “privileged government elite,” including employees of government agencies, are given preferential treatment. The TSA bases this on the “dozens of watchlists complied by TSA, FBI and other law enforcement agencies, along with a secret formula the TSA believes can sort passengers based on hypothetical analyses and conjecture.” Using dozens of lists compiled by several federal law enforcement agencies, the TSA determines which passengers are singled out for additional screening or which passengers should be prohibited from flying despite the amount of screening received. However, the TSA cannot account for the number of individuals who end up flying even when on the so-called “no-fly” list.

What Handeyside found in his research is the TSA also keeps a “whitelist” of individuals that “is probably unconstitutional and is ‘stretching the concept of watchlisting to the breaking point.'”

Handeyside wrote in his evaluation, “Not only has the Transportation Security Administration expanded its use of blacklists for security screening to identify passengers who may be ‘unknown threats,’ but it has also compiled vast whitelists of individuals – including members of Congress, federal judges, and millions of Department of Defense personnel – who are automatically eligible for expedited screening at airports. These changes have made a broken watchlisting system even more arbitrary, unfair and discriminatory.”

This makes it much more understandable why members of Congress, the federal government, and “privileged” individuals have no problem with the TSA security screening – they don’t have to go through what the average American, who is considered a peon, does. Because of their “position and status” in society, they are afforded exemptions under the motto, “what’s good for you does not apply to me.” According to our founding documents, citizens are equal under the law; the law is to be applied equally to all citizens, regardless of position or status. It appears that certain entities have decided that is not the case with certain individuals. While the TSA is “feeling up” you, your husband, daughter, son, wife, grandmother or other relative, you can rest assured that members of Congress, and probably their families, do not have to suffer this indignation to board a plane.

According to the report, this “Secure Flight program” uses the blacklists, whitelists, and assorted other color lists to pre-screen all individuals seeking to travel by air and sorts them into three categories: high-risk, low-risk, and unknown risk. The category is assigned when an individual has their boarding pass scanned in the security line. As has been reported, your name could end up on a watchlist, even if you have never committed a crime or an act of terrorism. Remember the baby that was placed on the no-fly list?

In order to make Americans more secure, the TSA developed its own “secret formula” in developing these categories and their own watchlists since the definition of a suspect aviation threat by the FBI was too relaxed. The TSA’s “risk-based targeting scenarios and assessments” is part of that secret criteria to determine who might be a hypothetical threat, justifying additional screening, before flying the “friendly skies.”

If your name happens to appear on one of these TSA blacklists, you can almost forget appealing the decision since the process that put you on that list is “top-secret.”

The fact that should come away from all of this is the political elite believe in their God-given right to “be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effect, against unreasonable searches and seizures” without a warrant; but, they hold that everyone else should be subjected to those violations, period.

September 11, 2001, brought to our shores a terrible tragedy in which terrorists used airplanes to strike at America by flying those planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Americans felt vulnerable and afraid. The government seized this tragedy to implement the “Pre-flight Groping and Screening Program,” along with increasing its surveillance on US citizens. Americans accepted this usurpation of their liberty and God-given rights in the name of security, with some continuing to support this violation fervently to this day. But, considering what is occupying positions in our government today, are you really feeling secure knowing they believe the rules don’t apply to them? Are you feeling secure that no one in any government agency or the Department of Defense or Homeland Security would perpetrate an act of terror? As a reminder, the Fort Hood shooter might have been excluded from the screening us average Americans endure to board an airplane.

As Benjamin Franklin so wisely stated, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.”

Let that sink in for a moment.

Individuals in government are exempt from being deprived their “essential liberty” to purchase a bit of temporary safety for the average American; however, it is expected of the average American to forfeit their “essential liberty” in exchange for a temporary safety. Sen. Diane Feinstein was horrified and outraged that her Senate committee computers were violated; but, this woman is perfectly content having your communications pilfered and stored for future use. This woman is in all out support for her God-given right to bear arms while she seeks to eradicate that right for all other Americans. In the name of “security,” “unspeakable tragedy,” and “saving one child,” the political powers seek to eradicate rights endowed to each one of us by our Creator – rights they have not the power to give nor the power to take away – while preserving those rights for those they deem “worthy.”

More and more Americans are being made aware of a developing caste system divided into the “elite” and the “inconsequential.” People are being assigned a status of worthiness based on position in society; in other words, people in government positions are more worthy than the average American. What is worse is that decision is being made by people in government.

People in government have forgotten the self-evident truths: “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And, these people have forgotten that government is to secure these rights for the people and they only govern by consent of the people. As long as “we the people” continue to consent to their violations, these violations will not only continue, but they will get worse.

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