Tag Archives: homeland security

When TSA Agents Attack

For most people, the TSA is merely an annoyance. We grudgingly play our part in security theater so we can get where we’re going. But for Kathy Parker, the TSA is something far more serious (via Steve Horwitz):

“Everything in my purse was out, including my wallet and my checkbook. I had two prescriptions in there. One was diet pills. This was embarrassing. A TSA officer said, ‘Hey, I’ve always been curious about these. Do they work?’

“I was just so taken aback, I said, ‘Yeah.’ ”

What happened next, she says, was more than embarrassing. It was infuriating.

That same screener started emptying her wallet. “He was taking out the receipts and looking at them,” she said.

“I understand that TSA is tasked with strengthening national security but [it] surely does not need to know what I purchased at Kohl’s or Wal-Mart,” she wrote in her complaint, which she sent me last week.

She says she asked what he was looking for and he replied, “Razor blades.” She wondered, “Wouldn’t that have shown up on the metal detector?”

In a side pocket she had tucked a deposit slip and seven checks made out to her and her husband, worth about $8,000.

Her thought: “Oh, my God, this is none of his business.”

Two Philadelphia police officers joined at least four TSA officers who had gathered around her. After conferring with the TSA screeners, one of the Philadelphia officers told her he was there because her checks were numbered sequentially, which she says they were not.

“It’s an indication you’ve embezzled these checks,” she says the police officer told her. He also told her she appeared nervous. She hadn’t before that moment, she says.

She protested when the officer started to walk away with the checks. “That’s my money,” she remembers saying. The officer’s reply? “It’s not your money.”

Read the whole thing. If the Fourth Amendment had any force anymore, the TSA would have been abolished years ago. It is well past time for President Obama and Congress to consider that step. It would certainly do wonders for them in the polls.

Al Qaeda: Clowns or Killers?

As he often does, Gene Healy hits a home run in his Washington Examiner column. More and more hilarious stories of bumbling, incompetent terrorists are coming out. Gene shares some of the better ones and asks, “You ever get the feeling that some of these guys aren’t the sharpest scimitars in the shed?”

This leads to a conclusion reached by far too few:

We’ve given al Qaeda power over us they don’t deserve. When we recognize that they’re often inept and clownish, we weaken their ability to sow terror. For the sake of our liberty and security, it’s prudent and patriotic to allow an occasional smirk to cross your stiff upper lip.

He’s right. Terrorists win when we overreact. And overreact we have. From airport security theater to the 854,000-employee post-9/11 homeland security aparatus, Americans have willingly handed al Qaeda a bigger, longer-lasting victory than they could ever have hoped for.

Grading Obama on Homeland Security

It didn’t make it into CEI’s final report card since homeland security is outside CEI’s suite of issues, but here’s my grade for DHS:

F         Department of Homeland Security – Janet Napolitano, Secretary
Grader: Ryan Young, Journalism Fellow

The Obama administration showed great early potential on security issues, and didn’t live up to it. President Obama had a chance to let the PATRIOT Act’s more controversial provisions expire. He extended them. Closing Guantanamo Bay was a positive development that has been badly mishandled. The foiled Christmas Day underwear bomb attack was a chance to stand up to terrorists and let them know that we are not afraid. Instead, travelers are being treated to more of the same hysterical overreactions they have been stoically enduring for years.