I mentioned the rant by Bob Schieffer about the TSA changing/relaxing the screening guidelines for airline passengers, and here (thank to Linda in the comments) is a writeup:
The federal agency in charge of aviation security is considering major changes in how it screens airline passengers, including proposals that an official said would lift the ban on carrying razorblades and small knives as well as limit patdown searches.
An initial set of staff recommendations drafted Aug. 5 also proposes that passengers no longer have to routinely remove their shoes during security checks. Instead, only passengers who set off metal detectors, are flagged by a computer screening system or look “reasonably suspicious” would be asked to do so, a TSA official said Saturday.
Seems sensible enough, but this seems like something a smart populist seeking office might seize upon as a prime example of Washington being out of touch:
The Aug. 5 memo recommends reducing patdowns by giving screeners the discretion not to search those wearing tight-fitting clothes. It also suggests exempting several categories of passengers from screening, including federal judges, members of Congress, Cabinet members, state governors, high-ranking military officers and those with high-level security clearances.
It seems to me that the people responsible for the oversight of the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security should be the last people exempted from the sorts of invasive searches they think are fine for the rest of the country. In fact, many of the members of Congress seemed to agree with me, at least in spirit, back in 1993 and 1994:
On the first day of the 104th Congress, the new Republican majority will immediately pass the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government:
FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress…
I understand that most of the posturing and most of the claims about members of Congress and elected officials being just one of the people are nonsense, as they aren’t just like the rest of us, but it seems that this is one area where they should be treated just like one of us everyday average Joes.
Maybe this is the story behind the story.
I had the same reaction reading this story, which matched my reaction to an unrelated story in the LA Times. Here’s what I wrote on a different blog:
From the LA Times:
In the LA Times story, it might just happen that the reporter was making the road repair issue more personal–a council member notices a problem for his or her constituents, and takes action to alleviate it. But how many of us have thought, sitting in traffic,” Wouldn’t it make more sense to have repairs done in off-peak hours?” It’s not rocket science. However, it does require basic awareness of the situation that your average commuter faces. In the DHS story, it’s reasonable on the surface to exempt some presumably trustworthy people from being inconvenienced by security–except that those people (judges, members of congress, and so forth) are the ones deciding who should and should not have membership in their class. In both cases, we observe a distance between decision-makers and the ordinary people affected by those decisions.
One way to see this is as an issue of perceived fairness; another way to put it is that decision-makers should be subject to the implications of their decisions.
This reminds me when, during the Reagan years, the big push for drug testing started. George Schultz said he’d never take one. It IS different for the little people :P.
Really, I agree, if they are going to pass these laws and enforce them, they should lead by example…
I wonder how accurate this story is, given that what they describe is ALREADY the policy with regards to removing your shoes. Yes, screeners will often demand you do it in defiance of actual regs but if you question them on it they’ll admit it’s “only a recommendation.” So what if they phrase it as an order, right?
I am also reminded of how, during the flu vaccine shortage, members of Congress were invited to drop by Dr. Frist’s office for a free shot of precious vaccine, regardless of how low-risk they might be. They take all these perks because they think no one will care.
Flaw in the logic of John’s complaint: The purpose is to screen for terrorists.
Congressmen and senators are safely assumed not to be terrorists. Hence we let them through.
Why hassle Ted K just to make some hair-splitting point about the 14th amendment?
I can destroy that argument with two simple words: Dick Durbin…
Additionally, Other Don, we do not only screen for the purpose of finding terrorist. Else, why do we compare the name on the ticket to the name on the ID and refuse entry if they do not match? We could stop people without tickets from entering without verifying the name on the ticket is the name on the ID. But we’re all spending our hard-earned tax dollars to help prop up the airline industry’s yield management techniques and enforcing a de facto federal law making tickets non-transferable – a move that helps the airlines avoid true competition and a third-party market in tickets but does nothing to make us safer.
So, how many terrorists are under the age of two?
Supplementary question: Why are security agents hassling people who have the singular misfortune of saddling their offspring with a name that appears on the list? Are these unfortunately named infants more likely to be wearing shoe bombs or carrying the ever deadly nail clippers?
Thank dog Richard Reid didn’t stuff his ballsack with explosives or we would all have to drop trou’ for a quick ball squeeze on our way through security.
Does anyone find actual comfort in these pointless security charades, or are they just bread and circuses for the traveling retarded?
Yes! So, how many terrorists are under the age of two?