Terrorizing, Smuggling, and Assault: All in a Week's Work at the TSA
by Becky Akers
The TSA’s had a banner week. It began with former Head Cheese, Kip Hawley – the guy who foisted the liquids-in-baggies nonsense on us – bleating that the agency is “broken” and it’s no wonder Americans hate it. As if to prove him right, screeners beat up on little girls – twice. And it was only Monday. By Wednesday, cops had arrested four screeners at Los Angeles International who took a break from pawing passengers to smuggle illicit drugs through checkpoints. Meanwhile, a Congressman alleged assault after a “very aggressive … pat-down.”
Hmmm. Seems there are several clues here that perhaps we might want to, oh, I don’t know, abolish this vile agency.
Four-year-old Isabella Brademeyer was flying out of Wichita, Kansas with her mother, brother and grandmother after a stint as flower-girl in her uncle’s wedding. Isabella successfully negotiated the checkpoint’s charade, but her grandmother wasn’t as fortunate, and the TSA ordered her aside for a groping. Isabella offered the lady a child’s best comfort: she ran to her and hugged her for a “few seconds,” according to her mother’s account on Facebook.
Or, in the TSA’s words, Isabella “had completed screening but had contact with another member of her family who had not completed the screening process.” Uh-oh. That shot across the Homeland’s bow galvanized the Warriors on Terror. Thank Heaven for their practice in neutralizing cupcakes and strip-searching octogenarians: these crack troops knew exactly how to protect us from affectionate grandkids. Isabella’s mother reports that they began “yelling” at the little girl, “demand[ing] she too must sit down and await a full body pat-down.” Indeed, they scared her so badly that she “did what any frightened young child might, she ran the opposite direction. … I will never forget the look of pure terror on her face.”
Ergo, the TSA declared Isabella a “high-security-threat.” But fear not: two Warriors chased this “not cooperating” “suspect” (their actual phrasing, per Ms. Brademeyer) while ordering her mother “to have no contact with my child.” Eventually, they captured Isabella, frisked her to ensure that Granny hadn’t slipped her a WMD during their brief hug, and allowed the family to board their flight. “It was an awful sight,” Ms. Bradenmeyer says in understatement as vast as the federal debt. “…My daughter is very shaken up about this, and has been waking up with nightmares.”
As should we all. What has the country become that we permit such savaging of children? Yet the TSA defended the indefensible, as usual: ”TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that our officers followed proper screening procedures in conducting a modified pat-down on the child.” Parents, take note: the TSA justifies traumatizing little ones as “proper screening procedures.” You may want to boycott flying lest concerned citizens sic Child Welfare Services on you.
Isabella isn’t the bureaucracy’s only pint-sized victim, even if we limit its atrocities to the last hundred or so hours. Screeners at New York’s JFK International molested 7-year-old Dina Frank so “aggressively” her family missed their flight. Dina suffers from cerebral palsy, yet her assailants still showed no compassion or mercy. And when her father tried to film the abuse, an agent “screamed” at him to stop — though “TSA does not prohibit the public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping or filming at security checkpoints…,” or so the agency’s website insists. ”They make our lives completely difficult,” Joshua Frank, told The Daily, a newspaper for iPad. “They’re harassing people. This is totally misguided policy.”
You can’t sink lower than assaulting handicapped little girls. Perhaps that’s why Wednesday’s story about the four screeners at Los Angeles International seems positively benign: couriers bribed them to ignore the cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana flowing through their checkpoints – similar to the screeners on the East Coast who pled guilty the preceding week to smuggling Oxycodone. But these criminals may well be among the TSA’s least harmful: rather than irradiating and hassling unwilling passengers, they shielded entrepreneurs supplying product to willing customers from the government’s failed War on Drugs.
One such reluctant passenger is Rep. Francisco Canseco (R-TX). At San Antonio International, his close encounter with the TSA earlier this month “got very uncomfortable so I moved [the screener’s] hand away,” he told KENS 5-TV. “That stopped everything and brought in supervisors and everyone else.” And you can see why: only terrorists object when Big Brother manhandles their junk.
On Sunday, the Warriors took revenge. They once again boldly went “where no one is supposed to go” when Canseco caught another flight out of San Antonio.
“The American people expect and deserve to be safe and secure from the threat of terrorism when they board a commercial aircraft,” Canseco stated to MSNBC. Especially when the terrorists wear blue shirts and gloves. The TSA’s clear and present persecution of 13 million passengers every week hurts us far more than the distant, enervated Al Qaeda ever will.
Canseco “believe[s]… there are other ways of securing airways we in Congress should look into…” He may want to talk to his fellow Texan and Republican, Rep. Ron Paul – the only candidate for the presidential nomination who promises to free us from the TSA’s depredations. He’s even introduced legislation to do so (“American Traveller Dignity Act of 2011,” H.R. 2438) that Canseco should support.
Absent the TSA, responsibility for securing their multi-billion-dollar inventory, highly trained personnel, and customers will revert to the airlines, where it should have been all along. Indeed, 3000 people might be alive today if it had resided there on 9/11. But tragically, the FAA controlled aviation’s security then. “Private” screeners staffed checkpoints, it’s true, but the FAA dictated every move they made and every item they confiscated – or didn’t. And it was the FAA that ordered passengers and crew to cooperate with hijackers, easing the way for Mohammed Atta and Co. When it established the TSA, Congress merely transferred the FAA’s lethal incompetence to a new bureaucracy.
And one so vicious it gives little girls nightmares. “To a 4-year-old’s perspective,” Isabella Brademeyer’s grandmother explained to the Associated Press, “… someone was trying to kidnap her or harm her in some way.”
Out of the mouths of babes.