J. D. Heyes
April 25, 2011
In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks which involved the use of commercial jetliners as guided missiles, few Americans objected to the government’s quest to make our airports more secure.
But then, surely few of us also imagined that the agency created to provide airport security would ever consider a 6-year-old child to be a prime terrorist suspect, or that its agents would be able to feel that child up publicly in the name of “national security.”
And yet, that’s precisely what has happened. Worse, it was an act legitimized by the agency’s highest-ranking official.
Earlier this month, in a YouTube video that went viral, a female Transportation Security Administration agent was shown patting down a 6-year-old Utah girl as she and her family attempted to pass through airport security.
Parts of the pat down, in another setting, clearly constituted the kind of inappropriate touching that, if done by anyone else, would have resulted in charges of child abuse and sexual assault. The pat down even caused the little girl to cry, her parents later said in televised interviews.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Homeland Security Administration Secretary Janet Napolitano, under whom the TSA falls, dared to defend the indefensible. In an interview about the incident with MSNBC, she said this:
“Nobody likes to see those kinds of things even though it was done professionally according to the protocols. But, what TSA is doing is reexamining those protocols all the time. It’s all in relation to threat – what is the threat? And one of the things we do see is if you categorically remove a group from any type of screening, well those who seek to do us harm will then exploit that group. So you have to be very careful on how you do it.”
So, Napolitano is saying that it’s okay to inappropriately touch 6-year-old kids because, you know, terrorists could use the children of typical American families to smuggle bombs aboard airliners. Does anyone, besides her, really believe this? Can you imagine this happening to the child of Muslim couple?
Granted, TSA abuses are nothing new. Besides “randomly” selecting and groping passengers who don’t fit terrorist profiles, the agency now wants your DNA. But the borderline criminality of TSA searches – needs to stop.
Napolitano says the TSA is working to develop a “risk-based system” of screening passengers. Let’s hope that at least means taking kids off the list.