Agency giving critics a free security theater pass?

Steve Watson
January 27, 2014

An engineer who notoriously exposed TSA body scanners as fundamentally flawed has been handed a lifetime PreCheck pass, meaning he may never have to walk through a scanner or undergo a pat-down again, prompting questions over whether the agency is attempting to sweeten its staunchest critics.

To his surprise, Jon Corbett, who runs the popular blog TSA Out Of Our Pants, received the PreCheck pass on a flight from Nassau to Miami International last week.

Corbett, who also became the first person in America to sue the TSA over the constitutionality of the agency’s body scanners and pat downs, did not even apply for the Precheck pass, which will allow him to skip standard security lines and procedures when boarding flights within the United States.

“That’s right — the guy who sues, publicly humiliates, and fights the TSA before Congress now has TSA PreCheck, ” Corbett writes on his blog.

“I never asked for it, never opted-in, and had no notice that I was included. I intentionally avoided it because I don’t think it’s fair that one should have to do anything to avoid being abused by their government.” Corbett adds.

While Corbett may have qualified due to his frequent flier status, the TSA’s actions here again underscore how its recent expansion of the PreCheck program, based on “risk assessment”, has many asking questions about what information it is basing such decisions on.

“The TSA somehow decides, based on information like your name, address, and travel history, that you must not be a terrorist. Perhaps this is how I’ve made it through.” Corbett comments.

“Their inclusion of me in this program is further ironic since in 2010, when I filed a motion for a preliminary injunction that would require the TSA not to scan or molest me, the TSA argued that such an “ad hoc” exclusion would devastate the TSA’s impenetrable fortress. But here we are in 2014, and the TSA has done just that,” the activist also notes.

Corbett queries whether the TSA is attempting to placate him and subtly dissuade him from being so vocally critical of the agency and its procedures.

“Perhaps the TSA simply thinks that if it keeps me away from the body scanners, I’ll shut up.” he writes, adding “Nope — what the TSA is doing is wrong, and it’s wrong whether they decide to give me special treatment or not. ‘The beatings will continue until morale improves.'”

The latest development follows accounts of people at airports seemingly randomly being granted PreCheck status, and others being ushered into PreCheck lines and waved through security without explanation.

The TSA’s likely motive is to give fliers a sweet taste of how convenient and breezy life could be if they pay a fee and submit to extensive background checks by their government in order to avoid security lines and freely move around their own country.

Has it ever been more obvious that TSA is operating pure security theater?


Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, and He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

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