Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty

The TSA and the 4th Amendment by grassroothawaii
November 17, 2010, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Hideo Hikida

A topic of recent controversy that has been swirling around the media is the new body-scanning measures that the TSA is implementing at certain airports around the country. In an effort to increase security at our nation’s airports as well as consumer flights, the TSA has rolled out full-body x-ray scanners at security checkpoints to be used on passengers “at random”.

These are powerful x-ray machines, essentially rendering the passenger in the scanner naked to the TSA. Recent stories of controversy have been rampant around the internet, with everything from courthouse officials saving body scans to TSA agents harassing passengers who refuse the full-body scan.

I understand the need for security at airports. Taking off shoes to look for explosives is fine, subjecting our bags to inspection is fine. But for the TSA to stick me in a box, and digitally strip me naked? I think that takes it a little bit too far. The 4th Amendment of the Constitution protects us from unreasonable search and seizure; what amounts to a strip search due to a random selection process seems unreasonable to me.

Granted, one can opt out of the full body scan and request a good old fashioned pat down. So instead of being stripped naked, we’re going to be gratuitously groped instead. Keep in mind that this new scanner does not see “inside” of you. So for any idiot terrorist who decides to carry a bomb in his pocket, game over for them. But for the terrorists who adapt to the situations and security measures (read: all of them), these new scanners are going to completely miss them. Oh, and the pat-down? Sure, the TSA chief said that the new pat-down procedures would have caught the Christmas Bomber. Hindsight is awesome isn’t it?

I understand the need for security in the new age of terrorism. I’m a firm believer that it’s better to be safe than sorry, but this has to come within reason. There is a precedent that exists within the international community that exemplifies the kind of security our US airports wish to achieve. It’s located in Israel and their airport has not had a security breach since 2002. If you have the time, read the article about the security measures that the Israeli airport implement; without infringing on the rights of the passengers. Is there a reason why we can’t follow in the footsteps of another nation? Security is what we’re looking for and the Israelis know what they’re doing.

Just my thought.



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