Tag Archives: TSA

Unconstitutional Searches of Electronic Devices at American Airports Have Quadrupled, by Dagny Taggart

The government, particularly the TSA and border authorities, continue their wars on the First and Fourth Amendments. From Dagny Taggart at theorganicprepper.com:

“Go to any airport in this country and you’ll see how well our government is dealing with the terrible danger you’re in. TSA staffers are wanding 90-year-old ladies in wheelchairs, and burrowing through their suitcases. Toddlers are on the no-fly list. Lipsticks are confiscated. And it’s all done with the highest seriousness.

It’s a show of protection and it stirs the fear pot, giving us over and over an image of being in grave personal peril, needing Big Brother to make sure we’re safe.” – Ann Medlock, Home of the Brave

The federal government wants us to believe that its growing disregard for our First and Fourth Amendment rights is in the interest of national security.

Thankfully, there are organizations that are attempting to bring attention to the ever-expanding police state – and are even willing to fight them in court.

America is turning into a Constitution-free zone.

Since 2015, U.S. government searches of travelers’ cellphones and laptops at airports and border crossings have nearly quadrupled.

You might be tempted to believe that these searches are done for good reasons.

You’d be mistaken.

Continue reading

Advertisements

How the government uses its giant facial recognition database, by Simon Black

Another step closer to Orwell. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

In July 1996, flight TWA 800 exploded in mid-air, 12 minutes after taking off from JFK International Airport in New York. All 230 passengers on board were killed.

It would be four years before an investigation concluded the likely cause of the explosion was a short circuit in the plane’s fuel tank.

But at the time, President Clinton felt the overwhelming need to do something.

People suspected terrorism. So Clinton issued new airport security rules.

From then on, identification was required to board an airplane.

Before that, you just needed a ticket.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, airport security escalated.

Continue reading

TSA announces “biometrics vision for all commercial aviation travelers”, by Edward Hasbrouck

Can mandantory human chip implants be far behind? From Edward Hasbrouck at papersplease.org:

Today the US Transportation Security Administration released a detailed TSA Biometric Roadmap for Aviation Security & the Passenger Experience, making explicit the goal of requiring mug shots (to be used for automated facial recognition and image-based surveillance and control) as a condition of all domestic or international air travel.

This makes explicit the goal that has been apparent, but only implicit, in the activities and statements of both government agencies and airline and airport trade associations.

It’s a terrifyingly totalitarian vision of pervasive surveillance of air travelers at, quite literally and deliberately, every step of their journey, enabled by automated facial recognition and by the seamless collaboration of airlines and airport operators that will help the government surveil their customers in exchange for free use of facial images for their own business purposes and profits.

Continue reading

Ordinary US Citizens Now Surveilled By Air Marshals As Part Of Secret New Program, by Tyler Durden

The TSA now given itself license to monitor any air traveler it wants, for whatever reason enters their empty little heads. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

If you’re a law abiding US citizen, a team of armed undercover US Air Marshals could be following you on your next flight, taking minute-by-minute notes whether or not you engage in such threatening behavior as sleeping on the plane, using a phone, going to the bathroom or talking to other passengers.

The Boston Globe has revealed a new federal program that profiles and surveils ordinary US citizen travelers who otherwise have no legitimate reason for being profiled. The secret program, called “Quiet Skies”, was set up to monitor US citizens with no prior record and who don’t result in red flags being raised at the airport. The people surveiled and followed in this program are, according to a TSA memo cited by the Globe article, “not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base”.

In essence, the program gives the TSA the option to monitor and track whoever it likes for any reason whatsoever, effectively granting TSA agents a green light to violate anyone’s personal privacy even as the legal and constitutional implications of such profiling remain unknown. And, understandably, internal pushback against the relatively new program  has emerged as some Federal Air Marshals have noted that it is a drain on resources and is way too time consuming and costly.

Further, concerns have been raised by legal experts, like Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor, who said that “if this was about foreign citizens, the government would have considerable power. But if it’s US citizens — US citizens don’t lose their rights simply because they are in an airplane at 30,000 feet.”

Predictably, the TSA defended the program to the Boston Globe when asked and declined to note for the article whether or not the program has been successful in stopping any threats. In fact, it wouldn’t even confirm that the program existed. But documents provided to the Boston Globe by FSA sources confirm that this highly controversial program does, in fact, exist.

To continue reading: Ordinary US Citizens Now Surveilled By Air Marshals As Part Of Secret New Program

Why Can’t We Sue the TSA For Assault? by Ron Paul

Ron Paul asks a good question. From Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

When I was in Congress and had to regularly fly between DC and Texas, I was routinely subjected to invasive “pat-downs” (physical assaults) by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). One time, exasperated with the constant insults to my privacy and dignity, I asked a TSA agent if he was proud to assault innocent Americans for a living.

I thought of this incident after learning that the TSA has been compiling a “troublesome passengers” list. The list includes those who have engaged in conduct judged to be “offensive and without legal justification” or disruptive of the “safe and effective completion of screening.” Libertarian journalist James Bovard recently pointed out that any woman who pushed a screener’s hands away from her breasts could be accused of disrupting the “safe and effective completion of screening.” Passengers like me who have expressed offense at TSA screeners are likely on the troublesome passengers list.

Perhaps airline passengers should start keeping a list of troublesome TSA agents. The list could include those who forced nursing mothers to drink their own breast milk, those who forced sick passengers to dispose of cough medicine, and those who forced women they found attractive to go through a body scanner multiple times. The list would certainly include the agents who confiscated a wheelchair-bound three-year-old’s beloved stuffed lamb at an airport and threatened to subject her to a pat-down. The girl, who was at the airport with her family to take a trip to Disney World, was filmed crying that she no longer wanted to go to Disney World.

The TSA is effective at violating our liberty, but it is ineffective at protecting our security. Last year, the TSA’s parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), conducted undercover tests of the TSA’s ability or detect security threats at airports across the country. The results showed the TSA staff and equipment failed to uncover threats 80 percent of the time. This is not the first time the TSA has been revealed to be incompetent. An earlier DHS study fund TSA screenings and even the invasive pat-downs were utterly ineffective at finding hidden weapons.

To continue reading: Why Can’t We Sue the TSA For Assault?

A 64-year-old put his life savings in his carry-on. U.S. Customs took it without charging him with a crime. By Christopher Ingraham

Welcome to the bizarre and unjust world of civil asset forfeiture. From Christopher Ingraham at washingtonpost.com:


Rustem Kazazi. left, at home with wife Lejla and son Erald in Parma Heights, Ohio. (Institute for Justice)

A 64-year-old Cleveland man is suing U.S. Customs and Border Protection after agents strip-searched him at an airport in October and took more than $58,000 in cash from him without charging him with any crime, according to a federal lawsuit filed this week in Ohio.

Customs agents seized the money through a process known as civil asset forfeiture, a law enforcement technique that allows authorities to take cash and property from people who are never convicted or even charged with a crime. The practice is widespread at the federal level. In 2017, federal authorities seized more than $2 billion in assets from people, a net loss similar in size to annual losses from residential burglaries in the United States.

Customs says it suspects that the petitioner in the case, Rustem Kazazi, was involved in smuggling, drug trafficking or money laundering. Kazazi denies those allegations and says that the agency is violating federal law by keeping his money without filing any formal complaint against him.

Kazazi is a retired officer with the Albanian police who relocated with his family to the United States in 2005 after receiving visas through the State Department’s lottery program. They became U.S. citizens in 2010. After several years away, Kazazi planned a trip to Albania last fall to visit relatives, make repairs on a family property and potentially purchase a vacation home.

He took $58,100 in U.S. currency with him, the product of 12 years of savings by Kazazi, his wife, Lejla, and his son Erald, who is finishing a chemical engineering degree at Cleveland State University, according to the lawsuit. The family lives in Parma Heights, a suburb of Cleveland.

In an interview translated by his son, Kazazi said safety concerns prompted him to take cash on his trip, rather than wire the funds to a local bank.

“The crime [in Albania] is much worse than it is here,” he said. “Other people that have made large withdrawals [from Albanian banks] have had people intercept them and take their money. The exchange rates and fees are [also] excessive.”

To continue reading: A 64-year-old put his life savings in his carry-on. U.S. Customs took it without charging him with a crime.

After pointlessly groping countless Americans, the TSA is keeping a secret watchlist of those who fight back, by James Bovard

The TSA and the IRS run neck and neck as to which is the most hated government bureaucracy. From James Bovard at latimes.com:

After pointlessly groping countless Americans, the TSA is keeping a secret watchlist of those who fight back
Security lanes at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
“I need a witness!” exclaimed the security screener at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Because I had forgotten to remove my belt before going through a scanner, he explained, I must undergo an “enhanced patdown.” I told him that if he jammed his hand into my groin, I’d file a formal complaint. So he summoned his supervisor to keep an eye on the proceedings.


I thought of this exchange last week when the New York Times revealed that the Transportation Security Administration has created a secret watchlist for troublesome passengers. The TSA justified the list by saying that its screeners were assaulted 34 times last year, but did not release any details about the alleged assaults.

Naturally, the TSA’s official definition of troublemaking goes well beyond punching its officers. According to a confidential memo, any behavior that is “offensive and without legal justification” can land a traveler on the list, as can any “challenges to the safe and effective completion of screening.” Anyone who has ever “loitered” near a checkpoint could also make the list. So could any woman who pushes a screener’s hands away from her breasts.

The memo would be more accurate if it stated that anyone who fails to unquestioningly submit to all the TSA’s demands would be found guilty of insubordination. As an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, Hugh Handeyside, told the Washington Post, the policy gives the agency wide latitude to “blacklist people arbitrarily and essentially punish them for asserting their rights.” Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-New Jersey) expressed similar worry. “I am concerned about the civil-liberty implications of such a list,” she said.

To continue reading: After pointlessly groping countless Americans, the TSA is keeping a secret watchlist of those who fight back