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Reject body scanners, boot the TSA

Reject body scanners, boot the TSA

Wayne Hoffman
November 21, 2010
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November 21, 2010

We're witnessing what appears to be a twisted psychological experiment in what indignities Americans are willing to endure in the interest of airport security. First we were told to take our shoes off at the security checkpoint, and most Americans didn't really object to that. Next came the nude scanners, and it's been amazing to watch Americans willingly go subject themselves to humiliation as a condition of their flying experience.

Now, those who have concerns about health risks or invasion of privacy are being subjected to a government-administered groping. The result is a steady stream of complaints from border to border of Americans who have been fondled, harassed, mocked and manhandled. Clearly, TSA is trying to use its police powers to make examples out of anyone who has the temerity to protest the body scanners.

That's bad enough for the adults; parents are now being told they have the ultimate Hobson's choice: irradiate their kids or subject them to fondling by a stranger in a government uniform.

The Fourth Amendment protects Americans and their property from unreasonable search and seizure and requires probable cause and warrants before such searches can take place. If the Fourth Amendment hasn't been suspended, it has basically been torn in two by the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA knows not and cares not of the Constitution.

Last winter, Athol Rep. Phil Hart had an ahead-of-its time idea to ban the use of full body scanners in Idaho airports. Hart's bill sailed through the House of Representatives, but got nowhere in the state Senate. The state attorney general's office contends the bill would have been unenforceable, but I'd dispute that. State and local governments have a compelling interest to protect their citizens and to interposition themselves between their residents and the national government when that government goes too far as it has. The Hart legislation needs to come back and be passed.

New York City Councilman David Greenfield, a Democrat, has seized on the concept, and is working to ban the full body scanners from use in NYC. The city owns the airports, Greenfield said, so it has the right to decide what kind of screening is used, "and if the TSA disagrees with us, they can sue us."

Other cities are looking to boot the TSA from their airports, recognizing that federal law allows airports to use private security screeners. Idaho's major airports need to draw the line in the sand and tell TSA to take a hike.

On Wednesday, Americans are urged to engage in a national protest by opting out of the full body scanners. My friends at Idahoans for Liberty will be doing a protest at the Boise airport at noon that day. But I hope the protest continues, today and every day, until each body scanner is removed, dismantled, and the federal government stops its assault on the Constitution and our freedoms.

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