Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Big Brother Watching: Even In The 'Friendly' Skies.

You've probably seen the video of a young boy being put through what the TSA says is them "just doing their job" to secure America.  The boy is practically stripped search (and left with his dignity on the floor) as he and his dad prepare to take flight.

Some call it disturbing (we do too), and a total invasion of privacy.  TSA calls it protecting Americans from possible terrorist attacks. 
What George Orville wrote about in Nineteen Eighty-Four, about a society that Orwell describes as everyone being under complete surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreens, is a system on the brink of violating our civil liberties.  (Or guilty of crossing the line altogether).

Oddly enough the society of which Orville writes is called  Airstrip One.  

The White House has responded on this issue and has said the following:

TSA searches woman before flight. Has the TSA gone too far?
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:  "Well, look, I will say that we have all seen over the course of the past year that there are organizations like al Qaeda that continue with the intent on inflicting harm and damage in this country through airliners.  I think what TSA has set up and what the public greatly supports -- I think there was a CBS poll that said four out of five Americans are supportive of increased security to ensure that you feel rightly safe when you get on an airplane.  I think the way -- I think TSA administering this in a way that makes the public feel safe and comfortable is important, as well as implementing it to ensure the protection of privacy is important."

President Obama, who flies aboard the friendly skies on AirForce One supports such searches.

"I understand people’s frustrations, and what I’ve said to the TSA is that you have to constantly refine and measure whether what we’re doing is the only way to assure the American people’s safety. And you also have to think through are there other ways of doing it that are less intrusive."

"But at this point, TSA in consultation with counter terrorism experts have indicated to me that the procedures that they have been putting in place are the only ones right now that they consider to be effective against the kind of threat that we saw in the Christmas Day bombing."

Complaints about TSA searches have sparked a national 'Opt Out Day' where citizens are being asked not to allow body screenings, but rather consent to pat downs instead.

Related:  When TSA Searches Go Wrong
Man Left In Urine After Being Searched
TSA Makes Woman Remove Her Prosthetic Breast [Video]
Don't Touch My Junk!

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