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Monday, November 29, 2010

Obama administration's Homeland Security team eyes invasive, TSA-style screenings for your daily commute

Janet Napolitano Considers Advanced Screenings for Mass Transit

(The New American) -- by Raven Clabough --

Despite the public outcry against the virtual police state at airports, Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano indicates that she would like to see similar procedures utilized on trains, ships, and other varieties of mass transportation. Ironically, Napolitano made these statements after admitting that terrorists will eventually find a way past the naked-body scanners and enhanced pat-down procedures.

Appearing on the Charlie Rose show on November 22, Napolitano said, “Terrorists are going to continue to probe the system and try to find a way through.”

She added, “I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime. So what do we need to be doing to strengthen our protections there?”

Later, an official at the Department of Homeland Security clarified that the use of the naked-body scanners at other mass transit facilities was not under consideration, as such procedures “would not be feasible in a system with hundreds or thousands of access points.” But what if it were "feasible" in such a system? Indeed, it may not be "feasible" for the TSA to virtually strip search every person using mass transit at every access point — but why wouldn't the abusive agency, which unapologetically uses full-body scanners to view the naked bodies of travelers at airports, use the mobile version of the technology to see through the clothes of unsuspecting passersby at mass transit facilities and elsewhere. In fact, it would be hard to imagine the TSA not doing this, considering that the full-body scan technology has already gone mobile!

Napolitano’s announcements come at the height of criticism against the screening procedures used by the Transportation Security Administration at American airports, particularly the use of the naked-body scanners that penetrate an individual’s clothing and the enhanced pat-downs that under any other circumstance would be considered molestation under our laws.

The images taken by naked-body scanners are so graphic that they cannot be shown on television without being censored. In addition to the explicit pictures taken by the machines, the scanners also release radiation that many contend (contrary to TSA denials) presents a health risk, particularly for those who fly repeatedly.

The TSA and Department of Homeland Security claim that the screening procedures are necessary to prevent future terror attacks, but critics assert that terrorists will continue to find ways past security as innocent Americans are subjected to privacy violations prohibited by the Fourth Amendment.

Defending the screening procedures, Napolitano remarked, “I really want to say, look, let’s be realistic and use our common sense. This is not about the government itself. We all have a role to play in security.”

“And so I really regret some groups saying, ‘Well, we don’t want to be a part of that.’ I regret it because it’s not what we’re all about. What we’re all about is shared responsibility,” she added.

But why would Americans "want to be a part of that"? Why would they want to accept the notion that every person should be viewed as a terror suspect — and therefore subjected to naked-body machines and groping — by their own government? And why wouldn't a government that fears its own citizens be feared by its citizens? Indeed, if the purpose is to provide legitimate security without sacrificing liberty in the process, why not try freedom? Why not end the TSA and its regulations so that the airlines and airports and others in the transportation sector can decide the best ways to protect their own passengers, employees, and property?..MORE...LINK

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