A plan by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, would attack head-on the issue of federal agents of the Transportation Security Administration “groping” airline passengers at security checkpoints by specifying that screeners “are not immune” from laws that limit physical contact with other people.
The proposal, the details of which are being developed, is to be called the American Traveler Dignity Act, Paul explained today in a Straight Talk column posted on his congressional website.
“I am introducing the American Traveler Dignity Act, which establishes that airport security screeners are not immune from any U.S. law regarding physical contact with another person, making images of another person, or causing physical harm through the use of radiation-emitting machinery on another person,” he wrote.
“It means they are not above the laws the rest of us must obey,” he wrote.
The issue of scanner technology that produces an essentially nude image of an airline passenger, or physical pat-downs that critics have called “groping,” has been hot over the last year since the federal government introduced its idea of “enhanced” airport security screenings.
Just a day earlier, officials with the Libertarian Party of Florida formally asked sheriffs across the state to start arresting TSA agents in the 67 counties for sexual battery.
“As sheriff, you have the absolute duty to enforce the law uniformly and without prejudice. You are, at best, engaged in selective enforcement by choosing to further ignore these flagrant violations of federal and state law. At worst, you are complicit,” a message to the 67 sheriffs from the party, signed by chairman Adrian Wyllie, said.
“If you have TSA agents within your county that are violating the law, then you must act. Warn the TSA agents that they are subject to arrest if they continue to violate the law. Should they continue, then you must begin making arrests,” the letter said. “We urge you to remember the oath you took to support, protect and defend the Constitution of both the state of Florida and the United States of America. On behalf of all Floridians, the Libertarian Party of Florida calls on you to do exactly that.”
It was just last week when TSA officials dodged a sticky situation as lawmakers in Texas were unable to assemble a quorum during the waning hours of a special legislative session to approve a bill intended to require “reasonable suspicion” on the part of TSA agents before they could do an invasive physical contact search.
Paul’s comments recall some of the recent situations that have developed because of TSA “procedures.”
“The press reports are horrifying: 95 year-old women humiliated; children molested; disabled people abused; men and women subjected to unwarranted groping and touching of their most private areas; involuntary radiation exposure. If the perpetrators were a gang of criminals, their headquarters would be raided by SWAT teams and armed federal agents. Unfortunately, in this case the perpetrators are armed federal agents. This is the sorry situation 10 years after the creation of the Transportation Security Administration,” Paul wrote.
He said the government’s policies reveal “much about how the federal government feels about our liberties.”
But he said those who say they are giving up freedoms for security will end up with neither.
“Last week, for example, just days after an elderly cancer victim was forced to submit to a cruel and pointless TSA search, including removal of an adult diaper, a Nigerian immigrant somehow managed stroll through TSA security checks and board a flight from New York to LA with a stolen, expired boarding pass and an out-of-date student ID as his sole identification! He was detained and questioned, only to be released to do it again 5 days later!” the congressman wrote.
When Texas was moving forward in its plan to require “probable cause” for agents to act against a passenger, the federal government threatened to close down air traffic to and from the state.
In fact, U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy suggested that federal agents must be allowed to touch people, including their sex organs, as they want.
“The proposed legislation would make it unlawful for a federal agent such as a TSO to perform certain specified searches for the purpose of granting access to a publicly accessible building or form of transportation,” he told Texans at the time. “That provision would thus criminalize searches that are required under federal regulations in order to ensure the safety of the American public.”
When the Texas proposal was being developed, analysts noted that many other states were looking at the idea in view of introducing their own plans. The analysts say they expect a multitude of bills over the next few years.
Videos of invasive searches, including physical contact with sex organs, have been all over the Internet since the “enhanced” procedures were imposed by the Obama administration.
But perhaps among the most dramatic expressions of concern came from Miss USA Susie Castillo, who was reduced to tears by federal agents assuring themselves that she is not a terrorist bent on homicide.
In a commentary at the Tenth Amendment Center by Connor Boyack with Brian Roberts and Michael Boldin, the organization said, “It was … at the Dallas, Texas, airport where former Miss USA Susie Castillo tearfully produced a viral video describing the molestation she had just endured at the hands of a TSA agent.
“I mean, she actually touched my vagina,” Castillo said through her tears. “They’re making me choose to either get molested or go through this machine that’s completely unhealthy and dangerous. I don’t want to go through it, and here I am crying.”
Continued the commentary, which was in support of Texas’ plans to address the traveling public’s concerns, “Castillo isn’t the only person who would be protected under this Texas legislation. All other innocent travelers would likewise be shielded. That includes the six year old girl who made the headlines last month for being groped by a TSA agent (an action which the TSA defended as being alright since it ‘followed the current standard operating procedures’), as well as the eight-month-old infant subjected to a pat down while cradled in the arms of her mother.”