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TSA Solves Its PR Problem: No More Cameras!

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Message Cameron Salisbury
My plane was taxiing into the gate at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport when the end-of-flight announcements came on.  Seatbacks in upright position, trays closed and locked, baggage under the seats, you know the drill. 

This time there was something new: "No recording devices of any kind allowed in the security area".

Oh?  A new policy to protect the tattered reputation of official government molesters from the public?  I searched the internet for evidence of any new regulations and couldn't find any.  In fact what I found was this at the TSA website:

     We don't prohibit public, passengers or press
     from photographing, videotaping, or filming at
     screening locations. You can take pictures at
     our checkpoints as long as you're not interfering
     with the screening process or slowing things down.
     We also ask that you do not film or take pictures
     of our monitors.

So what to make of that announcement?  Are TSA employees now allowed to make convenient new self-protecting rules literally on the fly?

Since I've been in three airports across the U.S. and two in foreign countries in the past 30 days or so, I'm beginning to feel like a reluctant -- and unhappy - expert on airport security in a variety of nations. I can tell you for sure that no place is as paranoid as the U.S. But then, no other government can hold a candle to the range and variety of enemies the U.S. has created from scratch as part of official policy.

By way of comparison, there is no such thing as official government gropers in any other country. In no other country do passengers take off their shoes. There is no such thing as the radiation of travelers anywhere else.  Here in the American South, I've never encountered a TSA agent who recognized that s/he was dealing in radiation when sending a line of customers through their scanners.  How exactly are those people trained?

These days, a traveler is required to go through security before boarding the flight and again after arrival, even for flights within the U.S. on a U.S. airline.  What subversive behavior can the government possibly believe might happen during a flight that requires such deranged behavior after the plane lands?  And what are their results?  Has any miscreant ever been caught during exit screening?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but one result of such a before and after screening policy is to require even more of the Michael-Chertoff-get-rich-quick body scanners installed in more locations in every airport.  

I've also learned that the number of travelers subjected to the Michael Chertoff machines depends entirely on the supervisor in charge.  He can send everyone in line to be irradiated in the scanner or send them to be groped by his coworkers.  It is all up to him.

U.S. travelers are far from the only ones fed up with the U.S.government's delusional security policies.

The chairman of British Airways,Martin Broughton, has made it clear that he sees increasing U.S. demands for ever-more security (Michael Chertoff again?) as a form of idiocy.  He says that U.S. airport security is "completely redundant."  The recent flight of a U.S. passenger without so much as a ticket indicates that security measures may also be useless. 

I'm getting ready for another cross country trip but this time I will escape government intrusion by driving. I won't have to take off my shoes to start my car and no one will know whether I'm carrying bottles larger than 3 oz.  Plus, without either a ticket or a GPS device, it won't be easy for them to track me.

Take that, TSA!

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Cameron Salisbury is a biostatistician, epidemiologist and grant writer living in Atlanta.
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