Your Morning TSA Security Round-Up

[Trigger warning for general harm.]

McClatchy—Against advice, TSA chief didn't warn public about pat-downs: "Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole said Monday that he disregarded internal advice and decided not tell the public in advance about aggressive new screening and pat-down procedures for airline passengers, fearing terrorists could try to exploit the information."

USA TodayBody scanner makers doubled lobbying cash over 5 years:
The companies with multimillion-dollar contracts to supply American airports with body-scanning machines more than doubled their spending on lobbying in the past five years and hired several high-profile former government officials to advance their causes in Washington, government records show.

L-3 Communications, which has sold $39.7 million worth of the machines to the federal government, spent $4.3 million trying to influence Congress and federal agencies during the first nine months of this year, up from $2.1 million in 2005, lobbying data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show. Its lobbyists include Linda Daschle, a former Federal Aviation Administration official.

Rapiscan Systems, meanwhile, has spent $271,500 on lobbying so far this year, compared with $80,000 five years earlier. It has faced criticism for hiring Michael Chertoff, the former Homeland Security secretary, last year. Chertoff has been a prominent proponent of using scanners to foil terrorism. The government has spent $41.2 million with Rapiscan.

"The revolving door provides corporations like these with a short cut to lawmakers" and other decision-makers, said Sheila Krumholz, of the Center for Responsive Politics.
Washington PostNearly two-thirds of Americans support full-body scanners at airports: "Nearly two-thirds of Americans support the new full-body security-screening machines at the country's airports, as most say they put higher priority on combating terrorism than protecting personal privacy, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll."

Meanwhile, Kevin Drum and Ezra Klein, two men for whom I've guest-blogged and respect greatly, argue that we might as well accept the "annoyance" of enhanced screening because security is only going to get more invasive if another terrorist attack happens, anyway.

Kevin Drum says, "The price we pay for this is plenty of annoyance," and Ezra Klein says, "This will depress my civil libertarian friends, but I think it's the hassle that people are really objecting to here."


Leaving aside my lack of enthusiasm for the calculation that we should give an inch's worth of encroachment into our civil liberties in order to stop the government taking a mile, both of them roundly ignore that the only people challenging these measures are not inconvenienced civil libertarians. There are practical and valid objections being made by people with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, and survivors of sexual violence.

That doesn't constitute some vanishingly small minority. There are millions of people with disabilities in this country alone, and millions of survivors of sexual violence: 1 in 33 men and 1 in 6 women (which are probably low estimates and many of them multiple times).

Those millions of people are not just potentially "inconvenienced." Being triggered does not mean feeling hassled or being annoyed or having your feelings hurt or getting upset. It means experiencing a physical and/or emotional response to a survived trauma, having a significantly mood-altering bout of anxiety. Someone who is triggered may experience anything from a brief moment of dizziness, to a shortness of breath and a racing pulse, to a full-blown panic attack. In the midst of traveling, which is an already-stressful experience for many PWDs and survivors.

Ignoring the legitimate concerns about enhanced screenings of people who may be triggered by them is certainly more convenient for a STFU argument, since no one wants to be the guy who tells survivors and PWD that they're necessary casualties of a security policy that protects the privileged. But it's dishonest. And I expect more from Kevin and Ezra.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus