Transportation Security Administration inspectors forced a wounded Marine who lost both of his legs in an IED blast and who was in a wheelchair to remove his prosthetic legs at one point, and at another point to stand painfully on his legs while his wheelchair was examined, according to a complaint a congressman has registered with the TSA.
Rep. Duncan Hunter said in his letter Monday that the Marine, who is still on active duty and showed TSA agents his military identification, was still forced to undergo that scrutiny.
“A TSA office asked the Marine to stand and walk to an alternate area, despite the fact that he physically could not stand or walk on his own. With numerous TSA officers sitting and unwilling to assist, an officer then made him remove his legs, then put them back on, only to advance to a secondary screening location where he was asked again to stand, with extraordinary difficult, while his wheelchair was examined for explosives,” Mr. Hunter said.
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“Sequester cuts will make US more vulnerable to terrorist attack” (ahem)
Will we finally call their bluff on these threats?
Allowing the $85 billion sequester to go forward will make the United States more vulnerable to a terrorist attack, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned Monday.
Napolitano added that the blunt nature of the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts set for March 1 “makes it awfully, awfully tough” to mitigate threats faced by the nation.
“I don’t think we can maintain the same level of security at all places around the country with sequester compared to without sequester,” said Napolitano, whose agency includes the Transportation Security Administration.
The cuts will also hit the Pentagon, the Department of Justice and other national security spending, and the administration has warned the spending reductions will hurt the military’s readiness.
“I think if you look at the combination of the effect on [the Department of Homeland Security], the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense, we are having real impacts on the robustness of our defensive posture,” Napolitano told reporters at the White House on Monday.
Napolitano’s attendance at the White House briefing was the latest part of a White House effort to pressure Congress into passing a deal that would prevent the sequester.
Earlier on Monday, President Obama urged the nation’s governors, gathered in Washington for their annual meeting, to lobby their congressional delegations to reach a compromise deal.
In her remarks, Napolitano said the cuts would reduce Coast Guard patrols by 25 percent, reduce the number of beds for immigration detentions and increase wait times at ports.
“When you slow down the inspection of containers by up to five days … that translates into lots and lots of jobs, good paying jobs, and those are going to be impacted,” Napolitano said.
Republicans have said the White House is attempting to frighten the American people over the sequester with scare tactics.
“My advice to the [president is] stop the campaigning, stop sending out your cabinet secretaries to scare the American people,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Sunday on “Meet the Press.”
Jindal said Obama should “roll up your sleeves and do the hard work of governing.”
Asked about Jindal’s comments, Napolitano denied the administration was employing scare tactics.
“I’m not here to scare people; I’m here to inform and let people begin to plan,” Napolitano said.
White House press secretary Jay Carney would not say if Obama will meet with Congressional leaders to discuss the sequester this week.
But he vowed to “continue to engage with the Congress this week.”
The White House is demanding that a sequester replacement bill include some tax increases, something Republicans have refused. Carney indicated that he doesn’t expect Republicans to move much in their position.
“The simple fact is what Republican leaders are saying in public reflects the positions that they have,” he said.
The impasse and divide over taxes suggests the cuts will begin on March 1, with both sides hoping public pressure will build on the other to budge from their position.
More from The Hill:
• Napolitano warns of long TSA lines from sequester
• GOP rips Obama as ‘road show president’
• Rival sequester bills teed up in Senate
• Blame and fear as sequester looms
• Web anonymity battle starts anew
• McCain, Graham to meet with Obama on immigration
• Dems schedule votes on assault weapons ban
• Unprecedented role for celebrity first lady
If only we could say we were surprised about the Transportation Security Administration’s newest fumble, which went down at Lambert-St. Louis Airport earlier this month. Security agents allegedly held a three-year-old girl in a wheelchair at security for 20 minutes, took away her stuffed animal “Lamby,” and tried to stop the concerned mom from videotaping the incident.
To their credit, the representatives in the video seemed polite if uninformed. But the footage of the toddler crying for her doll hurts to watch (“I don’t want to go to Disney World!” she belts, through tears), and the situation brings up the bigger issues behind all of these TSA screw-ups: Why can’t the agency get it together? And why does the system have such a blind spot when it comes to travelers with special needs?
German cellist Alban Gerhardt is speaking out against the TSA after an incident last Wednesday at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport where agents of the administration snapped his rare Heinrich Knopf cello in two. RT’s Meghan Lopez brings us more.
While Americans have been scandalized by stories of TSA thugs helping themselves to the electronic equipment of the passengers they are allegedly suppose to protect, a much worse violation of rights has been going on. As horrible as it is to have government thieves take your iPad, at least in theory they were not supposed to do so. Your iPad is your property and no one is supposed to take it.
But what about the data on your iPad, laptop, or any other electronic device?
In the case of stolen iPads, we are facing government agents who are dabbling in criminal activity that is not part of their official job. In the case of stealing all the data on your iPad, we are facing a criminal organization operating as an agency of our government. And now they have officially told us that that is what they do and there is nothing we can do about it. They have issued the memo: we own you.
Here is the background: on August 27, 2009 the Department of Homeland Slavemastery released a memo promising, “The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) will also conduct a Civil Liberties Impact Assessment within 120 days.”
Now their assessment has been released three years later. Here is the executive summary sentence:
“We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits” (emphasis added)
So it is official. We can be searched without any basis for suspicion. The message from the Department of Humiliating Servitude is loud and clear: We own you.
DHS is a criminal organization. Here is the law that applies:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
I am not going to waste the effort arguing that “papers” and “effects” includes electronic devices. That is covered by the word, “duh.”
But what I do hate is how much Obama and Napolitano get blamed for all this by conservative Republicans when it is patently obvious that Bush and Cheney were also ones, long before we heard it from Rahm Emanuel, who were not going to let an emergency go to waste. They and their cronies saddled us with this monstrosity; it has grown worse under Obama but he didn’t hatch it. The Republican Administration from 2001 to 2008 told us the Radical Islamists hated us “for our freedoms,” and then pursued a campaign of appeasement by getting rid of them one by one.
I’m not bitter. Most people throughout most of history have lived as slaves under government occupation. No reason I should expect myself or my children to be some kind of exceptions to the rule (though I believe some day no one on the planet will live under such regimes any more).
But I do bitterly resent having to pretend that this is still America. And I resent even more being expected to impute all the sins of the government to one party and treat the “opposite” party as the good guys. If you have eyes at all you know that this prison is being constructed by bipartisan builders.
When DHS tells us, “we own you,” they are speaking for both parties that share power in our bureausaurian government.
The No-Fly list has been increasingly used on American citizens while they’re out of the country, effectively exiling them
On January 2, 2005, Rahinah Ibrahim, a PhD student in Construction Management and Engineering at Stanford University, arrived at San Francisco International Airport to board a scheduled international flight en route to Malaysia. Ibrahim was slated to attend a Stanford-sponsored conference in the country to present findings from her doctoral research; a trip she was taking despite being wheelchair-bound due to complications from a recent hysterectomy.
However instead of boarding her flight, Ibrahim found herself in handcuffs – detained by the San Francisco Police Department before being searched and locked in a holding cell by TSA agents without explanation as to the reason for her arrest. After being interrogated for several hours by the FBI it was revealed that she had been placed – for reasons not revealed to her – on a No-Fly list which prevented her from routinely boarding her flight. Despite this Ibrahim was cleared by the agents of being a security risk, assured there would be no future problems, and allowed to board a flight for Malaysia the following day.
However upon attempting to return to the United States after her trip, Ibrahim found herself again detained and prevented from boarding her flight by local authorities who had received instructions from the US Consulate that she was to be barred from returning home.
It has now been eight years and Ibrahim has still not been allowed to return to the United States, banished based on secret evidence which she is unable to view let alone contest and trapped in a Kafkaesque legal limbo which has made her an effective exile from the country.
The Transportation Security Administration has announced that it will remove the controversial “naked image” body scanners from US airports because developers can’t write software to make the images less revealing.
The scanners, made by OSI Systems Inc, have ruffled feathers since they were first rolled out. In a bid to quell controversy, the TSA looked to OSI to redesign software and make the scans less intrusive—but the company has failed to meet a congressional deadline to get the job done.
That means that the TSA will end the $5 million contract with OSI, reports Bloomberg. As a result, 174 of its Rapiscan units will disappear from US airports. Karen Shelton, from the TSA, explains:
“It became clear to TSA they would be unable to meet our timeline. As a result of that, we terminated the contract for the convenience of the government.”
However, the scanners aren’t on the way to the junk yard just yet. OSI has struck a deal with the TSA which will see the machines being used by multiple government agencies across the country. That does, at least, mean that it will be federal employees who have their genitals imaged, as opposed to the public.
The news will no doubt be embraced by the legion of protesters, outraged by the privacy implications of the naked body scanners. But save a thought for the poor TSA employees: how are they going to get their kicks now? [Bloomberg]
Image by TSA
One of mankind’s deepest, longest asked questions is “Why is there evil?” It is a valid question to be asked. I’m not sure if anyone has the correct answer, or if there even is a correct answer, or if there is an answer at all. Certainly many theories have been proffered, and many reasons given even by those who create evil in the world, but do any of these truly answer the question of why it exists? There are explanations as to why it becomes physically manifest, but how far does it stretch into the metaphysical? As a writer of both fantasy and horror, a study into the nature of evil is essential in helping me to create good fiction. It can also help explain why it exists and how it can be conquered. Read more
— Those airport scanners with their all-too revealing body images will soon be going away.
The Transportation Security Administration says the scanners that used a low-dose X-ray will be gone by June because the company that makes them can’t fix the privacy issues. The other airport body scanners, which produce a generic outline instead of a naked image, are staying.
The government rapidly stepped up its use of body scanners after a man snuck explosives onto a flight bound for Detroit on Christmas day in 2009.
At first, both types of scanners showed travelers naked. The idea was that security workers could spot both metallic objects like guns as well as non-metallic items such as plastic explosives. The scanners also showed every other detail of the passenger’s body, too.
The TSA defended the scanners, saying the images couldn’t be stored and were seen only by a security worker who didn’t interact with the passenger. But the scans still raised privacy concerns. Congress ordered that the scanners either produce a more generic image or be removed by June.
EMERYVILLE, Calif. (KGO) — People are used to seeing TSA inspectors at airports but on Wednesday, a specialized team made their presence known at the Amtrak station in Emeryville. Train stations are difficult to secure because they’re so wide open but on Wednesday, the TSA showed up unannounced to let the public, especially potential troublemakers, know that they are keeping an eye on the rails.
Amtrak passenger Vera Molina said she noticed all the black-clad TSA inspectors right away and it’s a presence she appreciates. Asked if she would like to see them more often she said, “I would, can’t hurt, just in case you never know.” As part of their nationwide “Viper Team” effort, the Transportation Safety Administration put about a dozen agents at the station to see and be seen, although some of the inspectors also work undercover.
“The visible deterrent is making a presence known at the station, getting on the train, talking to passengers, lettings the bad guys know that we’re here, and letting the passengers know that we’re here, and working with law enforcement to really tailor our Viper teams to their needs,” TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said.