Tag Archives: civil rights

Representative Steve Southerland II

18 Jul

At long last there is further communication from someone!  Without further ado I present the letter from Representative Steve Southerland II:

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for contacting our office regarding aviation security, specifically the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  I value your input on this important topic and appreciate the opportunity to respond.

As you know, our nation’s air transportation system is designed to maximize accessibility and efficiency, two characteristics that make it highly vulnerable to terrorist attack.  While protecting the U.S. transportation sector from terrorist attack is difficult, measures can and must be taken to protect Americans in the air.

However, in working to construct and finance a system of deterrence, protection, and response that effectively reduces the possibility of another terrorist attack, we must do so without unduly interfering with travel, commerce, and civil liberties.  Like you, I am concerned about recent reports of intrusive pat-downs and privatization of security operations at our airports.

You may be interested to know, on March 31, 2011, Representative Jason Chaffez (R-UT) introduced H.R. 1279, the Aircraft Passenger Whole-Body Imaging Limitations Act of 2011. This legislation would prohibit the use of advanced technology as a method of screening a passenger unless: (1) the National Academy of Sciences determines the technology does not pose a threat to public health; (2) the technology is equipped with a privacy filter or other privacy-protecting technology; and (3) another method of screening, such as metal detection, explosive trace detection, or behavioral profiling, demonstrates reasonable cause for using advanced imaging technology to detect a possible threat to aviation security.

Additionally, it would require that passengers: (1) be provided information on the operation of such technology, including privacy policies and the right to request a pat-down search; and (2) be offered such a pat-down search in lieu of such screening.

Finally, it would prohibit the storage, transfer, sharing, or copying in any form of an image of a passenger generated by advanced imaging technology after a boarding determination is made.  While this legislation currently awaits further consideration by the House Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees, should it reach the floor, I intend on supporting it along with any other legislation which ensures safe air travel while protecting civil liberties.

What’s more, in light of several recent operational failures on the part of TSA, Congressional leaders have requested an Inspector General investigate the security performance of the agency to ensure optimal efficiency and effectiveness.  As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Aviation, I have a vested interest in these ongoing proceedings.

Please know, I will continue to work with my Congressional colleagues to advance legislation that ensures passenger safety, while respecting our civil liberties.  I will be sure to keep your views in mind should Congress consider issues related to aviation security in the future.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.  I am humbled and honored you have afforded me the opportunity to represent you in the United States House of Representatives.  Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about issues of importance to you.  Feel free to visit my Congressional website athttp://southerland.house.gov or contact our office with any future concerns.

What are everyone’s thoughts on this?  It seems like a step in the right direction at least.

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Orlando International Airport pt 2

6 Jan

Undaunted by the obvious attempt to distract me with an unrelated argument, I have sent the following reply Mr.  Scott Moss:

Mr Moss,
Thank you for posting the official procedures. It is good to know what the official protocol is, so if people are treated differently/abusively, one can complain.  I would be interested in knowing how you handle those with religious objections or with those with histories of sexual abuse or other psychological trauma.
While it is helpful to know people have a right to things like private rooms, witnesses in a private room, informing officers of medical devices, or assisting in their child’s screening I continue to disagree with the new procedures.
In the first place I do not believe we should be subjected to this level of exposure unless there is probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime would be discovered.  And then I believe that the officer should only be allowed to search the area they believe that evidence to be located.  I believe the constitution affords me this level of privacy.
In the second place I do not believe that these procedures are making us safer.  I do not believe confiscating water, removing shoes and belts are making us safer either.  I believe your agency makes a mistake when the focus of your resources is spent looking for bombs.  We can not keep bombs off the planes.  We can only keep terrorists off the planes, and a terrorist will always be able to hide a bomb.  Off hand, I can think of a handful of areas that I HOPE you’ll never be allowed to search.
To the best of my knowledge TSA has yet to catch a terrorist and the terrorists who have been thwarted have been spotted by educated passengers.  Israeli officials also use intelligence and research to focus their efforts on looking for the terrorist instead of just the bomb.  It seems like we can be more productive and less invasive by taking such an approach.
At any rate I am unwilling to submit myself or my children to these procedures.  I hope that your agency will listen to the outrage expressed by people on all sides of the political aisle and reconsider your tactics.  I will continue to ask my representatives, airports, airlines and all concerned to take appropriate action if you are unwilling to do so.
Sincerely,
Jennifer

So far I have not received a response.  I will keep you posted.

Orlando International Airport pt 1

3 Jan

Orlando International Airport forwarded my TSA complaint letter:

I am writing to inform you of my outrage at the new TSA procedures which involve body scans and invasive pat downs.  These procedures violate my 4th amendment rights and would be considered assault in any other context.  I do not believe they make us safer.  They create an atmosphere of fear, and discourage tourism.  I have family in your area and travel their frequently but I will not be using your airport until these procedures have changed.  I will stay home.  If you want me to spend money in your airport you will act quickly to rectify this situation.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Bartlett

to Scott Moss who, in addition to being kind enough to ignore my blatant typo, sent the following in reply:

Dear Ms. Bartlett,

Thank you for your comments regarding TSA procedures.  Our partners in security at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority have shared this feedback in order for us to provide additional information.

We sincerely value all such feedback and send updates to our TSA leadership on how the traveling public perceives our agency and the security measures put in place to protect passengers.

As a traveler myself and the father of two daughters, I understand the concerns that many citizens have regarding the procedures that are currently in the news and getting so much attention.  I have had family members address their concerns with me and offer their viewpoints on how the media is portraying our processes.

I’m attaching a couple of links that may help clarify the new procedures and hopefully correct some of the misinformation that exists.

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/pat_downs.shtm

http://www.tsa.gov/approach/tech/ait/privacy.shtm

Please feel free to contact me directly with any additional questions regarding TSA or our procedures at Orlando International Airport.

Regards,

Scott Moss

Customer Support/Quality Improvement Manager

Transportation Security Administration

Orlando International Airport

5850 T. G. Lee Blvd. Suite 610

Orlando, FL 32822

office: 407-563-4084

scott.moss@dhs.gov

Sigh.  Mr Moss, your courteous tone is appreciated but you fall short when you address arguments I have not made.  All of the info provided in your links CONFIRMS my concerns that my fourth amendment rights are being violated!  I’m not misinformed, confused, or being sucked into media drama–in fact I rarely watch major news networks.  I am simply appalled by the downward spiral we are on!

New Year’s Resolution

3 Jan

Looking for a good New Year’s Resolution?  How about saving the country from a total corrosion and corruption of it’s most basic rights?  How about standing up for what is right and good whether you are personally affected or not; whether anyone else joins you or not?

We allowed TSA to look at our bare feet and confiscate our belongings because we didn’t think it was that big of an inconvenience.  Now they are looking at our naked bodies.  Will we let this slide because we don’t make eye contact with the person who is viewing us?

Some think that those who oppose these searches are just prudes.  Is it prudish to refuse to show your body on demand?  Is it prudish to draw a line in the sand and say that my rights will not be violated anymore?

Or is it the right thing to do?

Let’s resolve this year to defend our country. Let’s resolve to get so involved in the cause against TSA’s practices that our representatives will know us by name.  Let’s fill their inboxes, mailboxes and voice mails.  Let’s give them one more reason to dread Mondays.

Write your reps every Monday until the madness ends.  Tell a friend.  Share a link.  Keep the buzz going.  Tell them you’ll be reporting their responses and do so here.  Let’s keep the pressure on.