Tag Archives: pat down

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.

Boiling a frog

23 Jan

They say that in order to cook a frog you have to heat the water slowly.  The frog gets used to the higher temperature little by little without jumping out.  Scientific studies show conflicted results; a frog will jump out of hot water if they notice the heat.  Apparently the trick is to make sure the temperature change is gradual and slow so that the added heat is not perceived.

This situation is often used as a metaphor to caution about the importance of being aware of those changes that could lead to harm.  Unlike the frogs however we are very much aware of what is happening around us.  It has been all over the news.  Why are so many still just sitting in the pot?

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal after the TSA introduced the new screenings in November “Backlash built up, but TSA stuck to its guns. And after Thanksgiving, the furor subsided.”

Are we or are we not more intelligent than frogs?  This is not even a gradual change that went unnoticed.  People noticed.  People even complained.  And then they got ignored and shrugged it off?

We need to do better.  Don’t just send an email, spread the word.  Ask others to join us.

Our representatives need to do better. It’s time to turn up the heat.

Martin Luther King Day

17 Jan

‘For all of us today, the battle is in our hands. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways to lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. We must keep going.’

— Martin Luther King

Could there be a better day to stand up for your rights?

Though many of us are getting automated letters and feeling ignored that is all the more reason to press on.  We will not be dismissed.

Today is the day.  It’s Monday.  It is time for us to let our voices be heard.  It is also time for us to grow in number.  Determine to talk to at least two other people about writing their representatives specifically on Mondays.  The soft roar of a crowd is hard to ignore.