The TSA Debacle

James H. Fetzer and J.R. Dunn
Anyone with doubts concerning the Transportation Security Authority's ability to handle airport security needs to take a look at the way they're dealing with the public-relations debacle surrounding the launch of their new "security procedures".

The nature of these "procedures" -- an intrusive passenger scanner system along with gang-rape style pat-down searches -- required at the very least a delicate touch during their introduction. The TSA's touch has been as delicate as Godzilla crushing a police car. In only the past week:

* On Tuesday, the TSA announced it had decided to investigate John Tyner, a passenger who publicly protested the violation of his 4th Amendment rights during a TSA search. He objected to the scanning, defied manhandling by TSA agents, and then left the airport.  The TSA claims he can be fined $11,000 for leaving before the "security process" was concluded, an insane contention based on an even crazier law. TSA bureaucrats are just begging for a New Media onslaught if they pursue this. But what's even worse is the fact that Tyner looks like he walked out of a Rockwell painting titled "Johnny Goes to the Airport". My first reaction on seeing his picture was, "My God -- they busted Jimmy Stewart." This little fracas is over. All that Tyner has to do is step in front of the cameras, say "aw shucks" once or twice, and that's it. The TSA had better drop this before they start filming "Mr. Tyner Goes to Washington".

            * On selecting a celebrity to badger, who did the TSA pick? Not Pee Wee Herman or Lindsay Lohan.  No, it had to be Anderson Cooper. The modernized version of "never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel" is "never pick a fight with a man with a prime-time news commentary show". Beyond that, thanks to... certain aspects of Cooper's personality, the incident was guaranteed to trigger a tsunami of jokes across the Internet, which has in fact occurred. Note to TSA: instruct your people to stop neither Arnold Schwarzenegger nor Michael Moore. Got that?

* It appears that Texas got an early dose of the new "procedures", several months before the rest of the country, in fact. As a result, a number of women were taken from waiting lines and intimately pawed at without explanation beginning last summer (at least one by a female agent). So who does the TSA select as a spokesman to answer the charges? A guy named "Casanova" naturally enough. What, they couldn't find somebody named Bundy or Manson? (Though in truth it's in no way surprising -- this agency tasked with preventing weapons from being brought aboard aircraft is headed by a man named "Pistole.")

I admit I have a personal interest in this matter. Looking as I do like Michael Ironsides' even more satanic younger brother, I am not only stopped every time I come within ten miles of an airport, they call in the National Guard while they're at it. But the fact remains that this latest PR fiasco reveals that the TSA has achieved the final state of a government bureaucracy -- total ineptitude combined with maximum waste of resources -- in record time. What required such outfits as the FAA, EPA, and Department of Education decades to accomplish has been achieved by the TSA in less than ten years. There is no returning from across that particular wasteland. Byron York reveals that the law allows airports to opt out from utilizing the TSA. Let it be done. The TSA has to go.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and will edit the forthcomoing Military Thinker.
Anyone with doubts concerning the Transportation Security Authority's ability to handle airport security needs to take a look at the way they're dealing with the public-relations debacle surrounding the launch of their new "security procedures".

The nature of these "procedures" -- an intrusive passenger scanner system along with gang-rape style pat-down searches -- required at the very least a delicate touch during their introduction. The TSA's touch has been as delicate as Godzilla crushing a police car. In only the past week:

* On Tuesday, the TSA announced it had decided to investigate John Tyner, a passenger who publicly protested the violation of his 4th Amendment rights during a TSA search. He objected to the scanning, defied manhandling by TSA agents, and then left the airport.  The TSA claims he can be fined $11,000 for leaving before the "security process" was concluded, an insane contention based on an even crazier law. TSA bureaucrats are just begging for a New Media onslaught if they pursue this. But what's even worse is the fact that Tyner looks like he walked out of a Rockwell painting titled "Johnny Goes to the Airport". My first reaction on seeing his picture was, "My God -- they busted Jimmy Stewart." This little fracas is over. All that Tyner has to do is step in front of the cameras, say "aw shucks" once or twice, and that's it. The TSA had better drop this before they start filming "Mr. Tyner Goes to Washington".

            * On selecting a celebrity to badger, who did the TSA pick? Not Pee Wee Herman or Lindsay Lohan.  No, it had to be Anderson Cooper. The modernized version of "never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel" is "never pick a fight with a man with a prime-time news commentary show". Beyond that, thanks to... certain aspects of Cooper's personality, the incident was guaranteed to trigger a tsunami of jokes across the Internet, which has in fact occurred. Note to TSA: instruct your people to stop neither Arnold Schwarzenegger nor Michael Moore. Got that?

* It appears that Texas got an early dose of the new "procedures", several months before the rest of the country, in fact. As a result, a number of women were taken from waiting lines and intimately pawed at without explanation beginning last summer (at least one by a female agent). So who does the TSA select as a spokesman to answer the charges? A guy named "Casanova" naturally enough. What, they couldn't find somebody named Bundy or Manson? (Though in truth it's in no way surprising -- this agency tasked with preventing weapons from being brought aboard aircraft is headed by a man named "Pistole.")

I admit I have a personal interest in this matter. Looking as I do like Michael Ironsides' even more satanic younger brother, I am not only stopped every time I come within ten miles of an airport, they call in the National Guard while they're at it. But the fact remains that this latest PR fiasco reveals that the TSA has achieved the final state of a government bureaucracy -- total ineptitude combined with maximum waste of resources -- in record time. What required such outfits as the FAA, EPA, and Department of Education decades to accomplish has been achieved by the TSA in less than ten years. There is no returning from across that particular wasteland. Byron York reveals that the law allows airports to opt out from utilizing the TSA. Let it be done. The TSA has to go.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and will edit the forthcomoing Military Thinker.