Little girls, grandmothers, beauty queens – all are unlikely terrorists. Yet all have been victims in recent months of invasive Transportation Security Administration pat-downs at the nation's airports. The searches have sparked public outrage -- despite claims from the Obama administration that they're needed to stop would-be terrorists.
Now, Texas lawmakers are seeking to end this insanity after a former Miss USA complained last month that TSA agents "molested" her at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. On Thursday, House members passed a bill banning pat-downs in the Lone Star State in which a TSA agent "touches the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person including through the clothing, or touches the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person."
Moreover, TSA agents who conduct such pat-downs could be found guilty of sexual harassment and official oppression. They could be charged with misdemeanor crime and be subject to a $4,000 fine and one-year in jail under the measure, according to news reports.
"Indecent groping searches when innocent travelers are seeking access to airports and public buildings would be outlawed under this bill," the measure's author, Republican David Simpson, was quoted as saying.
"This has to do with dignity in travel," he said. The House must take a final vote on the bill and it must then be approved by the Senate.
Of course, there's another side to this story -- whether TSA agents ought to be able to carry out invasive pat-downs on certain travelers who fit a profile that, well, nobody in the Obama administration dares to talk about. Israeli airline El Al does do profiling that's based on a variety of criteria. It has a stellar safety record.
Speaking of profiling, here's a YouTube clip of a TSA agent groping a little girl -- apparently checking for, ah, plastic explosives or box cutters. At least it's all very politically correct; the 6-year-old, after all, is not wearing a burka or from the Middle East.