The "T[ransportation] S[ecurity] A[dministration] is a bureaucratic nightmare," thunders Rep. John Mica (R-FL), one of the nightmare’s "creat[ors]." Thank to him and his accomplices, you fume in long lines at airports waiting for goons to feel you up and loot your belongings. Yet this guy who’s skulked around government most of his life and who therefore knows exactly how it works (or, more accurately, that it doesn’t) complains that the TSA has "over 60,000 employees," so it’s "top heavy with supervisory and administrative staff. At TSA headquarters, where 30 percent of employees are supervisors, the average salary is over $105,000." Of course, in addition to having authorized the TSA, Mica also votes to steal the $7 billion from us each year that overpays these leeches. And yet he shamelessly concludes, "This is a massive bureaucracy that cannot effectively ensure the safety of U.S. transportation systems, and something must be done to improve the agency’s performance." Ya think?
Mica is as ignorant as he is hypocritical and irresponsible. His website brags that he is a "recognized national transportation leader," but where’s the evidence to support such a boast? Since his graduation from college in 1965, the man has gorged at the public trough for all but eleven years — and none of those saw him working at anything related to "transportation," let alone becoming a "leader" in the field. Rather, he "established several successful business ventures including real estate, communications, international trade consulting and governmental affairs firms."
Ah, but despite his lack of experience, "the 110th Congress … elected … [Mica] to serve [sic for u2018to lord it over everyone else’] as the Republican Leader of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee … Mica serves [sic] on all six Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittees. … Mica was named Chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation in 2001 and served [sic] through 2006. After the September 11th terrorist attacks, Rep. Mica led the effort in Congress to restore stability to the aviation industry" — good gracious, the delusion runs deep here, doesn’t it? — "and co-authored the Aviation and Transportation Security Law." Remember that the next time the TSA’s sociopaths swipe $500 from a woman in a wheelchair or kill a missionary.
This is what passes for "national leadership" among the swine in Congress: electing one another to committees and subcommittees. There they devise new ways to tax, regulate, and otherwise harass industries they understand no more than they do morality or common sense.
The TSA threatens passengers — though not terrorists, as the bad guys have obligingly demonstrated several times — with a galaxy of silly and dangerous boondoggles it dignifies as a "multi-layered approach to security." It wasn’t enough for Mica to help establish the TSA; he also "urged the development" of one of those boondoggles, "a behavior detection program, based on the highly successful Israeli model utilized by EL Al Airlines."
That "highly successful model" is nothing less than interrogation by Israel’s secret police, often lengthy and occasionally brutal, especially if you happen to be Arabic. It is tyrannical, it violates both the spirit and letter of the US Constitution, and the logistics of it — grilling every passenger on every flight at every airport, sometimes for hours — would bring American aviation’s 720,000,000 travelers annually to a standstill. (Contrast that mob with Israel’s 11,478,027 international passengers and perhaps another 500,000 domestic ones in 2008.)
Thank God, we haven’t yet sunk as low as Israel, at least in this respect. Instead, the TSA inflicts a very pale imitation on us it calls SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques). This nonsense relies on "Behavior Detection Officers," your ordinary, average, sub-human screener whom the TSA trains to read minds. Yep, I kid you not. Savages who can barely string together a coherent sentence, whose incompetence is legendary, who fail at even the most basic of their tasks — reading their monitors to find weapons — will nonetheless read our minds. Or so the TSA pretends.
Behind SPOT’s lunacy is — you guessed it — a professor, from California, fittingly enough. Like Mica, Paul Ekman has been sponging off our taxes for years, though he does it via grants and a perch at a public university rather than in Congress. Ekman has wasted our money and much of his career babbling about "microexpressions," which supposedly flit across your face "almost imperceptibl[y]" to reveal your innermost thoughts. He demonstrated this parlor trick for one of The New Yorker’s fools: "Ekman stopped the tape, rewound it, and played it back in slow motion. On the screen, [Kato] Kaelin [a witness in the OJ Simpson trial] moved forward to answer the question, and in that fraction of a second his face was utterly transformed. … Ekman stopped the tape and played it again, peering at the screen." Replays are apparently essential: while watching a press conference that British traitor Kim Philby gave in 1955, "Ekman rewound the tape, and replayed it in slow motion. u2018Look at this,’ he said, pointing to the screen. u2018Twice, after being asked serious questions about whether he’s committed treason, he’s going to smirk….’ The expression was too brief to see normally. But at quarter speed it was painted on his face…"
Imagine for a moment that microexpressions are valid (don’t worry, they’re not. Even researchers at the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA’s bureaucratic parent, "say [the theory is] unproven and potentially ineffectual"): still, BDO’s are neither filming their victims nor playing the clips over and over while scrutinizing them. Rather, they’re just arresting folks — 1100 from May 2004 through August 2008, according to a report that Mica himself "request[ed]" from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO):
"2 billion passengers went through SPOT airports
150,000 were selected for secondary screening
14,000 were referred to law enforcement
1,100 were arrested
0 were arrested for terrorism."
It’s the last line there — the lack of arrests for terrorism — that has Mica’s britches in a wad ("The program has also failed to identify known terrorists that have travelled through SPOT airports," he whines), not the 14,000 innocents "referred to law enforcement" when a BDO didn’t like their microexpressions, nor the 1100 arrested because the subsequent, warrantless search turned up some pot or a gun. Which is a microcosm of the problem with Congressional "oversight": any time the critters from that cesspool scold the TSA, it’s because yet another of the agency’s programs has crashed, not because its cretins flagrantly abuse passengers. Yet these buttinskis dare lecture other countries about human rights.
And what is Mica’s solution to the mess he "created"? Will he resign so he can stand on the Washington Mall wearing a hair-shirt and a placard reading, "Throw garbage at me: I destroyed your liberty by foisting the TSA on you"? Ha! Dream on! OK, then surely he suggests abolishing the whole, horrific TSA, right? Not hardly. What about just SPOT: he wants to abolish at least that absurdity, doesn’t he? Wrong again. Instead, he’s "call[ing] for a reorganization of the TSA."
Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.