EPIC Cooties

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Recently
by Becky Akers: The
TSA's Dogs of War

 

 
 

He seems like
an OK guy.

Sure, he's
a lawyer — in fact, he "chairs
the ABA Committee
on Privacy and Information Protection"
(pssst, shysters: failing miserably here). Worse, he consorts with
politicians and bureaucrats. But otherwise, Mark Rotenberg is innocuous:
"…Executive
Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center
(EPIC)
in Washington, DC.[, h]e teaches information privacy law at Georgetown
University Law Center." He's also "testified before Congress
on many issues," as he did earlier this month to the Subcommittee
on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations.

Formerly known
as the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee, Rep.
Darrell
Issa [R-CA] updated the group
for our brave new Amerika last
December when he descended to chairmanship of the Oversight and
Government Reform Committee (yeah, riiiiiight). But even
with the requisite "Homeland" in its title, the subcommittee
seems deaf. Who among us hasn't heard the shrieks and cries of the
violated echoing from airports nationwide as the Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) sexually assaults passengers? And
yet the subcommittee held hearings March 16 on this grotesque evil,
as if either the Constitution or simple decency allow a response
other than immediate abolition of the TSA, with swift and severe
punishment for its criminals.

You probably
suspect by now that Congress has absolutely no intention of pulling
the plug on this agency or even of reining it in. Indeed, it cannot:
its power is as weak as its will. After years of incubation at the
intelligence agencies, the totalitarian, homeland-security government-within-the-government
has metastasized for a decade; it's now as unbeatable as the most
virulent cancer; the rest of Leviathan either joins it or is devoured
by it. And the TSA knows this. It has openly
defied Congress
with the same impunity with which it
flouts the law
.

So why bother
with a hearing? Photo ops and whitewash, among other benefits. Congress
wants us to think it's still in charge, that it has the TSA under
control rather than vice versa. And it doesn't hurt for voters to
see their representatives whaling away at the national laughingstock
everyone hates. Plus, these cowards now have an excuse when constituents
complain about gate-rape: "Yes, we feel your pain, so acutely
we've held hearings." How many Americans still own enough savvy
and gumption to ask, "So what?"

Ergo, this
month's charade. Various experts pontificated as did one of the
TSA's victims: Sharon Cissna, the state representative from Alaska
who famously travelled via small plane, ferry, and car rather than
submit to the TSA's molestation. Her story is horrific, something
out of Nazi Germany or the gulags of Soviet Russia — and it's
tragically typical
, too: "Heading
into security
[at Seattle's airport,]… I suddenly found myself
directed … [to the] full-body imaging scan. … A female agent
placed herself blocking my passage.  Scan results would again
display … my breast cancer and the resulting scars [the TSA had
irradiated and then sexually assaulted her 3 months before]…. 
I would require [sic for u2018the TSA would exploit my illness
with the'] invasive, probing hands of a stranger over my body. Memories
of violation would consume my thoughts again … I began to remember
what my husband and I’d decided after the previous intensive physical
search.  That I never had to submit to that horror again! …
this twisted policy did not have to be the price of flying to Juneau!
… as more and more TSA, airline, airport and police gathered, …
I repeatedly said that I would not allow the feeling-up and I would
not use the transportation mode that required it. … The freedom
to travel should never come at the price of basic human dignity
and pride."

"Sharon
Cissna TSA" turns up some 40,000
hits on Google
; AOL
News
featured the story as did MSNBC,
NPR,
the Los
Angeles Times
, and the Miami
Herald
, among many others. So while sewers are a congresscritter's
natural habitat, it's likely even they reverberated with news of
the TSA's assault on this citizen. Why listen to it all over again?
Yet Our Rulers did — without rushing to horsewhip the TSA's degenerates.
Only in government do wusses call themselves men though thugs assail
women and children on their watch.

Riding to the
rescue were Mr. Rotenberg and EPIC, which has filed no less than
five
lawsuits
against the TSA. At the hearing, "EPIC
urged Congress
to suspend the use of airport body scanners for
primary screening. EPIC said the devices were not effective and
were not minimally intrusive, as courts have required for airport
searches" — even if the Constitution demands a warrant. "EPIC
cited TSA documents
obtained in EPIC’s FOIA lawsuit which showed that the machines are
designed to store and transfer images, and not designed to detect
powdered explosives."

No hearing
is complete without a defendant. But at the "last
minute" the "TSA declined to testify
— despite previously
confirming through both verbal and written confirmation that they
would appear," Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the subcommittee's chairman,
complained.

Who knew such
appearance was optional? Yo, Jason: subpoena. Then again,
Mr. Chair is no doubt uncomfortably aware that the TSA would have
snubbed that, too, and in front of the whole country. He eventually
capitulated to the agency's orders for a session by itself.

But more astounding
than this further evidence of the TSA's contempt for Congress was
its excuse: because of EPIC's "multiple lawsuits" against
the agency, its administrator, John "The Pervert" Pistole
sniffed, "I
have strong concerns
over the Subcommittee's intention to seat
[the TSA's assistant administrators] Mr. [Robin] Kane and Mr. [Lee]
Kair alongside a non-governmental witness [Mr. Rotenberg]…"
What, do non-governmental witnesses who dare to sue The Pervert's
fiefdom have cooties?

So far as I
can tell, Mr. Rotenberg boasts a clean record aside from his lawyering
and hobnobbing with Congress. He's never sexually assaulted anyone.
He doesn't electronically strip unwilling victims to leer at their
nakedness. Nor does he rob
passengers
, brutalize old
ladies
and survivors
of cancer
, or torment handicapped
children
.

No gentleman
voluntarily rubs elbows with the TSA's savages. If anyone objected
to the seating, it shoulda been Mr. Rotenberg.

March
28, 2011

Becky
Akers [send her mail] writes
primarily about the American Revolution.

The
Best of Becky Akers

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