A Chill Gale Blows Off Congress

by Becky Akers by Becky Akers Recently by Becky Akers: Uh-Oh

Were she not a bureaucrat fattening on our taxes at the loathsome Transportation Security Administration (TSA), we might applaud Gale Rossides' performance before Congress last Wednesday. She recognized those scofflaws and vipers for what they are: the country's direst enemies. Nor was she about to trust them with "Sensitive Security Information." And so the TSA's "acting director insisted … that the mistaken posting of secret airport screening procedures online posed no threat to holiday travelers because the procedures had changed, but refused to provide members of Congress with the newest version of the TSA’s screening manual to prove it."

However warranted, her wariness "outraged" Our Rulers. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) huffed, “This implies [we] would disclose the document.” Bingo, there, Chuck. With smarts that sharp and proper training, you might advance from worthless politician to productive Wal-Mart greeter one day. Nonetheless, Chuck was "visibly frustrated" and no wonder, given the TSA's own loose lips.

Also infuriated was Rep. Emanuel Clever (D-MO), failing as usual to live up to his name: “Any new versions were built on older versions,” Clever announced. “There obviously is information that is out there that is in the latest iteration.” Yeah, so wait a few weeks, and the TSA's dimwits will publish that "iteration" somewhere, too.

Rossides' defiance is typical for the agency. The TSA's "mission" of "protect[ing] the Nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce" (yep, I kid you not) is so vital that mere legislation must not hamper it. And so it routinely thumbs its nose at Congress. And why not? Simply by existing, the agency deals a knock-out blow to the Constitution; what're a few broken laws after that?

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Meanwhile, all players understand the spoof and act their roles accordingly. US governments and the "homeland security" industry collaborate to conjure a War on Terror that empowers and enriches them while tyrannizing and impoverishing us. They no doubt savor the irony that the average Americans runs a greater risk of Our Masters' "legal[ly]execut[ing]" him (1 in 6,215,895) than of a terrorist's illegally doing so (0). Ergo, listening to these nimrods hyperventilate over this silly manual is like listening to Bram Stoker worry about a bite from Dracula.

Certainly, not every terrorist works for Leviathan, but "non-state actor[s] … with nuclear, radiological, chemical, or biological weapons" have never been plentiful, especially by comparison. Since most "non-state" terrorists don't leech off our taxes nor habitually prate before the corporate media's cameras, reliable statistics on them aren't available. The US Department of State keeps a weather eye on these competitors; its annual report for 2008 lists either 42 or 45 (depending on how you count Al Qaeda) "foreign terrorist organizations" and their "Strength." Fourteen groups' "strength" is "unknown"; for the rest, there's a range of estimates ("200 to 500 members"). If we take the higher figure in all cases, interpret "several hundred" and "several thousand" members as 200 and 2000 respectively, and double our total to account for the "unknowns," we arrive at an approximate and extremely generous sum of 150,000 terrorists worldwide – and many of those confine their activities to their own countries,  la Peru's "Shining Path."

Contrast that with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the TSA's bureaucratic parent: by itself, this bloated behemoth boasts half again as many bloodsuckers as our grossly inflated guesstimate of terrorists worldwide. And that's a trifle compared to the 1.75 million leeches the Feds as a whole "employ," to say nothing of state and local governments. I don't know about you, but I fear the returning vets of Abu Ghraib who now sport blue gloves and wands a heck of a lot more than I do Peruvian peasants trying to overthrow their US-approved government.

The DHS frankly admits – indeed, boasts – that some of its sponges waste their days "dream[ing] up ways a weapon might be slipped onto a plane and then figur[ing] out" how to respond to these imaginary dangers. From these vaporings, musings, and inventions come the policies that force us to pose naked at checkpoints while the TSA's goons steal our toothpaste and shampoo. This nonsense is then codified in top-secret manuals. And now, Congresscriminals who renew the TSA's budget each year wring their hands over yet another snafu from this absurd agency. Even if terrorists were as rabid, omnipotent, and ubiquitous as Our Rulers want us to believe, why would they bother to destroy American aviation? Far easier to kick back and let the TSA do it for them.

“This [manual's publication] was not the failure of an individual," intoned our friend Chuck, "but rather the failure of a system.”

Anyone disagree?