The TSA's Dogs of War

Recently by Becky Akers: Take This Love and Shove It

Awwwww, aren't they sweet? Absolutely "irresistible," in fact, especially given their future employment: these puppies will one day sniff passengers who have no choice but to submit, regardless of whether they're frightened of or allergic to dogs.

"The Transportation Security Administration’s [TSA] Puppy Program breeds working detector dogs," prattles Pravda – sorry, KENS-5 of San Antonio, Texas. The story offers no less than 79 slides; presumably each features another of Our future four-footed Masters rather than the jack-booted, bipedal variety. I only made it to #4. As a mere serf rather than a politician or bureaucrat, my stomach for even the cutest totalitarianism is remarkably weak. "But they [sic, apparently for u2018it,' meaning the TSA] can’t accomplish this goal without the help of citizens [sic for collaborators] who can foster these little dogs until they are about 12 months old."

No doubt the Nazis needed "citizens" to "foster" their German Shepherds, too. But where did they and where do their spawn at the TSA recruit such Volk? Given these regimes' respective sexual assaults, beatings, cruelty and murders, what decent person would willingly assist either in any way? Especially by perverting innocent puppies into agents of such evil. And yet, the TSA enjoys an abundance of volunteers: "Due to an overwhelming number of adoption applicants," it warns, "there is a waiting list to adopt a pup from the program."

"…[D]ogs are natural libertarians…," says Rex Curry, a lawyer who defends victims indicted when dogs supposedly smell something Our Masters forbid us on them. Dogs "have to be constantly taught to detect drug odors and approach peaceful humans and search them, so that humans can be arrested, handcuffed and imprisoned for decades. That is not an easy trick to teach a dog. It is easier to teach humans." Bravo! Two points for Rex and Rover!

The State implies that dogs are more intelligent than men at sniffing out the illicit – granted, a stunningly low bar when the "men" in question "work" for the TSA. Ditto for canine reliability and honesty. But both their superior abilities to find drugs or explosives and their incorruptibility are as mythical as the idea that the TSA protects aviation. Dogs are susceptible to poor coaching, deliberate or otherwise; for instance, the animal may not be "train[ed] to ignore residual odors of contraband." So if you dumped your bag atop one bulging with reefer on the jitney's luggage rack, and traffic between the hotel and airport delayed the trip substantially, Lassie may "alert" to you as well as to Mr. Dealer.

And dogs are as eager for treats as any cop on the beat. Will they fudge an "alert" for a reward? You bet. Unlike cops, they're eager to please, too. They'll react for a beloved handler on cue.

But like everything else the TSA does, there's a darker undercurrent here than pestering passengers. Mr. Curry explains: "Law enforcement uses drug-detecting dogs as a way to circumvent the Constitution’s requirement that a judge issue a warrant … there is the added concern that some police use the dogs for improper searches by claiming that the dogs alert even when the dogs don’t alert … . It is a police-state tactic.”

Amen again. Administered by a police-state that refuses to give even its collaborators – sorry, its "Puppywalker[s] (foster famil[ies])" a break. Collaborators are under the TSA's scrutiny and thumb; their dog belongs to it, not them: "The pups are returned to the program for one week each month for medical and behavioral evaluation," says the TSA's website. "The program provides feedback to the foster families on how the puppy is developing. At approximately one year of age, the pups are returned to the program to start their official training."

I've never owned a dog, but from what I've observed of friends who do, relinquishing your pet one week out of four, let alone losing him entirely after a year, would be traumatic. Particularly for kids: what sort of parent sets his child up for such heartbreak? And all for sake of furthering the State's brutality. On the other hand, what better introduction to government? "I know, honey," Mommy sniffs, wiping away her own and her daughter's tears, "we all loved Prince. But get used to it: one day, you'll love your paycheck, too, and they'll grab that as well. Expect nothing but predation and agony from rulers."

Speaking of which, take a look at the questionnaire "Puppywalkers" must submit. Breathes there the peon so gullible he'll actually furnish Our Masters with his email address, numbers for his cell and office phones, and an essay answering the question, "WHY do you wish to serve as a TSA foster family?" Thanks, but I'll head to the pound for a pooch before I divulge "the number of adults employed outside the home/type of employment /regular work hours" to a bureaucracy notorious for its thievery,

"Ultimately," Pravda opines, "these pups will protect airports, mass transit centers, ferry boats…" Oh, I think not. Ultimately, these pups will promote the TSA's transformation of America into Auschwitz.

March 12, 2011