I thought of this exchange last week when the New York Times revealed that the Transportation Security Administration has created a secret watchlist for troublesome passengers. The TSA justified the list by saying that its screeners were assaulted 34 times last year, but did not release any details about the alleged assaults.
Naturally, the TSA's official definition of troublemaking goes well beyond punching its officers. According to a confidential memo, any behavior that is "offensive and without legal justification" can land a traveler on the list, as can any "challenges to the safe and effective completion of screening." Anyone who has ever "loitered" near a checkpoint could also make the list. So could any woman who pushes a screener's hands away from her breasts.
The memo would be more accurate if it stated that anyone who fails to unquestioningly submit to all the TSA's demands would be found guilty of insubordination. As an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, Hugh Handeyside, told the Washington Post, the policy gives the agency wide latitude to "blacklist people arbitrarily and essentially punish them for asserting their rights." Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-New Jersey) expressed similar worry. "I am concerned about the civil-liberty implications of such a list," she said.
She should be. EVERYONE should be. Especially since the federalized molesters do crap like this:
One ongoing court case is showcasing the TSA's prerogatives. Airplane captain James Linlor was traveling through Dulles Airport in 2016 when he suffered a brutal patdown that left him requiring surgery. A TSA video shows that the patdown was proceeding normally, if somewhat aggressively, until the TSA agent, without warning, administered what appeared to be a karate chop to the captain's testicles.
Linlor sued, claiming that the TSA violated his rights with an unconstitutional and unreasonable search. In a hearing last year, a lawyer for the Department of Justice argued that there's no law "establishing a specific degree of permissible intrusiveness of a security screening pat down," and that, since there's no law, Americans should have no legal recourse. Federal Judge James Cacheris scoffed at the government's "oratorical calisthenics." The case is now before an appeals court.
This is also why the Dept. of 'Justice' needs cleaning out. Anyone who'd push such crap in the name of "He's a violent asshole, but he's federal so we have to defend him" should be gotten rid of. So should the supervisors who defend this kind of crap.