TSA Successfully Defends Itself
There was a similar story in 2007. Then, I wrote:
Why is it that we all -- myself included -- believe these stories? Why are we so quick to assume that the TSA is a bunch of jack-booted thugs, officious and arbitrary and drunk with power?
It's because everything seems so arbitrary, because there's no accountability or transparency in the DHS. Rules and regulations change all the time, without any explanation or justification. Of course this kind of thing induces paranoia. It's the sort of thing you read about in history books about East Germany and other police states. It's not what we expect out of 21st century America.
The problem is larger than the TSA, but the TSA is the part of "homeland security" that the public comes into contact with most often -- at least the part of the public that writes about these things most. They're the public face of the problem, so of course they're going to get the lion's share of the finger pointing.
It was smart public relations on the TSA's part to get the video of the incident on the Internet quickly, but it would be even smarter for the government to restore basic constitutional liberties to our nation's counterterrorism policy. Accountability and transparency are basic building blocks of any democracy; and the more we lose sight of them, the more we lose our way as a nation.
EDITED TO ADD (11/12): Follow up by the woman who posted the original story. She claims that the TSA's video is incomplete, and omits the part where she is separated from her son. I don't believe her.
Posted on October 20, 2009 at 1:11 PM • 55 Comments