Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TSA letter to my senator

Dear Senator Coburn,

I am writing to you today in response to the recent changes in policy by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This body of authority, controlled by the US Department of Homeland Security, has recently installed advanced imaging technology (AIT) in the majority of domestic airports. As some of these machines produce low level x-rays, the TSA has offered "enhanced patdowns" as an alternative screening method.

However, these "enhanced patdowns" blatantly violate several basic human rights. The TSA agents are instructed to use their hands to feel up a person's thighs until they meet "resistance" (i.e., genitalia). In addition, women are subjected to having their breasts handled in a rough fashion. I argue that these patdowns are unconstitutional.

Specifically, in Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, the Supreme Court ruled that if a "reasonable man would believe he was ... under arrest", then legally, he WAS under arrest. Furthermore, law enforcement officials must have probable cause and not just reasonable suspicion to detain a person or place them under arrest. It is my fervent belief that a reasonable person, being subjected to one of the TSA's "enhanced patdowns", would believe he were being detained. Therefore, TSA agents need probable cause to conduct their searches -- prevention of crime is not enough.

I call upon you, Senator Coburn, to introduce a bill into the United States Senate that would introduce a new method of airport security that would actually make our airspace more secure without taking away constitutional rights from American citizens. Thank you for your concern in this matter.

Sincerely yours,

Travis Darling

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