Wednesday, 16 January 2013

"Mission Creep at the TSA?"

In the February/March 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine, Christopher Elliott discussses how the TSA has expanded its activities from air travel to other activities:

You might encounter a TSA screening area when you”re at the train station or the subway. In one memorable 2011 incident, Amtrak passengers disembarking in Savannah, Georgia, were screened before they could leave the station. TSA agents have even been spotted at NFL games and political conventions….

Is this mission creep? To agency insiders, the answer is: Of course not….

Critics say there”s no causal relationship between a TSA with a sprawling mandate and the absence of a terrorist attack….

We have to carefully balance security against privacy; otherwise we risk becoming a show-me-your-papers-please nation with troubling echoes of other closed societies. “Governments good and bad have always cited national security, the prevention of terrorism, and the defense of freedom as their excuses for surveillance and control of people”s movements,” says Edward Hasbrouck, a privacy advocate who is one of the leading voices against TSA overreach. “But we can”t defend freedom by adopting measures that prevent us from exercising the rights we profess to believe in.”

Has the TSA prevented one or more terrorist attacks? That”s unanswerable. But I think the price has been high. And I fear that the cost could rise, just to make us feel safe when we travel….

TSA reform didn”t register as an election-year concern, and neither candidate took a meaningful stance on the issue. Obviously, no political party wants to be the first to reexamine the security apparatus created more than a decade ago, and risk the political repercussions if there”s another 9/11-style attack.

There’s more. If you don’t subscribe to the magazine, read the full article here while it’s still available online.

Link | Posted by Edward on Wednesday, 16 January 2013, 13:53 ( 1:53 PM)
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