Why Congress Isn't So Concerned With TSA Nude Scans & Gropes: They Get To Skip Them

from the so-that's-how-it-works... dept

Earlier this week, in holding a hearing with the head of the TSA, our congressional representatives didn’t seem too concerned about the public complaints about TSA security procedures: the naked scans and the gropings. Want to know why? Perhaps it’s because, on the rare occasions that they fly commercial, they get to skip security. The NY Times notes that Speaker of the House John Boehner (who does regularly fly commercial) got to walk right by security and go directly to the gate. In defending this, Michael Steel, head of the Republican party pointed out that this is true of all Congressional leaders — which doesn’t make it any better.

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Comments on “Why Congress Isn't So Concerned With TSA Nude Scans & Gropes: They Get To Skip Them”

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157 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This is nuts

So let me get this straight … congressional leaders riding in the back are not subject to TSA scrutiny but the crew flying the plane is?

The TSA just announced that pilots will be exempt too. The Airline pilots Association push for the exemption because they said the scanners were a health hazard and the hand screenings were demeaning. Apparently, it’s OK to irradiate and demean passengers, but not pilots or congressmen.

BearGriz72 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”

(I wish)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 But...

“If Napolitano and that other guy had to go through it, I’m sure they would have a Senator possibly go through with this…”

You got it wrong; they tested it once when the rapiscan systems were being sold to the administration. Michael Chertoff has an investor interest in that company by the way, did you folks know that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 But...

Well, I’m not saying I’m going to take their word for it just because they say so, least of all any employee of Homeland Security. But Ron Paul, I suppose, never has (maybe once) been through either a scanner or a pa- gropedown, although he’s made it pretty clear that he is against the rules TSA has set in place recently.

Sirk says:

Re: But...

Ron Paul said members of the government SHOULD have to go through the screening. Currently, they do not have to, so it’s no big deal to them if we, or our children, get irradiated or groped.

Here’s a telling statement:
Republican Senator George LeMieux expressed worries about the degree of contact in the patdowns, which include touching of the genital region and breasts.
“I’m frankly bothered by the level of these patdowns. I’ve seen them first-hand in airports in Florida,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want my wife to be touched in the way that these folks are being touched. I wouldn’t want to be touched that way. And I think that we have to be focused on safety, but there’s a balance,” he said.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Senators-complain-about-rb-3326615803.html?x=0&.v=1

sethumme (profile) says:

Shouldn't fair-play have been part of the constitution?

There’s a reason why congress isn’t allowed to set their own salaries on their whim. So why is it that they have the freedom to exempt themselves from so many laws?

I understand that certain differences between a congressman and the common man exist by virtue of the position they currently hold, and that some of these differences need to be handled in a distinct manner. But apart from issues related to their personal security, handling of state secrets their heads contain, and the limitations they must face as public personalities, elected government officials should have exactly the same rights and privileges as anyone else in their wealth bracket.

Who do they think they are, foreign diplomats? They should be getting the exact opposite treatment under the law that foreign diplomats get. They made their beds, now they have to lay in them.

jpatten1oesoe0157 (profile) says:

Re: Shouldn't fair-play have been part of the constitution?

One thingh you should know is that when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it excepted itself. That’s right – Congress can discriminate on the basis of race, religion and tbhe rest if it so chooses. So don’t be too shocked when you find out that the Congressional leadership doesn’t have to go through TSA searches.

BTW, it does make some sense to run a plane’s staff through the searches, since one way to set up a hijacking, or get a bomb on board, or whatever, is to either recruit or blackmail a staff person to do this for you. However, the same applies to Congressional leadership – and, God knows, they’re more susceptible to blackmail than the average airline employee.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: The REAL danger

Whether or not you want to accept it, WE control Congress.

In what reality? Congress doesn’t listen to the general public, they only pay attention to the lobbyists who give them the most money. Sure, you could argue that we have the power to vote them out of office, but for the most part, all politicians are equally corrupt. No matter who gets elected, they all willingly bend over for the special interests the minute the checkbook comes out.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The REAL danger

Wrong. Welcome to corporatism. Actual capitalism would have the government staying out of it, and only intervening to prevent anti-competitive business practices. Unfortunately, we haven’t had that for a LONG time, if ever.

Even if you disagree with that and hold to the idea that we are truly capitalist, your argument makes no sense. Is socialism or communism somehow less prone to corruption? Because I think the citizens of Russia, East Germany, North Korea, etc. would disagree quite heartily with you on that one.

Power corrupts, not a specific economic system. There will always be those with access to wealth who will use it to influence those in power. Therefore, the less power we give to the government, the better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The REAL danger

In the U.S.A. there is no electing president by the people.

Presidents are elected by a pool of representatives not by the people, the voting thing is just theater for all I know and have no real power to do anything.

http://people.howstuffworks.com/question472.htm
http://www.helium.com/items/726826-the-us-electoral-system-a-closer-look-at-how-it-works

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 We DO Control Our GOVT

While I admire your obvious patriotism, Coach George, I fear you’re one of the many who’ve been successfully – in a word – brainwashed. If we, the people, actually controlled our government, we wouldn’t be in near as big as sinkhole as we are today, would we? We’d actually be able to get the political results WE asked our Representatives for, instead of watching greed and dishonesty drive the way the bills are written and introduced.

Capitol Hill trivia for you: Did you know that often times the actual Congresspersons don’t even READ the bills they’re scheduled to vote on? They’re quite often foisted down to one of their ASSISTANTS to condense and give them some sort of “Reader’s Digest version”, which don’t necessarily include discreetly slipped-in trinkets that are written in such a way that they are MEANT to be overlooked, and signed into law anyway…

Coach George (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 We DO Control Our GOVT

WE, US Citizens.
The Electoral college aside, one person one vote, regardless of wealth.
We, the US Citizens are however Too LAZY to give a DAMM and the politicians know this. WE, the US Citizens, have given control to the politicians. If We, the US Citizens, cared enough WE, the US Citizens, can take it back.

I hope my point is clear now.
Nuff Said

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Electoral College Aside

What a laugh! Sorry, Coach, but you CAN’T just sweep the College aside and call it good, for the sake of trying to make your stance the correct one. The Electoral College is how the ones actually placing their political chess pieces do it, and has been for decades. Your collective votes really don’t count for much, as it was pointed out another “Anonymous Coward” (as this site likes to label us). It’s amazing how often the majority votes for “Other”, and yet someone “other” than “Other” takes home the crown. On that note, there’s a great explanation of just how little voting actually matters in Robin Williams’ flick “Man Of The Year”, given by a character played by Jeff Goldblum to Laura Linney’s character… Very enlightening, if you’re willing to flip the switch.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 We DO Control Our GOVT

Now how many times in your life you saw a politician honor his word?

It is so rare that I can’t remember any, but I’m sure some promises where kept but the majority just isn’t.

Besides the public doesn’t have a plan, a clear vision of what they want and that is in spite of having the means to do it now, people can organize and find the common ground they want and write draft for laws they want still nobody did it.

People could do a shadow government that would gather together all people that want to change something and give them a clear path to do it.

We could make a website “Draft your laws” and make another website “Vote for your laws” and get empirical data to show what people want and don’t want.

Yet we do nothing of the kind why?

How to make sure people would vote only once? sell(for a very low price) cards with encrypted keys, no one can use the card twice and that is good enough for trial runs of voting or mock up of said voting.

Coach George (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 We DO Control Our GOVT

“Capitol Hill trivia for you: Did you know that often times the actual Congresspersons don’t even READ the bills they’re scheduled to vote on? They’re quite often foisted down to one of their ASSISTANTS to condense and give them some sort of “Reader’s Digest version”, which don’t necessarily include discreetly slipped-in trinkets that are written in such a way that they are MEANT to be overlooked, and signed into law anyway…”
This is one reason I stopped watching C-Span. It was obvious the Senators and Congressmen didn’t read the bills and amendments. Another other reason is that it was blatantly obvious that they want power and the only way for junior representatives to get it is to blindly Kiss the A$$’s of their leadership.
I live inside the beltway and it makes me sick.

Coach George (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 We DO Control Our GOVT

“Another other reason is that it was blatantly obvious that they want power and the only way for junior representatives to get it is to blindly Kiss the A$$’s of their leadership.”
Correction:
Another reason is that it was blatantly obvious that they want power and the only way for junior representatives to get it is to blindly Kiss the A$$’s of their leadership.

Coach George (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The REAL danger

WE, US Citizens.
The Electoral college aside, one person one vote, regardless of wealth.
We, the US Citizens are however Too LAZY to give a DAMM and the politicians know this. WE, the US Citizens, have given control to the politicians. If We, the US Citizens, cared enough WE, the US Citizens, can take it back.

I hope my point is clear now.
Nuff Said

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The REAL danger

You, WE, control Congress by our Votes.
Plain and Simple. Congressmen are up for re-election every two years, the Senators have 6 year terms.

I’ve got news for you, then: It doesn’t work. I don’t vote for them, yet they keep getting reelected and doing things I don’t want them to do. Your theory is, in a word, bunk.

Jay says:

Re: Re: Re:6 The REAL danger

Unfortunately, this rings hollow. Look at all the ways that a Congress(wo)man ensures reelection. Gerrymandering, splitting of the vote, and enforcement of the two-party system by little to no representation of other parties. Other parties can’t really get steam going because of the electoral system. Congressmen can draw up lines of voting parties to favor themselves. Honestly, if voting were the ONLY way we could win this battle, we’d have a much better society right now.

Eliot says:

Re: Re: The REAL danger

Get real; most of the people working at big-city airports are now Muslim and they don’t have to go through any security checks before they go onto planes for maintenance, even the crew cabins. If there really were a serious terrorist scheme to take planes down, they wouldn’t have to do it as passengers, they could have complete access to the inside of the planes as employees! How many planes have been brought down by bombs planted by terrorists posing as employees? Not one. This TSA cr*p is pure theater. If they were serious, they would screen the employees, too, but they DO NOT. I have to conclude, therefore, that they know very well that there is NO terrorist threat, and the post 9/11 so-called terrorist attempts have been staged by the govt. to make us put up with this garbage.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

That is the reason why these scanners SHOULD NOT BE USED! It is treating ALL passengers as potential criminals, and violates the Fourth Amendment.

Our security on 9/11 was good enough. The FBI KNEW who the 9/11 hijackers were MONTHS before 9/11. Bush ordered the FBI to NOT pursue these people and wouldn’t give them the necessary means to pursue these people.

Mike says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Naah, no 4th amendment violation here. We do not have a constitutional right to fly. Taking a flight is an elective procedure. If the scans offend you, drive. I went through a scan AND a patdown last time I flew. It was irritating, but thats only because it was early and I wanted to get through so I could get a cup of coffee.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Naah, no 4th amendment violation here. We do not have a constitutional right to fly. Taking a flight is an elective procedure.

Ahh, I suppose you’re one of those authoritarian apologists that agrees with the Supreme Court that the 4th amendment doesn’t apply within 100 miles of the border either. If you don’t want to loose your 4th protections, just don’t go within 100 miles of the border, right? In fact, maybe we should just say you have no rights whatsoever if you leave home at all? Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Everyone would do well to remember that the US govt has military propaganda units whose job it is to troll discussion boards and post comments like the one above. Your tax dollars at work.

Popples bounce says:

Re: Re: Re:2 driving

I’d love to drive home and back for Thanksgiving. I just don’t have the time and there is the little issue of there being no road from Brisbane Australia to Chicago Illinois. When you solve that dilemma, then say you can drive. (Boat is 30 days and $4000 each way. Toss in the three day car ride each way and the problem gets worse. )

Anonymous coward says:

Put down the torches and pitchforks, people. As the article points out, the exemption applies to congress critters escorted by the capitol police, who – presumably – have verified that the critter is in fact in congress and his luggage is secure.

OTOH, what if a terrorist kidnapped the congressman, replaced him with a body double and sent him to the airport with a fake police squad? Starring Denzel Washington as the airport security officer who figures out the hoax and averts near-certain disaster!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

actually.. pilots union got them off the hook with their logic being that they can take the plane down without bombs whenever they want

Actually, the pilots’ union argued that the scanners were a health hazard and the hand examinations were demeaning and that’s why they should not have to go through it. But it’s OK to irradiate and demean passengers.

Another exception is for people who can afford to fly charter. If a terrorist wants to charter a jetliner and then fly it into a building, nothing is really stopping them.

Another exception is for private aircraft. If John Travolta has a Scientoloogy meltdown and decides to fly his fully-fueled Boeing 707 into a building, what’s stopping him? Not the TSA, that’s for sure.

No, these procedures are for the poor, scheduled airline sheeple who can’t afford to say no and fly one of the alternatives.

Selby LeBert says:

I understand

Being military I can kind of understand this. I’m allowed to go through security in less than a minute if on orders, even for international flights. and if I’m in uniform I’ve been allowed to get on public transportation for free. It’s not so much a rule or a law, but just courtesy I guess. because we have a place to be.

ofb2632 (profile) says:

Re: I understand

Being military, you are SERVING our great country and should be put first in line or be able to bypass it. That is one of the many ways we should be thanking our military. Congress on the other hand, no. Let them get a rifle and serve some time in Iraq. Then they can bypass security.
I trust our men and women in uniform, not congress.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: I understand

I’m allowed to go through security in less than a minute if on orders, even for international flights.

Recently? You’ve been extremely lucky, I guess.

I fly on orders and have to deal with security. The last time I flew on orders I was sent through the rapiscan machine.

And I know military folks serving as honor guard (those escorting soldiers/marines who gave their lives for this country,) who have had to deal with secondary inspection (and had to remove their class A jackets, shoes, and submit to a grope check.) I guess it may depend on the airport, but the ones in the US I’ve gone through have pretty much the same policy.

WG (profile) says:

Here's an idea

FIX CONGRESS!
**********************************
Congressional Reform Act of 2010

1. Term Limits.

12 years only, one of the possible options below..

A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves!

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators; you serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

ofb2632 (profile) says:

lots of perks

Congress can walk around security. They also can show up minutes before a flight and get on the plane on time. Why should they care for all the security measures when they can bypass them.
Health care for Congress is paid by the Govt and continues after they leave office. Why should they care about health care, they and their families always get it.
When Congress is voted out of office, they still receive pay. If you get fired, the company that fired you will not give you your full paycheck forever. Why should Congress worry about unemployment benefits, they will never be forced to use them.
Mabe Congress is the real reason why we are in this situation. Start forcing them to comply to the same rules and laws we all are forced to follow.

Eliot says:

Re: lots of perks

All government employees should be forced to comply with the X-rated security theater we have to put up with. My brother-in-law is a lawyer with the State Department, and all he has to do is show his diplomatic pass and he breezes right through without dealing with security at all. He has no idea why the public is outraged.

Michael says:

it's already covered:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ? That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ? That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,

lover (profile) says:

Re: Re:

[QUOTE]”How about a 2-fer: a terrorist who gets voted into Congress!”

Well, considering we already elected a terrorist as president, why bother with Congress?[/QUOTE]

I think you might find that George W Bush is the terroist.
He has no morales, he’s gave permission to torture suspected terroists only after his lawyers gave him the green light.
And he’s always banging on about God and Christianity, cant wait till he meets his maker. It will be really hot where he will be spending eternity.

shameless (profile) says:

Re: Re:

[QUOTE]”How about a 2-fer: a terrorist who gets voted into Congress!”

Well, considering we already elected a terrorist as president, why bother with Congress?[/QUOTE]

I think you might find that George W Bush is the terroist.
He has no morales, he’s gave permission to torture suspected terroists only after his lawyers gave him the green light.
And he’s always banging on about God and Christianity, cant wait till he meets his maker. It will be really hot where he will be spending eternity.

ts says:

“Well, considering we already elected a terrorist as president, why bother with Congress?”

Come on man.. that’s just stupid. Did McCarthyism not teach you anything? I’m no fan of Obama, but he is not a terrorist. I think Obama genuinely wants to do what is best for our country… even though I don’t agree with most of his policies. But that certainly does not make him a terrorist.

bumblefoot2004 (profile) says:

Stupid TSA policy... There are many

I’m glad the TSA makes pilots go through their security, because that totally guarantees that they are not terrorists and that they are not guilty of bad intentions. The obvious fact that a suicidal/homicidal pilot could simply crash the plane after passing through this totally useful and effective security process seems to have escaped the TSA’s logic process. I’m afraid of the TSA agents, not pilots and air crews.

Daedalus says:

Think like a terrorist.

Would you bother striking where you’ve already won? These policies are demonstrating that they’ve succeeded in scaring people to the point of being willing to have their freedoms taken away in favor of practices that do no more than degrade us in the name of assumed security.

What their next goal would be is to make us not feel safe going about our business, and that would be pretty easy to accomplish with plain ol’ gasoline or combinations of household products, there’s no restrictions on buying those. If the government reacted to that in the same manner as things on planes we’d likely be living in a police state in short order.

This sort of thing isn’t just a violation of privacy and decency, it’s letting the terrorists hold sway over our lives more than they ought to.

Tommy V says:

Weird Complaint

The purpose of security is for security. The law is not there to abuse everyone “equally”. He’s not cutting in line to get the last piece of cake for goodness sake.

I would hope they continue to send through as many non-threats as possible. Any member, let alone leader, of Congress should be sent through, and anyone else that’s identified as a non-threat.

This is a silly politically motivated complaint that misses the point of security in the first place.

abc gum says:

Re: Weird Complaint

“non-threats” – like the three year old?

“This is a silly politically motivated complaint that misses the point “

I believe it is you who have missed the point. Please excuse my complaining, but I get tired of the ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ crap. Congress is not above the law, there is no reason to exempt them from it. In fact, if congress were treated like common folk more often you might see legislation which actually addresses the issue rather than their bank account. In case you are unaware, congress routinely exempts themselves from that which they foist upon the rest of us.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Weird Complaint

Where are you from? As far as I’m concerned there is no greater threat to this country than a congress critter, except for a congress critter and a lobbyist together….

That kinda homeless looking, somewhat scruffy bearded semi-islamic looking individual, he’s not really a threat, he’s just headed out to buy another quicki-mart in the neighboring state….

OH, I get it. He’s a threat to the congress critter’s lobbyist’s corporate backer who was also looking at purchasing the same quicki-mart, obviously he needs to have naked porno scans taken, be groped repeatedly by ‘bubba’, and then taken out back and water-boarded for a while…

Sure I’m kidding…. sort of

Bradley Stewart (profile) says:

Big Surprise

OK I am pretty sure that most of the members of Congress are not interested in blowing up a Jet Airliner especially one they are on but lets face it at least half of the members are crazy as Loons. Just to be sure I have an idea that will pretty much make us feel just a bit safer just in case one of them goes a little funny in the head on travel day. How about sticking them in caged dunk tanks. The public could throw baseballs at a mechanical arm outside of the tank and drop them into a tank full of water. That should do it for most explosives and more important it would make us all feel good.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Big Surprise

Who said that they had to be aware that they were going to blow up the plane?

Lets say ‘Ajihadonyou’ gets a friendly lobbyist to arrange a meeting with a congress critter for business discussion (aka, getting a bribe, being ‘lobbied’, etc). As part of the ‘discussion’ a gift is presented to the congress critter, a personalized gucci briefcase, or product sample, etc. Now lets say that the ‘gift’ is really a small altitude triggered explosive with a chemical payload (not enough to bring down a plane, but enough to kill everyone on board). What happens when said congress critter bypasses security on his flight home?

Georgann Marks says:

chidren of privilege exempt as well.

It’s much worse than that. I understand from a Southwest Employee at LAX that the families of privilege don’t go though this either.

Do you think Chelsea Clinton gets felt up?

The Bush twins?

cheney’s daughter?

Not on your life. This kind of stuff makes people so mad – we should be worried about domestic terror from ordinary citizens!!

EVERYONE hates the US government – and with good reason.

Anonymous Coward says:

“”non-threats” – like the three year old?”

The three-year old himself is a non threat, unfortunately, he also sounds like a pretty good mule to me. Who is escorting the three year old?

“In case you are unaware, congress routinely exempts themselves from that which they foist upon the rest of us.”

You’re not going to get me defend Congress. I dislike the TSA, and I dislike the Congress. I think it is mostly a corrupt institution and I suspect someone is making a great deal of money with the budget of the TSA. Who is selling those machines again?

But smartly choosing who will bypass the stupid TSA lines is what I want!!! I want them to show more discretion of who they let through quickly and who they search. I want them to better use their resources.

I’m going to complain when they actually do that? I want them to do it more!

Rachel says:

During the final years of Communism, what pissed off normal people most was that there were rules for them… and entirely different rules for the party and leadership members. The party had become so arrogant they had lost all contact with the realities common people were facing, and did not even understand why people were so pissed off.

Also, the system had become random. You could no longer predict what consequences your actions would have. Tiny transgressions might result in severe punishment — while big ones might be ignored.

Random porn scans/sexual harrassment for some, while those infront of or behind you in line are spared, are an example of random enforcement of punishments.

I doubt the US can get out of this by anything short of a brutal tyranny. The next president of the US is going to be a brutal law and order man.

BTW, Germans are by now openly laughing at our fearmongering politicans. All respect for authorities is gone.

“Be scared! Be very scared! Immediately! If you refuse to be scared, you will get sent to your room! And no ice cream!”

David G (user link) says:

The time is at hand

Time to start disseminating the names of TSA agents. Pedophile, molesting TSA agents, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov?t violations of our right:
They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like ?America Deceived II? and censoring the internet.
They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
Impeach Obama and sweep out the Congress, except Ron Paul.
(Last link of Banned Book):
http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000190526

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