Former DHS/NSA Official Says You Should Blame Privacy Advocates For The TSA Groping You

from the wait,what? dept

Remember Stewart Baker? He’s the former Homeland Security and NSA officials who recently argued that civil liberties activists were to blame for 9/11. Apparently, that sort of thinking (blame the activists for what it leads the government to do) worked so well the last time, he’s back for more. According to him, all the bullshit you’ve had to go through with the TSA at our airports is because of those darn meddling privacy advocates. Yes, we’ve now learned that the reason a TSA measured the weight of my little friend and his bag of tricks is because privacy advocates just wouldn’t let the TSA do invasive background checks on all of us. The privacy advocating jerks.

TSA ended up taking more time to inspect everyone, treating all travelers as potential terrorists, and subjecting many to whole-body imaging and enhanced pat-downs. We can’t blame TSA for this wrong turn, though. Privacy lobbies persuaded Congress that TSA couldn’t be trusted with data about the travelers it was screening. With no information about travelers, TSA had no choice but to treat them all alike, sending us down a long blind alley that has inconvenienced billions.

Of course! It isn’t the TSA’s fault the TSA debased me. It’s because privacy advocates (also me) didn’t want the TSA to debase me by massively invading my privacy. It makes perfect sense! Never mind that this is all a theater show ostensibly designed to up the suicide count of Americans worldwide, because they sure aren’t catching anyone important. It’s the privacy people who are to blame. Also, all those women who are sexually assaulted? Pshh, they were dressed to provocatively. Blame the short-skirt makers or whoever.

Then, because apparently Stewart Baker hasn’t been reading the news lately, he testified that instead the government just needs more data on all of us, while driving home the point that the current security screenings are stupid.

No one wants to be against privacy, but we’ve tried the privacy campaigners’ preferred solution, denying even the smallest scrap of data to the government, and they saddled us with ten years of stupid screening at our airports, where a lack of data forced TSA to treat everyone like a suspected terrorist. No one liked that solution, with good reason. It’s time to recognize that failure and encourage experiments in smarter, faster, more informed screening based on data-sharing.

Okay, no. The TSA has not tried the privacy campaigner’s preferred solution, because I’ve yet to hear a privacy campaigner stamp her feet over the fact that her nipples haven’t been tweaked lately. And, while everyone would like better and safer solutions for traveling, making the “our government just doesn’t have enough data on us” argument at this point in time might be the most tone-deaf thing since Bob Dylan. The TSA is full of misconduct, the government is collecting too much data on us and is overloaded with it, all while even the TSA’s advocates are calling their current screening processes “stupid.”

Drop the curtain on this theater, because the show has been going on too long and it sucks anyway.

Filed Under: , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Former DHS/NSA Official Says You Should Blame Privacy Advocates For The TSA Groping You”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

It’s one more reason why the public no longer has any trust in government. It is exactly this mind set that has put the NSA far over the limits of what is legal and the TSA has yet to prove it has any results for all the taxpayer money it has spent to date.

Confiscating baby bottles and partially filled bottles of water doesn’t count as a real security value.

Tehrm (profile) says:

“In order to eliminate debasing practices and alleviate concerns of authoritarian encroachment, we will instead begin reading everyone’s thoughts. This ‘Thought Prevention” method renders physical assessment obsolete. In fact, you’ll be notified even before leaving your home for the airport whether you’ve been selected for further interest. We hope to continue to streamline the process with more ‘don’t come to us, we’ll come to you’ services.”

Anonymous Coward says:


If this guy wasn’t actually serious and believing this, faulting the groped privacy advocates, I would have believed it was slapstick parody, laughable humor brought to you by a government with a sense of humor. Is this in any way an indication why this is a former DHS/NSA official? What with 300,000,000 potential terrorists living within the US borders alone, its surprising that the TSA isn’t going door to door with their groping activities and data collection.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...