Questioning the constitutionality of TSA searches

In today’s Washington Post, Jeffrey Rosen presents a compelling case against the TSA’s new airport security measures. What many of us felt in our bones, he spells out in detail. If you’re still on the fence about the TSA’s revealing scans and intimate pat-downs, you owe it to yourself to read Rosen’s “Why the TSA pat-downs and body scans are unconstitutional.”

Not the least of his arguments is that the Rapiscan scanners used in the US are unnecessarily revealing and, not incidentally, do not detect the type of powdered explosive used by the “underwear bomber.” The ProVision ATD scanners used in the Netherlands, for example, preserve the individual’s privacy while still showing the location of suspicious items. They also use radio waves instead of controversial “backscatter” radiation.

It’s only public speculation, of course, that the US is using Rapiscan scanners because the manufacturer is a client of Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Security and co-founder of the Chertoff Group, a security consulting company. After all, according to at least one source, the US is also buying the ProVision scanners. But of course this is about security, not scanner sales, right?

ProVision ATD scan used in the Netherlands
Rapiscan scan used in US

6 thoughts on “Questioning the constitutionality of TSA searches

  1. What’s most regrettable to me is that all of these current economic and security headaches are a natural consequence of US citizens allowing their government to ignore its constitutional restraints.

    As a class of voters, the Democrats and Republicans no longer accept the concept of legally acquired, privately owned, responsibly operated, safely maintained and benignly disposal responsibilities that accompany private property ownership.

    What I don’t understand is, why? No one denies that we care more about (what we think of as) our own property than what we think of our neighbors property. We go to greater lengths to protect and maintain our own property than we would of our neighbors property. We are more frugal with the resources we employ than if we were spending our neighbors money. The idea that it’s reasonable to turn these responsibilities for our own property over to our neighbors is ridiculous, and yet that’s our default position.

    I don’t get it. The idea that bureaucrats who get pay and coffee breaks regardless of their efficiency, care more about the cargo and customers of Continental Airlines than does Continental Airlines itself, is either criminally misguided or completely insane.

... and that's my two cents