8.15.2005

Homeland security revisted

On all the morning TV news shows they were talking about the review that TSA is going to conduct on their security procedures at Logan and elsewhere. One of the proposals: Allowing certain classes of people, such as pilots, military officers, and congressmen, to skip the security screenings.

While I am OK with uniformed and credentialed pilots and military officers skipping the screening, I have a big problem with congressmen and senators getting let off the hook. Why? There are several reasons:

1) It's not fair. We have to put up with this BS, why not big shots?

2) These congressmen have no way of knowing the frustrations ordinary people have to put up with at airports, dealing with TSA and other homeland security programs

3) This seems like a way of TSA deflecting congressional scrutiny and criticism -- treat Senator X and Congressman Y like VIPs, exempt them from pat downs and rude treatment at the airport, and you can bet that the questions at Washington hearings won't be so hard-edged, and budget appropriations processes will go more smoothly.

Case in point: remember Senator Kennedy raising hell when his name got placed on a "terrorist watch list" last year, and he was repeatedly given a hard time at the airport? It's one thing if ordinary joes are inconvenienced, but when a member of the powerful Washington elite gets hassled you can bet TSA/Homeland security is forced to react, improve the system, and answer tough questions from the people who control the purse strings. Giving senators and congressmen a free ticket to avoid the hassles that everyone else has to deal with is unfair to everyone else, and lets bureaucratic incomptence go undetected and unappreciated by the powerful people who should know what's going on.

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