[On May 23rd], the U.S. Department of Justice upped the ante in a high-stakes political game of chicken. Lobbying against pending legislation in the Texas legislature which would criminalize any searches conducted without probable cause, U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy sent a letter to a few high-ranking members of Texas’ government warning against promoting the bill and threatening a complete closure of all flights to and from the state.
“If HR [sic] 1937 were enacted, the federal government would likely seek an emergency stay of the statute,” Murphy wrote. “Unless or until such a stay were granted, TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.”
No doubt written with the threatening intent one reads into it, Murphy added: “We urge that you consider the ramifications of this bill before casting your vote.”
KC McLawson works for a cafe near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and since the body-scan and patdown controversy last November, her boss has taken extraordinary measures to ensure the TSA knows of his displeasure.
“We have posted signs on our doors basically saying that they aren’t allowed to come into our business,” she says. “We have the right to refuse service to anyone.”
In a complaint filed Monday morning in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota, Ventura is suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its secretary, Janet Napolitano, as well as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and its administrator, John Pistole.
Ventura accuses the agencies of violating his “basic rights to privacy and dignity, and his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures,” after he received a pat-down by a TSA agent at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in November 2010.
I’m not into conspiracy theories but where is this going to stop? Transportation and travel are cultural and personal necessities. We use them to build closer ties with those far from us. Travel enhances people’s well-being. It builds our economy. It keeps the peace. So, just how far and wide are they going to roll out the scanning and groping circus show?