Sunday, April 27, 2014

Security vs Freedom: TSA Airline Security Gave me a Free Pass

I’m writing this aboard a United Airlines flight on route to Chicago.  I haven’t had this much leg room since I was inside my mother’s womb.   I am now in fear that if the gentleman in front of me reclines his seat, that it will disfigure me.  If this occurs, I wonder if United would be liable for my pain and suffering.   Now that I think about, throw that seat back, buddy!

Stretch out and relax!

I shouldn’t carp on United as I received an unexpected prize from the airline.  When I passed through the TSA checkpoint, I was told that I had been awarded a Pre-Check status, which conferred valuable privileges.  This meant that I did not have to remove my shoes or my jacket.  Somehow, the airline had determined that the Whistleblower posed no flight risk.  Luckily, the airline had not read some of my scathing Whistleblower posts on their pricing strategy and their deep commitment to customer service.

Do you think that they profiled me to determine that my shoes likely contained only my feet?  For law enforcement novices, profiling is a technique that everyone knows is effective, but we are not permitted to utilize.   One of the reasons that I feel so safe on El Al is because they use profiling, among other techniques, to identify individuals who warrant enhanced scrutiny.

Civil liberty champions, who argue vociferously for civil rights in classrooms, textbooks and on the airwaves, should consider that I have a right not to be blown up.  This is not a law school seminar.  We’re contemplating mass murder.

The dark and evil forces that are plotting against us and others are not constrained by societal laws and norms.   President Obama has rightly recognized this and has not only continued President Bush’s security policies, but has intensified them.  I suspect that there are many stealth security operations and practices that are operating without adequate oversight, or even without knowledge of the White House.  Familiar with the phrase plausible deniability?

The high stakes of our world warrant a recalibration of the balance between security and civil liberties, as has properly occurred.   My motto is, read my e-mails and save an airplane. 

Look at what is already public knowledge. 
  • The president authorized the killing of an American citizen in a foreign country.  Good idea?
  • An accused terrorist was essentially kidnapped from Libya, a sovereign nation, and transported to the United States to stand trial.   What would our response be if another country infiltrated the U.S. and grabbed a person of interest?  Would we shrug it off?  I doubt it.
  • We still have a pile of prisoners in GITMO whom we won’t try in court, but we won’t release.   While I understand why President Obama back flipped on his promise to close the place down, the continued existence of the place doesn’t seem to conform to our values, even if it is legal.
  • It’s against the law to torture, but the descriptions I’ve read about our enhanced interrogation techniques sound like torture to me.   And, I’m sure we’re doing stuff that I haven’t read about.
  • Lots of warrantless intrusions going on, despite what we hear about the robust FISA court.
Yeah, I know this is a medical commentary blog, and arguably I’m off message on this post.   I’ve awarded myself a Whistleblower Pre-Check, entitling me to certain privileges.

So, do you think the balance leans too far now in favor of security?  Perhaps, you feel it should tilt even further in this direction?  Name a policy that you would strengthen or weaken and the risks of this recommendation.

1 comment:

  1. I liked this one a lot. Big fan of the doc's writing.