DOJ sues Arizona, but gives Black Panthers pass on voter intimidation. Huh?
National vulnerability and imminent threat: the Cultural War
Fifty-eight suspects of Mexican drug trafficking at Texas border indicted yesterday
Stand with Americans and secure our borders, or fight Arizona: which is it?
There is a lot wrong with bureaucratic zealots taking pictures of our naked bodies and storing them who knows where. Brace yourself–this is what the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is doing.
They are adding insult to injury.
Other than for medical reasons, public body scanning is unconstitutional and ridiculous, but the DHS does not see it that way. By undergoing meaningless shakedowns at airports, are we not enduring enough humiliation already? Travel in the U.S. is an interior security matter and the DHS should not subject innocent citizens to such drastic measures.
It begrudges me to see American women (especially the elderly), children and ordinary citizens shaken down by TSA personnel like common criminals. There is no such thing as triage in their procedures—everyone is treated the same—whether they wear a cowboy hat or a keffiyeh headdress, or have golden hair and blue eyes versus bearded, scraggly black hair and dark, beady eyes. The DHS flounders about, but very careful not to step on any toes of especially foreigners, but enthusiastically harassing the innocent, spending money on new, chancy ways while ignoring tried and proven methods.
Body scanning is unconstitutional and immoral.
Even Pope Benedict XVI commented on the issue. Back in February, the pontiff made oblique remarks to an audience of airport workers:
The economic crisis has had problematic effects on the civil aviation sector, the international terrorist threat which, precisely, has in its line of fire airports and aircraft to realize its destructive schemes.
Even in this situation, one must never forget that respecting the primacy of the human person and attention to his or her needs does not make the service less efficient nor penalize economic management.”
Apparently, the DHS does not think about “respecting the primacy of the human person.” Despite strong public resistance, the DHS scoffs at due process and denies our rights under the U.S. Constitution. DHS chief Janet Napolitano says body scanners are “actually less intrusive and easier” than being patted down by an airport screener. What was she thinking?
Without having proper hearings on the matter, Napolitano’s Transportation Security Agency has already installed body scanners in 32 U.S. airports. This past March, TSA began deploying another 450 scanning units, with a target of 900 by 2014, which is another expensive boondoggle.
Each device costs from $130,000 to $170,000, so it will cost upwards to $153 million for equipment alone. (They used $25 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to pay for the initial orders). The DHS recklessly throws more taxpayer money at problems and snooping innocent citizens while intruders waltz across our borders (not too surprising, this falls within this administration’s agenda). As far as I know, the TSA has not caught a real terrorist yet.
Besides, there is no conclusive evidence body scanning has any security value. While we sift through millions of innocent travelers, serious intruders will find a way to circumvent the system. Contrary to a popular reference for advocates, the Christmas Day underwear bomber is not a viable case—you cannot hold enough explosives in panties to blow up an airliner.
Adding more insult to injury makes an already inconvenient, intrusive and unacceptable situation even worse—all in the name of “national security.” As in wire tapping our phones, the Internet and all the rest, body scanning now intrudes upon, in the words of the Pope, “the primacy of the human person.”
What is the solution?
There is no one “solution,” but a combination of best practices security measures. A good start is to deploy a proven approach that is widely used in information security: “Defense in Depth.” In fact, it is a common strategy that the DHS wisely professes throughout government and private industry, particularly in cyber security.
Originated by the military, the premise is very simple: it is more difficult to penetrate a multi-layered defense system than to penetrate a single barrier. At present, in terms of airport security, we focus too much on a single (physical) barrier, inspecting millions of innocent American citizens as if they are suspected terrorists.
Defense-in-depth comprises concentric layers of security, not just at ports of entry, but beyond that to the very heart of America. Envision a target, with our country as the bulls-eye. Starting at the outermost layer, an intruder would have to penetrate each layer—or line of defense—to get inside our borders. Components include governance (CIA, FBI, NSA, DHS, etc.), a coordinated national security program, diligent enforcement, proactive assessments and risk management.
The outer layer of defense is administrative, which comprises more stringent immigration laws, policies, procedures, and a dedicated Foreign Service that enforces those regulations. (We should also have coalitions between nations to control illegal immigration). Before anyone obtains a U.S. visa, the candidate should be thoroughly checked out legally, mentally, physically and sponsored by an employer or financially able party (we do not need more criminals, crazies, diseases or slackers as an added burden to our already stressed system).
The next layer may be the physical layer—ports of entry—airports, seaports, border checkpoints, etc. This is where to exact profound, “look into their eyes” interrogations, as Israel does so effectively, not just robotic questions and routine pat-downs. We need to beef up visible armed guards, proper lighting and protective barriers such as fences, walls, etc. and even guard dogs to patrol the line of defense. In other words, if we must spend money, spend it on effective countermeasures.
Once a foreigner is within our borders, we should apply information technology / administrative security measures. This entails a solid security program, proactive immigration enforcement and stricter identification rules augmented by smart cards that track non-citizens. The smart card—ideally with biometric capabilities—might contain information like nationality, purpose of visit, visa expiration dates, legal citations, other infringements and more. As it stands now, once an intruder gets inside, that person uses our constitutional freedoms as a cover, even to the point of making unauthorized, undeserving demands.
The next layers are simply enforcing the laws, trying cases and imprisoning convicted violators. If we deport intruders, they will simply come back again. Emulating the methods of “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio of Arizona, house them in tents and put them to work. Illegal immigrants are a good workforce and there is plenty to do.
Many will think the suggestion is cold and calculating, but consider the question: should law-abiding American citizens withstand the intrusive and costly method of body scanning just to fly within our borders? This question sounds ridiculous, does it not? The DHS thinks it is necessary precisely because we have so many illegal aliens and suspected terrorists within our borders!
I say we should not withstand further humiliation and intimidation. I say catch intruders at the outer perimeter—at our embassies, or at our borders, at the physical checkpoints where they should be stopped and arrested. This will not only eliminate ludicrous body scanning, but relieve the internal security issues we face today. If the enemy is not within our borders, the problem is external, less severe and more controllable.
Message to Washington: Stop treading on our rights, our privacy and our freedoms. We are not the enemy. Stop adding insult to injury.
Message to reasonable Americans: come November, vote the right side up. Install leaders who will protect rather than harass us. Elect those who will uphold the U.S. Constitution, our rights as citizens and the sovereignty of our nation.
Finally to the DHS: Internal security is for the benefit—not the detriment—of American citizens. Use common sense and just do your job.