“Dear America, I Saw You Naked. And Yes, We Were Laughing.”
That’s the title of a damning expose of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Politico Magazine, subtitled “Confessions of an ex-TSA Agent” and written by former Transportation Security Officer Jason Harrington.
And yes, what ex-TSA agent Harrington reveals is probably exactly what you thought was going on.
“Just as the long-suffering American public waiting on those security lines suspected, jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my TSA colleagues… All the old, crass stereotypes about race and genitalia size thrived on our secure government radio channels.”
“We knew the full-body scanners didn’t work before they were even installed. …the machines were good at detecting just about everything besides cleverly hidden explosives and guns. The only thing more absurd than how poorly the full-body scanners performed was the incredible amount of time the machines wasted for everyone.”
“[W]e would also sometimes pull a passenger’s bag or give a pat down because he or she was rude. We always deployed the same explanation: ‘It’s just a random search.’”
“It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show.”
“In private, most TSA officers I talked to told me they felt the agency’s day-to-day operations represented an abuse of public trust and funds.”
“I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots — the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.”
Racial profiling was standard, he says: “The thought nagged at me that I was enabling… government-sanctioned bigotry…”
His summing up: “As I saw it, $40 million in taxpayer dollars had been wasted on ineffective anti-terrorism security measures at the expense of the public’s health, privacy and dignity.”
One more thing: After the article appeared, Harrington tweeted this follow-up: “One thing I left out of that Politico piece: HELL YES airport employees often drink those bottles of alcohol you surrender at the checkpoint.”
Your government at work…
(Hat tip to: Tim Shoemaker’s article at Campaign for Liberty’s blog.)