Category Archives: Terrorism

Yet Another Woman Comes Forward to Accuse Herman Cain

Oh, wait…it was a TSA agent. Sorry; it’s hard to tell the difference between what happened to Tabitha Hale yesterday at the Houston airport and what Herman Cain’s been accused of.

She started by asking me to take my cardigan off. I said I’d rather not. She seemed put out, but didn’t make me remove it and began the pat down from behind. She made me lift up my cardigan to check my back, went into my sleeves, and touched every inch of my hair.

Then she got to my waist band. I had on black tights under my dress, which I’m certain is not uncommon. She asked me to lift my dress so she could check the waistband of my tights.

I felt my stomach drop. I said “I’m not lifting my dress for you. No way.” She was obviously irritated with me now and said that she would take me to the private screening area if I would like.

I said “No, absolutely not. If you can’t do this in front of everyone, you should not be doing this to me.”

She then called a manager over. The manager approached me and explained what they were going to do and that if I failed to comply, they would escort me from the airport. I told her I saw no reason that they should have to lift my dress to clear me to get on a plane. I would have, however, allowed them to escort me out of the airport before they got me to lift my skirt and stick their hands down my tights. I was bracing myself to spend another night in Texas.

She sensed the rebellion in me, and it was almost like they were punishing me for not just lifting my dress and making their lives easier. She checked every inch of my neckline, sticking her fingers between my breasts because she needed to “clear” the (very slight) ruffle.

They cleared the waistband of my tights through my dress, then made me put one leg forward at a time so they could get better “definition of my thigh.” She then proceded to pat down every inch of me, all the way up to my crotch. And yes, she used that word. Twice.

You  have to wonder about the thought process of the TSA agent. Why did she find the waistband of a pair of tights so problematic? Seriously, what could you conceal under this waistband?

It’s not as though the waistband is bulky; on the contrary, it’s comparable to the waistband on a pair of panty hose and much less so than that of a pair of granny panties. Are TSA agents reaching down inside the pants of elderly women to check those out? I doubt it; I mean, where’s the fun in accosting old people unless you can leave someone soaked in urine?

Moving on from that, did she really expect that Tabitha would lift her dress in public? Have other women done so when requested?

Speaking as the mother of a (dare I say it?) beautiful and shapely young woman who flies across the country several times a year, I find this very disturbing. I fail to see any pressing security concerns centered around the almost non-existant waistband of a pair of tights. TSA refuses to take steps that would actually improve airline safety, such as skipping over toddlers of the WASP persuasion to focus on people who might actually be terrorists.

Instead, U.S. citizens are being systematically desensitized to clear violations of their 4th Amendment rights and told it’s for their own good. Personally, I don’t see what good can come of it.

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Filed under Politics, Terrorism

Just How Safe Are Full Body Scanners?

Who knows? There’s been no credible testing.

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Filed under Public Health, Terrorism

Penn Jillette Calls The Cops On The TSA

Hilarity ensues.

My favorite part is where he tells the TSA public relations representative, “…Freedom is kind of a hobby with me, and I have disposable income that I’ll spend to find out how to get people more of it.”

Read the whole thing.

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TSA Plans No Retreat

Do you think the TSA, under the direction of Janet Napolitano, cares what the American public thinks about grossly invasive and, in my opinion, unconstitutional airport screenings? Think again.

Despite viral objections to new technology and procedures, the Transportation Security Administration PLANS NO RETREAT on airport screening, officials tell [POLITICO] Playbook. But the administration is having conversations with pilots’ unions about their loud objections to the full-body scanners and alternate patdowns, and a resolution is expected this week. As Thanksgiving approaches, look for more 9-11 families and other “security validators” to make the case in the media for rigorous screening. The fire on this story was lit by Drudge, along with CNN and USA Today, and the complaints by pilots were a propellant. Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano scored a front-page headline, story and photo in USA Today on Monday with her call for patience and vigilance by the traveling public.

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Do Afghan Women And Children Have More Rights Than Your Wife, Daughter Or Mother

Apparently the answer to that provocative question is yes if you consider that U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan were prohibited from searching women and children.

A US Army staff sergeant, now serving in Afghanistan, writes about the new enhanced pat-down procedure from the TSA. Summary of his very powerful message: to avoid giving gross offense to the Afghan public, and to prevent the appearance of an uncontrolled security state, the US military forbids use on Afghan civilians of the very practices the TSA is now making routine for civilian travelers at US airports.

Back home in the U.S. though, we have this happening at airports around the country.

I find it astonishing and rather sad that we’ve become such a nation of sheep that we willingly line up to be publicly humiliated by ill-trained, poorly screened and sometimes power-hungry agents of the United States government. If TSA’s new full body scanners and “enhanced” pat-down procedures (and a truly disturbing personal story here) don’t qualify as unreasonable searches, what would? If we don’t have the gumption to stand against egregious over-reaching by the government, who will?

The Other McCain tells us who – apart from ourselves – we have to blame for this sorry state of affairs.

Melissa Clouthier tells a personal story of TSA’s callous incompetence.

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Do Government Bureaucrats Have The Brains They Were Born With?

Honestly, sometimes one has to wonder. Take the case of Sal Esposito. Sal applied to be excused from jury duty and was denied. Sal’s situation? He’s a cat.

Okay, I’ll give you that Sal’s owners share some responsibility for this situation; they should have just written, “Sal is a cat,” on the original application to be excused. Although you’d think that not speaking English would be enough to disqualify him. Maybe this is a partial explanation for the sad state of our legal system.

Mikey Hicks, Terrorist. Yeah, watch out for Mikey...he's a mean one.

Or take the case of Mikey Hicks. He’s the 8-year-old who’s subjected to full pat-down searches each time he flies because he shares a name with someone on a government watch list. Mikey doesn’t like being touched in “certain spots.” Who can blame him?

It’s enough to make you think that IQ testing prior to employment with a government agency might not be a bad idea. Of course, that discounts the theory that these people were once of average intelligence, their brains now turned to jelly through constant exposure to government regulations. I can see how that might happen.

These stories serve as illustrations as to why I don’t want a government bureaucrat anywhere near my health care; I’ll take an insurance company bureaucrat any day. Why? Because when the government flubs a call, you have very little recourse. Take Mikey; he’s been getting special attention at airports since he was two years old! It’s hard to believe that in the ensuing six years, his situation couldn’t have been flagged in a (hopefully) sophisticated database.

Medicare already denies an alarming percentage of cases for, among other things, not being “medically necessary or reasonable.” Even though your doctor, obviously, thought otherwise. Either that  or he just views frivolous amputations as a profit center.

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Filed under Health Care, Insanity, Terrorism

Of Pat Downs, Scanners and Profiling

Bernie Goldberg asks the eminently sensible question, “And What Exactly is Wrong with Profiling?

My trip on El Al comes to mind because of what we’ve been hearing recently about the “underwear bomber” who tried to blow up a Northwest flight en route from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas day.  By now we all know the story:  his father, a prominent banker in Nigeria warned the U.S. State Department in Lagos that his son was becoming a religious fanatic and might be dangerous.  His travel history included a trip to Yemen.  He bought a one-way ticket.  He paid for it in cash.

Did any of this set off alarms?  Nope.  Too bad he wasn’t wearing a sign that said, “I’m a terrorist and I plan to blow up your airplane.”  But frankly, I’m not sure those eagle-eyed authorities would have noticed that, either.

When I look at some of the alternatives to profiling, such as full body scanners, profiling starts looking a lot more attractive. Authorities know who is more likely to commit acts of terror. Patting down five-year-olds is a feel-good measure designed to make us feel as though everything possible is being done to keep us safe, but that actually leaves us more vulnerable because it diverts finite resources away from actual sources of danger.

The United States government owes it to the rest of us to do whatever is within their power to keep us safe. If that includes profiling – and I believe it does – let’s get on with the program.

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Shorter Napolitano: “All’s Well That Ends Well”

I don’t really know all that much about Janet Napolitano but after her appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, I give her an F  for her ability to evaluate the effectiveness of U.S. safety measures. Or as President Obama would say, she earns a solid B+. Napolitano’s assessment, from the transcript.

What we are focused on is making sure that the air environment remains safe, that people are confident when they travel. And one thing I’d like to point out is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action. Within literally an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring, all 128 flights in the air had been notified to take some special measures in light of what had occurred on the Northwest Airlines flight. We instituted new measures on the ground and at screening areas, both here in the United States and in Europe, where this flight originated.

So the whole process of making sure that we respond properly, correctly and effectively went very smoothly.

I missed the show, so I don’t know if  Napolitano managed to keep a straight face while letting this drop or not. I’m not sure how anyone could seriously say the system worked when a bomb was successfully smuggled onto a flight bound for the U.S.  We have the incompetence of the would-be terrorist to thank for the failure of the attack as much as any success of the system. Still, I’m glad she’s is feeling good about how smoothly everything went and how everyone played their proper role, self-esteem being so important.

Apparently Secretary Napolitano sets a very low bar. I’d rather not have to rely on inept terrorists and brave, quick-thinking passengers to keep me safe on a flight. I’d rather that people whose behavior has become so problematic that family members report them to the U.S. embassy have their visas rescinded. Call me crazy.

Unfortunately, the new procedures being put in place (the ones we’re hearing about, anyway), appear to be regrettably misguided and reactionary. The measures, which seem designed to deny would-be terrorists access to and opportunities to deploy their cleverly smuggled bombs, seem more likely to inconvenience law-abiding passengers than thwart a determined terrorist. What’s to keep a terrorist from launching into action 90 minutes prior to landing rather than 59 minutes?

More importantly, will airport sales of Depends surge as passengers are forced to remain in their seats for the last hour of the flight? Should I buy stock?

Even sensible precautions such as pat downs become nonsensical when applied evenly across the board to blue-eyed grandmothers and young Muslim men with ties to al Qaeda who have recently returned from Yemen “vacations.”

Either Janet Napolitano deliberately chose to mislead the American people by calling this situation a success or she doesn’t have the mental capacity to perform her duties competently.

(As  is becoming the norm, if you want all the details of a story that might reflect poorly on the Obama Administration, read the Telegraph. God bless the Brits.)

Update: Jimmie hits all the relevant points with his signature snark.

Update 2: Jimmie has more to say about Janet Napolitano, who plays the “out of context” card.

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A Dearth of Common Sense Or Political Correctness That Kills?

By now you’ve heard about the Nigerian citizen, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was overwhelmed by other passengers while attempting a terrorist attack on a Northwest Airlines flight about to land in Detroit.

Why did Abdulmutallab possess a visa allowing him to enter the U.S., despite appearing in at least one U.S. database which one would hope would result in automatic disqualification?

The sources told CNN that the suspect flew into Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on a KLM flight from Lagos, Nigeria, and is not believed to be on any “no fly” list, although his name does appear in a U.S. database of people with suspect connections. He did not undergo secondary security screening in Amsterdam, an administration official said.

Pardon my crudeness, but screw the “no fly” list. Why, in the name of God, would we grant a visa to someone with “suspect connections,” especially one whose behavior has been so strange as to cause his own father to report him to the local U.S. embassy.

Another government official said Abdulmutallab’s father went to the embassy in Abuja with his concerns, but did not have any specific information that would put him on the “no-fly list” or on the list for additional security checks at the airport.

Neither was the information sufficient to revoke his visa to visit the United States. His visa had been granted June 2008 and was valid through June 2010.

No “specific information.” “Insufficient information.”

I am reeling under the weight of that bit of bureaucratic ineptitude.

His foreboding was so great, the elder Abdulmutallab took the extraordinary step of visiting the U.S. embassy to report his son. Most parents wouldn’t take such an action in the absence of grave concerns; even then only after much soul-searching and with great anguish. What kind of simpleton would fail to recognize the significance of that act?

We don’t owe entry into the United States to any foreign national. Decisions as to who is or isn’t granted a visa should be based solely on the best interests and safety of the United States. I prefer that our officials err on the side of caution and if that occasionally results in someone wrongly being denied entry…yeah, whatever.

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