Last night the Texas House of Representatives approved a bill that would make TSA groping of passengers at airports in the state a misdemeanor punishable by a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail. The bill, which A.P. says was approved “with little opposition,” applies to a government employee who, “while acting under color of the person’s office or employment without probable cause to believe the other person committed an offense… performs a search for the purpose of granting access to a publicly accessible building or form of transportation” and in the process “touches the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person including through the clothing, or touches the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.”
The American Conservative’s Daniel McCarthy is less excited about the bill, arguing that “the Texas legislature has just done [Homeland Security Secretary Janet] Napolitano and TSA a tremendous favor”:
If the bill becomes law, Texas will be on its way to becoming the first state to deprive air travelers of the option not to go through TSA’s pornoscanners. It’s not as if the agency recognizes any fundamental right not to be subject to the scanners…The pat-downs began as a PR move, easing resistance to the introduction of the scanners by giving travelers a (conditional) choice. The ensuing outrage over “groping” is probably not what TSA was going for, but that too serves a purpose: it sensationalizes the problem and makes the scanners seem less objectionable by contrast….
Category: Police State/Abuse
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