Skip to comments.“Show Me What Books You’re Reading” – TSA’s New ARMAP
Posted on 06/07/2017 6:55:44 AM PDT by Kaslin
Much has been said of the ineffectiveness and intrusiveness of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) over the last decade and a half. However, when newspaper headlines start mocking the agency for asking a passenger Is that a cookie or a bomb?, it becomes clear that we have a real problem.
To be sure, there is a vital need for pre-flight security. That has never been in question. What has been questioned is the amount of power granted to a single federal agency for performing functions that can, could, and should be undertaken by private agencies under contract with the federal government. At least private contractors could be fired for the troubling behavior demonstrated by the TSA over the years, including beating-bloody passengers with special needs, humiliating teenagers over choice of clothing, and making incredibly rude remarks about passengers including U.S. Olympians.
Despite numerous incidents of this nature, the TSA is routinely rewarded each year with billions of taxpayer dollars, out of blind deference to the golden calf of national security. And now, federal officials are poised to give the agency even more power over you.
Responding to recent terror threats in the same, often ham-fisted and reactionary methods typical of federal agencies in the post 9/11 world, the TSA currently is testing new screening procedures that require passengers to remove food and reading materials from carry-on bags. In addition to demanding that passengers place their shoes, coats, laptops, liquids, and any other bulky items in separate bins, new procedures being applied in several airports require passengers to separate out books, magazines, and snacks for extra inspection by TSA agents.
Where today passengers are advised to arrive at their departure airport at least two hours before a scheduled flight, one can only imagine the additional time delays this will create with TSA screenings; though, this should be the least of passengers worries. According to TSA officials, screeners may fan reading materials while checking for contraband, but promise they are not actually paying attention to what travelers are reading. Never mind that it was revealed only two years ago that TSAs SPOT (Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) program employs subjective behavioral markers such as excessive body odor and sweating, for secret scorings to determine if an individual passenger likely is a terrorist. Yet, have no fear -- the content of a persons reading material is completely off-limits. Sure.
Try as they might to convince us of their trustworthiness, nothing in the TSAs history of gratuitously punitive, if not deliberately petty behavior, leads us to believe this to be true. Rather, what is more likely is that reading material specifically will become the focal point of TSA screeners discretion as to whether passengers warrant additional screening. A passengers magazines and books will then be subject also to callous remarks from agents; all of which passengers must silently endure. After all, what other recourse do they have when faced with abuse from federal agents submit or miss your flight, or find yourself facing criminal charges.
Passengers, who long ago should have abandoned hope for even a modicum of privacy or dignity when attempting to fly, must also endure the embarrassment of pulling out their choice of reading for other passengers to see and judge. Ready to fly? You must also be ready for your fellow passengers to know if you are dealing with marriage issues, depression, or a have a predilection for erotica. It will soon be all on display as agents fan through your reading material with the restraint and professionalism demonstrated with other luggage items.
To its credit, TSAs Pre-Check program, in which passengers apply to be vetted before flying and then are allowed expedited screening without all the dehumanizing antics of going through non-Pre-Check screening, is a significant step in the right direction. However, rather than double-down on what has so far been a relatively successful program, TSA fritters away its budget on other highly questionable projects like SPOT, and now what might be called its Approved Reading Materials Assessment Program (ARMAP for short).
Congress, of course, should step in and undertake serious oversight of TSA, including this latest foray into inspecting an individuals reading materials. Unfortunately, considering the deference with which the Congress has approached funding TSA year after year, it is unlikely the legislative branch of our federal government will do more now, than issue some stern warnings followed by approving increased funding for yet another year. And the privacy rights of the citizenry at least those who wish to exercise their right to travel by commercial air carriers will have suffered another blow in the name of national security.
Probably get a free flight pass if you are catching up on the Koran.
I was getting the mardi gras beads out. Thought it said show me you BOOBS. Never mind
I guess I should take my copy of Handgun Stopping Power on board? Great book, by the way.
More garbage we just accept.
TSA deserves a lot of criticism and more.
But Bob Barr is kind of nutty, which is sad given his history with FR.
Perhaps TSA should ask for an oral book report to prove you are actually reading it?
Another reason I’m DRIVING 6 hours to see my best friend this summer.
Give someone an ID badge and a badge and they’re like the Gestapo. “What book am I reading? How to fly an Airbus 321 ‘cuz like it’s my first time and all”
How about they concentrate on screening guys named “Mohamed”?
On my last flight (three years ago) I brought along the book I was currently reading. The Gift Of Fear. People kept looking at me funny, so I put it away.
I’ll drive across country rather than put up with this nonsense.
LOL! Funny, but will earn you a trip to a special screening room.
Besides what if someone's name is Mustafa, Hussein or something like that?
You might find that the TSA employee screening you is named Mohamed.
Put Clintons ‘Hard Choices’ dust jacket over whatever you’re reading and you’ll probably get bumped up to first class.
What did Bob Barr do on FR?
A good friend of mine and I often comment that somewhere, a NSA guy has to go through all of our reading lists.
From history, to tactics, to cooking, to sci fi, to all sorts of things, Amazon has a hard time figuring what to classify me as. The NSA intern who has my file either loves my choices, or hates me with a passion.
Same with the poor sap that has to listen to my phone conversations. Sorry about the Edward III conversation the other night, NSA Bob, I forgot that we shouldn’t talk history after three shots.
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