SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Our freedom to travel usa Taken away by TSA
By Art Bailly


August 03, 2011

The Transportation Security Administration needs reform. For those unfamiliar with their track record, here are some of the more recent controversial things the TSA has done: A 95 year old woman was supposedly required to remove her adult diaper before being cleared for flying in June; In May, an 8 month old child was patted down; A traveler was twice left covered in his own urine, in March and July, when the TSA agents performing the pat-down ignored the man's warning about his ostomy bag; In April, a 6 year old was patted down; Last November, a man with no interest in either of the 2 security screening options decided not to fly and then before he could leave the airport, was told that he still had to submit to screening or face an $11,000 fine.

There are similar examples all over the internet. These incidents are the anomaly, not the standard, but that doesn t matter. We have created a system which encourages these things and it should not be tolerated. Many, many people around the country have been questioning how the TSA performs and calling for TSA reform.

Formed in reaction to the 9/11 attacks, the TSA protects the Nation s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce. ( This they try to do through a vast web of intelligence gathering and analysis, random searches of people and property by means of dogs and personnel and technology, air marshals and many other techniques. Two of these security techniques are responsible for the ruckus heard nationwide.

When you fly in the USA, if you are selected for a random screening or if you fail a previous screening, you are mandated to submit to one of two enhanced security screening procedures. One is a full body scan which creates and stores an image of your naked body to look for dangerous articles. The TSA stresses that the radiation you will be exposed to as a result is essentially harmless but there are many who disagree. The other screening technique is a full body pat-down. This is an extremely invasive procedure, involving the touching of your genitalia. This is mandatory and you cannot just walk away without risking an $11,000 fine.

A recent federal court decision legitimizing the TSA's use of the scanning machines also made it clear that TSA violated the law by not seeking public commentary on their new procedures. Now, it is your turn to speak your voice. We want good security but not at the price of our dignity and health.

Alaskans, we have to fly. The vast majority of us don t have a choice about it. The argument has been that if a person needs to travel and they choose flying, they will have to submit to a pat-down or full-body scan when required. If you don t like, it don t fly. That is not a realistic option for most people. Not using commercial air to travel costs too much money and takes too long to be practical. For Alaska, this is especially true. There is no regular or efficient trans-pacific service by any other means than air. We can t even drive to the next state without going through a foreign nation. Alaska lives and dies by air travel.

Freedom To Travel USA is a non-partisan grassroots organization devoted to ensuring that everyone in the USA has the freedom to travel through it. We are individuals with honest concerns about the severity of these techniques and would like them stopped. We consider being forced to choose between our rights and the illusion of safety, to be no choice at all. We strongly urge all Alaskans, all Americans for that matter, to contact the TSA and voice your opinion. Call your state legislators and demand that they support any bills opposing these tactics. Insist that our congressional delegation vote in favor of HB 2438, The American Traveler Dignity Act.

Security is important, but so are our rights and our dignity.

Please go to our website,, for more information.

Art Bailly
akbailly [AT]
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Concerned travler. Our rights to travel without being treated like a criminal should not be taken away from us by illeage tsa searches. Get involved and let your voice be heard."

Received August 02, 2011 - Published August 03, 2011



Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

letter Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

SitNews ©2011
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska