Texas House Deems the TSA's 'Proper Procedures' Criminal

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 Tenth Amendment Center is celebrating the vote as an example of "what James Madison implored states to do when the federal government overreaches its constitutional authority—interpose on behalf of its citizens." It notes "several incidents [that have] brought the intrusiveness of TSA screening to the nation's attention in recent weeks":

In early April, a father videotaped a TSA agent in New Orleans running her hands all over his visibly upset 6-year-old.  A few weeks later, former Miss USA Susie Castillo made a tearful video after agents touched her genitalia during a pat-down. She said she came away feeling violated. And just this week, a bystander snapped a photo of screeners in Kansas City patting down an infant.

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....

Won't it be a wonderful victory for civil liberties when the problem of intimate searches is solved and we can all go back to being X-rayed whenever we fly?

McCarthy mentions an American Conservative piece by our own Brian Doherty, who  "noted how quickly we forget the freedoms we once enjoyed when traveling." I made a similar point in a December column about the TSA's new screening procedures.

More on the incidents mentioned by the Tenth Amendment Center here and here. More on TSA pat-downs here.

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  • ||

    Good. Kick America's ass, Texas!

  • The Mad Ape||

    There needs to a massive uprising against tyranny in the USA. The destruction of the middle class, through wealth transfer, and shipping almost all forms of manufacturing to foreign soil has out the USA on the brink of collapse.

    Take back your country and restore your dignity. Just say no to these ass-clowns!

  • ||

    It's largely symbolic. But maybe a few TSA folk will get arrested and processed. If TX is wrong, they can civil sue for remedy. New Professionalism bitches!!

  • ||

    Walker, Texas Ranger, is coming out of retirement.

  • ||

    This is going to be hugely popular. I bet other states will emulate it. And then the Feds can suck it.

  • ||

    I think a few secessions are in order. Just to shake things up a bit.

  • ||

    Fine with me. Can Seattle secede from Tacoma (as in the Seattle/Tacoma metro area)?

  • ||

    Sure. Grab an on-line version of the Declaration of Independence and edit it accordingly. You can even leave in the bits about the King. . .just add "County" right after it.

  • ||

    I like this idea. The King County Sheriff has lorded over us for too long!

  • ||

    Take back your freedom! It's a moral imperative!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No way. Sea-Tac has too cool a ring to it. Like something out of a Clancy novel.

  • ||

    I see, a Loyalist. Well, Episiarch and his band of rebels may be paying you a visit.

  • ||

    I'm sick of sharing an airport with Tacoma. I'll just fly out of Boeing Field.

  • dfd||

    Yeah, how did Seattle ever let Tacoma get its grubby little name on Seattle's airport? It's nowhere near the same league as Seattle, yet it get's damn near equal billing on a major international airport.

  • ||

    Sea-Tac only sounds cool because you've never been to the Tac portion.

  • MWG||

    As long as Federal Way remains intact.

  • ||

    Federal Way?!? What, are you into lumber?

  • prolefeed||

    define "intact". Have you BEEN to Federal Way?

  • ||

    Isn't that a road in Seattle?

  • ||

    Never mind. That's what I get for reading bottom to top.

  • In Time of War||

    Don't talk smack about The 'Way. We have more hawt ghetto booty than Seattle ever will, as well as an H-Mart.
    Shop smart. Shop H-Mart.

  • ||

    they got boomsticks?

  • ||

    great kimchi bar there on weekends

  • ||

    As if the feds are not going to play the supremecy card.

    But it would be fun to watch.

  • ||

    They can try. This is Texas.

  • ||

    Of course, it must pass the senate and then signed by the Gov. Will that happen? I hope it does. Security theater I can enjoy.

  • ||

    I can see you have not yet met our fellow sheeple citizens. You'll find them to be a genial, agreeable bunch. Very generous when it comes to allowing uniformed men to inspect the crevasses of your young niece's body. For the security for The American People and especially The Children of the USA, God bless it, Hallelujah, Amen.

  • The Mad Ape||

    The US Flag is symbolic too and although it is just fabric you cheer for it, salute it, and get po'ed when you see it being burned on the 6 O'Clock News.

    There was a time that US Flag represented freedom, now it represents fiefdom,

  • Au H20||

    So, I am now going to try to fly out of Texas every time, even if that means roadtripping it.

  • TRTB||

    Fucking. Awesome.

    Does Daniel McCarthy have a better proposal, other than quietly comply and hope it doesn't get worse?

  • ||

    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

    I'll bet those wily Texans have laws against nudey pictures too.

  • Some guy||

    Not quite yet, but the Texas House is working on it. A bill banning use of body imaging equipment without probable cause has made it out of committee.

    http://www.legis.state.tx.us/B.....ill=HB1938

    Now lets just hope the abbreviated nature of the Texas legislative session (180 days every two years) doesn't quash this bill.

  • Joe M||

    Hell yes. See, on balance, Texas is the best.

  • JD||

    Lest you begin to wonder whether a sudden attack of sanity has overtaken the Texas House, they also passed a law to ban Four Loko-type alcoholic beverages the same day.

  • seguin||

    2 Steps Forward, 1 step back, and then twirl.

  • MWG||

    God bless you Texas.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I wonder if the arresting officers will be allowed to frisk offending TSA agents before taking them into that publicly accessible building known as prison or form of transportation known as a police car.

  • Joe M||

    Clever, but they would be performing that as part of the arresting process, unrelated to what is done after they are in official custody.

  • Law Student||

    Note the bit about probable cause. If the agent has been observed molesting someone then that requirement would be satisfied.

  • Joe M||

    Oh, and Daniel McCarthy makes a good point, but aren't people still allowed to opt-out of the scatter machine? Why would this anti-groping law affect the other policies? They'd have to make official changes, and I think that entire process will be the battlefield on this issue.

  • The Mad Ape||

    They can not force you to enter a naked body scanner and you can get in their face and say "If you touch my junk I will have you charged with assault"

    Most TSA workers are narcissistic/sociopaths and are hired because they like to impose their will on people - power tripping freakzoids are what the TSA looks for when hiring. Same with a lot of police theses days.

    You are witnessing a total federalization of police to advance the police state.

    The cure for 1984 is 1776. Don't ever forget that. Americans have been neglectful in their duty as a free citizen and allowed their government to become their master, when it should be the other way around.

    The forefathers would have revolted by now but most people are too busy watching American Idol and eating Big Macs!

  • The Mad Ape||

    What everyone needs to realize is that pat-downs and naked body scanners do nothing to keep you safe and has everything to do with keeping you in a constant state of fear thus leading to a submissive behavior within a police state.

    If the government was serious about public safety in transportation they would use dogs to sniff. They can sniff for bombs, guns, drugs, etc.

    None of the current methods of searching would have stopped the Underwear Bomber - which was all a ruse anyway.

    Finally it is time to revolt in the USA and say enough to tyranny. Start by revoking your US Citizenship. My link shows why.

  • The Mad Ape||

    all that you need to know about the USA and the fraudulent enterprise that runs the country:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPljNqcAGUg

  • silent v||

    Doesn't the term "Buttocks" include the anus? Why did they call that out specifically?

  • el anatomista||

    I think there are some differences there....

  • Paujl||

    who, "while acting under color of the person's office or employment

    There's something racist about this, I know it.

  • ||

    "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..."

    This, of course, has been illegal for non-government employees for quite a while. It's nice to know they're finally getting around to writing a law or two that apply to government employees in addition to the two already on the books:

    - You will not make the government look bad
    - you will not abate the acquisition of tax dollars

  • AlmightyJB||

    As long as these scanners and pat-downs go on, Osama Bin Laden owns America. Bullet in is brain or not, he is alive and well and wearing a TSA uniform. 9/11 was about turning us into a bunch of terrified pussies. Mission Accomplished. FTG.

  • ||

    Great meme.

  • cynical||

    "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..."

    Texas could just classify the backscatter scanners as dangerous, insufficiently tested, and potentially carcinogenic (ooh, precautionary principle for the win), and therefore impermissible for use in TX. Add to that telling the EPA to fuck off, and we have the makings of an awesome showdown -- really, so long as they can hack the nukes that are undoubtedly situated there (or at least make a convincing bluff), any secession would be tolerated.

  • ||

    God bless Rep Simpson and the Great State of Texas. Finally, some principled and decent legislators are taking action to rein in this abusive and corrupt agency.

    TSA Director Pistole says TSA conducts “very few” pat downs, only 3% of passengers. Very few? Based on their estimates, they conduct over 50,000 pat downs per day, the equivalent of the entire population of Ames, Iowa.

    There have been 21 screeners arrested in five months for job related crimes, including drug trafficking, theft, raping a 14 year old and two weeks ago for distributing child porn. Now they get to grope small children and babies and it is legal.

    Twenty one criminal acts, eighteen security failures, 4,000+ groping complaints and dozens of lawsuits, all in five months, but TSA hasn't stopped one incident in nine years. Fortunately, some people and lawmakers are beginning to realize that they are being misled by TSA's paranoia.

    TSA consistently fails to detect weapons passing through security while insisting that they need to grope 50,000 passenger each day to ensure airline safety. In any other setting, it would be a crime to fondle a stranger’s genitals, let alone do it in a public space. There are laws in every jurisdiction that prohibit this type activity since it violates basic social values and privacy rights. There are also laws protecting citizens from the sort of voyeurism the scanners enable, yet these both of these standards are conveniently ignored “out of an abundance of caution”.

    Those who believe that the behavior of this bloated and self-serving agency is making flying safe are clearly ignoring an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary. How many failures, crimes and abuses must this agency commit before Congress demands their reform?

    TSA is violating the Constitution on a daily basis, not improving security whatsoever and yet uninformed sheep and cowards among us endorse this abuse. TSA poses a more imminent threat to American liberties than Al Qaeda. Perhaps those who support these criminals feel safer, the rest of us don't.

  • ||

    Does this statute also make provisions for the arrest and prosecution of the perp's supervisors? I'd love it if Pistole and didn't dare set foot in Texas for fear of getting tossed in the hoosegow.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Please don't tease me. When you say things like that, my pants become unbearably tight.

  • ||

    hahaha nice! the TSA is the biggest WASTE of an agency there is.

    www.anon-toolz.se.tc

  • Desperately Seeking||

    Dear Abby,

    I'm currently living as a resident alien in the People's Democratic Republic of New York, by way of Florida. They do things funny here. For instance, I have to pay five cents deposit per bottle for beer and soda, yet the streets are no cleaner here than are Florida streets. I'll have to get my car inspected if I stay, yet my car is no less safe here than it was in Florida. What gives? The supermarkets all have their little plastic cards that entitle me to special sales discounts that noncard-holders don't get. Why don't they just lower the prices for everybody?

    Anyway, I hear Texas is nice except for all the funny-talking Christians and ugly landscape and heat and humidity and dirt. Can anyone here recommend a not-too-ugly part of Texas where there are jobs and not too much white-shoes Christianity? I am a hard-working white man.

    Yours truly,
    D.S.

  • ||

    Try the Hill Country around Austin. Come for the hippies, stay for the jobs!

  • Jordan||

    Dallas, especially the surrounding 'burbs.

  • seguin||

    If you stay east of the Escarpment, it's all grass, trees, and, in some sections, hills.

    Frankly, Texas's landscape isn't very ugly at all. I find most of the area I range around pleasant, if not striking.

    (The Marble Falls area, though, can be quite striking.)

  • Abdul||

    That picture is definitely going into Johnny Longtorso's[][][][][][][][] pron collection.

  • toddb||

    God bless Texas! I lived there for about 18 months a few years back and thought it was too hot...might have to reconsider...

  • Dwayne||

    The TSA has already released a blog stating that they are covered under Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution. And if what they were doing was constitutional they would be. But they are performing illegal searches and seizures and hopefully this act of nullification by Texas will lead other States to reassert their sovereignty and regain their rightful power.

  • Brandon Blackmoor||

    They should have made it the same crime to use a device to view a person's naked body through their clothes.

  • Brandon Blackmoor||

    Although making it illegal to view someone through their clothes would make the use of X-rays illegal. Still, I am sure there is some legal way of distinguishing between legitimate medical uses and the TSA security theatre.

  • ||

    I am sure there is some legal way of distinguishing between legitimate medical uses and the TSA security theatre.

    Of course there is. It's called "consent".

    -jcr

  • ||

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  • GroundTruth||

    It may not survive in court, but I'm sure glad somebody finally had the sense and balls to tell the TSA to go to hell.

  • ||

    So so so so so so so so happy that someone successfully is fighting the TSA!

    http://www.intellectualtakeout.....nistration

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