A Letter To My Congressman

I’ve never written to a Congressman before, but these new airport security measures have inspired me to do so. Here is my letter:


I’m writing to say that I oppose the new invasive airport security procedures (backscatter imaging and aggressive pat-downs). You’re probably hearing this a lot, but perhaps not from people with my background.

First, I’m not a frequent flyer. I fly on average once per year to visit my family during Christmas. And it appears that the airports I’m scheduled to fly out of do not have the full body scanners. Even though this may not affect me for a while, I want to voice my opinion while there is still time to do something about it (and save taxpayer’s money).

Second, I am a registered Republican and while I don’t always vote straight Republican, you’ve had my vote whenever you’ve appeared on my ballot.

Third, I consider myself something of a patriot. I have over a decade in the defense industry. I watched with horror as the towers fell, and I understand the need for security. However, regarding these procedures, I think the cost to our liberty is too high.

I also object to the supporters of this initiative who frame this issue in black and white: we either give up all our rights as travelers and fly with complete safety, or we let anyone and anything on board our aircraft and watch them fall from the sky. Clearly, nobody has to make this choice.

I know you are busy, but please take the time to read this fascinating article about how Israel, who faces terror threats far more often than we do, has secured their airports without engaging in security tactics that are demeaning and demoralizing. Yes, it will take personnel with more training and intelligence than your average TSA employee, but I believe this is exactly what travelers would like to see and would be happy to pay the price.


Thank you.

3 thoughts on “A Letter To My Congressman”

  1. Dear Congressman,

    If you have read the article, there is a slight chance that you may also read some of these comments. The TSA procedures are currently made to make us “feel” safe as opposed to actually “be” safe. Just because you throw thousands of dollars (of my money) into safety technology doesn’t mean that you can stop the terrorists. They will find some way around the “security barrier” that the TSA has allegedly erected. The last batch of 9-11 crazies did pretty well with some box cutters; I don’t think any of them were carrying explosives.

    The Israelis use low-technology that works. But in order to look into the eyes of a criminal and into their soul you have to have training. No reflection on our TSA workers, but they just don’t have that type of experience. Instead of recruiting low-paying uniform-fillers (to make us feel secure) how about paying them a little more and training them to spot abherrant behavior? A few months in our many psych wards should be enough to train these men and women in spotting possible dangerous people.

    You can pay them out of the money that you save in eliminating costly detection equipment that doesn’t stop the attempts on our airlines.

    Humorous aside: And if you must do pat-downs, use the extra cash to employ a few ex-models (male and female) in the lineup. I’ll enter the pat-down lottery hoping to get the lucky break.

  2. Agreed, the Israeli method is the best way to go. I think that it’ll raise the usual, predictable, howls of protest over profiling (which, IMHO, it isn’t), but it’s far more effective than the “security theater” they’ve got now.

    I’m too lazy at the moment (having just gorged on turkey, stuffing, etc.) to link to the article, but I’m sure that y’all remember the Saudi terrorist who blew himself up (and killed a handful of others) by means of explosives shoved up his ass. The scanners won’t pick that up, and nor, for obvious reasons, will the pat-downs.

    That said, here’s why I think we’re stuck with both:
    1. Properly training people to use low-tech/high-touch methods takes time and money. Both can be found easily enough, but we tend to abhor anything that’s not instantaneous and overpriced.

    2. Having trained someone properly, it becomes a lot harder to pay them the low wages to which your average TSA worker is accustomed.

    3. Unless and until someone decides to pay the same kind of big bucks to lobby for human intelligence that’s been paid to saddle us with the useless crap we’ve got now, we’ll continue to be saddled with the same ineffectual but expensive and therefore oh-so-sexy methods we’ve got now.

  3. Since reading the article I’ve spoken to one of my Israeli friends about this, and he said that the profiling is absolutely racial, and he’s OK with it if it makes him safer. The questions at the beginning, which the security consultant are for “behavioral profiling”, are mostly to hear your accent. And the “where are you coming from?” is not innocuous, either; they really want to know. They also check your passport for stamps from suspicious countries. All of those things can be red flags that lead to more thorough screening. So maybe we should say ethnic instead of racial, but I think we’ll get the same number of complaints. I don’t like it, but their success rate is hard to argue with.

Comments are closed.