By KrisAnne Hall
The Transportation Security Administration is now standing virtually alone, above the law, above Congress and above the Constitution.
It is ignoring the law which created it and bullying any airports that attempt to deploy a private security force — which they are allowed to do under the law — with the threat of creating an effective “no-fly zone” at that airport. It is bullying states such as Texas that try to ban pat-downs.
In reality, there is absolutely no oversight or accountability of the TSA, now a rights-threatening monster created by a Congress intent on looking the other way.
I wrote recently about the secret list that the TSA has created to identify any passengers who have offended TSA agents. Congress is not privy to this secret list, or apparently that it even existed. Congress is not establishing the policies that get someone on the list, nor have they established that people are noticed and a procedure created to petition to be removed. This is a purely arbitrary power resting in the hands of individual, unaccountable agents.
But this not a new dynamic. For the TSA and Congress, it is actually a designed one.
Most Americans do not know that the very congressional act that created the TSA, also established that airports could replace federal TSA agents with private security two years after the law was enacted. However, in January 2011, when more than 16 airports had tried to opt out, TSA refused to leave these airports and the director of the TSA put a “freeze” on the airports’ ability to opt out, violating the very Act that created the TSA.
When the TSA violated this Act with their policies and actions, Congress didn’t step up and remind them of the existing law. Instead, Congress passed a new law, HR 658, reasserting the “right” of the airports to opt out of TSA screeners and required the TSA to notify all airports of this “right.” Yet, in a questionable move, Congress also then gave the Secretary of Homeland Security, the directing agency over the TSA, the authority to approve or deny an airport’s “request” to transfer to private security screening.
In summary, Congress told the airports they had a “right” to opt out of federal screening and then put the TSA in charge of approving or denying this “right.” If the TSA has the authority to approve or deny their own employment, then the airports do not possess a right to transfer to private screening, they merely possess a privilege granted by those they wish to remove.
Would that not mean that by all form and function, our airports are now occupied through force by the federal government? That, by definition, is despotism.
Unfortunately, this point is proven by the fact that in 2011, Texas lawmakers attempted to pass a law outlawing TSA pat downs. The FAA responded immediately by threatening to turn Texas into a de facto “No Fly Zone” if the law was signed. Of course, Texas backed down. If the federal government can deny a State’s right to internally govern itself, this is a violation of the delegation of Constitutional powers expressly enumerated and a violation of the reserved powers of the States expressly identified in the 10thAmendment.
There is no constitutional authority for the TSA to exist, much less wield unchecked power within the states. This unconstitutional agency was created by Congress through the pretense of “national security” and it is failing miserably.
According to James Bovard in the Los Angeles Times,
“the Department of Homeland Security concluded last year that TSA officers and equipment had failed to detect mock threats roughly 80% of the time. In Minneapolis, an undercover team succeeded in smuggling weapons and mock bombs past airport screeners 95% of the time. An earlier DHS investigation found the TSA utterly unable to detect weapons, fake explosives and other contraband, regardless of how extensive it’s pat-downs were.”
Americans have been deceived into trading their essential liberties for a completely non-existent security. We have a private or state option that would likely be more effective and one that could more closely be overseen through the states.
Congress has created this monster. They have made TSA above check and balance, above the law and Congress, and above the Constitution itself: not only the 4th Amendment, but also the 1st Amendment, 6th Amendment, 7th Amendment, 8th Amendment, and 10th Amendment. It is time for the American people to stand up to Congress, the DHS, and the TSA and assert our Right to keep ourselves “secure.”
It is time Americans replace this ineffective, intrusive and secretive unchecked system with one that follows the law and the Constitution, and where the States protect the internal security of the people while the feds are limited to the specifically enumerated powers.
ABOUT KRISANNE HALL
KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the U.S. Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. She is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and has an internationally popular radio and television show. Her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com. Get the book “Sovereign Duty” to learn what the designers of our Constitution wanted Americans to do when their federal government became bloated and out of control. Find this book on Amazon, Barns & Noble, Wal-Mart, and many other merchants.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act.