Paste Ysince The Heinous Terrorist
Paste ySince the heinous terrorist attacks of 9/11, the country has spent $1.1 trillion on defense against terrorists. In response to the 9/11 attacks, we as free Americans were inundated with digital age tracking instruments, such as radiation scanners along with chemical sensors, and close circuit television cameras. These devices were implemented, as an elevated security tactic, to trace the movements and or activities of shipping containers, airborne chemicals, and ordinary Americans. Since 2010 the government has further restricted individuals’ freedoms, with the introduction of full-body scanners to some airports. These enable the T.S.A. agent to peer through clothing, these scanners produce nearly nude images of air passengers. This review conveys that the current practices may be bordering on the infringement of our constitutional rights.
Also expressed, is the general consensus among most Americans, is that they feel strongly that some form of security be present in airports. However, it is implied that the Transportation Security Administration might benefit from a top-to-bottom reform, as they are not totally confident in the effectiveness of its current procedures. Review of literature
And So It Began
Fifteen years ago, 19 men armed with utility knives hijacked four airplanes and in only a few hours had killed nearly 3,000 people. At that moment, Americans were thrust into a menacing new world (Simbro, 2014).
Two months after 9/11, the Bush administration created the Transportation Security Agency (T.S.A.), he ordered the agency to supply enough trained security officers to staff the nation’s 450 airports within a year, as described by Brittany Stancombe (2012). Six months after that, the government greatly expanded the federal sky-marshal program, increasing the number of armed lawmen that ride planes undercover, into the thousands. Meanwhile, the T.S.A. steadily amped up the existing baggage-screening program. Signs were put up in airports warning passengers about specifically prohibited items. Officials then devised a color-coded alert system; the nation was placed on “orange alert” for five consecutive years (Stancombe, 2012) (Jacobson, 2012)
The Department of Homeland Security, which absorbed the T.S.A. (Jacobson, 2012), allowed federal and state governments to embark on a nationwide safety upgrade and in 2003, began deploying, checkpoints that infiltrated airports, train stations, and office buildings. A digital bombardment of security devices were introduced in the form of closed-circuit television cameras, chemical sensors, and radiation scanners. These survailance devices were in place to monitor the movements of cargo containers, dangerous airborne chemicals, and everyday ordinary Americans. Washington assembled a list of potential terror targets that rapidly grew to 80,000 places, including local libraries and miniature-golf courses. Along with the target list was a watch list of potential suspects that had grown to 1.1 million names by 2008. Andrea Simbro (2012) points out that the government has further restricted individuals’ freedoms, with the introduction of full-body scanners, implemented in 2010. These can peer through clothing to produce nearly nude images of air passengers (Simbro, 2014). According to Courtney Taylor (2013), this is viewed by many as an invasion of our fourth amendment rights. (Taylor, 2013)
The Right of The Peoples
“The United States Constitution’s fourth amendment”, as explained by Taylor (2013), “protects United States citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. There are a few exceptions, the Constitution provides that a Government actor searching a person must obtain a warrant based on probable cause” (Taylor, 2013). Courtney Taylor (2013) defines “probable cause” as “having reasonable grounds to suspect that a person has committed or is committing a crime or that a place contains specific items related to a crime” (Taylor, 2013). “The United States Constitution may say that a warrant and probable cause should be requirements in order for citizens to be searched and seized, but the special needs exception neatly sidesteps that requirement” (Taylor, 2013).
Security at What Cost
Since 9/11, the U.S. has spent over to $1.1 trillion on homeland security. A large number of security analysts don’t agree with this this expense, claiming it makes no sense. The benefits do not offset the costs. Not only has the actual threat from terror been exaggerated, but the majority of the post-9/11 measures to contain the threats of terror are little more than “security theater”. Simbro (2014) shares two examples that lends validity to the argument of “security theater”. First, is the “shoe bomber” in 2001, second is the “underwear bomber” in 2009. These are the most serious post-9/11 incidents involving airplanes, where both assailants managed to get onto an airplane with explosives (Simbro, 2014). They failed to be detected by T.S.A. efforts, but rather subdued by angry passengers (Simbro, 2014).
Has the nation simply wasted more than a trillion dollars trying to protect itself against terror? Most Americans feel that terrorists will try to hit the United States again. Even if the T.S.A. were somehow to make airports impenetrable, terrorists can so easily switch their targets and weapons and divert their attacks to other, heavily populated, and less extensively defended forums. For example, malls, movie theaters, stadiums and or museums. The terrorist’s goal isn’t to attack an airplane specifically, it’s to create havoc and terror.
For Better or Worse The TSA in recent months has come under increased scrutiny with the release of the Government Accountability Office study. This study reveales widespread employee misconduct, it exposes T.S.A. screeners that were involved in theft and drug related activities (of which most
Americans were not surprised). Some Americans feel that the T.S.A. could benefit from top-to-bottom reform, as they are not totally confident in the effectiveness of its current procedures.
Simbro (2014) informs us of the “laser-based molecular scanner”, which can penetrate clothing, it is attached to a computer that displays the information in real time. As a portable unit, the laser can “rapidly sweep wavelengths in any pattern and sequence. From 50 meters away, the scanners can detect traces of drugs, gunpowder, adrenaline levels, and food consumed, in real time. T.S.A. officials could use the scanners for crime-control purposes, thus resulting in an unlawful administrative search because administrative searches conducted to detect evidence of a crime are unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment. Therefore, the government will have to implement numerous procedural safeguards to ensure compliance with the Fourth Amendment (Simbro, 2014). In other words our “rights” can be taken away, because the government deems necessary.
A Better Mouse Trap
Jacobson and Lee (2012) feel that the challenge in designing real-time security procedures lies with achieving an efficient, cost-effective solution through the optimal utilization of technology, intelligence, and procedures that is non-intrusive. (Jacobson, 2012). This seems like an oxymoron, how can you use technology and it not be intrusive? Taylor (2013) maintains that less intrusive security measures, in conjunction to personal interactions with passengers, would be met with much less passenger resistance. Thus, omitting the use of full-body scanners. Both Taylor (2013) and Stancombe (2012) feel strongly that these less intrusive tactics would be more respectful of a passenger’s right to privacy and aid against any further unreasonable searches and seizures (Taylor, 2013) (Stancombe, 2012). Taylor implies that the United States needs to curb its dependency on the sole use of mechanical devices to detect threats, instead move toward a system of personal interaction. Personal interaction is what kept Israel’s airport free from terrorist attacks since the 1970s. Taylor (2013) is adamant that it is personal interaction that will help America’s airport security officers pick up on things that machines may miss. These would include physical cues and passenger responses to questioning. Taylor (2013) points out that The Israeli Ben Gurion International Airport only uses X-ray machines and metal detectors; there is not a full body scanner in the airport. Taylor (2013) then points out the best example of where United States airport security should be headed is the innovative new system in place at Boston’s Logan International Airport. In Boston, airport security is testing out Israel’s personal interaction methods, calling them “chat-downs.” Unlike the Ben Gurion International Airport passengers, these chat- downs at the Boston Airport, still require passengers to go through metal detectors and full-body scanners. But just like in Israel, the T.S.A. officers are asking general questions about a passenger’s travel plans. They are looking for physical cues that the passenger is lying, or has hostile intent (Taylor, 2013). Conclusion
Everyone wants to be safe when they fly. Government concludes that T.S.A. can
perform searches of passengers under the ruse of the “administrative search exception function”, meaning those agents performing the searches are not required to obtain a warrant or present a probable cause. Many view this as an infringement of our constitutional freedom to privacy, which is known as the fourth amendment.
We have an illusion of security through our expensive, high-tech, and intrusive gadgets, of which the overall effectiveness is in question. There are better ways to achieve security. Individual profiling, personal-to-person interactive behavioral analysis, and bomb-detecting canine units are proven and effective detection and deterrent systems. These techniques used in conjunction with less invasive measures such as, the metal detectors, could be quite effective. These measures come at a much lower cost, economically and ethically.
I feel intelligence agencies should provide an up-to-date target profile for suspects and should readily flag those fitting the profile. Some may disagree stating profiling is politically incorrect. My argument is, if profiling is viewed as “bad”, how can we look at taking away our citizens “constitutional rights”, as being acceptable? America is our homeland, founded by our forefathers, defended by our brave military men and women. So if anyone is offended by profiling, they don’t have to fly. Just like the current standards regarding airport security, if you refuse or are offended by being searched, x-rayed or scanned, your alternative is don’t fly.
It would appear, that the motivation of homeland security and T.S.A. is attempt to catch terrorists without offending them, because that would be politically incorrect. But on the same note, they have no moral obligations to uphold the dignity of the law abiding American citizens of whom they humiliate, with near naked scans and or public groping. If the primary goal is that of air safety, then the American people should have a voice in how that is achieved.