Jason Harrington is a former Transportation Security Administration agent who spent years doing stupid, degrading things to passengers because his superiors demanded it. He deserves credit for blogging about his experiences even before leaving TSA, and for eventually coming clean under a byline.
You can read Harrington’s lengthy account for Politico of how TSA agents routinely behave:
- They target beautiful women for pat-downs.
- They target passengers for “random” security checks not because they manifest themselves as security risks but merely for saying something that rubs them the wrong way.
- They perform all kinds of often humiliating “security” measures that they know are pointless.
All this by routine.
When the multi-million-dollar, ineffectual body scanners were in regular use, agents laughed it up over bodily defects exposed by the scans that they review in a separate room. These scanners weren’t even good at detecting guns or plastic explosives. The problems with them were known even as they were being installed.
All history attests that when people are given petty power to abuse others as “part of the job,” they use that power (and virtually every ordinary use of power in such a context must also be an abuse of it). Employees who refrain are, obviously, “not doing their jobs,” and get fired. So who’s left?
Those who enjoy that sort of thing, or at least assent to it.
So let’s not give anybody this kind of power. We can start by shutting down the TSA.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.