New at the TSA: Widespread Theft and Molecular Body Scanners

October 3rd, 2012

Since its inception in the chaotic weeks after the 911 attacks, the Transportation Security Administration has become one of the most unpopular government institutions in US history. Countless law-abiding citizens have been blasted with radiation and/or groped under their clothes, despite having no conceivable link to terrorism. Children and seniors are frequent targets of searches, and agents have been known to perform painful pat downs on disabled travelers, even in one case spilling a bladder cancer survivor’s urostomy bag all over him. The TSA’s methods have not been successful in detecting or preventing any terrorist attacks.

Rather than responding to public pressure and changing their methods to respect passengers’ privacy, the TSA has become more hostile and aggressive towards US citizens. TSA agents have been accused of widespread theft after an agent was caught stealing thousands of dollars worth of property from travelers. The organization is now working to roll out molecular body scanners which are capable of scanning the body inside and out for molecules of various substances ranging from gunpowder to marijuana residue. Also, the TSA recently made news for hiring a man facing allegations of sexual abuse and after stealing a memory card (full of personal photos) from a passenger’s camera.

Molecular Body Scanners: the Tyrannical Possibilities Are Endless

The TSA’s next batch of body scanners will allegedly be able to detect trace amounts of virtually any substance found in or around a human body. While the agency claims the primary purpose of the scanners will be to check for bomb-making materials, it can also detect other substances like gunpowder and marijuana.

In the future, will people who have used marijuana recently be prevented from boarding an airline? What if a gun-owning citizen decides to go to the gun range for a round of practice shooting on the same day as a flight? Will lawful gun owners be denied flights? When one considers the wide range of materials and substances which the government prohibits, these molecular scanners could be used to detect virtually anything. People could theoretically be denied the ability to board a plane due to the detection of certain dietary choices or chemicals commonly used in an industrial workplace.

When TSA Agents Steal

As reported by ABC News, former TSA agent Pythias Brown admitted to stealing over $800,000 worth of property from passengers while working at Newark Liberty International Airport. However, his testimony suggests that he is not the only one doing the stealing. According to him, thefts are commonplace and widespread. Is it safe to carry valuables on a plane anymore?

The majority of TSA agents have no law enforcement experience and are paid low hourly wages. Also, the agency’s hiring procedures involve weak background checks. Theft victims rarely hear back from the TSA after filing complaints — Pythias Brown was caught because he attempted to sell stolen goods afterwards, not because the TSA followed up on a passenger’s claim.

The TSA’s choice of “security procedures” are not proven to work at all. Meanwhile, they are violating the fundamental rights of citizens on a daily basis. When public outrage reached such a clamor that the Texas legislature voted to criminalize the agency’s illegal groping, the Obama administration threatened Texas with the imposition of a No Fly Zone if the bill were to become law. Despite already having a horrendous reputation, the TSA continues to look for new ways to abuse travelers.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.