Saturday, December 10, 2011

The STRIP Act and Republican Window Dressing

According to The Hill,
"More than two dozen House Republicans introduced legislation on Thursday that would prevent the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) from calling airport screeners "officer" unless they have gone through federal law enforcement training or are otherwise eligible for federal law enforcement benefits.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the lead sponsor of the Stop TSA's Reach in Policy (STRIP) Act, said that TSA has essentially allowed its airport screeners to play dress-up by giving them metal badges and police-like uniforms in recent years. But she said many airport screeners have no 'officer' qualifications, and should have this title removed."

Needless to say, the backlash against the TSA was and is prompted by its invasive passenger screening methods, i.e., grouping and body imaging via x-ray machines, not by the insistence that its employees be designated as officers and dressed in "police-like" uniforms. I find the distinction between being fondled or irradiated by officers and being treated as such by non-officers to be lacking. So while House Republicans masquerade as tough lawmakers reigning in the excesses of the TSA (see H.R. 3608, aka the "STRIP Act" for the details), the latter goes about its business unadulterated.