Friday, May 13, 2011
Ask the Doctor: Are Patdowns Medically Necessary?
Jason Chaffetz, a Republican Representative from Utah, together with Rush Holt, a Democrat from New Jersey, are the latest lawmakers to propose federal legislation centered on the "Advanced Imaging Technology" ("AIT") machines that screen airline passengers at airports.
The proposed "Aircraft Passenger Whole-Body Imaging Limitations Act of 2011," if passed into law, would prohibit the Transportation Security Administration ("TSA") from using AIT machines as a method of screening airline passengers as a primary security method unless
(A) the National Academy of Sciences determines that the technology poses no threat to public health;
(B) the technology is equipped with a privacy filter or other privacy-protecting technology; and
(C) another method of screening, such as metal detection, explosive trace detection, or behavioral profiling, demonstrates reasonable cause for utilizing advanced imaging technology to detect a possible threat to aviation security.
The proposed law—H.R. 1279—also disallows the use of enhanced pat-down searches "unless another method of screening, such as metal detection, explosive trace detection, behavioral profiling, or use of advanced imaging technology ... demonstrates reasonable cause for utilizing advanced imaging technology to detect a possible threat to aviation security.
“Nobody needs to see my wife and kids naked to secure an airplane,” said Representative Chaffetz, who is now the Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security.
Mr. Chaffetz also introduced the "TSA Screening Minors Act of 2011," which would prohibit the screening of a minor passengers by pat down search unless the search “is conducted with the consent, and in the presence, of a parent of the minor; or in the case of a minor who is not accompanied by a parent, is conducted in the presence of a representative of the air carrier or foreign air carrier undertaking to provide air transportation or foreign air transportation.”
Bipartisanship is great, but this all harkens back to Benjamin Franklin, who supposed that “[t]hose who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."