Airport ThoughtCrimes

Mon, 17 Mar 2003 12:12:27 -0500 (EST)


 A traveller flying to San Diego from Seattle found his luggage had been
opened by the Federal Transport Security Authority, who had left behind a
note telling him so, on which was scrawled "DONT APPRECIATE YOUR
ANTI-AMERICAN ATTITUDE" -- a reference to the "No Iraq War" signs he'd
picked up in a shop in Seattle.


So, the Feds are not only inspecting our bags -- and invading our privacy
-- to ensure that they are bomb-free; they're now taking it upon
themselves to chastise us for our political beliefs? What the hell does
keeping bombs off airplanes have to do with winkling out protest signs?

Nothing like a little thoughtcrime policing to undermine the entire
mission and credibility of the TSA. Of course, the TSA is maintaining that
this wasn't the work of an inspector -- rather, someone at the airport cut
the security-seal left behind by the inspector, defaced the "You have been
inspected" card, and replaced the seal, all without being caught by the
TSA itself (wow, that gives me a lot of confidence in the TSA's ability to
secure the nation's airports!).

    Nico Melendez, western regional spokesman for the TSA, said the note
in Goldberg's luggage will be investigated, but he said there's no proof
that a TSA employee wrote it. "It's a leap to say it was a TSA screener,"
Melendez said.

    But Goldberg said, "It seems a little far-fetched to think people are
running around the airport writing messages on TSA literature and slipping
them into people's bags."