Texas Official “Punished” by TSA for Exercising His Rights
Fox News reported recently that TSA agents in New Orleans “punished” the Chairman of the Texas Public Utilities Commission with an “aggressive” pat-down for exercising his right not to pass through the airport’s full-body scanner.
“Let me put this delicately,” Barry Smitherman said. “I was still feeling the effects of the pat-down as I sat in my seat from New Orleans to Houston, and then Houston to Austin.”
Smitherman said a TSA supervisor admitted that the assault was intended as punishment for refusing to pass through the scanner.
Ironically, Texas is currently considering the nation’s first “anti-groping” legislation aimed at eliminating offensive TSA pat-downs exactly like the one Smitherman endured. The bill, HB 1937, passed the Texas House unanimously last month before being pulled from consideration in the state Senate following a threat by the Obama Justice Department to blockade Texas air traffic if it passed.
Now, thanks to a massive public outcry, Gov. Rick Perry has been forced to revive the bill, adding it to the agenda of a special legislative session.
Texas Rep. David Simpson, the original sponsor of HB 1937, pointed out that most TSA pat-downs would qualify as “sexual assault in any other activity. If that happened right now, it would be sexual assault.”
The sad fact is that the proposed law in Texas shouldn’t even be necessary. Americans are already protected from the TSA’s unreasonable personal violations by the Fourth Amendment.
Unfortunately, it seems that not even the plain language of the Constitution is enough to deter the power-hungry federal agents running wild in our nation’s airports. Perhaps facing criminal charges in Texas and other states will get their attention.