The TSA and the New Enemies List

by EDWARD CLINE November 24, 2010
 
The Obama Administration means to cause as much damage as possible in the two years remaining of its existence. If that reads like a hubristic prediction, I have no better foundation for making it than the White House’s approval – nay, its encouragement – of the Transportation Security Agency’s (TSA’s) new “enhanced” security measures and procedures. Those measures and procedures, which violate, as a matter of policy, the Fourth Amendment rights of American travelers, are meeting as much opposition as any of the administration’s legislative policies. They have not caused a “Tea Party,” but instead an “Opt Out” movement that advocates either not flying and subjecting oneself to the indignity, or “disrupting” the assembly line of pat-downs and full-body scanners at airports.

Novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand noted, many years ago:
 
"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force."
 
The Department of Homeland Security and the TSA are not satisfied with treating Americans like pieces of meat, or like printer cartridges, or prison inmates. It is compiling a database of everyone who opposes the new procedures, that is, anyone who has written anything whatsoever critical of the DHS and TSA, and whose words may cause others to oppose or “disrupt” the assembly line.

Canada Free Press carried a follow-up article to Doug Hagmann’s “Gate Rape of America,” about the Transportation Security Agency’s “enhanced” security procedures and how they are intended to cow Americans into surrendering their Fourth Amendment rights in the name of “fighting terrorism.” The new article, also by Hagmann, “DHS & TSA: Making a List, Checking it Twice,” contains some extremely disturbing revelations. Hagmann was contacted by a person in the DHS, who read his “Gate Rape” article, who alerted him to a document that discusses the resistance to the TSA’s “enhanced” procedures.
 
The memo, which actually takes the form of an administrative directive, appears to be the product of undated but recent high level meetings between Napolitano, John Pistole, head of the TSA, and one or more of Obama’s national security advisors. This document officially addresses those who are opposed to, or engaged in the disruption of the implementation of the enhanced airport screening procedures as “domestic extremists.”

The introductory paragraph of the multi-page document states that it is issued “in response to the growing public backlash against enhanced TSA security screening procedures and the agents conducting the screening process.”
 
Hagmann, who may or may not have been forwarded the complete text of the directive, could not cite it in its entirety without drawing the wrath of the DHS.

It is this particular paragraph of the directive cited by Hagmann that is especially disturbing:
 
For “any person, group or domestic alternative media source” that actively objects to, causes others to object to, supports and/or elicits support for anyone who engages in such travel “disruptions” at U.S. airports (as defined above) in response to the enhanced security procedures, the [applicable DHS administrative branch] is instructed to identify and collect information about the persons or entities, and submit such information in the manner outlined [within this directive]. [Bold mine]

Domestic media source[s]...that actively object to...etc.? This can't mean anything other than FSM, Rule of Reason, and countless other blogs or “alternative media sources” that have criticized or "objected to" the DHS and the TSA in the past and now the "enhanced" procedures. I've gone onto the Threat Analysis Division, the Extremism and Radicalization branch of the Office of Intelligence & Analysis (IA) division of theDepartment of Homeland Security, which Hagmann provided a link to.

The language in that particular section is vague and can be interpreted any way the TSA and DHS wish. Surprisingly, it actually mentions the Islamic Sunni and Shiite "radical" groups, but the "domestic extremism" portion of the paragraph is a catch-all for anyone who protests TSA policies. The concept "extremism" can be stretched from including private armed militia groups to individuals who calmly cite the Fourth Amendment.

Under the header, “Homeland Security Intelligence Analytic Priorities,” that paragraph reads:
 
The second is the threat of radicalization and extremism. Our top priority is radicalized Islam (Sunni and Shia groups), but we also look at radicalized domestic groups. We do not monitor known extremists and their activities; instead, we are interested in the radicalization process—why and how people who are attracted to radical beliefs cross the line into violence.

Spot the contradiction? The lie? The ambiguity? How can the DHS “know” why and how people are “attracted to radical beliefs” – whether or not they “cross the line into violence” – unless it “monitors” individuals it deems “extremists”? And draws up a list of individuals and organizations to monitor? To prioritize and analyze them on that list?

And to take what action? As I remarked to a friend, a government agency does not draw up a “watch list” without purpose, unless it claims and reserves the option of taking some form of action against the individuals and organizations on that list. The agency assumes it has the power to act. Otherwise, such a list is pointless. As individuals can identify unconstitutional actions taken by the government, the government will identify those who make such an identification – and has the power to punish them.

I am an “extremist.” When I point to a table and say that it is a table, then I can be deemed an “extremist.” I don’t take a non-radical, pragmatist or equivocal position and say it is probably a piece of furniture, or maybe it’s a doghouse. By the same reasoning, when I say that the “enhanced” security procedures of the TSA violate the Fourth Amendment, then that is what I mean, because the Amendment is there, it exists, it is being violated, those violations are demonstrable, and that assertion cannot be refuted or argued away.

The TSA’s policy is simply to ignore and overrule the Fourth Amendment, and to resort to brute force. This is what it regularly tells travelers who question the policy. It and the DHS will sooner or later decide to ignore and overrule the First Amendment, or freedom of speech. It can claim that my writing – or anyone else’s writing, no matter how calmly or emotionally composed – has caused others to oppose or “disrupt” the TSA’s policies. Whether the actions of those so inspired or so persuaded are criminal in nature, or lawful actions taken under the mantle of the Fourth Amendment, is irrelevant.

The threat implied in that directive is there are certain individuals and organizations that must sooner or later be silenced. Patrick Henry spoke his immortal “liberty or death” speech in Richmond in 1775, when the Virginia Assembly held its session away from Williamsburg, then the capital, because the royal governor there had the power to prorogue or dismiss that assembly by directive or by brute force. Today, no one can speak from a safe distance. Miles cannot serve as a guarantee of freedom of speech. We are no longer beyond the arm’s length of government coercion, but a mere keyboard. Our best protection is to speak out, and often, and to either force the hand of DHS and TSA, or cause them to back off.

The First Amendment is in more serious jeopardy than one might have previously imagined. Do not cave in to the TSA’s “conditioning” to make your silence a measure of normalcy. The government’s intention is to inure Americans to living in a state of obedient and submissive servitude. Of existing and acting by permission. This is as good an explanation as any of President Obama’s policy on Islam, a totalitarian ideology. He and his appointees have an affinity with it.
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Edward Cline is the author of a number of novels, and his essays, books, reviews, and other nonfiction have appeared in a number of high-profile periodicals.
 

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