June 15, 2011
The Feds Threaten to Make Texas a No-Fly Zone
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "It was bad enough when the TSA agents would go through your underwear in your luggage. Now they're going through your underwear while you're wearing it." –Jay Leno

The Texas House unanimously passed a bill holding Transportation Security Agency (TSA) agents accountable for touching people's private parts without probable cause. In response, the Department of Justice threatened to ground flights in Texas. DoJ's threat caused the bill to die in the Texas Senate.

It's possible the bill will be revived in a special legislative session. While we support the purposes of this bill, we believe the best solution is for Congress to just get rid of the TSA altogether.

That's why I sent the following letter to my Representative and Senators. We encourage you to send a letter as well, and you may borrow from or copy this . . .

I am OUTRAGED that the DoJ threatened to ground flights in Texas if it passed a law simply requiring probable cause for TSA agents (or other government personnel) to touch people's private parts as part of a search.

Where in the Constitution does the federal government have the power to declare any state a virtual "no-fly" zone? Do we live in a dictatorship?

Reports come in every day of children, young women, the elderly, and disabled persons being "handled" by TSA agents, inappropriately and for no reason. States have EVERY RIGHT to protect their citizens from sexual assault.

But the TSA's groping of private parts is only part of the problem. The "naked body scanners" and pat-downs of travelers are themselves unreasonable searches and seizures that violate the Fourth Amendment. If there is no cause to suspect that someone will do harm, there is no cause to search him or her! 

Furthermore, these searches are an enormous waste of time and resources. The TSA's procedures are "security theater," in which it PRETENDS to be "doing something" to keep us safe, without actually making us safer.

Is there an alternative? Yes!

I would feel MUCH safer if airlines provided their own security with NO federal control or regulation. Airlines have every incentive to prevent hijackings and bombings.

* Insurance companies would essentially regulate airlines, insisting that safety concerns be addressed. Premiums would regulate behavior.
* Airlines would compete with each other to provide a safe, hassle-free, and enjoyable flight experience for the customer.

This is common sense, isn't it?

But if the TSA fails, even once, my best guess is that there will be calls to double their budget, and make the pre-flight experience even more miserable.

The federal government needs to cut costs, and the TSA serves no useful purpose. Please abolish this agency.


You can send your letter using's Educate the Powerful System.

And we invite you to our blog and "Like" and Tweet this Dispatch.

James Wilson
Policy Research Director

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