A TSA agent in Philadelphia International reportedly planted a fake bag of cocaine in a passenger’s bag as she stepped through the security gate.
What happened to her lasted only 20 seconds, but she says they were the longest 20 seconds of her life.
After pulling her laptop out of her carry-on bag, sliding the items through the scanning machines, and walking through a detector, she went to collect her things.
A TSA worker was staring at her. He motioned her toward him.
Then he pulled a small, clear plastic bag from her carry-on – the sort of baggie that a pair of earrings might come in. Inside the bag was fine, white powder.
She remembers his words: “Where did you get it?”
Two thoughts came to her in a jumble: A terrorist was using her to sneak bomb-detonating materials on the plane. Or a drug dealer had made her an unwitting mule, planting coke or some other trouble in her bag while she wasn’t looking.
She’d left her carry-on by her feet as she handed her license and boarding pass to a security agent at the beginning of the line.
Answer truthfully, the TSA worker informed her, and everything will be OK.
Solomon, 5-foot-3 and traveling alone, looked up at the man in the black shirt and fought back tears.
Put yourself in her place and count out 20 seconds. Her heart pounded. She started to sweat. She panicked at having to explain something she couldn’t.
Now picture her expression as the TSA employee started to smile.
Just kidding, he said. He waved the baggie. It was his.
Because of privacy reasons TSA spokesperson Ann Davis was unable to provide details of whether or not the agent was fired or left on his own, but he is reportedly no longer with the TSA.
To be perfectly honest, what comes to mind is checkpoints in the East Block in the 70’s and 80’s, where individuals were regularly harassed and imprisoned for violations they didn’t commit. This is the kind of stuff that goes on in China and Venezuela. It is not supposed to happen in America!
Though I am not a supporter of having the government run security at private airports, as I believe private business could perform this job more effecively, if the government is going to be performing security checks, it is absolutely essential that the process is 100% transparent.
This means there should be full HD video and audio of all interactions at the security gates of America’s airports. When a TSA agent can plant a fake bag of coke, or force a woman to drink her own breast milk, or hold an individual in a locked room without legal representation while interrogating them for something that is not in any way a violation of the law, then red flags should be going up all over the country, and especially in Congress and the Oval office.
There must be checks and balances not just on elected officials, but all programs mandated by the federal government. In this case, that includes the TSA.
While I am not suggesting that the aforementioned incidents reflect on the entire Transportation Security Administration, they are indications of what happens when power hungry elements within the federal government get free reign on American citizens.
High definition video and audio will not only provide better security at airports and protect passengers and security personnel from potential terrorist threats, but will also protect passengers from employees and agents that cross the line.
If they’re going to force Americans to pose in their digital birthday suits when going through security, then I don’t think this is too much to ask.
The argument we can use to justify this is the very argument the Federal government has used against the American people when they implement surveillance mechanisms.
If you’re not doing anything wrong, then it shouldn’t be a problem, right?