The DHS, TSA, and CBP want to improve its tarnished image. After the criticism that has befallen the TSA since last fall when they mass-introduced full body scanners, it’s no surprise that they are now universally hated. The problem, however, is that the TSA can never improve their image as long as they continue to introduce draconian security measures followed by even more extreme responses when people object to being treated as manhandled cattle.

Last week, just after the DHS announced their desire to be more liked and understood, the world became privy to a video of a 6-year old girl enduring the TSA’s enhanced pat down. The enhanced pat down is very similar to sexual assault. This little girl broke down in tears once it was all over. How can the TSA even begin to justify this as something normal?

Men and women have complained numerous times that they feel sexually assaulted by the TSA procedures. The have expressed concerns that it is a form of retaliation from the TSA when they choose to opt out of the full body scanners.

The enhanced pat down consists of what you would expect of a pat down, but it goes much further. The TSA agent will feel inside your pants, down your underwear, squeeze your breasts, touch and move your testicles and feel around your labia. Women have also reported that TSA agents have even felt inside their vagina during and enhanced pat down.

There are also accounts of people reporting that TSA agents rarely change their gloves, leading to major health concerns. When passengers do request TSA officers to change their gloves, they are subjected to increased harassment from the officers. It should be obvious that, if a TSA officer comes in contact with a passenger that has an STD, it could easily be passed on to the next passenger if proper health and safety measures aren’t followed.

Congress is now beginning to call for investigations into the TSA’s methods. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, said that he is mortified that his grandchildren might have to undergo an enhanced pat down. He is now pushing for legislation to change how the TSA operates.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Sunday he would be ticked off if one of his grandchildren got the kind of pat-down search a 6-year-old girl was subjected to earlier this month at an airport security checkpoint in New Orleans.

“I have nine grandchildren and I wouldn’t want my granddaughter treated like that,” LaHood said

Mr. LaHood might also remember that the TSA vowed in 2006 to never have pat downs for children. Since the TSA is run on policies and not laws or regulations, it’s free to change them whenever they wish, no matter how illogical and ill conceived they are.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD6MYRcrs1g[/youtube]

When the TSA tells passengers that the full body scanners are safe, yet airline crews do not need to use them and reports state that the radiation levels are higher than reported, it is difficult to believe the TSA. Everything they do is security theater. It is frustrating and unnecessary. The full body scanners would not have prevented any threats. They also don’t appear capable of stopping weapons from passing beyond the security checkpoints.

If the TSA is sincere about improving their image, they need to immediately begin rolling back some of their more draconian practices. A first step would be to no longer treat passengers like criminals, particularly when they are vocal about TSA policies. Just because a person exercises their right to say they disagree with the policies, doesn’t mean they should be singled out for extra security measures or be considered terrorists. They also need to stop sexually assaulting passengers during enhanced pat downs and discontinue harassment of passengers who decide to opt out of the full body scanners.

We already have reinforced cockpit doors and the pilots are armed. We know that passengers will fight back. There is no need for the enhanced pat downs and full body scanners other than to provide a visual appearance of security theater. The TSA and DHS need to stop giving their standard answer of “we followed procedure and everything is fine,” when it clearly isn’t. They need to admit their mistakes, roll back many of the changes introduced in the past few years, and put real reform into place.

The TSA needs to admit that they don’t need to keep the skies safe from kleenex smugglers and should look closer at the suspected criminals and child pornographers within their midsts.

These few steps would go a long way in redeeming a modicum of respect back to the TSA. Until we return to sensible screening measures, don’t expect people to stop calling attention to the abuses of the TSA and be prepared for even fewer passengers than before.

In the mean time, take action to let the TSA know why you won’t fly and why you will continue to fight for your 4th amendment rights. Write to Rep. Jon Mica and let him know that you agree the TSA should be abolished.  Send letters to your representatives in Washington informing them that they need to take action as well or you won’t be voting for them in the next election.