Are agents of the Transportation Security Administration engaging in behavior that falls under the Patriot Act’s definition of domestic terrorism? The question may sound preposterous until you consider the following.
Air travelers in the U.S. are being presented with a choice when passing through airport security: either submit to being scanned by an extremely invasive and potentially hazardous machine, or have your genitals groped by agents of the Transportation Security Administration.
Many are deciding that they’d rather pass through the naked body scanner than suffer the humiliation of having their genitals manually probed. In other words, they’re being coerced .
Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, recently got a TSA agent to admit that the prospect of genital groping is being used as a means of coercion. In an Oct. 29 posting, Goldberg wrote:
I pointed out to the security officer that 50 percent of the American population has no balls (90 percent in Washington, D.C., where I live), so what is going to happen when the pat-down officer meets no resistance in the crotchal area of women? “If there’s no resistance, then there’s nothing there.”
“But what about people who hide weapons in their cavities? I asked. I actually said “vagina” again, just to see him blush. “We’re just not going there,” he reiterated.
I asked him if he was looking forward to conducting the full-on pat-downs. “Nobody’s going to do it,” he said, “once they find out what we’re going to do.”
In other words, people, when faced with a choice, will inevitably choose the Dick-Measuring Device over molestation? “That’s what we’re hoping for. We’re trying to get everyone into the machine.” He called over a colleague. “Tell him what you call the back-scatter,” he said. “The Dick-Measuring Device,” I said. “That’s the truth,” the other officer responded.
Section 802 of the U.S. Patriot Act, titled “Definition of Domestic Terrorism,” provides several definitions of domestic terrorism, including this one:
“The term `domestic terrorism’ means . . . activities that appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.”
You may read the pertinent passage by going to the text of the Patriot Act here and searching for “Sec. 802.”
People passing through airport security certainly qualify as a “civilian population,” and at least one TSA agent has admitted that this population is being deliberately coerced. Many air travelers who have experienced these violations would say that they have been intimidated as well.
So do the practices of the Transportation Security Administration qualify as domestic terrorism as defined by the Patriot Act? We take no position on the matter but simply invite you to draw your own conclusions.