Libertarians oppose abusive TSA strip-search machines

For Immediate Release Friday, November 5, 2010

WASHINGTON – Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle commented today on the Transportation Security Administration’s use of strip-search machines at airports.

Hinkle said, “The TSA should end the strip-search machine program immediately.

“We’ve reached a point where our government has no qualms about humiliating us.

“Everyone who cares about civil liberties should be outraged that the Obama administration has shown no respect for travelers’ privacy or their right to be free from unreasonable searches. The fact that I want to travel on an airplane does not make me a threat, and it does not allow anyone to conduct a warrantless search under my clothing. The Obama administration apparently agrees with the neoconservative philosophy that there are no limits on government power in the areas of security and terrorism.

“Terrorists win when they provoke our government into overreacting. Apparently they have manipulated our government into chipping away at our rights and privacy. We should not let them get away with it.”

American Pilots Association president Dave Bates recently spoke out against the strip-search machines, expressing concern about the possibly harmful radiation they emit.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) recently filed the opening brief in its lawsuit against the program. EPIC says that the machines violate the federal Privacy Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the Fourth Amendment. EPIC’s president called the program “unlawful, invasive, and ineffective.”

Hinkle continued, “We can ignore the government’s assurances that images will not be stored. Regardless of policy, some security personnel will want to store the images, and they will find ways to do it. This is already reported to have happened in Florida, where U.S. Marshalls stored thousands of images from a courthouse scanner.

“Many airlines are probably relieved to have the federal government assume responsibility for security. But it’s the airlines who ought to be responsible, and they should bear the liability for what happens on their flights. Rather than have a one-size-fits-all approach imposed by the government, passengers and airlines should be free to work together to determine what methods and levels of security fit their needs best.

“We encourage Americans to call their newly-elected members of Congress and tell them that they don’t want this expensive, worthless, intrusive, unconstitutional program.”

For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.

The LP is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website .