It may sound strange. The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is keeping the airport checkpoint ID and search policies secret, but you may go to jail for not obeying them. This one of the most amazing real-life catch-22s I can imagine — all in the name of security.
Starting June 21st, TSA is clamping down on their former rules allowing those without IDs to board aircraft. According to CNN, “Beginning Saturday, June 21, travelers who ‘willfully refuse’ to show IDs won’t be allowed through checkpoints or onto planes. Only passengers who show IDs, and ‘cooperative’ passengers, who explain why their IDs are missing and help police confirm their identities, will get through.”
Privacy advocates have long challenged the TSA policies on the basis that these ID checks are infringing on our right to travel within our own country without being hassled by officials for identity documents.
“History will judge,” Jim Harrison, an attorney who has fought document requirements said. “What’s going on here is the TSA is incrementally chipping away at the freedoms that Americans have. And the freedoms that we’re talking about are the fundamental right to travel, the freedom to be free of search without reasonable suspicion and your First Amendment freedoms to assemble and associate freely without government interference.”
According to the Threat Level blog on wired.com the new TSA rules are aimed squarely at “people who challenge their authority or like to travel without showing their papers.”
Even thought Kip Hawley, head of the TSA has been quoted as saying, “It’s not too much to ask, to say, just tell us who you are.” Telling someone who you are is a far cry from having to carry official government ID to prove your identification.
We as Americans are moving in the wrong direction when we find ourselves being forced to follow secret policies and regulations. It amazes me and I am sure that it would amaze George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to see the government they established treating its citizens in such a heavy-handed way.
Between secret watch lists and these secret rules and regulations, our government is stepping out of bounds. Now with new agreements in place allowing these personal travel databases to be shared with foreign governments, American citizens should be beginning to worry about the Orwellian scenarios these new Big Brother powers allow.
I don’t mind having rules to follow, they are part of what make society function. However, when we find ourselves being told by our government that we cannot even see the rules and policies to which we are subject, that is un-American from my point of view.