04.20.2012 0

Big brother is watching you, and picking your pocket

By Rebecca DiFede — When Americans enter airports across the country, as millions do every day, they are subject to numerous security measures, administered by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents, to ensure that no contraband is brought on board.

The TSA was created in response to the events of Sep. 11 in order to better screen the contents of passengers’ luggage and clothing and hopefully prevent such a tragic event from happening in the future. This resulted in a large scale augmentation of the security measures and also creating specialized rules for what can and cannot be brought aboard an aircraft.

These increased measures have evolved over the years since the advent of the organization and include more intensive bag x-rays, removal of shoes and body scanning machines. Bags are loaded onto a conveyor belt and clothing, shoes, and personal electronic items such as computers and tablets are placed in separate bins, so that their presence is not mistaken for something else.

However those responsible for keeping us safe might also be among those we fear the most. Recently, a TSA agent in Dallas-Fort Worth Airport was suspended indefinitely because he was found guilty in the thefts of several iPads from his assigned terminal.

While this behavior is certainly abhorrent, what is more disconcerting is that this man is responsible for the safety and security of thousands of people every day and apparently cannot help his insatiable attraction to Apple products. Who’s to say this distraction doesn’t prevent him from analyzing luggage and items properly, and thus preventing him from doing his job adequately.

In addition, because he is motivated by greed, what is to stop him from taking a bribe from someone who prefers not to be searched? An iPad, cash, or perhaps the latest Kindle model are apparently enough for someone to forgo their duty to protect American citizens, so is that really the kind of person we want to trust with our airport security?

And not to be overshadowed by this national organization, the D.C. Transit Police force has engaged in some pretty despicable behavior as well lately. Earlier this year, a member of the body was arrested by an undercover posing as a prostitute, when he approached her and propositioned her for sex on Rhode Island Avenue in downtown D.C.

Acquiring a prostitute appears to be a little-known requirement for keeping our Metro safe and secure. Perhaps it’s a top secret rule.

Additionally, another member of D.C. Metro Transit’s finest was arrested earlier this year for stealing over $100,000 from the meters during his shift. This complete disregard for the job was discovered by a clerk at a gas station in Woodbridge, VA, who noticed that over a period of three years the same D.C. Metro officer came in and bought lottery tickets. This would have been par for the course at this location except this man only came late at night, and always paid in coins. Over the course of three years, this man spent over $28k on his gambling habits, and his bank account only yielded more evidence of his theft from the city.

But these misguided officers weren’t the only ones who colored outside the lines of morality. Several of the cops entrusted with the safety of the DC/MD/VA Metrorail system are multiple felons, according to a recent report by the Washington Times. They have rap sheets that would make Jesse James look like a choir boy, and yet they are given weapons and multi-jurisdictional authority over people’s lives. They control miles and miles of shoddily-maintained rail lines that fail more often than not, and all the while they engage in behavior that would get you fired from McDonald’s, and for some reason they get put in charge?

It is severe abuses of power such as these that should give Americans pause before they blindly trust someone with their safety, whether it be on the streets or while coasting through the air to another destination. These agencies are put in place for the sole purpose of protecting the people, and yet still manage to look out for their own interests above all else.

The only solution is to punish these offenders to the fullest extent of the law, and also for authorities to be more aware of who they are hiring, and whether or not they are likely to break the law.

Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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