TCS Daily


Are Latest TSA Regulations "Too Stupid for America"?

By Judith Miller - January 4, 2010 12:00 AM

If you're flying overseas soon, or even thinking of flying and don't have time to watch the late night talk shows, Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, visit the TSA Web site for comic relief. The TSA, an acronym that appears to stand for "Too Stupid for America" or "Travel Sucks in America," has compensated for Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano's initial utter cluelessness about the danger posed by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Northwest Flight 253 by issuing the dumbest, most counterproductive "safety" regulations in aviation history.

The TSA issued the new regs two days before Secretary Napolitano's performance on Sunday, when she told ABC that her agency's alert system had worked well because "once this incident occurred, everything happened that should have." (Claiming she had been quoted out of context, Ms. Napolitano retracted this cheery assessment today on Fox News.)

The new regs themselves are almost impossible to find on the TSA's own inscrutable Web site, of course. So hats off to bloggers like Steven Frischling, AKA "Fish," for posting Aviation Security Directive 1544-09-06 on his Web site: "Flying with Fish."

From now on, all passengers on international flights -- well almost all passengers -- will be patted down at gates before boarding, "concentrating on upper legs and torso." And most passengers will have to remain in their seats "beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination." So you may not want to eat, or surely not drink anything more than half-way through your flight. Perhaps flight attendants can distribute to female passengers at the start of international flights those "Depends" incontinence pads that actress June Allyson used to promote. That won't help male fliers. But perhaps they can think of something clever for them, too. I'm not sure how the TSA will deal with infants and tiny tots, however.

And, don't even think about sleeping until shortly before your arrival. The new regs bar you from keeping anything on your lap an hour prior to reaching your destination - including "blankets, pillows, or personal belongings." So presumably books are out too, unless you read while suspending them in air.

Nor will you be able to watch live television or work on your computer with Web access. The TSA has ordered all airlines to "disable aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems and services (phone, Internet access services, live television programming, global positioning systems) prior to boarding and "during all phases of flight."

If you want to see the Grand Canyon or the Empire State Building or the Mississippi, better stay glued to the window. The TSA is ordering pilots and crew not to "make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks."

Of course, these inane regs have exceptions. They may not apply, for instance, to "Heads of State or Heads of Government" or the spouses or children of chiefs of state or to "one other individual chosen by the Head of State or Head of Government." So presumably Libya's Muammar Qaddafi, whose henchmen were convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, killing 259 crew and passengers, most of them Americans, would not be forced to soil himself.

The new regulations, which are mercifully set to expire after December 30, would be truly side-splitting if they were not intended in their own, botched bureaucratic way, to address a desperately serious threat. Al Qaeda and other like-minded terrorists with long-simmering grievances against the United States or American foreign policy seem intent on blowing up airplanes in yet another terror spectacular. They have failed so far thanks partly to the effort of some 50,000 Americans who work for the TSA, astute passengers and plane crews, and the inconvenience all of us travelers have endured since 9/11.

Preventing terrorism, however, means, first and foremost, acknowledging it as an enduring threat which must be combated through word and deed - and that means engaging critics and would-be enemies through the outreach that President Obama has championed. But it also means calling terrorism what it is, and not employing such euphemisms for fighting it as "overseas contingency operations." Ms. Napolitano managed to avoid using the word terrorism during her debut testimony on Capitol Hill. Even President Obama seems to prefer talking about "extremism."

Finally, it means putting in place a competent homeland security team. The TSA's latest imbecilic regulations were issued by Gale Rossides, the agency's "acting" administrator. In September, President Obama finally appointed Erroll Southers as chief of the agency charged with keeping America's travelers safe and secure. But Republican stonewalling has blocked the confirmation of Southers and several national security nominees for months. Such partisanship is irresponsible and dangerous in time of war.

But the administration, too, must make a greater effort to court Republican support when national security is at stake. Rep. Peter King, the ranking New York Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, has frequently complained about the administration's reluctance to brief Congress on national security threats, including the latest failed terrorist attack.

So while the new regulations should be mocked and repealed, it would be foolhardy to downplay the threat they were meant to address. Islamic militants and other extremists will not stop trying to kill us. And without luck, smart security measures, and enlightened foreign and national security policies, they are more than likely at some point to succeed.


This article first appeared on FoxNews.com.

Judith Miller is a writer, Manhattan Institute scholar and Fox News contributor.

Categories:

16 Comments

I guess this mess has become Obama's "FEMA Let Down"
Of course, if the press was even remotely balanced, they would be showing 24x7 fake stories about gang rapes in the New Orleans football dome with every bit of zeal that they did when Bush was in office.

Fried Fish
>"hats off to bloggers like Steven Frischling, AKA "Fish," for posting Aviation Security Directive 1544-09-06 on his Web site: "Flying with Fish."

And for his trouble Frischling was paid a nice, threatening visit from strong-arm TSA goons:

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/armed-tsa-agents-threaten-travel-journalist/

I wonder when we bust the TSA for kiddie porn...
...because they watch the little kids pass through naked in the scanners.

I think they will use the scanners and Cavuto is RIGHT
(trust your instincts)

I just enjoyed the Tiger Woods Chicks in the article's photo
.

admit it...
..the moment you read my little subject line you either looked at the article's photo or remembered and said to yourself, "Yeah...they do look kinda like the chicks Tiger goes after.."

:)

Zyn, where are the dirty fotos? eom
.

I think African-Americans are more PO'd than whites
First, he marries the wrong woman, racial-wise. Miss Scandinavia or whatever.

Then he screws around with over 16 other ones, the darkest of which were all simply deeply tanned.

Nope. Not going down well in the black community, trust me. They are ticked. (Exception: young black males think he's Da Man! -- which ticks the rest of the black community off even more so).

black americans not PO'd
That can't be true, black guys have always loved banging white grils if they can get them; it's like a trophy thing.
So in Tiger's case, he probably had plenty of black girls when he was younger and poorer, but now that he's rich and can get the white ones, he'll go for them; it's just to be expected.

I don't see what the fuss is about anyway, it's normal for rich/famous guys to have a lot of girlfriends.

It is the black women that are POd, no?
I have noticed a trend, men of Scandinavian descent seem to prefer Asian women.
When Asian and Black men marry outside race, they seem to go for large, white women.
Small men seem to like big women and big men, small women.
It is not surprising Tiger would like blonds.

Sorry, but I am black and this was THE topic over the holidays...
...lot of yelling.

Yes, the young studs think he's their personal hero. But the older folks and the women get real riled up.

Commentators like Juan Williams have documented this.

TCS Daily Archives