Everyone knows the TSA is in the business of making us drink the last drop of our open water bottles and patting down our potentially dangerous grandmothers, but did you know they are also inspecting parked vehicles at airports around the country? That’s right America, everyone’s favorite government safety squad is now making sure you aren’t a potential car bomber.
Laurie Iacuzza returned to her parked vehicle at Greater Rochester International Airport in Rochester, NY to find a notice informing her that her car had been searched by the TSA. Iacuzza was understandably frustrated, claiming that no one ever informed her that her car was going to be searched when she dropped it off with valet parking services at the airport.
When the TSA was questioned about the policy, they informed NBC 10 News in Rochester that all vehicles that are parked using valet parking services are inspected by the TSA and searched. The reason for the policy is that all cars that are parked, presumably for any amount of time at all, in close proximity to the airport, are potentially dangerous bomb threats. At Greater Rochester International Airport, all vehicles parked using the valet are temporarily parked in close proximity to the airport before being moved to the standard parking garage, thus allowing the TSA to search all of those vehicles.
This policy, which exists at airports across the country, was news to Laurie Iacuzza, who claimed no sign was displayed indicating that her car would be searched and that none of the parking attendants informed her either. Perhaps even more puzzling than the lack of notice is the reason for the policy itself.
If the TSA is concerned about bombs being strapped to cars and detonated in front of the airport, why not just disallow valet parking completely? Isn’t a valet parking attendant just as likely to be a terrorist in disguise? And if the TSA wants to maintain valet parking for customers arriving at the airport, why is their first plan of action to violate the privacy rights of Americans? Why didn’t they just make a requirement that all vehicles parked with a valet must be moved immediately to the lot away from the airport entrance?
I think the most disturbing element to this situation is not that the TSA is allowing cars to be searched; it’s that the TSA’s first inclination is to violate the rights of innocent people rather than create an alternative policy that may be more inconvenient (although not by much) but is respectful of our civil rights.
With all of that said, Ms. Iacuzza really should have known better. She should know by now that when you go to the airport, you are going to be treated like a criminal. You are going to be searched, stripped of your dignity, and someone is going to see you naked (at least through an x-ray or terahertz scanner). You should expect that the TSA is going to treat you and the elderly diabetic traveler behind you as if you two could potentially be plane hijackers.
We all know that airport security is important and that our civil liberties are going to take some kind of a hit in the process, but those violations of our rights should be limited in every single way possible, a position the TSA clearly does not share with me. Until Americans get serious about protecting their own civil rights, you can expect the government to continue to whittle them away until there is nothing left but a shadow of what once was.
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