- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hoped it could avoid a public revolt over its intrusive airport security measures by dialing back operations while scrutiny was at its peak over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. That didn’t stop more than a dozen federal lawsuits that have since been filed against the agency by airline pilots and a former governor, among others. State lawmakers also are looking for change.

A near-unanimous Alaska legislature last week transmitted to the governor and Congress an official complaint that “overzealous Transportation Security Administration employees have carried out the new procedures in a manner sufficiently aggressive to rise to the level of an inappropriate invasion of personal privacy from which an individual would ordinarily be protected under the laws of Alaska.” The nonbinding resolution urges Congress to crack down on the TSA bureaucracy.

A House Oversight subcommittee last week began to put the pressure on TSA officials who initially balked at the invitation to testify. Before the tardy bureaucrats arrived, Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican, blasted the agency for the indiscriminate use of pornographic whole-body image scanners, saying, “A seventh-grader could come up with a better plan for deploying and utilizing this equipment.”

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura wants to take the fight directly to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The easily recognizable Mr. Ventura flies several times a week and is subjected to automatic “enhanced screening” because he has a titanium hip implant that sets off the metal detector every time he walks through. “TSA and DHS have no factual basis to support any reasonable suspicion that Governor Ventura poses any threat to airline safety, nor does he in fact pose any such threat,” his lawsuit charges. Mr. Ventura is not seeking money, only a restraining order forcing Ms. Napolitano and her agency to abide by the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

That ought to be a no-brainer. Groping small children, grandmothers and former professional wrestlers does nothing to make this country more secure. Federal lawmakers need to do more to hold this rogue agency accountable.