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Mon, Feb 03, 2003

AEA's Ric Peri Responds to TSA Decree

AEA's Ric Peri (right) sent a letter to ANN about his feelings over TSA's recent assault on our liberties. We simply couldn't have said it better... so we're going to let him say it, verbatim.

Like most Americans I generally support our Government's actions to enforce the laws and to enhance the security in and around public places.  However, I am seriously concerned about the continuous chipping away at the rights and liberties of those of us who make our living in aviation.  Everyone in aviation has already lost some of their civil liberties in the name of National Security.  This latest action by the FAA and TSA to withhold the civil liberties of aviation certificate holders is not acceptable.  Where are the checks and balances of Government?  Where is the due process of law?

My office is in downtown Washington, DC.  Each day I ride the train into Union Station and then walk to my office; down Louisiana Avenue, along side the Capitol, then turn and head up Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House.  My office is located about half way between the Halls of Congress and the residence of the President.

Moving about the city for meetings with various industry groups and government agencies I usually choose to walk.  Walking allows me the opportunity to experience the history of democracy; never has this been more important to me than now when Congress, the Department of Transportation and the FAA seem to be accepting the loss of liberty for a few in the name of security for all.

About six blocks from FAA Headquarters, along Pennsylvania Avenue, is the Justice Department.  Chiseled into the marble facade of their building so that each employee will see it when they enter the building are the following words:  Justice is founded in the rights bestowed by nature upon man.  Liberty is maintained in the security of justice.

But the most appropriate message is from another location about a block from the Capitol. Located on the corner of Louisiana and New Jersey Avenues is a small monument; a monument you might miss if you were not looking for it; a monument with a powerful message.

Again, etched in marble, the message begins:  "Here we admit a wrong - Here we affirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law." spoken in 1988, by President Ronald Reagan as he signed the Civil Liberties Act.

The monument is a remembrance of the 120,000 citizens who lost their civil liberty; the 120,000 citizens who lost the right of due process; the 120,000 Japanese citizens who were interned during World War II in the name of National Security.

There are two more messages that stand out at this monument. Senator Daniel K. Inouye instructs us that "The lessons learned must remain as a grave reminder of what we must not allow to happen again to any group.

But the message I'll end this with, asks: "May this memorial be a tribute to the indomitable spirit of a citizenry in World War II who remained steadfast in their faith in our democratic system."  This message was given to the American people by internee, Congressman and current Secretary of Transportation, Norman Y. Mineta.

As we move forward in our endeavors to assure National Security let us not forget the lesson our history has taught us and never forget: "Liberty is maintained only in the security of justice."

 

Ric Peri--Vice President, Government and Industry Affairs
Aircraft Electronics Association

FMI: www.aea.net

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