But Not All Lawmakers Ready To Relax 'Security Theater'
The year 2011 may go down in history as the year the US
Transportation Security Administration got a conscience. Or, at
least a clue. After taking lumps over revealing body scans and
so-called enhanced pat-downs of young children, TSA last week
announced the deployment of less invasive scanners, and now
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says a revised
pat-down procedure for children under 12 is being implemented.
ABC News reports that Napolitano, testifying before the Senate
Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Tuesday, said a
more risked-based approach to passenger screening is coming, "and
we hope, over the coming weeks and months, to be able to begin
rolling that out. It does require additional training of all of the
thousands of TSA officers, and that’s under way."
TSA's adjustments seem to come at a time when the American
public is losing its political patience with intrusive security
measures which appear to been largely ineffective. According to the
official website of the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security
and Governmental Affairs, a Gallup poll taken before last
year’s midterm elections showed terrorism ranked sixth in
voter concerns, behind the economy, jobs, government corruption,
federal spending and health care.
Last week a study published by the Cato Institute called for
abolishing the Department of Homeland Security. Congressman John
Mica, a Florida Republican and an author of the legislation which
originally created the Transportation Security Administration, is
now saying its size and role should be dramatically reduced.
But that sentiment is not universal. Senate Homeland Security
and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, a
Connecticut Independent, and Ranking Member Susan Collins, a Maine
Republican, warned the American people this week not to lower their
guard against terrorism now that the tenth anniversary of 9/11 has
Lieberman, noting the declining public concern with terrorism,
commented, "In some ways we may be the victims of our own success
because there has not been another mass-casualty terrorist attack
on American soil since 9/11 – something that, ten years ago,
no one would have predicted."
Collins added, "As has been noted often, the terrorists only
have to get it right once; we have to be right every time or suffer
the consequences of an attack. We are much safer than we were a
decade ago, but we must be relentless in anticipating the changing
tactics of terrorists."