GOP Pushing Back On National Security Bans Certain Aspects Of TSA Patdowns


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GOP Pushing Back On National Security Bans Certain Aspects Of TSA Patdowns

By Eddy Metcalf

May 15, 2011 - The first in the nation, a landmark legislation to stop the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from performing certain types of patdowns, a measure used is a search of a person's outer clothing to detect if a person is concealing a weapon or contraband has passed in the Texas House of Representatives. 

On Friday night HB 1937, authored by Representative David Simpson (R-Longview), is the first bill in the country that would actively ?Intrusive Groping of Travelers.? 

?HB 1937 is a significant step forward in the protection of our constitutional and civil liberties,? said Rep. Simpson. ?Groping innocent citizens does little to enhance security but it does much to reduce our freedom and dignity. I am very thankful that our members have joined together to defend our citizens? dignity against the TSA?s egregious screening methods.? 

HB 1937 would make it a criminal act for security personnel to touch a person?s private areas without probable cause as a condition of travel or as a condition of entry into a public place. Simpson said this bill is not intended to contravene any federal statutes currently in place. 

94 Representatives have signed on to HB 1937 as either joint or coauthors, supporting Rep. Simpson?s legislation. The bill will move on to the Texas Senate. Texas? efforts to stop the TSA from abusing travelers have attracted significant national and international attention from media sources such as Fox News said Simpson. 

Simpson further stated ?eight other states, including Alaska, Washington, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, also have legislation pending to protect travelers? dignity. New Jersey was the first state to file similar legislation. The Alaska House of Representatives became the first state to pass a resolution against TSA abuses back in March?. 

After the October 2010 cargo planes bomb plot, the U.S. has increased air passenger screenings, and expanded a new, more thorough pat-down procedure for airline passengers. Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), complained, saying ?Americans now must choose between a virtual strip search and a grope?, but declined to say whether the ACLU would file a legal challenge to the new procedure. 


On October 29, 2010, two packages, each containing a bomb consisting of 300 to 400 grams (11?14 oz) of plastic explosives and a detonating mechanism, were found on separate cargo planes. The bombs were discovered as a result of intelligence received from Saudi Arabia's security chief. They were bound from Yemen to the United States, and were discovered at en route stop-overs, in England and in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. 

One week later, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) took responsibility for the plot. U.S. and British authorities had believed that AQAP, and specifically Anwar al-Awlaki, were behind the bombing attempts. They also believed the bombs were most likely constructed by AQAP's main explosives expert, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri.

According to the U.S. and the U.K., the bombs were probably designed to detonate mid-air, with the intention of destroying both planes over Chicago or another city in the U.S. Each bomb had already been transported on both passenger and cargo planes.

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