Is TSA the New Gestapo? Let the Conspiracy Theories Begin

Last Updated Nov 24, 2010 12:47 PM EST

An underwear bomber tries to blow up a Detroit bound plane last Christmas and Homeland Security launches predictable upgrades at airport security checkpoints. As air traveler anger mounts over mandated full-body scans and "opt-out" pat-downs, conspiracists point to big government -- not international terrorists -- as public enemy number one.

A determined jihadist could still find a way to take down a U.S. airliner. In testimony before a House subcommitte, senior TSA officials have admitted It remains unclear whether body scanners "would have detected the weapon used in the December 2009" attempted attack by the the "tighty-whitie" bomber over the skies of Detroit -- nor could they detect the presence of an explosive device strategically inserted in the rectum, according to a published report by the General Accounting Office.

Are body scanners the fortified Maginot Lines of the last war?

The true intent of these new body scanners is to store biometrics of U.S. citizens, according to blogger Kurt Nimmo. In a recent post at InfoWars, Nimmo alleges that TSA workers were instructed to purposely be intrusive when conducting pat-downs. Ergo, passengers would quickly "deduce" that body scans are the less embarrassing and time-consuming means of clearing the security checkpoint:

The government has a keen interest in collecting and compiling biometric data on citizens. The FBI announced a $1 billion effort to build the world's largest computer database of peoples' physical characteristics, a project that would give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad, the Washington Post reported in December of 2007.
Another argument being postulated is that TSA actions are designed for one reason: to drive people away from flying and "encourage" them to take slower Amtrak trains to get to their destinations. "Once people realize how inefficient and just plain slow Amtrak trains are," writes blogger Rick Moran, "high speed rail will start looking mighty good to a public desperate to move faster than a 1953 East German Trabant."

But it's long-time anti-government, radio talk show host Alex Jones who's really pumped up the volume on global domination conspiracy theories. Jones has warned for years that the TSA is just following a blueprint drawn up by Homeland Security years ago - the gradual implementation of martial law in America, according to Paul Watson, columnist at Prison Planet.
Or, as articulated by Jones himself (compliments of YouTube):

"Our long journey into domestication and dependency on the scientific dictatorship is accelerating, our entire society is being turned into a massive surveillance grid, it has been designed to persecute the people."
Responding to growing public opposition and anger, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a USA Today op-ed column last Monday that the agency had an "open ear" to any "adjustments" (needed) for security measures in place at the nation's airports, such as religious and civil liberty concerns that the body scanners capture and store naked body images.

Once again, the President's administration has shown they've "heard the voice" of America: Congressmen, Senators and other high-ranking government officials will no longer have to pass through these intrusive security checkpoints.

As for the rest of us who would prefer to opt-out of both x-ray imaging or probing-- consider the motherly advice of Napolitano:

"If people want to travel by some other means," they have that right, said Napolitano.

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  • David Phillips

    David Phillips has more than 25 years' experience on Wall Street, first as a financial consultant and then as an equity analyst for several investment banking firms. He sifts through SEC filings for his blog The 10Q Detective, looking for financial statement soft spots, such as depreciation policies, warranty reserves and restructuring charges. He has been widely quoted in outlets such as BusinessWeek, The International Herald Tribune, Investor's Business Daily, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, and The Wall Street Journal.