Dear TSA Team:

I hope that 2013 finds you, like me, fit and optimistic and recommitted to our core mission of protecting Americans.

Our society is increasingly arrogant and uncooperative. We need to assure passenger compliance with our core message. What better way to achieve that goal than with a new TSA theme? I'm excited to announce that the new theme is Think of the Children!

Now, the TSA has long been at the forefront of serving young Americans with innovations like its "Cool Strangers With Candy" and "And Your Little Child, Too!" programs. But we haven't been focused enough on how we can serve adults by serving kids.

Americans love their children. But Americans need to recognize that their children are in grave danger. I'm not just talking about the danger of terrorists attempting to travel by plane, one of which we will, without a shadow of a doubt, catch or detect any day now. I'm talking about a far more insidious danger: terrorist recruitment.

Too often our nation's pre-kindergarteners are adrift, lacking leadership and a firm grounding in core American values like unquestioning compliance and complete absence of critical thinking skills. Their young minds are a playground for terrorist indoctrination and so-called "questioning." If the terrorists believe that we won't screen these children strictly, thoroughly, even ruthlessly, then the terrorists will redouble their recruitment efforts, sparing no expense to sway children with sweets, rhythmic songs and bright colors and/or shapes.

That's why we must redouble our efforts to search young children. It's for their own good. It makes them a less attractive target for terrorist and libertarian recruitment.

I'm pleased to report that Operation Think of the Children! is proceeding successfully. Dedicated TSA agents all across America are reaching out to protect America's children by sending them for special screening, discouraging parental interference, and separating them from potentially hazardous stuffed animals and whatnot. They're protecting children from possible bad influences.

I'm particularly glad so see that our TSA agents have absorbed their training and recognized that disabled children — too often shunned and belittled by our society — are at particular risk for terrorist recruitment and therefore should be given additional scrutiny.

Remember, if passengers are non-compliant with our efforts to secure their children, law enforcement is there to help. Don't take any back-talk! Parents may talk to you about "rights" and cite "rules" at you, but you're the one in charge. Tell them what you think the rules are, and we'll work out the nuances later.

Look, people: I know you have a tough job. I know that you're not paid as well as you should be, and that you've taken this job, stepping up to offer careful hand-screening to dozens of children a day, out of to fulfill a compelling need. Keep doing what you'll do. Meanwhile I'll keep the naysayers off your back.

Now, go screen a kid for me.

The Volokh Conspiracy Turned Into A TSA Porn Site So Gradually, I Hardly Noticed

The one thing I take away from Stewart Baker's extremely unsettling extended sexual metaphor about opposition to the TSA is that the man is very frustrated.

Mr. Baker — a self-described "privacy skeptic and national security conservative" — is frustrated at his inability to comprehend all of that nasty opposition to the TSA. He seizes upon a belabored sexual analogy: TSA lines give us (him) performance anxiety, causing us to fumble about, alarmed at any change in routine, thwarting us from the smooth, economical physical movements that, Astaire-like, make us sexually irresistible to virginal women. No, really. No, damn it, I'm serious, go read it yourself. There. I told you.

Baker, surrounded by a tissue of lies about TSA opponents and a double handful of the balm of self-regard, flogs that metaphor raw, but is unable to conclude it satisfactorily. He dreams of a TSA that would post encouraging signs to us that we're doing fine, just fine, steadily building in tempo, moving us towards the end of the security line, until we shoot with a relieved sigh out of it all over the Sbarro Express.

Perhaps Mr. Baker is frustrated because there are no real women in this analogy. Oh, there's the fictional woman in the novel quote from the lede, and the other fictional women who would recommence jumping the bones of red-blooded American men everywhere if the TSA would put up a few signs to make us feel better about how long we lasted in line. But there are no real women in his analogy; he dismissed them with a hand-wave: "I can’t explain the women who hate TSA with a passion, though I’m not sure how many there are. Anti-TSA sites and comments have a distinct whiff of testosterone."

That would be a surprise to, say, Amy Alkon, who was threatened with a lawsuit by a TSA agent for having the temerity to complain about having fingers thrust into her during a search. It would be a surprise to women harassed over their breast milk by TSA agents too stupid or careless to know their own policies, or these women forced to remove prosthetic breasts, or this woman forced to expose her gastric tube to gawking polyster-clad subnormals, or this rape survivor cupped and groped and probed by TSA "professionals," or this woman told to remove her nipple rings, or any of these women. I'm pretty sure they aren't critics of the TSA because of some sort of surge of testosterone.

And yet I'm being unfair — to the women. Women don't just criticize the TSA because some of them are getting groped and harassed and abused. Women, as much as men, love liberty. Women, like men, love America. Women love America, and they're skeptical if the proposition that, if America is in such grave danger that we must surrender rights to save it, we should be surrendering rights to the sort of people who get recruited by ads on pizza boxes. Women — as you'll know if you're in a relationship with one — question things. Among the thing they question: why should we trust the TSA's statement that these measures are effective, or necessary? Why should we accept the logical fallacy that these measures work because there have been no more terrorist attacks on planes? How do we know this isn't merely more security theater? Why is the TSA steadily increasing its power over more and more avenues of American travel? How can we possibly yield to an agency that openly believes that it is entitled to unquestioning compliance from Americans? How is the canine obedience of government demanded by "national security conservatives" reconcilable with actual conservatism? What kind of Americans would we be if we just said "sure, Department of Homeland Security, whatever you say?"

But Mr. Baker won't address those questions, perhaps because he is impotent to do so. Instead he dismisses the questioning women entirely, and the questioning and criticizing men with labels: hostile. Visceral. Spittle-flecked. Junior-high-school rebellion mode. Beta Males all! Not Alphas, like him, who woo the ladies with his principled support of being touched by strangers in public.

Mr. Baker's Fifty Shades of TSA fantasy coincides with recent pushback against criticism, both by outside surrogates and by the TSA's own Baghdad Bob, who showed up at Amy Alkon's blog to chide her for her criticisms:

Part of what makes this country great is that we can openly complain on blogs such as this one, but I think it’s only fair that the blogger in question should be fair and accurate about what they write about and also consider the privacy of the individuals involved. After all, these individuals are doing the job the way they’ve been trained to do it.

No doubt he's exactly right. That's the problem. Maybe we should yield to Mr. Baker's suggestions and train them as fluffers, too.

Hat tip: Scott and Mark for their takes and Max for the Fifty Shades line.

The TSA Dumbs It Down For You

The TSA News — an indispensable blog if you care about the excesses of the TSA — has an infuriating story about a local newspaper opinion column by a TSA shill named Lisa Farbstein.

Farbstein was responding to a column by Diane Dimond, reprinted here at Huffington Post. Ostensibly Farbstein was correcting factual errors in Dimond's criticism of TSA procedure. But Farbstein let the mask slip a bit — she uttered as text the subtext to all of the TSA's overweening demands for unquestioning compliance:

For someone who lives just 15 miles from what used to be the World Trade Center, Rockland resident/writer Diane Dimond seems to have a short memory. In a recent column, she ranted about TSA because she doesn’t like to take off her shoes at the checkpoint and because TSA dared to open her husband’s carry-on bag to take a peak at what she admittedly defined as containing “specialized” electronic equipment.

She criticized the very security measures that were designed to keep passengers safe —to help ensure that there is not another 9/11 in her back yard – in any back yard for that matter — yet at no time did she ever contact TSA to check her facts. So permit me to do the fact-checking for your readers.

. . . .

Perhaps the next time Diane and her family fly out of a New York-area airport to a fun vacation spot, they’ll look out the car window at the New York skyline minus the Twin Towers and remember some of the true facts about TSA and why it exists.

And there it is — stripped of pretense or dissembling, the core of the TSA's argument: shut the fuck up about us or terrorists will kill your family.

Governments and government minions accrete power through fear. The TSA — like so many other agencies of post-9/11 American government — has been doing it for years; Farbstein just dumbed it down a bit more than they usually do.

We've written about the TSA's idiocies and abuses here for years, but I'll let Bill Fisher at the TSA News Blog demolish this particular instance of nonsense. In short: the proposition that the TSA is keeping us safe from terrorists is untested and unproven, and the proposition that "safety" requires us to endure the TSA's thieves and sex offenders and thugs is offensive and preposterous. Linda Farbstein is just competing with Blogger Bob for the role of the TSA's lead propagandist, a position that is to American liberty what Tokyo Rose was to American troops.

Regrettably, "accept government power or you'll die!" is usually an effective argument. That's why so many Americans meekly accept the TSA's abusive security theater. That's how American jurors can convict a woman for "disorderly conduct" for loudly demanding that TSA thugs not grope her daughter's genitals.

Don't like it? For God's sake, say something.


From: John S. Pistole, TSA Administrator

To: TSA Employees


Happy Friday, TSA Family! Today I'm not coming at you with a bunch of boring rules, like my last memo. No, today I'm here with kudos for our Tip Top TSA Team!

Today the kudos belong to our team members at Dallas Love Field for putting a non-compliant civilian in her place:

Deaton — who has a medical condition — said Transportation Security Administration agents at Dallas Love Field crossed the line after they noticed something hanging from her stomach. She told them it was a gastric tube to flush toxins from her body.

They pulled her aside for a pat-down. Deaton said it happened behind a screen and not in a private room, and away from her luggage. Agents asked to look at the tube.

"When I pulled my shirt out and they catch a glimpse of it, they both go, 'Ugh!'" Deaton said. "I said, 'Thank you for your professionalism.'"

And they said "thanks for shutting up, beeyotch!" BOOM! Amirite?

Anyway, our team members in Dallas handled it exactly right. Here's the thing, friends: and we've been complaining for years, some of the American people have stopped offering us the unquestioning compliance we are entitled to as a result of our official rank. That's because of attitudes creeping back into the American psyche — attitudes like dignity, bodily integrity, the equality of all whether in uniform or not, and individuality. These are not post-9/11 American values. They are 9/10 values. We need to push back, and remind Americans they are a group, not individuals, and need to submit without question or complaint for the good of the whole. As generations of drill sargeants, camp counselors, and nontraditional religious group leaders know, you break down these obstructionist individual values by breaking a person down and building them up again as part of a group.

This civilian in Dallas may call it "humiliation." But remember that the root of "humiliation" is "humility" — the very spirit with which civilians should approach you, the officials assigned to instruct them in their obligations as a member of the traveling public. The sort of tactics used by our Dallas team are exactly the sort that will break down stuck-up individuals and turn them into complaint team members. If you have any doubt, review some of the other techniques that we've used effectively:

Eat their lunch. I mean literally.

–Faced with an uppity woman? A good hard probe will put her in her place.

Take toys from the developmentally handicapped. If they don't know their place, who will?

–A A full pat-down of a child in front of a helpless parent will establish that the state is the REAL parent entitled to obedience.

–People are sensitive about bodily fluids like breast milk. Use that to break them down.

–People are also sensitive about prosthetics. The more private the replaced part, the more sensitive the civilian. Use that. It works. Trust me.

–The gal in Dallas only had a tube, which is of minimal use. Some people have bags. If you have control over their ostomy bags, you have control over them. Watch that only they get doused with bodily fluids, though. Dry cleaning isn't free!

–Not everyone is hard to break down. Some people come pre-broken-down. Watch out for people who may have been crime victims. They make useful object lessons to others.

–Similarly, if you show an elderly veteran who's boss, others will fall in line.

–Some "nontraditional" folks are particularly stubborn about recognizing our authority. Hand them pliers and tell them "lose the hardware, hippie." Puts them in their place every time.

In short: MAKE THEM RESPECT YOU. Remind them where you came from.

Some people — people who aren't quite yet "with the TSA program" — have asked me if it is right to use humiliation as a weapon to make Americans return to post-9/11 unquestioning compliance. "Aren't Americans a free people?" they ask. "Don't they deserve better?"

Look: if they were really a free people, or really deserved better, would they be letting us do this?

Anyway, kudos again to the team at Love Field. Your T-shirts are on the way. Attaboy!


From: John S. Pistole, TSA Administrator

To: TSA Employees

RE: Policies & Procedures Update

Summer's here! More Americans are traveling, and I thought I'd just take the time to drop a note to my big, happy family of TSA line agents.

1. Hygiene Reminder: People, people, please remember to wear your gloves! It's summer, and it's hot, and you're probing the groins of a higher number of people, and lots of them are sweaty, and . . . I'm just saying. I don't want to be presiding over some sort of outbreak scenario here.

2. Working For the TSA Is a Privilege: Always remember that you have grave responsibility and power conferred upon you: the power to grope the genitals of complete strangers. Better yet, they aren't allowed to grope you in return. No backsies! Tell me, do your friends working a shift at Dairy Queen have those sorts of perks? But look: this brings up a slightly uncomfortable subject. Human sexuality is wondrous and beautiful. It's completely normal to have certain feelings and urges, even when you are working, especially when your work requires you to touch the primary and secondary sex characteristics of strangers. But the time to express those urges openly is not on the job — it's after work, or at least during an approved break.

3. Substance alert: I've been getting some questions about people carrying the ashes of loved ones here, and I understand there is some confusion about proper protocol. What it comes down to is this: I trust you, people. If your instinct is that ashes are dangerous, you just go ahead and poke around in that flier's grandma. I've got your back. Maybe the person's dead, but that doesn't eliminate all threats. Jesus Christ came back from the dead, and he was Middle Eastern, amirite? See, that's just the type of levity that will help lighten the mood when you're sorting through the remains of dead people in front of the bereaved. Logic also works: tell the passenger that you would have full authority to probe their father if he were alive, so it makes no rational sense to complain about you doing it when he's dead.

4. Hiring Alert: I'm excited to announce that we're increasing our presence at Amtrak stations. We believe that Amtrak's commitment to efficiency and safety and our commitment to customer service and good judgment make a winning combination. As a result, we're hiring again! Got a friend who has been out of a job? Have they been drifting through life aimlessly? They can find pride again searching random strangers at a train and/or bus station!

5. Regarding Pay: Look, people, I'm doing everything I can on the Hill to get your salaries bumped up. But let me remind you: self-help is OUT as an option. You'll get raises. Just keep your eye on the balls.

6. Kudos Time: I just wanted to give a shoutout to my dear friend, Blogger Bob, who writes tirelessly to promote the idea that what the TSA does is necessary and appropriate. Bob's a bit of a jokester! Just the other day he said to me, "Hey Johnny — what would happen if the American people started probing all these lists of items seized and asking hard questions — like 'how does this compare to what was seized pre-TSA?' and 'did any of these people have terrorist ties, or was there any indication that they meant to do harm?' or 'how are these seizures from bags connected to touching the genitals of grandmothers and children?'" And then I said — and I kept a straight face, people — "Yeah, what if the media started asking tough questions, too?" And then we busted up. That's just the type of team we are around here.

In Which I "Strongly Caution" The TSA To Snort My Taint, And Probably Get On The No-Fly List

When I heard someone was suggesting that the TSA — a favorite subject here at Popehat — was hip-deep in junk science, I was not exactly surprised. After all, the TSA has a history of flirtation with junk science, which perhaps should not surprise us, given that the agency may or may not be recruiting its technological experts via pizza box advertisements.

The junk science in question relates to the TSA's much-discussed full-body-scanners, which are supposed to help detect hidden weapons, with the side benefit of providing a relatively safe form of release for incipient sex offenders and short bursts of self-esteem to the pathologically socially handicapped. Blogger Jonathan Corbett, who is engaged in litigation with the TSA, claims that the expensive and intrusive scanners can be defeated by the complicated method of attaching metal objects to your side rather than your back or front. The TSA says that it can't really discuss it, but don't worry and trust them.

This post is not about whether Corbett is right about the scanners. My point is about the TSA's reaction. Today, Corbett reported that in the course of being interviewed by reporters about his claims, he learned that a TSA spokesperson “strongly cautioned” a reporter not to cover the story. He didn't identify the reporter. In the comments to his post, someone claiming to be a reporter from Smarter Travel asserted that they, too, were "strongly cautioned not to cover the story." The post asserted the TSA spokesperson in question was one Sari Koshetz.

Now, I don't find it even a little hard to believe that someone from the TSA would threaten the media, either subtly or unsubtly. This is, after all, the agency that launches criminal investigations of critics, calls reciting the Fourth Amendment "disorderly conduct," and wants to criminalize use of its logo.

But I recognized that this was merely a claim on a blog, a blog of someone in litigation with the TSA, with anonymous or semi-anonymous claims attributed to other folks. So, even though I am reliably informed that I am not a journalist, I decided it behooved me to do something journalisty. I asked myself the question emblazoned upon the entrance to the Columbia School of Journalism, the question drilled daily into the minds of journalists from the rawest local-paper-recruit to the loftiest anchor: how can I make this story more about ME?

So. I Googled Sari Koshetz, the name dropped in the blog post, and determined that she is indeed a TSA spokesperson. I guessed at her government email, Googled it to confirm it, and then drafted an email to her to seek confirmation and comment on the story.

Here's what I sent her. As you can see, my aim was to determine whether she really did "strongly caution" people against writing the story, and to determine if that was meant to be a threat, and if so what the legal basis for it was.

Dear Ms. Koshetz:

I write for a modestly-trafficked blog that frequently discusses TSA issues.

I write to request a comment on a report regarding your conduct. Specifically, two reporters have now asserted that you "strongly cautioned" them against reporting on the allegations of litigant and blogger Jonathan Corbett regarding TSA scanners.


1. Did you (or other TSA spokespersons) in fact "caution" journalists against reporting on the story?

2. Was your caution meant to convey that journalists who report on the issue could face some sort of governmental action?

3. What was the legal or factual basis of your caution?

4. Is there any other comment you would like to make?

Thank you,


I got a rather prompt response, if a brief one:

Any guidance provided is to caution reporters not to generalize that our technology doesn't work or print something without all the facts, based on an inconclusive YouTube video.

I must confess, this shocked me. I expected the TSA might ignore me. I expected the TSA might say "no, you idiot, we didn't strongly caution anyone against reporting a story, and we didn't imply a threat to anyone."

I did not expect a weak semi/non-denial that seems to corroborate that reporters were, in fact, "cautioned." In fact, an uncharitable reader might note that Ms. Koshetz didn't specifically deny making implicit threats, didn't specifically deny strongly cautioning journalists against reporting a story, and in fact only made an ambiguous statement that could be read several different ways, some of them ominous.

You know, if I were the spokesperson for a controversial and unpopular government agency frequently accused of infringing upon the civil rights of Americans, I think that I would go out of my way, when asked, to emphasize that I hadn't meant any threats against journalists and that I didn't intend anything I said to be threatening.

Unless, of course, I meant to be threatening.

As I've said recently, ambiguity in threats is the hallmark of bullshit thuggery. Until I see a clarification from the TSA, that's how I interpret this incident: as a deliberate attempt by the TSA to chill journalists from writing about whether its intrusive full-body scanners are worthless.

So. Allow me to offer my response to the TSA and its spokespersons: snort my taint, thugs.

There. Now I'll probably get on the no-fly list. Though more typical TSA behavior would be to grope my junk and then threaten to sue me if I complain.

Hat Tip: Amy Alkon. Subsequently spotted at BoingBoing.

My Theory of TSA Arrest Powers, By Mike Elk (Mr.)

What could be worse than a self-righteous TSA agent?

Answer: A TSA agents' union advocate.

One such arrives, dripping with angry entitlement on behalf of genital-pokers and prosthesis-fondlers everywhere, via In These Times. His name is Mike Elk, and he is concerned, very concerned, on behalf of our nation's TSA agents:

“A lot of people take this job very seriously—any vagina into which I stick my fingers could be my last,” said Heydrich Thomas, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) baggage screener who works at New York City's JFK airport and is also local union leader.

OK, OK, Thomas didn't actually say that in Elk's article — even though he may as well have. Thomas said "any bag I open could be my last." That prospect deeply concerns Mike Elk (Mr.), who emphasizes that the many guns TSA agents find every week (to say nothing, one supposes, of the many they don't find) illustrates the "dangerous nature of their jobs." Oddly, Mike Elk offers no evidence whatsoever that any TSA agents have actually been injured the course of searching Americans — just as the TSA offers no evidence that its search procedures has actually halted any terrorist attacks.

What are Mike Elk's more specific concerns? Well, he's upset that some TSA "supervisors are former military members who create a hostile work environment for employees." You know, military members — bad people. Bad people who, despite potentially having some relevant experience and training in leadership and threat detection as a result of a military background, have very little regard for the feelings and dignity-rights of the sort of people who are recruited via pizza boxes into positions of authority over strangers. Mike Elk is also very concerned because TSA agents tell him that they are being brutalized by uppity Americans:

TSA employees told In These Times that on a daily basis, workers are shouted at and have obscenities hurled at them by airline passengers upset for following TSA search procedures. Several workers complained that on several occasions airline passengers had physically assaulted TSA workers, but the passengers were allowed to board flights because TSA screeners are unable to arrest passengers who assault them.

Note that Mike Elk believes that (1) TSA agents are telling the truth about being assaulted, and (2) TSA agents understand what "assault" means, not to mention (3) we should give a shit about citizens cursing at polyester-clad strangers empowered by the federal government to grope their children. Some of us are more skeptical on each of those points. After all, we know that TSA agents think that reciting the Fourth Amendment is "disorderly conduct," that objecting to a government employee sliding her fingers between your labia is "defamation" and "intentional infliction of emotional distress," that being in the same aisle as brown people is "reasonable suspicion," that a small toy hammer used as a comfort object by a severely disabled man is a "weapon," and that traveling in the United States of America is a "privilege." So you'll pardon me, Mr. Elk, if I question both TSA agents' veracity and their grasp of legal terminology like "assault."

What does Mike Elk (Mr.) want, anyway? Well, he seems to want to give TSA agents more power. Specifically, he wants the United States to confer upon TSA agents the power to arrest Americans:

TSA cannot legally arrest or detain power under powers granted to it by the federal government; in order to make arrests, TSA workers must call local police situated in the airport.

TSA workers' inability to detain or arrest people also hinders their ability to protect airlines in general. “My job is to stand in the exit doors that passengers from arriving flights are leaving. I am supposed to stop people from entering the airport through those doors, but if somebody tries to run through those doors, all I can do is yell at them to stop and call the police,” said one TSA employee who wished to remain anonymous for fear of losing her job.

If they only had that power, TSA agents could feel swell again. They could arrest people themselves for "assault" and "disorderly conduct" and for having sequential checks or carrying too much cash or for generally failing to respect their authority, rather than waiting for police officers trained (sort of, occasionally) in crime detection and law enforcement.

What else does Mike Elk want? Well, he wants Americans to adjust their priorities. Just as the TSA wants Americans to return to the days of unquestioning compliance, Mike Elk wants Americans to focus not so much on the fact that TSA agents are making money by subjecting them to demeaning and largely pointless searches, but on the fact that it's an unpleasant job, and agents need a better contract:

While there has been a very high degree of concern among progressives about the search policies of TSA, the often brutal working conditions of 44,000 people charged with protecting our airports have largely gone unnoticed. If those conditions had received as much media attention as the search procedures they are charged with implementing, it's possible America's newly unionized airport screeners might have had a first contract by now.

Damn those selfish Americans! Damn them for thinking that TSA agents are making money by subjecting Americans to unwarranted abuse in the name of insipid security theater! Damn them for thinking that TSA agents across America are drunk with power, largely incompetent to conduct their mostly symbolic job, and subject to very little scrutiny from a mostly canine news media! Oh, won't somebody think of the gropers?

Well, Mike Elk, I have thought about it. I've thought about the plight of people who have decided that it's okay to take a paycheck to promote the security state, advance the cause of unquestioning compliance with government demands, demean travelers without just cause, and stand in as feckless scarecrows. I've thought considerably about it. And now I invite you to examine my wellspring of sympathy, and do so methodically and carefully.

I'll tell you just where to find it. You're going to need those gloves.

h/t Balko.

[Title reference for the Python-impaired]

Good Americans Don't Criticize The TSA! Only a COMMIE Would Do That!

Back in September, I wrote about how writer Amy Alkon was — in her view, and mine — sexually assaulted by a TSA agent and then threatened with a defamation suit for writing about the incident.

Amy wrote an opinion piece about the experience, and since September, has been trying to get it published in the American media. Now, it's a big deal for me to get published, but Amy's been published in all sorts of mainstream, widely-read publications, including as a syndicated columnist. It's no big deal for her. Yet, no matter how far and wide she shopped the column, she found that the American media — including outlets that had published her before — were not interested in her description of a TSA agent groping Amy's privates and then threatening to sue when she complained.

Amy has finally found a media outlet willing to run her story.

It's Pravda. Yes, that Pravda. You can read Amy's post about it here, and read the Pravda English language version here.

Now, choosing which stories to publish is an art, not a science. Perhaps the American media outlets didn't care for Amy's writing — even though they had published her many times before. Perhaps the story didn't grab them, perhaps they had no room that month, perhaps they were emphasizing other crucial stories like the tragic Kardashian divorce.


But, as I argued a year ago, though the media has reported on passenger accounts of TSA abuse, when it comes to editorial comment, the media has generally acted as the TSA's dutiful fluffers, compliantly parroting the line that good citizens must endure this for their safety.

Call me a cynic. But I think that might have had something to do with it.

Now, did Pravda publish Amy's story because it still delights in illuminating America's shame? Perhaps. But Russians also know bureaucratic thuggery when they see it.

You can find all of our TSA coverage here.