• Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Cancun Ted Cruz wants to make politicians a privileged caste at airports

Cancun Ted Cruz wants to make politicians a privileged caste at airports

Texans elected Ted Cruz to the US Senate a dozen years ago after he promised to abolish the Transportation Security Administration.

Cruz has “grown” in office.

Instead of seeking to ax the TSA, Cruz is pushing an amendment to compel it to treat members of Congress like royalty and protect them from riffraff at airports.

The Cruz measure would provide “lawmakers a dedicated security escort at airports, along with expedited screening outside of public view,” Politico reports.

Cruz was ridiculed in 2021 after he was photographed in the airport escaping to Cancun while fellow Texans were suffering massive power outages due to a winter storm.

His bill should be called the No More Mockery for Poohbahs Act.

TSA already gives members of Congress “Get out of grope free” cards to avoid checkpoint hassles.

How did that exemption from “equal treatment under the law” occur?

Ted Cruz justifies his travel amendment: “It’s important that we take reasonable measures to keep everyone safe.” Rod Lamkey / CNP / SplashNews.com

In 2010, TSA turned airport checkpoints into “constitutional twilight zones” with “enhanced patdowns” and whole-body scanners that irradiated travelers while taking birthday-suit photos.

The following year, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), the House of Representatives’ second-most powerful Democrat, bitterly complained: “We’ve had some incidents where TSA authorities think that congresspeople should be treated like everybody else.”

Clyburn warned: “I think we need to take a hard look at exactly how the TSA interact with members of Congress.”

TSA hustled to placate the political elite.

A 2014 American Civil Liberties Union report condemned “Government Placing Itself at Top of New Air Travel Caste System.

TSA “compiled vast whitelists of individuals” who “are automatically eligible for expedited screening at airports,” including members of Congress and federal judges, the ACLU noted.

Politicians also benefit from PreCheck and CLEAR programs that most travelers have chosen not to purchase.

TSA spends $800 million a year for air marshals, but almost half of them are designated for standby for flights by members of Congress — despite zero aviation threats on most such flights.

One veteran air marshal groused in 2021 that the DC field office “was almost exclusively dedicated to VIP services for Congress.”

The Air Marshal National Council formally complained that TSA had turned its program into a “concierge service” and “baby-sitting” for members of Congress, who exploited the program even for personal flights with no tie to official business.

Cruz’s “Safe Airport Travel Specialized Screening Process” legislative fix was forged by other indignities he suffered.

After missing a flight in Bozeman, Mont., in 2022, Cruz berated airline staff so vehemently that a policeman was summoned to defuse the situation.

The real problem? An airport official later admitted the policeman failed to recognize Cruz.

Does Cruz want a chorus of trumpets to herald the procession of lawmakers through airport terminals?

Or maybe he’d prefer a litter carried by four AmeriCorps members who sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” while carting the VIP to his departure gate?

Cruz justifies his amendment: “It’s important that we take reasonable measures to keep everyone safe.”

But almost nobody on Capitol Hill is taking “reasonable measures” to keep people safe from TSA’s intrusive, abusive, warrantless searches.

Legions of women have complained on Twitter about TSA agents grappling their private parts in a manner far worse than prom night.

Bethenny Frankel went viral with her own account in December.

After an Oklahoma woman sued after being strip-searched due to a menstrual pad, Justice Department lawyers scoffed that the treatment she complained of “amount[ed] to no more than … petty oppressions.”

But who enabled TSA to oppress American women?

Federal court cases are documenting recent TSA transgressions against female travelers.

For more than a decade, entering a TSA checkpoint has been akin to Russian roulette.

Flying out of Washington National Airport recently, I scored an enhanced pelvic patdown after the TSA whole-body scanner alerted solely due to the zipper on my Levi’s jeans.

(Or maybe it was because I’ve bashed TSA in articles for 20 years and was denounced by the TSA chief.) 

Cruz’s amendment also “solves” the problems of sporadic horrific delays at airport security by specifying that lawmakers will be speedily cleared through with no delay.

When TSA was created after 9/11, Americans were promised: “No weapons, no waiting.”

But that was only true for the ruling class.

Everybody else must build far more slack time into their travel schedule because of TSA uncertainties.

Unfortunately, Cruz’s hypocrisy is only slightly more brazen than most of his Capitol Hill colleagues’.

Rather than a new law to shield Congress members from irate travelers, senators could mollify public outrage by honoring their oath to uphold the US Constitution.

James Bovard’s latest book is “Last Rights: The Death of American Liberty.”

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