Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Senator Corker's "Nuanced" Response to my Letter Regarding TSA Body Scans

Recently I contacted my Senator, Bob Corker, regarding the intrusive nature of the largely useless TSA airport body scans. Here's his response:

Dear Mr. King,

Thank you for taking the time to contact my office with your concerns regarding the new security screening policy instituted by TSA. Your input is important to me, and I appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts.

As you know, the new security procedures at airports include the use of full-body scanners and enhanced pat-down techniques. Full-body scanners are currently in use at about 58 U.S. airports and the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has adopted rules intended to protect anonymity of passengers and to prevent the storing of images. Enhanced pat-downs were recently implemented as an alternative to the scanners and in instances where an unusual object is detected. While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is charged with securing America's borders and protecting the American people from those that would do us harm, I share your concerns that civil liberties must be safeguarded as we confront the many evolving threats to our nation.

As Congress reviews these new security techniques, the invasive nature of the scanners and pat-downs must be considered along with their cost, safety and effectiveness. Again, while I have great concern with the serious threat faced by our country, particularly with regard to the clear commitment of terrorists to target air travel, I believe Congress should examine carefully whether these practices are necessary. Please know, I have experienced both the full-body scan and pat down procedures, and I will certainly take your concerns into consideration should any legislation reach the full Senate.

Thank you again for your letter. I hope you will continue to share your thoughts with me.


Bob Corker
United States Senator

I would have preferred that he actually, you know, take a position on this topic, even if it be adverse to my own. But, maybe that's too much to ask these days.

UPDATE:> Lest I paint with too broad a brush, I must note that not all legislators are as nuanced as Mr. Corker. Though I often disagree with my Congressperson, John Duncan, I respect him greatly. I have written him on a variety of contentious topics over the years, and he never fails to stake out a definite position, responding intelligently to specific criticisms where I have disagreed. Thus, I admire him even when I disagree with him. By contrast, I struggle to find anything truly "admirable" in Senator Corker's letter quoted above.

Senator Corker, you can do better, and I'm betting you will.

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