Susie's TSA Petition to Congress

Every day, travelers are being subjected to unconstitutional searches and seizures at the hands of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Such behavior is specifically forbidden by the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, which states:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

That's where my story comes in. Recently, while traveling back into the United States after working in Brazil, I was going through security when a TSA agent informed me that I had two options: 

1. To walk through a body scanning machine where I'd be irradiated just enough to produce an image of my naked body to make sure I wasn't hiding anything dangerous under my clothing, or...

2. Submit to an "enhanced" pat down, a procedure where a TSA agent touches your body extensively, also in an effort to detect dangerous items of any kind.  

Being an extremely health-conscious individual, I chose option 2, the "enhanced" pat down, because I know any amount of radiation is bad for me...especially when you fly as often as I do for work. Radiation accumulates in your body over time, alters your cells and can, in fact, be cancer causing. The more radiation you accumulate, the more your cells are harmed.  

Shortly after "opting out" of the body-scanning machine, I realized this option was just as unacceptable, but in a very different way. During the pat down, my private areas were touched multiple times by a stranger. Outside of the TSA's domain, this individual would be sent to jail for doing such a thing. Police officers can't even perform this sort of search without a warrant or probable cause.

During the procedure, I found myself overcome with emotion, which turned to tears once the pat down was finished. My husband thought I should document my experience and share my story in hopes that it would empower others to do the same. That is what this petition is all about: EMPOWERMENT!

I felt completely violated and humiliated that day. And I don't know about you, but I don't want to deal with this unacceptable choice (either radiation or a degrading pat down) every time I fly. Nobody should have to!

Most are unaware of the fact that these procedures have been proven ineffective. A TSA supervisor flat-out told me "there are definitely loop holes in the system." So why put us through this degrading experience for something that is an ineffective violation of our Constitutional rights? 

Body scanners and "enhanced" pat downs undoubtedly fall under the category of "unreasonable searches," as defined by the 4th Amendment. Did I do anything that day at DFW airport to warrant an "enhanced" pat down? No. So where's the "probable cause" deemed a requirement by the 4th Amendment for this type of search?

The TSA has been given powers that override the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, and if we don't stand up for our rights today, there's no telling how far they may deteriorate. So let's join forces and tell Congress that the TSA's current screening procedures must be changed immediately. This petition will go a long way in reminding our representatives that their primary job is to protect our rights, and that we expect them to deliver. 

I also urge you to personally contact your Congressional Representatives as a concerned citizen. If you're not sure how to contact your Reps., please visit:

http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

And file official complaints with TSA, just as I did, at:

https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/tsacontact/DynaForm.aspx?FormID=10

We all want to feel safe, but there must be a more effective and less invasive screening technique out there; one that doesn't violate our rights or take away our dignity as human beings in our pursuit of that goal. Because don't forget:

"Those that would give up their liberty for security deserve neither and lose both."

- Benjamin Franklin 

Thank you for standing strong with me.

Many Blessings,

Susie Castillo
http://www.SusieCastillo.net

P.S. Please also spread the word about this petition via Facebook and Twitter. Our power is in our numbers.

We the undersigned are standing up for our Constitutional rights. Every day, thousands of Americans are being subjected to unconstitutional searches and seizures at the hands of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Why are we allowing this to go on? Such behavior is specifically forbidden by the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, which states:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

With that in mind, how do you justify the TSA's "enhanced" security screening procedures? In effect, we air travelers are given two unacceptable options:

1. To walk through a dangerous body-scanning machine where we're irradiated just enough to produce a naked image of our body in order to make sure we're not hiding anything dangerous under our clothing, or... 

2. Submit to a physically violating pat down, a procedure where TSA agents invasively touch our genitals and every other private area. This experience is leaving many, children included, in tears.

With regard to unacceptable option 1, please remember that radiation accumulates in your body over time. The more you accumulate, the more your cells are harmed. So if you fly often, these "harmless" body scans aren't so harmless. Especially when you add that radiation to all the background radiation we're already exposed to every day. Another scary fact is that there are no long-term studies to prove these machines are as harmless as our government claims. In effect, those of us who go through the body scanners are subjects in a massive experiment.

However, if we "opt out" of the body scanners, we're forced to submit to an "enhanced" pat down where, according to USA Today, TSA agents must "touch passengers' breasts and genitals." Legally, police officers can't perform this sort of search without a warrant or probable cause.

And yet the evidence that these procedures don't actually make us safer continues to mount. Not a month passes where we don't see headlines about a federal agent getting a gun or even bomb-making materials through TSA checkpoints. So is it worth trading in our rights for the illusion of safety?

Furthermore, reports of terrorists hiding harmful materials in their rectums have recently surfaced. Are rectal exams next for travelers in America? We want to be safe and appreciate the TSA's efforts, but the bottom line is the current procedures violate our rights and takes away our dignity. We shouldn't have to forfeit our rights in the name of security. 

You, our elected officials, have given the TSA powers that override the 4th Amendment to the Constitution. If you don't join us in standing up for our rights today, there's no telling how much further they could deteriorate. Many of our service men and women have given their lives to safeguard the very rights that are being stripped of us within the TSA's domain. We should instead honor their lives by upholding the freedoms they fought and died to protect.

This petition is about EMPOWERMENT and serves as our unified call for change. No law-abiding human being should have to choose between these two degrading passenger screening options. As our representatives, your primary job is to protect our rights. Please, do not fail us.

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