December 1, 2012

TSA chief refuses to appear before congressional committee

CNN - A congressional hearing on aviation security will be missing its chief witness, who declined to testify.

Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole had been asked to appear before the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on aviation on the impact of his agency's policies on passengers and the airline industry.

But Pistole said he had no plans to attend, arguing the panel has no jurisdiction over TSA matters.

The TSA has been regularly criticized over the years by Republicans in the House, especially, for not becoming leaner and more efficient.

It is not common but not unheard of for an agency director to decline to testify at a congressional hearing outside of a scheduling conflict or another agreed-upon reason.

The full Transportation Committee is chaired by Florida Republican John Mica, who has been a tough critic of TSA -- whether led by Republican or Democratic administrations -- for its size, for long security lines at airports, and for screening policies he says have fallen short.

The committee insisted it has legislative jurisdiction when it comes to the airline industry and its passengers, who help finance TSA operations through security fees.

John Pistole's other anti-democratic ideas includes his statement that Americans do not have a right to fly. As we asked at the time:
Now strip search machines are showing up in federal courthouses. Would you say that going to a federal courthouse is also not a right of Americans


fowlbruce said...

The dislike for "strip search" sensors is less about civil rights than about the mental cholesterol that clogs our rationality.

Anonymous said...

Gee, and I thought that people didn't like strip search machines because they are a flagrant invasion of privacy and deliver an untested and undisclosed dose of harmful radiation.

Nice to know it's only "mental cholesterol that clogs our rationality"

Enjoying all that extra radiation fowlbruce?

Anonymous said...

fowlbruce trying to sound intelligent. LOL

Anonymous said...

Who do they think DOES have jurisdiction? It is definitely time to stop the funding for this out-of-control organization. They are getting too big for their britches.

Dr Billy Kidd said...

The TSA has stopped hijackings and bombings of airplanes successfully for 13 years. Why not give them more money? It could save hundreds of lives.

Anonymous said...

Pistole is a functioning member of the national security state, whose loyalties are in no way aligned to the US Constitution. He was brought into the TSA to push through the scanners and pat-downs at airports, and to then introduce them to other venues. He had this to say about the scanners: "We know through intelligence that there are determined people, terrorists who are trying to kill not only Americans but innocent people around the world." This inverts the job of the intelligence agencies, who receive tens of billions of dollars every years to to identify and stop these dangers - before they make it to the airport. Between the lines, Pistole may be admitting that agencies like the FBi and CIA are incompetent and not worthy of their budgets. But, as a functioning member of the national security state, what he is referring to is the requirement for a constantly expanding search and surveillance apparatus aimed at everyone.

Anonymous said...

If this is a real democracy, the following things would happen:

1) The committee would issue a citation for contempt of Congress and the head of the TSA would be arrested. Or, at the very least they'd issue a supoena for him to testify backed up by such a threat.

2) The Congress would immediately move to cut the TSA's funding until he immediately responded to all requests from all congressional committees. Anyone remember the movie Charlie Wilson's War? At the beginning, when he's being dissed by the CIA? He tells them his committee will start taking money from budgets and there's a CIA official in his office within an hour or so. That's how to do it.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Kidd ... the TSA's internal inspectors generally report that from their tests, about the same amount of weapons and explosives go through the check points now as before the TSA existed.

Mark Robinowitz said...

TSA is a particularly bad joke given how 9/11 would have been stopped if the rank and file FBI agents (and CIA, DIA, etc.) had been allowed to do their jobs.


TUESDAY, SEP 11, 2012 07:33 AM PDT

9/11: What Bush knew

An article sheds new light on the CIA's desperate efforts to warn about 9/11. Why didn't the White House listen?


Last year Jonathan Kay, a Canadian journalist, published "Among the Truthers," an interesting chronicle of, among other things, post-9/11 conspiracy theories. Many of these theories are outlandish on their face, such as claims that the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition, that airplanes never struck them, that Flight 93 landed in Cleveland rather than crashing in a Pennsylvania field, and so forth.

Now if I were inclined toward a conspiratorial view of the world, I would speculate that the very outlandishness of these claims is itself part of a conspiracy to obscure what really happened on 9/11. This meta-conspiracy theory would go something like this: Over the past 11 years, it has slowly but inexorably become clear that the CIA uncovered key details of the 9/11 plot several months in advance, and tried on numerous occasions to get the Bush administration to take action to stop it.

In a New York Times Op-Ed, Kurt Eichenwald offers new evidence on this front. Throughout the spring and summer of 2001, Eichenwald claims the CIA presented the administration with compelling evidence that al-Qaida operatives were in the United States, that they were planning a major terrorist attack intended to produce mass casualties, and that this attack was imminent. In response, the Bush administration did nothing.

Indeed, the administration’s level of inaction was so negligent that senior intelligence officials actually considered resigning, so as not to be in a position of responsibility when the attack took place:

"Officials at the Counterterrorism Center of the C.I.A. grew apoplectic. On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews. The suggestion was batted down, they said, because there would be no time to train anyone else."

Anonymous said...

Many of these theories are outlandish on their face, such as claims that the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition,

Many people, including at least one of the world's few experts in controlled demolition and at least one well-respected experimental physicist, believe that controlled demolition is exactly how they were brought down.

The difficulty is mostly in the speed of collapse, you see. The numbers don't work out for any other method.

Anonymous said...

"Dr Billy Kidd" claimed that "The TSA has stopped hijackings and bombings of airplanes successfully for 13 years."

I have a charm on my wall that has protected me for 50 years against having the building hit by a tornado. I had one come close once (perhaps the charm was dozing) but I've never been hit.

I can duplicate this highly-effective charm for anyone at a cost of only US$50.- each, money back if it doesn't work. That's much cheaper than throwing money at TSA, works just as well, is much less obnoxious in use, and provides a refund for non-performance, which TSA doesn't

Strelnikov said...

Pistole needs to be informed that what he did is contempt of Congress and that he should be fined or jailed.

The national security state needs to be disbanded; the Cold War is over, the War on Terror unwinnable.

Anonymous said...

re: demolition theories

the "well respected experimental physicist" is probably Mr. Steven Jones, formerly with BYU in Utah, who also has written about Jesus visiting the Yucatan several centuries after His crucifixion.

The firefighters used transits to watch the towers and WTC 7 leaning before they came down.

It's fortunate the towers stayed up as long as they did since that allowed most of the people below the impacts to escape.

If the 9/11 Truth Movement had any sense of strategy (or fact checking) it would not have been in a contest to see who could create the most fantastic claims but instead would have focused on the facts of foreknowledge that would have had potential traction about the conspirators. Of course that isn't what happened, with tragic results.

Anonymous said...

There are quite a few scientists who believe things I have a hard time not laughing at. But that doesn't mean they're not good scientists.

Despite being a Mormon and a Republican, Dr Jones is in fact well-respected among his peers as a careful, thorough, no-nonsense experimenter.

He has repeatedly asked others to look at the same evidence and come to their own conclusions, which of course everyone who cares about their career knows better than to do. Dr Jones, like Galileo, is a real scientist and goes where the evidence takes him regardless of the cost.