Ramblings & ephemera

The TSA acts outside the Constitution

From Ars Technica’s “Terrorist watch list follies, and my time in the TSA’s Constitution-free zone“:

So what are your rights if your name is unjustly on the watch-list, and you’d like to be able to move about the country without being singled out by airport screeners and possibly even traffic cops for extra attention? The answer is, unfortunately, that some of your basic Constitutional rights are effectively non-existent if you happen to get caught somewhere in America’s growing terrorist dragnet.

As of right now, there aren’t many rules to which you can appeal for redress—no laws aimed at protecting the accused, no binding judicial decisions, and few formal departmental protocols for addressing grievances. The kinds of rules and precedents that govern most of the other citizen-facing aspects of the federal bureaucracy just aren’t there when it comes to anything terrorism and/or TSA-related. …

To sum up, if you run afoul of the nation’s “national security” apparatus, you’re completely on your own. There are no firm rules, no case law, no real appeals processes, no normal array of Constitutional rights, no lawyers to help, and generally none of the other things that we as American citizens expect to be able to fall back on when we’ve been (justly or unjustly) identified by the government as wrong-doers.

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