At Newark Airport last week, I spoke to a TSA supervisor about my "mark of Cain." He gave me a "special" TSA number to call to register my complaint. I am wise to this tactic, having tried the number before, so I asked him to make the call. As he dialed, I said he could expect a recording to tell him to "press one for English" and then to leave a message. He would be promised a "prompt" reply, which he would not get.
He stayed on long enough to hear the "press one for English" and hung up. He suggested I might try e-mailing TSA headquarters. I said I had and I received an automated response also promising a "prompt reply." I received no reply at all.
Airline agents blame TSA for this mess, and TSA agents blame the airlines. After listening to the blame game recently at Washington's Reagan National Airport, I took a TSA supervisor to the third airline that has me on its "no fly" list. When she saw the TSA agent approach, the airline agent, who initially had blamed TSA, took me off the list and removed the "S" from the ticket that requires a full body and luggage search. This proves to me that TSA is the final authority.
Last month I saw Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at a social function. I decided to go to the top and explain my problem, which other frequent travelers also experience. He took my card and promised to "take care of it." He hasn't.
It isn't just me. A neighbor tells me she is frequently stopped for special screening because her last name is the same as a European city that was attacked by terrorists. But don't worry. The government is going to spend billions more on new equipment, while continuing its harassment of the innocent. Don't you feel safer?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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