Monday, April 4, 2011

The problem with public policy

A Law professor from Indiana University, Fred Cate, testified before Congress last month about the scanners. While his argument is factual, the effectiveness of the scanners is purely a peripheral issue (but one that Rep Mica no doubt wants to hear). I am surprised this is coming from a lawyer, but then, law may be all about pragmatism and safe policy, not - oh, I don't know - based on written law and the classical liberal principles that this nation is based on.

Also testifying, as I noted earlier, were Alaska State Rep Cissna, who just doesn't like the pat-down, but doesn't see the TSA in general as perpetrating rights violations.

Dr. David Brenner from Columbia lambasts the health risks of the backscatter, while not acknowledging any possible risks for the millimeter wave scanners. 

Stewart Baker was the "lone civilian witness in favor of full-body scanners." Some civilian! He was "ormer assistant secretary for police at DHS and currently a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP." From Steptoe's page:
 As a Washington, DC-based firm, Steptoe has a long tradition of public service with a substantial number of our attorneys in former high-level government positions. This experience enables us to provide unique insight into the political, regulatory, and legislative processes as well as intimate familiarity with all regulatory bodies and government departments affecting businesses and not-for-profit entities.
So I guess Baker is their security expert. Nothing like collusion between the private and public sector to really aggress against an average Joe's rights!

The best witness? Another lawyer: Marc Rotenberg of EPIC fame. He points out the serious privacy issues with the TSA methods, as well as their history of being far from honest in their statements to Congress and the public. It is his presence that the TSA cites as a reason for not appearing before Congress.