Texans elected Ted Cruz to the US Senate a dozen years ago after he promised to abolish the Transportation Security Administration.
Cruz has “grown” in office.
Instead of seeking to ax the TSA, Cruz is pushing an amendment to compel it to treat members of Congress like royalty and protect them from riffraff at airports.
The Cruz measure would provide “lawmakers a dedicated security escort at airports, along with expedited screening outside of public view,” Politico reports.
Cruz was ridiculed in 2021 after he was photographed in the airport escaping to Cancun while fellow Texans were suffering massive power outages due to a winter storm.
His bill should be called the No More Mockery for Poohbahs Act.
TSA already gives members of Congress “Get out of grope free” cards to avoid checkpoint hassles.
How did that exemption to “equal treatment under the law” occur?
In 2010, TSA turned airport checkpoints into “constitutional twilight zones” with “enhanced patdowns” and whole-body scanners that radiated travelers while taking birthday-suit photos.
The following year, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), the House of Representatives’ second-most-powerful Democrat, bitterly complained: “We’ve had some incidents where TSA authorities think that congresspeople should be treated like everybody else.”
Clyburn warned: “I think we need to take a hard look at exactly how the TSA interact with members of Congress.”
TSA hustled to placate the political elite.
A 2014 American Civil Liberties Union report condemned “Government Placing Itself at Top of New Air Travel Caste System.”
TSA “compiled vast whitelists of individuals” who “are automatically eligible for expedited screening at airports,” including members of Congress and federal judges, the ACLU noted.
Politicians also benefit from PreCheck and CLEAR programs most travelers have chosen not to purchase.
TSA spends $800 million a year for air marshals, but almost half of them are designated for standby for flights by members of Congress — despite zero aviation threats on most such flights.
One veteran air marshal groused in 2021 that the DC field office “was almost exclusively dedicated to VIP services for Congress.”
The Air Marshal National Council formally complained TSA had turned its program into a “concierge service” and “babysitting” for members of Congress, who exploited the program even for personal flights with no tie to official business.
Cruz’s “Safe Airport Travel Specialized Screening Process” legislative fix was forged by other indignities he suffered.
After an Oklahoma woman sued after being strip-searched due to a menstrual pad, Justice Department lawyers scoffed that the treatment she complained of “amount[ed] to no more than . . . petty oppressions.”
But who entitled TSA to oppress American women?
Federal court cases are documenting recent TSA transgressions against female travelers.
For more than a decade, entering a TSA checkpoint has been akin to Russian roulette.
Flying out of Washington National Airport recently, I scored an enhanced pelvic patdown after the TSA whole-body scanner alerted solely due to the zipper on my Levi’s jeans.