A recent update on the Sikh Coalition’s Twitter feed suggested that perhaps things had changed with the United States’ Transportation Security Administration (the TSA): SikhCo Program Director experiences NO 2ndary screening of turban at JFK airport. Sign of change? Skeptical. #racialprofiling #sikhcoalition — Sikh Coalition (@sikh_coalition) June 24, 2011 Their skepticism is justified.
While last fall’s firestorm around TSA’s search procedures seems to have simmered down, one US politician recently took a stand against being patted down: State Rep. Sharon Cissna will return to Juneau by ferry after declining to undergo a pat-down at a Seattle airport. Michelle Scannell, Cissna’s chief of staff, said that the TSA called for the pat-down because scanners showed Cissna had had a mastectomy. Scannell called the search “intrusive” but didn’t explicitly say why the lawmaker — who […]
The Sikh Coalition has announced an update to their Sikh Air Travellers Guide: Significantly, Sikhs should now expect to be secondarily screened 100 percent of the time at American airports, even after passing through so-called Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines. Although TSA publicly asserts on its website that such machines can see through “layers of clothing,” the TSA has made clear in both word and practice that such machines are not powerful enough to see through Sikh turbans. This means that, […]
Categories: Civil Rights, Politics • Tags: Air travel, Airport security, AIT machines, Bobby Scott, Judy Chu, Melvin Watt, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Sikh Coalition, Transportation Security Administration, TSA
The TSA is finding itself under increasing scrutiny. When not even a Sikh diplomat was spared from the demand to remove his turban at a US airport, the SGPC (the Sikhs’ representative body that manages Sikh shrines in India) held a demonstration outside the US Embassy in New Delhi to protest to the alleged targeting of Sikh turbans by the TSA. However, the TSA is receiving heat not just from abroad, but also from home.
Categories: Civil Rights, News Bits • Tags: Air travel, Airport security, AIT machines, California, Federal Flight Deck Officer, FFDO, Sacramento, SGPC, Transportation Security Administration, TSA, whistleblower
In the Washington Post, the Sikh Coalition‘s Rajdeep Singh brings up the dubious claims of effectiveness of TSA’s AIT machines: “The TSA and [Department of Homeland Security] sort of intimated to us that if these machines were to be used as a primary form of screening and if they were so powerful that they could detect beads of perspiration, that it would obviate the need for a human screener and setting Sikhs aside for secondary screening,” he said. “But they’re […]
Categories: Civil Rights, News Bits, Politics • Tags: Air travel, Airport security, AIT machines, GAO, Government Accountability Office, L-3 Communications, Lobbying, Sikh Coalition, Transportation Security Administration
It had come to my mind the other day that I hadn’t seen much more fallout from the TSA’s new aggressive screening procedures. And then today, I receive this news in my inbox: December 9, 2010 (Washington, DC) – The Sikh Coalition filed a formal complaint this week with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on behalf of Mr. Daljeet Singh Mann, a business traveler, who was forced to remove his dastaar (Sikh turban) on two separate occasions within a span of only […]
Categories: Civil Rights, News Bits • Tags: Air travel, Airport security, Daljeet Singh Mann, Racial profiling, Sacramento International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, SFO, Sikh Coalition, SMF, Transportation Security Administration, TSA, Turban
Should clothing now be sold with a “TSA-Approved” label? You can’t wear white after Labor Day, and now you have to dress appropriately when you travel: Travel experts say the new scrutiny underscores the need for better airport fashion choices that can help people breeze through screenings with their dignity intact. Clothes loaded with metal studs are suddenly a no-no, as are bras with underwires. Slacks instead of skirts are preferred. Any baggy clothing can require extra inspection. This presumably includes […]
For Sikhs, the turban is an internationally-accepted article of faith. Having it removed or handled in public is humiliating for any Sikh, however many Sikhs have compromised and thus far have acceded to the TSA’s pat downs and screening. It has not always gone well: His son passed this test, but the officers told Bawa he had set off an alarm and called the police, who checked his records in Maryland, he said. He was tested again and came away clear, but was […]
“…the lobbying contracts of the major distributors of the full-body scanners show a network of lobbyists deeply connected in Washington. For instance, L-3 Communications hired former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.) who was once on the Commission on Aviation Security under President George H.W. Bush.” At the risk of turning this blog’s focus too much at the TSA, the interesting post quoted above from opensecrets.org details the lobby groups behind the installation of AIT machines at American airports. W.C. Varones goes further […]