The TSA is a prime example of security theater. Its mission is to look busy without offending Muslims in the hopes of convincing the terrorists that there’s no point in even trying to bomb or hijack a plane.
Phyllis Chesler, one of the doyennes of the feminist movement, professor emerita of psychology and women’s studies at CUNY, ardent Zionist, and author, most recently of An American Bride in Kabul, which won the National Jewish Book Award for memoir this year, was traveling from New York to Florida Wednesday afternoon.
As she waited, Chesler pulled out the latest edition of The Jewish Press, which she had with her. Chesler noticed that as soon as she took out the paper, one of the security agents looked at her sharply. He came over and asked to see her newspaper.
After looking at the cover, the agent then took The Jewish Press and brought it over to another security agent. The two agents then had a discussion, apparently about the newspaper and about Chesler.
She was then told to open her luggage, which the agents proceeded to search. While Chesler’s luggage was being rifled through and she was being interrogated, she noticed another woman stride unmolested past her and the security agents, and disappear on through to her destination.
The woman who sailed through without being stopped was dressed in a niqab. The niqab is an Islamic head covering which covers a woman’s entire face except for the eyes.
The Jewish Press is an English language newspaper so it wasn’t as if they spotted a paper written in a foreign language. It does lean conservative which might not have helped.
Since the TSA personnel didn’t just glance at the paper, which might have been written off as casual interest, but actually took it with them, it was clearly the newspaper that triggered the search.
In the TSA’s mixed up world, reading a conservative Jewish newspaper is a search trigger, but walking around in a mask associated with the terrorist ideology responsible for the TSA’s own existence isn’t.