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When lawmakers don’t get special treatment Print E-mail
March 21, 2009 05:00 am

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio seems to believe that distinguished lawmakers like him should get special treatment.

“The Special One” was pulled out of a line on Monday at Portland International Airport for additional security screening while preparing to board a flight to Washington, D.C. – the home of many, many “special ones.” The Special One told The Oregonian he complied with the request by the Transportation Security Administration. He took his bag to a screener, who went through it.

“I did not say, ‘Do you know who I am?’ or ‘You can’t do this’ or whatever,” he told The Oregonian. “I went over there, I put my bag down and I said, ‘You know, this is stupid. You know, I helped to create the TSA. You know, I’m an expert on security.’ … I didn’t say, ‘You can’t look through my bag.’ I didn’t ask for any special privilege.”

The Special One, a Democrat from Springfield, believes more screening by hand is stupid. And it may not be the best way to catch terrorists, but it’s what the TSA had. The TSA has done its best to downplay The Special One’s incident.

“Congressman DeFazio was no more than any other slightly agitated passenger that gets pulled out of line for additional screening,” explained Michael Irwin, the TSA federal security director in Oregon. “What bothered me more than anything is that we didn’t recognize him.”

Presumably, The Special One would have gotten special treatment, if only he had been recognized.

Nobody takes pleasure in the hassles of airline security – the identity checks, the sock-footed romps through scanners, the pawing through clothes. And to The Special One’s credit, he has been a consistent advocate that the TSA should refine its techniques and technology. That does not mean, however, that he should be excluded from the laws and regulations he has helped to create.

Voters elevate politicians, including The Special One, to their positions of trust and responsibility. In that limelight, politicians’ responses when searched receive particular scrutiny. The result, again and again, is that voters find that politicians are no better than anyone else. Politicians just seem more inclined to forget that.

— Wescom News Service (The Bulletin)

 

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