A Washington DC-area citizens’ civil rights group and the American Civil Liberties Union have launched a publicity and petition campaign against bag searches on the area’s subway system.
The Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition (MCCRC) and the ACLU of the National Capital Area (ACLU-NCA) said their effort is “a public education and petition campaign against WMATA’s random bag search program.”
They even displayed the “Ride with Pride” image from one of the flyers!
So thanks, Government Security News — selected in 2007 as the “Official Publication” of the Homeland Security Industries Association” — for spreading the word! And as for this — aw, shucks, GSN, you’re makin’ us blush:
MCCRC has been a vocal opponent of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) policy of random searches of passenger bags on its Metrorail system since they started last October.
Sure, they get some little things wrong — they’re not our flyers, our great allies at the ACLU-NCA developed and printed them; we’re not posting them, but handing them out; and petitioning will last well beyond this weekend. But on the whole, this is the kind of journalism we think ought to regain GSN the coveted “Official Publication” of the Homeland Security Industries Association” award again in 2011! After all, you have to tip your hat to a security industrial complex trade publication that takes the time to lay out the case against the bag searches:
Although the WMATA board has met repeatedly to discuss the policy, which groups say violates 4th Amendment Rights against illegal searches, it has not voted to repeal it. […]
The [ACLU-NCA] flyers call the bag searches “security theater” and do very little to increase security. It contends random searches “move terrorists from one target to another perhaps simply by entering a Metro station through a different entrance.”
It adds that there are large costs associated with the program, including the cost to individual privacy.
“This project does not pass a balancing test because it is so full of loopholes and ways for a terrorist to avoid being searched that it simply makes no sense,” said the flyers.
We’ve been taking a step back and building a bit of a scrapbook of media mentions of the local fight against the WMATA bag search program. We’re proud of all of them — but this one will always hold a special place in our hearts. So here’s looking at you, GSN.