HLSS508 Military Transportation Security Case Discussion

Responses should be a minimum of 250 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another student’s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.

Respond to Michael,

I have taken courses in the past that dealt with transportation security, but none that really elaborated on how civil rights are effected within the system. The lesson plan involving whether or not the right to travel is inherent to citizens, and how established that concept is within the US.

When it comes to rights being violated in the new era of surveillance during travel, I feel the biggest concern is whether or not the First and Fourth Amendment of the Constitution is being violated. Marguerite Rigoglioso wrote about how all three branches of government were quick to abandon privacy and freedoms when creating security related legislation in the post 9/11 era, where ridiculous amounts of data are now collected with little say from Congress (2014). She elaborated on this thought by writing such acts have challenged not only the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizures, but also the First Amendment, which prohibits the abridging of free speech and of the practice of religion” (Rigoglioso, 2014).

Susan Stellin has similar concerns regarding how civil rights have been infringed upon since 9/11, mainly with how the TSA is given authority to screen personnel on whether they appear to be “trusted travelers” (2013). This authority to investigate travelers with more invasive screening allows for the government to acquire birth dates, passport numbers, confidential itinerary information regarding where the traveler has come from, and group discount codes from information collected from travel agents (Stellin, 2013). I can definitely see where this topic can be highly scrutinized, based on higher screening allowed due to appearance of the travelers. One thing we’re always taught in military security is to go by whatever random search requirements are legally decided upon. For instance, if you’re only supposed to check 1 out of 3 cars for a specific hour, that is exactly what you do. You never want to look like you are profiling, and what Susan Stellin describes in her article sounds suspicious to me in that regard.

As far as airport security and other forms of security, Ron Nixon wrote about how the government spent “hundreds of billions of dollars to protect transportation systems, mostly at airports. But security experts say the overwhelming focus on aviation leaves security gaps in other modes of transportation” (2015). In my opinion, if you think about how the knee-jerk reaction to safeguard our national security was based upon the 9/11 attacks involving three planes flown by terrorists, it makes sense that more funding would be spent upgrading airport security. This is one area I believe our government needs improvement, trying to see the big picture and understanding travel security as a whole needed a reboot. Nixon concluded that overall intelligence needed to be improved to prevent attacks, instead of focusing on defending targets (2015).

The issue with civil rights and transportation security measures past 9/11 is that there was a need for improvement with intelligence gathering methods, I feel that is undeniable. Now that many of they security measures have been in place for over a decade, and valid complaints have arisen about how the security measures effect civil rights, some practices need to be re-looked at. One issue is that many aspects of the Constitution, like the First and Fourth Amendments, are difficult to relate to the modern era of technology. Somehow a compromise needs to be had between protecting civil rights, while not sacrificing too much in the area of preventing terrorist attacks by means of intelligence gathering.


Nixon, R. (2015). With Its Focus on Air Travel, U.S. Leaves Trains Vulnerable to Attack, Experts Say. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/12/us/us-trains-vulnerable-to-attack-security-experts-say.html.

Rigoglioso, M. (2014). Civil Liberties and Law in the Era of Surveillance. Retrieved from https://apus.intelluslearning.com/lti/#/document/112722132/1/d6cc345f6f8fff9005499ea0447bce17/47e9abf35620d6491a43331977b79dbf/browse_published_content/8136/71484/65045/4/lesson/lesson?hideClose=false&tagId=157300&external_course_id=402210&external_course_name=HLSS508%20B001%20Spr%2019.

Stellin, S.(2013).Airport Screening Concerns Civil Liberties Groups. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/12/business/passenger-screening-system-based-on-personal-data-raises-privacy-issues.html.