Apparently Criticizing TSA’s Boss Is Anti-Worker

Yasha Levine insinuates I’m responsible for Paul Ciancia’s attack on TSA workers the other day.

The “progressive” blog FireDogLake was perhaps the biggest and loudest leftie media outlet to promote the anti-TSA crusade. The site even launched a “Petition to Investigate the TSA,” adopting right-wing lingo in calling the agency’s pat down procedures “aggressive groping” and getting “sexually assaulted by a government official.” FireDogLake blogger Marcy Wheeler frequently referred to TSA checkpoints procedures as “rape” and “groping.” In December 2010, she warned her readers that anywhere from a quarter-million to 1 million people “had their genitalia groped by a stranger working for the government” in a single week, and the Obama administration simply didn’t care. “That sort of seems like a lot of junk-touching in just one week.”

Two years later, Wheeler was comparing TSA workers to rapists, Tweeting out: “Rape is not about sexual enjoyment. It’s about power. So is this TSA stuff.”


But so far the left has been strangely silent about the violent right-wing rhetoric and conspiracy-mongering that inspired the TSA shooting at LAX. I guess that isn’t very surprising, considering the left helped enable it.

I’m not going to respond to this beyond pulling together all the posts where I talk about how asinine the TSA screenings are. If there’s a villain in them, it’s TSA Director John Pistole, the guy setting that asinine policy, not the line workers who implement his policy. There are a number I haven’t included talking about John Pistole’s potential role in the UndieBomb 2.0 leak, some references in “Links” posts, some on relative choices in counterterrorism approaches, and a few on contractors.

Note, especially, the post with the asterisk, where I unpacked the illogic of Levine’s first conspiracy theory on TSA, which might explain why he’s now accusing me of contributing to someone’s death.

That is all.

June 28, 2007: TSA versus Booz Allen

August 15, 2007: Behavior Detection

November 22, 2010: John Pistole Wants Us to Be Afraid of His Shadow

November 22, 2010: White House: Only 170,000 People Have Had Genitalia Groped by Complete Stranger in Last Week

November 23, 2010: Did Just 170,000 Passengers Get Groped by Strangers Last Week? Or a Million?

*November 25, 2010: Correlation Does Not Equal KochNation

December 1, 2010: FBI Entrapment Leads to TSA Pat-Downs

December 9, 2010: John Pistole: “What I Think Is Appropriate in Terms of Privacy”

December 19, 2010: Protecting DC’s Metro from the FBI and Facebook

December 27, 2010: TSA’s Legal Justification for Gate Grope

May 17, 2011: Apparently the Terrorists Can’t Learn How Much Radiation They’ll Get from Going through TSA Security

May 21, 2011: First Mickey Donned Night Vision Goggles, Now Mickey Embraces GateGrope

June 14, 2011: More Security Theater as Play

May 7, 2012: It Takes an Attempted Terrorist Attack to Actually Test Backscatter Machines

August 12, 2012: Racial Profiling Is Wrong, Sometimes

August 7, 2013: The Ooga Booga* Continues to Wear Off 

17 replies
  1. orionATL says:

    look,yashua levine is a small-time journalistic hustler who makes his rent picking on mostly competent journalists, while occasionally providing himself camoflage by taking cover behind a kock-knock.

    levine’s appeal is to alienation. his analytical style is national journal, philidelphia enquirer childlike journalism – this person and that person and that person and that person made a comment about some hot-at-the-moment topic, e.g., tsa agent shooting. then,like a tick, he hitches a ride on the topic, gets some buzz, gets some lechuga and puts it in the bank.

    this moron is just represents internationally based, dimm-witted breitbart journalism.

    the slob produces nothing of value, just walks the internet selling old rags and bones to pay his rent.

  2. JTMinIA says:

    The only thing that I’d argue with you about is this: “Rape is not about sexual enjoyment. It’s about power.” That’s much too general. Some rapes (usually by a stranger) are mostly about power; other rapes (usually by an acquaintance) are mostly about sex. Brownmiller was a good antidote to previous thought, but both extreme views are wrong as general rules.

    But I think I’m digressing.

  3. RirerCapital says:

    Levine’s buddy Ames(at Exiled) used to publish rape fantasies while living in Russia. Levine has also defended the TSA because most of the staff are Union members(like Police officers–he could be in error, but naetheless, Levine is on record for attacking people who criticize the TSA as “right wing union busters” affiliated with Rand Paul and the Koch Bros). Never easy to pin down inspiration for such an idiotic attack, but methinks the above are germane.

    You’re in good company. Levine outed Glenn Greenwald as a mole for the CATO Institute, and(Iterum Crispinus!)the Koch Bros. (GG gave a speech on civil liberties at CATO event).

    OrionATL’s excellent comment inspired a short supplement.

  4. Phil Perspective says:

    Levine outed Glenn Greenwald as a mole for the CATO Institute, and(Iterum Crispinus!)the Koch Bros. (GG gave a speech on civil liberties at CATO event).

    I think Levine has other issues with Greenwald. I thought it was a few Obama-bots who hated on Greenwald for giving a few speeches at CATO in support of drug law reform. And if giving a few speeches at CATO, and Heritage, are a problem then a lot of Democratic elites will be in trouble.

  5. Tom Paine says:

    Question: what the hell happened to the eXile alums? With the exceptionofvthe War Nerd and Matt Taibbibtheyve all gone totally Establishment. Hell even the notorious sex tourist writer and underage teen abortion inducer Mark Ames is suddenly respectable now…at least when trolling Snowden.

  6. JohnT says:

    But so far the left has been strangely silent about the violent right-wing rhetoric and conspiracy-mongering that inspired the TSA shooting at LAX. I guess that isn’t very surprising, considering the left helped enable it.

    Srsly? What kind of nepotism got this person a job? Shallow doesn’t even begin to describe this “analysis”

  7. Greg Bean (@GregLBean) says:

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Gandhi

    EW, great to see you’re at stage three. Looking forward to seeing this bunch of scare-mongering brown-shirts and their groping, bullying, intimidating operations exposed for the rape they represent.

    Sadly, I just read elsewhere that some complete moron is thinking of arming these brown-shirts.

  8. GKJames says:

    Once Levine admits that “it has become clear that Paul Ciancia is a mentally unstable individual,” doesn’t the rest of the diatribe fade into irrelevance?

    Love the “progressive”….

  9. emptywheel says:

    @JTMinIA: I say that in part from having dealt with something like 9 cases of date rape my senior year in college and the year after. That’s all anecdotal. And when I say it’s about power, I mean it’s also about certain images of masculinity. BUt I will reiterate my comment. It’s about power.

  10. Jeffrey says:

    levine’s point about unions overwhelms the rest of the argument – a true progressive, without the scare quotes, supports labor unions and the labor movement broadly, while acknowledging that the TSA is yet another arm of the suffocating security state the US is becoming. his implicit suggestion – to give them guns, because they have none – amounts to weaponizing all arenas of our life even more, which progressives surely would object to.

    i usually love his work (and he’s really critical of cops, who are unionized!!) so i’m not sure what the point of this particular piece was. sigh.

  11. Nic108 says:

    Yasha Levine and Mark Ames are would-be Left Fascists who support the Fatherland Security State because “libertarians” are opposed. Incoherent nitwits.

  12. TarheelDem says:

    Can we say that TSA is the second most useless agency in the US government, who reads its mission as inconveniencing the most people as possible with the greatest invasion of privacy possible (sorry NSA, but Rape-I-Scan just excels bulk collection on this score). It is the second most cited reason not to travel by air, next to the airline service itself. I’m surprised that the Tea Party has not called for the elimination of Lierberman’s curse on America.

    The greatest contribution to passenger safety in traveling by air would be to return the airports to the ambience of the 1960s. Almost zero visible security. The main business was buying tickets, checking baggage, getting on and off airplanes. No, Senators, the Tel Aviv airport is not the optimum model.

  13. joanneleon says:

    Interesting. When it first launched, I thought nsfwcorp was interesting and subscribed a couple of months later. Then last month, two different posts, one by Mark Ames and one by Olivia Nuzzi, both related to the Stop Watching Us protests, made me really wonder what they were really all about. The same kind of ridiculing that happened with Occupy Wall Street and the ridiculous warnings against any coalitions with libertarians on one issue (NSA protests) started pouring out of the joint.

    There are plenty of places I can go to get the Obamabot hyperpartisan or Corporate Democrat neoliberal point of view. I don’t need another one. I spend a decent amount of effort avoiding it.

    It took awhile but it’s becoming more clear what’s going on at nsfw. Initially it was refreshing to see someone writing about the wars, and then Cory Booker, but those look to be more the exception than the rule. Now singling out FDL and Marcy for the TSA attacks. Beyond ridiculous. Just whacko crazy stuff. How many years have we seen reports about TSA procedure on cable and network news now? Why would someone zero in on Marcy? Targeting a journalist who is independent and a threat to authorities? Now who would be motivated to do something like that? Oh, they go after Greenwald too? Oh, what a shocker.

    Yeah, I’ve seen this kind of smear before. It stinks to high heaven.

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