TSA and Nazis: What federal screeners do — and don’t — have in common with their Third Reich counterparts

To call someone to a Nazi is the ultimate insult. So when commenters began comparing the Transportation Security Administration to their Third Reich counterparts on this site and elsewhere, I wondered: Do they have a point?

Is the modern-day TSA in any way similar to Germany security in the 1930s?

My initial response was: absolutely not. It seemed “Nazi” was a cheap shot (and a poorly-chosen one, at that) not unlike “fascist” or the more benign “socialist.”

But then I reviewed what others have been saying on the subject.
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Department of Homeland Security to visitors: Are you a terrorist or a Nazi?

As of this month, visitors to the United States who don’t require a visa must fill out a Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). No one seems to like ESTA, which some have called costly to the US tourism industry and others believe is unnecessary. But has anyone bothered to take the look at the actual questions on the form?

Before I share those with you, I should note the Department of Homeland Security is running this show. I hate to pile on DHS after my little run-in with them over the New Years holiday, but you can’t make this stuff up. (These queries don’t appear to be new, for the most part, but they are being encountered by many international visitors for the first time.)
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