Travel: November 2010 Archives

TSA grope-gate

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Links on the TSA's "enhanced pat-downs," the "alternative" to the scanner that shows you naked.

boingboing: Man at San Diego airport opts out of porno scanner and grope, told he'll be fined $10K unless he submits to fondling. The man got cellphone video of his encounter with TSA officers. (Here's a transcript of the first of three segments.)

PNC-Minnesota Bureau: Rape Survivor Devastated by TSA Enhanced Pat Down (NOTE: The link leads to the "Pagan News Collective" website, and the rape survivor quoted below is a Wiccan; thus the "Goddess" reference.)

"He started at one leg and then ran his hand up to my crotch. He cupped and patted my crotch with his palm. Other flyers were watching this happen to me. At that point I closed my eyes and started praying to the Goddess for strength. He also cupped and then squeezed my breasts. That wasn't the worst part. He touched my face, he touched my hair, stroking me. That's when I started crying. It was so intimate, so horrible. I feel like I was being raped. There's no way I can fly again. I can't do it."

If you dress modestly, your modesty will be violated. This woman (a commenter on the previous article) was willing to go through the scanner, but the TSA didn't like her choice of clothing:

I was pulled aside for a pat down in Phx's Sky Harbour Airport in October. They pulled me aside because I was wearing an ankle-length skirt. The agent told me that the TSA cannot specifially tell people what they can and cannot wear, but they will do pat downs on every person wearing ankle-length skirts on planes. The female agent told me I had two choices: I could go to a room and strip NAKED in front of a TSA officer, or they could pat me down in full view of the other passengers. She said the pat down would require her to touch my genitals. Well, gosh - be groped in public or naked alone in front of a stanger? Such options. When I said neither option was great, she said I wouldnt be escorted from the airport if I didnt comply. Duress much? I have to give you my full name, my birthdate, my gender and now I HAVE to let you humiliate me in public (or oogle my naked body in provate)?? Wow. This cant be the only way.

If only she had worn a burka, she'd have been left alone.

Melissa Clouthier tells of a harrowing TSA encounter from 2002, when unfeeling TSA agents separated her from her baby daughter in a stroller and her two-year old autistic son with a tendency to roam:

My son was walking away from me, looking after the direction his dad went and wanting to follow. He was about twenty five feet away from me, when I tried to go get him, the TSA agent restrained me and said,"Ma'am you need to stay here."

When I tried to explain about my son, she would have none of it. I was reduced to yelling to him to stay, don't go anywhere.

Hysteria rose in my throat. At this point, being felt up by the female agent mattered little to me. My children were separated from me, my son shuffling around, my daughter sitting 20 feet away in a stroller, hundreds of people milling through the Houston airport and I was terrified that someone would grab one or both of my children and I would be helpless to stop it.

And the TSA agents did not care. As I write this, my heart is pounding....

The TSA regulations make average citizens miserable while the real medicine-an Israeli-type profiling would actually make a security difference. But no. Security placebos for Americans.

I share this story to provide additional evidence of the overreach of the TSA. It's time for Congress to clip back these inane regulations.

It's time for Americans to resist this tyranny. When average Americans have more to fear from their government than from some radical Muslim terrorist jerk, the balance has been tipped.

I have managed to avoid flying very much this year, despite a lot of travel, although I haven't been able to avoid it entirely. I actually like being up in the air, and I get a window seat as often as possible so I can watch the scenery and try to deduce our location. But I hate the process of getting from the ticket counter (actually quite painless these days) to the plane. For all the restrictions and all the advanced technology, you have to get even more undressed and undone now for the nekkid scanners than you do for the X-ray machines. I have to pack once to get my stuff to the airport, repack and rearrange to get through security in an efficient manner, and then rearrange again, particularly if it's a small plane and the roll-aboard has to be gate-checked.

We have a pretty good idea of the sort of person who would try to blow up a plane while on board. While we might still need X-rays and metal detectors to deter the old-fashioned kind of hijacker that just wanted a free trip to Cuba, the new-fangled suicide hijacker should be more easily detected. Offer every male passenger between the ages of 18 and 45 a pulled-pork sandwich or a beer; if you won't consume either one, you get the special scope-and-grope. (Some non-yeasty alcohol would be provided for Passover.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Travel category from November 2010.

Travel: September 2010 is the previous archive.

Travel: December 2010 is the next archive.

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