Thousands standing around ...
... and a few snoozing
We salute the men and women of the Transportation Security Administration, the largest public workfare program since the Works Progress Administration. Burger flippers last week, highly trained aviation & railway security agents today, the employees of the Transportation Security Administration stand (and sleep) ever ready to protect America's airways and railways from the dangers of water, toothpaste and baby formula.
Nancy Campbell in NY Post (Mar. 27, 2011 ): "If I had been physically attacked, this would have been a very, very similar experience," said Nancy Campbell, 33, an urban planner who said she was traumatized by a touchy-feely female TSA agent before her flight to Washington Tuesday. Campbell had already cleared security and was approaching the gate when the young agent stopped her, told her to drop her stuff and demanded she stand spread-eagled. As passers-by gawked, the TSA agent patted Campbell down, touching her breasts, inner thighs and crotch, the freaked-out flier told The Post. When she protested, the agent said, "You can either continue on flailing about, or you can let me do my job. If you don't, you can't fly." The petite Brooklynite was in tears when she boarded her plane after the three-minute ordeal.
EXLEFTSEAT in FlyerTalk (Mar. 30, 2011 ): Just received call from Mrs. EX. She was leaving PHX this morning with her mother. Mother is 89 years old, has terminal cancer, weighs 67 pounds, has a colostomy bag and English paperwork from Japanese Government stating so. She speaks no English. They herded everyone through the new machine. Then they select Mother as well as Mrs. EX for extra pat down. Why? No one knows. They get separated, Mother understands nothing. Mrs. EX is not allowed to translate or assist. They call for a Chinese speaking screener, which of course is totally unhelpful. They touch this 89 year old Great Grandmother everywhere. Imagine, how that feels for a Japanese citizen! The same with my wife. My goodness, these two little Japanese ladies are going home to Japan, for crying out loud. Incidentally, now they have no view of their belongings in the tray. After ten minutes of touching, groping and needless questioning, they are on their own to look for their belongings. Mrs. EX had two trays, one had her Rolex wristwatch inside. Now there is only one tray and the watch is missing! No help, no assistance, nothing. On top of it, now they have to rush to board. The two ladies are completely upset, crying. Mrs. EX called after arriving at LAX and from the lounge and she still is completely besides herself. First the unpleasant experience as described in another thread in SFO, now this. It is embarrassing to have foreign guests visiting the U.S. It really is unbelievable what fliers have to go through just to catch a flight. And the return stateside is no picnic either. TSA and CBP is just the same, give these people an uniform and they sense power. When I got in this time and presented my U.S. passport to the officer, he asks me what nationality I am. How do they expect me to deal with such a stupid question??? Can someone give me some advice where to go to file a report for the missing watch? Sorry for the rant, but these things just get to me.
debua1k in FlyerTalk (Mar. 15. 2011 ): They definately go beyond the minimum. I was badly groped there a couple of weeks ago. As a very frequent traveler (150K for the last 14 years), I am used to the abuses by the TSA. Am currently traveling out of SFO weekly... While doing the groping, the clerk actually jammed the side of her hands into my genital area. I told her, you just touched my CL**. She said, no I didn't. I said, ummm I think I know my own anatomy. The supervisor tried the DY...T on me and I told her that unless she had some reason as to why she was threatening me, I would like to proceed thru this farce of security and get to my gate. I asked for a LEO and she told me I would have to call 911. I probably should have, but had a conference call I needed to get on once I got to my gate. At the time, I did not realize how much this had affected me, but after walking away, I noticed that my hands were shaking and I ended up needing to vomit.
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MemphisQueen in FlyerTalk (Mar. 9, 2011 ): I traveled in a dress this week (DTW) and there was no other option than the nudeoscope or pat down. (Of course airport employees were allowed to bypass the line and use the metal detector.) So, after opting for the pat down, I was conveniently forced to wait 10 minutes for one, to the point other male passengers were asking what was taking so long for them to get to me. Then the female TSA employee, with daggers for her eyes, proceeded to not only complete the usual breast exam (top, bottom, around, and between the breasts), and then went up my skirt to ensure that the "space where my torso meets my legs" was free of any dangerous items. A thin piece of nylon was all that separated me from a full on sexual assault. Such a lovely start to my trip.
Brian Williams in NBC (Jan. 4, 2011 ): They go, they go right in. This new thing, they go right after Dave and the twins. ... Either you go in the little thing and you put your arms up and parade around, and somebody in a booth somewhere looks at you naked through your clothing, or you can get the prod of your schmegeggy.
UnitedF1RST in FlyerTalk (Dec. 31, 2010 ): Flying out of PIT this morning during the 6-7am departure block and there are two completely uncontrolled lines that extend far toward the lower level doors near the security check point. After snaking my way around to find the first/elite shortcut, I purposefully stayed away from the backscatter machine line. As I was putting my worldly possessions back together after going through X ray and the like, I witnessed a TSA agent rudely ordering a disabled woman with Downs to go through the backscatter three times, and then had her take off her belt, and then go through it again. It was infuriating watching the agents bark at this woman who seemed to be very confused with the whole process.
boiflyer in FlyerTalk (Dec. 28, 2010 ): However, it was a "push-to-feel" type action, not necessarily harsh or violent, but I was really surprised by the exact target hit of this perverts finger--square in the hole.
Tim Ely in Raleigh News Observer (Dec. 14, 2010 ): Tim Ely, a retired Army officer who once commanded a military police unit in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, filed an online complaint after a Nov. 20 confrontation at RDU. He was subjected to an intimate pat-down because of a false alarm from the body scanner. After an agent groped around his genitals from in front and from behind, Ely challenged him to explain what sort of anomaly had turned up on his full-body scan. "He said there was something suspicious hanging from between my legs," Ely, 63, wrote in his RDU online comment. "I told him that something suspicious was my [genitals], you dummy."
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Lisa Daidone in Charlotte Observer (Dec. 12, 2010 ): At the Tampa airport, we were both randomly selected to go through the full-body scanner. Going through the scanner was uncomfortable and a bit creepy, but I didn't think it was a big deal until I tried to leave the scanner. I assumed I was finished, but a female Transportation Security officer yelled at me for "trying to get away from her." She told me I had to stand in front of her - while I was still barefoot and trying to watch out for my stuff, which had gone through a different scanner - until my scan was read. I told her I had never undergone this process and was a bit afraid, and she laughed at me and told me I didn't know what I was talking about. The woman grabbed my wrist and said she had to look at my plastic watch. I tried to take it off and hand it to her, and she yelled at me not to interfere with her search. Then, with no explanation, she pulled up my shirt, exposing my stomach and the top of my underwear, and stuck the top half of her fingers inside the waistband of my pants. I yanked my shirt down and told her she was not showing the top of my underwear and my naked stomach to anyone. She put her hand up in front of me, threatened to call security and have me arrested if I "tried to get away from her again," and called security for a private screening. I was not allowed to get my things. I was not allowed to put on my shoes. I was taken through a side door, down a dirty hall, to a dark dingy windowless storage room. I had to pull up my shirt, and the woman put half her hand down my pants to search me. She complained that I should have cooperated originally and this would not have happened. Then I was allowed to put on my shoes and get my things. I left the area and cried. I was touched and humiliated in ways that have never happened to me. My friend was told nothing about me. She was made to wait, then also taken back for a private search, without being told why.
Carol Kelly in FedUpFlyers.Org (Dec. 7, 2010 ): I stepped through the metal detector wearing just my dress and hose. I cleared the detector with no issues but then was pulled from the line to go through a pat down. Since I was wearing a dress, the pat down went up the inside of my thighs and the agent had her hand in my groin and my dress pulled up to the tops of my thighs in full view of everyone else. She also had me spread my legs when doing the pat down across my back and then, without me having moved, when she proceeded to pat down my front insisted I spread them even further. I felt violated and still feel violated about this experience 4 days after it occurred. It has taken me days to get calmed down enough to complain about the incident. I have been over and over this and I can in no way justify what happened. This was clearly a violation of my personal rights. I would like to reiterate that I am an experienced flier that routinely goes through the full body scanners, additional pat downs and belonging searches with no complaints but I can not accept this level of abuse. I was offered a private screening room but had no idea how invasive the pat down was going to be nor was I given information about how invasive it was.
sunnjl in FlyerTalk (Dec. 8, 2010 ): o I got the opt-out groping yesterday, and it was not the opt-out groping I received on numerous occasions previously. This time, I got the female "zip-a-dee-do-dah", and honestly, I did feel violated, and the fact that it was a woman agent made it worse. I thought only men were getting the junk touched, but either I had just been lucky in the past, or this is a change in procedure... At any rate, I am still in a state of shock. I had not heard about women getting felt up in the nether regions. NOT a happy camper. I am so disgusted with getting felt up by another woman.
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Patti Roberts in FlyerTalk (Nov. 23, 2010 ): The following excerpt is from an email my husband just received: Today when flying from Boston Logan to (Baltimore) my 17-year-old daughter had quite an unpleasant experience due to the new scanner malfunctioning& She was told she would need a pat down. Being 17, she had no idea what that meant and how intense a& detailed full-body pat down can be. Even when she began to cry, the TSA agent continued the pat down. My daughter felt molested and humiliated and as a parent I was helpless to stop this violation. Also, the gentleman behind her had a full body pat down& However his pat down was not as intense as my daughters.
patsmom in CollegeConfidential.com (Nov. 19, 2010 ): ... a female attorney called in and told the host about what happened to her client yesterday in Atlanta. The 68-year old woman has a medical condition that causes incontinence. She wears some type of thick pad to absorb accidents. TSA pulled her aside for the pat-down and when the female TSA agent felt the pad, she became aggressive and asked what it was. The older lady was scared and embarrassed. Instead of escorting her into a private area to search further, the TSA agent called for assistance from a supervisor. Suddenly there were several agents surrounding the old woman and she reached into her pants and removed the pad right there in front of everyone. She got so upset that she had an accident and had to continue on her trip in urine-soaked pants.
Wendy Ouriel in L.A. Times (Nov. 24, 2010 ): Things went so badly at LAX for Wendy Ouriel, she said, that the Cal State Fullerton student missed her United Airlines flight back home to Rochester, N.Y., and lost her driver's license too. It all began, Ouriel said, when she declined to go through the new body scanner Sunday night. Besides being worried about possible radiation, "I find it degrading," she said of the machines, which generate sometimes graphic images of bodies. She also said she was suspicious when the male TSA agent "seemed to be picking out young females" to go through the scanner rather than the metal detector. Told she would have to undergo a pat-down, she declined that too after she said she saw an agent "grab" the crotch of a man being patted down ahead of her. Having declined both screenings, she was told she couldn't fly and was sent to baggage claim to collect her luggage. She says forgot to retrieve her driver's license, which the TSA had taken to file a report, and later couldn't find it. Ouriel said she's now out $400 for her round-trip ticket. And as of Tuesday night, the only journey she was planning to make was to the DMV to get a new license.
Freefallin' in FlyerTalk (Nov. 26, 2010 ): According to my daughter, this other young woman had been forced by the TSA to remove her dress. It was apparently a wrap-around dress with long sleeves that the TSA insisted must be a coat. They told her she had to take off her coat. She explained it was not a coat, but a dress. They demanded she take it off. Underneath, she was only wearing a camisole and panties. She was exposed in this manner and was furious.
Fran Golden in X-Ray Nation (Nov. 17, 2010 ): Then I looked over to the adjacent security line and saw to my horror my red-faced friend questioning TSA officers after she was chosen at random for, and refused to go through, a full body scanner. My pal happens to be a Boston media personality and crime reporter, Michele McPhee. She is not a shy lady. When this tough blond makes up her mind she makes up her mind. There was no way she was going to be convinced to do a body scan if she didnt want to. So instead, she opted for a pat down and was whisked away, barefoot, by two women a TSA officer and her supervisor to a private room, where McPhee says a very intrusive body search was conducted. They run their hands inside your leg and under your bra strap and patted the front of my breasts, she says. If someone had done that to me at a nightclub Id call the cops.
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Stacey Armato in X-Ray Nation (Nov. 25, 2010 ): TSA rules allow for alternate screening (no x-ray) for breast milk and I almost never had a problem&until the week before this screening. I was held for 30 minutes that week while the TSA manager called to find out the rules. I was told to pump and dump, and asked why the milk wasnt clear, also asked where my baby was and if it was really milk (uh traveling, working mom pumping doesnt usually have the baby with her). After begging him to figure it out, they finally let me through. I called and complained to TSA and was instructed to travel with the TSA breast milk rules printed out and present them whenever there is a problem. As my items come through security this time, I notice immediately that I was dealing with the same people from the week before. The woman tells me right away that my milk might have to go through the x-ray, and then I tell her I printed the rules. I go to grab the rules on top of my bag and she freaks out and pushes my arm away. Another guy comes over and calls for back up and they put in me back in the glass cage. Standing 50 ft away are the same manager and supervisor I had dealt with the previous week. They will stall for 20 minutes before coming over to me. Meanwhile, one of the guys comes over to me and tells me to be quiet if I know whats good for me. At the end of this portion I have been locked up for just under 10 minutes. The whole ordeal takes just under 1 hour. My brother in law did me a favor by helping me put the videos together, speed them up, and narrate. He didnt know all the details so there were a few errors but he tried to get it up as soon as possible knowing that the issue really needed to get out there. My son was 7 months old at the time and I was not pregnant during the video. I got pregnant 6 weeks later and am due any week now with our next little one. Travel and pumping will start again for me in February 2011& In this segment, I have already been in the glass cage for about 8 minutes. My patience wears thin and I start crying. It is hard to see on this video, but real tears wouldnt stop streaming down my face. About 10 minutes into all this, a Phoenix PD comes to calm me down. I explain to him that there is no reason I should be treated this way and I have every right to be upset. He then says they (aka TSA) saw me coming, have it out for me (from my complaint against TSA the week before when they didnt know the breast milk rules then either), and I should travel out of a different gate in future weeks.He said TSA wants me to play along with their horse and pony show and if I dont then TSA can have the Phoenix PD arrest me! Well, I wanted to get home to my baby and my flight was 30 minutes from departure so I played along. Three Phoenix PD watched in the background&I could tell they all knew this was a waste of their time but I was happy to have them standing by in case TSA continued to act out of line. One police officer actually came up to me later during my second screening asking if I was okay and if he could let anyone in my party know I was going to be late. A class act compared to the TSA actions. During this portion of the screening, my items were looked through by some TSA agents, I was patted down, and then I had a talk with the TSA manager. He told me I had to have the milk go through the x-ray since the containers were too full (not a TSA rule) and the liquid was not clear (hello, it is milk?, and also not a TSA rule). I then begged him to read the TSA rules I had printed out. He read the first form which stated that medical liquids can have alternate screening (no x-ray). He was quick to say well this isnt a medical liquid! So I had him read the second form which says breast milk is to be treated like a medical liquid. He then says, well, not today. I started balling all over again once he said that. In this segment, the TSA manager tells me I can leave security, redistribute the milk into half full containers (his completely made-up rule) and go through security all over again if I want to avoid x-rays on the milk. With tears continuing to stream down my face, I did that.I also missed my flight playing along with his ridiculous game. Curiously, my second screening video (another 20 minutes) has been erased.During that portion, I was scolded for not watching the woman test my milk (I would turn my head away to hide the tears), the manager wrote down my personal information on a scratch piece of paper and tucked it in his pocket (who knows where that ended up- TSA could only say their policy was to destroy information like that&we all know how policy went that day, though), and took pictures of my breast milk for some unknown reason.
SherrieG in BreastCancer.org Discussion Boards (Nov. 16, 2010 ): I received an email from a girlfriend this morning who has just been through the enhanced molestation. I feel so bad for her. She is also a stage 3 gal who had a bmx with no recon. She does wear her proths everywhere. When she flew yesterday, she told the TSA folks about her bc dx and treatments and told them she didn't want any additional radiation. Soooo, they put her through the patdown. She was taken into a private room and after the agent did her thing, she then told my friend she was going to have to "take a peek" at her chest!! She told my friend to raise her shirt and unhook her bra. My friend was in tears and said she felt humiliated.
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AngryMiller in FlyerTalk (June 11, 2009 ): They attempted to remove a translucent surgical dressing (12 inch long fresh incision) from me because it alarmed with a hand wand at the gate.
LeeAnne in FlyerTalk (Nov. 22, 2010 ): Last year my mother and I were changing planes in Atlanta from an international flight, heading home to LAX. After going through customs, we had to stand in the long security line to get to our gate for our domestic flight. We had a 2-hour layover, which should have been plenty of time. My mother is 73 years old, has a metal hip and cement injected into a shattered spinal disk. She walks with a distinct limp and a cane. As soon as we landed in Atlanta we used the facilities. Unfortunately the security line took almost 90 minutes, and by the time we got near the front, my mother had to use the restroom again. But there was no way for her to leave the line and go find the restroom, and then get back to me - she couldn't have fought her way out and back through the crowd. I would have had to go with her, losing our place in line and missing our flight home. She had her doctor's notes for both of her medical conditions, but naturally she set off the metal detector, so she was moved over to a roped-off area out in full view of the public. When they walked her over, she begged them to allow her to use the restroom before the pat-down. They refused. She waited there for over 10 minutes before a very large, very scary-looking TSA agent - who looked like she'd spent the first half of her life running with the crips and the second half as a prison guard - came over to pat her down. My mother asked AGAIN if she could use the restroom. The agent refused, and began her molestation. She wanded her entire body, including between her legs, then began the physical rubbing. She ran her hands up my mother's legs, and when she got to her crotch area, she discovered that my mother was slightly damp there. She yanked her hand out and started SCREAMING at her, "DID YOU PISS ON ME? DID YOU PISS ON ME?" My mother started crying, calling out my name in distress. I was not allowed to approach her. I was so angry, but there was nothing I could do - I was told repeatedly by the agent groping my mother, and by two others nearby, to STAY BACK from the roped off area. Finally the grope session was over, and she was allowed to leave. We both felt sick, and violated.
LeeAnne in FlyerTalk (Nov.23, 2010 ): Well, unfortunately things did not go as well as I thought. I just talked to Mom, and more details emerged. She didn't want to share them while in the car with my daughter. When she was pulled away for the grope, she says she started to tell the woman doing the groping that her right breast is still very tender and has healing surgical wounds on it, but the woman actually put her hand up in front of my mothers face, as if to signal her to shut up! My mother, terrified of another horrible experience, quickly did just that she shut up. I find this shocking, given what recently happened to the man with the urostomy bag. Even with all that publicity, including a phone call from John Pistole to the man to apologize, is it STILL not understood by TSA agents that they need to allow their victims to tell them about their medical issues??? The agent used the back of her hand to press in and circle the entire exterior of each breast including the sore one. Sure enough, it hurt. But my mother didnt say a word just stood there wincing and took it. Because she wants to see her grandkids. When the TSA agent did the inner-thigh rub, and got up to the point where her hand met resistance (yeah, a lovely euphemism for touched her labia), she apparently noticed that my mother was wearing an adult diaper. She asked her what she had in her pants loud enough for others around her to hear. My mother quietly replied, a Depends. A what? asked the TSA agent. A&a diaper! my mother said, feeling humiliated. The agent made her lift her shirt to SHOW her the top of her diaper. All I can say is, thank God it was the full brief-type, rather than a pad. Would the agent have asked her to pull her pants down to show it to her?? Then she ran her gloved fingers all along the inside of her diaper, while my mother stood there holding her shirt up, for all the other passengers to see her 73-year-old bare midriff. At this point she regretted not asking for a private room, but it was too late it was almost over. (Plus I'd told her NOT to ask for a private room, because I didn't want my mother being molested where she couldn't be seen.) So much for being allowed to maintain your dignity.
MikeMpls in FlyerTalk (Nov. 17, 2010 ): WifeMpls comment comment regarding YouTube video: "They're just feeling on top of the clothes. That's way too mild. They went under my clothes. They went under my bra. That's just way, way too mild."
peersteve in FlyerTalk (Nov. 17, 2010 ): Good morning from Indianapolis (IND)......did my part for the movement by doing the opt-out.....just took 3 cries of "opt-out" before they found someone to do the enhanced patdown.....interesting to get the front-of-hand grope up-to-testicles from both front and back (the TSO hands were much wider than my legs).
Judithbriles in FlyerTalk (Nov. 14, 2010 ): What I am is a frequent traveler with double titanium knee implants. And, Im mad as hell. Sounding the security alarm after removing shoes, computers and passing through the sensors with less than five items on me, Im told to stand on the pad and spread my feet. Im asked if I want a private room, they do ask thatmost of us frequent flyers just want to get through the damn line and to our boarding gate & declining, heres what happened & Told to assume the position, two feet are placed on the mat, spread eagle and the TSA agentsame gendergives you her verbiage drill that she will feel and no longer pat & blah, blah, blah. Arms out, palms up. Beginning at my neck, she feels all around my collar and under it & mind you I have no visible jewelry but small earrings and a wrist watch. I am not asked if there is anything that lurks hidden. I always say that I have double knee implants and bolts in my right shoulder as a courtesy to them. She then proceeds along my arms, running both her hands along them from my armpits to the wrists. She then moves to my back and does a full feel over it & now moving her hands fully across my butt, moving them inside my waist band and then circles to my front side, readying for the frontal assault. Jeeze. Beginning with her hand flat on my chest under my chin, she begins her downward stroke between my breasts, and running her hand under each. I want to swat her away. She says, If you want, you can have a private screening& Im thinking, Yeah, to feel me up more hey, hey TSA, how many boobs have your felt today & I tell her, Just get it over with & Hmmm, the procedure doesnt move more swiftly. She then moves her hands, both of them, to my waist and belly. Hands move sideways across my belly, lifting my shirt, and feeling inside my waistband. Im getting pissed & I dont like strangers in my pants. The legs are next. Beginning at the ankle of each inner leg, she firmly moves the palm side of her hand up, all the way to my crotch, not once, but twice. Now, Im really pissed & and feel incredibly violated. I want a shower & I want to get home & I dont want to fly anymore &
Joe Miller in Atlanta Journal & Constitution (Nov. 15, 2010 ): Joe Miller knew that airport security measures were changing before he arrived at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport en route to Louisiana. But he didn't feel the full effect until he declined to go through a full-body scanner and ended up in a private room with an airport security worker touching his genitals. "I know it sounds extreme, but if someone had done that to me in public, I would have been screaming and hollering for police to help," said Miller, of Sandy Springs.
Superguy in FlyerTalk (Nov. 15, 2010 ): One of my friends just had a major cow about what happened to her in SAN. I had one of those those "told ya so" moments with her when she went thru the NoS and was still groped because she was wearing a skirt (and knowing her and being a large woman, it wouldn't have been a tight skirt). I told her "Now if you're gonna get felt up anyway, why not just tell them to shove the scope?"
GrammasCabin in City-Data.com (Nov. 15, 2010 ): I too will never fly again unless it's a dire emergency for someone I love very dearly. My adventurous best friend rode her Harley with a couple buddies all the way from Alaska cross country to the Sturgis rally in S.D. this summer. A trip she'd wanted to make long as I can remember. Like me, she's a recluse Alaskan and rarley gets off this rock and I'd been sick with worry. She crashed 17 miles outsisde Sturgis, horrible road rash all over, 38 stitches & staples in her head, crushed foot, was a mess but ALIVE. 48 hours & 3 airports later I finally made it to her bedside and worked our way home to Alaska once she was released from the hospital. She was in a wheelchair, bandaged from head to foot and in great agony. The first time a TSA agent whisked her away from me and shoved me in with the general population I came out of the medal detector to see this witch rubbing my friends wounds up and down, shoving her hand up into her crotch and even the wound on her cracked skull. Silent tears and a look of pure agony on her face and I could see through the gauze fresh blood from the wound on her leg. That was the ONLY TSA agent to touch her again. I don't know how I got away with it after seeing this video but I gotta tell you, I was ready to kill the next person to lay a hand on her and let them know right up front. I refused to be separated from her and demanded she not be touched, period. From then on they pulled out a chemical wand of sorts, scanned her with it a couple inches away and done deal. I suppose if I pulled that today we'd be in jail if I didn't stand there and watch them torture her. If I can't the take the ferry or a puddle jumper out of here, I'm staying home.
SWFA in FlyerTalk (Nov. 13, 2010 ): Last week, one of my flying partners (Captain with Skywest) was going through security at DEN with his 18 year daughter. As his daughter approached the detector, the TSO working the NoS said on his headset, "heads up, got a cutie for you." He then confronted the TSA clerk with what he said and that neither of us are going through the NoS. The TSA clerk said you must have misunderstood me. He said pat-down was pretty evasive, and his daughter felt uncomfortable.
anaggie in FlyerTalk (Nov. 12, 2010 ): Flying out of ELP last week, decided to opt out of the "cancer" machine and was told to wait. In a LOUD voice, first smurf "OPT OUT". I am then told to walk to the "pat down" area -- thru the NON WORKING metal detector. Why not just keep the detector on and have the passenger walk thru and then do a light pat down? Groping starts -- I was making some jokes about things moving up. Smurf asks "why did you chose to opt out?". I tell her that getting cancer is not very high on my priority list. Her response -- "These machines don't cause cancer". I just ignored her as a smartazz comment was on the tip of my tongue. But I chose to bit my tongue. Groper smurf asks me to remove my wallet and watch and place in tray. I oblige. He then finishes his groping and picks up the basket and starts to walk away. I ask him if I can follow him so I can keep "an eye on my belongings". He says loudly -- "NO, stay here". I said "If you decide to take my belongings out of my view, I will have to call a LEO and press charges for theft. At that time, he puts down the basket and calls for a supervisor, saying loudly "that I am uncooperating". Supervisor comes over and stops approx 6 inches from my face and say "Do you want to fly today?" loudly. Asks again louder. At this point, I m getting a little pissed off. So, I tell her loudly to back up out of my space and tell her that she has ABSOLUTELY NO power to detain me and yes, I will fly today. I also tell her that I would like a LEO here now. So, she calls them and 3 LEOS show up. The smurf who gropes me says "Impeding search". I look at the officer and tell him that all I was asking for was to keep an "eye on my belongings". I wanted to watch him put it in the xray machine and wanted to retrieve it on the security side. The officer says that that is perfectly a legitimate request and sends the groper smurf along with another LEO to scan the wallet and watch. In the meantime, the head LEO is explaining the procedures to me and I listen to him. After he is done, I explain to him that I complied with everything except the issue with the belongings. At that point, supervisor smurf starts telling the LEO that I got in her face and told her that she did not have the right to detain me. The LEO looks at me and asks if that was true. I said it was but after she was in my face asking "Do you want to fly today?". I even pointed to the cameras around and asked the supervisor to get the tape and replay the situation so the LEO can see how she invaded my personal space first. Now, the LEO starts to notice that I know my stuff and makes the proper decision. He tells the supervisor to back off and let me catch my flight. She starts to protest and he shuts her down by saying "This gentleman did not break any laws nor did he have anything illegal, so unless the TSA can show proof, they need to let me go." I gather my belongings, smile at the TSA staff that are looking at me THUNDERBOLTS in their eyes and be on my way. The LEO walks with me for a bit and when he is out of earshot, tells me "Son, you know your rights. They don't. Next time, just call us before things escalate and we will take care of it in the proper manner." And I did catch my flight -- on time.
Bill in MSNBC (Nov. 11, 2011 ): During a trip last Sunday by a father and son through Orlando airport in Florida, the 8-year-old boy was selected for extra screening by TSA after going through the metal detector. The father said the officer described the procedure before conducting it. Then he patted down the boy in the open security area, using the backside of his hands to check his genital area, he said. "I didn't think it was going to be as horrible as he was describing," said the boy's father, Bill, who works as a lobbyist in Washington and did not want his full name used. "We spend my child's whole life telling him that only mom, dad and a doctor can touch you in your private area, and now we have to add TSA agent and that's just wrong," he told Reuters. "At some point the terrorists have won."
SkiAdcock in FlyerTalk (Nov. 10, 2010 ): Was chatting w/ someone who was at SMD2 (don't remember who), & she mentioned that when she opted out & went through the patdown that the agent pulled her pants forward & backward from her body & looked down inside her pants, both front & back! I would have gone ballistic at that point.
Meg McLain in FreeTalkLive.com (Nov. 10, 2010 ): Some lady came over and grabbed my arm and pulled me into another area and I pulled away from her and I said, Woah, whats going on here, and she said, "If you opt out I have to give you a full patdown. They put me in this little area which is directly after the body scanner and the WTMD and so everyone who goes through that has to go around this area that Im in. Im just standing there and this lady is screaming at me about the procedures, and I said "Can I talk to your boss? And so Im sitting there and she brings out her manager and the first thing she says to her manager is, "This girl has all kinds of opinions about how were doing our job wrong." And thats how she introduces the situation. I try to ask a question and I dont get 30 seconds into talking with this woman and she runs away and she comes back with a dozen cops. I sat there and counted them. I asked at one point if I could grab my camera and they would not let me touch my stuff. Im just sitting there&and Im trying to talk to the one officer and anytime I ask him a question that he did not have an answer to, he would get really upset and start yelling at me some more, and then they cuffed me in the chair. And then the original TSA lady who was going to give me the patdown just kind of quietly, so no one else can hear, she says, I can tell you one thing, and then she rips my boarding pass in half.
fatcat04 in Cruise Critic (Nov. 8, 2010 ): We were flying from Nashville to Orlando to go to Disney for my son's birthday. My son is 9 years old. Nashville has installed the new backscatter scanners, aka "naked" scanners. Now I am not a modest person and for me myself I don't care. To be honest, I had not given it much thought. We were given no option to opt out of the scans that I could see, no signage or instructions. I later found out you can opt out and choose the pat down instead. Well, we all three went through the machine. Husband and I were fine. They scanned the kid and then informed us they had to pat him down. I asked why, they said he moved. So I am thinking run of the mill pat down, wand over his body and light touch. He is 9 years old for the love of Pete but that was not the case. Had anyone but a physician doing a necessary medical exam touched my child in the places the TSA agent put his hands, I would have filed charges. He groped the inside of his legs and touched his genitals. He put his hands around my son's neck in a choking position, felt all the way down his chest area and his buttocks. He placed his hands inside my son's pants waist band and felt around his waist. The agent was loud and intimidating even for me, a 36 year old women. He barked at him to "hold up your pants" and "spread your legs, shoulder width." All I could think was my son looked like he was being frisked and how humiliating this was for him to be stared at by everyone as they passed by us. Now, this whole scenario was out in the open, we were not given the option of privacy. My son was scared and humiliated. I am not a momma hen or a wacko and we fly regularly and have never minded the security measures needed but this was a shocking experience. Shocking enough for us to forgo air travel (which we have always loved) until these new security rules change and come closer to something akin to reason. And yes, we have contacted the authorities and other to complain about this situation. We also contacted the airline to tell them why we were cancelling and to let them know that these kinds of things will impact their business. To each his own and all are free to travel as they like but I am not convinced treating my child like a prison inmate progressed the cause of national security one iota.
rsh913 in FlyerTalk (Nov. 9, 2010 ): Opted out at IND on Sunday night. Every one was going through the nude-o-scope. I said I was opting out. They immediately said why and why are you worried about something that gives less radiation than a cell phone. I basically said politely that it is because I went to school for 18+ yrs and have a MD after my name that I don't want to argue with your logic. Did get a very agressive pat down. Guy was basically hitting my scrotum quite hard (they do it 4 times) and I said you need to be careful here. He gave me the DY...T routine and I said thank you and walked off my pain
DenCSA in FlyerTalk (Nov. 9, 2010 ): As the smurf police was groping me up he said he was going to stick his hands/fingers on the inside of my pants, and as he was doing so he was looking down inside my pants. I stopped his hands at that point and said 'hey buddy, eyes up here.' He of course gave the 'doing his job' spiel, brought over supervisor, and we went back to the private screening area for molestation time. I asked for a comment card, supervisor asked what I didn't 'like' about the pat down, and I let him have it at that point: I have NEVER been to prison, however I have seen the intake procedure when someone is hauled off to jail and it includes running hands inside the pants the way the TSA are doing. Now, in that case the person has been alleged to have done some impropriety or crime to cause the trip to jail. In my case, the TSA wants to strip me down and grope me up in the same manner as if I have done something wrong or committed a crime. That is not right on any level. Travelers are NOT CRIMINALS and the TSA needs to stop treating them as such. In the USA you are innocent until proven guilty, so unless I've been accused of a crime you have no justifiable reason to stick your hands down my pants. None, whatsoever!
elhs in FlyerTalk (Nov. 8, 2010 ): I declared by "opt-out" decision. The TSA agent said..."Really, you're choosing to Opt-Out". I was then told that I would have to wait, until a female TSA was available (the person I was talking to was female, the person at the end of the security chain was female, and the person watching the monitor was female. But still had to wait. Then was asked again if I really wanted to opt-out. Finally another female shows up, and I am instructed to go to specific spot. I ask about by belongings, and am told that I am not to touch them, and they will remain on the belt. I go in the glass both and stand waiting for next instructions. The female tsa gets my belongings and moves them to another table (literally throwing my carry on bag on top of my laptop). I then proceed to have her pull out my pants (away from by body,.....pull up sweater, so now I have parts of my body exposed for the world to see. I have to admit, I found the process less than thrilling. But will continue to opt-out.
George Lepp in Pixip (Nov. 4, 2010 ): I have metal in both of my knees, the result of too much tennis in my early years and many years of carrying a heavy backpack of photo equipment over uneven terrain. This means that every time I fly--usually several times a month--I get special attention from TSA at the many airports lacking body scanners, including the one in my city. As Kathy shepherds our stuff along the conveyor belt, I get pulled aside for special, hands-on attention from a TSA agent. In the past this meant that I'd be blessed by the magic wand and lightly patted down. Not my favorite massage, but tolerable. Sometimes my photo gear was also gathered up and swabbed with a pad and tested for residue. Kathy would watch, muttering under her breath about the abandonment of civil liberties in exchange for a false sense of security, but still, the interruption was typically brief and courteous. Today, TSA crossed some boundaries that changed everything. It started with a whole new orientation speech on what the TSA agent was going to do to me. Hell, I had memorized the old spiel and now they were changing it. All my gear was brought into the area to be swabbed and examined, and then the agent started to pat me down. No wand, just the hands...everywhere! Up the legs, into the groin (even a jab into the genitals) down and up both legs. Other travelers stopped to watch, some gasping in surprise. Kathy protested from outside the enclosure: "Tell him youre married, and only your wife gets to touch you there. He laughed, but pushed on. This was getting WAAAAAY too personal. The TSA agent placed his gloves into the magic spectra sniffer. Then they collected me, my photo gear and another TSA agent of higher rank and without explanation escorted me to a private room where they groped me again and swabbed everything again, decided that I'm not a terrorist after all, invited me to file a complaint, and let me go, with nearly an hour lost. While I was in the room for private screening, Kathy and other travelers watched in embarrassment and horror as a sweet-faced, white-haired, old woman with an artificial hip and a long skirt (she had the calm and grace of a nun) was subjected to the same treatment from a female TSA agent, who warned her loudly in advance that she was going to touch breasts and genitals. When offered the private screening room, the lady hesitated. Everybody knows that when the government wants to take you into a private room at the airport, its not going to be good. So of course the woman chose to be violated and humiliated in public, with witnesses.
txrus in FlyerTalk (Nov. 7, 2010 ): Couple of years ago in Terminal B, AA side, @ BOS. Male screener, probably in his 50's, 'screening' a couple of girls who looked to be in their teens. He had one girl in the position (arms out, legs spread) & was running his hand, slowly, down the fly of her jeans as I walked out the exit door. Considering this was before the 'enhanced' pat downs became legal, I can just imagine what this pervert is doing now w/the full blessing of the TSA
Cat1099 in FlyerTalk (Nov. 7, 2010 ): I opted out at IND a week ago. As gropes go, it was okay, but it seemed designed to be public shaming for disobedience. I politely said, "I need to opt out" and was quietly told to stand right behind the radiation machine while we waited for a female to be available. I could see my stuff causing a pileup in the X-ray belt, but I wasn't allowed to get anything and no one got it for me. I could see the bin that my Macbook was in but couldn't see the actual computer, so I spent the entire time watching that bin to make sure the computer never left it. When the female TSO came, we moved away from the machine to a very public area, in full view of other passengers. I was intent on watching the Macbook bin so wasn't aware of the audience's reaction during the search, but afterwards another traveler told me with anger that the process was "ridiculous." I don't know if she had gotten groped herself or was upset that I had been searched so thoroughly in public. The female TSO was polite and a little apologetic. I'm not shy about my body but even for me it was uncomfortable to have a stranger drag her hands across and under my breasts while other strangers watched. My top was just a t-shirt because the TSOs had told me to remove my vest. While I was getting my stuff, an elderly French-speaking man was getting ruder treatment. He didn't understand English and went into the machine with things in his pockets. "Multiple anomalies!" a TSO bellowed. "We need a pat-down!" The little old guy stood looking confused and completely harmless while annoyed TSOs barked loud commands at him, apparently thinking he would understand English if they yelled it. It was ugly and shaming. Finally a traveler (family member?) who spoke French came up to help and the TSOs calmed down. Even though my TSO was polite, the process itself appears to be designed as intentional public humiliation.
Neko in FlyerTalk (Nov. 6, 2010 ): In BOS, a male screener told me there was a 'very long wait' for a female screener and it 'would be better' to let him do it. I told him I would wait and that he should put my things where I could see them. He asked me which belt they were on. I was stupid and pointed. He then moved to stand so that I couldn't see the belt at all and kept repeating that it 'would be better' to let him screen me. I told him that if he got one inch closer, I would scream my head off...he backed down and eventually a female came. I tried to file a complaint, but never got any response. A (rather small-busted) friend told me that a male TSA at BOS tried to frisk her, shouting that she couldn't possibly be female. No idea whether it was the same guy or whether she filed a complaint.
Beverly Ferguson in News West 9 (Nov. 5, 2010 ): That's the same day Beverly Ferguson says she was trying to fly to Florida. She didn't even know of the new screening procedure, until she was trying to get through security. That's when she says, her privacy was invaded. "I was violated. I was violated, I have never felt so humiliated in all of my life," Ferguson said. The same day the new guidelines went into effect, Ferguson says she was screened by a TSA agent who touched her chest and bottom. "What got me was, she came back around to the front and told me to put my arms out and spread my legs out," Ferguson said. She says the agent felt under her dress. The TSA agent was performing what's called an "enhanced pat down screening." Using the palm of their hands, agents can slide them up and down a passenger's body. They can even move inside your legs, and have the authority to touch breasts and genital areas, with the over-the-clothes pat down.
bdschobel in FlyerTalk (Nov. 6, 2010 ): I'll never forget one evening at Ft. Lauderdale Airport, when a group of TSA thugs appeared at my gate to do "gate screening" (which is absurdly unnecessary, but that's another topic). They looked around the gate area and almost immediately "selected" the two most attractive young women there -- who were perhaps late teens and truly beautiful -- and took them aside to be searched and patted down, in front of everybody there. I was appalled -- and posted the story here on Flyertalk. Events like that should outrage any thinking person. It was as clear as day that the selection process had nothing at all to do with "security."
BearX220 in FlyerTalk (Nov. 6, 2010 ): TSOs have a long, if anecdotal, history of showing extra interest in attractive women. At dual-device checkpoints I have seen TSOs urging teenage girls and young women into the Nude-o-Scope while middle-aged men like me were allowed to use the conventional mag without complaint. This is de facto profiling, of course, but not in the name of air security.
Michelle in InfoWars (11/5/2010 ): Video clip of woman describing a "pat down" that was quite invasive. What's interesting is that it was a MALE TSA doing this genital groping on the woman giving the narrative (Michelle). After he was done with her, he tried to pat down her two girls (2 and 8) and Michelle demanded a female TSA for their children.
Reader in Washington Post (Nov. 1, 2010 ): TSA's "full grope" gets tougher: What do you know about the new 'enhanced patdown' the TSA recently instituted? I am a 66 year old woman with two artificial knees that always set off the airport metal detectors, so I regularly get what I laughingly call 'the full grope' at security every time I fly. However, I flew out of the Manchester, NH, airport last Wednesay, Oct. 27, and it was no laughing matter. During the patdown, the (female) TSA minion jammed both hands, hard, up into my crotch several times while running her hands up and down my legs (that part is normal). It was very startling, and actually almost painful in terms of the force involved (I was wearing slacks at the time; wonder what she would have done if I'd had a skirt on). The very next night on NBC News Brian Williams mentioned that the TSA had started more 'aggressive' patdown procedures, without going into detail. Is this related to the latest terrorism threat that was announced Friday (explosive devices in cargo), or is something else going on?. And is this what I and others will have to get used to going forward? I'm certainly no prude, but this experience was quite unpleasant.
Patrick Smith in Salon (Nov. 4, 2010 ): Somebody, somewhere, needs to shake us from this stupor of blind policy and blind obedience. I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't some test -- a test of just how stupid Americans are. If TSA said that from now on we had to hop on one foot while humming "God Bless America," would we do that too? That'd be ludicrous, certainly, but how much more ludicrous is it, really, than asking people to remove their belts for purposes of walking through a nonexistent body scanner?
Robin Fitzpatrick in CNN (Oct. 29, 2010 ): she was subjected to a pat-down at the Orlando, Florida, airport on Wednesday night after her underwire bra set off a magnetometer. She said she was taken to a private area and searched, with transportation screening officers telling her the pat-down was a new procedure. According to Fitzpatrick, a female screener ran her hands around her breasts, over her stomach, buttocks and her inner thighs, and briefly touched her crotch. "I felt helpless, I felt violated, and I felt humiliated," Fitzpatrick said, adding that she was reduced to tears at the checkpoint. She particularly objected to the fact that travelers were not warned about the new procedures.
Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic (Oct. 29, 2010 ): The second lesson is that the effectiveness of pat-downs does not matter very much, because the obvious goal of the TSA is to make the pat-down embarrassing enough for the average passenger that the vast majority of people will choose high-tech humiliation over the low-tech ball check.
SpatialID in FlyerTalk (Oct. 25, 2010 ): Today when flying from Boston Logan to BWI my 17 year old daughter had quite an unpleasant experience due to the new scanner malfunctioning. There was some confusion of whether there was a scan or not. She was told that she needed to submit to a full pat down after being told "it did not scan" . She was told she would need a pat down. Being 17 she had no idea what that meant and how intense a full detailed full body pat down can be. Even when she began to cry, the TSA agent continued the pat down. My daughter felt molested and humiliated and as a parent I was helpless to stop this violation. Also, the gentleman behind her had a full body pat down which leads me to believe the machine was not working for anyone. However his pat down was not as intense as my daughters. My daughter who is a seasoned traveler and even visited Israel this summer has never experienced such extreme searches If they were to have asked her the reason for her visit, as they do in other countries, they would have learned she was no threat and was merely on a college visit to MIT. As a parent, I have serious concerns that such a search would be done on a 17 year old minor. The searches cross the line, she was molested for no reason.
mikeef in FlyerTalk (Oct. 19, 2010 ): Was flying out of National yesterday and got in the line right next to the one with the nude-o-scope. As we got to the front of the line, the lady in the NoS line announced loudly that she was not going to wait in that line and would move to the end of one of the lines with the "normal" security. I told her that she could simply opt out, go through a "special" pat-down and be on her way (Note: to this day, I have yet to understand why people in the regular line don't have to get a pat-down, but people who refuse the NoS and go through the same WTMD that everyone else does do). She had never known that and went off about the fact that the TSA needs to put up signage that the NoS is optional. We agreed. But the best part of the whole day was that the people in the NoS line started shouting to the people in back of them, "It's voluntary! You can skip the strip search and get a pat-down!" It seemed that nobody in the nude-o-scope line knew that (no wonder we have 95% compliance), but there were a lot of people that chose to opt out. In fact, so many opted out that the TSOs didn't even bother doing the full body massage with the unhappy ending.
nahrain in FlyerTalk (Oct. 12, 2010 ): I fly reasonably frequently (one or two round trips a month, sometimes weekly) and am now well used to the fact that I seem to be a permanent SSSS recipient. I get it, they've got to perpetuate the false sense of security by swabbing my laptop and sniffing my shoes... it's a hassle I've learned to put up with as the price of Flying in America, which has been a crime for most of my flying career. Today, however, has taken the cake for awful TSA experiences. I arrived at the airport 1 1/2 hours before my flight (alaska airlines 655w from phx to pdx) checked in via kiosk so I was at the TSA stand getting my ID checked within 10-15 minutes. The TSA employee stated I needed to remove my (n95 medical) mask while standing around the other passengers in order to "confirm my identity" (I clearly stole the ID of someone with exactly all my other features, but I'm hiding a different mouth under the mask...) At this point, she put the dreaded "SSSS" on my ticket even before I could respond. When I stated that I could not do that, the employee said she would have to call her supervisor, who naturally took his time and then some to arrive. Upon arrival, he told me that they'd "have to see my face" and dragged me in front of other passengers to the front of a screening queue to put my bag through the xray. he then picked up my belongings on the other end and walked off with them. Apparently, TS"O"s don't have to worry about waiting in line like everyone else, because they're special and all the people behind us had absolutely nowhere to go anyways. I felt pretty freakin' rude line jumping. The employees then proceeded to fight over if they'd take me to "see my face" first or search through my bag. they decided upon patting me down and then searching my bag first. This was the most zealous bag search I've ever seen. They opened my (locked, and cleared by xray) file box and swabbed my -paper files-, along with my clothing, my medication, my phone, my two laptops, and my cane. I'm pretty surprised my cane didn't set something off because it touches EVERYTHING on the floor, and they swabbed the bottom of it! They then proceeded to get into a fight with eachother over if they should give me my shoes back. Finally, they decided it'd be alright. When I tried to point out something they were looking for in my bag, the less sympathetic screener barked at me to not touch my bag. I told the TSA employees that I would accept their (unreasonable, although I did not say this) demand to see my entire face IF the screeners saw me in a private room, and masked up beforehand. I offered my sealed, individually bagged, sterile masks because they insisted they "didn't have any." I repeatedly explained that because I am immuno-compromised, I cannot in fact risk even "a quick second" of exposure, which they repeatedly kept quoting because viruses apparently don't do anything in a second or two... One of the screeners seemed sympathetic to this, but then the other screener became angry and stated that it "wasn't an excuse" and then even had the gall to state that she had herself had a "bone marrow" transplant -6 weeks ago- and was back working at the TSA. When I asked her for clarification if she meant myeloablative HSCT, she said yes. For the record, recipients of myeloablative HSCT are usually still hospitalized at 6 weeks. It takes 100 days before you're even allowed to eat raw foods post transplant, and you're generally not considered well enough to work for a full year post transplant. Many people don't even -engraft-, or have any evidence of an immune system at all, for a month or longer. There's no way in hell someone who is that briefly post HSCT would be well enough to walk two blocks, much less bark at me to risk my health while they're surrounded by 100 other people. It was pretty obvious she was lying, and I have to say that I find it pretty unimaginable how someone could lie! about being a transplant recipient? At this point, the liar stated that I "had to do it really quickly" or I "wouldn't fly today" and got her supervisor on board with this. She repeatedly refused to mask up because "they don't have to" and I'm "the one who needs to listen to them." This was when she called the Token LEO to loom over me and threaten to throw me out for being feisty and noncompliant. Having no choice but to make my goddamn flight, and not having enough time to try and pick a bone with the supervisor's supervisor, I finally agreed that I would demask, at significant personal risk. Even with the precautions I take, I get ill from traveling in airports once in a while, and every time is extremely detrimental to my ability to work (or, for that matter, travel for work without continuing the cycle and infecting other passengers because the TSA thinks masks are evil.) I was dragged into a room I'd seen at least even other "officers" walk in and out of while they stripped down my bags, and then the liar and the "sympathetic one" glanced at my face for maybe half a second before agreeing that golly gee, it really was me in the picture, and that I hadn't found a 4'11 middle eastern woman who looks -exactly- like me to steal the ID from... and finally I got on my way, with just enough time to make my flight. -- This basically failed on it's feet everywhere. I fly a LOT, and the most common response I get from the person checking my id is "well, it looks like you" (I have pretty non-generic facial features, not to mention, my ID states my uncommon height/weight)... and even though I'm usually subject to the TSA sniffing my shoes and rubbing my laptop anyways, I've never before been asked to demask, nor threatened with a LEO throwing me out of the airport if I didn't comply. Nor have I had to deal with the screeners so beautifully irrational, that they offered me "reasonable" arguments like "I don't feel sick" for why she cannot be a virus carrier, and "it's only a second" for how I cannot be harmed. Where's the effective recourse for this? Who should I be contacting and how can I work to make it so this never happens again? I'd come to terms with all the ridiculousness of flying in some countries, but I really can't put up with TSA "officers" asking me to risk my life so they can get a peek of my big ugly nose, and I can hardly stop flying unless I intend to become jobless and spend my days knitting on a rocking chair. Where's the recourse for this? Somehow, I suspect complaining to the TSA themselves will prove as effective as shouting my complaints to a brick wall.
danang in FlyerTalk (Oct. 12, 2010 ): While I've managed to avoid the body scanners so far, my luck ran out this morning at BOS, when I got an "SSSS" BP, apparently for buying a one-way ticket. When I reached the machine, I politely told the TSO I would opt for the pat-down instead. He yelled over to another TSO and they concluded that there is no "opt-out" allowed with an "SSSS" BP. (Perhaps I should have argued further, but I went through the scanner.) Along with the scanner came the full "enhanced" pat-down, complete with crotch check
pbjag in FlyerTalk (Oct. 12, 2010 ): However, after my second frisk in two weeks, I am becoming even more concerned about the rapid deployment of these. Both of my opt-outs have really bothered me; even though the TSO this time behaved professionally and this was not an enhanced patdown, it really disturbed me to have to allow someone to run their hands over my body just to get on a plane.
sky74 in FlyerTalk (Oct. 8, 2010 ): Flying out O'Hare-Amman T5 and was subjected to secondary screening, which is par for the course to this region of the world and basically consists of someone rummaging through your carry-ons and groping you. When I approached the woman to give her my bags, I attempted to place my phone inside the bag for her inspection. "Jump back dont you touch nothin!" she screamed. "You get yo'self over there and out of my way. This ain't hard. Put yo bags on the table. NOW. I SAID, PUT YO BAGS ON THE TABLE!" I was floored - it was shocking in that her belligerence came out of nowhere. I have a broken and separated shoulder, so I was lifting slowly. Even considering the injury, I was moving a very reasonable pace. I froze for a moment because I was so shocked, beginning to be upset, when her male colleague rushed in with "This is secondary security screening! We made several announcements and there are signs everywhere. If you didn't hear us, then you should be at the gate earlier!" Huh?! Totally non-sequitur tantrum there fella - no one's freaking out about secondary screening. Rather, someone's standing there shocked into silence first by your insane colleague and now by you. Sad to say, I'm afraid this man seemed to be a supervisor of sorts - though I use the term with the greatest irony. As an aside, I was at the gate precisely at 8:30pm, which is exactly when the ticket agent told me to be there. As another woman patted me down, I asked her to be very careful of my shoulder, which she wasn't, causing me to flinch. At this the black woman started screaming again about how "it ain't hard!" She and her colleague were laughing and making fun of me and several other passengers, who were also struggling with the belligerence and general pandemonium at the gate. Several Jordanians behind me were laughing and said "If this is 'security' here in America, you are right to be afraid all the time." Sadly, I completely agree with my fellow passengers. It was a truly spectacular display of incompetence, belligerence and unprofessionalism. Oh, and did I mention that my suitcase is still in Chicago? Held up by "security screening." Because evidently a 3-hour layover is just too tight for the TSA to deal with. God bless TSA and the DHS. Without them, other countries would have less to laugh at us about. Sigh.
InkUnderNails in FlyerTalk (Sept. 13, 2010 ): [And another similar report]: Well, folks this is a new one on me. Every Pax through the WTMD was told to turn toward the xray machine and the TSO then ran his hands down from the shoulders down the middle of the back ending just above the waist. I was through and done before I realized that I watched this process on at least 12 Pax, plus me, and the TSO was still wearing the same gloves. Oh, well, so much for good sanitation. This was after the TDC refused my Never Before Seen Nexus, no supervisor could be found, and I was asked at least five times "This is the last time I am going to ask you this, will you show me a driver's license?" To which I replied every time "The Nexus is an accepted form of ID according to your regulations." He finally went to the book, found it in about 3 minutes, and then apologized. He said that he had never seen a Nexus and that they needed to get the word out. I told him he is the third one I have had to train at this airport. Eventually everyone will know if I keep this up. Can I bill the TSA a training fee?
Policypeddler in FlyerTalk (Sept. 30, 2010 ): [There have been a couple reports of TSA grabbing people from behind to do a patdown without consent or warning & without changing their gloves:] On Tuesday I went thru IAH (concourse A) TSA checkpoint. Magnetometer not NudeOScope and I didn't set off any alarms nor was my briefcase questioned. As I exited the unit a TSO walked up behind me and ran both of his hands from my shoulders to my low back. It surprised me and I turned quickly around and said, "why did you do that?" He replied in a pleasant and laughing manner, "Washington has new requirements for us". He then turned to the gentleman next to me and did the same thing. I said, "you should consider changing gloves". It was all too quick and surprising to even know it was coming. Has anyone else had this happen?
OSUbacksplatter in FlyerTalk (Sept. 29, 2010 ): Opted out, and then "tricked" us: My wife is deaf. I am not. We were taking a flight to New Orleans through Houston. I explained to her ahead of time about the backscatter machine, what it did, and that she could opt out. She indicated that she would want to opt out and take the pat down. We arrived at the airport, loaded up our bins, and sent them through the x-ray machine. TSA#1 indicated that wife was selected to go through backscatter. Wife did not know they made the request (was not looking at TSA#1s face to lip-read). I stepped in to indicate my wife's request to opt out and informed wife that they had made the request. I explained why I was stepping in to translate. TSA#1 warned about pat down. Wife and I indicated that we were aware. A second TSA(#2) on other side of WTMD motioned me through. I made my way to our belongings to catch up. TSA#1 escorted wife to backscatter machine, presumably to walk her through without a scan and move on to pat down. TSA#1 walked away. TSA#3, on back side of backscatter machine, stopped wife in the machine and instructed her to stop, turn sideways, arms up (wife had no idea what she was doing)... They scanned her. TSA#1 didn't communicate to TSA#3 that wife had opted out and was to proceed directly through to pat down. By the time I had reached our belongings, gathered a few, and turned to check on wife, she was already in position in the machine and being scanned. I began to get TSAs attention about the mistake, but got responses of "it's already done."
pbjag in FlyerTalk (Sept. 26, 2010 ): The elite security line [at Chicago-ORD] was quite lengthy, so I headed to the checkpoint by Gates B 4-6 which is usually pretty quick. Mistake. When I arrived, the queue was about 60% full because only 1 lane was open. I noticed the backscatter to the right of the WTMD lane, but it was not in use. Nevertheless I kept a wary eye on it as the queue progressed. The NOS remained out of service the entire time. It took 20 minutes to get to the front of the queue. Placed my belongings in the tubs, sent them off into the x-ray machine and was standing in front of the WTMD ready to go through, when a female smurf appeared to my right and started loudly barking, "everyone take off your belts, watches and other metal objects". I had not removed my watch because I have been using a Michael Kors ceramic watch as my travel watch and it has never alarmed any WTMD in any airport. She looked at me and barked "Take off your watch." So I started to unclasp it and moved back towards the belt to send it through behind the rest of my belongings and resumed my position in front of the WTMD. She pointed to the NOS and barked "you will be going through this scanner". I stopped in my tracks and said "No, I was next in line to go through this one", gesturing to the WTMD. To which she said in a belligerent tone "I said you will be going through this scanner (pointing at the NOS). I looked at her and said "No, I will not." She said "if I tell you to use this scanner, this is the one you have to use." I replied firmly, "NO. I will not subject myself to unnecessary radiation or allow a government employee to see me naked just to get on a flight." She looked very peeved and pointed to the NOS, and said "walk through there and wait on the other side, if you are refusing to go through the scanner, someone will have give you a pat down search." In a level voice I said, "I already told you that I am not going through that machine. I opt out", to which she retorted "well, you have to go through it to get to the pat-down area." I pointed to the WTMD and said " I can walk though this to go to the patdown area. I also need someone to gather my belongings and bring them there so they can remain within my view." She barked, "the procedure says you have to walk though that scanner (pointing at the NOS) to go to the pat-down area and we have to follow that procedure." My comment about my belongings was ignored. My reply "I have the right to opt out of going through that machine and have chosen to do so. I will not walk through that machine to get to the other side. If this means I do not fly today, so be it." (Note: I was heading home and had booked the ticket less than 24 hours previously so could have cancelled without penalty - and taken a flight home out of Midway that evening...). She rolled her eyes and called someone on the (walkie-talkie?) and said in a very sarcastic manner "we have a female opt-out and she is NOT happy about it. I need a female asist." By this point, my belongings had long since gone through and were piled up on the other side. I was particularly concerned because I had both my laptop and my Ipad in one tub. I asked again for someone to gather my belongings and bring them to me. The TSO on the other side of the WTMD said "you will be able to see them where you are going." The female smurf opened the wheelchair gate and motioned me over to the holding pen. I pointed at my belongings on the belt (rollaboard, briefcase and two tubs, which were causing a pileup) and asked "may I get my stuff or can someone bring it over here?" Her reply - "No, you stand right here until we say you can move." Fortunately, my stuff was now within my vision, although it had been unattended at the end of the belt for at least 5 minutes before I was allowed though the wheelchair door. A new female smurf arrived to pat me down She had a pleasant, professional demeanor. Very firm on pressure on the back side and ran her hands into the cleft of my buttocks. I was wearing a skirt and was surprised (not complaining though!) that she only ran her hands down the front of my thighs on the front of my skirt and did not run them on the center to check my inner thigh area. After they tested the swab, they told me I was free to go. My belongings were not checked or swabbed. Patdown plus swab check took less time than the standoff with the barker had. It has taken me a few days to post because the whole incident left me quite unsettled, more so than I expected. While my pat-down was not intrusive compared to what we've read about other's experiences, I am appalled at having to allow a government employee run their hands over my body simply to get on a plane -- and infuriated at the manner and tone taken with me by the original barker. I did speak to a supervisior before leaving the checkpoint and let them know that my right to opt out was initially refused. I am also writing to my Congressional representatives to relay my experience. This will also be an important topic to bring up at the meeting some of us have with Delta executives during next month's DO. They need to clearly understand the lost revenue they are facing if long-term high value customers choose to cut back on travel rather than be subjected to this bizarre choice of allowing ourselves to be subjected to radiation/allowing government employees to view us nude or run their hands over our body - simply to get on one of their planes.
RosemaryT in FlyerTalk (Sept. 23, 2010 ): Opting out of the scanner inflicts punitive measures on the traveler. I speak from experience. September 11, 2010, I flew out of Atlanta's airport and ended up in the "random pick" line for the backscatter x-ray. I told the already-scowling TSA attendant that - due to personal and religious beliefs - I wanted to opt out of the backscatter scanner. She rolled her eyes and told me to step around the machine In a strident voice, she then screeched (and I mean SCREECHED), "I need a female attendant for a pat down!" This was my first time dealing with this new technology, but I'd decided months ago that I was NOT going to be microwaved on "medium defrost" *and* have my 51-year-old body ogled by a TSA employee. So the angry TSA attendant parked me next to the scanner, and I kept looking at the scanning device and wondering (and hoping) that the Plexiglas shroud blocked all the radiation generated by the machine. What a perfect punishment for someone who fears being exposed to whatever health risks: Park them NEXT to the machine so that they get mega-doses. Meanwhile, my personal belongings hit the end of the conveyor belt, having survived their trip through the x-ray (or whatever it is). But parked in my spot beside the scanner, I could barely see the gray bins containing my brand-new Toshiba laptop, my small leather wallet, my cell phone and my keys. I literally pleaded with the TSA attendant to allow me to retrieve my personal possessions and she refused. I was traveling alone (as I often do). I then pleaded with her to allow me to at least be in the line of sight of my wallet and cell phone and she again ordered me - again in a loud voice - to remain still. She was demanding, harsh and unyielding. I kept thinking to myself, "this is what happens when you opt out. You lose your wallet and your laptop. Very, very effective." I watched the hordes of travelers moving through the "traffic lanes" of the security line, retrieving their personal items and realizing, anyone one of them could easily lift and pocket my things and no one would be the wiser. I was about sick with fear. There were no TSA agents near my belongings. No one watching out for them. All my things just sat at the end of that conveyor belt, about 20-25 feet away from me. The minutes ticked by. I kept edging over a little more and a little more until I could at least SEE my personal things. The angry TSA agnet would periodically screech, "I need a female attendant for a pat down." Each time she screeched, I watched dozens of heads turn in the long line, eyeballing the crazy woman who'd been removed from the regular line and set aside. I served as an excellent example. No one else dared opt-out of the scanner. Dozens of passengers went by as I stood there, moving so close that they literally brushed past me. They'd look sideways at me - some with pity and some with a "what-the-heck-did-you-do" glare. I was forced to remain immediately next to this TSA person. It was truly awful. I was treated like a criminal and it was a very upsetting experience. Finally, after a 30-minute wait, a female appeared and moved me several feet away to another area. Now, I was closer to my things and could at least keep an eye on them. Despite this, I was still in plain view, within five or six feet of the main traffic lanes. The attendant started patting me down. She used her palms and fingers, and stroked and touched every piece and part of my body. Again - it was hugely humiliating - as she rubbed her hands over my groin, my inner thighs, my breasts, etc - right in full view of the traveling public. Next, she ran a circular pad all over my clothes and then put it in the sniffer. This is where I nearly threw up with fear. You see, I'd worn these jeans last time that I went to the target range to practice shooting my Smith and Wesson .38. Had I washed these jeans since then? I couldn't remember. I knew the gunpowder residue from firing my .38 revolver would show up on that sniffer. It was terrifying. I was nauseous and started to feel light-headed and faint. Finally - 45 minutes later, it was over. The entire affair was very punitive, and humiliating and time consuming and emotionally distressing. When I retrieved my things, I walked into the women's restroom and wept. Make no mistake - this was intended to be misery. I opted out. I'm a rebel, and according to the TSA's behavior, I must be punished. It worked. My flying days are over.
chollie in FlyerTalk (Sept. 22, 2010 ): Keeping America safe, one crotch at a time
Deirdre Walker, retired Assistant Chief in Montgomery County, Maryland, Department of Police (Oct. 15, 2009 ): We have unintentionally created an agency that now seeks efficiency and compliance more than any weapon or explosive.... I was left to conclude that I am not screened because I look like a terrorist. I am routinely screened because I look like someone who will readily comply. I did not change my mind. So, I stepped between two glass walls and was subjected to what my police training would allow me to conclude was a procedural vacuum.... What happened to me in Albany was not the promised pat-down. It was a full search conducted in full public view. It was also one of the most flawed searches I have ever witnessed.
Ari in FlyerTalk (Sept. 19, 2010 ): Everyone is abused by the TSA; you are not alone. Hopefully that is of some minimal solace next time you suffer indignity at the hands of the TSA/CBP.
EXLEFTSEAT in FlyerTalk (Sept. 18, 2010 ): My wonderful Japanese wife still considers this as a novelty and writes on her blog about it. She was surprised that after going through the machine, she was still subjected to another secondary physical invasion, where the ( let's just say a little overweight Canadian woman ) squeezed her breast to a point where my wife says it became pretty uncomfortable. I refused the machine and was subjected to a "ball" count. Of course both our carry ons was subjected to extra scrutiny and our clean hands needed to be wiped to check for explosives. I am terribly sorry, but I need to repeat it over and over again : I am nearly seventy years old, I am not thin and love to wear comfortable clothing. I just got in after a 15 hour flight and I would like to go home, this is just nuts!!!
futuredoc in FlyerTalk (Sept. 17, 2010 ): FWIW the backscatter X ray scares the crap out of me. When I work with radioligands at my university, we all wear radiation badges, use lead shielding, pop KI and minimize exposure. There is no justification for unnecessary risks like this, especially when it does nothing.
Anonymous in TSA Blog: Enhanced Pat-downs (Sept. 15, 2010 ): I just experienced my first "enhanced" pat down yesterday at the Baltimore airport for refusing to be radiated in the TSA nude-o-scope. As others have observed, there was an instant, palpable negative attitude towards me by the TSA agents for my choosing a pat down instead. They kept referring to me as "a refusal", and I believe there is an attempt to punish people for not complying with orders. After waiting and not being allowed to gather my belongings I went off for my enhanced pat down. The TSA agents apparently were not aware of something called a bra strap, so I was then escorted to a "private area" where I had to remove my shirt in front of two TSA agents. The whole thing took about 25 minutes, and it was humiliating and an absolute outrage. I had tears running down my face -- from both anger and sadness.
Anonymous in TSA Blog: Enhanced Pat-downs (Sept. 15, 2010 ): This is so against the 4th Ammendment of the Constitution - does nobody care? It mentions people should not have their person violated unless their is a warrant. So when I travel, my kids will either be bombarded with x-rays or other electromanic radiation while staring in kiddie porn.... OR be sexually battered? I was molested as a kid myself and do NOT look forward having my testicles felt when opting out of the nude-o-scope.
MarkVII in TSA Blog: Enhanced Pat-downs (Sept. 15, 2010 ): This keeps getting worse. I had hoped that "grab and squeeze" was a case of checkpoint workers going too far. Since you can't give details on the process for security reasons, this tells me that "grab and squeeze" is actually part of the protocol. Add the seeming lack of accountability to the mix, and I don't like what I foresee at all.... If these same folks can now grab me by the b**** at the checkpoint, I've got even less reason to fly that I had before. There's got to be a better way...
T-the-B in FlyerTalk (Sept. 15, 2010 ): [I would think that a TSA would grab some cash out, and not take the entire wallet. This way, you probably wouldn't notice until much later, if at all.] That's what happened to me at BWI many years ago. I was alert the next trip through and stopped a repeat.
StayingHomeIsBetter in FlyerTalk (Sept. 15, 2010 ): And you still have to take off your shoes... correct? Eight years to built the A-bomb. Nine years to put a man on the moon. Yet... after 9 years, we are still walking barefoot through airports. Something that would not be permitted in a health care setting... or a restaurant.
Mary in The Consumerist (Sept. 9, 2010 ): They repeated again for me to just go through the scanner and it would be done in 5 seconds. I was literally in tears because I wanted a pat-down instead of going through the machine, and I felt they declined me that option. No matter how much I pushed for a hand pat-down, they pushed harder for the machine. Then, after I stood in the machine, the officer waiting on the other side of it patronized me by cooing, "There, that was easy, wasn't it?" I mentioned that I was forced to do it and went to the belt to take my possessions, while tears ran from my eyes.
essxjay in FlyerTalk (Sept. 9, 2010 ): Never again will I consent to a front of the hand search. Someone has to stand up to airport thuggery and indecency and it may as well be me who says 'enough of this f***ery'. Being self-employed and childless I have no one to answer to for my whereabouts. I'm mentally prepared to abandon my flight plans and will find another way home, even if means days of delay.
Jacob Sullum in Reason Magazine Blog (Sept. 8, 2010 ): While being detained, Lukacs learned that he is listed in a government database as a guy who thinks "there's some law that says you don't have to answer our questions." Ultimately, he reports, "It took half an hour and five federal officers before one of them acknowledged that I had a right not to answer their questions."
exbayern in FlyerTalk (Sept. 6, 2010 ): I tried to have lunch at a US airport earlier this summer in a sit down restaurant, land side. I could not concentrate on my book as the entire time the TSA was barking at passengers in the queue for TDC. The noise was so loud that I couldn't keep reading. The restaurant was one level ABOVE the security area. Absolutely pathetic, and absolutely no need to treat people in that fashion.
EXLEFTSEAT in FlyerTalk (Sept. 5, 2010 ): After I retired from flying I have traveled most of the world as a regular tourist. I have never ever, not even in totalitarian states, been treated as bad and without any regard to being a human being as I am being treated in the U.S. as a U.S. citizen. That includes TSA and of course immigration and customs ( did I mention the DMV? ). And these folks are paid with my dollars. In my honest opinion, Nazi Germany could not have been much worse, as far as trampling on people's rights. We are being lined up, screamed at and shoved around like objects, not like human beings. In the name of what? The land of the free?
Anonymous1989 in Boston Globe comments (Sept. 4, 2010 ): He stood behind me and placed his arms around my neck, surprising me with how strong and firm his grip was -- it felt like someone choking me from behind. He squeezed the area around my collar, his neoprene blue gloved hands tickling my ears. And he kneaded around my shoulders, pressing with his fingertips into my muscle, as if he were tenderizing a piece of meat. With my arms held out straight he grasped both his hands around each one and pulled all the way down to my wrist. With the palms of his hands he stroked down my back to my belt, rounding the curve of my rump, with the tips of his fingers slicing into the cleft of my cheeks, pulling them apart with a gentle tug. He continued down the back of my thighs, his fingertips like a paintbrush running down my legs.... Kneeling, his face less than a foot from my crotch he advised me he would pass the back of his hands over my crotch, under my testicles, and in the fold between my legs. I felt him cup my testicles and run his fingers from my an-s down the back of my balls. By now I was turning red. I wondered what government official in what dark alley dreamed up this groping to protect the public?
walnuttrees in Boston Globe comments (Sept. 3, 2010 ): Still kneeling, his face less than a foot from my crotch he advised me he would pass the back of his hands over my crotch, under my testicles, and in the fold between my legs. I felt him cup my testicles and run his fingers from my rear orifice down the back of my balls.
ryan182 in FlyerTalk (Sept. 3, 2010 ): Flying out of SFO yesterday I saw someone getting the pat down, it was shocking the guy was all up in the dudes junk. so despite what they said its happening in other airports.
TNGALINFLORIDA in FlyerTalk (Aug. 31, 2010 ): If by being "patted down" you mean a full contact groping of my nether regions, then it doesn't matter what gender you are. If you're not my gynecologist or my significant other, you have absolutely no business putting your hands there. Although I don't like it by any stretch of the imagination - I don't have a problem with TSA patting down my arms, legs, back or butt. Hell, I'll even offer up "the girls" to be honked, without batting an eye. But I draw the line at a stranger, male or female, who tries to fondle my hoohah.
Anonymous in TSA Blog: Enhanced Pat-downs (Aug. 31, 2010 ): Will screeners performing "enhanced pat-downs" be physically grabbing the penis and testicles of children who's parents refuse WBI?
TNGALINFLORIDA in FlyerTalk (Aug. 31, 2010 ): I've spent the last little bit searching the TSA website for a public announcement on the new "enhanced pat downs".... Nowhere does TSA admit on their website, that pat downs will now involve the groping of a passenger's genital area. Nor have I seen signage or public announcements at airports detailing what a passenger can expect during an "enhanced pat down". Even if the TSA agents were to inform passengers in very plain language that they would be squeezing their naughty bits, it still doesn't imply consent, unless the passenger openly says that the TSA agent may continue with their search.
(Aug. 30, 2010
I just opted out again at PIT. The one-stripe had a big problem with my opt out and with me telling other people that they can opt out too. I got surrounded by 3 one stripes who told me that I better shut up and that the x-rays are safe. I told them that I have every right to inform people of their right to opt out of a device that uses ionizing radiation, that the damage from ionizing radiation is cumulative and is well known to cause cancer. Then they started calling for a supervisor, having refused to do the pat down until he came over and again told me that I am not allowed to tell other travelers that they can opt out. I reiterated, loudly but politely, the dangers of exposure to ionizing radiation, and again states that I am within my rights
Git along, little doggies ...
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