TSA Watch: “Because of your attitude you have earned a trip into our body scanner!” By Christopher Elliott | October 22, 2011 Whenever I hear from someone like Angela Wright, I can almost predict the TSA’s knee-jerk response to her complaint. It’ll say that’s not how it operates. And that it’ll “look into” her complaint. But let’s listen to her anyway, because as this week’s events suggest, the TSA’s boilerplate answer may not be entirely accurate. Wright was flying through Seattle last week. (I get a lot of complaints about TSA’s Seattle screeners. Last year, one reader even claimed someone had blacklisted agents from his restaurant.) As she got in line, an agent yelled at her to move to a different line. I placed my carry-on on the table and pulled out a bin and then she came up next to me and said loudly, “Take your liquids out of your bag!” I said I don’t have any liquids. She said, “Of course you do. TAKE THEM OUT NOW!” I said I do not have any liquids. Then she said, “TAKE OFF YOUR BELT NOW!” I said it won’t set off the detector. I always wear this particular belt when I travel. She said “TAKE IT OFF NOW!” Then she said, “Because of your attitude you have earned a trip into our body scanner! Now move over there and follow the instructions of the agent!” Wright obediently stepped into the scanner. As soon as she was done, another agent patted her down again. Hard. She used her two fingers banging them all over my body like she was punishing me for something. Then the other agent said, “NOW MOVE ALONG!” Wright travels all over the world, but she’s never experienced a once-over like this. “These agents were so rude and had such a bad attitude that I wanted to complain to someone right then and there,” she says. So why didn’t she complain? Because she saw what happens when you do. They already had a 60-something year old man pulled to the side with three cops and three or four TSA agents. Apparently he had said he did not want to go through the scanner and he wanted a pat-down instead and they told him NO SCANNER NO FLY, PERIOD! Really? No scan, no fly? Punishing people with the body scan and pat-down? “TSA is nothing but a bunch of rude power hungry people who I doubt are really trying to protect us from anything,” says Wright. I’m not going to bother asking TSA about this because I know what they’ll say. They’ll say the scanner is completely optional and that it does not “punish” passengers by scanning them or patting them down. But is the TSA telling the truth? It has long contended, for example, that the machines are safe and that travelers have embraced them as necessary to their protection. But a new cache of documents released this week shows passenger are deeply unhappy about the scanners, and have said so to the TSA. According to EPIC, which published the documents on its site, passengers are “angry and frustrated” about TSA screening procedures. Travelers expressed concern about radiation risks to children, the elderly, and those with special needs. Other travelers wrote the fact that the machines could capture naked images as unacceptable. One traveler said, “using [the full body scanners] is an extreme invasion of privacy.” The scanners were also the focus of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week in which Vermont’s Patrick Leahy criticized the agency for showing an “almost arrogant disregard” for air travelers subjected to intrusive screening procedures. “When we hear, whether it’s Mr. Pistole or others talk about it, there’s almost this arrogant disregard for real Americans who have to put up with this baloney,” he said. And what does the TSA have to say about all this? Today, the agency is busy patting itself on the back for finding more guns and being praised by an obsequious mainstream media. But it’s missing the problem. There is growing evidence that the American public is wary of the TSA and its alleged police-state tactics. As the agency celebrates its 10th anniversary on Nov. 19, perhaps it should reflect on that unfortunate truth: many passengers no longer support it. Look, anyone can set up a checkpoint in a public place and force people to be scanned and patted down. We could find cash, guns, drugs and maybe a land mine or two (as agents did this week). But have we prevented an act of terrorism — or just terrorized law-abiding citizens who are trying to get somewhere? Christopher ElliottChristopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at email@example.com. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Google PlusFacebookTwitterLinkedInGooglePinterestReddit Related Lucas TSA isn’t telling anyone about the small cancer clusters that are now appearing within their organization. The agents who now have cancer are the ones working near the scanners Wee7341 I have 2 total knee replacements. I prefer the scanner over the intensely invasive pat down because the pat downs take sooooo much longer and don’t concentrate on the “problem” which happens to be my knees! I always ask for the scanner if I see one, but often am told the machine is not operational! Why spend all that money on these machines if they are not going to be operational???? My most invasive pat down came at LAX but I’ve not been thru’ Sea-Tac since TSA became an agency so can’t compare. Brooklyn Wait, how do you know that they exist? (any proof?) Tom People sure get worked up over minor issues. The body scanner takes a few seconds. In many, many airports, I’ve found the TSA far more interested in keeping weapons off the plane than in harrassing people. Sure there’s always the worry that Janet Napolitano will seek my pictures of my nakedness, but that’s a risk I’ll take. As far as violations of civil rights, I’m more concerned about drone strikes against American citizens. jazcat I experienced an impolite TSA agent at the Milwaukee airport, who pulled my backpack off the conveyor belt, without telling me, to check through it because I had a lot of power cords for various electronic devices. He was extremely testy when I asked where my backpack was. A letter to the TSA, explaining what had happened, got me back a very well-written apology by the regional TSA manager, agreeing that agents are never to take your bags without notifying you and that the agent had been wrong, would be disciplined and retrained. That worked for me. Kimrod219 Asked this morning how frequently the radiation levels of the scanners are calibrated and was told “you don’t need to know.” Very reassuring. jazcat Ah, no, sorry. http://blog.tsa.gov/2011/06/tsa-cancer-cluster-myth-buster.html Cheryl Scanners should be completely optional… nunyadamn Last week at Newark I was told there is no more radiation and they don’t see you naked anymore. I still requested a pat down after requesting and being denied three times I just went through the machine. As far as violations of my 4th Ammendment right, I don’t take those rights lightly and will resist everytime. Raven_Altosk Cite your source, please. kthnx. Office_bob I seriously doubt that anyone’s going to try and smuggle a drone onto an airplane. Nice strawman, though. Go through the scanner if you wish; some of us have enough concerns about them that we will continue to opt out. Raven_Altosk I’ve seen some horribly unprofessional behavior by the screeners in ATL and IAH. In ATL, they yell in some variant of English that is barely understandable. One woman was directed to take her laptop or DVD player out. She was fumbling to do so while the agent fussed at her to hurry up. She was struggling with English and the hustle. When one of her kids started to get upset, she spoke to him in Norweigan or Swedish (it was definitely a Scandinavian language but I’m not sure which). One of the idiot agents said, “She talkin’ all foreign! Better run ’em through the scanner!” The woman and her two kids were practically DRAGGED to the scanner, confused, and separated from their belongings. And of course at IAH I witnessed agents harass and humiliate a pre-op transsexual. nunyadamn Oh ok the TSA said it was safe. If you check the TSA facts you will find that they are misrepresenting the John Hopkins study and JH never said the machines were save. Further, NIST has not done a study on their machines. So for the TSA to say they all came to the same conclusion that the machines are safe is a lie. Yiayia I have but one question: What good is a scanner that requires you to remove a tissue from your pocket? http://DontScan.us Wimpie The fact is: The TSA is unnecessary. The entire security theatre is not needed. The TSA is here because too many scared people demand its atrocities in the name of “safety.” How “safe” are you, really? These vermin scour through your private belongings and steal. These perverts look at your bodies and then touch you where you do not like. If they were kindergarten teachers they would be arrested for the same things. The entire “war on terror” is all by design. Look at reality. You can go to the theatre, the mall, a basketball game, walk down the street, enter most private buildings, go into jewelry stores and banks. One can access 99.9999% of the places on earth without EVER having to be groped and scanned and yet, where are all those “terror attacks?” A “real terrorist” would have a field day at many of the places mentioned. If their goal is fear and damage, one or two suitcases on a Saturday at the local shopping mall would be more “effective.” So, those of you who do not have a problem with the scanners and groping, why not demand your local supermarket install those devices because you never know, that person with the cart of groceries may be a suicide bomber. Brooklyn Then again, we don’t know for sure if they cause cancer either. (Not saying we should necessarily keep using them, but we still don’t have proof that “The agents who now have cancer are the ones working near the scanners” Brooklyn I don’t think the concern was about smuggling drones onto an airplane… Rhaf I voted NO about getting rid of scanners, but that NO hinges on clear cut rules which the enforcers need to obey to actually get my real vote. The images are general graphics only showing the location of a possibly hidden item. They are proved beyond a doubt to be safe to it’s users. And no images are stored for any reason unless as clear evidence in a real criminal case. And the people doing the checks are all retrained to work from the idea that they are there for us as public because we want them to look after our security. We are not there for them to bully. The level of intrusion and the stockpiling of personal data has in recent years surpassed the level maintained by East-Germany during its communist years. Now I recently came through Newark on a flight from and to Europe and I must say that the TA personnel on duty on our entry and exit where very polite and even had a laugh together with us…. yes TSA personnel can laugh!!!! At no time did I feel that their decent behavior compromised our families security and it almost gave back the feeling of pleasure when flying like we used to know.However I to know from experience that TSA personnel can also be loud mouthed, impolite and arrogant to the level were you start to think that many of them are low-educated and low-paid and have simply taken this job so they can legally harass people who can fly to places not realizing that this is today extremely expensive for most of us.However, it is an attitude we are seeing more and more all over the world. Privacy…what privacy? Since the US demanded that all countries in the world obey the US and send personal info of their citizens prior to flights and in many cases even if they are not flying to the US, other countries have started demanding the same info about us all….Canada, Australia, India, Dubai…!?German “TSA” are equally arrogant and in some case impolite. For one we have noticed over they past 10 years that without exception they will address passengers in German, knowing full well that at least 80% of all passengers coming through their international airports don’t speak German! They could learn something from the Dutch “TSA” who almost without exception address passengers in English. Brooklyn Do you propose we disband airport security, or just give the TSA a different name or what? cjr001 “But is the TSA telling the truth?” HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Oh, man, I needed a good laugh first thing in the morning, and I’m glad you were able to oblige. Chris. :) cjr001 Agreed, Brooklyn. I certainly wouldn’t believe anything TSA says regarding the matter, but we also know that TSA and the companies behind the machines won’t let anybody else truly study them independently. Also, even if the machines can cause cancer, it’s unlikely that it would be seen for years if not decades, even with those working next to the machines every day. But, that said, I can’t think of another group who works with machines that emit radiation and doesn’t have some sort of protective clothing, or that they stand away from the machines. If TSA agents wore clothing or stood far away from the machines while they were in use, it would be obvious that TSA thinks the radiation the machines emit was harmful, and we couldn’t have that truth being shown, could we? cjr001 Whether there is radiation depends on the machine. The backscatter machine MUST emit x-rays to work, so to say that that does not emit radiation would be a bald-faced lie. Whether they see you naked depends on whether the machine’s software has been updated. And while that’s being done, it’s scattered about the country right now and who knows how long it will be before all of the machines are updated. Brooklyn I have no problem with the German airport scanners speaking German – it would be arrogant to expect them to do otherwise! I spent three months there last year and as soon as I explained (politely) that I didn’t speak their language, they switched to English. Their country, their language; we’re just passing through. As for the TSA, in what possible universe would you believe any Government authority that told you the scanners were safe – when the Mayo Clinic says they probably aren’t – and that the images weren’t being wrongly used? If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Brooklyn Chris, this is the other Brooklyn – can’t you do anything about it? I don’t want to change names (and maybe have that name copied too) and I’d prefer not to have to stop posting on this site. Can’t you deny access to the sender on the basis of his or her e-mail address? – the real Brooklyn Brooklyn Once again – not me! Chris, help! Why does your site let two people register under the same user name? – the real Brooklyn Brooklyn Not me again – get your own screen name! – the real Brooklyn Brooklyn Not me again – get your own screen name! – the real Brooklyn Claire RE “…many passengers no longer support it.” Some of us didn’t support the TSA in the first place, finding it an expensive, intrustive overreaction to one dreadful day in American history. History, that BTW, repeats itself in one fashion or another. The US reacted to December 7, 1941, by incarcerating some 120,000 Japanese-Americans in 10 relocation centers. The last of the camps was closed in 1945 and with it a shameful chapter in U.S. history. I wonder whether the TSA will ever be relegated to the history books or whether we’re stuck with the agency forever. Claire Houston is also where my watch disappeared at a screen station a couple of years ago. Gubby She made this up. Jc Too Many European airports use body scanners. The problem in the U.S. can be summed up in 3 letters TSA – like some members of police depts. BULLIES! Brooklyn Your tin foil is off center. Brooklyn And yet you walk by televisions, monitors, and cell phone repeaters all day and don’t think twice about it. Brooklyn You’re not the real Brooklyn – I’ve been using this handle here for years now. Brooklyn I will take the scanner over some rube fondling me any day of the week. http://DontScan.us Wimpie No, I propose giving security back to the airports and the airlines, where accountability and sensibility would prevail. Our government has no authority to protect PRIVATE PROPERTY. Even the police are not to protect PRIVATE PROPERTY. They may protect our country, our borders, and our airspace, but airlines are a private business. Maybe I can get them to protect my business from terrorists. Clearly, we will see their funding cut back as the economic crisis deepens. It can’t happen soon enough. Corey Like most of my friends, I just won’t do the scanners. I fly almost 200,000 miles a year and get plenty of extra radiation just being on the plane. I certainly don’t need anymore. It’s not just out of convenience that our flight crews skip the scanners. Crissy I’ve never had any trouble with TSA screeners, nor have I seen anything inappropriate. But I have no doubt that there are isolated bad ones around and even entire airports where there is a culture of abusing their powers, as may be the case in Seatle. What bothers me is that in an airport with a culture like that the TSA should be able to identify that there is a problem, based on a higher number of complaints, and should take action. Using the body scanner as a punishment and threatening people with rules they made up is unacceptable. Claire I am disabled and had a similar occurence going through Seattle. There were four of us in wheelchairs and this particular women targeted all of us to go through the scanners. I asked for a cane and she told me “tough” but another TSA man gave me one. After the scan she then attempted to pat me down, even though I told her I could not stand for a few minutes. After about five-ten minutes she let me through. The same happened to all the wheelchairs behind me. Something needs to be done about Seattle TSA. Linda Brooklyn Wait – I’ve been using Brooklyn for years now. Who are you? sara8032 They’re expensive (and we’re in a crappy economy to boot), and they serve very little purpose, and none that can’t be performed in other cheaper ways. Yes, they should be decomissioned. David I had a very similar experience in Richmond, Virginia last Christmas Day. When I was getting ready to enter the body scanner, the female agent said to me: “What did you say?” I said I did not say anything. She repeated her question and I repeated my answer. Then she said: “With an attitude like that you are getting a pat down.” Then I went into the scanner and she said something to me that I did not understand, so I turned to ask what it was. She then said I had moved so that was why I was getting patted down. She said the rules prohibit a second try in the scanner. (I have often had a second try at other airports when something did not work right.) After the extensive pat down by another agent, I asked for a supervisor and was told by the supervisor that the first agent had followed proper procedure. I then asked for the screener’s name and was told that policy prohibits giving that out. (They were all wearing name tags.) I then asked for the next level of supervisor and got the same story. I could go on but that gives you an idea of the events. I was traveling with my wife who witnessed the whole scene. They would not take a formal complaint and said I had to write to TSA, but would not tell me where to send it. I figure they probably were upset because they had to work on Christmas. I have seen many unforgivable TSA behaviors over the years, but you really appreciate how bad it is when it happens to you. I have found that Newark and Richmond are the worst. In Newark I once heard an agent tell a male passenger that if he did not take off his shoes the agent would personally see that he missed his flight. (That was when the rules still allowed passengers to keep their shoes on.) I am a retired corporate executive in his sixties with two grown children. I have never been in trouble anytime in my life. I don’t think I look like a troublemaker, but in my experience that is often the type of person TSA singles out for harassment. I once saw an 85-year old woman spreadeagled against the wall in a small regional airport because she was wearing a metal garter belt. Probably an easy target because she was unlikely to make it into an issue. David David We shouldn’t have scanners or pat downs. What most people forget is that the ONLY successful U.S. hijackings in the past 30 or so years were on 9/11, and the weapons those hijackers used were not prohibited under the rules at that time. We had a good system before and it would be just as good today without the expensive scanners, pat downs, liquid rules, shoes off rules, etc. Daisymae Although the letter was nice, it is highly unlikely that any action was taken with regard to the agent himself/herself. That agent will most likely continue to abuse helpless passengers as he/she sees fit. Susanfrances Recall the foot x-ray machines to determine shoe sizes in the 50’s? The representatives that traveled from store to store with them were told that they were safe also…. You would think we would have learned something from that. http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott I don’t know what to do about this. Disqus, which handles the commenting, doesn’t really let me deny a screen name to anyone. For the sake of clarity, could the Brooklyns please work something out? Tommom I fly in/out of SEATAC and two weeks ago completed a round trip to Boston. I’ve never had a problem with Seattle’s TSA; they have always been professional and business like. I opt out of the scanners and am directed to another line. The agents describe what they are going to do and what to expect. It takes a little longer but I have not encountered any rudeness or overbearing behavior. In Boston, I was questioned as I handed my ID and boarding pass for inspection and then went through a similar procedure with the pat down. It may be that I will at some point in my travels encounter a disagreeable agent, but my experience at SEATAC over many years has been good. So Chris, here’s a non-complaint to add to your file. Nparmelee2001 The scanner sure beats being felt up every time as the result of the sin of having a metal knee. No wonder men complain – that “massage” can be very unpleasant coming from someone you’re not married to. ChrisY I imagine the answer is “Brooklyn.” Bill Why do you so often ask such stupid questions? It isn’t about decommissioning full body scanners, it is about behaving in a proper manner. “Should the TSA behave a lot better in Seattle? Yes/No” YES Complain to your congressman. Write the governor. Write the mayor. If they get a lot of complaints, hopefully it will come around to the TSA. Jeanne_in_NE http://docs.disqus.com/help/77/ Disqus explicitly states that your “full name” doesn’t have to be unique. Poking around the Disqus site, you can contact the support team. Maybe they can straighten this out. Brooklyn Stop using my Name! Brooklyn Why would you use a login system that allows you to post as anyone? It isn’t really a login is it? Brooklyn So true, wait – hey that’s you again! As me! Brooklyn You need to stop using my name… Brooklyn They are trying to create something that’s easier to use than FB, Google, and other sites that actually make you login. And when you don’t have to login there’s no authentication. Actually all Chris would have to do id disable Disqus and leave the remainder. Brooklyn If that is your only question you must live a life of pure bliss. Rhaf Well I don’t know which Brooklyn this is… But you spent 3 months at a German Airport? Or is your statement ” Their country, their language” based on your stay outside the airport, where it would make more sense? It seems obvious you are not a frequent traveler in Europe. Or you would know that Norwegian border security personnel in international airport hubs don’t address passengers in Norwegian, Spanish screening personnel have extremely seldom addressed me in Spanish (and where they did, it might have been due to my appearance which could mistakenly make me appear more local), Greek screeners have never addressed me and nobody else in my group in Greek and I could go on for almost all European countries with the exception of France. As you stated correctly, “we’re just passing through” is correct for most of the air travelers at the major German air hubs. All these hubs are actively trying to become the biggest and most profitable airports in Europe and therefor depend on the millions of transit passengers who do not speak German. Frankfurt is visited by 53 milj passengers a year/ Munich by some 34 milj / Dusseldorf by some 20 milj . Worldwide there are some 90-95milj German language speakers and 1.8 billion English speakers, so it would seem at least a little presumptuous to assume that the majority of your visiting customers will feel at ease being addressed in a strange language. And by the way, there is a more important reason why many international airport security services use the English language and that is for security and safety reasons. In an emergency or security situation time is of the essence and given the numbers above as an example, it could cause a security incident or be in some case life threatening if orders or instructions were give in a language which the majority of people involved did not understand. So I think we can safely state that German screeners show a level of arrogance when addressing transit passengers in German, especially when it is done in an impolite fashion. But back to the more important topic…who is the real Brooklyn, because I believe there is a bridge for sale there? http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott Hey, Brooklyns! Love you both, but please, can you work something out? Daisymae All the more reason not to expose oneself to any more unnecessary radiation. Daisymae Why don’t you guys use Brooklyn 1 and Brooklyn 2? ButMadNNW But which one is which? *amused* This is like any number of sci fi shows involving doubles: “Shoot him!” “Not me, you idiot! HE’S the impostor!” “Me?! *You’re* the clone!” “How can you tell?” “….” All we need now is for the romantic interest to come in and ask the two Brooklyns a question about their relationship that only the REAL Brooklyn could possibly know the answer to. ;-) Gerry TSA is just one more self-serving bureacracy, far more concerned with it’s indexed pensions & entitlements that actually doing what it should be doing. There are better ways & better people to imnpliment them. Carrie Charney No matter which “Brooklyn” you are, this remark was totally uncalled for. It is being as nasty on this forum as the TSA can be at the airports. Thalassatx First off, if an agent tells you to take your belt off, take the damned belt off. How simple is that? Secondly, I agree with the agents. If you are refusing to be scanned, maybe there’s a reason. If a terrorist DID want to board a plane (which I realize is unlikely) don’t you think they would also refuse the scanner? Thalassatx Good grief, stop being a snot. There are multiple Brooklyns. MichelleLV The acquaintance I know that works for TSA says the machine has 3 different levels and if they want to see you naked they can. I have no idea if that is true or not. MichelleLV And every time someone flies they have exposed them-self to the equivalent of a chest x-ray. Diane Schenker Excellent article. I wish that the poll question had been a bit broader – it is not just the scanners, but the excessive authority that we have granted to the TSA that should be decommissioned. AlaskaFFTUSA Alaskans are mobilizing to demand change. We have to fly for medical, work, and family/social reasons, and should not have to choose between questionable scanners and outrageously invasive groping. See our facebook page: Alaskans’ Freedom to Trav… Charles B I’ve read the justifications and theoretical explanations for how safe these machines are. What I’d love to see is proof. Issue dosimeters to TSA staff and get a REAL reading for what sort of dose they get from standing in front of these unshielded machines day after day. Theory is well and good, but measurements > theory every time. LTMG Keep your life simple, Chris. Don’t even acknowledge such buffoonery. When you do acknowledge them, the antics of least one of the Brooklyns is far less entertaining. cjr001 So, if you refuse TSA’s free prostate exam, does that mean you’re a terrorist? You should apply for a job at the TSA. They love people who think like this. TexanPatriot1 It’s sad that 17% of the respondants to the poll are just THAT misguided….or are TSA agents voting and revoting who are fighting to keep the power over the peons that the Regime has given them! TexanPatriot1 Remember Agent Orange? TexanPatriot1 Tom, we all know that you TSA agents all have the special pass and secret handshake when YOU fly. But…when you believe your lord and master’s interpretation of the 4th Amendment…anything’s possible, I guess. TexanPatriot1 And when the machines are in diagnostics mode….they CAN and DO save images for “test purposes” to a common USB memory stick! You didn’t know that? That was out there last year, but quickly got buried in the reporting. When I flew out of Phoenix earlier this year…I personally observed EIGHT different CONSECUTIVE female passengers, between the ages of 20 and 40, with good body shape…selected by the MALE screener. I sat outside the jackbooted thug’s workstation for nearly 40 minutes. Wasn’t brave enough to engage the iPhone video, in fear of being picked up by those agents of National Socialism. (His male confederate was probably in the booth, well, watching the beads of sweat form on these young ladies, because the machines image EVERYTHING.) TexanPatriot1 Backscatter….hmmm….when I was in the Aleutian Islands…I worked near a backscatter array pointed at the bomber routes from the good old CCCP….the warning….DO NOT walk in front of it, if doing the beach, hug the bluffs, or, walk BEHIND IT. That’s just how HARMLESS your backscatter arrays are! TexanPatriot1 The Pentagon assured our soldiers that orange mist being sprayed over their heads while they were in the jungle were perfectly safe too…… was was it….Something Orange……what was that called…. TexanPatriot1 Ok…you quote Blogger Bob? That guy is worse than BAGHDAD BOB….remember him? “The invaders are hundreds of miles away”…..meanwhile….American tanks were rolling into the parade field a few HUNDRED YARDS from where he was standing! TexanPatriot1 Let’s ALL change our handles to “Brooklyn”…that will confuse the TSA “national socialists” who are recording these comments to be used at our kangaroo trials they’ll use to sentence us to gulag for being disloyal to the Regime. TexanPatriot1 Well, THEY see it that way! Brooklyn EVERYONE should post as “Brooklyn”. Sorry, couldn’t resist it after your little tempest-in-a-teapot. I am not “Brooklyn”. Sammy WE haven’t granted them ANY power. The Buffoons in Washington did all that while also forcing us to swallow a health care plan the majority don’t want, are trying to force an ineffective jobs bill that won’t do anything but further place this country into debt, etc. The average everyday american who’s paying for all this BS haven’t granted ANY of this! Daisymae My uncle now has diabetes, an amputated leg, and cancer thanks to Agent Orange. I’m so relieved that Agent Orange was safe. Just imagine what might have happened to him otherwise. And remember how “safe” DDT was in the fifties? They sprayed it everywhere. The kids often ran out and got bathed in it. I’m so glad that was safe. So everyone should run, not walk, to your nearest airport to get your free body scan. It’s fun, professional, and most of all, guaranteed by the government to be SAFE! Daisymae Again, all the more reason not to expose oneself to additional radiation. Daisymae Do you really think a terrorist would draw attention to himself by refusing a scan? Not a very smart terrorist. With the abysmal failure rate of the TSA to detect weapons and the inadequacies of the scanners and pat downs, it would very easy for a terrorist to get his explosives past the Bozos in Blue. Why then would he attract attention to himself by refusing a scan? After all, if he’s willing to blow himself up, why would he mind getting his genitals stroked a little first? The people who are refusing the scans are the ones who DO mind having their genitals stroked by strangers. Seavu Christ, the answer to your last question is simple: The TSA is just terrorizing American citizens who are just trying to get somewhere ~ which is exactly why my husband and I have stopped flying. Eric What I’d like to know. If they’re so safe why do they refuse to let an independent lab (several universities have asked and been denied) test the radiation exposure from the scanners. The only reason I can think of is that they’re hiding something. Mark K You and I must fly through a different IAH. While there are definitely some over tattooed biker gang looking TSA agents at IAH, I have found nothing but polite and professional treatment there. I fly in/out of IAH at least once every two weeks. Now, HOU is a completely different story with loudly shouting TSA agents who appear to be attempting to humiliate everyone. No More Brooklyns Just BAN both of them. Anyone posting as “Brooklyn” gets their comment deleted. Matt Street Can we have another poll asking if we even want a TSA at all? Brooklyn You mean like this? How about the other 2 million Brooklyns? linda bator But a lot of THOSE rules aren’t just here in the US — I found the no liquids, no shoes FAR more stringent in London this last month. The only thing TSA added that are not in use internationally are the scanners and patdowns. me I’m amused that the responses to Lucas’s comment mostly say, “well, the TSA says they are safe, so they must be unsafe.” Really? How about some actual evidence, rather than Lucas’s personal opinion? 99% QUOTE: ————————————- The scanners were also the focus of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week in which Vermont’s Patrick Leahy criticized the agency for showing an “almost arrogant disregard” for air travelers subjected to intrusive screening procedures. ———————————————– “Arrogant disregard” That sounds like a perfect description of the attitude of the corrupt bankers that collapsed the economy, and of the police forces all over the country that routinely assault, taze, pepper spray, and falsely arrest any law-abiding US citizen they decide they don’t like. It’s also a perfect description of the corporate executives and boards of directors who drive their companies into the ground while giving themselves multi-million dollar salaries, bonuses and golden parachutes. And it’s a perfect description of elected officials at all levels of government who immediately break campaign promises to their constituents upon election and then whore their office to their biggest campaign donors and lobbyists. And of corporate media that act as the propaganda arm of whatever political party or conglomerate they’re owned by…and on and on… Basically, “ARROGANT DISREGARD” is an excellent description of the behavior of the majority of people in any real position of power or authority over the American people. Akcespedes I’m probably late to jump into this conversation and I won’t use “brooklyn” as my login name! I recently flew from MIA to LAX and had two different experiences. I had never experienced the “opt-out” before, as there was always the lane for the “old-school” procedure available. This time I was told to go towards the scanner and I was never going to go through it. So when I opted out, they told me “then you have to get a pat-down.” I felt like I should have just gone through the normal detector and if that had beeped, then sure, go ahead an frisk me. But the fact that I had NO OPTION, it was either the scanner or a pat-down. That bothered the @#$* out of me. At least the MIA TSA chick was courteous, explained everything beforehand and was “gentle” – in spite of the circumstance. She did touch my crotch which was not pleasant. However, the LAX TSA chick was rude, yelled at me and was so annoyed at having to do a pat-down. It’s a helpless feeling because you feel like if you talk back, you’ll go to jail. After having read all of the comments from this one article, I feel that we need to be given options. It shouldn’t be that if you opt-out of the machine, you get a a pat-down. The pat-down should be if you set off the detector. But it is a punishment and it happened in LAX as well. And I’ve read about some ways to make things easier when you travel. Some guy says “wear tight fitting clothes” really? I’m thinking I’ll wear a see-thru white outfit, no bra and panties and see if they still want to pat me down. I’m thinking about making a shirt that I’ll wear each time I travel…any suggestions? http://www.facebook.com/sommer.gentry Sommer Gentry I’m so sorry that you were treated this way, Akcespedes. The important thing to remember after an assault is that you did nothing wrong. The vile person(s) who touched you inappropriately are responsible for their actions. You did not deserve this. No one deserves this kind of mistreatment. Pauletteb Yet another of Elliott’s knee-jerk reaction to anything regarding the TSA. Chris, I respect a lot of what you say and do, hence my subscription to this newsletter, but your personal animosity toward TSA is obvious. I’ve never had a problem with any TSA agent, including my round-trip flight to DC last week. I did see a lot of idiot travelers who had to be reminded to remove their shoes and jackets; all within my hearing were treated with patience and respect. I believe a traveler’s attitude has a lot to do with any “trouble” he/she experiences with TSA. Brooklyn Actually, neither of these is the “original” Brooklyn. Chris didn’t do anything to let me keep my screen name, so I don’t post here anymore (gone for a couple of weeks, back just to say this). Brooklyn Oh my god, I love Brooklyn. http://www.qaqn.com/ Daniel M. Clark The only two things that most of us have a big problem with, in other words. Nobody’s complaining about not being able to bring a box cutter on board a plane or being run through a metal detector. We have a problem with the invasive scans and the, in many reported cased, humiliating and dehumanizing patdowns.