TSA Watch: They never warned us about the octogenarian jihadists By Christopher Elliott | December 4, 2011 The 91-year-old woman was blind and in a wheelchair, but that didn’t stop the TSA agents in Seattle from giving her a thorough screening. A very thorough screening. “They made her get out of the wheelchair,” her daughter told me. “They made her walk to the body scanner, stand and then walk through. They absolutely would not let her have just a pat-down. Then they proceeded to take everything from her carry-on and wipe it down for explosives. I was furious, but feared saying anything because all I wanted to do was get her home.” The mother and daughter, who were flying to St. Louis last week, asked me not to use their names because they feared the agency might give them even more of a once-over on their return flight. And I would normally call the TSA for a comment (and it would deny that it forced a 91-year-old into its poorly-tested scanners, of course) but the TSA has bigger problems. Her name is Lenore Zimmerman, and she is the 4-foot-11, 110-pound, grandmother who alleges she was strip-searched at JFK. When she asked if she could forgo the advanced image technology screening equipment, fearing it might interfere with her defibrillator, two female agents reportedly escorted her to a private room and began to remove her clothes. “I was outraged,” Zimmerman, a retired receptionist, told the New York Daily News. TSA vehemently denies the incident ever occurred. Zimmerman is threatening to sue the agency. In the meantime, another elderly woman has come forward to say she, too, was strip-searched at JFK. This is hardly a new accusation against the blueshirts. Who can forget the 95-year-old cancer patient in a wheelchair who was allegedly asked by TSA agents to remove her adult diaper this summer? “It’s something I couldn’t imagine happening on American soil,” said her daughter, Jean Weber. “Here is my mother, 95 years old, 105 pounds, barely able to stand, and then this.” Just before Thanksgiving last year, a Florida ABC News affiliate reported on another grandmother who consistently received an aggressive pat-down whenever she flew, presumably because of a knee implant. “I feel molested,” Antonia Riggs Miernikshe told the TV station. “I’d like to go take a shower with Lysol (afterwards).” Is it any wonder that the grandparents of the world feel as if they have a target on their backs whenever they fly? Or that they have opted for another means of transportation, as Beverly Dale has. “This year I took Amtrak to Texas and Chicago from Philadelphia instead of flying,” she told me. “Sure, I would have preferred having more time with my grandsons instead of using it for train rides but I refuse to go along with the absurdity of allowing strangers to look at my body, rummage through my luggage and then treat me with disrespect.” The real question is: What is it about our grandparents that sets the TSA off? I mean, how difficult can it be to see that the Lenore Zimmermans of the world pose absolutely no threat to an aircraft? That the odds of cancer patients in wheelchairs and grannies with artificial knees trying to blow a plane to smithereens are less than zero? TSA screening is moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach — kids under 12 can now keep their shoes on, for example — but apparently elderly passengers are exempt from those common-sense policies. Grandma and grandpa are treated as if they are probable jihadists, even though their wheelchairs, implants and adult diapers tell us otherwise. Lawmakers are busy carving out exceptions to TSA’s screening procedures. Just last week, they decided military personnel and their dependents should be exempt from some airport screening, despite strong evidence that they should be searched like everyone else. Already, crewmembers, airport employees, lawmakers and dignitaries are allowed to skip some or all of TSA’s screening. Why not give the octogenarians in wheelchairs, who are just trying to get to Palm Beach for the winter, a little break? Come on. What’s one more exception? (Photo: Marcel Oost erwijk/Flickr) Christopher ElliottChristopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Google PlusFacebookTwitterLinkedInGooglePinterestReddit Related ocliffgirl I’m in my late 60s, a grandmother, and have never had a problem with screening at Dallas Love Field or Las Vegas when flying Southwest. I am, however, very concerned about going through security at DFW flying American this weekend! William Touzani The logic of TSA has always been that the elderly, the disabled and the children can be used by their adult family members to carry prohibited items. As paranoid as they are, they never expected a Granma to get up herself from the wheelchair and yell “Allah Akbar”. Under continued pressure from the public, TSA finally decided to loosen the rules on children, in spite of the tiny risk that a father may ask his daughter to wear a Tampon loaded with explosive. It’s a matter of time for TSA to go easy on the elderly and the disabled. Veterans today get the VIP treatment as they’re escorted by Bomb Appraiser Officers (BAOs) with nothing better to do, to make sure they have a nicer experience. D. Laux I am much more concerned about crew members, airport employees, lawmakers and dignitaries who are allowed to skip some or all of TSA’s screening! Any jihadist with an ounce of intelligence is going to target any or all of the exempt classes, particularly employees who have access to areas the public don’t. IDIOTS! Raven_Altosk Imagine if TSA had strip searched a woman wearing traditional Muslim dress. There would be outrage all over the place. But alas, seniors are a group that don’t have large, well-funded, political organizations getting involved in their travel. (ie: CAIR, which I have issues with, but when there is outrage to be had, they do make a beautiful stink) Once again, the average joe gets screwed. Wayne Dayton John Pistole is the embodiment of Satan on Earth, and he is empowered to implement the New World Order upon us all. He is an overpaid political hack abusing his authority. Alex Jones has it right: this is Amerika with a K. Pradcliffe I’m a 72 year old grandmother with a knee replacement who does not wish to go through the xray scanner–not for privacy reasons but because I simply do not trust the claims that the machines are safe, properly calibrated, etc. In the past, I have said no and been patted down. The pat downs took place in the public area just to the side of the regular screening section. They were quick and business-like and I did not find them intrusive. Now, however, I am concerned about the latest bullying, gestapo like tactics y TSA agents when a passenger refuses to be scanned. We do not need separate rules for seniors. We need the TSA to behave politely, use their common sense, and follow the law when they deal with ALL passengers. Marvin The answer lies with two points: 1. Articles such as this one is “good press,” in that it lets the Jihadists know that no catagory is exempt. Of course they would take advantage of a percieved weakness in the system… there was one who promissed to marry his pregnant, Irish, girlfriend, and then gave her a bomb in her luggage. 2. While not exempting anyone, use common sense (unfortunately a rarity) in screening passengers. Israeli security does this very well by questioning passengers and looking for “tells” i.e. expressions, facial tics, sweating, eye movements, to determine suspecious people for further screening. Blip66 This is typical reverse racism nonsense. Any non-white person can tell you that they are picked up at “random” for far more checks than any 72 year grandma and kid. They should either check everyone consistently or no one at all. Picking on people based on their dress, perceived religion, or lets just face it skin color is essentially xenophobia, racism, call it what you will. One of the sadder outcomes of the paranoia of the last 10 years is that it has become acceptable to openly advocate for xenophobia by couching it as “sensible security” and nodding sagely about the “world being changed”. Essentially all these folks are saying is don’t bother me because of what I *look* like but scan, probe, demean those other folks who look different so they scare me. Robert F Chris, I take offense in the title “octogenarian jihadists” – a ‘jihadist’ isn’t someone who wants to blow up a plane. A ‘jihadist’ isn’t a terrorist. Jihad refers to any sort of struggle in islam, almost always peaceful. By using the word ‘jihadist’ this way you only reinforce the stereotype that all Muslims and Arabs are terrorists, which I don’t think you mean to do. Of course, you aren’t alone, and much of America undoubtedly thinks this way, but please watch out for this sort of language yourself. As for the TSA’s problems, however, I do agree with pretty much everything you have to say. Kovsky I am 80 and have never been subjected to any additional searches (except one in Hawaii – just wanding – on a computer generated check) – Why? Because I do what I’m supposed to do. Don ‘t think ocliffgirl will either. I’m not fully in agreement with kids not taking their shoes off either. Just don’t see the logic – should be all or neither William Touzani As a Muslim, an Arab and a native of Morocco, I take no offense at the word Jihad. For me it only means a Religious Struggle. The crusaders were Jihadists. It’s true that most Americans blame those Muslims for creating all this mess in the Airline industry. I wrote a book about it “Screeners and Virgins”. America also believed that all Jews fleeing WW2 were Communists!! cjr001 Considering what was in the defense re-authorization bill the other day, which passed in the Senate 93-7, I think it’s safe to say that American is pretty f*cked. cjr001 By all means, Marvin, list all the examples of terrorists succeeding using those ‘perceived’ weaknesses in the system in America, much less on an airline. And then we can list for you all the failures on TSA’s part to find even basic items, such as guns and knives, that have been prohibited. The Condor What makes you think any crew member or airport employee is a problem? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EgyptAir_Flight_990 Oh, never mind. cjr001 And your logic fails when you assume that just because you do what you’re supposed to do that everybody else must not be. LutherCampbell Americans are funny (laughing funny not odd). Watch next year as we send almost every loser back to Washington. The TSA will see this as vindication of their procedures. LutherCampbell Because the terrorists are almost always white dudes from Iowa …. BenFranklin You voting for your Senator next year? I’m guessing you’ll have some excuse for doing so… BenFranklin Actually this is the kinda of person you would want to wire up. She’s at the end of her life, and might be disgruntled. Take a few people with her, so to speak. DisgustedInNY My 89-year-old mother and I are scheduled to fly from NYC to Las Vegas on February 24 to celebrate my nephew’s/her grandson’s birthday. If the press reports that a 60-something-year-old woman was arrested that day protecting her wheelchair-bound, pacemaker-implanted mother from the illegal and absurd acts of ignorant TSA agents, you’ll know it was me who got arrested. Heads up TSA: You’re in for a heck of a fight–and a very public media campaign–if you think you’re going to touch my mother inappropriately. http://www.pipdigital.com Nancy Dickinson Yeah, let’s make it about skin color… What Raven was saying was… Muslims are the ones committing the crimes on airplanes (read the wikipedia article posted above) with a “Tawkalt ala Allah”, yet they are not searched because of the outrage that would come from both the ACLU and the mentioned CAIR. This is tantamount to a bank being robbed, the witnesses stating it was a tall, thin orange man and the police looking for short, fat,green men because they don’t want to offend the “Tall, Thin Orange Man Union”. What you don’t want to admit, in the midst of ALL your political correctness, is that these groups you mention are targeted because they are more likely to be the ones that pose the threat. That they are Muslim is far less relevant than they are the more likely ones to belong to a splinter group of terrorists (They SAY they are Muslim but, let’s face it, the Muslim religion teaches love and tolerance) that have kept us under siege for so long. Since terrorists stopped wearing t-shirts that told us they were terrorists, people have to be searched. I am a HUGE anti-TSA person not because I want the bad guy to win but because they work so hard to be politically correct the wrong people are being searched. How else do you explain a young man with explosives in his underwear getting on an airplane landing in Detroit? He was on a watch list, for goodness sake! His own father had alerted the US his son was up to something! And he was STILL allowed to board a plane, ready to wreak havoc!!!! A 90+ year old woman in a wheelchair because she can’t walk is forced to WALK through a scanner? And is then STILL basically strip searched? And her bags are emptied right there in front of God and everyone? Really? What threat did she pose? Afraid that Ben-Gay in her carry on is a weapon? Keep searching the potential terrorists of the world and leave the cookie baking Grandma alone… If we’re afraid of the grandma and are letting the terrorist go through, then the bad guy has already won. http://www.pipdigital.com Nancy Dickinson And so the terrorists further their winning cause, to bankrupt the US so completely we can’t recover from it. By putting so much money into the TSA (let’s call it security theater) and by using so many inept people with protocol that assures they won’t catch the bad guy they will continue on with the charade. (and we all know how the government works. If what you’re doing doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, don’t change protocol, just throw more money at the problem) Sommer Gentry I believe Mrs. Zimmerman that she was strip-searched, both because the TSA has one whopper of a credibility problem after their frequent lies and sins of omission lately, and because a friend of mine was strip searched at LAX just a few months ago. I encouraged my friend to go public with her experience, but she was of the mind that it didn’t bother her to go nude for strangers so why should she complain? The TSA’s vaguely worded denials are a complete cop-out. If they put the two women who did the screening on TV, and those two women say categorically that they did not remove Mrs. Zimmerman’s pants, and that they did not pull down Mrs. Zimmerman’s underwear, and that they did not see Mrs. Zimmerman bleeding profusely during their “patdown”, then perhaps perhaps I will reconsider my position. But the statement they released, “We don’t do strip searches” is all weasel words. Maybe TSA only considers it a strip search if all the woman’s clothing is removed? Mrs. Zimmerman says her top wasn’t removed. Sommer Gentry Hear, hear! Your attitude is entirely justified and I hope you are successful at preventing the TSA from abusing you or your mother. Remember to think about alternate travel plans ahead of time, because the one and only power the TSA wields is to keep you off your flight. Once you acknowledge that your safety and your humanity are worth more than that one plane ride, the villains have no power over you at all. Simply say no, repeat that as many times as necessary, stand firm, and walk away unharmed. Blip66 By that logic I wonder if all the pedophile college coaches are “people in arab dresses”. No? Well set the cops on every last white dude from Iowa or (anywhere else for that matter) who coaches without any probable cause. That is essentially what you are asking for. ColoradoClaire I guess the TSA policy-makers don’t have, never have had nor expect to have (or be) elderly or frail. William Touzani Until 2 years ago, and for 8 straight years citizens from 14 Muslims country were systematically submitted for secondary screening. So much for going easy on Muslims. http://www.scribd.com/doc/68884183/Screeners-and-Virgins-2#page=49 Blip66 The bad guy has already won because he has scared you silly and forced the country to change what it stands for. And as you prove at this point the bad guy doesn’t even have to do anything to scare you. JustAnn8 If they’re going to claim that these the screening process is for safety, they should be screening everyone the same, no matter what age they are. An elderly woman might not look likely to blow up a plane, but neither do I at age 26. It definitely seems as though they searched these people too aggressively and they should apologize for that. JustAnn8 *No matter what age they are or job they hold, including all airline employees. Whalewatcher I am a short, round grandmother in my late 60’s, and I am pulled out for “random screening” for no apparent reason every single time I fly. No horror stories, but while they are messing with MY luggage or my shoes or my junk, who are they missing? Last trip, out of curiosity I watched the people pulled out after me for “random screening” – 4 grandmothers and a pre-teen girl. Didn’t really seem random and certainly didn’t make me feel any safer. Elmo Clarity Not true about the only power being to keep you off a flight. They can, and have, set up mobile check points in train and bus stations. And although I have never head of them doing it, they have the power to set up road blocks to search the highways. I even came across an airing of COPS when they were in Vegas and guess who they showed was patrolling the streets? It wasn’t the Vegas police/sheriff departments. While the last part isn’t the TSA, it does come the same people who brings you these other exciting shows at the airport. Raven_Altosk Exactly what I was saying, Nancy. TSA goes after the people who will cause the least amount of stink. If they had searched a woman in Muslim dress, they would be facing outrage from multiple agencies. Searching an old, white woman…well…they can’t cry racism, so it’s easily the path of least resistance. belmal33 Airline employees have already been subjected to a background check. TSA feels they’re safe. Of course they can always bring a plane down with their bare hands if they choose to. Redrobin3195 Hey! If the old geezers aren’t rich enough to pay off the TSA then this old rabble deserve the “rubber glove” body cavity treatment. It’s not like their like us now are they? cjr001 Neither of my senators is up for re-election next year. So, yeah, I guess that’s my excuse. Drontil ” It’s a matter of time for TSA to go easy on the elderly and the disabled.” Before or after they kill an elderly, frail person? Robert F It’s not about the word itself – but rather how it’s just used here and how Americans (that I’ve noticed) react to it. http://www.pipdigital.com Nancy Dickinson The only “fear” I have is that the government, ever mindful of being politically correct isn’t going after the bad guy but putting on the “appearance” of going after the bad guy. Perhaps my analogy of tall, thin orange men vs. short, fat green men was to much for you to understand? Oh, and I’m afraid of people who can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea that it really IS political extremists cloaking themselves with the Muslim religion so they can claim religious freedom before killing hundreds or thousands of Americans. It’s easy, Blip, to respond to “We need real security” with your “scared silly” remark. You don’t even know me yet you blanket me with a generalization such as that. I suppose you would have everyone walk onto airplanes around the world with abandon and unfettered? You REALLY scare me! I’ll take more Ravens in the world and a lot less Blip66’s. Helps me sleep at night… Anonymous >Should TSA revise its screening procedures for ALL passengers? > o Yes > o No Fixed that for you, Chris. Anonymous Well, Timothy McVeigh was a white guy from upstate New York. And he was an army veteran. Carly I’ve had one of the “very thorough” pat-downs before, and I felt that I was treated comfortably and respectfully. I like to think that if I found myself in a position where I was being strip-searched in an airport Western nation like the USA, I would do one of two things: remove myself from the situation (by leaving the screening room and probably the airport) or, more likely, asking to undergo the search in public in front of other passengers. I would much rather be searched like that in front of many other witnesses who could see with their own eyes what the agent was doing, than in an isolated area with no witnesses. Note to self: Shave legs before next flight. Charlie I’m waiting on someone to have the enchilada casserole and egg salad sandwich for lunch and then go through security about 4:30 just HOPING someone puts the rubber gloved digit on them. belmal33 Does the land of the free means anything to you? Anonymous As if a terrorist is going to wear “traditional muslim dress” when they go to blow up an airplane? Come on, Nancy. Timothy McVeigh was from New York. Richard Reid was from London; his mother was English and his father was African. And the underwear bomber you mention was Nigerian. Identifying people because they “look Muslim” isn’t going to do squat. It’s profiling, it’s racist, and it’s diametrically opposed to the very reasons this country was founded. What TSA needs to do is stop investing money in dangerous ineffective nude-o-scopes, and instead invest in psychological training, so that TSA agents can identify suspicious behavior. They need to stop hiring from the same pool as Wal-Mart security and start hiring well-paid professionals (I’d start with ex-military, as they have the discipline). Then put them on shorter shifts so they can really concentrate on the people they are screening. But before they do any of that, they need to get the hell rid of John Pistole and get someone who is willing to admit the agency was wrong, scrap the useless technology, and start providing security without impinging on our rights. Sorry, Nancy, but the brand of security you, Raven, et al are proposing is no better nor more effective than what the TSA is doing now. I’m assuming you like the idea because you’re white or black and think that profilign would allow you to avoid harassment. So what if people in “Muslim dress” get patted down? Not your problem, right? (Except it will be when the white guy from Iowa on your plane detonates that pancake of explosives that the nude-o-scopes missed.) Annapolis2 Yes, TSA does occasionally take its thuggish security theater on the road to bus stations and train stations. The point remains: TSA can’t arrest you and can’t force you to submit to a search. They can only block your path to your transit vehicle. Turn around and walk away. Say, “Am I being detained? Why? I just want to leave. Am I being detained? I just want to go on my way. I do not consent to a search. I do not consent to a search. You may not touch me or my belongings.” Anonymous You really think TSA cares about political correctness? You’re delusional. They don’t even care about the Constitution. They’re above all that. Carrie Charney Crusaders still hold an aura of heroism and bravery about them, but many were pillagers, rapists and murderers. Kiwigram I believe that the TSA should be done away with all together. Why should we have to put up with all of the garbage they put us through. Other countries don’t do this. Why the most “advanced” country in the world degrade their people like this, is beyond my understanding. Just to keep the record straight, I have been flying around this world for 40 years. frostysnowman Osama Bin Ladin said many times that part of his strategy was to weaken/ruin the US economy. frostysnowman Except once you are in the security area, you are not allowed to leave without possibly being arrested and fined a significant amount of money. Passengers can’t just change their minds about travel on a whim without also being suspected of being a terrorist who is changing their plans because of the security procedures. Blip66 “You don’t even know me yet you blanket me with a generalization such as that.” This is hilarious! Coming from someone who freely admits not two posts up “Yeah, let’s make it about skin color…” Do YOU know everyone with the skin color you are so afraid while making blanket accusatory statements? belmal33 The other part of the strategy was to humiliate the American public by making us walk barefoot on dirty floors, give-up out toothpaste and mouthwash, and become haters. Nparmelee2001 I’m 79 and have a knee replacement. I get felt up every time. They no longer use the wands. What am I supposed to have that’s not metallic on my body that those who aren’t stopped don’t have? Raven_Altosk Probably not Political Correctness, but they damn sure hate bad press. Also, get a real username. Daisymae AARP is well funded. Why aren’t they defending the elderly from TSA? Their magazine has a section called What an Outrage. Why haven’t any of these atrocities committed against the elderly appeared in their magazine? Superlarz just wondering what type of TSA screening would have prevented that Eric I’m planning on voting against every single incumbent in the next election Eric What’s your address. I’ll send you your sheep costume. Nigel I voted no, but only becauyse I think the procedures should be the same for everybody. Crewmembers, airport employees, lawmakers and dignitaries should NOT allowed to skip some or all of TSA’s screening, then maybe when the lawmakers etc know what it is really like to submit to the TSA, just maybe some reasonable limits and controls be placed on TSA. I can only hope Nigel Airline and airport employees can be bribed or blackmailed or even threatened into doing something to help a terrorist in spite of previous background checks. http://DontScan.us Wimpie “Should TSA revise its screening procedures for elderly passengers?” NO -They should revise it for EVERYONE! The TSA should be folded up and moved to North Korea! Eric While they MIGHT have the authority to search vehicles entering an airport, they do not have the authority to set-up a road block on I-95 and start randomly searching cars. If the state police can’t do it without your consent or a warrant, then neither can the TSA. Actually, I’d love to see them try it, because people would get so PO’d that Congress would finally pull the plug on the TSA. Susan N Well, the guy getting on the plane landing in Detroit was coming from Amsterdam – they would (should) be the ones responsible for letting him on, without anything to do with the TSA or US anything. nunya Type your comment here.The TSA is diametrically opposed to the very reason this country was founded. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure is a fundamental right that we have mistakenly given up under the false pretense that the TSA is going to be able to do squat about a terrorist who truly wants to harm an airplane. The TSA is a joke and makes me concerned about what other rights we will blindly give up just because our “government” says we have to. Chris I’m amazed at the 528 persons who answered yes to your question, and am only hoping that because it was sunday, they had switched their brains off !!! What you need is not individual procedures per categories of flying public, but rather one procedure that would enhance safety while allowing everyone to travel safely and without hassles !… Fisher1949 A second victim has come forward. She was also strip searched the day after Mrs Zimmerman. TSA strip-searches 88-year-old Ruth Sherman http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/12/04/another-elderly-woman-says-she-was-exposed-at-kennedy-airport/ http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone Eric, they’re called VIPR teams, and yes they have already been used at train stations, bus stations, subways, ferries, and highways. They have searched people “at random.” It’s a further — and entirely predictable — abuse that has spread from the airports. Predictable because so many people have shown they’re willing to put up with it. As long as that’s the case, nothing will change, except to get worse. http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone “Why? Because I do what I’m supposed to do.” You think that’s the magic trick, eh, Kovsky? Keep drinking that Kool-Aid. http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone Thank you, Blip66. You are correct, but good luck trying to convince Americans who think they’re so “special.” Racism is alive and well in this country, always has been. And since 9/11, it’s gone off the charts, as you can see by some of the comments here. http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone No, they don’t hate bad press. They ignore it. They get it all the time and just repeat their Orwellian doublespeak. “Proper procedures were followed.” “We didn’t do ___________.” “That didn’t happen.” They lie. Again and again. It’s what they do. And they get away with it because so many Americans are willing to put up with it. Therefore, the abuse will continue. “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” -Frederick Douglass Jholland I am 59, and I have to use a wheelchair to descend and ascend ramps. I fly about 6 times a month, as I travel for my job. Every time I go through security I am put through the xray scanner, where I have to hold my arms over my head, patted down and made to remove my shoes, and jacket. Then I am ALWAYS pulled aside for a double body pat down. I am 90 pounds 5 feet tall. I think they have something against wheelchair people. cjr001 Pilots have shown up drunk. They’ve shown up sick, tired, fed up with their jobs. And those possibilities are also a much greater threat to an airplane than terrorism. Sommer Gentry The TSA wants you to think that, frostysnowman. While they will give you a lengthy hassle, the TSA has absolutely no right to forcibly search you. They have never even dared to fine a passenger (civil fine by the way, not a criminal one) for defending his/her body and rights from their filthy molesting hands. Yes, you can and should plan to change your travel plans if the TSA decides to start dishing out sexual abuse that you won’t tolerate. I did it last week. No fine, no charges, nothing but protecting my safety and walking back upstairs to reschedule my flight from another nearby airport. Bill949 Yup they will be crawling out of the woodwork now Cliffordpwoodrick As a 75 year old retired naval officer senior, I have cut back my flights from six flights per year to one round trip per year as I am tired of being groped. I have metal knees and a metal hip so I set off the alarms whenever I get near the scanner. Even after I go through the X-Ray machine I get felt up. So now I will drive and protest by not flying. If enough people do this perhaps the government will notice and get real. In Israel, I did not get groped so why here in the USA? Have a wonderful day – Cliff Lindabator Timothy McVey wasn’t muslim. y_p_w Who do you go after. The “Underwear Bomber” was Nigerian. The population of Nigeria is about 50/50 Muslim/Christian. It’s not always possible to discern one’s religion via name either. The largest Muslim population in a non-Islamic country is India and again, a person’s name may not be a good indicator of religion. So perhaps anyone who is South Asian or African needs to get specific scrutiny in case they’re Muslim? The problem is that generalizations about race or name simply are silly in this day and age. The serious issue is that Islamic terrorist networks are now deliberately trying to recruit converts who don’t “fit the profile”. These are people like Jose Padilla and Richard Reed, or people of distinctly European ancestry such as “Jihad Jane”. The suggestion has been for people to actually monitor individual behavior rather than looking for inherent traits that might have little to do with one’s likelihood to be part of a terrorist network. http://twitter.com/xrae Rae A We took Amtrak to a funeral last week. Last minute round-trip tickets, $210 for two people. Parked, for free, next to the tracks. No security searches, no baggage limits. Free to get up and move around the train as often as we wanted. Lots of legroom and lots of overhead storage. It’s a great way to travel. IGoEverywhere Profiling….that would be the worse thing to have happen. Srs can be terrorist also. Be careful what you wish for. Wiseword What people need to realize is that what is happening is analogous to Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s. First came the Brown Shirts, crude, ignorant bullies. TSA, anyone? They were wiped out by the Black Shirts, sleek, smooth, sophisticated, viciously evil.Nominations, please. Daisymae When will advocacy groups start to complain about the profiling and abuse of elderly and disabled travelers? I’ve been anxiously waiting for AARP and groups representing the disabled to say or do something. The silence is deafening. Bill AARP and many advocacy groups (not individuals) generally have their own personal interests before those of the group they are trying to represent. Guest Its crazy what they are doing. My 90 year old father, a WWII vet (purple heart bronze star) who can barely walk with a walker is forced to walk through the machines and then patted down because his artificial hip sets them off. An elderly friend with an artificial leg is required to take his pants down and remove the leg when he goes through security. He finally got so fed up he stopped traveling. Daisymae It’s so ironic that your father fought to end the barbaric rule of the Nazis and now is treated to the same oppressive Nazi-like abuse by his own government. Those depraved Bozos in Blue that treated your father with such disrespect should be bowing down to him in gratitude. Without your father and men like him they would be on the business end of the same treatment coming from a person wearing a swastika. SusanL I’m not elderly, but am a disabled traveler. Because of my treatments I’m a very bald lady. I’ve worn various hats and scarves through domestic and international airports with no problem until last week. I was traveling from O’Hare to Knoxville and was made to remove my hat before going through the detector. It didn’t bother me so much to go through bald, since they only reason I wear hats in public is to keep the stares and comments (you wouldn’t believe what people say or ask) down. Still, I’m sure many in my situation would be mortified. I wonder if they ask those wearing wigs to remove them? On the return trip, I asked in Knoxville if I needed to remove my hat and they said “goodness no”. I mentioned what happened at O’Hare and was told “Shame on them in Chicago.” Just another anecdote about inconsistency, but really, it’s difficult enough traveling with disabilities so I hope they find a way to make it easier on the elderly. fellow flyer I am a 59 yr. old woman,average white person appearance and have been subject to additional screending the last 4 of 6 flights I have taken. Various airlines, various locations. Do I look so average that I am suspicious? Of course, I would trade some of my dignity for safety but I am also getting tired of being singled out. At least Orlando had a sense of humor about it and let me do “Mickey ears” during the body scanner part.