TSA Watch: What Texas’ standoff with the feds really means

By | May 28th, 2011

By now, anyone with an Internet connection knows that Texas legislators have abandoned their efforts to restrict the TSA from screening air travelers with what some consider an invasive and inappropriate pat-down.

The bill would have made it a misdemeanor to “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [touch] the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touching the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.”

But after the Justice Department threatened to suspend flights to Texas (PDF) if it was passed, state representatives had second thoughts about the idea and shelved their proposed law.

Since then, a lot of observers have weighed in with their opinions on the standoff. Some have raised constitutional questions. Others have used the event to call for the abolishment of the TSA. You can also catch a lively debate on the pat-down problem over at Consumer Traveler.

But the critics miss an important issue. Yes, the Texas bill, and others like it (there’s one planned in Utah, I’ve just learned) do raise issues of states rights, and those questions are probably for a court to answer. But the proposed law — and the reaction by the feds — says a lot more about pat-downs than anyone is willing to admit.

From the DOJ letter to the Texas Speaker of the House:

The effect of this bill, if enacted, would be to interfere directly with the Transportation Security Administration’s (“TSA”) responsibility for civil aviation security … Congress has directed TSA to provide for “the screening of all passengers and property … before boarding,” in order to ensure that no passenger is unlawfully carrying a dangerous weapon, explosive, or other destructive substance.


Not terribly shocking — until you read the bill. HB 1937 doesn’t interfere with any searches. It simply says the feds can’t touch our private parts without probable cause.

So what the TSA is saying, in other words, is that it needs to touch our private parts in order to screen us at the airport, train station, mall, or prom.

This is far more troubling than any debate about states’ rights. The calls for the TSA to be abolished, which are unfortunately completely unrealistic, are just another amusing sideshow that distract air travelers from the real problem.

Our own government reserves the right to knowingly and recklessly touch our anuses, sexual organs, buttocks and breasts.

I find that deeply disturbing. While my own experiences at TSA screening areas have been nothing but professional, many readers of this site say they have been touched inappropriately and now refuse to fly. The Texas standoff gives their stories added credibility. The government is essentially saying, “You’re right; we touched you and we’ll do it again when you travel.”

For now, it is still possible to avoid these invasive procedures. You can drive or take a cruise without the possibility of being groped.

But how much longer?

How long until one of TSA’s VIPR teams sets up shop at a highway near you, and we have to empty out of our cars, walk through a magnetometer, and be touched by an agent before we can be on our way?

Anyone who thinks the TSA will eventually be reined in through random, constitutionally-questionable legislation is living in a fantasy world.

As it stands, this government agency is unstoppable.

Why? Because the opposition is fractured and more interested in arguing than acting. I know, because after my satirical interview with Blogger Bob last Sunday, it became clear that a good number of the TSA’s critics don’t just lack a sense of humor — they also have virtually no ability or desire to organize against an increasingly intrusive government.

And until that changes — until the victims stop trying to shout each other down and start fighting on the same side — I’m afraid the TSA will continue to get away with knowingly and recklessly touching our anuses, sexual organs, buttocks and breasts.

(Photo: rcbo dden/Flickr Creative Commons)



  • MarkieA

    “The only thing necessary for the Triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke. It was true during the Revolution, and it’s true today.

  • TSA = Terrorist Support Agency.  

    Sooner or later, the TSA will be reined in.  Whether by state legislatures or by individual acts of resistance or by forcing the airlines to respond through economic pressure or all of the above, we the people will eventually win.  It may take a while — the civil rights movement also didn’t succeed overnight — but as more and more people wake up to the bullying, harassment, and abuse this agency inflicts on us every day, they are coming to realize that we have the power to change it.  

    But I’m afraid it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. So much apathy, so much docility, so much willful ignorance.

    (Oh, and Chris, the TSA blog is still censoring comments.)

  • Joe Farrell

    The Texas bill has been pulled. It is no longer up for debate or a vote. (sigh)

  • Joe, yes, we know, we’ve been discussing this.  Take a look at the “Blogger Bob” thread:  http://www.elliott.org/blog/blogger-bob-there-is-more-to-security-than-simply-going-through-a-checkpoint/

  • Bobby

    Here in Texas, Governor Rick is toying with the idea of running for POTUS. If ever there is a sure-fire way for him to be elected by a landslide would be for him to promise: (a) Ask for the immdiate resignations of Secretary Napolitano – Administrator Pistole; and (b) Restructure the TSA so that it truly provides a realistic screening mechanism to deter terroristic threat(s) without finger probes in body orifices and fondling. I don’t really like him but I would vote for him in a New York Minute if that was part of his platform.

  • cjr001

    The terrorists should’ve trademarked ‘Winning’ before Charlie Sheen.

  • cjr001

    Having read this entry a couple of times now, I can only shake my head (again).

    You say now that your interview with Bob was satirical? Are you really trying to move the goal posts?

    We’re not all on the same side because you chose to have an interview with TSA’s Minister of Propaganda involving nothing but softball questions? We’re not all on the same side because, rightfully so, we cannot find humor in people being sexually assaulted by the government?

    I know which side I’m on. Do you?

  • Nola_regular

    I agree wholeheartedly with you Chris. I am saddened by the inability of the vociferous American people to figure out how to organize. Perhaps we are all still experiencing PTSD from the Bush the Second’s dictatorship and censorship. With that said, I was recently forced to turn down the radiation machine because I’m pregnant. It was in MSY where they aren’t even bothering with randomization. Theres one bag machine on the side of the body scanner and one on the other side. If you’re distracted/not paying attention as I was, you choose the wrong line. Done nobody specifically told me to go thru the machine I scurried through it. When I got to the other side they told me to go in the machine – I said I was pregnant so they said well you should have spoke up – they were annoyed withme but not mean. I hate to say anything nice about the TSA but the woman who patted me down was pleasant enough and quite gentle – pretty much ignoring my vaginal area. Perhaps it’s because I told her I had a full bladder and answered her ‘are you sensitive anywhere?’ question with, ‘yes I’m pregnant everywhere is sensitive’. I wonder if she or any othe TSA agent would have been so kind if I wasn’t pregnant.

  • Dan

    What is special about transportation (ferries, trains, buses, etc.)? Is a terroritst attack on a ferry worse than a terrorist attack at a movie theatre? And if not, will we start seeing “VIPR” teams at the cinema?

  • The terrorists should’ve trademarked ‘Winning’ before Charlie Sheen. I agree.

  • David

    Went through enhanced screening on a flight to Europe last month.   They wanted to search up my thigh until they “met resistance.”  My response: Go for it, buddy.  Knock yourself out.  I’m sure it’s no picnic for them and, really, somebody wants to touch my butt or privates during an security screening, who cares?  These kooks who make a big deal out of nothing really need to get a life…….

  • Dan, because the security cheerleaders and sheeple like their fantasy that The Terrorists Are Out To Get Us at the airport.  

    I actually have a quote from a local newspaper reporter to the effect that he’ll worry about stadiums, malls, trains, buses, etc. “when they can fly” — won’t reveal his name here since he wrote this in a private email to me, though he has certainly written often enough in his column about his support for the TSA in all its abusiveness.  He’s also in favor of actual physical strip-searches.  The mind reels.

    But usually the cheerleaders simply refuse to answer the question.  If they do, it’s always in favor of more security theater in more places more often and more abrogation of our rights.

  • Hands down your pants? Quit whining. Breasts being groped? No big deal. Threatened with arrest for speaking up? Who cares. Your children get molested? Fuggedaboutit. 

    Objecting to irradiating, groping, bullying, intimidating, and humiliating people is just making “a big deal out of nothing.”

    Thus does the subservient mentality reveal itself.

  • Amy Alkon

    I have a plan for how we might get the bureaucracy of the TSA pushed back, but I have a book I have to get sold. I have probably another three weeks and I’ll put out my suggestion, which involves civil disobedience at the airport — but not enough to get you kept off your flight. I will try to put this out as an op-ed in a major paper — as soon as I can talk to a Constitutional scholar to find out the parameters and make sure my idea is solid. 

    A few months ago, a TSA worker named Magee Thedala (or Thedala Magee) stuck her hand sideways into my vagina — between my labia! — four times. Blog the names of those who do this to you. It is sexual molestation by government workers without the slightest bit of probable cause. The fact that I need to fly to Binghamton from LA for my work to a science conference is NOT probable cause.

    Pay attention to Lisa Simeone’s comments. She gets it. Although I’m a regular reader of Chris Elliott’s blog, and have been a fan for years (since you did a group blog with Leocha, etc), she sent me this link and is right on top of the abuses that are going on. 

  • Civil disobedience is indeed a powerful weapon.  People would do well to remember that.  I’ll look forward to your op-ed.

  • David

    I guess you’ve never been to the ob/gyn.  The standard “physical” for guys is a LOT more invasive than anything the TSA might do, but I don’t hear the crazies talk about arresting doctors.  Why?  Because these incredibly invasive procedures doctors perform are meant to keep you safe and healthy.  Likewise the TSA.  Sure, there might be a better way, but all the whiners and snivellers do on this site is complain.  They never propose a realistic and workable solution (note the important qualifiers ‘realistic’ and ‘workable’)  Come up with non-physical solutions like scanners and the snivellers start going spastic with “pictures” and “radiation” — all of which is purely fantasy because they never back up their crazy statements with facts about anything.  So instead of crying and whining, come up with realistic alternatives.  Or is it just easier to complain than actually do anything?

  • Chris

    The terrorists have won – period, end of sentence.  The underwear bomber and the shoe bomber – TWO people, MILLIONS inconvenienced, THOUSANDS sexually molested, NOT A SINGLE OTHER TERRORIST stopped because of it all!  STOP THE MOLESTATION NOW!  The terrorists have moved on i.e. the plane that was attacked in Dubai.  Passengers police their flights now INFLIGHT!  We are not afraid to speak up while on the airplane individually but we don’t know how to speak up en masse before boarding the flight. I simply refuse to fly and drive unless it is absolutely necessary to fly which means any simple protest by me goes unnoticed.  I’ve written both of my senators and my representative to tell them how I feel about the TSA and you see how much good that has done.  Tell me what to do and I will do it.  I want to see the world!

  • Teacher

    Obviously, the department of justice has trouble reading. Naturally, they decided to interpret the bill to fit their needs. I understand the intent of the bill. Why can’t they?

  • I’m looking forward to seeing your plan.

  • I know what side I’m on. Do you?

  • Grant

    How pathetic. The Texas politicos were only playing on the fears of their constituents, They never really had the courage to stand up to the Feds. What they SHOULD have said was “You want to suspend flights to our state? Go ahead. Please. Then be ready to deal with 25 million pissed off Texans”. Wanna bet that changes would have, by God, been made then?! Cowards.     

  • Yeah, there’s logic for you:  it’s just like going to the gynecologist!  Is that what you’d say to rape victims, too?  Quit your “sniveling,” ladies, it’s just like being penetrated with a speculum!

    You obviously don’t follow this blog, because we’ve discussed “realistic” and “workable” solutions countless times.  Then we’ve repeated those discussions, again and again and again, and again, for every TSA apologist who comes down the pike and claims he’s never heard of a “realistic” and “workable” solution.  But it’s never enough.  No matter how many times we repeat the arguments, present facts, quote security experts, and marshal the evidence, you guys just crawl out of the woodwork like untamable fungus.

    But yeah — we have nothing better to do than complain.  We’re bored.  My girlfriends who’ve been sexually assaulted by the TSA haven’t really been assaulted, they just woke up on the wrong side of the bed one morning and decided to make sh*t up.  They had nothing better to do.  Like Amy Alkon, who has already posted on this thread, but don’t trouble yourself to read her comments.  The parents I know who refuse to allow their children to fly because they don’t want them to be molested by the TSA are “snivelers” and “whiners.”  They’re also bored and have nothing better to do than make sh*t up.

    And we don’t have rights.  Those, too, are a fantasy.  And our security overlords are only abusing us “to keep you safe and healthy.”  Keep drinking that Kool-Aid.  That, too, will keep you “safe and healthy.”

  • cjr001

    Seeing as I’m not the one that offered up a propaganda ‘interview’ to Blogger Bob on a silver platter, as if some sort of goodwill gesture is needed when dealing with those who think sexually assaulting people is a good thing, I most certainly know which side I’m on.

  • cjr001

    Here’s a hint: these people are NOT doctors. They are by and large nothing more than rent-a-cops who have no real training in anything relating to security.

    Maybe next we can send TSA over to fight the war for us in Afghanistan. After all, they’ve had a few crash courses in how to spot a gun on an x-ray. That makes them perfectly qualified, right?

    If you really trust TSA to keep you safe, then it’s time to see a real doctor. I sure as hell don’t think they can keep anybody safe.

  • LFH

    The DOJ threat to shut down airports in Texas was probably a bluff to be called. Doing so would have resulted in shutting down American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Southwest Airlines, all of which have a substantial hub or substantial flight activity in Texas. Such a shutdown would cause havoc with the carriers and other businesses, as well as all the individuals employed in aviation. If Texas truly supported the Fourth Amendment, then the DOJ would have had to blink first.

  • Some thread, that.

  • Good post

  • sandyegg

    Does everyone think that the threat by the Feds to suspend flights to Texas is a realisitic one?  I don’t.  If enough states took a position similar to what Texas was considering, the Feds would back down rather than allow the massive disruption of the nation’s air transportation system.  There’s too much money involved and the Feds know this.  Too bad Texas blinked first. 

  • Brooklyn

    The only good thing about Chris’s giving Blogger Bob a platform is that more of us now know what he looks like and can spit if we see him.

  • The TSA is officially disgusting.  They insist, absolutely insist on touching your breasts, buttocks, anus, labia, testicles, penis, and whatever else you have maliciously concealed beneath your clothing.  How dare you object to our touching your child’s sexual organs!  Ve haff vays of making you behavfe. 

    Thank you, Chris, for this article pointing out that the government has now explicitly acknowledged in black and white what they’ve been lying to us about all along – yes, sexual touching is what this is all about.  

    TSA:  We get off, or you don’t get on.

     

  • I think civil disobedience at the airport is the next logical step, and I
    think we should prepare to be arrested.  100 people could shut a
    checkpoint by sitting themselves around the naked scanner.  Even a
    sign-waving protest would certainly trigger arrests, considering how
    militarized and fascistic airports have become.

  • David

    Again, you whine and complain but did not cite one alternative realistic and workable solution.  And you do a huge disservice by equating rape victims to a TSA pat down.  Such a comparison clearly shows you have no concept of proportionality and/or somebody is off their rocker (I’m not saying who, I’m just sayin’…..)

    Throwing things out like “sexually assaulted” is good sound bite fodder, but everyone knows it isn’t true.  Picking shocking labels like “rape” and “sexually assaulted” to try to bolster a point is such an old and tired tactic you should retire it.

    Oh, and just in case you haven’t heard, flying on commercial aircraft isn’t a right.  So again, you try to assert as fact things which clearly are not.  That might pander to the whiners on this blog, but it holds little sway in the real world.

    Perhaps the vast majority of the (normal) world would take you seriously if you stuck to truth and facts and reason instead of rhetoric and extremism.  Sorry, too many people whining about this subject just make themselves look like…. well…. cartoons.

  • David

    Hint: They’re just regular Americans trying to do their job in the manner prescribed.  Give ’em a break — it’s a thankless job and they’re willing to do it.  Yeah, we all know they’re not doctors or soldiers.  And they’re not “perfectly qualified.”  But I’m sure you are, so there you go…

    They’re just moms and dads and sons and daughters trying to do their best whilst dealing with a whining public who is usually in a hurry, stressed and resentful.   Try taking off your arronance hat and try to be a decent human being to your fellow Americans.  If you can’t do that, do us all a favor and just stay home.

  • TSA Harasses Two Texas Wounded Veterans at Airport with War Shrapnel in their Bodies
    http://www.fieldandstream.com/forums/backlash-and-blowback/tsa-harasses-two-texas-wounded-veterans-airport-war-shrapnel-their-bodi

    (though, unfortunately, you’ll have to put up with the racist tirade of the blogger)

  • Once again a person who doesn’t understand the difference between equivalence and analogy.  Nobody is “equating” the TSA’s abusive gropes to rape.  These abusive gropes are, however, sexual assault.  Just ask Sommer Gentry, who has posted, using her real name, here and elsewhere.  Likewise Amy Alkon.  Likewise Sharon Cissna.  Likewise Susie Castillo.  Likewise the thousands of people who’ve lodged complaints with the ACLU, EPIC, their Congressional reps, their lawyers, this blog, newspaper reporters, and DHS/TSA itself.

    But how enlightened of you to explain to them that what they experienced isn’t really what they experienced!

    You are also wrong about the right of air travel.
    As the Supreme Court notes in Saenz v Roe, 98-97 (1999), the Constitution does not contain the word “travel” in any context, let alone an explicit right to travel (except for members of Congress, who are guaranteed the right to travel to and from Congress). The presumed right to travel, however, is firmly established in U.S. law and precedent. In U.S. v Guest, 383 U.S. 745 (1966), the Court noted, “It is a right that has been firmly established and repeatedly recognized.” In fact, in Shapiro v Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969), Justice Stewart noted in a concurring opinion that “it is a right broadly assertable against private interference as well as governmental action. Like the right of association, … it is a virtually unconditional personal right, guaranteed by the Constitution to us all.” It is interesting to note that the Articles of Confederation had an explicit right to travel; it is now thought that the right is so fundamental that the Framers may have thought it unnecessary to include it in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.
    http://www.usconstitution.net/constnot.html#travel

    And as I’ve already said, you want us to repeat all the arguments we’ve repeated countless times on this blog, all the evidence we’ve presented countless times, none of which you’re interested in. But here we go again:
    http://www.elliott.org/blog/blogger-bob-there-is-more-to-security-than-simply-going-through-a-checkpoint/

    and this one: http://www.elliott.org/blog/tsa-watch-napolitano-tries-to-frighten-travelers-but-lawmakers-tighten-her-leash/

    and this one: http://www.elliott.org/blog/tsa-watch-so-they-got-miss-usa-what-happens-now/

    That Kool-Aid must taste pretty good . . . .

  • Since the TSA was created with the same act of congress as the WPA – in response to the severe decrease in travel following 09/11 – perhaps we could just redefine “security” as rebuilding the roads, bridges and other related declining infrastrucutures….so that they would once again be safe and secure. 

  • Dr. Bill Toth, Bravo!

  • TSA receiving fewer theft claims, rejecting more
    by JASON WHITELY
    WFAA
    Posted on May 30, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    DALLAS — As the summer travel season gets under way, the Transportation Security Administration is turning down more claims in its little-known reimbursement program for travelers who have items stolen at checkpoints or during baggage screening. The TSA said it’s currently reviewing 2,300 claims. But over the last five years, the TSA began rejecting more claims — from about half of all submitted in 2005 to three-quarters of them in 2009 . . .
    Lowe said that’s when someone must have snatched his wallet from a bin by the X-ray machine while he was separated from it.
    “At this moment, the only people I can hold responsible is the TSA,” Lowe concluded.
    The thief got away with his identification, credit cards, and $500 in cash.
    What he didn’t know until now is that the TSA has quietly reimbursed tens of thousands of travelers who have experienced similar thefts.
    In 2010 alone, the TSA paid out $582,721 to resolve 2,737 claims . . . .

    http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/TSA-receiving-fewer-theft-claims-rejecting-more-122846494.html

  • cjr001

    Many of us are perfectly qualified – over qualified – to work for TSA.
    But guess what? I won’t because I’m not interested in seeing how many
    scrotums I can fondle.

    I, as the decent human being, do not excuse such behavior. I, as somebody who actually cares about our constitutional rights, refuse to excuse such behavior.

  • Nick Holland

    The funniest thing I saw at Dallas FOrt Worth on Friday morning was that in 2010, DFW was the TSA’s Airport of the Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Maybe because that’s where they got the most passenger loot!

  • Texas legislature has gone into special session.  Call Governor Perry today and tell him you want HB1937, the anti-groping bill, to be called in the special session: 
    (512) 463-2000

    I just called. It takes only a few seconds to state your position. The person answering the phone will thank you for calling and put you on the long, long list of people calling to protect their bodies from indecent sexual abuse at airports!

  • Hilary

    On the subject of a “serious and workable solution”, I would like to offer my recent experiences at DXB (Dubai International Airport) as additional perspective. 

    -Upon arrival: Upon arriving at the airport, you find your airline and immediately go through security with your bags. Several airlines share a checkpoint. Carry-ons and baggage to be checked goes on a low-to-the-ground conveyor belt, and you walk through a metal detector. No removal of shoes/liquids/etc. EVERYONE does this, whether they are flying or not. My parents and sister, who accompanied me to the airport, went through this procedure as well. The entire process including wait time took maybe 10 minutes and is done prior to check-in.

    -At check-in: I approached the check-in line for United Airlines with my husband (here I’ll note that we were flying a US carrier, but the employees are contracted by DXB). At the entrance to the line, two employees politely asked my parents to step back and proceeded to interview us. One employee asked the questions (“What brought you to Dubai? What places did you visit? Did anyone give you anything to take home with you, like mail?”- interesting way to phrase that last question, because my parents had in fact given me letters to mail!) while the other employee watched us. I assume he was looking at our reactions. We were then free to check in and check our luggage. This whole process, including the wait in line, took 20 minutes.

    -At “security”: After going through immigration (passport stamp) you go through “security” as we understand it in the states- carry-on through the x-ray; people through the metal detector. We took off our shoes but didn’t have to remove laptops or liquids. This took a bit longer than usual; each bag was carefully examined before being let through. I’d say about another 20 minutes.

    -At the gate: Like several international airports I can think of, the gates are separated behind glass walls. Entry to the gate area requires a boarding pass and an ID. For flights departing to the US (such as ours), once you enter the gate, everyone gets a pat down. This was very, very different from any pat down I’ve received in the US. The men are patted down very swiftly (I watched my husband’s; agent wearing gloves swiftly moved along his arms, legs, stomach, and then back.) As a woman, I was led to a small “room” (partitions with a door) and a very courteous woman closed the door and proceeded to repeat the procedure on me. It was very quick, did not approach any “sensitive areas”, although she did ask me to smooth out the area under my bra myself to show her that nothing was concealed. The whole thing was very quick and professional. THEN, you head to a table where your carry-on bags are hand-searched. There is a big long table with many employees so this moved quickly. You’re then free to take a seat at the gate. Unbelievably, this whole process took about 10 minutes, probably because we headed over to the gate just before boarding and missed the initial “rush” of people lining up to get in. 

    My observations? I prefer this approach. Yes, it was lengthy and time consuming. But since you have to be at the airport 2 hours early for international trips, it’s not as if you don’t have the time. We still had about 45 minutes to spare for buying duty-free souvenirs :-) I would happily take the additional steps over the violation and lack of professionalism I’ve faced at US checkpoints.

    I also think examining the approaches of other countries with arguably greater security risks (like Israel, for example) might yield “serious and workable solutions”. No, I don’t think we could simply retrofit their entire model (racial profiling! Employees who are actually trained in weaponry!) but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from any of them.

    Just my lengthy 2 cents.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZdp13LFtOY

    This truly disturbing video shows TSA employees staring blankly, dazedly, at a woman who is screaming at the top of her lungs that they’ve molested her and she wants a police officer to report her assault to.  These monsters truly have no shame and no human feeling left in them, to be able to ignore the trauma and distress they’ve caused, to shrug their shoulders at the sight of so much pain and desperation without trying in any small way to help her.  I wish I believed in hell so I could vow those agents would burn in it.

  • Addendum:  Then they repeatedly threaten the woman’s son who’s taking the video, even though it’s explicity stated on the TSA’s website that you may photograph/video encounters at the checkpoint.  But we’re used to their not following their own procedures by now.  Good for him that he stands up to them and refuses to stop filming.  While they’re threatening, you can hear more screaming, both male and female, in the background.

    This video is chilling.  And the American sheeple just shuffle along.

  • Tiny Payout In TSA Breast Exposure Lawsuit
    Texas woman, 24, was paid $2350 to settle claim

    . . . The eight-page agreement notes that the settlement does not constitute an admission by government officials of any “liability, fault or wrongdoing.” It also stipulates that legal fees paid to Murley’s lawyers were not to exceed 25 percent of the settlement amount (or $587.50).

    Murley, pictured above, charged in her lawsuit that she was “singled out for extended search procedures,” and that a TSA agent frisked her and “pulled Plaintiff’s blouse completely down, exposing Plaintiff’s breasts to everyone in the area.
    ”TSA employees, Murley added, “joked and laughed about the incident for an extended period of time.” After leaving the security line to be “consoled by an acquaintance who had brought her to the airport,” Murley returned to the line, where a male TSA worker said that he had wished he was there when she first passed through. The employee, Murley recalled, added that “he would just have to watch the video.”

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/stupid/tiny-tsa-payout-over-breast-exposure-034978

  • Yet another lawsuit — had missed this one last year:  Jonathan Blitz

    March 17, 2011
    Today, Jonathan Blitz filed his reply to the government’s motion to dismiss in his case, so we now have 3 cases in US district courts ready to rumble on the issue of jurisdiction.  
    Corbett v. US, 10-CV-24106, SDFL 11/16/2010 (11th Cir.)
    Redfern v. Napolitano, 10-CV-12048, MAD 11/29/2010 (1st Cir.)
    Blitz v. Napolitano, 10-CV-930, MDNC, 12/03/2010 (4th Cir.)Blitz is a brilliant guy, and I’ve attached his public filing here, as it’s a great read.  The next cases to get to this point will be in the DC and CO (10th Cir.), and I’ll update everyone as the public filings are made. –Jon

    http://tsaoutofourpants.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/briefed-blitz-redfern-and-corbett/

    And a news story on the episode that initiated it:
    Durham Family Sues TSA Over Screening Procedures
    By Tom Breen | Associated Press
    Published: December 03, 2010

    http://www2.nbc17.com/news/2010/dec/03/2/durham-family-sues-tsa-over-screening-procedures-ar-589148/

  • Good news!!

    House votes to cut TSA’s budget by $270 million

    Although they also approved a $42.3 billion homeland security budget bill for fiscal 2012. That’s $42.3 Billion to spy on American citizens, drown in a flood of SARs (Suspicious Activity Reports), buy more expensive, worthless technology, and come up with more ways to harass and bully us. USA! USA!

  • Can’t dance at the Jefferson Memorial without getting arrested.
    Can’t feed hungry people in a park without getting arrested.
    Can’t fly without getting molested, and if you object too loudly, without getting arrested.
    Land of the free and home of the brave.
    But hey, “I’m just doing my job.”
    http://www.ianwelsh.net/moral-monster-test/

  • User Tsm

    Wow.  The ob/gyn?  Major false analogy there.  When we go to the doctor, we get to CHOOSE the specific doctor we want to examine us.  We get to be in a nice private space to do it in.  We have the opportunity to converse with the doctor, develop a relationship with him or her, and WALK AWAY if we do not feel comfortable.  We can then go to another doctor.  Even in the hospital, if a doctor or other professional you don’t trust walks into the room, you have the right to state that that individual cannot perform any procedure–blood draws, etc.  You can request that someone else be sent. With the TSA, they basically hold all the cards.  You have three options:  submit, make a scene, or don’t fly.  (The third is not an option for some, myself included.  I need to pay my bills.)  The power dynamic is incredibly skewed, to where the average person no longer has a say over what happens to his/her own body.

  • Mark

    That does take too long and would cost me money. I travel for work. Fly out on Monday,fly back Friday night. It is the Friday night flight that would cost me more. I travel all over the US, sometimes the latest flight on Friday night is 7pm. I work till 5pm. I get to the airport at 6pm. If security did all that you posted, I wouldn’t be able to make those flights, which means I would have to stay overnight and incur another day of hotel, car rental, and have to travel on a Saturday, which is a terrible day to travel.

  • Noname

    That’s not the same thing as having hand down the pants…

  • Noname

    The TSA is now sticking their hand down your pants! It feels different when a Doctor examines you and talks to you and puts on a friendly facial expression and displays friendly behavior. The TSA are hostile, aggressive, and mean, and they are total strangers. A doctor is someone you have built rapport with. What TSA does is much worse than a Doctors exam, because a Doctor is someone you know and trust, and feel comfortable with. Do you see the difference?

  •  As I see it, even having a TSA is unconstitutional. Such an agency violates the individual’s right to NOT have an unfair and unwarranted search and seizure. These goons need to be made unemployeed. What we should do is put two Air Marshals on each flight with a license and if any terroists try anything, the Marshals should shoot them dead followed by a thorough investigation. I would prefer this rather than hasseling thousands of law abiding passengers every day! This is just my opinion. I could be wrong. — Ed Hartwell, Voter, Veteran, Citizen, and an American for Americans.

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