TSA Humiliations

SUBHEAD: Stories of humiliations and TSA madness during airport pat-downs.

By Staff on 19 November 2010 for UK Daily Mail -


Image above: Nazi soldiers directing Jewish "travelers" to their trains heading to concentration camps. From (http://www.blueheronpix.com/deliver_us_from_evil).   

Cancer survivor forced to show prosthetic breast to TSA agents during airport pat-down.
  • Another woman likens her pat-down to 'sexual assault'
  • Florida congressman calls for airports to use private security
  • New survey shows more Thanksgiving travellers are set to drive this year
A flight attendant and cancer survivor has revealed her horror at being forced to show her prosthetic breast to a security agent during a pat-down at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Cathy Bossi from South Charlotte has been a flight attendant for over 30 years and has worked for U.S. Airways for the past 28 years. 

She said she was asked to go through the full body-scanners at the airport in early August which she was reluctant to do because of fears of the radiation from the machine passing through her body. The 3-year-breast cancer survivor agreed, but was then asked by two female Charlotte TSA agents to go to a private room for further screening, and they began what Ms Bossi described as an aggressive pat down. 

She said they stopped when they got around to feeling her right breast - the one she had lost through her illness. Ms Bossi said: 'She put her full hand on my breast and said, 'What is this?'. And I said, 'It's my prosthesis because I've had breast cancer.' And she said, 'Well, you'll need to show me that'.' 

She was then apparently asked to remove the prosthetic breast from her bra and show it to the TSA agents. 'I did not take the name of the person at the time becaue it was just so horrific an experience, I couldn't believe someone had done that to me. I'm a flight attendant. 

I was just trying to get to work'. Ms Bossi has since contacted the Legislative Affairs Team provided through her flight attendant union because she wants to see a crackdown on personal pat-downs. 'There are blowers and there are dogs out there that can sniff out bombs', she said. 'There's no reason to have somebody's hands touching your body parts.' 

 A TSA representative said although agents are allowed to ask to see and touch any passengers' prosthetic, they are not supposed to be removed and will investigate this matter. Another woman is also comparing her experience at Lambert Airport in St. Louis to being sexually assaulted. Penny Moroney was flying home to Chicago when while going through security, the metal in her artificial knees set off the detectors. 

She had to undergo more screening because of the alarm going off and when Ms Moroney asked if she could go through a body scanner she was told none were available. The only alternative offered to Ms Moroney was a pat-down which she said she found a horrific experience. 'Her gloved hands touched my breasts... went between them. 

Then she went into the top of my slacks, inserted her hands between my underwear and my skin... then put her hands up on the outside of my slacks, and patted my genitals', Ms Moroney explained. 'I was shaking and crying when I left that room. Under any other circumstance, if a person touched me like that without my permission, it would be considered criminal sexual assault.' Ms Moroney complained to the TSA supervisor and then on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website. 

The national site are now monitoring what it calls a 'flood of complaints' from across the country from people who are dissatisfied with the screening process at their airports. 

Ms Moroney said that she wishes there were full body scanners everywhere so that she didn't have to endure having to be patted down. When asked if putting hands down the front of someone's pants is excessive, The TSA responded that their officers' first priority is safety. 

But the head of the TSA says the close-quarter body inspections causing a furor among some passengers and pilots are unavoidable in a time of terrorist threats. John Pistole told CBS's The Early Show today that he understands the public distaste for more intense security procedures, particularly hand pat-downs.
He called it a 'challenge' for federal authorities and airport screeners. But Mr Pistole said the attempted bombing of a U.S. bound plane last Christmas and the effort to ship packages with bombs to this country on cargo planes more recently makes tougher security measures necessary. 

He said: 'The bottom line is, we're trying to see that everybody can be assured with high confidence that everybody else on that flight can be properly screened.' 

Mr Pistole also claimed that the Obama administration could soon announce new airport security screening measures for airline pilots, who have complained about the full-body scans and invasive pat-downs. 

He acknowledged that the search to find explosives and other weapons would offer little protection against any pilot determined to bring down an aircraft. 'We've had a number of very good discussions with pilots and hope to be announcing something very soon in terms of a good way forward for the pilots for that very reason, using a risk-based intelligence driven process,' he said. Pilots' unions, which have raised health concerns about scans and objected to rigorous pat downs, say their members already have gone through security background checks, making further screening duplicative. 

 Mr Pistole gave no indication that screening rules for passengers are about to change, despite calls for alternative measures including Israeli-style one-on-one interviews with travelers. 'That's a good topic of public debate. Obviously we use layers of security and hopefully we're informed by the intelligence,' he told ABC. 

But the television network also reported on Friday that TSA is testing new X-ray technology that would show a 'stick figure' instead of a passenger's full-body image. As the U.S. airline industry enters one of the year's busiest seasons, administration officials face a continued uproar over the invasive screening techniques intended to foil attacks such as the 2009 Christmas Day bomb plot in which a Nigerian man is charged with trying to detonate explosives in his underwear aboard a Detroit-bound airliner. 

Travelers and U.S. lawmakers have objected to the scans that produce revealing body images and pat down procedures that are highly personal. Critics have called for a boycott of the screening procedures during next week's busy U.S. 
Thanksgiving travel season. Some airports have threatened to privatise screeners rather than use TSA staff and pilots have sued in federal court to halt the screening procedures. Amid the growing uproar, a new survey has revealed that more people will opt for road travel this holiday season over air. 

 The American Automobile Association (AAA) has revealed that 94 per cent of Thanksgiving travelers nationally are expected to drive - up from 86 per cent in 2008 and 80 percent in 2000 - this despite the high gas prices. The air travel share is projected at 3.8 per cent this Thanksgiving, the lowest figure in a decade. 

Many aviation experts have scoffed at the full body scanner machines which costs more than $100,000 each saying they are an example of the focus on the perception of security that has pervaded airports since the September 11 attacks. Security expert Bruce Schneier said: 'All these machines require you to guess the plot correctly. 

If you don't, then they are completely worthless'. Mr Schneiere argued that assembling better intelligence on fliers is the key to making travel safer. The TSA contend that the new machines are effective and have identified more than 130 dangerous or prohibited items this year. It also says the scanners incorporate protections for privacy. But with the intense backlash from passengers and pilots, some airports are considering ditching TSA agents altogether. 

Federal law allows airports to opt for screeners from the private sector instead. The push is being led by a powerful Florida congressman who is a longtime critic of the TSA and counts among his campaign contributors some of the companies who might take the TSA's place. For Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida, the way to make travelers feel more comfortable would be to remove TSA employees out of their posts at the ends of the snaking security lines. 

This month, he wrote letters to the nation's 100 busiest airports asking that they request private security guards instead. 'I think we could use half the personnel and streamline the system,' Mr Mica said on Wednesday, calling the TSA a bloated bureaucracy. Mr Mica is the ranking Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Once the new Congress convenes in January, the lawmaker is expected to lead the committee... T

he top executive at the Orlando-area's second-largest airport, Orlando Sanford International Airport, said he plans to begin the process of switching to private screeners in January as long as a few remaining concerns can be met. The airport is within Mr Mica's district, and the congressman wrote his letter after hearing about its experiences. CEO Larry Dale said members of the board that runs Sanford were impressed after watching private screeners at airports in Rochester, N.Y., and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 

He said TSA agents could do better at customer service. 'Some of them are a little testy,' said Mr Dale, whose airport handles 2 million passengers a year. 'And we work hard to get passengers and airlines. And to have it undone by a personality problem?' 

To the south, the city's main airport, Orlando International, said it is reviewing Mr Mica's proposal, although it has some questions about how the system would work with the 34 million passengers it handles each year. In Georgia, Macon City Councilor Erick Erickson, whose committee oversees the city's small airport, wants private screeners there. 

Mr Erickson called it a protest move. 'I am a frequent air traveler and I have experienced... TSA agents who have let the power go to their head,' Erickson said. 'You can complain about those people, but very rarely does the bureaucracy work quickly enough to remove those people from their positions.' TSA officials would select and pay the contractors who run airport security. 

But Mr Dale thinks a private contractor would be more responsive since the contractor would need local support to continue its business with the airport. 'Competition drives accountability, it drives efficiency, it drives a particular approach to your airport,' Mr Dale said. San Francisco International Airport has used private screeners since the formation of the TSA and remains the largest to do so.

The airport believed a private contractor would have more flexibility to supplement staff during busy periods with part-time employees, airport spokesman Mike McCarron said. 

Also, the city's high cost of living had made it difficult in the past to recruit federal employees to run immigration and customs stations - a problem the airport didn't want at security checkpoints. TSA spokesman Greg Soule would not respond directly to Mr Mica's letter, but reiterated the nation's roughly 460 commercial airports have the option of applying to use private contractors.

Pilots Michael S. Roberts of Memphis and Ann Poe of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, are also upset with the new measures and have refused to participate in either pat-downs or full body screening. As a result they will not fly out of airports using these methods according to a lawsuit filed this week in Washington. Mr Roberts is a pilot with ExpressJet Airlines and is on unpaid administrative leave because of his refusal to enter the whole-body scanners. 

 Ms Poe flies for Continental Airlines and will continue to take time off work as long as the existing regulations are in place. 'In her eyes, the pat-down is a physical molestation and the WBI scanner is not only intrusive, degrading and potentially dangerous, but poses a real and substantial threat to medical privacy,' the lawsuit states.

TSA Overreaction  
SUBHEAD: Judy in Denver - "Several agents stood in a group laughing at us" 
By Deorge Donnelly 19 November 2010 for WeWontFly.com -
Judy’s story upsets me. Janet Napolitano and John Pistole have shoved this nonsense down the throats of both the TSA and us passengers. Passengers don’t know what to expect. The TSA is clearly not trained in customer service. It’s pointless theater. It needs to stop. Abolish the TSA and let’s get some real security.

After my bags were sent through the scanner, I was directed to go though the body scanner. It looked like a man was monitoring the scanner so I objected and stated my understanding was the body scan would be viewed by females not men. The TSA employee was irate with me and said no it’s a man. I did not want to continue but was forced to stay in the scanner, still I was asking questions.
Upon completion, the TSA employee called another person to put me through an invasive molestation-like body search two feet from the scanner in the open with hundreds of people looking on. The TSA employee stuck her hand up my crotch and ran it down my right leg. At that time I again stated my understanding was that the scan should have been viewed by a female not a male. She was hostile and stated in an angry voice “The person viewing you is in another room. You won’t know if it’s a man or woman”. A group of TSA employees looked on, both male and female. One of them making comments about the position my hands were in, while being scanned?
I was upset and humiliated and asked why I had been sent though the scanner AND the physical search. No answer was provided. She made inflammatory comments to me then said loudly “You are cleared so go”. I said under my breath, screw you. She yelled at me “What did you say…? Then called the police and several other TSA employees. She grabbed my arm to which I said get your hands off me and pointed out I have a right to speak my mind, you have already cleared me. She said no you don’t you will deal with the police now.
Both my husband and I were physically detained. TSA agents took my driver’s license and boarding pass. The TSA employees victimized me and abused their power by detaining me and my spouse. Several agents stood in a group laughing at us while the police woman, officer Southland spoke with us. The police person acted in a professional manner. I told her what happened and she explained it was beyond her power to let us go.
I told the TSA supervisor I respected the police woman’s handling of the situation. The TSA employee was visible upset and stated “I am an officer”.
I broke no law and threatened no one. I was cleared, after being searched and scanned, but still was unjustly detained. I did not exhibit any violent behavior; I complied with the process although I objected. Still I was held, nearly missing my flight.
I overheard a group of police officers saying it was unreasonable for the TSA agents to detain us and it was simply a game to TSA.
I felt as though I’d been molested, then demeaned in front of hundreds of people. TSA made sure I suffered becasue of my objections.
We had to wait for a Steve Perez of Frontier to interview us and decide if we could fly. I was completely honest as to what I said and what I’d been though that caused my stress. The interview took a few minutes as he could see the absurdity in which we were detained. However previous to that we were held for approximately 45 minute to an hour.
The TSA employees were drunk with power, and caused me severe HUMILLATION and emotional suffering.
We flew from Denver to San Diego. When we return I will visit the check point and get the names and file a formal complaint.
Please contact me if there is any type of class action complaint I can participate in.
Sophomoric, condescending, and with elite superiority. No compassion was extended to me, even though they could tell by my objections and questions I was embarrassed and disturbed.
We are powerless against the rent-a-cop mentality of TSA. I no longer want to fly.
I filed a complaint with the ACLU and will continue the battle to regain my rights.

Another TSA Outrage 
SUBHEAD: It’s probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons.
By Erick Erickson on 18 November 2010 for RedState.com -
A friend of mine sent me this about his TSA experience. He, unlike most of us, was coming back into the country from Afghanistan on a military charter. As the Chalk Leader for my flight home from Afghanistan, I witnessed the following: When we were on our way back from Afghanistan, we flew out of Baghram Air Field. 

We went through customs at BAF, full body scanners (no groping), had all of our bags searched, the whole nine yards. Our first stop was Shannon, Ireland to refuel. After that, we had to stop at Indianapolis, Indiana to drop off about 100 folks from the Indiana National Guard. That’s where the stupid started. First, everyone was forced to get off the plane–even though the plane wasn’t refueling again. 

All 330 people got off that plane, rather than let the 100 people from the ING get off. We were filed from the plane to a holding area. No vending machines, no means of escape. Only a male/female latrine. It’s probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons. Everyone was carrying an M4 Carbine (rifle) and some, like me, were also carrying an M9 pistol. Oh, and our gunners had M-240B machine guns. 

Of course, the weapons weren’t loaded. And we had been cleared of all ammo well before we even got to customs at Baghram, then AGAIN at customs. The TSA personnel at the airport seriously considered making us unload all of the baggage from the SECURE cargo hold to have it reinspected. 

Keep in mind, this cargo had been unpacked, inspected piece by piece by U.S. Customs officials, resealed and had bomb-sniffing dogs give it a one-hour run through. After two hours of sitting in this holding area, the TSA decided not to reinspect our Cargo–just to inspect us again: Soldiers on the way home from war, who had already been inspected, reinspected and kept in a SECURE holding area for 2 hours. Ok, whatever. 

So we lined up to go through security AGAIN. This is probably another good time to remind you all that all of us were carrying actual assault rifles, and some of us were also carrying pistols. So we’re in line, going through one at a time. 

One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers. The conversation went something like this:
TSA Guy: You can’t take those on the plane. Soldier: What? I’ve had them since we left country. TSA Guy: You’re not suppose to have them. Soldier: Why? TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon. Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on. TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets. Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers? TSA Guy: [awkward silence] Me: Dude, just give him your damn nail clippers so we can get the f**k out of here. I’ll buy you a new set. Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]
This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns–but nothing that could have been used as a weapon. 
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