What gives them the right to frisk Henry Kissinger?

By | May 20th, 2012

Is this man a threat to aviation security? / Photo by darth downey - Flickr
No one should have been surprised when Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger issued a statement praising the the Transportation Security Administration for its professionalism after he got a pat-down last week in New York.

What was he supposed to do, call the TSA a criminal organization?

But many of the agency’s critics wish he had. At best, they say, the frisking of an 88-year-old elder statesman shows how ignorant its agents are — after all, didn’t anyone teach history to these screeners? — but at worst, it shows yet again that an entire organization within the government is operating above the rule of law.

The TSA publishes a list of what it considers the important legal issues on its blog, but they don’t address the major problems that, frankly, many American air travelers have had questions about.

The biggest one: What gives them the right?

But amid all the spin and PR that clutters the TSA site, there’s one remarkably level-headed post published in 2008 by Francine Kerner, the agency’s chief counsel. It explains why the TSA does what it does.

“TSA takes the rights of the traveling public very seriously, and in implementing security screening measures, carefully weighs the intrusiveness of those measures against the need to prevent terrorist attacks involving aircraft,” she wrote. “Balancing the same considerations, the courts have long approved searches of airline passengers and their bags for weapons and explosives as constitutionally permissible under what is now commonly referred to as the ‘administrative search’ or ‘special needs’ exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement.”

Related story:   Ask the Armchair Traveler: how to get through a security line very quickly

Kerner cites several court cases that apparently give the TSA an exception to the Fourth Amendment, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. (On a personal note, it was Kerner’s department that made the call to drop the subpoena issued against me in late 2009, which would have required that I reveal the name of a source. So thanks, Francine.)

Not everyone buys the TSA’s reasons for its allegedly invasive searches. First Amendment Attorney Marc Randazza thinks the legal arguments that the TSA uses to justify some of its procedures are nonsense, “implemented as part of the post 9-11 giddy civil liberties message, that we have all been forced to endure, because questioning anything that is done in the name of combating terrorism is tantamount to treason,” he says.

Randazza offers the same advice he gave me when I faced a defamation lawsuit designed to silence me: to fight it. Loudly. In my case, it was terrific advice. For the rest of the flying public, it may yet prove to be.

Finding air travelers who believe the TSA is a criminal organization is not hard. Just ask TV personality Geraldo Rivera, who last week said he was “manually raped” by an agent. Rivera makes an interesting point. Take away the airport and the checkpoint, and you could, indeed, accuse the screener of rape, at least in a legal sense. With enough proof, Rivera might even get a conviction.

But persuading a court that the TSA’s current practices are illegal isn’t easy. One group that is trying is the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which has repeatedly challenged the government’s authority to use full body scanners. It says the machines are “unlawful, invasive, and ineffective” and has argued the TSA has violated several laws, including the Administrative Procedures Act, the Privacy Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Fourth Amendment. You can read about its efforts on the EPIC site.

Related story:   TSA watch: They're looking for the wrong thing - and congratulating themselves for it

Unfortunately, air travelers have no voice in Washington that is raising questions about the legality of the TSA in a more organized way.

In the meantime, TSA supporters are interpreting air travelers’ lack of a unified presence on the Hill as a license to continue with procedures that may very well be illegal. When Rep. Rep. Mike Rogers (R.-Ala.), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security, calls on the agency to get “tougher” it makes agency critics cringe. How much tougher can you get than patting down a senior citizen and former cabinet member in a wheelchair?

  • Raven_Altosk

    Another sad part to me is… I bet those screeners have no idea who Mr. Kissinger is, but I bet they could pick any one of the (non-Trek) Kardashian losers out of a crowd.

  • SoBeSparky

    This anti-TSA vendetta becomes ludicrous when Geraldo, pretty much discredited in everything he does in the name of “journalism,” is cited.

  • jerryatric

    On recent flights including cross borders I was amazed by 1) lax security, Nexus machines broken or not funtcioning properly & in only 1 airport were we treated to a very complete check & professional patdown.I’m a 74 yr. old senior & was treated very courteously. In my experience TSA runs the gamut from very sloppy security to………
    In 5 airports only 1 gave me the “secure” feeling. The rest of TSA security was lacking in my opinion. The screener in 1 airport was “busy” joking with another agent not paying attention to carry ons going through the machine.
    On the other hand I’ve been reading about the horror stories & I believe every one of them.
    It seems to me, if an agent takes a dislike to someone, or perhaps they had a bad night they take it out on the passengers. In other cases they’re there to simply earn a paycheck & could care less about airline safety.
    But as in Raliegh, N.C. very thorough, professional, courteous, screening was done.

  • Extramail

    They don’t have the legal right to assault, oh excuse me, pat down, anyone. What if I wanted to implement this at my day care center? I would immediately be arrested for child abuse, etc., etc. even though I’ve had security concerns involving custody disputes of my charges. We have already fallen down the slippery slope and there is nothing we can do but continue to flail around in the slime!

  • ClareClare

    Judging from the poll results, the TSA thugs are reading–and voting on–Chris’s website with a vengeance.  Your question, Chris, is written in such a way that a person would practically have to be a Martian, who’d just been beamed down to earth without any knowledge of US history or the US Constitution, to vote “yes.”  Yet at the moment, the results are nearly 50-50, which is absurd!  Obviously they are afraid of you, Chris, or else they wouldn’t bother, so keep up the good work! 

  • Raven_Altosk

    IAH is my home airport. I’ve witnessed TSA there harass a pre-op transsexual. It was deplorable.

    ATL is a joke. I think they rounded up all of the high school dropouts and gave them a job.

    MCO is troubling, mostly because of all the people who sold their souls and brains to go to Di$ney.

  • TonyA_says

    What makes him so special? Isn’t he just another resident of Connecticut (Kent)? Why exclude him from a pat down?
    Some  journalists and activists (including the late Christopher Hitchens) even consider him a war criminal. Read    http://www.amazon.com/Trial-Henry-Kissinger-Christopher-Hitchens/dp/1859843980

    Last time I checked, Lady Justice is still blindfolded.

  • scapel

    Again, it is not so much as to what is getting on the airplane as to who is getting on the airplane. They should concentrate more on who is getting on. Like someone with no attached luggage, (claim check). Ticket recently purchased and just suspicion of the person.

  • Michael__K

    I agree, in this context he’s not “more special” than another 88-year old passenger in a wheelchair.  But I didn’t read the article as suggesting otherwise. 

    Rather,  I thought the point was that someone in his position might be expected to understand and value his 4th Amendment rights more than most.

  • cjr001

    The things this country has done since 9/11 in the name of “freedom” and “safety”…

    Liberty no longer has any meaning, and the Constitution has been forgotten.

    Oh, and since 50% of the voters here have clearly forgotten: TSA is NOT law enforcement. They have no right to use any tactics law enforcement uses, much less those that go beyond law enforcement.

    Police frisk, TSA sexually assault.

  • cjr001

    “Last time I checked, Lady Justice is still blindfolded.”

    No, Lady Justice has been hidden away. When it comes to TSA, there is no justice. Congress and the courts have seen to that.

  • But there are so many more examples — his is just the latest. The fact that he’s on TV is just incidental to the story.

    And yes, if writing about the TSA every week is a “vendetta” — fine with me.

  • I can hardly believe the poll results myself. The martians have landed.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    I’m with Tony here, and apparently 97 others (at the time I took part in the poll), that being Henry Kissinger doesn’t preclude you from a safety measure implemented against anyone who flies these days.

    Yes, it’s Henry Kissinger and the people at TSA should have recognized him.  However, what’s to say they didn’t?  Should they have said, “Oh, Mr. Kissinger…  After we do this search, can I have your autograph?”

    As a politician and statesman, Kissinger is to be admired (though as Tony pointed out – to some, he’s a war criminal) but as an air traveler, he’s just like everyone else and TSA treated him as such.

    For once, and I shudder as I write this, TSA did the right thing.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Frankly, Chris, I think you do it better than anyone else.  I can’t read the MSM w/o wondering what agenda the “reporter” as as they write.  I’d be hard-pressed to guess your political leanings, nor do I want/need to know, based on the balance you have in your writing.

    So I say, carry on with your “vendetta”.  Someone in the media needs to stop kow-towing to the administration, no matter what party they represent.

  • If the courts stand up for TSA’s searching of US citizens, which clearly violates the 4th Ammendment, then yes, Henry Kissinger should face that demeaning experience equally. The TSA searches elderly people with great vigor, as they do children, retarded people, blind, hearing impaired – they have no sense of the stupidity of their job. They remind me of new young police officers who have live for the thrill and power of their badge. TSA, though, with little training and little education aren’t nearly as professional as those young police officers. Maybe if they continue to search the Henry Kissingers of the world, the courts will come to realize the ruling that TSA can violate our 4th Ammendment rights makes the 9/11 murders winners on this playing field.

  • Sadie_Cee

    Re the poll, I voted NO. The metal detector should suffice as a tool for examining everyone.  We hear of certain individuals being waved through security without even being questioned, why then should someone of Mr. Kissinger’s stature be stopped and patted down?

    If the TSA is looking for material secreted in our underwear, a straightforward pat down is not going to find it.  Since they are working under the assumption that any of us could be transporting dangerous materials in our underwear, if the body scanners are down, then we will all be groped. Groping is a violation of our bodily integrity and if that is the best tool that TSA has, I will stay at home as I will never subject myself to that.

  • Thank you. My TSA coverage is about as close as it comes to having an agenda, which, given my history with the agency, is hopefully understandable.

    I’m actually grateful for commenters like @SoBeSparky:disqus – they are just trying to keep me honest.

  • RetiredNavyphotog

    I do not think Henry Kissinger should receive special treatment by the TSA.  If so, it would smack of elitism that is just not part of the American mindset.  If I have to be searched, then so should he. 

  • Bill Armstrong

    Everyone is to be treated equally. That means that Mr. Kissinger should not have any rights that anyone else has. 

    It is interesting to note that the TSA treats American citizens differently than non Americans.  For example, in the “trusted traveller program”, they allow only American Nexus members to use it, not, for example, Canadians.  Should Canada start treating Americans as a greater risk than local citizens?  This is discrimmination.

  • Does the TSA have the legal right to pat down passengers (like Henry Kissinger)? 

    I voted no because I don’t think the TSA has the legal right to pat down ANY pasenger – whether Henry Kissinger or Henry Smith.

  • Cybrsk8r

    It’s not that the TSA thinks Canadians are a bigger security risk. (in fact, they think we ALL are)  But even the TSA can’t do background checks on Canadians.  The TSA agent’s badge turns into a meaningless hunk of tin at the border. (yea, I know. It already is)

  • bodega3

    It is tiring Chris.  Same with Charlie Leocha’s same old, same old rants. 

  • emanon256

    Thanks for making me laugh, I am glad I am not the only one who thinks of Star Trek whenever I hear something about the Kardashians.

  • kmjo

    The phrasing of the question is ambiguous….what do you mean by ‘like Henry Kissinger’? Do you mean former government officials? Nobel Peace Prize winners? Elderly white men?  Famous people? Or do you mean ‘like Henry Kissinger’ in that you mean ‘all humans who fly’? If you mean the latter, then no. If you mean any of the former conditions, then yes. Fame or status should not confer special TSA privileges, in my opinion. So I am one of the martians who voted yes in the poll because it appeared that you were specifically interested in Kissinger’s status.

  • KaraJones

    Chris, I don’t know that the survey question is reasonable.  That’s why the answer percentage is so skewed.  Of course the TSA has the RIGHT to pat down Kissinger, just as much as they have the RIGHT to pat down the rest of us.  Do I think they SHOULD have that right?  NO.  But they are currently legally ALLOWED to. 

    Now, if you had said, “Should the TSA pat down Henry Kissinger?”  My answer is:  Absolutely not.  It’s idiotic.  They are wasting taxpayer money by patting-down someone we all know is not a threat.  And it simply demonstrates that they are putting on a power show and not accomplishing anything.  I think the TSA is a stupid organization that is way out of control and not regulated at all.  They are a menace to the privacy and rights of US citizens and the entire process is handled badly.  I do think we should have a proper security agency doing what the TSA is supposed to be doing – but not the agents or the management of the current agency.

  • bodega3

    I chuckle everytime some think a person is of a standing that should not be treated like everyone else.  My elderly neighbor, when I was growing up, went on a trip with a group from the local college.  Many were students and at the end of the evening at a beer hall in Germany all the younger members of the group were patted down as two of the antique beer steins were missing from the table.  The steins weren’t found and they are currently on the shelf at my elderly neighbor’s daughter’s house. 

  • KaraJones

    Bodega, it’s not a question of a “person of standing”.  Henry Kissinger is the former Secretary of State of the United States.  The TSA’s job is to find terrorist threats.  Henry Kissinger is simply not a terrorist threat.  If we were just talking about wealthy people or famous people, that would be a different point.

  • jim6555

    I thought that the TSA announced a couple of weeks ago that people over 75 and young children would not be chosen for extra screening. Either the TSA agents in NYC never got the memo or the announced policy was just a smoke screen to placate the mainstream media which has been running stories that make the TSA look disorganized and lacking common sense.

  • The TSA, according to Kerner, ” carefully weighs the intrusiveness of those measures against the need to prevent terrorist attacks involving aircraft.”  Thus, the TSA has no business frisking Henry Kissinger, because he is a public figure whose probability of being a suicidal terrorist is ZERO in every version of reality that can be distinguished from paranoid delusional psychosis.  

    I think the Deseret News had it exactly right when commenting on the TSA’s detainment of Rand Paul: “No doubt many people would hail the fact that prominent or famous people are not treated differently than ordinary folks during the screening process. They are missing the point. The TSA exists to protect people as they use the airways, which are essential to the modern economy. They do not exist to provide some sort of civics lesson. Treating everyone the same leaves the system vulnerable to people who will slip through undetected while agents are preoccupied with people who obviously pose no risk.” 

    Let me repeat that: The TSA does not exist to provide some sort of civics lesson, whereby all Americans deserve be harassed and sexually humiliated in public equally.  The commenters here who say we should treat everyone the same are missing the point: pretending we believe senators and senior statesmen might be terrorists makes us less, not more secure.  And the point was supposed to be security, right?

    Before you all get up in arms against me, take this to its full logical conclusion.  The probability that any passenger on any airplane is a suicidal terrorist is far, far less than one in one billion.  We are all just about as likely as Kissinger was last week to try to blow up an airplane.  Thus, the “balance” that TSA describes above leads to the obvious conclusion that intrusive searches should never be inflicted on any passenger without articulable suspicion, a warrant, or probable cause. 


  • cjr001

    And chalk up another win for TSA.

  • cjr001

    If patting down 88 year olds who are wheelchair-bound is the “right thing”, then this country has most certainly taken a wrong turn somewhere.

  • KaraJones


  • ExplorationTravMag

    So everyone who’s famous or well-known shouldn’t have to go through security?  That’s your criteria?  I’ll bet you have a subscription to The National Enquirer, too, don’t you?

    To imagine jihadists can’t/don’t reach the age of 88 is naive thinking, at best, dangerous, at worst.  

    And, yes, wheel-chair bound people should be checked, also.  I’m sure jihadists bent on destruction have NEVER told a lie in their lives.  These are people who use small children to meet their desired result.  Do you honestly think they would have MORE reverence for the life of an 88 year old?

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Except a wheelchair would set off a metal detector.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    However, being a former Sec. of State doesn’t mean his life circumstances haven’t changed.  How is TSA to know members of his family haven’t been kidnapped and are being held hostage unless he rolls onto an airplane with a bomb attached to it?

    No one is above being a victim of terrorists.

    And, thanks to all here for making me defend TSA…  I feel as though I need an exorcism.

  • Sadie_Cee

    Maybe not background checks, but Canada and the U.S. do have access to each other’s criminal records data banks.  The RCMP-operated Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database is available to U.S. government agencies and the U.S. National Crime Information Center database is accessible to Canadian authorities.
    Does anyone know what is actually done with our electronic passports when the border services officer places it on a machine?  I suppose the validity of the passport is being verified, but is the data being retained in some record or the other?  Just curious.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    he’s just a scumbag ex american politician (best money can buy). Can’t get much dodgier than that !!!

    The US political system is a huge joke. Have money, get what you want.

    It seems some americans hold their politicians in high esteem, when most will sell their mothers for a few bucks.

  • Nigel Appleby

    If I were being even more cynical than usual, I would think that the TAS knew exactly who Henry Kissinger is and recognised him. Then they gave him an extremely gentle and courteous pat down (nothing like we lesser mortals would get) in the hope or belief he would say something nice which he did.
    Object achieved.

  • cjr001

    “So everyone who’s famous or well-known shouldn’t have to go through security?”

    By all means, show me where I typed that. I have no time for people who’s cry for attention involves claiming I said/typed things that I didn’t.

    “To imagine jihadists can’t/don’t reach the age of 88 is naive thinking, at best, dangerous, at worst.”

    A) If they got to 88, then they’re the worst jihadist who ever lived, and B) show me proof that they’re boarding US flights.

    “These are people who use small children to meet their desired result.”

    Again, proof. Show me that these methods are being used on US flights.

    These terrorist boogiemen do not exist. And because of that, you scare me more than the terrorists because you are the one who is letting the terrorists win.

  • cjr001

    “No one is above being a victim of terrorists.”

    The odds are not in favor of it, either. But that doesn’t stop you, does it?

    I suggest sticking to Powerball. After all, you’ve got a better chance of winning it than being the victim of a terrorist attack.

  • Great comments today. You guys sure do know how to make things interesting (and I love you for it!).

    Or should I say: “Thank you, may I have another?”

  • ExplorationTravMag

    *SIGH*  *SIGH* (because your naivte makes me want to sigh twice)

    ” I have no time for people who’s cry for attention…”

    It’s “whose”.  And the rest makes no sense at all.  

    “If they got to 88, then they’re the worst jihadist who ever lived”

    I wasn’t aware there was an age limit on being a jihadist.  And whether they’re good or bad is irrelevant.  They only have to be successful once, no matter how old they are.

    “show me proof that they’re boarding US flights”


    They didn’t board, thank God, because the person chosen was working for the CIA.  I wonder how old HE was?

    “Show me that these methods are being used on US flights”

    On US flights?  Really?  Did I SAY they were doing this on US flights (I’ll just refer to your first lines of your reply – claiming I said/typed things that I didn’t)

    As far as their employing these methods elsewhere, sorry but, I have two older sons, both of whom were in the initial invasion into Baghdad and have both been in the sandbox on A-stan.  Both have had to stand there helplessly while “the bogeyman” (Note the spelling, which is correct – your spelling implies they wear tight polyester and stand around dancing to KC and the Sunshine Band) used small children for their nefarious purposes, including using them as human shields.

    That you don’t know any of this tells me you walk around with your head inside a paper bag, wearing rose colored glasses, etc.  That you refuse to acknowledge there ARE bad guys at all tells me you’re on some pretty good meds and there’s no point in going any further with you.

    I’ll leave you with this last thought, and it’s one you need to incorporate into your daily life AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE – for the sake of the people around you who struggle, each day, to not drop you from their lives like a bad habit…

    This is often attributed to Mark Twain but it was actually Abraham Lincoln who said this – “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

    Thanks for playing, buh-bye.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    OMG, I can’t even call it naivete any longer.  Were you and Forest Gump identical twins?

    Please, please, please, stop responding to posts.  I can’t even think of a kind way to say just how ridiculous your postings are.

    This one here reminds me “I know you are but what am I?”  Go back outside and play so the adults can have a decent conversation.


  • Daizymae

    Chris, please keep it up. Somebody has to speak for us. If sobesparky and bodega3 are tired of it, they can simply skip over that particular article. Nobody is forcing them to read it.

  • Daizymae

    Too bad you didn’t follow that sage advice.

  • Daizymae


  • Carchar

    Really? We “made” you defend TSA? What power we have over you!

  • bodega3

    ExplorationTravMag said it perfectly. Please read her post below.

  • bodega3

    So please share what you would do.  I am willing to see other ideas, but it seems that those who criticize the TSA don’t seem to have a better way…so far.  So it is the same old rant, over and over and over and over…..

  • Daizymae

    Remember Abraham!

  • Daizymae

    You got it! A smokescreen just like the one where they’re not molesting children anymore.

  • Except that they are still molesting children.  And still sexually assaulting people over 75.  Children and frail elderly make the best victims for TSA thugs, because they don’t fight back so often or so loudly. 

  • Drontil

    Like other TSA trial balloons, that always end up being implemented, the over 75 thing is currently only at a few airports, AKAIK.  Further, the exemption is only for HEALTHY people over the age of 75, those who can lift their arms, spread their legs and don’t use any assistive devices.  

    How many of our senior citizens do you think that emcompasses?

    Mr. Kissinger was in a wheelchair making him automatically suspect.

  • Drontil

    I believe cjr001 meant boarding a flight IN the US.  The most recent underwear bomb was planned to go on a flight TO the US.

    The other examples you give happened overseas.  If the thousands of jihadists allegedly here the in the States were really looking to create havoc by using the elderly and children, it would have happened long ago.

    That you have fallen for the disinformation put out by our government, tells me a great deal about you.

    How do you get out of bed in the morning?

  • “TSA takes the rights of the traveling public very seriously, and in implementing security screening measures, carefully weighs the intrusiveness of those measures against the need to prevent terrorist attacks involving aircraft,” she wrote.

    Kenner wrote that before John Pistole came on the scene and instituted the Reign of Molestation. I wonder what she would say now?

    As for an organized effort on Capitol Hill, Wendy Thomson of FTTUSA (Freedom to Travel USA) has organized a Congressional briefing that will take place tomorrow morning, Tuesday, May 22nd, in the Cannon House Office Building. I’ll be there. So will Sommer Gentry, Jon Corbett, Renee Beeker, Jeff Pierce, Douglas Kidd, and other activists.

    Many Congressional aides will be there, learning about the abuses of the TSA, the facts about risk assessment and statistical analysis, and hearing our recommendations for changes. This event is open to the public. We urge people to call their representatives and ask them to send someone. More info here:


  • Drontil

    It says a lot about the quality of individuals hired by the TSA that they didn’t know Mr. Kissinger.

  • bodega3, 

    We have answered this repeatedly, hundreds of times, on this blog and all over the blabbosphere.  But let’s do it again: The same procedures that were in place before 9/11 and after 9/11 but before the Reign of Molestation was implemented nationwide (November 1, 2010), during all of which time planes weren’t being blown out of the sky left and right.  If The Terrorists Are Everywhere, why weren’t there hundreds of attacks, why weren’t bombs going off all over the place, when the TSA was using just the walk-through metal detectors and not stripping and groping people??

    Get rid of the scanners, get rid of the gropes.  And if you can’t live with the ordinary risks of everyday life — including the infinitesimally small chance of dying in a terrorist attack in this country — then stop driving, stop walking, stop bathing, stop going outside, and stay home cowering under your bed.  Because you’re more likely to die in a car accident, be struck by lightning, or drown in your bathtub than you are to be the victim of a terrorist attack.  And let the rest of us live our lives and fly in freedom and dignity.

  • Drontil

    Chris, I do think your poll is poorly worded.  I didn’t vote because I would have had to vote “yes” and it would pain me too much to do so.  

    That said, I’m not certain how it should have been worded. 

    It does look as if the TSA drones are out to skew the the results.

  • ExplorationTravMag, my god, you’ve been reading too many cheap novels and watching too many action flicks.

  • cjr001

    Thanks, Lisa, for being willing to spend/waste your time answering such accusations.

    Me? I’m tired of having to say the same things over and over to people who falsely claim that nothing else has been put forth.

  • cjr001

    “because your naivte makes me want to sigh twice)”

    It’s naivete. If you’re going to be a Spelling/Grammar Nazi, then you probably shouldn’t make such mistakes yourself.

    And no, I’m not naive because I’m not the one waiting for the Terrorist Boogieman to get me. I’m living my life, refusing to let the terrorists win.

    And win they have with people like you.

    “They didn’t board, thank God, because the person chosen was working for the CIA.”

    Then you’ll have no problem admitting that the CIA and FBI are the ones stopping these plots, not TSA.

    “Did I SAY they were doing this on US flights”

    Well, in case you failed to notice, TSA protects US flights. So one would think these supposed tactics are relevant to *gasp* US flights.

    But then, considering the number of flights on a daily basis world-wide, these tactics really aren’t be used anywhere, are they?

    “That you refuse to acknowledge there ARE bad guys at all tells me you’re
    on some pretty good meds and there’s no point in going any further with

    My brother served in Afghanistan as well.

    And again, you’re putting words in my mouth. I never said there are no bad guys, as badly as you want to project your pathetic nonsense at me.

    Of course there are bad guys. But unlike you I know that their chances of impacting my life directly are practically zero. That I’m not going to live my life in fear of people who are generally even more incompetent than the group who works on US soil and gropes and assaults countless innocent people – TSA.

    “Thanks for playing, buh-bye.”

    Oh, yeah, you’re a real internet tough woman. If you want to hand all of our rights and liberties away to the TSA, just say so already so we know just how far off the deep end you’ve gone. It’ll make things easier for everybody.

  • cjr001

    Probably by first looking under her bed to make sure there are no boogiemen there.

  • Drontil

    If terrorists are holding members of his family captive, then the TSA’s vaunted BDOs should be able to detect that he’s under stress and pursue the reasons for that stress.

    What’s to say that the “terrorists” haven’t captured family members of trusted travelers?

    As two other posters said:

    1.  You seem to have read too many cheap novels or seen too many crime shows on TV; and

    2.  Nobody “made” you respond.  You chose to respond.

  • cjr001

    Your failure to respond to facts while simply resorting to petty attempts to insult tell us all we need to know about you.

    I’d pity you, but there are others out there actually worthy of it.

    Look out, Blogger Bob, somebody’s coming for your job!

  • TonyA_says

    Heinz Alfred Kissinger might be arrested if he traveled outside the USA to these countries:

    Famously, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has had to be careful about where and how he travels, as he has been linked to war crimes in Indochina, Bangladesh, Chile, Cyprus and East Timor, and could be arrested under the Geneva Conventions Act in any country that is a signatory to that convention.


  • bodega3

    How would you change all this? 

  • Do you mean, what should the search procedures be?  Only non-intrusive searches, which means no one touches my body, no one creates nude images of my body, and no one damages my cells with ionizing radiation.  Bag x-rays, walk-through metal detectors, reinforced cockpit doors and cargo screening are all we need.

    Or do you mean, what concrete steps am I taking to bring this abusive hysteria to its inevitable end?  Well, I spoke at the public comment section of the Aviation Security Advisory Council today, and I’m lobbying my Congressional representatives and blogging about the TSA and writing letters to my former airlines and doing everything I can think of to do. Every single one of us has a duty to fight to protect our children, ourselves, and others from TSA’s bullying, thieving, molesting, humiliating and harming ways.  Fight!

  • Raven_Altosk

    See, I knew there was a reason I liked you, Emanon!

  • bodega3

    What crap!

  • bodega3

    It ain’t gonna happen to go back to pre 9/11 so come up with something that could actually work.  She wastes our time with her groping fears with no reasonable plan to make air travel safer.  She just likes to complain. 

  • bodega3

    Then don’t fly.

  • bodega3

    There is information on every flyer.

  • bodega3 writes: “What crap!”

    Well, there’s impressive logic for you.

  • bodega3

    I call it as I read it.  Suggesting to go back to pre 9/11 is

  • RonBonner


  • bodega3

    We have to protect ourselves, our children and others from people who wish to harm us.  I don’t consider the TSA the enemy. I am sure their procedures could improve/change, but I feel that working with them on this in a positive manner is better than attacking them with words like, bullying, thieving. I am sure, as you are, that what has been put in place is enough.  Like teenagers, those who wish us harm are a step ahead in ideas.  I haven’t flown El Al, have you?  I have heard their procedures are not ones you mess with and with past experiences in that part of the world, they have done a great job in keeping passengers safe. That is everyone’s goal!

  • I do consider TSA the enemy, because they have made it extremely clear that they intend to force unwelcome sexual contact on their patdown victims, including minor children.  I don’t feel safe, not in the slightest bit, with strangers rubbing my genitals.  There is nothing safe about that.  In fact, protecting my body from unwelcome sexual contact is fairly high up there on the list of what defines “safe” for me.

  • bodega3

    Sommer, they are not the enemy but obviously you won’t be convinced.  Sad we have to live with terriorist and sad you live with this additional fear. 

  • cjr001

    Do you wear blue gloves yourself, bodega? Because you’re being quite the apologist for a racket that does nothing to actually keep people safe.

  • cjr001

    And it’s sad that we have to live with the Terrorism Support Administration.

  • cjr001

    Oh, yeah, now there’s a logical retort. “Don’t like it, go to Russia.”

    But wait! TSA is already at bus stops and train stations. They are on the highways and want to be at ports!

    Then what? Am I not supposed to exercise my right to travel freely without interference by an overzealous and terror-causing government agency?

    Here’s a thought: we get rid of TSA. And then if you don’t like it, YOU can choose another method of transportation.

    In fact, this is the way it should be. Leave flying for those of us who actually appreciate our rights and care about the Constitution, and leave those of you who would trample all over them to cower in fear in your basements of the Terrorist Boogieman.

  • bob_wing

    The TSA has the same right to pat down Henry Kissinger as they do to pat me down.  The only way this is going to change is if enough high profile individuals with the power to change the system get the same treatment as the rest of us and they get mad enough to do something about it.

  • Sommer — and the rest of us — are being forced to live with the reasonable fear of sexual assault at the airport because of people like you who are wedded to the irrational fear that The Terrorists Are Everywhere.

    Statistical analysis, risk assessment, logic, and empirical evidence clearly aren’t your strong suit.

We want your feedback. Your opinion is important to us. Here's how you can share your thoughts:
  • Send us a letter to the editor. We'll publish your most thoughtful missives in our daily newsletter or in an upcoming post.
  • Leave a message on one of our social networks. We have an active Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence and a Twitter account. Every story on this site is posted on those channels. The conversation ranges from completely unmoderated (Twitter) to moderated (Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Post a question to our help forums or ask our advocates for a hand through our assistance intake form. Please note that our help forum is not a place for debate. It's there primarily to assist readers with a consumer problem.
  • If you have a news tip or want to report an error or omission, you can email the site publisher directly. You may also contact the post's author directly. Contact information is in the author tagline.