TSA Watch: Did they really sexually assault his mother?

Another day, another TSA screening video.

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This one came to us earlier this week from Ryan Miklus, who was flying from Phoenix to Reno with his parents for the Memorial Day weekend. The woman at the start of the clip is his mother, Carol.

Miklus claims she was groped by a TSA agent, and when she asked for a police officer, she was escorted from the screening area and missed her flight. She was screened the next day in Phoenix and traveled without incident.

The TSA has already weighed in on this dust-up with its usual statement.

I spoke with Miklus by phone yesterday to get his side of the story. I was particularly interested in the moments before he began filming.

“They had wanted her to go through the body scanner,” he explains. “She refused. She wanted to have a police officer present during her screening. They pushed through and did the pat-down, anyway.”

During the “enhanced” pat-down, he says his mother was inappropriately touched. Which is when she demanded a police officer.

“That’s when I got my camera out,” he says.

The rest of the video is pretty self-explanatory. There’s the airport worker and Southwest Airlines employee, trying to stop Miklus from filming by citing a law that doesn’t exist. There’s the police officer who in the end refuses to arrest him because he’s violated no law. And there’s plenty of yelling and screaming.

One of the most interesting parts comes at the start when a screener says she’s warned Miklus already. That’s because this isn’t the family’s first run-in with the TSA.

Here’s his encounter with the TSA a few months ago. (Warning: strong language.)

Off-camera in the first video, a TSA employee accuses him of being a paid actor. Miklus denies it.

“I said, “Thanks for trying to dehumanize me,” he says.

But the “paid actor” accusation has gotten some traction online, with many believing both these videos were staged.

I don’t think Miklus and his family are actors, but I’m not entirely unconvinced that they didn’t go to the airport looking for trouble, at least in the first video. They are certainly within their rights to film and to ask questions. We all are.

Interestingly, the TSA now says its photography rules are “under review.” I think that’s a positive development. TSA already films every checkpoint, and I think in the interests of transparency, it should actively encourage every air traveler to record their screening experience on camera.

Hopefully, TSA’s “review” will prompt the agency to remove the provision that they can stop you from filming if you’re interfering with the screening process. I mean, their agents have the necessary training to work around an iPhone that’s powered up — they shouldn’t let that get in the way of a thorough pat-down, right?

As for the latest video, Miklus hopes viewers will remember one thing.

“Envision that as your own mother, your sister, your wife, your daughter,” he says. “How many millions of people don’t say something when they’re touched. Even police officers have to have probable cause when they search you. This shouldn’t be happening in America.”

177 thoughts on “TSA Watch: Did they really sexually assault his mother?

  1. The laws need to change to protect the T.S.A. officer AND the passenger.  This is the only way that you can stop the groping of private parts, in appropriate touching that does occur and/or might occur.    The passenger and the T.S.A. should be able to video every step of the way.  A police officer should be right there in the immediate area without question and this includes videotaping the police officer.     The only time a police officer should not be videoed is if they are an undercover cops and then you have to wonder why an undercover cop would be needed at the check points.        The rules need to be changed to protect ALL.     Nothing cuts down like having the right to tape record conversation and/or take videos. Both sides should be able to without question if they feel they want to.  Everyone with this changing world needs to have this as their added safety net and that includes taping phone conversation with and/or without permission.    After all, if you are not going to do anything wrong and conduct yourselves in a rational and legal matter then no one should have the problem with this no matter who you are and/or what your job is.

  2. Thank you for this column.  This video showed up as an attachment to another person’s post earlier to another column, earlier this week.  When I watched it, I was struck by the artificiality of the situation.  The woman starts with an accusation, then screaming – all while not moving from her little square.  Trust me, if someone had touched me inappropriately, I wouldn’t be standing in one place!

    Other odd points: you can hear someone (not Miklus) saying that this was the family’s 2nd time doing this.  The woman’s husband isn’t reacting to his wife’s situation.  I swear he was rolling his eyes when he was coming off of his screening (with his belt looped around his neck).

    I agree that the interaction between TSA and Miklus was poor.  Don’t make up laws or threaten without having solid facts/law behind you.

    On the other hand, faking a video of a sexual assault or situation is wrong, too.  It diminishes the gravity of a real sexual assault and makes it harder for real victims to get the justice they deserve.

    1. by law if I walked up and touched or grabbed your breast I would be guilty of sexual assault unless you gave me prior permission. People in stores and elsewhere have been arrested for sexual assault for inappropriate touching many times. The fact these people work for so called security does not remove your rights to protection from undue searches and seizures. Buying an airline ticket is not probable cause for such searches.

  3. Looks like people trying to cause trouble to me. When items like this appear it makes it more difficult for valid complaints to be taken seriously.

  4. Are you kidding?  IF the TSA changes their regulations about photography/filming in the security line don’t you think it will be to further restrict the right of passengers to do so?  I don’t believe for a minute that the TSA would want to encourage people to film the screening process or make it easier to do so.  So they’ll do their “review” of the policy.  Then next up will be Napolitano’s annoucemet that photography of any type in the secured area is no longer allowed because we don’t want any terrorists to be able to record the process and learn from it.

    1. I think you might be right. But I hope not. TSA talks a good game about transparency, especially on its blog. Why should it be afraid if someone tapes what it deems to be a perfectly legal and constitutional procedure?

      1. Chris,
        The question no one seems to be asking is, WHY, exactly, are the rules regarding photography/video “under review”?  In every major incident in which TSA has been videotaped and shown on YouTube, etc., the TSA has always stated that their staff has ‘acted correctly’, ‘followed proper procedures’, etc.  Given that fact, just what is there to review?  Second, the current TSA policy is that they DO NOT prohibit photo/video (they even referenced that in the current TSA blog item).  So how in the world can a ‘review’ result in anything other than restricting that?  I’m flabbergasted that the media isn’t engaging in some critical thinking and asking some of these questions!  I hope it’s not a case of fear that criticism of TSA will result in the journalist losing “access” and thus no longer having ‘inside connections’!

        I agree with some other comments that these folks did some of this intentionally, and frankly I don’t think they’re helping things when it comes to fixing what’s wrong with the TSA (TSA will simply paint themselves as ‘victims’ of these people with an “obvious agenda”).  But please don’t let yourself be distracted by this sideshow and forget the true issue here-
        TSA falsely stating regulations to intimidate people from doing LEGAL actions, and also considering restricting photography/video at checkpoints.

    2. frosty…that’s the 1st thing i thought too. i didn’t think the “review” would lead to anything more relaxed or transparent. i immediately assumed they meant it would become more restricted or prohibited completely.

  5. It is not surprising that the guy who is “waiting to put this on youtube” gets this response posted by TSA, “This incident has also raised many questions about whether or not passengers can film at checkpoints. This topic is currently under review, but you can read this blog post on our current policy for photography at checkpoints.”

    This aggressive videophotographer says several times, “You are going to be molested or microwaved like a TV dinner.”  He also claims it is unAmerican and an illegal search and seizure and “…cause all this stuff leads to the gas chamber or firing squad.”

    I suspect TSA might just clamp down on all video or photos at security areas, much like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prohibit it and cell phone use in immigration areas of airports.

    After the underwear bomber, a real and not theoretical situation, I can see no problems in patting down people or taking “invasive” screening techniques.  True, it is not a desireable outcome, but what is the alternative? 

    I for one am sick and tired of the “me, me, me” people claiming constant personal molestation.  Where is their concern for the other passengers who could be victims of a terrorist?  What alternative is suggested to make the skies safe for clever and inventive bombers who are focused on destroying the United States?  We know they sew bombs into the lining of Jockey-style underwear.

    Do we realize that the next bomb or incident up in the sky will result in the first and only question, “How did he/she get through security?”  I will bet the molestation folks will be silent or chime in, “The TSA did not do its job.”  Perhaps thanks to those who are purposely and repeatedly abusing the people hired to protect us, such as this guy who videoed the two “incidents” of his own causing.

    1. Thank you, SBS… couldn’t agree more. Now get ready for the backblast from the anti-TSA hysterics.  🙁

    2. Disregarding the authenticity of the actual incident – staged or not – the truly upsetting thing about this was TSA’s and Southwest Airline’s attempt to bully this person by citing non-existent laws and regulations. In most states, it is perfectly permissible to film in public, especially a public servant going about his/her job. Either the folks here don’t know the law – bad enough – or they chose to ignore it and implement intimidation by making it up.

      1. i don’t care if i am at work or not, better nobody tape me (audio or video) without my knowledge and permission when we are having a personal interaction.

        it’s one thing to film a crowd, it’s another to blatantly continue to video the person who is speaking to you, directly in front of your face, as they repeatedly ask you to stop filming them.

        1. The point is, that if you are a public servant doing your job, you are necessarily doing it in public. There are no “private interactions” if you’re a police officer telling someone, in public, what to do. 

          Even “regular people” in public have no expectation of privacy. It’s perfectly legal to film under those circumstances. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending upon your perspective, the best option for you is to leave the area. Now, if the person is following you around with a camera, it becomes harassment.

          I also believe that there’s limitations on what the photographer can do with the film/video. I would expect that any monetary profit from the film would require permission from the filmed. Otherwise, I think anyone in public is fair game. Look at all the kooks on the Internet. No permission required to embarrass the idiot who tried to jump over the moving car. Why? Because no profit was gained. 

          1. i’m referring to the Southwest Airlines agent you mentioned in your comment.  that is NOT a “public servant”.

          2. TSA is neither “public servant” nor police officers. I beg of you not to confuse these entities with transportation security. Also I ask all of us to act civilly please in these trying times, especially toward those working the airports no matter what their titles are non authority or strangers. I read that the TSA is ordered to do these things. But, on other hand let us embrace our rights as citizens yet please give each other no harm or at least try not to.

    3. I for one am sick and tired of the “We don’t care about our rights, so just let the government do whatever they want” people. And yes, you’re what’s wrong with America. As is Grant.

      But hey, when you’re dying after getting in a car accident on the way to the airport, you can at least be thankful that a terrorist didn’t get you, right? After all, your chances of dying from the lattere far more miniscule than the former.

      But it’s ok to go completely bonkers with security that won’t stop a terrorist. That makes sense. Now get ready for your free TSA-sponsored prostate exam.

      1. What about MY rights as a passenger not to have some crazya$$ film me leaving my wife and daughter alone obviously going far enough away to travel by air?  I’m much more worried about crackpots who stage incidents at airport security checkpoints than some TSA guy touching my leg.

        1. Then never leave your home – which, oddly enough, is the advice that the pro-TSA types give.

          You’re filmed all the time, including at the airport by security cameras.

          And there’s nothing ‘crazyass’ about people wanting to protect their rights.

    4. This is not about security..it is about desentizing a people. Undercover agent’s have gone through airport security without any problems. We don’t need sexual molestation..we need profiling. Isarel is a good example. Also..do you have any idea how many muslim terrorist’s come through the mexican border? Too many. I’m certain the muslim terrorist’s love watching airport passengers and their children made the enemy and patted down. They won. If you can not discern the indeceny of these enhanced patdowns than you have hardened your heart to what is good and what is evil.

    5. so do you advocate cavity searches? or full x-rays?
      I don’t. When I heard about the planes I didn’t ask how did they get past security. I might have wondered why if they only had box cutters they weren’t mobbed by fellow passengers.

  6. Perhaps she was sexually assaulted, but Mr. Miklas’ video, commentary and reaction does nothing to help us passengers.  It almost seems as if this entire  thing was staged.  His father was calm, he was calm, only his mother was screaming. 

    If this was staged, it truly is a shame.  I believe the TSA’s “review” of filming will not be in the passengers’ favor.  With people provoking incidents, all it will do is make it that much harder for us to fly…soon we will have to sign a waiver for cavity searches.  That is where all of this will lead.  I haven’t flown in over one year.  Why, well because I don’t want to go through the scanners and I don’t want to have an enhanced pat down.  The only way TSA will ever change or be changed is for passengers who are against all these personal violations to band together. 

    1. I stopped flying last year.  It’s an enormous sacrifice for me, but then I think our rights — the rights of all people — are more important than my personal desires.  An economic boycott would bring the airlines down so fast their heads would spin.  Then things would change.  But as long as people are willing to put up with this abuse, nothing will.

      1. Thanks Lisa!  Now my chance for an upgrade got a little bit better, as is my chance for an empty seat beside me.  Smaller crowds, easier luggage retrieval, more overhead space.  Keep spreading the “word.”

        1. Nice logic there, David.

          After all, it’s not like less people flying won’t mean fewer flights by the airlines therefore fewer seats.

          Glad you’ve thought that one through.

        1. Bullsh*t.  It’s called an economic boycott.  Money talks in this country. More than politics, more than violence, more than anything.  Money is this country’s god.  If enough people were willing to put their money where their mouths are, things would change.  The airlines wouldn’t stand for being killed through an economic boycott.

          1. The BS is all yours. How is anything TSA does the fault of any airlines, and how would boycotting the airlines have any effect on TSA’s behavior? Despite your post and others by the virulent anti-TSA crowd, most of us experience no problems with TSA. This entire incident was so obviously staged, it makes me want to scream. As David noted, we sane people will benefit from the few seats that might be vacant due to your “economic boycott.”

          2. Mistreatment of international travelers cost American businesses $500 billion over the “lost decade” from 2000-2010.  While international travel grew 31% around the world, visits to the U.S. declined 9.3%.  See: https://network.ustravel.org/eWeb/video/lostdecadereport.pdf for the cost estimates of people boycotting the U.S. to avoid the incredibly negative experiences with visas, customs, and TSA.   See: http://nestmann.sovereignsociety.com/2011/06/08/welcome-back-to-the-u-s-a/ for just one person’s explanation of why TSA makes him less likely to fly here. 

            Besides, boycotting is more than just a pressure tactic to make the TSA sexual assaults stop.  It’s a way to keep my body secure from being ogled and fondled against my will.  If buying an airline ticket is just asking for a sexual assault (and that’s what the comment “flying is a choice” means), then I won’t do it and and I don’t understand anyone who would.

  7. I have already commented but “sexual assault” is a very serious charge.  I do not believe it happened.  They “feel you a bit” but nothing more.  She should have gotten out of line and gone home.  Hysteria sounded PHONY.

    1. Naoma, your compassion is striking.  As I’ve said before, clearly the thousands of people who have been assaulted, including those who’ve posted on this site using their real names, not some cowardly internet moniker — Sommer Gentry, Amy Alkon — are all lying.  They’re “phony” and you shouldn’t believe any of them.

      1. Dear Lisa,  I wrote a very long response to “Julie” below and hope you will read it.  Sorry it was so long, but I am commenting on MY experiences with TSA because I travel so much.  I’ve recently been searched on a train from Switzerland to Paris and it was invasive, but I was not taking a chance in getting arrested if I did not comply.  Only person on train to be searched because I carry an American passport and they thought I was carrying a lot of Euros.  My name really is Naoma and I hope you will read my comments below.

        1. Yes, unfortunately true that you got searched because you were an American (assuming that is what is meant by “carry an American passport”.   American passport holders are subject to all kinds of questioning when entering or leaving the “Schengen zone” area of the European community.   Oddly this is partly because the US Govt. insists on all airlines and possibly other transportation services, get full details of US Passport holders border crossings (sometimes it may also be in reprisal for the kind of hard nosed treatment even harassment which non-US passport holders get when entering the US – long lines, endless questions, finger prints and photos … as a US passport holder you have no idea just how discouraging, even offensive, this kind of surly treatment is in spite of all the superficial welcoming language that the US customs forms and instructions contain.

          Two weeks ago, my son, traveling on a US passport was questioned at length on arriving at the East Midlands airport in Nottingham, England, on a flight from Bergerac, France.   I was traveling on a British passport, and was astonished at the length of questioning … maybe the US could ease up on its treatment of incoming travelers, and the kind of thing which happened to you between Switzerland and Paris would also ease up?

      2. Dear Lisa and Julie,  I travel an awful lot (much of it alone) and have been mugged 3 times.  Once I needed surgery on my ear, and the other two were just scary and robberies.  In one case the man was captured by 25 men who ran out of a bar and knocked him to the ground.  While he was down I went over and kicked him, etc.  I made sure he was prosecuted and spent 2 years and then a 3rd in jail.  I have a “world class scream” which I urge all women to acquire.  I was 9 blocks away when the World Towers came down and am angered that we have to go through the security thing, but that is the law.

    2. I’m sorry Naoma, but as someone who is the survivor of a sexual assault I have a bit of a problem with ANY person I don’t know touching me in this manner.  To any person who has been raped or sexually assaulted, even having someone “feel you a bit” against their will can be hard to take.  Considering how you feel many people should “get over it” on other issues I’ve seen you post on, it does not surprise me that you take such an insensitive view on these things.  I’d like to see how you would respond if someone decided to “feel you a bit” in any other aspect of your life.  Maybe the next time you go to a restaurant or bar and some guys who takes a liking to you decides to “feel you a bit” against your will, you will remember your statments on this blog.  You are probably one of those people who feel that a woman who dresses provacatively deserved to be raped or sexually assaulted.  I’m not willing to put myself in a position to have my breasts touched or to have a stranger go up my thigh until they get to my vagina or to have them go down my waistband so everyone can have a false sense of security.
      Thank you,
      Julie Northrop

      1. Dear Julie,  I am so sorry to hear of your Experience.  I would NEVER allow anyone to touch me  in in a “sexual” way, but the TSA is another story.  I have been through so much of their “security searches” and have been “pulled over” every time I fly.  I do not make a fuss or I am liable to be denied boarding.  If anyone would touch me in a normal situation (except for these TSA people), they’d find themself with a 
        jab in the face or some other retort.  I know “self defense.”  And, I could inflict a great deal of pain.  I am presently in Paris and went to 
        Switzerland for a day.  On the way back I was approached (on the train) by 2 guards.  They asked for my passport and if I was carrying a great deal of EUROS.  No.  Then a female security guard came by and did a full body search on me (I was clothed).  I was the ONLY person on the train to be searched.  I carry an American passport.  I was “scared to death.”  But, made no comment.  I was not guilty of money-carrying.
        My most invasive search by TSA was when a woman guard began squeezing my breasts.  (I wear prostheses because of cancer) and had she not stopped I was ready to pull them out of my bra and hand them to her so she could squeeze them.  Another time I was told to pull down my shirt.  It exposed about an inch of my flat stomach (after going through a machine that blew my t-shirt up a bit.)  I’ve been through it all, and when I say “get over it” I mean sometimes you have to put up with this when you FLY.  The woman in the video seemed quite “staged” with her son having a camera ready.  When I wrote to Elliott — the travel guy  — he said he was not taking this any further and I agreed.  I am really sorry my “flip” manner upset you and I apologize, but I was just talking about me and my dozens of flying experiences that I just have to “get over” when I am going on planes.  Hope this explains a bit.
        I apparently upset TSA because I wear 2 watches, my dress looks like a “trench coat” and I am told to remove my COAT.  My husband goes on through ahead of me because he said I give off “vibes” that make me the one to put through the wringer.  

        1. Naoma, you keep talking about your train ride search. lets not forget that in a different country, you abide by THEIR laws, not ours here. Our laws are supposed to protect us from this type of invasive activity. Those laws are call the Bill of Rights and Amendments to the Constitution.

          I would personally risk terrorist activity rather than continue to give up my freedoms. people came to this conuntry and rebelled against the British because of government. The founding fathers placed strict limits on what the government was allowed to do. Only now we are letting them abuse that power more and more each day and some people actually think it is a great idea. I’m sorry, but countless Americans have died over the centuries to ensure the very freedoms that you now say go ahead and take away, just to “feel” a bit safer. millions of Americans die each year because of lung cancer, car accidents, etc, and we worry so much because a terrorist MIGHT try something on a few hundred people. the govt has you brainwashed into a false sense of security.

          1. Dear MikeZ.  You are absolutely right about our country.  My ride was on a SPEED TRAIN.  My husband is a British subject and has dual 
            citizenship.  He shows his British passport and no problem.  With an American passport I was confronted with 2 guards (the woman who did the search came a bit later)  I was not about to be held in Switzerland. I consented to the search — little choice.  My stories of American TSA searches could fill a book and I have spoken about them.  I am not young, very petite, white blonde hair, 5’2″ and 115 pounds.  Do not look at all threatening and travel the world.  For some reason I am “suspect.” I was 9 blocks away on 9/11 and realize there are people out to hurt us.  I do think TSA goes TOO far and does not search some people who look “suspicious.”  But me,  I get it all.

          2. See my post above (posted as Geographer).   Yes, I am a British citizen with a UK passport (the term “British Subject” went away some 30 years ago).  And I repeat, as I stated above, that having an American passport may get you in and out of the US much more easily (though not necessarily in a more friendly manner), but elsewhere, either because the US government insists on it, or because it is a kind of reprisal for the unwelcoming treatment incoming non-citizens get when entering the US.   This was certainly true for Brazil some years ago, requiring visas for US visitors to Brazil and charging an amount equal to the kind of fees that the US asks for visitor visas.

            I assume your husband’s other citizenship is American, so he gets the best of both worlds crossing borders into and out of the US and Europe.   Perhaps he could get you British citizenship – that would ease your problems

          3. Hello,  Geographer:  Sometime my mind resides in the “dark ages.”  Yes,
            my husband has a British passport as well as an American one.  Our daughter also has a British one (dual citizenship).  I could not get one.
            Yes, I remember when I went to Brazil (a number of years ago) and getting a VISA for the first time.My husband became a US citizen many years ago.  He had to study, pass a test and be sworn in by one of the attorneys from the firm where I worked. All legal and official.   Thank you for your comments.  He still has his accent and a great voice. We were at a lecture last night and he asked a question.  There were people in the back row  who came up to us and said:  “that could only be Roger with his accent and voice.”  I told him he should do “voice over” for commercials, but is too busy right now.

          4. you mean the US did not demand he give up his citizenship in order to become a citizen? I am asking because I am a citizen of the US and a legal resident of another country. I am considering applying for citizenship her as well but I would not want to give up my American citizenship. I have been told recently by a friend that when his wife became a citizen that canceled her Visa so her Canadian passport would no longer allow her to travel into the country and stay. That seems to imply she would need a passport from this country. And that I might require a passport for the US to go back and one from here to come to what is now home.

  8. The problem here is that the video does show any actual groping. it starts with a woman losing it after claiming to have been groped. The rest of it is an argument over photographers’ rights. What it does show is federal officials, who claim the right to surveil every aspect of our persons, turning snotty and vicious as soon as someone turns the camera on them.

  9. All this discussion about “false choices” is just muddying the waters. All the histrionics of these “emotional individuals” kind of takes the focus away. No one is making him or his family fly. They always have the “option” of taking a train, bus, car, or other alternate transportation. Flying is often the QUICKEST choice-but it’s not a “false” choice as there are indeed other options. Obviously they’ve done this before and obviously mom and dad have problems with the screening process. Perhaps they SHOULD INDEED consider their choice of transportation more thoroughly before their next trip. If the process is so emotionally onerous to cause these involuntary histrionics each time they fly, my concern is more with the person or persons who continue to put the “victim(s)” in that situation. Now that is indeed abuse.

    1. “They always have the “option” of taking a train, bus, car, or other alternate transportation.”

      To which TSA also wants to apply their airport methods to. And don’t think they won’t stop you in your car, either – they’ve already done it with commercial trucks on an interstate, causing a traffic jam.

      There are no alternatives to escaping the TSA.

    2. So, if you don’t like the heavy-handed, possibly unconstitutional tactics employed, you should just find another way to travel? This is truly the opinion of the sheeple. Let me ask – and I haven’t gotten any answer in this forum yet – at what point do YOU feel that the line has been crossed? Surely, there is some point, some personal violation, at which you, individually, feel that THEY have gone too far. What is it? Searching cars that pull up to the airport? Setting up a “safe-zone” perimeter in a one-mile radius around the airport? Random searches in malls, train stations, bus stations? Demanding your “papers” on the street for no apparent reason other than “you don’t look right”? Each of these could be justified in the name of “security”. And they are each one little step beyond the last invasive step. So, tell me now, at what point do you feel it’s too far?

      1. “Searching cars that pull up to the airport?”

        I remember that being done at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, NE right after 9/11 and after the shoe bomber.  Used to be you could park for 5 minutes at the curb waiting for someone coming out of the terminal – not any more.

        “Setting up a “safe-zone” perimeter in a one-mile radius around the airport?”  Been to Penn or Grand Central Stations in NY?  There are barricades and armed guards at entrances to the terminals.

        These actually make sense to me.  Trying to remember the exact date and place in Russia where some crackpot blew up the line waiting to get in at the airport – but that’s the kind of stuff I think is pretty scary. 

        I remember reading a Tom Clancy novel about the same kind of attacks that happened in 9/11 some years before the event.  Now the fiction I’m reading talks about blowing up checkpoints.  I figure it’s only a matter of time before fiction becomes fact.

        “Papers” on the street is way, way too far.

        1. LAX still does random car searches as you come into the airport.

          Some airline colleagues of mine were shot at the ticket counter, both in LAX and New Orleans (I believe, it was pre-9/11).

          I, for one, am all for extra screening.

          1. Yeah, by all means, let’s strip and grope everybody, confiscate their shampoo, hand lotion, scotch, and snow globes, but let’s keep those guns!

        2. I commute through Grand Central every day and there are no barricades – you must have come at a period of unusually heavy traffic or after a telephoned threat. They do make you show a ticket to get onto the grounds of the Nairobi airport, and I actually wouldn’t object to that.  I do, however, object to being groped or irradiated by the TSA!

          1. Last time I was there (July 2009) there was a massive protest going on.  So, it was either that protest or the arrival of 2 Nebraskans that caused them to haul out the barricades!

        3. “Trying to remember the exact date and place in Russia where some crackpot blew up the line waiting to get in at the airport”

          Moscow.  Domodedovo Airport.

    3. I recently moved from the Midwest back to California. I drove a trailer full of my belongings, but left my two cats behind. At the end of this month, I am – somewhat reluctantly – flying back to the Midwest to retrieve my cats and bring them home.

      No, I don’t have another viable option for this, because I believe it’s unnecessarily traumatic to animals to lock them up in a car/train/bus for three days of all-day driving. My cats didn’t particularly like the plane when I flew them TO the Midwest, but at least they only had to put up with it for a few hours, not days.

      All I want to do is bring my cats home. This is hardly suspicious and worthy of the invasive TSA practices.

      But then, I know not everyone values the welfare of animals, so let’s look at some other (theoretical?) examples:

      – If my father were lying on his deathbed on the other side of the country and could pass within hours, taking the bus would cause me to miss my last chance to say goodbye to him.

      – Most families are spread out, not all living in the same state, let alone the same town. Many workers in this country are lucky to have vacation time at all. If you have enough vacation time that you can drive cross-country, have a decent visit with family (or take the kids sight-seeing), and still get back in time to go back to work – WITHOUT being more stressed out by that “vacation” than you are by your job – then, dude, I want your job!

      Again, travelling to see a loved one (or travelling to another city to close that time-sensitive business deal) is not suspicious activity worthy of being strip-searched (virtually or otherwise) and/or touched in my “naughty places”.

      There is NO probable cause for the majority of the TSA’s activities. Just wanting to get on a plane does not automatically make someone suspect.

      1. and what did people do when flying was the most expensive form of transportation, prohibitively so?  they dealt with it.  so no, you don’t HAVE to fly. it’s a choice.

        1. exactly it is a choice and one we are free to make according to the US supreme court.
          copied and pasted from Lisa Simone’s post:

          Flying is a means of travel, and everyone has a right to travel and to travel by a means of their choice. … quote from a Supreme Court case (U.S. v. Guest 383 U.S. 745 (1966)): “In any event, freedom to travel throughout the United States has long been recognized as a basic right under the Constitution.”Another US Supreme Court case, Shapiro v Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969)

          The common law right to travel predates the constitution, and is incorporated in the all other rights mentioned in the 9th and 10th amendments. Not convinced? How about 49 US Code-Section 40103 (2) “A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace.”

          The Right To 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.”

          so what does it being a choice have to do with anything other than you saying that you want people to stop flying?
          choosing to fly is not probable cause for suspicion of wrongdoing of any type.
          Yes you could be a victim of a terrorist if they relaxed security back to 9/11 except for the locked and reinforced cockpit doors. Yes you could get killed. ANd that differs from everyday how? Some madman could crash into you knocking your car off the road making it flip 3 times (that happened to my mom and sister.)
          Do I expect them to keep all madmen off the roads? No because I have a realistic viewpoint and know that it is impossible. The same with the mass shootings. Yes they happen and yes they have been happening more often but taking peoples rights away will not stop them. ANyone who is determined to do something will likely find a way to do so if they are intelligent enough and determined enough. Taking my rights away will not deter them.
          When flying was more expensive either people borrowed the money as they felt it necessary to make that flight or they could not make that flight and regretted that fact for a long time if not the rest of their lives. It isn’t about having to fly it is about the need or desire to travel.

        1. Can you name a ship that carries passengers and that travels on a schedule?  The days of ocean steamers that crossed the oceans are long gone.  This isn’t the early decades of the 20th century.  The only ship you can take now is a cruiseship, which probably won’t take you where you want to go and is prohibitively expensive.

    4. Zeke, wrong again.  Read up-thread.  We’re getting tired of repeating all the evidence over and over again.  We do have a Constitutional right to travel; that includes flying.  And the TSA has invaded buses, trains, subways, not just airports.

      1. There is no such thing as a constitutional right to travel. I would rather be searched or go through the xray machine than have a terrorist get on board a plane and blow us all up. Really people. Get over yourselves. No one is taking your rights away. If you don’t like being touched go through the scanner. The amount of microwave is less than what comes off of a TV and I’m sure you all spend time in front of that and dont’ think about it. I don’t agree with the TSA 100% but wouldn’t want the job of having to touch all of the gross people that come through.

        1. You’re mistaken.  I’ve answered these false assertions with evidence over and over and over and over and over again.  Umpteen times.  Not going to repeat it all again.  Read the thread.

        2. and I would rather risk getting blown up than receive those pat-downs or get irradiated. I am going to die sooner or later anyway. We only have the TSA’s word and the manufacturer’s word that they are safe and they refuse to allow independent testing of the machines.

      2. You don’t have a constitutional right to travel. You can purchase a ticket on the free market system of a commercial airline. An airline can refuse service to anyone and kick your butt off the plane if you don’t comply with the rules. 

          1. Can someone please enlighten me as to how TSA is stopping people from flying? All I can see is that TSA is checking to make sure nobody is going to cause trouble, of which an unfortunate by-product (of a thorough check) is the fact that a small percentage of travellers are being touched inappropriately.

            Seems like everybody who wants to fly, is allowed on the plane in the end. Thus, nobody’s right to travel is being violated, right?

          2. the problem is that in allowing you to fly they are trying to force you to give up your fourth amendment rights in regards to undue search and seizure. Basically buying a ticket is not probable cause for a search. If you got a gun and killed someone, There is no probable cause to search me for a weapon unless I in someway fit your discription,

          3. Also, you have the right to charter a private plane, and as such avoid most of the vagaries of modern security checks.

            If you don’t have money in a capitalist society, then you have the right to purchase a ticket on a commercial airline; the airline then has the right to check to make sure you’re not going screw things up for everybody else.

          4. except the TSA is not the Airport. or the Airline. It is a division of the DHS. It is forced on the Airports and Airlines by a government agency. With strict guidelines if said airports choose to opt out if they are even allowed to.

    5. Can I take a train, car, or bus to Hawaii (and the days of the Lurline – even if affordable – are long gone)?  No, but I wish I could, as I dread going by plane now, especially after my invasive search recently returning from Hawaii.  I am age 73 and in a wheelchair, and for some reason the TSA always picks on me.  Traveling to Hawaii every year is my reason for living.  It’s the only place where I feel rejuvenated and able to do more physically, but I can’t afford to live there.  I am not going to stop going there because of the TSA.  I’m not going to let them beat me down;  so I have to put up with the humiliation and trauma of being intimately touched with an invasive body search.  Is this right?

    6. so you think that if I found out my mother was dying I should perhaps take a train or drive to go see her?
      The point is we have a right to travel and we have a right to do so unmolested. We have a right to not be subject to undue search and seizure without probable cause basically.
      The TSA has searched people coming off trains and have done some traffic stops. So what does that have to say about those choices you claim to be there?
      the choice of submit to a search or don’t travel is indeed a false choice because both options violate a person’s rights.

  10. I’d rather be felt up than blown up!  Come on people, these guys are trying to keep us safe.  When the next plane gets blown up, everyone will want to know “where’s the Govt?”   I don’t fly very often, but I’ve seen these staged outrages a couple of times now.  I doubt they’d pull it in Germany or some of the other countries overseas.  They know they’re safe acting like this in the U.S. but for those of us who want the best security we can get, I’m glad the TSA is doing what they can to keep us safe.

    1. The question is, at what point are the violations of your constitutional rights more onerous than the possibility of terrorist threats? It’s different for everyone. Personally, I’d rather take the risks of terrorism than live is a society where I don’t have the freedoms guaranteed by my country’s constitution.

      1. Amen brother. Government is spiraling out of control. Drone strikes in US soil on US citizens. Expanded Surveillance powers. Patriot Act extended time and time again.

    2. The TSA is not doing anything to keep us safe.  The federal agents and police following the money trails, etc., are keeping us safe.  That’s were you have to catch these guys.  The TSA has not caught a single terrorist. 

    3. “I’d rather be felt up than blown up!”  Really Sandy?  You’d really rather get felt up by complete strangers all in the name of safety.  I’m sorry, but is this something you would tolerate in the workplace?  Would you tolerate your boss feeling you up, or a first date, or a random stranger in a bar?  Would that kind of touching be appropriate to you because you’d rather be felt up than blown up?  What if it came to that?  What if the company you work for decided that all employees had to succumb to an enhanced pat down because they were worried that one of their employees might be a terrorist?  Would you be comfortable having your boss, or another trained employee touch your breasts, or feel under your waistband, or go up your thigh until he gets to your vagina?  When does it become a case of enough is enough?  I’m sorry, but I don’t see how touching my breasts, underside or full grasp is going to keep us safe.  I feel sorry for people who accept being groped by a group of people that we don’t even know their backgrounds. For all I know, one of them could be a sex offender.  I’m glad that getting felt up makes you feel safe and secure.

    4. personally I would rather risk getting blown up, than felt up. THe one seems more sure to happen than the other.

  11. How about this…just go through the scanner and you won’t have any problems.  I’ve been through them a few times and I didn’t care one bit, just let me get through security and get on the plane and get where I’m going. 

    1. So, the fact that the TSA will not allow the machines to be independently tested doesn’t bother you? You’ll just take their word that they’re safe?

    2. Watson, you’re wrong.  Again, as we’ve repeated so many times, just because you go through the scanner doesn’t mean that you won’t also be pulled aside for a grope.

      The TSA can give you a “pat-down” at whim.  They can decide, for whatever reason — because they see “an anomaly” in your scan, because they feel like it, because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed — to pull you over for a Freedom Pat.  

      Do people still not know this??

      But you’re right, Watson, let’s not inconvenience you.  After all, your convenience is the most important thing in the world.  Pesky protesters, always getting in the way.  Rosa Parks and friends, what a pain in the ass you all were.

    3. What if they don’t give you the choice?  They tell you to go behind a privacy screen, and then they tell you they’re going to grope you.  At least in my case, I think that if I protest, I’m going to be denied boarding.  I would much rather go through the scanner than be touched in intimate places.

      1. which is why they introduced the enhanced pat downs in the first place to force people through the scanners they say are safe. Now suppose instead of being safe it starts giving people a lethal dose of radiation how would you feel then? Also frankly I don’t feel that anyone has a right to see me nude unless I give them permission. And I certainly wouldn’t agree to nude photos.
        There is the added fact that such photos etc are contrary to the 4th amendment prohibiting undue search and seizure. Buying a ticket and wanting to travel by plane is not probable cause for search.

  12. “Interestingly, the TSA now says its photography rules are “under review.” I think that’s a positive development.”

    Actually, I think we should be very concerned. The possibility exists that TSA will try and ban filming and photography in the name of ‘protecting’ us and other nonsense.

    But then, how often have things been ‘under review’ with TSA in the past only for NOTHING to change? Such as, oh, the patting down of children.

    In the end, TSA shouldn’t be patting people down, it SHOULD be police, because they are actually TRAINED for it.

  13. The terrorists have won.

    The have our government violating our rights in the name of “protecting” us — and a disturbing high percentage of Americans perfectly willing to sacrifice their rights so they can “feel safe.”

    To those people a simple question? When do you reach your limits? When they search you without probable cause on the train? The subway? The bus? When they pull your car over for random “security” checks? When they require you get a permit to travel at all — in the name of “security” of course?

    And don’t think for a minute it can’t happen here; that’s what the Germans thought in 1936. Its the story of totalitarianism and repression throughout history.

    “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
    — James Madison

    1. AMEN!

      But, John, the security cheerleaders never answer these questions.  Though we’ve asked them over and over and over again, they just stick their fingers in their ears and go “Lalalalalalalalalalala!”

      They’re not interested in rational thinking.  They’re interested in emotional fear-mongering.

  14. So, while far too many people are too busy defending TSA, let’s look at some more cases of utter stupidity and absurdity that we have to deal with under the Terrorism Support Administration:

    Christmas music causes Oklahoma City airport terminal to be evacuated

    Another TSA agent, more thefts

    TSA ‘promises’ revamped screening for amputees (haven’t we heard that before)

    1. Regarding that first link, two things caught my eye:

      1) “when the taped-up cardboard box arrived on an incoming flight from Houston” – So this “suspicious” box apparently got through security in Houston, flew all the way to Oklahoma City without incident, and THEN caused a panic. Isn’t that kind of…backwards?

      2) So, if I’m understanding this right, they evacuated travellers and airport workers and packed them into another building. One passenger stated, “If it was a bomb, I was more concerned about being injured since we were all sequestered.” Besides not being terribly smart on the part of the TSA, this again brings up the concern of, if a terrorist really was intent on causing injury and mayhem, why would they even bother going through security when there’s a ready supply of victims milling around in a crowd, waiting for the TSA theatre?

  15. You know, I don’t particularly like going through the check points.  I’ve encountered rude TSA agents and stupid TSA agents.  But For the most part, 90+ % of them have been polite and efficient.  I’ve flown a lot in the last couple of years, and not had a problem.

    People vary widely as to what is their “comfort zone”.  Some do not even want to shake hands.  Some do not like people “near” them.  Definitely a lot of people are not going to want to be touched in any way.

    They reality of it is, that if you’re going to travel, you’re going to be scanned/checked etc.  Some people are going to have phobias about the scanners, and those are the ones who are going to get the physical pat down.

    I know a lot of people who also travel – family, colleagues, aquaintances, friends, etc.  Although no one likes the process, NO ONE has had a problem.

    I sincerely doubt that the TSA agents are looking for “sexual gratification”, I expect they are just trying to do their jobs.

    If you go looking for trouble, you are going to get it. 

    While we are talking about rights, I have a right to fly on a safe plane and that means that everyone who goes on that plane needs to be screened.  If you have a problem with groping, I don’t really care.  I dont’ want someone hiding a weapon behind their private parts and then hijacking the plane. 

    1. Why is acceptable for a person, male or female, to have to go through this “groping” because they choose not to go through the scanners in the name of security, yet in every other aspect of life this type of behavior is not tolerated? 
      Hypothetically, if you were in the workplace and your boss wanted to do an enhanced pat down on you because your company was worried about terrorists would you be okay with that?  Would that be acceptable to you?  I mean, your company is worried that there is a terrorist threat, and you did say that you don’t have a problem with groping, so would you be okay with your boss sexually assaulting you in the name of security?
      What if you were at a bar, and some random woman came up to you and wanted to give you an enhanced pat down because she thought you were a terrorist.  Would that be okay with you?  If you answered no to these questions, then why would you even TOLERATE it at an airport in the name of security?

    2. Another slave speaks.  Never mind the fact that nobody was smuggling bombs onto planes even before 9/11, on 9/11, or after 9/11, you still want to everyone to be strip-searched and groped.

      The last time a bomb was smuggled aboard an airplane in the United States was December 11, 1967:

      As for:  “I know a lot of people who also travel – family, colleagues, aquaintances, friends, etc.  Although no one likes the process, NO ONE has had a problem.”

      Translation — again:  “Because it’s never happened to me or to anyone I know, therefore, it hasn’t happened.  All the thousands of people who have been assaulted are simply lying, phobic, have a bad attitude, or are looking for trouble.”

      The compassion on this site is overwhelming.

    3. “and then hijacking the plane.”

      As we’ve had to repeat time and again: there will be no hijackings because there are secured cockpit doors.

      Please find another boogieman.

  16. Seriously? I have the right to fly safely. Since basically no one can be trusted when travelling, touch her all day long, to make sure I’m safe. These people are not martyrs. 

    1. Seriously?  No one can be trusted when traveling?  Touch everyone all day long to be sure YOU are safe?  You’ve obviously fallen for the rhetoric.

    2. As many of your TSA-apologist cohorts have pointed out, you DON’T have the right to fly, safely or not. If you don’t like the risks that those Constitution-loving, rights-loving people present, then you can find another way to travel.

  17. omg (how cliche)…

    I’m stunned and horrified.  Actors, or not, it’s obvious the TSA and the police do NOT know their own laws and regulations.

    I’m old enough to remember the horror stories from my parents and grandparents about Nazi Germany; This is EXACTLY how it started there!  Little baby steps of pushing around, and making up regulations and “laws” as the need arises.

    1. … and, it’s all done in the same name: Homeland Security.  Benjamin Franklin said it best: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

        1. Travel from Point A to Point B is a Constitutional right.  Another thing we’ve explained and cited on this blog umpteen times.  But here we go again:

          Flying is a means of travel, and everyone has a right to travel and to travel by a means of their choice. … quote from a Supreme Court case (U.S. v. Guest 383 U.S. 745 (1966)): “In any event, freedom to travel throughout the United States has long been recognized as a basic right under the Constitution.”

          Another US Supreme Court case, Shapiro v Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969)

          The common law right to travel predates the constitution, and is incorporated in the all other rights mentioned in the 9th and 10th amendments. Not convinced? How about 49 US Code-Section 40103 (2) “A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace.”

          The Right To 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.

          1. the Supreme Court did NOT write the Constitution, nor are those laws IN the Constitution.

          2. The Constitution might not specifically guarantee travel as a right, but the Supreme Court has the power to interpret the constitution and decide what is constitutional.  The case law above shows they have deemed that we have a right to travel – thereby, we do – they have set that precedent (years ago at that).  It is not realistic to think our founding fathers could have forseen that we would start flying at some point in the future. What they did was lay a framework for our country to go by with the Constitution – it is not reasonable to expect they would have planned for all possible eventualities.  They presumed that the citizens would be sensible enough to adapt as they went along.  Silly founding fathers apparently.

            “One of the Court’s most
            fundamental powers is judicial review–the power to judge
            the constitutionality of any act or law of the executive or
            legislative branch. Some of the Framers expected the Supreme
            Court to take on the role of determining the constitutionality
            of Congress’s laws, but the Constitution did not explicitly
            assign it to the Court. Marbury v. Madison, the 1803 landmark
            Supreme Court case, established the power of judicial review.”


            In addition, the Constitution does provide for the means for the people to have rights that are not specifically set forth in the Constitution in the 9th Amendment.

            Amendment IX

            The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be
            construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

            So I guess it is your right to feel that you do not have the right to fly.  Personally, however, I feel it is my right to fly and based on the Constitution and the precedent set by the Supreme Court it appears I have every right to feel that way.  It amazes me that people would even want to use the argument that we do not have a right to fly – why would you want to limit your rights in that way?  Why would you want to limit your rights in anyway?  I mean that is really what this whole argument comes down to – the rights we have and the way they are being abused.  Why are so many so willing to give up those rights? I have a right to fly – I have a right to not be unreasonably searched when I do so.  I am not willing to give up any of those rights.

          3. Is it not a right (constitutional or otherwise), for me to be able to fly on a plane without the fear of it being hijacked/blown up due to inadequate security checks?

            Airport security is a necessary evil. Yes, there must be quite a few TSA employees who are very liberal with regard to where they let their hands go. However, I’ve flown hundreds of times since these regulations were in place, and I’ve never felt violated (being a man, and an average-looking one at that, may mean my definition of that kind of thing is different from that of most women, I must admit).

            No one likes having to take their shoes off, their coat off, getting felt up etc. But people don’t like dying either.

          4. Yeah, Ray, and in all the years before the Reign of Molestation was implemented (Oct 30, 2010), planes were being blown out of the sky left and right. Must’ve been all those booby bombs and butt bombs!

          1. FYI, air travel is not a constitutional right. Frreedom to get from point A to point B isn’t infringed by not being able to fly. There are other means.

          2. I think you should go back and read the legal precedents that are listed above. The founding fathers could have no way of predicting Air travel. Just because there are other options to flying does not remove the right to travel in the manner a person sees fit else you would be walking every place you went because no one has the specific right to drive, travel by train, ride a horse etc. by your definition.

  18. It’s a good thing their photography rules are under review…..unless they decide upon review to ban people from taking pictures.

    1. How much you wanna bet that’s exactly what’s going to happen — photography/video will be banned.  Why not?  All they have to do is claim it’s “for your security.”  That’s how they get away with all this other crap.

  19. To all of you who have no problem with being groped and fondled all in the name of security, more power to you. For myself, I have the right to go to the airport and not be subjected to what would be considered a sexual assault in every other aspect of the real world if I choose not to go through the scanners.  Do you realize that outside of the TSA, if a man did what the TSA does in the name of security to a woman he is a casual acquaintance with, or a co-worker, or even a woman he met in a bar, he could be arrested if the woman pressed charges. If a man did that to a CHILD, not only would he be arrested, he would have to register as a sex offender.  How is it that we not only accept this type of degrading behavior, but say that we  WANT it because it keeps the terrorists away. 
    The other thing that concerns me is that if a passenger wants a police officer standing by for this “sexual assault”, they are denied.
    I am sure that quite a few of you will say I am anti-TSA, and that’s fine.  It doesn’t offend me in the least.  However, as long as my personal and constitutional rights are being violated by the TSA, I will no longer be flying.

  20. “My mother has never had to go through the screening process
    before . . . ”  But the next day the
    family, including the mother, went through the process without problem.  Did she go through the x-ray or was she
    patted down?  If the mother was as upset
    as she appeared in the video how did she get over it in 24 hours?  If she elected the x-ray on the second day
    why not the first day?  This part seemed
    very staged to me.


    But I find it deeply disturbing that the TSA agents and
    Southwest lied, yes let’s just call it what it was, about the filming.  Worse, when they couldn’t get him to stop
    filming by making up laws themselves they had the police officer ask to see his
    boarding pass.  There was no question he
    had gone through the security process and held a Southwest boarding pass; that
    was bullying, harassment and intimidation. 
    Fortunately, the police officer obviously recognized it for what it was (as
    he had the filming) and only made a “show” attempt to do TSA and Southwest’s illegal


    I recognize that TSA and airline agents have a job to do and
    don’t hold them personally responsible for the enhanced pat-downs or other
    regulations issued from Washington but making up laws, bullying, attempts at
    intimidation (“Do you want to fly today?”) or illegal arrests is on them.  For these things they should be reprimanded
    and fired if this behavior continues.

    1. i have a similar job.  if someone is acting that hysterical and belligerent and confrontational, i sure as hell will ask them “Do you want to fly today?”  If this is how they behave on the ground, can you imagine their demeanor in the air?  It would be irresponsible to let someone who throws tantrums like that disturb an entire planeful of people.

      1. I guess, for me, you’d have to define your terms. For example, is “confrontational” defined as someone not doing what you want? Is “belligerent” defined as someone questioning the legality of what you are trying to do? Funny, these words have different meanings to different people. If you are indeed a public servant going about your job and someone is filming you, you may “believe” that their activity is both confrontational and belligerent, especially if you are in enough of an uncomfortable situation to where you are making up rules and regulations.

        1. I’m sitting at home and watching this woman’s words and actions, I would say she is “belligerent” bordering on hysterical. I’m not making excuses for the TSA personnels’ citing of non-existent rules. I’m just noting that the Mrs. Myklus is in full throated uproar. We never do see what she claims was groping, which is surprising since her son, as is clear from the first video, had been waiting to film the entire sequence then and now tells us that only AFTER she has been groped did he begin to film. You have to wonder whether the son wanted to show what happened to his mother that set her off.

      2. The son was filming and wasn’t hysterical, his mother was.  The Southwest agent asked *him* if he wanted to fly that day, that was bullying. 

  21. I have to say that the whole thing seemed artificial and rehearsed to me. As others have noted Ryan’s father seemed casual about the whole affair and Ryan himself seemed like a slick lawyer rather than a upset son when arguing with the authorities. Other YouTube videos also show Ryan staging other confrontational situations with the police. Such activism is no crime, however, and TSA/Police/SW did not cover themselves with glory in these dealings, but it does provide a context for this particular incident.

  22. Chris,   Side question:  Does the TSA provide any information on how many of their screeners have been accused/charged/arrested for sex crimes, but never convicted, before being hired by the TSA?

    1. To my knowledge, all TSA employees are screened before being hired. I can’t imagine the agency knowingly hiring a convicted sex offender. I’ve followed a few cases where TSOs have been accused of a sex crime. They’re usually suspended and then terminated.

      1. Yes, I figured they wouldn’t hire a ‘convicted’ sex offender… but I wonder if their screening covers those who haven’t been convicted.  There are cases where the charges are dropped because of some reason or another  (juvenile, witness not willing to testify, etc.).   Even those these cases cannot be used as a reason not to hire, I would think they should be valid reasons to remove TSOs from pat-down duty.

  23. I think TSA has problems however…my husband works for a major airline and I want him to be safe in the sky. The people in these videos act and look as if they are looking for a fight. All I can say is…I am soooo glad they don’t live next door to me. How about we go to their work place and raise a ruckus and cause a scene. Ugh! He has a lot to say and seems intelligent. How about he use his brain and come up with a better screening process instead of ruining eveyone elses day at the airport. Just saying.

    1. You just posted this exact same comment under two different user names — Simplycathiblog and 300kfeet.  Do you think that by doing so you’ll fool people into thinking there’s more support for the TSA than there actually is?  Talk about an acting job.

  24. This family needs to take a BUS!!! They should not be allowed in airports. I think TSA has problems however…my husband works for a major airline and I want him to be safe in the sky. I don’t think they’re actors. They simply go about looking for fights and opportunites to make a scene. All I can say is…I am soooo glad they don’t live next door to me. The kid has a lot to say but does NOT know how to listen. How about he spend his time coming up with a better screening process instead of ruining everyone else’s day at the airport. I seriously think they’d be yelling “Turn the camera OFF” if someone was filming them when they didn’t want to be filmed. Just saying.

    1. 300kfeet, you obviously haven’t been keeping up with the news, because the TSA has already invaded buses, trains, and subways.  Good grief, this has been reported in the news — and repeated here — umpteen times.  What next — you have to get stripped and groped every time you leave your house??  Why not?  After all, The Terrorists Are Hiding Around Every Corner!  They’re Out To Get You!

      You people who are so afraid should stay home and let the rest of us live our lives in freedom and dignity.  You’re obviously not equipped to handle the ordinary uncertainties of everyday life.  Go back to talking on your cellphone while driving, which will get you killed a lot faster than some bogeyman terrorist will.

  25. Let’s all agree that this was a staged “protest”, OK? So what? The fact is that the TSA and Southwest employees tried to use intimidation and bullying tactics to stop what was a perfectly legal activity – the filming of this incident. You people who are hung up on the “fact” that this was staged are forgetting that the police use “staged” activities all the time to catch criminals; they’re called stings. And the criminal activity is no less illegal simply because the situation was “fake”. Same here, the TSA and Southwest employees would have acted the same in a “real” situation as they did here. That’s the real point of this video, I believe.

  26. I know it has all been said before, but I’d like to repeat it here.

    1) TSA is more theater than security. I have yet to see the harm in playing my part in the theater, even knowing it isn’t helping anything. After all, we do other ritual-yet-pointless activities in our lives all the time.

    2) I fear that by overusing the words “trauma”, “molestation”, and “sexual assault”, we will dilute the very powerful meaning that these words should have. If having the back of a TSA agent’s hand swipe the waistband of my pants, as happened earlier this week, is “trauma” and “sexual assault”, then what, pray tell, is it when I find myself held down against my will and beaten severely or raped? Shall we have new words for that, or are you suggesting that the two situations are the same? And to suggest they are the same will discredit all who use the words, even those who have experienced beatings or rape.

    Yes, these touches are uncomfortable, but perhaps we can find some rhetoric that will still preserve the horror that should be associated with actual trauma and actual sexual assault.

    3) Can we please suggest solutions to the TSA situation. It seems that they are trying to solve the problems we keep identifying, but are doing it in a poor way. Let’s suggest the direction we’d like them to go. Do we want profiling? Do we want nothing? Do we want a situation such as Europe where (also earlier this week), I received a frisking so thorough that they checked the indentation in my nipples, yet there wasn’t a body scanner in sight? We are quite clear on what we don’t want. What DO we want?

    1. I have answered the question of “what do we want” in the way of sensible, rational security on this site more times than I can count.  So have dozens of others.  No matter how many times we repeat it, the security cheerleaders come back and ask the same question again and again and again and again and again.

      As for people getting molested and assaulted, yes, those are the correct terms.  Ask Sommer Gentry.  Ask Amy Alkon.  They’ve posted, using their real names, also more times than I can count.  Do you think that having a metal detector wand shoved through your labia isn’t assault??  Do you think that somebody running her fingers over your genitals isn’t molestation??  Yeah, the thousands of people who’ve had this happen are clearly are lying.  They have nothing better to do than make sh*t up.

      My god, you people who think that sexual assault is only and exclusively a Big Bad Stranger Jumping Out of the Bushes really need to get a clue.

      But it’s the same old same old:  what you’re really saying is it’s okay if it happens to somebody else, as long as it doesn’t happen to you, or your loved ones.  Only then will you wake up.

      1. Lisa,
        It galls me how many hypocrites we have on here.  People are willing to accept a little “groping” at an airport, but would be the first to cry foul if this happened in any other aspect of the real world.  The last time I flew was in August of 2009. I set off the metal detector because I have rods in my back from scoliosis surgery. I did not have the pat down, but they did use the wand and I was able to show them my scar. When I raised my shirt even slightly I was told it was not necessary, so I know that the groping is not required.  I am the survivor of a sexual assault and it took me many years to get to the point where I could be touched again.  I wonder how these people would feel if it were their child getting the enhanced pat down.  In the real world, if someone wanted to do that to their child I would be willing to bet money they would have that person arrested for child molestation, yet because they all are under this false sense of security they will subject their child to what is essentially child molestation.  For myself, if I wouldn’t accept it in the outside world, I sure as heck am not going to accept it from complete strangers in an airport that we don’t even know their background or if they are a sex offender. Until the day the pat downs stop, I will not fly.

        1. Julie, they’re perfectly fine with it as long as it happens to someone else, not to them.  The lack of compassion — and ethics — is telling.  I’d direct them to Martin Niemöller, but there’s no point.

  27. Are the regulations stupid? For sure. But harass your congressperson or Secretary Napolitano, don’t take it out on the guys making 10 bucks an hour! If I hear one more phony comparison to Nazi Germany, I might take gas myself. About 10 million people were murdered. I don’t think we have reached that point and the comparison is so ridiculous that it delegitimizes whatever case the accusers have.

  28. What are all of the TSA apologists going to say after the TSA “reviews its photography rules” and decides that it is now illegal to film TSA employees at work because it’s a “security risk”? Suddenly, now, it’s a risk. It wasn’t a year ago, but now it is. What then? Blind acceptance? We are really in trouble – more than we already are – when law enforcement gets to legally conduct their business with no public oversight.

  29. The reason I feel that this is staged by the family is because any good son would be comforting his mom rather than stand around video taping. Look at when the mother is taken to another area by police, the son just keeps on filming. His mothers welfare is of no concern. He claims that he is filming where his father is to protect him, I would have been with my mother the whole time protecting her! This is a family that is clearly out for money and fame!

    1. Good luck with that.  The TSA won’t even let parents comfort their children who are crying and screaming during a grope.  Many people have commented here and at other sites telling of their experiences, being shouted at by TSA goons, “Don’t touch her!”  “Keep your hands off him!” “Get away!” when they try to comfort their own children.

  30. I think if you choose to fly, then you choose to accept whatever screening is in place at the time you fly.  Your choice.

    1. Umm, wouldn’t it be nice if the TSA would stop evading our questions about what screening is in place at this time?  You expect people to give these perverts a blanket “yes, I accept” when they won’t even tell us what exactly they are going to do! 

      Can the TSA strip search you?  Can the TSA make you remove implanted medical devices?  Can the TSA remove bandages and press their unsterile hands into fresh surgical wounds?  Can male TSA agents select female passengers based on breast size and take them into the stairwell for bare-breast “searches”?  All of these atrocities and more have been reported by the victims, but TSA won’t promise that it won’t happen again. 

      There can be no consent without knowledge of what we are consenting to.

      1. I believe you are talking about “consent” in the legal sense.  I’m not sure it applies here because you may “give” or “waive” consent, in the strict legal sense, by purchasing a ticket.  Again, I don’t know, but my sneaking suspicion is that you are waive consent, per federal law.

        Kind of like if you choose to drive on a public highway, you give up to the right ‘not’ to be stopped at a sobriety check point.  The different being driving/flying is a privilege, not a Right. 

        I really don’t have any comment on your list of incidents, but it does seem to me that if ‘you’ choose to fly when you know about the incidents, then you choose to fly when you know they could happen to you. 

  31. sorry, but as this traveling circus’ ringmaster says in the first video they posted about harassment by the TSA (the one where he goes from body scanners to Nazi firing squads), he had been preparing all day for this moment. You have to presume he was anticipating the second incident, which interestingly he only begins to record after his mother has been, according to him, “molested.” Was she “groped,” was she “assaulted?” We have to take the narrator’s word for it, but from my perspective, he seems to be spoiling for a fight in both cases.
    I truly wish that 9/11 and the invasion of personal privacy that have resulted never happened. But this is the world in which we live, and paranoid provacateurs such as the Myklus family are just part of the freak show. This is not a civil rights issue. It is a craven attempt to discredit the government. As for the right to take videos, there should be a clearly stated and visibly posted notice.

    1. okay he says he has been preparing for it all day. so perhaps he has read of the multiple assaults on the rights and dignities of people flying and he prepared to post his own video if something like this happened to him or his family. Does this change the wrongness of the acts of the TSA? Does it change the fact that they lie and try to intimidate him in order to get him to stop what is actually legal behaviour?

  32. Funny how the kooks demand to be able to film the TSA process but, as a passenger, I really don’t need some nutcase filming me leaving on a trip and then posting it on YouTube. 

    Oh, yeah, film me leaving.  Maybe you can catch my name and address on the luggage tag so the theives know my exact address.  Don’t WE, as other passengers, have the right NOT to have some kook film us flying off somewhere and then posting it in public?  Especially somebody as batsh*t crazy as this guy who is obviously staging a distracting incident at an airport?

  33. I wonder if we’ll ever get to the point where we can agree to disagree without all this name-calling and hysteria. It’s possible for reasonable people to disagree.

  34. I have read most of this thread. I can not recall any positive suggestion on how to satisfy all of the travelers all of the time. And provide a credible deterrent.

    When age 60, departing New Zealand, my backpack, as well of that of my 25-year-old daughter, were scanned and probed three times. We too were patted down at least twice. Yet I would return there in a trice.

  35. Um, did he really pronounce it as “Jest-appo?” All respect gone for the cameraman at that point. 🙂

  36. Ask how many terrorists TSA has ever caught in their airport screenings, and compare that to how many TSA employees have been arrested/prosecuted for stealing luggage (or its contents) and other criminal acts? 

  37. Ban the Scan, Friday, June 10, 4:30, Union Square, NYC

    As NYC residents who lived through the attacks on 9/11, we are tired of politicians exploiting it for government power grabs and excess.  And we are not alone.  

    Join New York City residents as they speak out against the TSA’s extremism and support the nullification movement afoot in Texas and Utah to criminalize the TSA’s pat-downs and invasive security measures.  (They violate the Fourth Amendment and have an ineffectiveness rate of 70%!)  

    A coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and independents have united to support legislation banning whole image body scanners and invasive pat-downs throughout NYC.

    While there is no need to check the underpants of our grandmothers, mothers, or children there is a need for sound, common-sense security at public portals.  The TSA has failed in this regard and if Senator Schumer has his way, whole image body scanners will make their way into our railways and subways. 

    This event is nonpartisan.

    Friday, June 10, 4:30pm, Union Square Park, NYC

    1. I’m attending this, and all I can do is hope that someone with the power to stop that child molester Pistole and his pornographic picture-loving compatriot Napolitano from their campaign of sexual humiliation will hear our demands.  We want our decency and our rights back. 

      Security theater that wastes money on pointless water-finding missions is one thing.  It might be tolerable for its psychological reassurance value to stupid people.  But sexcurity theater that forces innocent people into unwanted sexual contact with strangers and exposes their naked bodies is another thing altogether, and no one should ever tolerate these sex crimes.  This is an attack on our humanity.  No terrorist ever looked down my pants or laid hands on my labia, but the TSA has done these things to millions of people.  I won’t be victimized by the TSA, which is why I and many of my acquaintance won’t fly.  I quit flying at enormous personal and professional cost, but there is a line between right and wrong, and TSA has crossed it.

  38. Some people go out of there way to get attention.  1 problem with TSA is possible, not likely but possible. 2 means you are looking to make a scene.

    TSA probably over rreacted  when confronted with someone who was delilberately trying to provoke.  They need more training in handling disruptive peolple.

    I have been through all kinds of airport pat downs and all types of screening machines.  i have yet to have a problem with it.  Do
    ii think there are better processes avaialble to move people through the screening efficiently?  yes, but this is what we have at the moment so people need to deal with it in a positive way.  Life is too short to make this the reson for your unhappiness. 

    As far as how my mother would react to being “groped”  She would laugh about it or give them 10 minutes to stop.

    1. Yeah, life is too short to bother trying to keep strangers from taking naked pictures of your teenage daughter.  I see your point.  Life is too short to worry about who’s putting their hands on your child’s sex organs.  I mean, it’s not worth missing what’s on TV tonight to try to prevent millions of ritualized sexual assaults, right? You know, when a stranger on the street put his hands up my skirt and grabbed me between the legs, I did file a police report but now I see how I should have tried to deal with it in a positive way, and how I should have just laughed about it. Thanks.

  39. Via Forbes (yeah, there’s a real radical magazine!), on a story that’s been amply reported but that so many on this site still ignore:

    . . . a TSA spokesperson said that no agent has been fired or even disciplined as a result of the incident. “We regret that the passenger had an unpleasant experience,” the spokesperson said, using the passive voice, as spokespeople do, to make it sound as if the unpleasant experience just happened.
    . . . If I recall correctly, al Qaeda has measured its success partly by its ability to harm the U.S. economy through increased security costs, travel restrictions, and so forth. Seems a little ironic that the agency that’s supposed to protect us from them has threatened to use a similar strategy.


  40. What a bunch of fakers!!! They are just looking to cause problems.
    If I was in the airport I would not like someone filming me- he is filming the people in the airport. I would hope I had rights not to be filmed.
    This is all cause by a family of trouble makers- I bet in their neighborhood they are trouble makers too.

  41. Dr. David Mandy: Special Needs Son Harassed by TSA at Detroit Metropolitan Airport

    Updated: Thursday, 09 Jun 2011, 6:15 AM EDT
    Published : Wednesday, 08 Jun 2011, 11:10 PM EDT

    The family was headed through security when two TSA agents singled Drew out for a special pat down. Drew is severely mentally disabled. He’s 29, but his parents said he has the mental capacity of a two-year-old, which made the experience that followed at the McNamera Terminal that much harder to deal with.

    “You have got to be kidding me. I honestly felt that those two agents did not know what they were doing,” Mandy told us.

    Dr. Mandy claimed they asked Drew to place his feet on the yellow shoe line, something he didn’t understand. They proceeded to pat his pants down, questioning the padding which was his adult diapers. When the agents asked Drew to take his hand and rub the front and back of his pants so they could swab it for explosives, his dad stepped in and tried to explain Drew was mentally challenged.

    “They said, ‘Please, sir, we know what we’re doing,'” Mandy said.


    1. From the article:  “He (said) we have to review how we deal with special needs individuals.”

      And there’s the TSA automatic reactionary response yet again.

      “We screwed up, so let’s claim we’ll change things, but we won’t. Then we’ll deal with this all over again in a month or so.”

  42. I don’t agree with a lot of the policies regarding the TSA, but these people just come across like jerks, and don’t help the cause. 

  43. Unless you are a doctor and performing a breast exam, yes, a stranger touching a woman’s breast IS sexual assault. I believe these two travelers were genuine, but even if they’re not, it doesn’t put aside the fact that this sexual groping in airports is against the Constitution. It serves no purpose because a determined terrorist could put an explosive up a body cavity. This is all done to condition Americans into the police state we’ve become. I no longer fly because of what is going on in our airports. I love to travel, but I will not be sexually assaulted in order to do so. I suggest every American boycott flying until this is put to a stop.

  44. I also went through one of these checks. I did not realise the extent to which my body would be examined. I had a female employee run her hands right up into my groin, around and under both breasts, etc, etc. I felt violated, shaky and upset. I had no idea this is what I would be subjected to, nor did I have any idea s to what my rights would be if I refused.
    Has this really enhanced safety? Or are innocent passengers being regularly violated in the name of safety?

  45. If you have nothing to hide why is the screening an issue?

    This is taken directly for the TSA website:
    What do I do during a pat-down?
    All passengers have important rights during a pat-down. You have the right to request the pat-down be conducted in a private room and you have the right to have the pat-down witnessed by a person of your choice. All pat-downs are only conducted by same-gender officers. The officer will explain the pat-down process before and during the pat-down. If you have a medical device, please inform the officer.

    Here is the law that gives TSA the ability to screen all passengers.

    § 44901. Screening passengers and property

    (a) IN GENERAL.—The Under Secretary of
    Transportation for Security shall provide for

    the screening of all passengers and property, in-
    cluding United States mail, cargo, carry-on and
    checked baggage, and other articles, that will be
    carried aboard a passenger aircraft operated by
    an air carrier or foreign air carrier in air trans-
    portation or intrastate air transportation. In
    the case of flights and flight segments originat-
    ing in the United States, the screening shall
    take place before boarding and shall be carried
    out by a Federal Government employee (as de-
    fined in section 2105 of title 5, United States
    Code), except as otherwise provided in section
    44919 or 44920 and except for identifying pas-
    sengers and baggage for screening under the
    CAPPS and known shipper programs and con-
    ducting positive bag-match programs.

    (b) SUPERVISION OF SCREENING.—All screening
    of passengers and property at airports in the
    United States where screening is required under
    this section shall be supervised by uniformed
    Federal personnel of the Transportation Secu-
    rity Administration who shall have the power to
    order the dismissal of any individual performing
    such screening.

    (c) CHECKED BAGGAGE.—A system must be in
    operation to screen all checked baggage at all
    airports in the United States as soon as prac-
    ticable but not later than the 60th day following
    the date of enactment of the Aviation and
    Transportation Security Act.


    (1) IN GENERAL.—The Under Secretary of
    Transportation for Security shall take all nec-

    essary action to ensure that—

    (A) explosive detection systems are de-

    ployed as soon as possible to ensure that all
    United States airports described in section
    44903(c) have sufficient explosive detection
    systems to screen all checked baggage no
    later than December 31, 2002, and that as
    soon as such systems are in place at an air-
    port, all checked baggage at the airport is
    screened by those systems; and

    (B) all systems deployed under subpara-
    graph (A) are fully utilized; and

    (C) if explosive detection equipment at an
    airport is unavailable, all checked baggage
    is screened by an alternative means.

    §44902. Refusal to transport passengers and

    (a) MANDATORY REFUSAL.—The Under Sec-
    retary of Transportation for Security shall pre-
    scribe regulations requiring an air carrier,
    intrastate air carrier, or foreign air carrier to
    refuse to transport—

    (1) a passenger who does not consent to a
    search under section 44901(a) of this title es-
    tablishing whether the passenger is carrying
    unlawfully a dangerous weapon, explosive, or
    other destructive substance; or

    (2) property of a passenger who does not con-
    sent to a search of the property establishing
    whether the property unlawfully contains a
    dangerous weapon, explosive, or other destruc-
    tive substance.

    (b) PERMISSIVE REFUSAL.—Subject to regula-
    tions of the Under Secretary, an air carrier,
    intrastate air carrier, or foreign air carrier may
    refuse to transport a passenger or property the
    carrier decides is, or might be, inimical to safe-

    agreement to carry passengers or property in air
    transportation or intrastate air transportation
    by an air carrier, intrastate air carrier, or for-
    eign air carrier is deemed to include an agree-
    ment that the passenger or property will not be
    carried if consent to search the passenger or
    property for a purpose referred to in this section
    is not given.

  46. Who knows whether this family actually was treated inappropriately, but it does seem fishy to me that the son gives no words of comfort to his mother and that she just starts screaming, as if that will help anything. Methinks this may have been more staged than they are letting on.

  47. Now you know how innocent indians/asian, middle eastern (and anyone that looks vaguely similar even if they’re American citizens) families feel every single time they travel. And they can’t even do anything about it or cause a scene or they’ll just be locked up.

  48. This is the status of our travel process in America today. If you don’t like it or cannot handle it, then stay home and don’t travel. Ridiculous.

  49. They’ve seen a million and one.. yours isn’t that special. Get over it. If you don’t want to do the scanner and don’t want to be “groped” then drive, take the bus, or walk. The rest of us want to be safe and don’t care for your self-righteous BS.

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