TSA Watch: Vote for your favorite TSA hero — or villain

The strange case of Yukari Miyamae, the airline passenger who allegedly grabbed the breast of a TSA employee after refusing to be screened last week, got me thinking. Every few months, someone seems to capture the traveling public’s attention with an action that exposes the absurdity and indignity of being frisked at the airport.

Many of us would call them heroes for their actions. Others would say they’re villains, because they demoralize the TSA and give comfort to the “enemy.”

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So let’s put it to a vote.

Which TSA hero — or anti-hero — has contributed the most to the current dialogue about airport security?

Which one shone the brightest light on the dark practices of an agency that, for some, has virtually no accountability and is violating our basic human rights? Which one brought the most shame to the TSA?

I’ve narrowed it down to five and have listed them in sequential order.

Phil Mocek
Before scans and pat-downs, this Seattle software developer had the audacity to fly without an ID. And to record the subsequent confrontation with a TSA agent on his phone. Mocek was arrested and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, refusing to obey an officer, and concealing his identity. But after being acquitted of all charges, he became a symbol of resistance.

John Tyner
Remember the “don’t touch my junk” video? It was just after the scan/pat-down rules went into effect last year, and John Tyner showed up at the San Diego airport determined to not become another statistic. He needn’t have worried. The Southern California software developer threatened to have a TSA agent arrested if he touched his genitals. He was escorted from the terminal and threatened with a lawsuit and $11,000 fine, neither of which materialized. Ah, but the video lives on, and “don’t touch my junk” has become a rallying cry for the unhappily screened masses.

Ryan Miklus
Miklus and his family were flying through Phoenix (is there a pattern here?) when a screener inappropriately touched his mother, Carol, according to him. 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, but the video of the screening made the rounds. It shows TSA agents and airline employees who are ignorant of public photography laws at best, and at worst, abusive. The incident prompted the TSA to review and clarify its rules for photography at checkpoints.

Andrea Fornella Abbott
This Nashville-area woman became a hero to many air travelers after refusing to allow her daughter to be patted down at a security checkpoint recently. Police s say she was belligerent and verbally abusive to security officers. But Fornella sees it differently. She says she was just trying to prevent her daughter to be “touched inappropriately or have her crotch grabbed.” And what parent wouldn’t want to protect their own offspring from being molested?

Yukari Miyamae
One of the most remarkable things about her case, which I’ve already mentioned, is that it happened to, well, her. We’re talking about a 61-year-old Japanese woman, someone who observers have said, knows her place in society and ought to respect authority. Except, she didn’t respect the TSA’s authority to fondle her, they note. Miyamae reportedly became “argumentative” after refusing to be patted down. Then, according to court documents, she grabbed, squeezed, and twisted a female agent’s breast. Should could have faced felony charges, but it now appears she could walk free.

Alright, time to cast your vote.

(Photo: Glenn Sim mons/Flickr Creative Commons)

162 thoughts on “TSA Watch: Vote for your favorite TSA hero — or villain

  1. The courts have ruled that you do not have the right to drive a vehicle unless you pass a safe driving test. You do not have the right to drive if you have a terrible driving record. Why then do some people feel that you have the right to fly without passing a security screening?

    Although I want the TSR to operate with sensitivity, I simply do not want to board a flight with people who have not been thoroughly screened.

    1. Well then Don, you better not fly. There is no way to have 100% screening, just look at all the flyers that have been able to go through security with items which are banned. Even the Government has had tests at TSO check points to see if banned items could get through and they have succeeded. Guess you better get out your local bus schedule, and oh yes that means since you won’t be in TSA security line ups anymore, it’s just one less person I have to wait for before I can be cleared. Bye bye.

      1. I didn’t interpret that as 100% screening…just thoroughly. And you’re right…the quality of the screening probably needs improvement. This idea that we can’t touch someone at any age though is shortsighted and absolutely threatens airline safety. Am I defending TSA? No, but I’m also not jumping aboard the “Don’t touch my junk” bandwagon either

        1. The fly in the ointment is that there needs to be a line drawn between “thoroughly” and basic human rights.  The only way to “thoroughly” screen passengers would be to do body-cavity checks.  Are you okay with that?  Because that’s the next logical step for the TSA.  What they are doing now is useless – a terrorist can already carry more than enough explosives hidden away in body cavities to take down a jumbo jet.  So all this crotch-grabbing and breast-rubbing is doing nothing to make us safer…nothing.  Read that again:  they cannot “thoroughly” screen airplane passengers without violating our civil rights. 

          If you’re not okay with that, don’t fly.  But the TSA needs to STOP TOUCHING OUR GENITALS.

        2. What threatens airline safety is that the security is run by a bunch of incompetents who’s only training is the equivalent of remedial courses to get a GED.

    2. Don, your analogy is totally flawed, and for two reasons.  Firstly, while it’s true that I must have a driver’s license if I want to DRIVE a car, I don’t need one to RIDE in a car that someone else is driving.  There are no legal requirements for car passengers, qua passengers.  When I show up at the airport, I’m not expecting to actually fly the plane, just to ride in it while somebody else flies it.  I’m a passenger.  Capeesh?

      Secondly and more importantly, I do not have a constitutional right to drive a car, or to get a driver’s license.  The state can, therefore, strip me of my driver’s license if I fail to meet conditions that it wishes to set, and that is totally legal.  But I DO have a constitutional right that protects me from unreasonable search–it’s called the Fourth Amendment.  Look it up. 

      1. But at the same time you don’t have a constitutional right to enter the secure area of an airport – not saying that the searches are reasonable or not, that’s not the point. Being able to enter the secure area to get on an airplane isn’t a constitutional right, but rather a privilege that you can decline, like a drivers license.

        1. Rachel, I think that you forget that airports are built with taxpayer dollars and are therefore the property of the people. When I purchase a an airline ticket, I am paying a 7.5% federal tax along with a local tax of a few dollars that goes to the airport from which I am departing. I have, in effect, paid for the privilege of entering the secure area. 

          The people who control admission secure area have the right to conduct a reasonable search but, according to the Fourth Amendment, have no right to conduct an unreasonable search. Some time in the very near future, the courts are going to have to decide whether forcing travelers to undergo a search that includes the touching of one’s genitals constitutes an unreasonable search.

        2. That isn’t true.  You do have a constitutional right to enter the airport. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_movement_under_United_States_law

          Current US Code addresses air travel specifically. In 49 U.S.C. § 40103, “Sovereignty and use of airspace”, the Code specifies that “A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace.”

          Banning you from the only location allowed for you to board an aircraft to travel is the same as banning the right of transit through navigable airspace.  Government has the right to restrict materials from traversing the airspace for safety and commercial restrictions.  Thus, the US shouldn’t stop you from flying but can ask to search your belongings for contraband for safety(explosives) or commercial restrictions (drugs).  The question is, are the screenings a intrusion on your privacy?

          See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy_laws_of_the_United_States#Modern_tort_law
          In the United States today, “invasion of privacy” is a commonly used cause of action in legal pleadings. Modern tort law includes four categories of invasion of privacy:[6]Intrusion of solitude: physical or electronic intrusion into one’s private quarters.
          Public disclosure of private facts: the dissemination of truthful private information which a reasonable person would find objectionable
          False light: the publication of facts which place a person in a false light, even though the facts themselves may not be defamatory.
          Appropriation: the unauthorized use of a person’s name or likeness to obtain some benefits.The current screenings by the machines can constitute an Intrusion of Solitude.  After all, what is under your clothes, if not contraband, is not for anyone to see unless you consent for them to see it.  As for physical screenings, say I had a sock in my pants.  A sock in my pants is not illegal.  Gross and unnecessary but not illegal.  A physical screening would more than likely have me remove the sock in my pants subjecting me to ridicule.  Its an intrusion based on the assumption that I am committing a crime and an illegal invasion of privacy.

          Personally, I think some political shenanigans happened and the scanners came out with undue haste and implemented poorly.  As far as I know, the scanner and the physical searches have yielded no terrorist threat.  Saying the scanners are then effective without any proof they have stopped a threat is like saying having a McDonalds in an airport discourages terrorists since airplane bombers haven’t been caught in any American airports since McDonalds starting doing McGriddles.  I have seen metal detectors catch knives and guns before they reach a plane.  I have not heard anything about these scanners doing the same.

        3. The “public right of freedom of transit” by air is guaranteed by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, and the TSA is required by Federal law (49 USC § 40101) to consider this right when it issues regulations. Freedom of movement is required in order for us to exercise our right to assemble, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment. Freedom of movement is also guaranteed by Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a human rights treaty signed and ratified by the United States.

          (c) General Safety Considerations. — In carrying out subpart III of this part and those provisions of subpart IV applicable in carrying out subpart III, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall consider the following matters:
          (1) the requirements of national defense and commercial and general aviation.
          (2) the public right of freedom of transit through the navigable airspace.

    3. Don, no one is saying we shouldn’t have any screening.  The problem is with the overly invasive pat-downs (and naked scanners) for everyone and anyone so that no one feels “singled out”.  Unfortunately, the TSA doesn’t seem interested in finding a way to screen “thoroughly” without those procedures.

    4. My driver’s license test was to insure that I was a sufficiently proficient operator of a motor vehicle.  Similar the the license the pilots have for flying the plane.   I was not required to provide or submit to a picture of my body naked, nor was I required to undergo the same level of a pat down as those entering prison receive.   The car I demonstrated my proficiency in was not searched nor was my bag that I brought with me.

      Additionally the passengers of my vehicle are not searched by the government nor are they required to pass any sort of a test.  

      Your analogy does not work.

    5. Because flying as a passenger on an airplane and driving a car are two totlly different things. I have a “RIGHT” not be be searched. You do not have a right todrive. Once we as a people start to give up our RIGHTS we will all live in tyrenny. I have the right to trvel without being searched unless there is cause.

  2. “And what parent wouldn’t want to protect their own offspring from being molested?”

    I think you’re very much out of line using the word ‘molested’ in this context, and the implication that those of us who don’t mind the security patdowns on ourselves or on our children are happily allowing our offspring to be ‘molested’ is distasteful.

    Speak your opinion but speak it nicely.

    1. What was done to me two weeks ago at LAX was, undeniably, molestation.  If you don’t like the word, too bad: it’s an accurate description of what they are doing to us.  What else would you call having a stranger jam her thumb up into my vagina, and then press on the front of my pubis until it tingled, AGAINST MY WILL?  Than, Anna, is sexual molestation.  And if I still had young children, there is no WAY I would let one of those brutes touch my child.  If I had to get arrested to prevent it from happening, I would do so.  That’s what parents are supposed to do: protect their children.

      Any parent who is okay with allowing a TSA screener to touch their child’s genitals is a not protecting their child from molestation.  And that’s simply a fact, much as you may not want to admit it.

      If you don’t like to read the truth, then don’t read articles and columns about the TSA.  But some of us want the TRUTH to come out.  The truth hurts, huh?

      1. I’m waiting for the first female to slap or somehow prevent a TSO from doing this. Then we’ll get to the heart of the matter. Is it OK for the Government to “legally molest” someone? Or can the molested strike back?

        1. Sorry. Hit “Post” prematurely.

          I can’t understand why this hasn’t happened yet. I truly don’t understand the female psyche, I guess. I keep thinking, “If that was me, I’d ball up my fist and clock the TSO right in the face.”

          1. MarkieA, Yukari Miyamae did fight back.  She got arrested.

            Amy Alkon has been groped several times; she’s written about it on her blog several times, including this most recent one:

            She has sobbed out loud, yelled at her groper, and argued.  She hasn’t physically slapped a groper.  

            I’m betting that we’ll see more Yukari-Miyamae-type activity as time goes on.  As more men see their wives and children molested, perhaps they’ll start fighting back.  Then again, they’re likely to get Tasered or otherwise further assaulted.  I can understand their reluctance.  The deck is stacked against them.

    2. Sorry, but you are allowing your children to be molested by the TSA.  

      I also contend that if you allowed your child to be scanned by backscatter, you were being abusive by subjecting them to unnecessary radiation scattered over their entire body.

      Did you teach your children about improper touching? 

      Have you asked them how they felt after their experience at the checkpoint or did you just make light of it?

      1. The child in question is 4 years old and has never reacted negatively to a pat-down; in fact, I suspect he thinks it’s exciting.

        If I have never felt violated by any airport security pat-down I been subjected to, why would I complain?

        Proper vs improper is subjective.

        1. No, it’s not subjective.  You are lining up your child to let a complete stranger about whom you know absolutely nothing rub your child’s bathing suit areas.  You are allowing your child to be sexually molested.  There is no gray area here.  Furthermore, you are grooming your child for other sexual abusers, by training your child to let strangers in uniforms rub his genitals.  You are an unfit parent and if I were in charge of social services I’d remove your son from your damaging household.

          1. Every parent who takes their child though the security area of an
            airport where security agents are allowed to perform patdowns is
            subjecting their child to a possible patdown.

            What’s worse – parents who subject their child to something they find harmless, or parents who subject their child to something they
            believe is molestation?!

          2. What’s worse is a parent who says that her 4-yr-old child found it “exciting” to have his private areas touched by strangers in uniforms.  :::shudder:::

            If my children were still small, there is no way I would allow a TSA goon to touch them.  That wouldn’t stop me from attempting to get them on a plane — I have a constitutionally protected right to do so.  What I would do is attempt to pass through the checkpoint without them having to get a pat-down – with a pretty good chance at success, as the vast majority of passengers who do not have metal body parts are able to.

            If for some reason they were pulled aside for a pat-down, I would not allow a stranger to touch my child. Simple as that.  I would stand my ground, even if I was illegally prevented from boarding my flight.

            Any parent who does otherwise is unfit.

          3. That would be “exciting” as in funny or interesting. He also watches luggage on the conveyor belt with great enthusiasm and de-icing is the coolest thing evah.

          4. It’s still sick.  You let a stranger touch your child.  Let me reiterate:  You *let* a *stranger* TOUCH your child.  I hope you understand my emphasis.  What if Petey Pedophile grabs your kid on the way home from school?  Mommy didn’t have a problem with the people at the airport touching him….what’s the difference?

      2. As for the radiation issue, I gather you are unaware of the increased
        levels of (natural) radiation you are exposed to on high-altitude
        flights?! The amount of radiation you get from a body scanner is without significance in comparison. 

          1. The IBT article reports a bickering over how much radiation the body scanners give out. The article does not address the issue of natural radiation on high-altitude flights, which was my point.

            The radiation you get from a body scanner is comparable to what you get in 2 mins in an aeroplane at 30,000 feet. Or maybe it’s 2 mins, 1.4 seconds… whatever.

          2. The two aren’t even comparable.

            The radiation from the pornoscanners is concentrated on the skin, where as radiation while on a flight is not.

            More over, they’re giving the SAME amount of radiation to EVERYBODY. Which means it has a GREATER impact upon that 4 year old.

            But hey, you already don’t care if he’s molested by TSA, so why would you care about how much unnecessary radiation he’s exposed to?

          3. Furthermore, we have absolutely no assurance that the TSA has correctly calibrated these machines or that they are properly monitored and inspected as the TSA will not allow the radiation regulatory agencies of the individual states to inspect them.  That tells me that the TSA is hiding something.

  3. None of the above. I don’t have sufficient information to know if TSA went too far or if it was just a ploy to get media attention. I agree there has to be a better way, but to insinuate that people should’t be patted down or children left alone leaves a gaping hole in security.

    1. Leslie, there’s already a gaping hole in security.  Any determined terrorist right now could board a plane with enough explosives to take down a jumbo jet, simply by hiding it in a body cavity.  You cannot make commercial travel 100% safe without doing full internal screenings on every person that comes near it – every passenger, every worker, every member of the cleaning crew.  And that’s not happening today.  So all of this silly groping is just that – silly.

      The fact is, terrorists aren’t TRYING to take down planes.  How do we know?  Because it hasn’t happened!  There have been two attempts to blow up a plane in the past ten years…both of them stopped by passengers.  Not as single other terrorist has been stopped.  Trust me, if TSA had caught even one terrorist, they would have crowed it from the rooftop, just like they do every time they find a “hidden” knife or weapon (which never – NOT ONCE – has been intended to take down a plane).  And if a terrorist had gotten past them?  Well then, a plane would have blown up, right?  Basic logic.

      If a terrorist wanted to attack air travelers, all he’d have to do is walk up to a crowded TSA checkpoint and blow hisself to smithereens.  He’d take out hundreds of passengers, and get to see his 72 virgins, all without having to let an infidel touch his junk.  Why hasn’t that happened?

      None of us are against ALL screening.  What we’re against is violating our basic human rights by forcing us to submit to genital-touching.  Go back to intelligent screening, and stop the abuse.

      Our government cannot protect us from all possible harm.  The only way they could do that would be by having TSA-style checkpoints outside everyone’s front door.  Is THAT how you want to live?

      1. I am in no way defending the TSA. I can’t say I’ve ever had an issue personally, but having flown internationally, I also don’t find patdowns uncommon. I also know that there have been times when it’s clear that an individual is simply provoking an incident for provocations sake. That’s why I feel I don’t have sufficient information to render an opinion on the question.

    2. Gaping hole in security??

      FACT: no bombs were brought onto planes on 9/11. The planes themselves were commandeered, something that won’t happen again because the cockpit doors have been secured, and because passengers will no longer silently submit (which is more than I can say for TSA apologists).

      FACT: The last time a bomb smuggled aboard an airplane in the USA detonated was December 11, 1967. The plane landed safely; no fatalities, no injuries.  Aviation Safety Network: 

      FACT: The last time a bomb was smuggled aboard an aircraft in the US from which there were fatalities was May 22, 1962. 
      Aviation Safety Network: 

      Almost 50 years. And for all that time, until just recently, the TSA reign of molestation and rank stupidity didn’t exist. Gee, how is it possible we all haven’t been blown out of the sky by now??  After all, The Terrorists Are Everywhere!

      What happens if somebody detonates himself in the security line itself? A cafe? Parking garage? Do we strip and grope everybody every time they leave the house? The security cheerleaders never answer this question.  Some people just won’t be happy until Uncle Sam is sticking his fingers up their a*ses.

      If a person is so ill-equipped to deal with the risks of everyday life, including the infinitesimally small risk of a terrorist attack, perhaps he/she should just stay at home cowering under the bed, and let the rest of us fly freely and live our lives in dignity.

  4. Leslie is on the money.  Your constant attack on TSA using isolated anecdotal incidents (some obviously by publicity seeking, perhaps “unbalanced”, passengers) makes me wondering.

    After the next airline death because of terrorists, will the columnist be asking why TSA was not searching adequately?  Or just say, well, you will a few and lose a few.

    1. And yet another anything-for-security sheeple. 

      I continue to be stunned by all the morons who can’t see the truth:  all this security theater by the TSA is doing NOTHING!  Any determined terrorist could already take down a plane if they really wanted to, simply by carrying enough explosives in a body cavity.  So all of this genital-rubbing serves no purpose, other than to fund a taxpayer-funded make-work program for uneducated, otherwise-unemployable Walmart rejects.

      Six BILLION dollars a years (that’s billion, with a b) are spent on this nonsense…where there is zero evidence that terrorists are still hellbent on taking down commercial aircraft. 

      You want the government to make you feel all safe and warm and fuzzy?  Then ask them to put a TSA checkpoint outside everyone’s front door.  That’s the only way. 

    2. Again with the “anecdotal” baloney.  You’re wrong, SoBeSparky.  But you’ve commented before and ignored the empirical evidence before.  So I know we won’t convince you.  The thousands of accounts of abuse I have compiled are only the tip of the iceberg.  They are only the ones that happened to get a modicum of publicity.  Logic dictates that most people don’t have the benefit of a reporter and most incidents get related only to family and friends.  

      But the hyperbole of “The Terrorists!  The Terrorists Are Everywhere!” is more appealing to some people than rational argument, statistical analysis, risk assessment, logic, and all other forms of empirical evidence.


  5. I’m annoyed that the woman who squeezed and twisted a TSA’s boob is seen by some as a folk hero.  I’ll reserve my hero worship for people who do things to help others, not hurt them.  What the woman did was assault and she should be charged.  It’s depressing to see people root for such obnoxious behavior. 

    1. Why is it considered sexual abuse when the woman grabbed the TSA’s breast but not when TSA agents fondle and grope our breasts and crotches? 

      1. For the same reason it would be considered an act of violence to force a speculum into your gynecologist after a gynecological exam; consent. Don’t enter the security area if you don’t consent to whatever they are allowed to do to you.

        Ever been to Israel?!

        1. Here’s the flaw in your logic:  I do NOT consent to having my genitals touched.    I have a constitutionally-protected right to travel, and if I buy a plane ticket, I have a right to use it…without having to consent to being sexually molested by strangers.  Sadly, the TSA has convinced everyone that they have a right to do what they are doing…and our government, and sheeple like you, are allowing them to do it. The only way I am able to use my plane ticket is by submitting myself to an unwanted sexual abuse…UNDER DURESS.

          I realize these are complex topics for most of the great unwashed.  But go read the 4th Amendment and you might gain some insight.  Just because the TSA is forcing this on us does not make it right, or even legal.  The problem is sheeple like you who continue to just bend over and take it.  The more morons who don’t fight it, the longer it will go on.

          Fortunately there are millions of Americans out there, and may politicians and legislators, who realize how wrong it is, and are fighting against it. 

        2. There is no consent here.  The most basic element of consent must surely be to know what one is consenting to.  And the TSA has steadfastly, repeatedly, pointedly refused to describe what will happen in a search. 

          The TSA refuses to state whether genitalia are handled, for either the under-12 kids or for adults.  The TSA refuses to state whether a face-to-face strip search is required, and many people report that this has been required of them.  The TSA refuses to state the gender of the employee who’s looking at your naked children in the scanner. John Pistole told Congress point-blank that he would never explain what an enhanced patdown is; that’s “SSI”.  So please, by all means, tell me what you think you’re consenting to when you try to board an airplane.  The TSA will not be obligated to stop where you think they should stop, and they never promised to stop at any particular place.  Can they take away your diaper?  Can they put their hands inside your mouth?  Can they give you an enema?  Can they make you drink your own breast milk?  Can male screeners drag women to a stairwell and force them to show their breasts (this happened at Reagan airport)?  How would you know, since TSA refuses to tell what you’re consenting to?

        3. I have been to Israel MANY times and have not been subjected to US TSA sexual tactics. They know how to question you…seriously, but respectfully… without the need for sexual perversion.

    2. It’s depressing to see my fellow citizens root for uneducated, otherwise-unemployable government thugs funded by our tax dollars, who sexually molest innocent civilians for no purpose. 

    3. “What the woman did was assault and she should be charged.”

      And as soon as they haul the TSA agent off to jail, along with all the others who sexually assault passengers, then I’ll agree with you.

  6. Is this a new thing? When I went through TSA this week, the guy held my driver’s license and asked me to say my last name. They were doing this with everybody in line, the idea, I guess is that if you were using a fake ID you might not know how to pronounce the name naturally.

    1. I would hope it’s a little more narrow than that: that it’s simply whether you even know what name is on the ID (as if you can’t just memorize the name on the ID ahead of time).

      As it is, my surname is only 4 letters long, yet most people cannot pronounce it correctly after reading it, and cannot spell it correctly after hearing it. So this looks like another waste of time.

    2. I’m not sure when this started either but it is happening now.  I’ve flown in the last couple of weeks and each time I’m asked my last name while the TSA agent checks it against my passport.  Didn’t make sense to me either because if I’m using a fake i.d. I’d make sure I know the name on it.  But then there are incredibly stupid criminals out there who could get caught by such a basic tactic.

  7. We had decades and decades of fairly reliable security screening procedures before 9/11. El Al has a 100% safety record, despite being the target of every terrorist organization in the world.

    If the goal here is to have effective security screenings, none of the security theater that started playing on 9/11, and still currently playing at your nearest commercial airport adds any value, or improves any value. Their goals are twofold:

    – taxpayer-funded payoffs for politically-connected vendors, to have the government buy their overpriced pornoscanners, without any kind of a competitive bidding process, but rather a sweetheart deal

    – to assert the government’s power over the sheeple; make them used to the concept of the government having total control, to humiliate them as much as the government wants, to make them get used to the government’s intrusion and increasing control over their daily lives.

    The dirty secret that nobody really wants to talk about is that all of the security theater, all the pornoscanners, all the prostate exams, do not do anything to contribute to actual security. The dirty secret that nobody wants to acknowledge is that there will never be a successful hijacking of a commercial flight, ever again, at least if the majority of the passengers are Americans.

    Before 9/11, the dominant school of thought was that if some nut announces a hijacking, to be quiet, don’t confront them, the plane will simply be flown to some airport in some unpronouncable country, a few hours, or maybe a few days will be spent on the ground, and then everyone will leave, safely.

    But, no more. This is not going to happen any more. The mentality is different now. Now, before the hijacker finishes the first sentence, he’s going to get he crap beat out of him, by the rest of the passengers. The mentality has changed. Now, people realize that the radical terrorist have no value on life, and are willing to die, in the name of their god, and take everyone else with them. Now, the default assumption is that nobody would likely survive the hijacking anyway, so there will be nothing to lose by confronting, attacking and killing the hijacker, but with everything to gain.

    Never going to happen again. None of the security theater, the pornoscanners, the prostate exams, make any real difference, whatsoever.

    If the goal is to have an effective security screening, do what El Al does. Do what we used to do before the current onset of insanity.

    1. El Al may be the safest airline in the world as some say, but sadly it has a far from perfect safety record in terms of terror attacks.

      There’s also the troubling question of not having sufficient security before TSA main screening at U.S. airports, which may be the greatest vulnerability. For example in 2002, three people were killed in the El Al check in area at Los Angeles International Airport, including an El Al ticket agent.

      To all the others who have posted so far, I appreciate your comments, both positive and negative, but am just too busy to answer each one. I didn’t mean to open such a can of worms. I leave that job to Chris!

      1. There is no way to obtain 100% security – anywhere.  Not on planes, not on buses, not on trains, public buildings, nightclubs, sidewalks, or even your own home.  The only way to be completely safe from anyone who wishes to harm others is to put yourself in a padded cell somewhere in a bunker. 

        You can’t eliminate all risk from life…and nor can the government, ANY government.  What we CAN do is find a balance between security efforts and personal dignity – a balance that used to exist in airport screenings, but was abandoned the first time a TSA thug touched an innocent stranger’s genitals.

        It’s shameful that so many Americans are so accepting of this abuse.  But those of us who recognize it for what it is, will continue to fight it until it stops. 

      2. But can’t you see where this leads? First step, move security to the front of the airport, thereby checking anyone who enters. Then the Government gets hints that terrorists are going to drive in car bombs. OK, next step, move security to a 2-mile radius around airport. Then the Government learns that the terrorists may launch Stingers from the highway. OK, let’s have random TSA checkpoints on all highways. And so on, and so on.

  8. The first 7 comments I read are shameful, to be conservative. Answering all of these shameful comments might be a helpful education.Don – The courts also ruled you can own a handgun. Citizens kill over 8000 people a year with handguns. So, by your logic, why do some people feel they have a right to own a handgun? I don’t know…perhaps the constitution gives people this right…just like we have a right to be free of unreasonable searches. And yes, the TSA does perform unreasonable searches. Police CAN’T strip search you or fondle your genitals unless you are under arrest or in prison. Your fears do not override my rights. However, the solution is that the airlines can offer strip search and genital groping as an option for flights. This is not unconstitutional as you would be agreeing to this when you pay for your ticket and thus not violate my rights nor deprive you of a more secure option.

    Leslie – you basically advocate that strangers can search your genitals and kid’s genitals. Yes, the secret police state rules..I means TSA state rules…are apply to children over 12. It is worrisome that Americans will sacrifice their liberties to support sexual assault – that is what you and I are charged with when we do this to our neighbors and our neighbor’s kids. The solution is we live with the ‘vulnerability’. The good news for the very scared is that no airline passenger getting on a plane has ever set off a non-metallic bomb in over 48 years (a dynamite bomb was used to bring down a plane in 1962 for insurance purposes – i.e suicide to collect the insurance). There is no huge risk. The real conclusion is that we live with risk every day. And, no, I won’t be screaming at the government to blame them if an airline passenger were to somehow set off a non-metallic bomb on a plane. There have been 2 attempts since 1997, they failed miserably. We go back to legal metal detectors only, we improve scanning of cargo (the biggest threat, and still a small risk), and go live our lives in freedom without assaulting terminally ill 95-year old cancer victims, our children, or the over 1.5 million Americans every month.

  9. Right now accepting unwanted touching is a condition of air travel. Accepting that some anonymous Peeping Tom can see a naked picture of you is a condition of air travel. Accepting gratuitous radiation exposure is a condition of travel. For what? In 2004-2005 the TSA admits a 70% detection rate failure. FAILURE. During that time there were 21.9 million domestic airline departures carrying over 1.5 BILLION passengers. So the question is: when did “probable cause” get replaced with “if the slightest possibility exists, no matter how improbable?” Is this really worth trillions of dollars? Is it worth more than spending a similar amount on other much more extensive causes of death… automobile travel, say… or how about heart disease?  I would just love for people in general to “get a grip.”  I would just love to inject a modicum of intelligence into the current insanity.  Just sayin’…   Freedom to Travel USA. We are US citizens committed to regaining civil rights being taken away from the TSA.  h t t p : / / fttusa . o r g

  10. None of the above.  And not the TSA either.  I don’t think of any of those people as heroes; all they’re doing is creating havoc and delaying those of us who have actual lives to lead.

    I also think people are getting ridiculously hysterical about the screening process.  Despite what the panic-mongers say, the TSA are NOT molesting/feeling us up/groping us and I wish people would stop using such descriptors.  They are NOT molesting us.  Quit taking out your ire on those agents who don’t have the authority to do anything but their jobs.

    Do I like the scanners and pat-downs?  No, I do not.  Not one bit.  I think the TSA has its head up its butt.  But I am tired of the hysteria.

    1. “The TSA is not molesting/feeling us up/groping”  What then do you call pushing on pubic bones, putting the palm of a hand on a woman’s breast pushing up and separating them, and putting their hands in between people’s buttocks?  I call that all of the above and it is sexual assault.  The screeners may be shielded from prosecution, but it does not change what they do.

    2. Oh REALLY?  Well, let me give you a first-hand account of what happened to me two weeks ago at LAX:  I have metal pins and rods in my spine, and so I set off the metal detector every time I fly.  Two weeks ago I got pulled aside for the “pat-down”.  A strange woman whom I’d never seen before proceeded to run her hands rapidly up my thighs, slamming the side of her hand into my labia and jamming her thumb up into my vagina. She then ran the back of her hand over my pubis, pressing in until I felt it on my clitoris.  She then did the same thing up the other leg, AGAIN jamming her thumb up my vagina.  I did not want this stranger touching my genitals, but I had no choice – or I would have had to miss my flight, costing me hundreds if not thousands of dollars.  That is DURESS.  I was forced to submit to a stranger touching my genitals under DURESS.

      Now, you look me in the face and tell me that I wasn’t sexually molested.  Go ahead, LLB – tell me.  I was there, it was MY genitals being touched.

      I and ONLY I should have the right to decide who touches my labia, vagina and pubis.  If that thug had done that to me in any other setting, I could have had her arrested for assault.

      How DARE you call me a panic-monger?  I am horrified at all the people who are accepting of this.  It’s sickening. Maybe you’re okay with allowing strangers to molest you for the right to make use of your legally-purchased plane ticket – I, and millions more, am NOT.

      1. I can highly recommend jeans and underpants – saves the poor TSA agent from actually having to touch your genitalia.

        1. So I take it you don’t consider it sexual assault to have your genitalia touched over your clothes?  So the next time I see you in the street, I can stop you and rub my hands over your vagina, as long as you’re wearing jeans, right?  And you won’t have me arrested?

          I am offended at your suggestion that I was not dressed appropriately. I am even MORE offended at your saying that the TSA agent has to touch my genitalia. They don’t…and there is no purpose served by doing so.

          Sick. Just sick. Typical ‘anything for false security’ sheeple drivel.

          1. You find it offensive that I point the hands of the TSA agent did not have direct physical contact with your genitalia, you object to being called a “panic-monger” – yet you engage in name-calling and hurl around haughty remarks in this and other replies. Double standards much?

          2. Dear Anna, I would like your home address, because I would like to show up at your place and rub my hands all over your body. Sure, you can keep your clothes on if you like; after all, then it won’t be ‘direct physical contact with your genitalia’, but we’ll see if you complain or not.

            But then, it’s not for you to decide what’s appropriate for LeeAnne, is it?

            And if your child is ‘excited’ by possibly being touched inappropriately by a TSA agent, then there’s something wrong with both you and your child.

          3. It’s also not for LeeAnne to decide what’s appropriate for me, is it?

            And why does me being unfazed by TSA patdowns in the airport bother you so much you want to come to my house and do what you consider acts of harassment to me?!? I suspect I’m not the only one there’s “something wrong with” here.

          4. If you’re fine with strangers rubbing your genitals with impunity, have at it.  I knew girls like that in highschool. 

            But your child is a different story.  Unlike you, I actually CARE about injustices happening to others, especially children – and I’m disturbed to learn that you willingly subject your child to pedophile-style grooming.

          5. I’d like you to clarify one point: How am I different from any other parent who takes their child flying – or specifically, who takes their child through the security area of an airport where the security agents are authorised to perform the patdowns etc.? Once my son sets off the metal detector or is selected for secondary screening, I have no authority to stop it?! 

          6. You are different because of your cavalier attitude about it…and even worse, for saying your child found it “exciting”.  You are different because you don’t seem to comprehend the horror of strangers in intimidating uniforms touching your child’s private parts, and consider it to be perfectly acceptable.  You are different because you allow it with no protest – in fact, you seem to allow it with relish, thinking (wrongly) that it is somehow good for you. You are different because you criticize those of us who openly protest this unconscionable treatment.

            You say you have no “authority” to stop it?  I disagree.  That is YOUR child – and you and ONLY you have the authority to decide who touches him.  Don’t want the TSA goons to touch him?  Don’t let them!  Certainly you don’t have to make a scene, be loud or out-of-control…just calmly refuse.  Simple as that.  Hold your child in your arms if you have to – any TSA goon who attempted to wrest your child out of your arms would be committing a felony, and I daresay there would likely be some rational people in the line behind you who would speak up at seeing something so horrific. 

            If you get prevented from boarding your flight, so be it – that’s the price our government is making us pay to defend ourselves from sexual assault at the hands of uneducated, ill-trained federal employees of this 6-billion-dollar-a-year tax-wasting boondoggle.

            Don’t allow yourself, or your child, to be victimized.  Grow a backbone, and protect your child.

            Just because so many other parents out there don’t protect their children, doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.  Do your job as a mother:  protect your child from sexual molestation and pedophile-style grooming.

          7. I realise “interesting” would have been a better choice of word, though I’m still surprised by the deliberate misinterpretations of “exiting” when attributed to a 4-year boy.

            The actions you mention may be an option in the US but in many other countries they are not. 

          8. We’re not talking about other countries.  Go back and read the original article – it’s about the TSA, which is in America.  If you want to talk about security procedures in other countries, you might want to find an article about that.  We’re talking about the TSA here.  Sorry if that’s confusing to you.

            We’re not deliberately misinterpreting you.  We are not using the term “exciting” in a sexual way…we understand what you are saying.  The bare fact is that you are allowing your child to think it’s okay for strangers to touch his privates.  Even if you feel you have no choice but to let the TSA goons molest your child (e.g. if you do not have the option of being prevented from boarding your flight), then the LEAST you should be doing, as a mother, is telling your child that it’s NOT okay, and that he should NEVER allow someone to do that unless you are there with him.  He needs to know that the people doing this to him are bad men, and what they are doing is wrong.  To allow him to feel this is exciting, interesting, or even fun, is doing him an enormous disservice.

            Stand up and protect your child.

          9. First, I believe freedom of thought is a constitutional right, no?

            Second, I find rules and regulations of TSA-equivalent agencies relevant to the “what’s the difference” question I asked before. Chris Elliott has just embarked on a trip to several European countries where he will not have a constitutional right to protect his children from potential patdowns or similar. By taking his children to these countries he has effectively allowed it. Are you also going to call CPS on him, or is it enough for him to say “it sucks, but I let them do it anyway”, should that be his opinion?

            Third, I have never felt violated by any patdown I’ve been subjected to and neither has my son. (But don’t get me started on that time he wanted to take his favourite toy car through the metal detector). In terms of level of invasion, I’d say a diaper change is by far more invasive than a patdown, yet daycare institutions do it all the time and I don’t hear people lobbying for a ban?!

          10. “Chris Elliott has just embarked on a trip to several European countries where he will not have a constitutional right to protect his children from potential patdowns or similar.”
            Foreign countries don’t do what the TSA is doing; they frisk, they don’t grope. (We are, in fact, the laughing stock of the world.)  Chris has nothing to fear from them.  He does, however, have his own government to fear.

            As for your comment on diaper changes in daycare settings, it’s so willfully off the wall it doesn’t merit a serious response.

          11. I have traveled all over the world, including some countries that take security pretty seriously.  I have NEVER had anyone even attempt to touch my genitalia except for American TSA goons.  Even when my mother’s metal hip set off the metal detector in Moscow last year, they did a RESPECTFUL AND DIGNIFIED pat-down on her that relied mostly on a hand-held metal detector that verified it was an internal part that set off the walk-through detector.

            The rest of the world is laughing at us as we allow uneducated, ill-trained, barely-employable losers to touch our private parts.

          12. Actually, that’s an interesting point.  Chris, how are you going to handle it?  Will you send the kids through the scanners or have them patted down? In my experience, the only mandatory scanners overseas have been on flights headed to the U.S., but I haven’t been outside of Europe since the pornoscanners were introduced.  Can other people report?

          13. If you are sexually active with your partner/spouse/whatever, would you care if a random stranger tried to have sexual intercourse with you? 

            The question is rhetoric; I presume you’d base your answer on consent vs. lack thereof.

            Back to the main point; our opinions on patdowns differ, therefore you’d like to harass me? Very totalitarian. 

          14.  I’d like to prove a point. But then, based on your other comments here, the point is going to be lost upon you, regardless.

          15. Anna, the fact that you consider it to be acceptable for strangers with no law-enforcement training or credentials to rub their hands all over my genitalia says all that needs to be said about you.  The fact that you consider it to be perfectly acceptable as long as I’m wearing clothes makes the point even more powerfully.

            The fact that you allow your child to get “excited” by strangers rubbing their hands on his genitals says all that needs to be said about your parenting.

            Apparently, as long as you and/or your child are wearing clothes and no direct skin-to-skin contact is made, you consider it perfectly fine to allow strangers to rub their hands on your, our your child’s, genitals.

            Offensive doesn’t begin to describe it.  Child protective services should be called at this point.

          16. That’s somewhere on the line of saying “Well, she was wearing tight jeans, so she deserved it” on a rape defense, isn’t it?

        2. Anna, that has to be the most revolting comment I have ever read on Chris’s site.  I want to go rinse my eyes out now that I have read it.  It’s one thing to have an intense, spirited discussion, but you are truly a disgusting individual, and it is sadly obvious now that we can’t have a civilized, adult conversation with you. 
          LeeAnne, I am about ready to barf over here on your behalf, and I don’t even know you…  Save your intelligent comments, don’t waste your time on this cretin.   

      2. LeeAnne, I am very sorry you had this horrifying experience and that you are offended.  Every pat-down I have had and witnessed has been very polite and gentle, and that is the experience I am speaking from.  The TSA agents in my experience have always politely warned me about they were going to do next (“Now I’m going to use the back of my hand to …..”) and did not jam anything anywhere.

        I did say that I do not agree with the TSA’s screening methods.  I stand by my opinion that those people Chris mentioned are not heroes to me.  But neither is the TSA.  If it makes you feel better to call me a sheeple, please feel free to continue to do so.  It does not change my stance that some people often make a great to-do about things we average citizens really cannot control.  ***I AM NOT SAYING THAT THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE DOING***

        Again, I am sorry you went through what you did at LAX and do not mean to minimize your experience.  I hope the TSA keeps stories like yours in mind if they decide to include workable and less invasive screening procedures to their ridiculous policies.  Of course, I am assuming you contacted them about this, but if you did not, I apologize for assuming.

        1. Just because you haven’t personally experienced it, or seen it happen, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening – every single day.  There are literally thousands of stories posted on line very much like mine – and FAR FAR worse.  Open your mind, do a little research, and learn the truth.  What happened to me is nothing compared to some of the horror stories out there – stories verified and often videotaped.  It would take you seconds to find dozens of them by doing a simple google search on TSA abuse.

          Yes I submitted a formal complaint – this time, and the last time, and the time before that…just like thousands upon thousands of other abused passengers.  It does nothing – if we get anything at all, it’s a canned response spouting the same BS they spout to the media.  But nothing changes.  People like me, with metal in our bodies, are groped EVERY TIME WE FLY.  Not randomly – EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Not every grope is offensive, but enough are that I am sick and tired of strange women touching my genitals.  And I will no longer remain silent about it.

          It is NOT OKAY for strangers to touch my genitals against my will. And there is just no way to dispute that.

          1. And if we institute profiling, as so many want to, a new class of people – those with dark skin, those with headscarves, those with “suspicious-sounding” names or places of origin – will get groped every time they fly. If there’s a better way to convince those people, especially the young ones, to BECOME terrorists, I don’t know what it would be.  All of us have inalienable human rights and targeting a small group of people just to take the heat off the rest of us isn’t the answer.  Remember the WWII Japanese internment camps?

          2. Brooklyn, exactly.  No surprise that many of the sheeple also want to institute crude, racist, and downright stupid ethnic and racial profiling.  Though notice that nobody’s calling for singling out blonde-haired, blue-eyed Christians since the Norwegian terrorist went on a rampage.  There’s suddenly a deafening silence from the Muslims-are-evil contingent.

          3. Lisa, that contingent still exists.

            Fox News is basically trying to blame Norway’s government, saying that they don’t take the threat of terrorism seriously enough. As if the only way to take it seriously is to play the fear and propaganda game, to somehow make Muslims to blame, even though the GREAT MAJORITY of the time, it is a local element like in Oslo.

            Somebody I know says that they’re first reaction in these situations is to always assume that it’s a Muslim. And even if they’re wrong in the next 100 similar situations, they outright admit that they won’t change their thinking. After all, Ft. Hood was a Muslim, therefore their thinking is correct. Yet, it’s outright abhorrent behavior.

        2. My problem is with your statement, “It does not change my stance that some people often make a great to-do about things we average citizens really cannot control. ” The average citizen does, in fact have the instruments to controlling this. Voting and peaceful protest. The point being made in this forum, I believe, is that the “sheeple” are forfeiting those instruments. By just meekly accepting these intrusions into your basic rights, you are giving up one of your most basic, the right to make a change. Of course, if you believe that your fourth amendment rights are not being violated by the TSA, you have every right  to do nothing.

      3. Not justifying the TSA’s actions at all, but if you really care so much about it, then maybe you shouldn’t fly at all. You seem to be okay enough with it to use your plane ticket anyways.
        And as for the ‘I need to fly because of ____’, no, you don’t really. There are millions of Americans who have never entered an airport much less an airplane and they seem fine. It’s just a matter of if you care enough to change your life in whatever way such that you don’t have to fly.

        1. Guess what, Sophie, thousands of us have stopped flying.  Though we have a right to fly — a right, as defined in legal jurisprudence and in the commerce clause of the Constitution — we have decided not to fly, and to starve the airlines of our money.  That’s what an economic boycott is.  If more people had the will to do this, we could bring the airlines to their knees.  The bus boycotts of the civil rights era did exactly that to the bus companies.

          I know that not everyone can do this.  Some people are forced to fly for work.  They are between a rock and a hard place, and I sympathize with them.  Many HR departments have had to change their policies to accommodate employees who don’t want to be sexually molested or otherwise assaulted as a requirement for doing their jobs.

          I told my employers that I will no longer fly.  I take l-o-n-g train trips — 11 hours each way — rather than a one-hour flight.  I’ve also given up travel abroad, which I love more than I can say.  I’ve been all over the world and feel damn lucky to have done so.  But no longer.  That’s a sacrifice for me.  A sacrifice that’s far less than what other people have had to do in their lives to fight injustice, but a sacrifice nonetheless.  One that I’m willing to make.

          When Uncle Sam is crawling up your butt (because A Terrorist might be hiding there!) not only at the airport but at other transportation hubs as well, which has already started to happen, then maybe you can feel even more secure and safe.  And maybe when he’s standing outside your door, cause you never know where those pesky terrorists might be, then you can be happy that you stood by all this time and cheered him on.

          1. Good for you. Then what’s with the drama and complaining if you have stopped flying?

            And even if thousands stop, millions more don’t care enough to. A few thousand not flying isn’t going to make a difference to the airlines or TSA, save slightly shorter lines at the airports.

          2. There’s that ethical spirit in action:  “It doesn’t affect me, therefore I don’t care that it affects millions of my fellow citizens!”

          3. But if the millions of fellow citizens don’t care, then you are just inconveniencing them. Also, unless you think you are superior to other travelers for whatever reason, they can think and make decisions for themselves about security screening.

          4. Once again, protest isn’t convenient.  Millions of people also didn’t care about black people during the civil rights movement.

            God forbid anyone be “inconvenienced.”

          5. Protest is alright. It’s just the constant b*tching and moaning and dramatization that makes it hard for people to take this sort of protest seriously.

          6. Because you are bitching and moaning?

            All of your stories and whatnot could easily have been told in half the space with just the facts rather than with exaggeration and drama.

          7. Thanks for proving my point — again.  

            I’ve cited statistical analysis, risk assessment, security expertise, logic, and other forms of empirical evidence at this blog more times than I can count.  If you want to call that “bitching and moaning,” have at it.

          8. Lisa, you can’t get through to people like Sophie and Anna.  They seize on a stance, and won’t let go even when faced with facts that prove their position is undeniably wrong. 

            As the saying goes…everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but they are not entitled to their own facts.  Some people simply can’t handle anyone disagreeing with them, so they will ignore facts and even make up their own so they don’t have to admit they were wrong.  It’s a character flaw that no amount of reasoning or rational debate will undo.

          9. Lisa, you can still travel abroad if you can get to JFK and are willing to fly through certain European airports; I do it quite frequently. Look at the site Chris mentioned last week; it will give you the terminals (currently 1 and 4, which covers a LOT of airlines) without the scanners. In Europe, Geneva and Paris are currently OK; Amsterdam is not.

        2. An alternate view to this would be, LeeAnne is willing to risk the small possibility of a terrorist attack on her plane in order to retain her basic fourth amendment rights. You are not. Perhaps it should be YOU who doesn’t fly.

          1. Hey, how about this – there should simply be TWO types of flights;

            A) security screened passengers only
            B) everybody else

            Don’t want the patdown? Fine, you just take the B-flight!

            Problem solved.

          2. Or how about this; Flight A provides reasonable security precautions based on good police work, **gasp** profiling **gasp **, or other reasonable security measures that are proven to work. Flight B provides over-reactive (reactive being the operative word, versus proactive) security measure that are designed to make you feel good and enrich some corporation’s bottom line, but have no basis in real security or police work.

            I’ll take Flight A.

          3. How about a compromise?

            A) Business as usual
            B) Whatever procedure you find reasonable

            Enjoy your flight!

          4. Hmm.

            A) Currently occurring terrorism by our own government
            B) Unlikely to occur terrorism by outside groups

            Well, we know which you prefer.

          5. Given the choice, I’d take B. But there are alternatives – we had them before 9/11.  With the cockpit doors reinforced, the pre-9/11 procedures are more than adequate, particularly as the new enhanced scanners haven’t stopped a single terrorist and are harming out health.

        3. Sophie – tell me how to attend my father’s funeral, in Hawaii, without flying?  If you can tell me how to do that, then I will concede that I don’t need to fly.

          Or is it your contention I should just skip it?

          Tell me how my elderly, disabled mother can visit her grandchildren on the other side of the country?  She can’t drive, and my brother can’t afford plane tickets for all of his kids.  So the only way for her to see them is for her to fly.

          Or is it your contention that she should just not bother to ever see her grandkids again?

          Tell me how I can keep my job, when it has a requirement that I travel back East at least once every few weeks?

          Or is it your contention that I should just…quit, and go on unemployment, since jobs in my industry generally require frequent travel?

          Tell me why we should allow our government to terrorize us into having to miss crucial events or lose our incomes if we want to avoid being sexually molested by strangers?

          1. And how long does a boat to Hawaii take?  And how often do they go?  There IS no “boat to Hawaii”.  Show me a schedule of a boat to Hawaii that would leave when I need it to leave, and get me there within a couple days’ time so that I wouldn’t miss the funeral.

            For you to even suggest that is heartless, illogical and insensitive.

        4. To those who support the TSA. Please, take a car. I do not want to share a plane with cowards. You have the right to free travel. Go anywhere you wish. You do not have the right to interfere with my constitutional liberty/privacy. You actually don’t have any “right” to fly without risk to your life but I do have a (legally-protected) right to not have my groin groped or viewed without permission. The TSA isn’t due any credit for stopping planes being hijacked. There is more chance of you killing, or being killed by someone by driving your car, so if you are also willing to accept the government preventing you driving your car, your arguments might have some validity. Alternatively, you can accept that there are always risks in life, and while we can do what we can to prevent many of them, we cannot prevent them all and no risks are worth sacrificing liberty and the personal privacy/dignity that these TSA policies take away. If you do not want to get on a plane where people have not been groped or had their body scanned with radiation and had naked images of themselves viewed by strangers, please find other transportation. It is not your right to fly to your destination while insisting other people’s dignity and fundamental human rights are taken away.

          No one is forcing you on that plane; however, I suggest you get over your fear. Nothing is ever totally safe and without risk but some things are worth taking risks and preserving liberty is the most noble risk of all.

    3. “all they’re doing is creating havoc and delaying those of us who have actual lives to lead.”

      Yes, by all means, “don’t inconvenience me!”

      Get to the back of the bus, Rosa.  I have more important things to do than put up with your nonsense.

      1. Okay, so how does freaking out on security people change the fact that you still have to be screened before being allowed on a plane?  I absolutely agree that the pat-downs and imaging machines are intrusive and unpleasant.  But do you really think that making a scene and possibly backing up hundreds of other travelers is going to endear you to the TSA? 

        1. Do you really think I give a hoot about endearing myself to the TSA?  Do you think they care about endearing themselves to YOU?  That’s a laugh.

          Do you really think I should allow myself to be sexually molested to avoid inconveniencing someone?  Yeah…okay…the next time a rapist wants to drag me into the bushes and assault me, I’ll be sure not to inconvenience anyone by yelling for help.  :::rolling eyes:::

          I consider what the TSA is doing to me, to be no different than a rapist trying to pull me into the bushes.  They are touching my private parts without my consent.  If I need to make a scene to get them to stop doing it, I will.  Sorry if you find my defending myself against sexual molestation to be inconvenient, but guess what:  I don’t care.  My body belongs to me, and I will do whatever I have to do to defend my right to choose who touches my genitals.

          1. Considering that everyone else at the airport goes through the same thing that you do (with less drama of course), then yes, making a scene is inappropriate and isn’t going to change anything.

          2. When we allow the TSA to molest one of us we are giving them permission to molest ALL of us. 

          3. What it will change is, I won’t have to have my vagina, labia and pubis touched by a stranger.  When I objected two weeks ago, eventually a supervisor arrived who had a modicum of decency and rationality, and he assigned another screener to screen me.  This one managed to do it without jamming her thumb into my vagina, and I passed through screening and boarded my plane.  Of course I had to go through an hour of physical and verbal abuse and threats of not being allowed to board my plane, but I stood my ground and eventually was able to pass through the screening without consenting to sexual molestation.

            I don’t care who was “inconvenienced” by my standing my ground.  It’s MY body, and I get to choose who touches my genitals.  The idea of allowing myself to be sexually molested to avoid “inconveniencing” others is so absurd as to be laughable.

        2. Seconding LeeAnne.  I don’t care about “endearing” myself to the TSA or anyone else in this matter.

          Protesting injustice isn’t about convenience.  It isn’t about endearing oneself.  It’s about change.

  11. While I applaud this article for bringing the heroes to light, I wish you’d included Nadine Hays, the grandmother who was arrested for attempting to bring applesauce and string cheese onboard for her elderly Alzheimer’s afflicted mother.  The TSA had her prosecuted – and she prevailed, and the charges were dropped! 

    Nadine was one of the first known fight-the-TSA heroes, well before John Tyner and enhanced pat-downs.  All she wanted to do was to bring medically-necessary foods, which are ALLOWED by TSA’s own posted rules, onboard a flight she was taking with her 93-yr-old mother…and a brutish TSA thug tried to yank the small cooler out of her hands.  When Nadine wouldn’t let go, they had her arrested and charged with assault.  Fortunately she fought back, and all charges were dropped.

    Here’s a link to a brief article about her case:  http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-ventura-woman-beats-tsa,0,346508.story

    She is MY #1 fight-the-TSA hero, and had she been included in this list I would have voted for her.

  12. I’m really for sensible screening.  That does not involve using potentially harmful machines or patting me down like a suspect.  It involves intelligence and watchfulness, which is not our current system.  Just look recently at the man who boarded a flight without a boarding pass in his name.    

    1. Thank you Phil for coming on here and setting the record straight.  I was about to jump in and post a correction on this – that you were in fact ACQUITTED, not just had the charges dropped. 

      I voted for you.  I consider you and Nadine Hayes to be the top two fight-the-TSA heroes.  Unfortunately, Chris didn’t include Nadine on this list.

      Keep up the good fight!

  13. Re: ” Police CAN’T strip search you or fondle your genitals unless you are under arrest …” Some resistors have been arrested. The charges might have been subsequently dismissed, but still, officials might have a green light between the arrest and the dismissal.

  14. If the porn-o-scopes are essential (doubtful), there are other non-ionizing radiation techniques to obtain these images. X-ray based porn-o-scopes do not pass muster. This country and others banned freon because it was destroying the ozone which could lead to increased UV exposure and lead to increased skin cancer, in the population. Now, they propose to use x-rays to the skin as a condition for passage on an airplane?

  15. “someone who observers have said, knows her place in society and ought to respect authority”

    Ummm… what?  She “knows her place” and “ought to respect authority”?  Why?  Because she’s a woman?  Because she’s old?  Because she’s Japanese?  I want to know which “observers” said those things!

    1. The “observer” was one of the frequent posters on all things TSA.  I, too, object to the blatant stereotyping. 

    2. Since I know Chris and since he’s in transit and perhaps hasn’t had a chance to see this comment yet, I’ll chime in.  His choice of words may not have been the best.  What I said about Yukari Miyamae (which I’m guessing is what “Guestname” is referring to below) was, quote:  

      Do you know how far you have to push a culturally conformist person like a Japanese woman to fight back like this??  The Japanese are raised to bow to authority; it’s a cultural imperative.  Think about that for a minute.  This woman was abused beyond endurance.  And she has more guts than most Americans, who love to brag about “freedom” and “democracy” and “independence.”

      That isn’t “stereotyping.”  It’s acknowledging cultural differences.

      1. Ms. Miyamae is referred to in the news reports as a “Colorado woman”.  Not as a Japanese woman.  You’re the one making assumptions about culture.  That’s stereotyping.

        1. Perhaps Ms. Miyamae has always been an outspoken, in-your-face kinda gal. Perhaps she follows the more traditional “stereotype” of a middle-aged Japanese woman; reserved and non-confrontational. There was no malice is Chris’s depiction of her as the latter. People are different, and one of the biggest factors of those differences are cultural and ethnic backgrounds. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing them; nowhere does Chris imply that the traditional Japanese stereotype is “bad”; he’s just using it to point out that for Ms. Miyamae to reach her boiling point – if she fits the “stereotype” – must have taken quite a bit of frustration with the process. There’s nothing wrong with the recognition of cultural differences.

  16. I applaud people who stand up for their rights.  I fly many times per year, mostly internationally.  Up until last month, I was never selected for additional screening, but somehow on a short domestic flight, I was.  At Oakland airport, while with my wife and child, I was selected for the scanner, which I refused due to my personal history with cancer.  I opted for the patdown and while the TSA agent was very careful to have my wife stand where she could see what was happening and was careful to tell me exactly what he was going to do before he did it, I have never felt so violated in my life.  I don’t blame the agent–he did his best with what he was required to do.  However, I did not appreciate being put in a position where I felt forced to have someone’s hands on my genitals.  I didn’t want to make a stink about it there, because I was with my wife and son and had places to go and things to do, but I couldn’t help but feel that my most basic rights were violated.  After reading some of the comments here, I will say that I do not feel that the TSA, individual TSA agents, or the powers that be are TRYING to molest me, but I will say that the procedures they have been asked to follow are NOT respectful of our rights as human beings, in my opinion.  I say this as a doctoral-level clinical psychologist who works in the human rights arena around the world (hence all the travel).  Personally, I take my family with me whenever I travel (wife and infant son), and I will not allow my son to be screened in that way.  In my professional opinion as a trained mental health specialist, it is not appropriate to screen people in this way, and especially not children. 

    I appreciate Don Nadeau’s perspective, but the procedures that individual’s follow to drive do not violate human rights, nor are they even in any sort of gray area.  You have to take a test to prove that you can drive, that’s it.  We have, as a society, determined that driving is privilege, not a right, because of the fact that if you drive while not possessing a certain skill level, you pose serious threat to others.  However, flying, as it is currently, is not a privilege.  It’s a right (unless one’s a criminal of some sort, then pretty much most rights are taken away from that person) to those who buy a ticket.  Therefore, the analogy that you supplied is flawed.

    1. You aren’t flying because the airlines are charging more even though you aren’t paying more for your tickets?

      1. I’m not flying in part because I’m sick and tired of the airlines telling us to grab our ankles. And moves like this just reinforce this.

        It’s yet another naked grab for money because they think nobody will notice. And it should not be tolerated.

        When the taxes go away, the overall price of a ticket should go down. People ARE paying more for a ticket with the airlines doing this.

  17. Yukari Miyamae raised her arm/hand to tell the TSO to stop and the TSO ran into her hand.  Of course, I’m sure the security camera tape is now conveniently lost…Some day, someone is going to really snap at the airport.The terrorists don’t need to do anything and they are laughing.  Our own government is terrorizing us.  Welcome to the new Amerika!!! 

  18. “I opted for the patdown and while the TSA agent was very careful to have my wife stand where she could see what was happening and was careful to tell me exactly what he was going to do before he did it, I have never felt so violated in my life.”

    I am so very pleased that a psychologist made this comment.  We read so often that individuals come away from a rub down – it’s not a pat down – feeling dirty, like they need to take a shower, in tears, nauseous, shaking – any number of bad feelings that are normal reactions to being molested.  Even if they don’t have a physical reaction, they can have psychological/emotional reactions long after undergoing such a debasing experience.

    Take a look at the reaction of this woman to being screened, AFTER she went through WBI:


    She will suffer for a long time as a result of what she endured.

    The TSA is out of control but sadly I don’t believe that any court will rein it in.  Only Congress can do that and they are such a bunch of incompetent nincompoops only seeking re-election that I don’t have much hope there either.

    Perhaps widespread civil disobedience is the way to get Congree to wake up and take notice. 

    1. TSA agents think they’re kings of their own little fiefdom of airport security.

      They all need to be put in their place.

    1. One more convert.  One grope at a time people will come to understand that the TSA is abusing people at its checkpoint.

  19. Have been reading the comments with great interest.

    Am wondering why, if the scans and enhanced patdowns are truly not necessary, President Obama has not eliminated them? The executive branch controls the day-to-day operations of Homeland Security and the TSA, within legal limits. There is no need to wait for Congress or a court order. 

    It seems to me that when you want to achieve a change in an institution, you should go to those who have the true power to decide at least in the short term. In this case, that is not Homeland Security. That is not the TSA.

    Regarding such an important and topical issue, that is the President, and he, by his lack of action, apparently believes the current procedures are needed.

    1. Because he’s just as beholden to corporate interests as Bush was before him.  And as the vast majority of Congress is. 

      There’s money to be made in fear-mongering.  And the so-called security industry is making lots of it.

    2. Lisa is right. Obama has been a complete coward in this regard.

      He will do nothing about this because he doesn’t want an act of terrorism occurring on his watch, regardless of consequence to our freedoms and rights.

      It’s downright shameful.

  20. Hmmm . . . could there be sockpuppetry going on at this blog?  Why is it that a comment by “EducationRulz” shows up as a comment by “Anna” and vice-versa?  Ditto with comments by “Richard” and “SophieR”?

  21. So, even non-TSA employees are perpetrating abuse.  Gee, what a surprise.  Couldn’t see that coming!  But what the hell.  As long as no one else was “inconvenienced.”

    Malinda Knowles, 27, claims … that a JetBlue supervisor put a walkie-talkie between her legs to see what she had on under her baggy T-shirt. “He said, ‘I don’t want to see your panties or anything but do you have any on?'” Knowles recalled yesterday. “I didn’t want to show him anything. He wanted me to basically show him my crotch. I was completely humiliated. It was vulgar. It was macho. It was rude.” She said fellow passengers on the July 13, 2010, flight to West Palm Beach watched in horror as she was confronted . . . She was taken to a hangar, where she lifted up her T-shirt to prove she met the dress code. “‘Oh, she’s wearing shorts,'” the JetBlue fashion police responded, according to Knowles.


  22. Being a passenger on a plane is neither a right nor a privilege.  It is the result of a business transaction.  I pay for a ticket, I get to ride on the sardine can.  Security is okay but not at the level the TSA has taken.  For the record, I no longer fly because I am tired of being treated like a criminal. Take off your shoes, take off your jacket, empty your pockets, you have been randomly selected for an intrusive pat-down, we are going to do a full body scan.  You better not make a fuss because we will arrest you or make you miss your flight or put you on the do not fly list, and on and on.

    1. Dutch wrote, “Being a passenger on a plane is neither a right nor a privilege.  It is the result of a business transaction.  I pay for a ticket, I get to ride on the sardine can.”

      There’s a bit more to it than that.  Commercial airlines operate as common carriers, so as long as you pay the fare and obey their general rules, they cannot refuse service to you.

      Additionally, you have a right to use of the air for travel.

      The “public right of freedom of transit” by air is guaranteed by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, and the TSA is required by Federal law (49 USC § 40101) to consider this right when it issues regulations. Freedom of movement is required in order for us to exercise our right to assemble, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment. Freedom of movement is also guaranteed by Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a human rights treaty signed and ratified by the United States.Quoting United States Code TITLE 49—TRANSPORTATION > SUBTITLE VII—AVIATION PROGRAMS > PART A—AIR COMMERCE AND SAFETY > subpart i—general > CHAPTER 401—GENERAL PROVISIONS > § 40101. Policy:

      (c) General Safety Considerations. — In carrying out subpart III of this part and those provisions of subpart IV applicable in carrying out subpart III, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall consider the following matters:(1) the requirements of national defense and commercial and general aviation.(2) the public right of freedom of transit through the navigable airspace.

  23. Make big bucks by writing propaganda! Abuse your fellow citizens with impunity! You’ll have so much fun! Employment security! Your job will never be cut!

    Job Title:  Writer/Editor
    Department:  Department of Homeland Security
    Agency:  National Protection and Programs Directorate
    Job Announcement Number:  FS-505757-SW11
    Salary Range:  $62,467 – $97,333/yr


    (H/T to Jennifer Abel)

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