Man at San Diego airport opts out of porno scanner and grope, told he'll be fined $10K unless he submits to fondling

Johnnyedge checked the TSA's website and learned that the San Diego airport had not yet implemented its porno-scanners, so he went down to catch his flight. When he arrived, he discovered that the TSA's website was out of date, and the naked scanners were in place. He opted out of showing his penis to the government, so they told him he'd have to submit to an intimate testicle fondling. He told the screener, "if you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested." After faffing around with various supervisors and supervisors' supervisors, he opted not to fly, collected a refund from the American Airlines counter, and started to leave the airport. But before he could go, the supervisor's supervisor's supervisor told him he wasn't allowed to leave the checkpoint once he entered it, that he was already in for up to $10,000 in fines, and that he would have to return and allow the man's minons to palpate his genitals before he'd be allowed to leave the airport. After he objected, he was left cooling his heels for a long time. Finally, he asked if he was under arrest, and being told that he wasn't, but that he would be sued for $10K if he tried to go, he said, "you bring that suit" and left. Most of the incident was recorded on his phone, and has been posted to YouTube.

TSA encounter at SAN


      1. “CuttingOgres in reply to TechnoBach

        Please explain how that was wiretapping.”

        In a rational world, it wouldn’t. However, police in a number of states have tried to prosecute citizens who used cameras to record public police actions under state wiretapping laws as unlawful interception or recording of communications without consent of all parties. There have been a number of successful prosecutions. Here is one incident out of many:

        It is a crazy abuse of the law, but cops and prosecutes are, for the most part, getting away with it.

        1. Skep wrote:

          In a rational world, [this wouldn’t be considered wiretapping]. However, police in a number of states have tried to prosecute citizens who used cameras to record public police actions under state wiretapping laws as unlawful interception or recording of communications without consent of all parties. There have been a number of successful prosecutions.

          Agreed, recording with a handheld, visible device is very different from wiretapping (the latter having much greater potential to be surreptitious), so I think calling the former “wiretapping” and treating it the same way is idiotic.

          Each state has different laws pertaining to what constitutes legal and illegal recording. The example you point out in Massachusetts is governed by the laws there which state that the consent of both parties is required. Other states — e.g. Texas — require only the consent and knowledge of one party. The different laws can be browsed by state here:

      2. And @hungryjoe
        It was sarcasm, but they authorities do have a habit of saying any recording of them is wiretapping

      3. San Diego is in California. I believe that recording a conservation in California without all parties knowing about it is a felony. Having said that, I’m glad he did it. And this situation has gone too far. In our legal system you are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. This is all theater anyway. Nothing that is done at these security checkpoints makes flying any safer. Ask security experts.

        Benjamin Franklin famously said: “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

    1. Federal law applies. One-party consent. Plus, representatives of the Federal Government knew the cellphone was present. No case.

    2. You may be right. It depends on whether the court sees an airport as a public place.

      “California’s wiretapping law is a “two-party consent” law. California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation.”

      This to me says that in a PRIVATE or CONFIDENTIAL communication, it is illegal. However, considering they’re at an airport, I’d assume that that’s a public place simply because of the amount of people around.

    3. I actually think there maybe an exception in this case. The TSA acting as law enforcement are public servants, in the process of a public act. I think you are free to record things like that. But…I maybe mistaken.

  1. inb4 He didn’t have to be such a dick, they’re only doing their job!

    I am really interested in why he thinks he’s going to avoid those fines. (Although I sure hope he does.)

    1. I’m a US trooper. Would you buy the excuse “I’m just doing my job” if I try to pull a recreation of My Lai?

    2. pixelmatch: “only doing job or following orders..” does not work. The US conducted the trials in Nuremburg after WW2 and established that those are not legitimate reasons for a defense nor do they excuse criminal activity in the name of the state. We sent many a Nazi ( hmmmm TSA / Gestapo whats the diff??) to jail because they “followed orders”. Nuremburg established an order has to be a “legal” order. Legal orders in the US are ones that DO NOT violsate the US Constitution. Refer to the 4th and keep in mind breathing does NOT constitute probable cause.

  2. “You forgot to add the fine for “wiretapping” the conversation”

    Yeah, they just might go after him for that. It would be ironic if they do, ironic that they may consider the performance of their duty in public to be subject to a presumption of privacy but that members of the public can have no reasonable expectation not to have their genitals touched by agents of the government without probable cause. I like how one of the TSA agents calls touching people’s genitals without probable cause an “administrative search,” making it sound like some sort of innocent paper work rather than an invasive search of people’s most private areas without cause.

  3. As a person who neither wants to go through the porn machine or have my junk fondled when I fly, my question is this:

    What can the average citizen do to actually change these procedures? I’m guessing that actual change involves Congress passing new legislation. Or maybe a few airlines facing bankruptcy.

    1. You want to know what will change the policy? How about ten people like this guy walking out of EVERY flight in protest just like he did?

      I can assure you that if the airline profits are put in jeopardy, the situation will change IMMEDIATELY.


    2. This TSA sexual assault violations need to be stopped now, otherwise their next step will be cavity searches of everyone. The US has become a Fascist country…we need to stop that, too!

      As for stopping what is going on at airports…it is easy. Stop flying. When you stop flying, the revenue for the airlines, parking fees at the airport, revenue for the shops in the terminals will suddenly come to a halt. Guess what? They won’t need those TSA agents anymore. As long as you allow yourself to submit to these fascist practices, they will go on.

      WE THE PEOPLE have the power to stop this…just do it!

    1. My thoughts exactly …

      I wonder if I would get fined for making ‘sounds of pleasure’ while they are groping me …

      or saying ‘you did not find it yet … do it again … dig deeper’ :D

    2. Would it be too much to ask for a happy ending?

      I think aldasin solved the problem for us. We need to turn the table on the redneck jerks who work for the TSA…. Comments such as “..I cant wait to finish this off in the bathroom after you’re done” should do the trick.

      1. “I think aldasin solved the problem for us. We need to turn the table on the redneck jerks who work for the TSA…. Comments such as “..I cant wait to finish this off in the bathroom after you’re done” should do the trick.”

        And when you’re onanistically making fun of the TSA grunts, the TSA administration continues to encroach on our privacy and dignity. Seriously, what on earth would this constructively do? What do you expect to happen?

  4. Why not go the extreme other way with this? the next time they want you to walk through the scanner, strip completely naked in the middle of the airport.

    1. You know, there must be enough overlap between the civil rights community and the naturist community to organise for a flashmob to queue up for the scanner and then all strip naked.

  5. Oh. He had to be a dick. I think everyone who has to go through the TSA checkpoints should be less than friendly.

  6. You guys are going about this the wrong way. The first time I am directed to undergo this form of screening here is how it will go (I’m gay)…

    Wear a kilt.

    “Him, the cute guy, I want him to do it, he’s hot, nice big hands”.

    “So, while you perform your job, let’s get acquainted. Are you married”?

    “You know, I go shopping for suits just so I can get my inseam measured”.

    “Can we exchange numbers”?

    “You did a GREAT job”!

    “Can you recommend any local gay bars”?

    The goal is to make the screeners so uncomfortable they will refuse to do it. Instead of rubbing, hit them where it hurts.

    All fun aside, this search is illegal because it can’t be applied to everyone: what about women in skirts? There has to be a list of situations where a grope is completely out of the question. Find one and post it.

    1. I think that reaching up skirts isn’t completely inappropriate to the TSA…

      From :

      “Ms Anon, on November 10, 2010 at 4:20 pm said:

      I was pulled aside for a pat down in Phx’s Sky Harbour Airport in October. They pulled me aside because I was wearing an ankle-length skirt. The agent told me that the TSA cannot specifially tell people what they can and cannot wear, but they will do pat downs on every person wearing ankle-length skirts on planes. The female agent told me I had two choices: I could go to a room and strip NAKED in front of a TSA officer, or they could pat me down in full view of the other passengers. She said the pat down would require her to touch my genitals. Well, gosh – be groped in public or naked alone in front of a stanger? Such options. When I said neither option was great, she said I wouldnt be escorted from the airport if I didnt comply. Duress much? I have to give you my full name, my birthdate, my gender and now I HAVE to let you humiliate me in public (or oogle my naked body in provate)?? Wow. This cant be the only way.”

      So either you let them reach up your skirt in public, or you get naked for them in private…

      A whole new pervert section of the populace will now bombard the TSA with employment requests.

      1. wow cake, thanks for the link. I think I’ll still wear a kilt with a bow tied around my unit; pop goes the weasel!

        1. YarbroughFair, there’s a folk song about that involving a drunk Scotsman and a blue ribbon; the last line is:

          “Weel, I don’t know where you been, me lad, but I see you won first prize!”

  7. “Pixelmatsch

    inb4 He didn’t have to be such a dick, they’re only doing their job!”

    If their job is unconscionable is that his fault? No. It isn’t the duty of a citizen to just roll over just because somebody can claim they are “just doing their job.” Mobsters can use that same excuse, so can CIA torturers, and so on.

    Refusing to let government agents to touch your genitals without cause does not equal being a jerk, though I’m sure the government would like everyone to think so.

    1. Skep and Noodlehead, would you kindly read
      please? We might have a slight misunderstanding here. And thanks for the laugh. :)

      Boy am I glad we don’t have that crap in Germany… We haven’t won yet, but we’re still fighting the introduction of fondling and checkpoint porn. After reading the guy’s blog I can really understand his actions in this particular incident.

      1. Ah, you are to hip for me. I put such “in before” comments in the same category as “First!!”. But thanks for the explanation of the abreviation.

  8. No, they aren’t “just doing their jobs” (and you know who else used that defense?).

    They were making up stuff. That’s beyond just following orders and well into “actively destroying western civilization”.

  9. “By buying a ticket you gave up a lot of your rights”

    Did I really just hear that?

    God I’m sick of this…

  10. The goal of terrorists is to terrorize. They cannot win, they cannot overcome a superpower by force of arms. They can only win by creating panic among the populace and driving governments to undertake ridiculous measures that stifle freedoms.

    So, the terrorists are winning aren’t they?

  11. nice dystopia cinematic touch: female voice recording on SECURITY ringing out at regular intervals over the unfolding drama.

  12. What I can’t help but wonder is, who’s buddies/family members/business cohorts are profiting from this? Since we’re all grownups and know that’s how gubmints and corporations work (nepotism), there just HAS to be a reason for this overkill. Honest-to-goodness concern by officials for public safety is a myth unless theres money to be made in it somehow.

    I’m sure the manufacturer(s) of the porn machines and other screening equipment would be the obvious primary benefactor, but there has to be more.

    1. Wow. Right after he tells the TSA agent not to touch his junk, the automated announcement over the PA system says, “Security is everyone’s responsibility….” Timing couldn’t be better.

      I just opted out of the porno scanners at my airport and was subject to the security groping. It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be: the TSA agent told me exactly what he was doing every step of the way, and touched everywhere but genitals and butt crack. So technically I could have had a “foreign object” between my butt cheeks and he never would have found it.

      The irony here is that instead of asking me to go through the regular metal detector they WALKED ME AROUND IT and straight through to the other side where they did the groping–no electronic testing whatsoever!

      @burlives: Re. the 4th Amendment: the problem with the groping isn’t the “search”, but rather the “seizure!”

    2. Is anyone selling boxer shorts with the 4th amendment printed on them?

      Yes, although oddly enough only “I consent” is available on boxers. I do not consent is available on just about everything else though.

  13. Well, I guess I’ll be the one liberal to stand up and say that I don’t this guy’s situation is as righteous as he thinks it is.

    How is a pat-down that doesn’t include the whole body part of a thorough security procedure? It’s not. So obviously, to be thorough, a pat-down has to involve the fiddly bits. When a cop frisks somebody during an arrest, do they avoid touching the crotch? I’ve never had that experience, but something tells me they don’t.

    On every other point he’s right and they’re wrong, but I just don’t see that it’s reasonable to expect an intentionally incomplete security procedure for emotional/psychological reasons. Flame away.

    1. The Life Of Bryan: so you’re saying that if I were a cop, I can go about feeling up every single person I pass by on the street, even if they aren’t suspected of a crime? EXCELLENT! Where do I sign up for this?

    2. Bryan, glad to finally see someone point out the flaw in arguing against the new pat downs. The people screaming about them are probably the same people who for eight years have been criticizing the TSA as “security theater.”

      1. “Shivv”, nice to see your first post is a response to a clearly provocative post by “The life of Bryan”. Sockpuppet much?

        1. SRSLY? Look at my posting history; does it look like I take this seriously enough to create sockpuppet accounts? This ain’t slashdot.

          1. Odd distinction since you seem to be accusing me of being him. (Or is it the other way around? I never know.)

          2. If you weren’t him, why are you spending so much time defending yourself?
            You haven’t done anything, right? so why are you worrying?

            If you worry it’s because you’ve something to hide. Here, let me pat you down… oh, you refuse? Cavity search it is, then…

            (See how these people think? It’s easy, and it never ends.)

          3. You’re trolling me, right? Do you normally wander around accusing strangers of shoddy, dishonest behavior, and then try to convince yourself that if they point out (in a rather polite way) that you’re a loon, it somehow proves you right?

            I submit that you are either a troll or an idiot. But I admit that I could be mistaken; you may be both of these things. And by your own “logic,” if you deny such an thing, it must be true. Or something.

            Good day, sir.

      2. The reason it’s labeled “security theater” isn’t just because of how ineffective it is, but because the whole idea of a threat in the first place is imagined. It’s playing into people’s fears, convincing them they’re in danger, and they’re saving you from it.

        In reality, there are countless other targets that terrorists could strike. They could do more damage in a large subway system, yet you don’t have pornoscans at turnstiles. Bridges would be great targets, but you don’t need to strip naked to cross a bridge. The unibomber and the anthrax scare were committed in post offices, yet you don’t have to have your crotch fondled in public to mail a letter. The OK City bombing was caused by letting a truck park within a block of a government building, why don’t we search everyone that comes within a 2 block radius of any building?

        It’s called security theater because it actually protects no one from anything. The government can’t save you from the boogyman, but if they convince you they are, they can take whatever rights they want from you. You have a higher chance of getting struck by lightning on a sunny day than you do of being victim of a terrorist attack. Why not protect people from car crashes instead? Something that’s hundreds of millions of times more likely to happen to you? Why not spend millions of dollars and cripple your travel infrastructure to save people from slipping in the shower and breaking their necks? That happens thousands of times each day, whereas terrorist attacks happen once a decade.

    3. Once upon a time, we generally considered it more important for my junk to be sovereign than to do a “thorough security procedure.” Plus, yanno, it isn’t really thorough without the cavity search. How many more escalations until we get to there?

    4. “How is a pat-down that doesn’t include the whole body part of a thorough security procedure? It’s not.”

      So, you’re advocating cavity searches?

      1. So, you’re advocating cavity searches?

        Why not? Isn’t that the obvious next step?

        [ I’m being serious ]

    5. Except police pat downs require reasonable suspicion and are usually performed on someone as they are being arrested or are under arrest. TSA pat downs fall under the “unreasonable search and seizure” side as there is generally no reasonable suspicion present and the people are NOT under arrest or being arrested. It is the equivalent of patting someone down because they are walking on the sidewalk at 5 P.M., rather than because you see the selling drugs are waving a gun around.

      1. If we continue to accept the government slowly chipping away at our liberty, we will wake up one day in a fascist state.

    6. Well, if you want a really *complete* search, even cavity searches won’t cut it… You’ll need to check the potential terrorist’s whole digestive tract, and of course in case of bioweapons, a “suicide cougher” could be infected with dome awful engineered disease designed to spread across the nation (or world) so a complete lab workup and six weeks of observation minimum for random fliers is reasonable. Oh, and there maybe be bombs implanted in other body cavities, so… He’ll, maybe what’s reasonable is to just autopsy everyone before they fly?

      Whatever it takes to preserve freedom, people!

      1. You can do a full body CT scan or an MRI on every passenger, but it’s still going to be a bored mall cop interpreting the results. That’s what makes it theater. I’m not a security expert, but I play one on TV.

    7. I’ve been arrested (for a violent crime even). My genitals were never touched during the frisk.

      The last paragraph of your post is particularly disturbing. You seem to be suggesting that rape and torture are OK as long as there’s no physical damage done, because psychological and emotional damage are OK right? I guess kidnapping is also OK as long as no one gets hurt and the victim is eventually released without ransom (kinda like what the TSA does to a lot of people now). Let’s take it even further– you can threaten to blow stuff up… as long as you don’t actually do it right? Cause it’s just wussies who have emotional and psychological responses that would be affected right?

    8. Yeah.. but you know, there is a difference between a cop with a suspect that is under arrest and civilians. Also what does this accomplish? That “underwear bomber” sure was convenient. Here is my question.. if you are going to take a bomb on a plane then obviously you intend to die on that plane.. so why not just hide it in a cavity.

      If the TSA says we are going to search your ass what would you say? Why is that different if it’s for safety? Because YOU think that a finger in your ass is more invasive than someone grabbing your testicles? What makes that so? It has to stop somewhere and it shouldn’t have gotten to this point. It doesn’t do anything accept take away our rights and numb us to coming security measures. We are just being weaned into this kind of government controlled world. It should be stopped, nothing good will come of it.

      You would think they would be blowing up every instance of TSA finding something in someones underwear that wasn’t balls, but they aren’t because they haven’t.

  14. I used to love the whole “flying” experience, now I dread it — the “authorities” implemented these horrible things where I live (Manchester, UK), and went one step further than the yankees: there is no pat-down alternative, you either get scanned or can’t fly.

    Now I always stick to trains whenever possible.

  15. Next time I go though security, I am going to go for the groin fondle, but say something like the following.

    “Just a warning man, but I before you pat down my groin I think I should tell you that I’m gay, and have a hair trigger. So if you feel an erection a little of the wet n’ sticky, don’t be alarmed. Its not a problem if I ejaculate more than 2 oz. of fluid, is it?”

  16. Seriously, the best way to deal with this is for everyone to refuse to go through the scanners, force the TSA agent to cop a feel, and mercilessly ridicule them the whole time.

    Make really loud sex noises while they are doing it and say that you just added them to the spank bank.

    Tell them that your favorite part of flying is the free handjobs.

    Once they’re finished say: “Word to ya mama!”

    Or: “Double or nothing on the anus!”

    Etc, etc.

  17. The TSA might try to go after him for wiretapping, but I think there are enough pro bono defenders ready to tear the TSA a new appendix that I don’t think the gavel will come down on him for that except under a plea bargain (worst case scenario).

  18. Sadly, I do expect them to go after him for wiretapping. CA is a two-party state for “private” conversations, and they tend to classify this sort of thing as a private conversation (right or wrong).

    This is just crazy, though. Everyone needs to seriously start pushing back at this madness, or else it’ll continue to escalate with each and every attempted incident. Over time, it’s guaranteed to get just as bad as you imagine.

    If this guy gets sued, I’ll donate to his legal fund myself.

  19. I like the idea of wearing a kilt. The idea of someone gingerly sliding their hand up, wondering “is he or isn’t he?” would be amusing.

    Love the idea too of someone stripping while doing the shoes and belt thing. Would be great protest.

    1. I don’t think that protest is going to work. Participants will not get to fly, and that means that they’re out the price of a ticket. Also, any checked luggage will go who-knows-where. Also, you have to buy a plane ticket to participate in the first place.

      I’m boycotting the air travel industry anyway. And as soon as I need to fly somewhere, they will feel my sting!

      1. If a passenger doesn’t get on the plane, their checked luggage is supposed to be removed before the plane takes off. If a lot of planes have people who get turned away at security, there are going to be a lot of planes taking off late.

  20. As a transgendered person I’m considering going commando and requesting the full pat down instead of the backscatter. I wonder how much trouble I’d get into for this…on top of that I wonder if it would make the TSA think twice before using this technology. TO me this seems much more destructive to the system. Thoughts?

    1. Firstly, to Jargon: I am also transgender, and while I probably won’t go commando, I will insist on a groping. If I have to be uncomfortable, they have to look me in the eye and be uncomfortable, too.

      Secondly, for those asking why the term “administrative search” matters and why the Fourth Amendment doesn’t seem to be in operation: an administrative search is a search performed under regulatory authority, usually in regards to health, safety and security issues. Case law, especially Camara v. Municipal Court has stated that the level of cause required for an administrative search does not have to rise to the same level as that required for a search pursuant to a criminal investigation, and can be balanced by such factors as the necessity of the search to accomplish the regulatory goal. In practice, this means that, as long as the agency in question can give non-arbitrary reasons and criteria for the search, it’ll probably be allowed.

      TSOs are not law-enforcement officers, as such, though I’m not sure that has any real bearing on the issue here.

      I welcome corrections of my reading of the relevant law, as this is not my area of expertise.

      1. I think you may be misreading the Camera ruling. Here’s a link to the case:

        Camera v. Municipal Court (1967)

        In the Camera case, housing inspectors wanted to enter Camera’s apartment to conduct a routine code inspection. Camera refused to allow them entry, insisting that they get a warrant. The inspectors had Camera arrested for refusing to allow their inspection, which was mandated by the city’s housing code, claiming that they didn’t need a warrant for an administrative search – i.e. that the Fourth Amendment applies only to searches and seizures in criminal cases. The Supreme Court disagreed. They ruled that, unless there is an emergency that necessitates an immediate search for something that poses an imminent danger to public safety (e.g. a gas leak), the property owner has the right to refuse consent to an administrative search without a warrant. The Court did, however, rule that the standards for obtaining a warrant for an administrative search ought to be lower than the standards for obtaining a warrant in a criminal investigation. Administrative warrants, therefore, do not require probable cause that a crime has been committed, as criminal warrants do; but it is still necessary for inspectors to obtain a warrant if the property holder does not consent to the search.

        This principle was reaffirmed in the cases of See v. City of Seattle (1967) and Marshall v. Barlow’s, Inc. (1978). The Court has carved out a few exceptions to the general principles established in Camera, See, and Barlow’s; but these exceptions apply only to specially regulated industries, not to private citizens.

        The only cases I’m aware of that might be used to justify warrantless administrative searches of persons are drug testing cases, such as Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives’ Assn. (1989), which upheld the legality of mandatory drug testing (without a warrant) of railroad workers and other public employees; and cases involving searches of students in public schools, such as New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985), which held that public school officials had considerable latitude in searching their students’ personal possessions without a warrant, so long as the search was “reasonable”. But these cases involved special circumstances, and were limited in scope. Skinner applied only to the drug testing of public employees and employees in the railway industry (a quasi-public industry), not to private citizens. T.L.O. applied only to public schools, and was justified by the unique requirements involved when school officials are responsible for supervising minor children in loco parentis. Even so, the Court has placed limits on the latitude of school officials to search their students. Searches must not be “excessively intrusive” and there must be “reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school.” And the Court has recently ruled in the case of Stafford Unified School District #1 et al. v. Redding (2009) that the strip search of a student suspected of having drugs was a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights.

        It’s important to note that Fourth Amendment cases often hinge on the concept of a “reasonable expectation of privacy”. Officials are free to look at anything that is in plain view of the public, because there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. But if something is hidden from view of the public in such a manner that a reasonable member of society would expect it to be kept private, then the Fourth Amendment applies. If you’re in the habit of walking around naked in public, you can’t really object if someone – even a government official – looks at your naked body. But, if you’re wearing clothes that cover portions of your body, concealing them from public view, you have a reasonable expectation of privacy for the concealed body parts. In other words, if you choose to wear clothes in public, you have a right not to have people look at your naked body without your consent. Therefore, being forced to go through a virtual “strip search” machine would violate that right, as surely as a real strip search would. According to the Terry ruling, the Fourth Amendment exists not only to protect the privacy of the individual, but also the dignity of the individual; and, whenever an official detains a private citizen in a public place, and frisks that person for weapons, that is an affront to that person’s dignity. Therefore, according to Terry, this procedure is justified only when necessity absolutely demands it.

        Some people may try to justify TSA screening procedures by arguing that air travelers implicitly consent to these procedures by purchasing an airline ticket and trying to board a plane. But the Supreme Court has rejected this logic when it comes to the search of automobiles/drivers/passengers on the public highways. Police officers have to follow the Fourth Amendment when stopping and searching a vehicle. They can’t stop vehicles arbitrarily; and they can’t search vehicles or passengers without probable cause that a crime has been committed. Arguments have been made that there is a reduced expectation of privacy on the public roadways; and the Court has agreed with this to some extent; but the police still can’t conduct arbitrary searches. So, even if you could argue that airline passengers implicitly consent to some sort of security screening at the airport, and that they have a reduced expectation of privacy, that still wouldn’t be sufficient to justify the intrusiveness of the current TSA screening procedures. The Supreme Court has never held that we implicitly waive our Fourth Amendment rights by traveling; and there is no legal basis for making such an absurd claim.

        I just don’t see how it would be possible to cobble together any justification for the current TSA screening procedures from existing case law. If the Supreme Court adheres to precedent, the use of body scanners and “enhanced” pat downs at airports has to be seen as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Of course, that’s no guarantee of how the Court will rule – there are certain Justices who are known to have a contempt for precedent and a reputation for using tortured logic to justify whatever outcome they happen to prefer – but the case law clearly points to one, and only one, conclusion: Current TSA screening policies violate the Fourth Amendment.

      2. I posted a reply to your comment earlier, but apparently it got eaten by the comment monster (which isn’t surprising, since it was waaay too long and had waaay too many links). It may turn up later (in which case, ignore this comment), or it may have vanished forever into the void. Anyway, I’m not going to bother trying to repost the whole thing. I’ll just reiterate the chief point I wanted to make:

        I think you may be misreading Camera. In fact, the ruling seems to imply the exact opposite of what you stated. Specifically, Camera holds that the Fourth Amendment DOES apply to administrative searches; and that if someone refuses to consent to an administrative search, it is necessary to get a warrant. (However, it is much easier to get an administrative warrant than a criminal warrant.)

        1. @Erin W: Apparently my original reply finally showed up; so feel free to ignore my second reply.

          As for my original reply, please note that there seems to be some problem with the hyperlinks. They take you to the correct pages; but, for some reason, those pages don’t display properly when they first load. Just refresh each page after you follow the link and it should load properly. Sorry about that; I’m not sure why it happened.

  21. When I read Cory’s book about the Makers, I thought he was toying with us by having the protagonists endure strip searches whenever they flew on planes.

    Now I see he was right.

  22. @The Life of Bryan,

    How about a little input from a rational Bryan? OK if you think groping the crotch is OK because the crotch has to be searched to ensure a complete search, where does it end? Keister stashing? Vag stashing for the women? Your line of reasoning will have everyone enduring cavity searches and having to squat and cough… Come on man, stand up and fight for your Constitutional rights instead of being led like sheep.


    1. I completely agree with everything you’re saying, apart from calling me irrational of course.

      But I just don’t think it makes sense to do a 95% search. What is the rationale, other than emotions, for skipping the last 5%? From a security standpoint, I don’t see one.

      From a civil liberties point of view, where is the dividing line between reasonable and unreasonable searches in this context? That’s a huge and important topic, but to my mind, a different discussion than effective security vs. security theater. And searching everywhere except where I don’t want you to search is security theater, is it not?

      What if I came from a culture that attached no special significance to the crotch but had deep seated issues about people touching your armpits? Would it then be unreasonable to touch them during a screening?

      1. Personally, and I suspect I speak for many of the folks who have been complaining about TSA “security theater”, I consider the current “submit to a backscatter machine or a full pat-down” effort to be just as much security theater as the previous efforts have been. None of it has any meaningful effect on actual security.

        The difference is, this current round of TSA theater is widely considered to be unacceptably sexual, i.e. obscene. Folks value their security theater — flying is alarming, and ritual reassurance is valuable — but they are not happy when the theater directors decide to put on a porno when they expected an adventure film.

        tl;dr: People are not getting angry because the TSA is doing anything different from a security standpoint, they are getting angry because the same old security theater is suddenly way too pornographic.

      2. I think the point is that, 95% or 99.9% search notwithstanding, terrorists are going to find that ‘gap’ (pun!) that we’re not searching, i.e. the cavity search, and do that. So, do we constantly escalate security to combat the inevitable gaps? This, I think, is what people mean by “security theatre” — if terrorists are going to do what we’re not doing, or bomb what we’re not “securing,” then why not just scuttle everything but the most basic security at airports and focus on preventing terrorists from ever getting their heinous plots off the ground?

        Also, emotions: it’s pretty screwed up to tell other people how they should feel about this, or anything for that matter.

        Regarding reasonable and unreasonable searches, I think a segment of the public is currently answering your question with no-fly days, people driving to locations instead of flying, etc.. People (surprise!) don’t want others to be privy to their crotchal region because they think that’s unreasonable. Laws don’t just appear out of thin air you know.

  23. So the by default the machine is now named the “porno scanner?” Works for me.

    As someone who has undergone this “enhanced” procedure it’s obvious to me that the “we must protect our country” posters have not.

    1. The correct full name is: “Radioactive Porno Scanner”.(RPS)

      Also, former Gestapo chief Michael Chertoff is a paid consultant for Rapiscan, the manufacturer of most of the RPSes.

    2. The correct full name is: “Radioactive Porno Scanner”.(RPS)

      Also, former Gestapo chief Michael Chertoff is a paid consultant for Rapiscan, the manufacturer of most of the RPSes.

      The sequence of three videos is here:
      The outrageous part is in the 3rd segment.

  24. Regarding the “wiretap” charges, TSA spokespeople have posted in the official TSA blog that you are allowed to record what goes on during screening as long as you are not getting in the way.

  25. I’ve been wondering when Americans would reach their limit. I was starting to think that Americans were such impotent cowards that there would be no limit and Americans would agree to let TSA morons give them prostate exams.

    I’m glad that there finally is a limit, at least for some Americans.

    I would like to see us roll back our security to pre-1996 levels, so we can fly without showing ID and all that.

    Everything since then has been a joke and should be repealed. As Bruce Schneier says, there have only been two things that have improved security since 9/11: cockpit doors are now strengthened, and passengers will now resist and not let anyone take control of an airplane.

    I’m glad this guy caught it all on tape. I always turn on a voice recorder when I go through the checkpoint, because I don’t trust those goons.

  26. penn of penn and teller blogged about a similar incident awhile back. it was his opinion, backed up by expensive lawyers that if you decide not to fly and they search you anyway that’s assault.
    in this case the guy might have a claim for false imprisonment. dunno if he’d win.
    i’ve read cases that go either way. when i’ve litigated this stuff myself the cases have been dismissed on procedural grounds without reaching the issues. just filed my most recent, about not being allowed to vote because i dont show ID – they were supposed to at least give me a provisional ballot.

  27. Am I the only person that wants to wear a kilt with a mousetrap inside it?

    I guess that could be a bit dangerous to me…maybe I’ll wear a jock strap under the kilt for my own protection, with the mousetrap attached to the outside of the jockstrap.

  28. I totally just figured it all out. The porn machines themselves are part of terrorist plot!!!
    Within a matter of months they will have naked pictures of tens of millions of people. Mark my words: The day will come when you get an email from Osama bin Laden (or Dick Cheney), it will instruct you to carry out a task or face the embarrassment of your tiny penis exposed to the world.

    Evil fucking genius at work.


      I am going to begin making lasercut necklaces which spell F*ck you in mirror image, maybe even F*ck you bitch. And I think I will sell them right at the end of the security line (sorry about the asterisk, don’t want to upset advertisers).

      1. I’m trying to think up with a way to reflect some of the energy back as a pentagram. As long as they’re gonna make people stand there in that pose, they might as well get a souvenir Rush album cover photo out of the deal, right?

  29. How ’bout if every passenger is anesthetized, subjected to multiple EMPs, and then placed in their own individual Faraday cage? And before you scoff at the cost of such measures, keep in mind how many cans of warm Sprite the airlines will save.

  30. (In response to a commenter on the original blog post who harped on the fact that by buying a ticket you were consenting to the search. (I tried to post there, but was apparently unable to, so I’m posting here.))

    Paul — Unless I missed a comment, you don’t seem to have discussed this part of the original post: “I had done my research on the TSA’s website prior to traveling to see if SAN had them. From all indications, they did not. When I arrived at the security line, I found that the TSA’s website was out of date. SAN does in fact utilize backscatter x-ray machines.”

    John (the original poster) had checked what he was agreeing to before arriving at the airport. He was prepared to do what he agreed to do, including submitting to various types of searches. When he learned that the situation was different than he had thought, he attempted to negotiate an acceptable compromise. He was unable to do so, and so he declined to participate in the transaction, and left, calmly and peacefully, as soon as he was able to. He did not disrupt the existing process, nor did he behave violently.

    Was the research insufficient? Should John have simply left the airport as soon as he saw the backscatter machines, even though many travelers were being scanned using the metal detectors that he would have been quite willing to submit to? Should he have not attempted to get a refund of his ticket?

    What was your problem with his actions, exactly? I realize you’ve gotten quite a lot of abusive replies, but I would honestly like to know your thoughts on the quote I provided above, since you do not seem to have discussed it so far.

  31. Are there _any_ international airports in the USA where passengers are not subjected to this humiliating breach of personal rights?

  32. I was on a radio controlled model aircraft board the other day and some of the planes that hobbyists are building nowadays are just incredible. Fast,lightweight, and easily big enough to carry just enough of a payload to do a hell of a lot of damage, if one were so inclined. Which raises the point….why haven’t those “evil terrorists” tried to mount an attack via this method, radio controlled planes laden with explosives?? Why,it’s almost as if there aren’t any terrorists…..

  33. The people from the UK are noticeably silent!

    In the UK you DON’T HAVE A CHOICE …how is it that THE Euros arent saying anything?

    no protests there.

    i guess my point is that they should be even MORE up in arms and im hoping someone on this board starts the protest

  34. Presumably the rationale for the ‘you can’t leave the checkpoint’ policy and/or $10,000 fine is to prevent penetration testers or would-be attackers from opting out if they’re about to be discovered or (which is not to say that I agree with it).

  35. Just wondering… what about minors? Isn’t it illegal over there to take pictures of a child’s genitals and also to fondle them? Will they insist on searching or scanning kids in the same way?

  36. Time to replace the tin foil hats with tin foil underpants. That’ll foil the scanners, though probably make the rest of the experience less than entertaining…

  37. TSA brownshirt thug gropes jealous guy’s girlfriend at airport. Jealous guy with anger issues knocks the shit out of TSA brownshirt thug pervert asshole. Hilarity ensues… I do predict this will happen sooner or later… I just hope everyone has their camera-phones ready when it happens.

    CowTip: If you ARE going to fly this holiday season, keep your camera-phones ready.

  38. Well, this guy not only didn’t really need to fly wherever he was going, but was also able to afford a refundable ticket (the “cheap” tickets are never refundable). I’m happy he refused and left, really. But there’s no solution for people who need to fly (for whatever reasons). That’s why I think boycotts and protesting won’t work – it raises awareness of the situation, sure, but *much* more is needed – starting perhaps with making sure everyone who played a part in enacting these regulations (including congress) goes through these searches, and frequently.

    By the way, it’s trivial right now for a terrorist to avoid the scanners and/or groping, no matter their destination. Just get a flight from an airport that doesn’t have the scanners (make sure your research is a little more thorough than this guy’s of course) and a connecting flight from the airport you really wanted to leave from if necessary. Of course… I’m not exactly sure what you could hide that would both be useful for terrorism and wouldn’t set off the metal detector, but I’m sure you could come up with something (the underwear bomb was a bit of a failure for example).

    1. Re: “able to afford a refundable ticket (the “cheap” tickets are never refundable).”

      Actually, according to the post, the ticket was not refundable, but the airline decided to refund his money anyway: “she informed me that the ticket was non-refundable, but that she was still trying to find a supervisor. After a few more minutes, she was able to refund my ticket.”

      Just wanted to clarify that point.

  39. Life of Bryan, the difference is that a cop is supposed to have probable cause before frisking someone. (Sadly, the reality often falls short of that legal standard.) The TSA’s pornoscanners and grope-fests are applied to all passengers, without probable cause. It’s unreasonable to assume that each and every airline passenger is a terrorist.

    1. The difference is a cop needs probable cause because the person being frisked has no say in the matter and thus his rights need to be protected. The TSA doesn’t need probable cause because flying, and thus going through TSA security, if voluntary.

  40. Tk dmn rd shr y hppy. Tht wy y cn snk yr nsty scnt nd smg tttd nt sm srl kllr’s cr, wh hpflly klls y. Srsly rspct th rls.

    W hv thm fr rsn. TS dsn’t wnt t lk t yr gntls r grp y jst s thy cn gt ff. grnt tht thr s VLD NTLLGNC tht trrrsts wld s ths rs t snk wht vr thy hv. nd t’s knwn fct tht drg mls s ths rs.

    Th TS nd gvrnmnt knws tht ll th drlct cry bbs wld gt thr pnts bnch nd t css thm trbl s thy r nt dng ths jst tk yr frdm wy. Thy r tryng t kp yr yr ngrtfl ss frm bng blwn p.

    T ll y ppl n hr cryng bt ths, pls rfrn frm tkng plns. Tht wy cn fly stndby fr fr mch sr. Srsly qt cryng, qt flyng, nd f yr bt t hv kds pls brt thm s thr r nt ppl lk y rnnng rnd.


  41. tayobee191 scribbled, “Seriously respect the rules.”

    And if the rule is to “get into that cattle car”?
    And if the rule is to let a TSA agent “bend you over and pretend to hump you”?
    And if the rule is to “beg forgiveness and grovel at their almighty feet whilst licking their shiny boots”?

    Seriously, it’s asswipes like you that you that are destroying our liberties by rationalizing this kind of crap and exhorting others to comply and obey. I pity your wife and children, if you have any (and I sincerely hope you don’t).

  42. In case anyone cares about the constitutional issues involved here, the relevant case law is:

    Terry v. Ohio (1968) (which is the primary governing precedent in cases involving people being detained and frisked)

    United States v. Place (1983)

    Florida v. Royer (1983)

    United States v. Montoya de Hernandez (1985)

    To briefly summarize the key points established in these cases:

    Any time a law enforcement officer conducts a search and/or seizure, the Fourth Amendment applies. Any time an officer detains someone, giving them the impression that they’re not free to leave, that counts as a “seizure” of that person. And any time an officer “pats down” someone looking for a weapon, that counts as a “search” of that person under the Fourth Amendment. Searches and seizures are permitted only when the officer has good reason to believe that the person being searched/seized has committed a crime, or else is carrying a dangerous weapon that might be used against the officer. Unless there is reasonable suspicion that the person being detained and/or searched is either armed and dangerous or has committed a crime, the search and seizure is not permitted under the Fourth Amendment. An officer may conduct a “pat down” of a suspect ONLY for the officer’s own safety – i.e. to insure that the suspect doesn’t have a weapon that may be used against the officer. There is no other justification for conducting a “pat down” without a warrant. (Terry)

    The principles established in Terry apply to searches and seizures at the airport in an effort to find contraband. (Place, Royer, Montoya de Hernandez)

    However, when someone is suspected of smuggling contraband into the United States from abroad, more latitude is given to the officers in detaining and searching that suspect; but there still has to be reasonable grounds for suspicion – a person can’t simply be held and searched arbitrarily without at least some basis for suspecting that this person is a smuggler. (Montoya de Hernandez)

    The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the constitutionality of the TSA’s current security screening procedures; but it’s hard to see how they could possibly uphold the constitutionality of such procedures without overturning the precedents established in Terry and subsequent search and seizure cases.

      1. From what I understand, the ACLU is currently “evaluating the problem” in order to figure out what the best course of action would be for them to take. Preparing a major lawsuit against the federal government is a long and complex process; so it may take some time before the ACLU is ready to head to court.

        But I believe that another civil liberties organization, The Rutherford Institute, is representing the pilot who was harassed by TSA when he refused to go through the body scanner a few weeks ago.

    1. Regrettably I’m not as sanguine regarding the likely outcome of SCOTUS applying stop-and-frisk doctrine to the TSA. First, the courts have frequently demonstrated their willingness to expand administrative search and special needs exceptions in places like airports. Second, TSA agents would likely testify that they had reason to believe the individual had a bomb or incendiary device, either of which could be construed as posing a danger to officers and passerby. Third, TSA would likely argue that this procedure is a necessary and integral part of airport security searches (as otherwise terrorists would be able to conduct penetration testing or choose to undergo a specific method of screening by opting out of the others) and thus, along with such searches, falls under one of the aforementioned 4A exceptions.

      I wonder if the TSA officer’s claims about implied consent (if indeed that’s what he was getting at) would hold up to judicial scrutiny. DUI testing has been generally upheld, but procedures are nowhere near as invasive (and in addition aren’t constantly changing).

  43. Sign me up as one of the people who’ll likely wear a kilt (utilikilt, but still) the next time they fly.

    I wonder how much trouble I’ll get in for muttering “higher”, “a little to the left”, and/or “yeah, that’s it”.

  44. Wear a utilikilt and a “penile enhancement” type rig for the groping. In this case i’m thinking a strap-on style harness with two to four penile prostheses attached. Before they do the search let them know that insisting on fondling your crotch could open up a snakes’ nest of issues.

  45. I have one question about the scanners which I have never seen asked yet?
    What is the calibration schedule and where in public are the calibration schedules being posted?
    Machines of this complexity must be calibrated regularly or the power output is anybody’s guess.
    If I am ever channeled into a choice as to whether to not fly or go through the scanner I’ll go through. And the moment I step out I’ll start with my shocked and frightened shouts of “Agghhh! my skin is burning, why is my skin burning” and then roll on the floor. Let them prove it isn’t.

  46. Given that the TSA is providing state of the art screening, we really should put them in charge security for the president, the justice department, and congress. I think we would all feel much better knowing our most important leaders were protected our best security.

  47. Its interesting to hear “they were just doing their job”

    This might have once been a legitimate excuse in 1945 when Erich Kempka (Hitler’s chauffeur), but by 2005, Salim Hamdan (bin Laden’s chauffeur) faced a 5.5 year sentence for “just doing his job”

    1. Clearly the emergent global id says “KILL YOUR FASCIST MASTER!”
      I hope the average TSA grunt has the presence of mind to resist and instead file a formal complaint with their union for being forced to subject random citizens to violations of their rights.

      Oh wait, Congress made it illegal for TSA workers to unionize…

  48. Buying a ticket is not consent to having one’s genitals fondled by some random government minion.

    Entering the security checkpoint is not consent to having one’s genitals fondled by some random government minion.

    At the point where he was specifically asked if he was going to allow it was the first point where he could legitimately consent or deny, and he denied.

    At that point, not earlier or later, the question had been asked and answered.

    By his refusal, and TSA’s subsequent refusal to allow him into the secure area, he made the decision not to fly that day.

    When he refuses consent he should simply be turned around and told to exit the checkpoint on the unsecure side.

    Why in Hell CAN’T he simply leave the area and not further attempt to enter the secure area. (What’s scary, though, is I don’t believe the $10K administrative fine can be challenged in a “real” court…)

    (I no longer fly. I will find other means or not go, thankyouverymuch.)

    1. Pretty much about the first thing ya said. Buying a ticket does not imply that you give them the right to do whatever they please with you, just like how not all contracts are enforceable. For example, a contract that says you give the other party the right to kill you however they please, wherever they please, without your knowledge that they’re are doing it at that time and place, would not stand in court. You also can’t legally “sell” your kids, as that would be human trafficking.

      Much like those cases, when you buy a ticket you’re not signing a one-sided contract that let’s the TSA do whatever the hell they please with you without your consent, and as such they can’t legally detain you when you refuse consent and decide to refuse to board the plane. And going by that logic, I would also say you could easily challenge that $10k fee or simply refuse to pay it, as it’s not illegal to refuse an illegal breach upon your rights, so the “fee” doesn’t truely have the weight of the law. It would be like me saying you owe me $100 because I invited you to a party but you didn’t come.

  49. At about half way through this video, one of Alex Jones’ employees describes how she had her vulva and breasts aggressively fondled by male TSA thugs, and how they did the same (although she “at least” demanded female thugs) to her eight year old daughter and 20 month old. Rape and child abuse and, in the case of the scanner, child pornography.

    How do you explain to your little boy why the scary man had to grope their penis and feel along the shaft and head in detail? It seems crazy to even write those words.

    It’s sickening. How can this be stopped?

    PS. There are many, many videos on Youtube of people sharing their deeply upsetting stories of being raped by the TSA.

  50. I’m waiting for the “Teleportation” option — when we can forgo the scan & grope and just head straight for the ovens, and arrive at our destination as particles of smoke.

  51. It’s sad you have to be sexually assaulted to fly because they’re worried you might bring a couple of joints. This has nothing to do with bombs or security. It’s just your rights being stripped away for government paranoia.

  52. What people should understand is that this isn’t really the airlines fault, so let’s not punish them, but let’s all remember who started the TSA, and who has now let the TSA get wildly out of control on what only appears to be information about USP printer cartage bombs. Wasn’t it Jefferson, those who sacrifice liberty for security get neither? We already have to take off our shoes, I’ve already had “random” pat downs that don’t involve grabbing my nuts, I’ve already needed a fucking passport just to drive 4 hours north, go through metal detectors, it’s time to calm the fuck down. You do not need to see or touch my fucking penis just to make everyone else feel safe, because it’s not doing that. Touch grandma’s tits and you know what, you’re only going to succeed in giving grandma more foreplay than she’s got in years. I’m all for a more touchy feely society, but this isn’t the way to do it. The interaction we have is based on false trust, I’m guilty until proven innocent by nut grab, which still doesn’t prove my total innocence. I know bars that do a better job patting you down to find weapons, and none of them grab nuts (well, almost, but that has nothing to do with the search). The TSA clearly rushed this, and isn’t even being a little professional on every level. If the choice is letting some random stranger grab my nuts or letting 10 more 9/11’s happen in a row, I’d be smart enough to know that’s not realty. We can compromise, but stop grabbing my nuts, unless we cuddle after.

    1. But who has the power in Congress? Not the people. The airlines.

      If it gets out that airlines’ profits are being attacked, the whole TSA might disappear.

  53. Meh, i have not taken a plane anywhere ever since they started confiscating pocket tools in security. Damn it people, one could probably kill someone with a plastic fork to the jugular if required.

  54. Unless the airlines complain it’s going to keep getting worse. TSA considers the flying public suspect to begin with, they will not debate this with you, nor do the agents have the power to do so. Here’s my suggestion:

    Buy a fully refundable ticket to fly for some day when you have some time. (read all the details to make sure you will get the refund). Show up early enough, op-out of scanning and whatever else they want to do, then get a refund. Might as well go 1st class while you’re at it. Get enough people doing that and the airlines will notice, not just the people in the airport who are powerless too, but the people at the high ends of the corporate structure. I caught a rough statistic on CNN that airlines will spend more money on security this year than they will bring in profits, the CEOs have to be eying that area up as a way to “boost revenues”.

  55. I agree with the man in the video. Law abiding people should not be treated like this. If there is to be any sanity left in this world- people should continue to opt out of or resist the power games from the likes of the TSA. This ongoing security theater and zero tolerance does not make us any safer. All of the tilting at windmills, making mountains of molehills, and looking for imagined terrorists changes nothing. You can devise and encase a bomb or fashion a weapon out of most anything if you tried hard enough. Locks on doors may help- but they do not prevent burglaries and only keep honest people out. You cannot prevent the unpredictable from happening. I fail to see the hoards of criminal anarchists that the prohibitions, regulations, cameras, razor wire, metal detectors, x-rays, scans, probings and pat downs supposedly protect us from- I only see the paranoid maniacs wearing badges.

    Most of us are decent, competent adults. We should have the right to decide what is good for us or our children- and not have uniformed employees tell us what to do at every turn and protect us from ourselves because ‘it’s for our own good’, ‘we say so’, or ‘it is what it is’. We should not be subject to excessive use of force, direct or implied threats of incarceration or lawsuit, unreasonable search or seizure where no real crime has been committed. It’s a wonder we aren’t required fly naked and chained to our seats- or better yet- outlaw the use of mass transit or freedom of movement altogether in the interest of security.

    “Mrs, Jones- “it is what it is” You knew you had to apply in advance for a permit to leave your house for any reason- and for your own safety- in accordance with the new Neighborhood Safety Act- and be in bed by 10pm curfew. You are also reminded that the kitchen safety inspector will be watching you cook dinner via hidden camera nightly to determine if you do indeed know how to cook without burning yourself on the hot stove. It is unlawful for you to tamper with the sensors in your toilet that determine the use of controlled substances and the legal limits of your caloric intake. We are not further obliged to inform you of any facts, and you will owe a $10K fine for each offense for failure to comply…It’s the law, and remember- it’s a DANGEROUS world out there!”

    Can’t we go one day without wondering what now and who’s next? Why can’t we live in a way where things like traveling, shopping/entertainment, going to the park, the library- or attending school can be the pleasant experiences they were intended to be for the most part- where we trust and respect each other- instead of the current situation where even the most innocent of 10 yr olds and grannies are regarded as potential criminals if they fail to live in fear and keep their heads down and play along with this stupidity? – oh right, it wouldn’t be any fun for the sadists and the people who enjoy telling other people what to do…

  56. Just once I’d like to see a TSA discussion that didn’t invoke Godwin’s law. Of course, that would require fewer fascists running this clusterfuck.

    1. Hey, when the comparison fits… the comparison FITS. I think we should suspend Godwins law when talking about the United States government until the United States government STOPS suspending habeous corpous in the USA. Maybe after that, reinstate Godwins law in these type conversations.

      Idiots are a waste of time in this conversation and idiots are the only ones left in this country that think we are still a free people.

      The terrorists didn’t win, folks… the corporatists did. They beat us… it’s over fellow slaves. And, the sad part is we let them waltz right in… lol, and the right wingers make fun of the French in WWII… we are FAR more pitiful… at least there was a French Resistance… Americans just now just rolled over and died.

      [cow staring at photo of Koch brothers … our Emperors]

      All hail the Koch brothers! Our masters….

  57. Yeah, some states allow recording of conversations as long as at least one of the recorded parties is aware of the fact that it’s being recorded (that is also how federal law runs — no state, nor the federal government, allows recording by a third party when none of the recorded parties are aware of it) but California is one of the states wherein all persons whose voices are being recorded must be informed. or the recorder is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony (it’s a ‘wobbler’). However, this only applies to ‘confidential communications’, wherein the parties being recorded have a reasonable expectation that they are not being overheard or recorded. I’m not at all certain that anyone should reasonably expect that the interaction in a public place with administrative or enforcement personnel (while surrounded by other travellers, who can be heard in the background of the recording) is not susceptible to being overheard by anyone; therefore, it would not be ‘confidential’, and he’d be breaking no law.

  58. Hey! San Diego was were the TSA pervs(if i’m assumed guilty without proof, so are they) tried to harass me into taking off my insulin pump and submit. Just refused to cave and flustered the group of them so much that they didn’t frisk me at all, just tested the pump for boom-boom powder and let me go, after being told i was holding up the line, that i had to remove the pump, that i couldn’t hand-inspect my high-speed film.

    I was just more set on being an asshole than they were that day, i guess.

  59. I almost went through one of these in North Carolina. Something I haven’t heard many people talk about with these is how long the wait for the machine is. Perhaps they’re more efficient in other airports, but the line was a slow crawl while the metal detector crowd sped through. I also found it annoying that I still had to take everything out of my pockets and take off my shoes just like the regular metal detectors.

    Eventually, the line got so backed up that they re-routed many of us to one of the metal detectors.

    The one thing I remember was that the person who was going to be viewing the image of me from the machine was in some other location. Did anyone else getting ready to go through one of these get the same information? There was either a sign about it, or it was something that I discussed with the TSA agents.

    On a side note, my ticket was paid for by the production company that flew me out to North Carolina. When and if I have money to travel, I take the train if possible. Still, I can’t help but wonder what the rules of these things are for kids. The story above seems to indicate that just doing research online may not yield the most current answer.

  60. I”m okay with people who don’t want to be scanned or patted down. Those people don’t have to fly. No one is forcing them to fly. No biggie – Except any long range travel will screw you.

    As far as the ‘porno scanners’: What are you people into? I see nothing sexual or pornographic about some ghosty outline of my lumpy body. It’s so odd that we don’t care about someone looking at our hands, nose, etc – but, oh my.. don’t look at my pee-pee – it’s so unlike anyone else’s and it’s so special. If you see a ghostly image of it or see and touch it in a clinical way I’ll be ruined!!

    You’re probably the kind of people who, if for some reason, you see pictures of someone’s toddler naked you think it’s child-porn. You don’t just see a little kid being a little kid – You see a penis or vagina and those are bad or sexual – No in between.

    It’s friggin body parts people. We’re all lumpy – and screeners are gonna see hundreds of lumpy outlines a day.

    And as far as ‘them’ keeping your lumpy outline on file: This damages you how? Because the representational version of your penis might not look good enough? Again, your penis is not some magical, precious thing. Get over it.

    1. It’s not unreasonable to have a sense of privacy about one’s body. That’s why the lady across the street from me has blinds on her widows which she closes when she undresses, and it’s also why I don’t walk around the city in Speedos in the summer. The choice between giving up the privacy over your own body or giving up air travel isn’t a reasonable choice for people in a supposedly free society to be expected to make.

      If someone wants to hijack a plane they might be smart enough to figure out a way around these procedures, anyway. When was the last time you saw a flight attendant who looked strong enough not to be subdued by an unarmed person with martial arts training?

    2. When governments are declaring that anything that even looks like a child with no clothes on is child porn, they can hardly insist that they get to see pictures of everyone’s genitals and be consistent.

      Also, you’re being an insensitive clod in this regard. Just because something doesn’t offend you personally, it doesn’t give you the right to insist nobody else has the right to refuse to be involved in the act.

    3. A two things about this:

      1) When the guy learned about procedures he’d be going through, he did decide not to fly. He did the exact thing you just advocated. He got threatened with a $10K fine for his troubles. While, “He could have just stayed home and not booked a ticket,” might be a good answer to that, there are going to be a lot of folks who just aren’t informed. Hopefully stories like this will change that and they’ll be ready to know what to expect.

      2) You say:

      “You’re probably the kind of people who, if for some reason, you see pictures of someone’s toddler naked you think it’s child-porn. You don’t just see a little kid being a little kid – You see a penis or vagina and those are bad or sexual – No in between.”

      It’s funny that you talk about there being “no in-between” but you’ve set up a situation where people are either cool with a stranger seeing a naked image of their kid’s body or they think all photographs of naked children are pornography.

      I don’t want to pull a, “When you’re a parent you’ll understand,” thing on you because maybe you are a parent and you just don’t have the same mindset. So, I obviously can’t speak for everyone. For me, though, I get pissed off when someone I don’t know takes a picture of my kid *with her clothes on* and doesn’t ask me if it’s okay first. There’s nothing intellectual about this, and it’s nothing I’m proud of, but I get a taste of metal in my mouth as soon as I see it happening. I’m not the only one. If someone’s snapping photos of kids at a playground some parent always goes up to talk to them.

      If they ask, there are all these meaningless factors that go through my head as I decide. What kind of “vibe” I get off of them, if they have kids, etc. I know logically that none of these factors matter. I also know that it’s just an image of my daughter, not her soul. Still, though, it gets me every time.

      Of course, there’s also the ultimate paradox that I’ll post pictures of my kid online. I think the reason I’m okay with it is because I’m choosing what goes up there.

      Meandering explanation aside, folks looking at a nude image of my daughter to make an airplane safe falls on the, “No thanks,” end of the spectrum. I’m very happy with taking trains, and more than happy to not travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.

      Again, though, when I’m by myself there’s no issue. I’d be even happy to ride naked if it would speed up the process. For now, the lines at those scanners take WAY too long.

      1. I don’t want to pull a, “When you’re a parent you’ll understand,”

        I get pissed off when someone I don’t know takes a picture of my kid

        Of course, there’s also the ultimate paradox that I’ll post pictures of my kid online.

        When I’m a parent I’ll stop understanding how bonkers this is.

    4. It bothers me that people make light of all the genital grabbing and rubbing and suggesting moaning and jokes, reminding me somewhat of the horror of the author in The Men Who Stare at Goats when the Barney theme is used in the torture process and all the media can do is make bad puns, sidestepping the torture going on.

      @JasonsRobot: “As far as the ‘porno scanners’: What are you people into? I see nothing sexual or pornographic about some ghosty outline of my lumpy body.”

      Don’t be such a coward. Also, it’s not a “ghosty outline”, they’ve been showing you images of older technology. The current state is distinct, and a perfect image if you invert the negative. They lie on a regular basis about being able to capture images, they lie about the safety, and bragging about your ignorance and indifference to privacy loss is not admirable.

      1. Also, it’s not a “ghosty outline”, they’ve been showing you images of older technology. The current state is distinct, and a perfect image if you invert the negative.

        This link somebody posted upthread shows exactly how clear the scanning images are. (Slightly NSFW. Unless you work for the TSA.)

        1. I believe the photos of that lady were photomanipulations of normal naked pictures – the backscatter doesn’t capture hair or, uh, i can’t believe I’m using this word in a discussion on security, her nipples that way.

          Here’s a better picture from an actual machine:

          You can totally tell if a guy’s junk hangs to the left or the right.

    5. As far as the ‘porno scanners’: What are you people into? I see nothing sexual or pornographic about some ghosty outline of my lumpy body

      I think someone is making fun of you here. And, I approve of this mocking.

      You’re probably the kind of people who, if for some reason, you see pictures of someone’s toddler naked you think it’s child-porn.

      You’re probably the kind of person who doesn’t think before they open their mouth and other people chastise you for that… often….


    6. Hell, I;m kind of an exhibitionist and attend clothing optional events. Not afraid of my body or my body being seen in public. I think everyone should be allowed to be naked. I believe being unoffended is not a constitutional right.

      And I still object to this being mandatory and automatic. Hell, make the backscatter opt-in and have a photo op like the Splash Mountain ride at Disney Land, and I’m all in.

      This is still bothersome.

  61. The TSA exists (ostensibly) to combat terrorism.

    Most people are untouched by terrorists, but not the TSA (literally); effectively, the TSA terrorises more people than the terrorists.

    The TSA’s new motto: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em.

  62. When asked to step into the beam of ionizing radiation, remember these words: “I OPT OUT”

    Put up with the search and complain about it if you wish, or take the route this fellow did and refuse outright as your morals, conscience and scheduling stresses dictate.

    Enough people refusing to enter the Radioactive Pornography Scanners will cause this ill-conceived program to grind to a halt. Civil disobedience can be very effective.

    I also plan to film all searches of my children for potential use as evidence of criminal misconduct. That should keep the TSOs extremely professional.

  63. If I ever want to see my family, I can’t just stop flying. They’re 3000 miles from me. So I’ve been thinking pretty hard about what I’ll do in this case.

    I’m not thrilled about the radiation dose (yes, yes, it’s low, whatever, still unnecessary), and the reports of some of the abuses of the porn-scanners make me want to opt out on principle. So my plan is to opt out; I want the damn machines gone.

    However, I’m a rape survivor. The idea of a stranger in a position of power groping me? Um. I’ve been patted down before, under the old rules, and it wasn’t a big deal – they were very careful to explain how they were touching me and to do so non-sexually and respectfully. Under the new rules, it’s likely to be a big deal. So my current plan is to tell whoever is supposed to feel me up that I’m a rape survivor and that they might very well be about to trigger a flashback. I will describe what that might look like (not pretty), and tell them what kind of care I might need.

    I’ll probably be fine, honestly, but there’s a chance – and there are lots of others like me. The people doing the groping should *know* what it is they’re doing to us. They *should* feel guilty and ashamed. I don’t care if it’s “just their job” – if they can’t handle the guilt and shame associated with doing their job, they should find a way to change that. Like protest, refuse, quit.

    Using my trauma as a tool of protest, yay.

  64. Did anyone else notice that the only reason he was removed for a pat down is because he “was being obnoxious.” It’s not even about security, it’s about teaching him a lesson.

  65. For the record, here is the real point of these new procedures:

    It is to test the American people.

    It is to see how dumbed down, how apathetic the average American citizen is.

    Howe completely removed from their basic innate human dignity, how malleable.

    If people will allow themselves to be irradiated with dangerous technology, to be sexually molested in order to exercise basic freedom of movement, a fundamental right – then they will allow just about anything.

    Three cheers to this guy, and those like him. Eternal shame to all those who just dumbly stand in line.

  66. JasonsRobot wrote: “As far as the ‘porno scanners’: What are you people into?”

    We’re into privacy, reasonableness, and deciding who gets to touch us where. Sorry if those are foreign concepts to you.

    “You’re probably the kind of people who, if for some reason, you see pictures of someone’s toddler naked you think it’s child-porn.”

    You know, I think this says a LOT more about you than it does about us.
    No, most of us don’t think this way. Most of us simply want this ridiculous erosion of our rights to stop. Most of us understand that groping us like this has NO REAL EFFECT on the actual security of flying. Most of us think this kind of invasion of privacy has gone too far.

    You, on the other hand, are probably the kind of person who will mindlessly submit, inch by inch, to any incursion of your rights or privacy, while rationalizing that somehow you’ll be “safer” because of it.

    Honestly- do you *really* think that this kind of pat down would prevent someone from smuggling something on a plane, or causing trouble once they were on?

  67. I’ve long been torn between dropping trou in line and wearing an adult diaper as the appropriate response to this situation.

  68. This is going too far. He had decided not to fly and turned in his ticket. At that point he is no longer a customer or a passenger and cannot be forced to undergo a search. He should cross-sue them for false imprisonment. I know he hopes he doesn’t get sued, but I hope he does (sorry!), and that the ACLU takes up his case, and that this is the beginning of the end of the Groper-State.

  69. I think the best response is to fake a seizure as you go through the scanner. They’d have difficulty getting the other passengers through it after that. Similarly, if they pat you down start screaming in pain. Use the sheep fear to your advantage.

  70. Someone said the reasoning behind not being able to turn around and leave is to prevent terrorist penetration scanners or terrorists who think they might be discovered from getting away. While we’re at it, we had better make a law that people can’t walk down the street, or else terrorists would be able to walk down the street. And we better shut down the internet, too, because if we can use it, terrorists can, too.

    1. That would be me. To my knowledge TSA hasn’t stated their rationale for said procedures, but it seems a likely guess. While I agree with the core point you seem to be making about CBA (as well as slippery slopes?), there are relevant differences between preventing checkpoint opt-outs and your hypotheticals. Your examples are intentionally broad, while generally security measures are much more tailored (though still potentially overbroad). Walking down streets and internet browsing are common activities, while opting out of checkpoints seems to be rare. There is more (though still not much) of a reason to infer that someone opting out of a checkpoint may be a security risk than someone walking down the street (all things considered), and preventing them from doing so does not affect nearly as many people (though it affects the few subjected to invasive searches more severely).

      Also, they do close roads in specific instances like presidential motorcades.

  71. I’ve noticed that it now seems that while you can’t be searched without suspicion, refusing to be searched is now considered suspicious and therefore a justification to search you. Clearly evidence of a broken system.

  72. Reading the transccript it’s interesting to note his ignorance of travel procedure. As soon as he asked about the shoes, he got flagged as a travel n00b and stood out. After that though, TSA began to have “issues”

  73. I guess the good news is there are now plenty of new, eager employees of the TSA. They’re all pedophiles of course, and even they can’t belive that American parents actually go along with this nonsense.

  74. There is something I don’t understand… When they tried to impose backscatter scanners in Europe, a large majority of European deputies voted against it. It was news on every TV channel. People were scandalized that this project even came to a vote… Here in the US, except for Boing Boing, Ars Technica or Bruce Schneider’s readers, it looks like nobody cares and the vast majority of people are just submitting to it, as if it was normal. So I wonder:
    • How these measures even came to pass in the Congress (old conservatives puritan politics should be the last to agree to this kind of thing)?
    • How there’s no public reaction or media reaction to this, except in the geek community?

    I’ve been in the US for 3 months now, and I’m really surprised about how security is such a great deal and how people in general are scared of everything (violence, terrorists, germs…). And I don’t think that 9/11 is solely responsible for this. What about these fallout shelters in many old buildings? I’ve never seen that in Europe. And although I’m too young for having experienced the cold war, when I read The Watchmen, I wonder if Americans were really that scared during this time. So much for the land of freedom…

    I’m going to take the plane in December, and the airport now has a scanner… I planned on opting out on the scanner, mostly in protest… But I wonder why… I would just trade one unacceptable thing for another, I would feel isolated in this act, thus making it insignificant. I don’t think TSA is the problem or the obstacle. The obstacle would be the crowd looking at me and asking themselves, why does he refuse to go through the (innocent) scanner? Is he guilty? Why does he want to be humiliated in front of all of us?
    There lies the problem, in the public accepting that, not in the authority enforcing it. Because if the public didn’t accept it, there would be no way to enforce it.

    1. From what I’ve seen of European media, they seem to be a lot more on point with respect to privacy issues. Here in the US the media was talking incessantly about terrorism and the underwear bomber, and the government circulated a bunch of doctored body scanner images that minimized the apparent privacy intrusion. We were assured that the images were “ghostly” and “skeletal” and that the machines were incapable of storing images. A few people called them on it, mostly in the blogosphere, but nowhere near enough to make a difference. We were also assured by experts that the scanners were safe, though I’m not sure how you can honestly make a categorical pronouncement like that when the health risk lies in cumulative radiation exposure over a given period of time. Body scanners were called optional. What they neglected to mention at the time that the alternative was invasive groping. Of course the scanners were also deployed piecemeal, which minimized the immediate impact.

      Europe also seems to have stronger institutional support for privacy, both in parliament and in the form of specific positions dedicated to ensuring privacy and personal data are respected.

  75. When a TSA operative is cupping your scrotum or presing against your vulva you have to wonder just how small a weapon are they looking for?

  76. Also, the world being what it is, the question is not *if* a TSA employee will eventually get in trouble for inappropriate use of scanner images, but when.

    1. “The longer it goes on, the shorter it will last.
      This will become the New Coke of the TSA. Patience. ”

      Bullshit, Coke isn’t the Prison/Military Industrial Complex. They aren’t consumer products, and the TSA isn’t a corporation.

        1. @grimc: True, but I’m unsure if that particular set is staged or not. Either way, they are very close to that level of detail.

          @Teller: Cantankerous grandmas certainly exist, but while I have hopes, they’re not going to engage passive resistance when the TSA fines are so high, the likelihood for arrest is great, and they don’t have the money to afford any more plane tickets on a fixed income.

  77. Just wanted to relate my experience at the Hartsfield Atlanta Airport about a half hour ago. I happened to find that he fastest line at the airport had a surprise at the end – a backscatter naked scanning machine. As I got to the front of the line, I realized my mistake. I asked the TSA attendant if I could use the standard x-ray machine in the adjacent line, as I would prefer not to go through the backscatter machine. She said no, I had to go through it. I said I would like a hand inspection. She called for another agent. I was unceremoniously asked to step aside and wait for the agent. An agent came and escorted me to the rollers on the xray belt to point out my belongings. He gathered it up and took it to a nearby bench.

    I followed him to an inspection area. Next to me at the bench was an older lady, about my mom’s age who was about to start a similar inspection. Poor lady, she was frightened, embarrassed, angry, and humiliated. You could tell by her voice that she was really upset. The agent came with my belongings, and asked If I would stand up and spread my arms. I asked if I could have a private inspection. He said there was a line and did I want to wait. I said yes. The lady next to me was asked if she wanted a private inspection. She was upset, explained about the line, and she said, “no, I am going to be late to my plane.” She was even more upset when her agent explained how she was going to be inspected. I followed my agent to the inspection room area.

    I immediately asked, in accordance with TSA rights, if I he would put new gloves on, and if I could have a gown. He said yes. He escorted me to the room – an electrical closet (so I traded one form of radiation exposure for another). Another witness TSA agent was in the room. No gown – I was half expecting to be strip searched, but it was an over clothes inspection. I would have proudly worn the government issued uniform through the airport.

    I was nervous – this is pretty intimidating. With the three of us in the room, he explained the back of the hand lower body inspection process , inside waistband feel, upper body and leg grope. I stood mute. He asked if I had any medical or religious reasons not to follow any procedure. I stood mute. He asked if I had any questions – I said I believe this is a violation of due process and an illegal search in violation of the constitution. I asked that he not touch my genitals. He proceeded to do his pat down. The leg inspection put his hand in contact with my testicles through clothing, the waistband inspection with my lower abdomen.

    Upon concluding the inspection, he removed his gloves and said he was going to have them tested for residue. While he left, I asked the second agent if he had a lot of protests. He said a few. He said he does not know how he feels about this. On one hand he understands the safety concerns, on the other, he does not know if would want to be inspected this way. He said he understood my objection. The TSA agent returned and said I was free to go. He took my belongings to the bench and I reassembled myself.
    The poor lady was still there. She was practically in tears. I really felt bad for her. Invasively searching our mothers, children, and citizens is not right. Anyway, got to finish up – plane is taking off.

    About me – I am a typical (until two weeks ago) blue state Midwesterner – 40 something years old, lawyer, married, father of two children with a third on the way, Eagle Scout and church choir member. I am not a believer in the far left or right. In this case, the government is overstepping and needs to change.
    Sunday November, 14, 2010

  78. I get the feeling that this will be one of the few times where a ‘Save the Children!’ argument might actually prevent something bad.

    I suspect that more concerned parents would freak out if they were told that the new procedure is either:

    1) We take a picture of your seven-year-old daughter’s naked body, leer at it, and totally pinky swear not to save the photo and/or upload it to the internet.

    2) We grope her vagina.

    1. This is definitely true. The culture of fear can be a double-edged sword, and this certainly has a lot of aspects we’ve been taught to worry about over the years.

      Hmmmm…Any celebrities want to suggest there may be a correlation between backscatter scanners and autism? Causation be damned, just even a hint of a connection would make working those things an absolute nightmare.

  79. The United States is a nation of cowards. Most Americans, especially those newly-minted Constitution enthusiasts known as the Tea Baggers, will embrace any abuse of their rights as long as it is in the name of Life Without Risk. As long as Big Daddy can invoke a bogeyman, whether it’s Muslims, child abductors, or Mexicans, their authoritarian, tribal mindset will never permit a rational accounting of the risks vs. the costs.

    Americans– most Americans– want 100% safety regardless of the costs. And they’ll actually say this to you without shame; you hear it all the time: “If it prevents even one death, I don’t care if they strip me bare and delay me two hours every day for the rest of my life. They can put cameras in every room of my house, and an exploding collar on the necks of me and all my family, as long as it may someday prevent an attack. If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear. I have nothing to fear from authority because I am completely subservient. Oh God I love my masters so much!”

    But this time those in power may have pushed too far, too fast. This TSA controversy pits one irrational fear against another, more fundamental repulsion– sexual abuse.

    1. Imagine the nightmare of the vetting process for new TSA agents as well. All it will take is one sexual misconduct charge against one of the scanner operators outside of work for the entire thing seem even worse than it already does.

  80. Here’s my issue… I’m a survivor of child abuse, more specifically, a survivor of child pornography. It took a very long time and lots of help to get to the point where my body feels like it belongs to me and that I have the right to say no to unwanted use of my body– be that touching or photographing.

    Luckily, I don’t fly often. The last time I flew, I was 16, and I had just gotten away from my abuser. The staff did not touch me. They took all of my sunblock that I’d forgotten to take out of my carry-on, but they didn’t touch me or look at my body. And you know what, the plane didn’t go down.

    I’m 20, now. Now, instead of taking me away from abuse, the industry is trying to abuse me further. Not only are they taking away the right to my body– which I worked like hell to regain, but they’re also taking away my right to informed consent. Those scanners emit radiation. Is there a doctor there to explain the risks, or at least the risks as we understand them? Has anyone taken into account people like me, who have been through abuse. Something like the scanner or the government sponsored grope is retraumatization. Depending on where someone is in healing, that could be a disabling blow.

  81. I’m confused about the contract you agree to when you buy a ticket. Does it not explicitly state that you consent to whatever security procedures the TSA deems appropriate and necessary to allow you to move away from the checkpoint? If it doesn’t include such an agreement, there can’t be a legal basis for being detained for refusing or even refusing to let you board your flight.

    You can give your legal rights away. Consenting to a police search is a good example of this. If you tell a cop that he can search your things (legally, even assisting a search, i.e. unlocking your trunk, has precedent for being consent.), it doesn’t matter if the search was illegal to begin with. Your consent makes it alright. I’m not certain, but I feel quite confident the contract you ‘sign’ when you buy a ticket includes passages that give your legal consent to whatever kind of search and seizure the TSA deems proper.

    Natural rights, personal rights cannot be taken away. But, as I mentioned in the last TSA related thread, they aren’t necessarily protected and aren’t in more cases than they are in this world. I’m saying: the searches they are performing are certainly in violation of some peoples perceived natural rights, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t sign away the legal counterparts to those when they agreed to fly with a public airline.

    As others have said, we need to get NAMBLA to issue a statement claiming that all TSA workers are members. That would rap this bullshit right up. Nothing would get faster change in this country than homosexuality and pedophilia combined with our puritan squeamishness about nudity and sex (no offense, it’s well within your rights to be uncomfortable).

  82. This feels incredibly orchestrated, from the rolling video tape to the threats of legal action. It’s a standard pat down, not a sexual assault.

    I’d have sent him home too, hopefully to learn some manners.

    1. “Someone is going to pat you down and they will be
      raising their hand up your inner thigh until they can reach the
      bottom of your torso.”

      Try this on yourself, and then imagine someone you don’t know placing their hand there. Some people can put themselves into the context of a security procedure being like a medical procedure. It’s okay if someone places their hand on your crotch because the situation makes it okay. There are a bunch of folks who don’t draw that distinction.

      I used to work in an area of a military base where you were patted down every morning before work and every evening while leaving work. Junk-handling was not part of the procedure. I’ve been arrested and searched twice. Again, junk-handling was not part of the procedure.

      It was uncommon enough that the first time this happened to me, boarding a plane to Nice after a layover from the USA in Amsterdam, I was kind of stunned into inaction. I mean, I’d *heard* about that sort of thing before, but never experienced it. It was weird. Would I do it again? Sure, but that’s the kind of person I am. Am I going to have someone do it to my daughter? Not if I can help it.

      1. Also, if she’s the same Jessica Gottlieb that “momblogs”, nice to see her lack of concern about the dignity/health of her own kids being sent through the scanner and/or getting the genital grope.

    2. This feels incredibly orchestrated, from the rolling video tape to the threats of legal action. It’s a standard pat down, not a sexual assault. I’d have sent him home too, hopefully to learn some manners.

      Hi are you affordable and available on weekends? I already assume you have your own incall dungeon, if not, what are your outcall rates? Please, no marks on the face; just my ass and back. I have to keep up appearances up at church, you know.

      1. It’s rude to assume that someone who wishes to teach you manners is perforce a professional dominatrix. Many parents meld themselves so inextricably with that role that they begin to believe that it’s appropriate to treat other adults as if they were their offspring.

    3. You’d better not open your mouth when the next stage of our national security involves fingers in your vagina/anus. People with manners don’t complain, it’s worse to complain than to invade privacy, you know.

  83. This is why I’m hoping that when I travel to the States, I’ll be able to fly in and out of Canada and just rent a car to get into the US. Although they’ll probably find some way to turn a border crossing into an ersatz Stasi affair as well.

  84. Working around x-ray equipment increases your risk of cancer about… well pretty much to the point where you’re probably going to die of cancer if a bus doesn’t hit you first.

    So between the cancer risk and touching people’s herpes-laden genitals all day, I can honestly say that by boycotting airlines, I can make a TSA screener’s jobs a little bit nicer.

  85. Apparently my memory’s not as bad as I thought. Here’s an article from 7.5 YA in Spin Magazine. In it a bouncer – *ahem* Doorman at St Andrew’s Hall, a beloved Detroit music venue describes how to find a hidden weapon without humiliating the searcher and searchee. If these guys have figured it out why can’t the TSA?
    NB: this article is the first time I cam across the word junk for the naughty bits.

  86. Sometimes you have to be fondled and patted down just to enter a nightclub – so it’s not *entirely* unreasonable to have the same security measure for an industry that has justifiable security fears.

  87. Beyond the basic odiousness of it all and the naked picture/grope/abuse-type stuff, what gets me about these procedures is the lack of dignity. I’m fairly comfortable about my body, and although I’ve met a few jerks working for the TSA, most of the agents I’ve met (especially when traveling with my 3 young children) have been helpful and respectful. But: why do the security people need to know things about other passengers that are rightfully kept private, because they are simply embarrassing or private? E.g. people who wear adult diapers, or have wearable medical devices. They shouldn’t have to explain these to strangers, and shouldn’t have to have them “revealed” against their wishes. I saw an older couple getting The Treatment at our local airport and I could tell they were dying of shame/frustration but were too polite (and probably afraid of missing their flight) to make a fuss. The poor gentleman clearly needed his cane (sitting on the scanner belt waiting for collection) but was being forced to stand spread-eagled, and it was obvious that it was hard for him. You could almost see him using every bit of his pride to stop himself falling over. I wanted to run up and drag them out of the pat down zone, and apologize to them for the intrusion.

    The worst part is that “not flying” isn’t much of an option for me because I live in England and the whole rest of family lives in the US, and if one or the other of us doesn’t submit to this bollocks (ahem) at some point, then my children will never get to see their grandparents. I’d love to do the boat/train thing, but getting to Nebraska would become the trip of a lifetime. Have you ever tried being the person who makes a principled stand, with kids in tow? As it is, my sister and her husband have boycotted flying to see me for exactly this reason, and I completely support them but it breaks my heart.

  88. Get enough people to book most of the seats on a flight, have them all refuse, tie up airport security for an hour and then walk away with refunds and leave the airline flying a plane with 6 people on it.
    Do it repeatedly.
    Sure, each person who objects gets the Wonderful SSSSSS code on their tickets from now on, but a protest like that will work.

    1. “Get enough people to book most of the seats on a flight, have them all refuse, tie up airport security for an hour and then walk away with refunds and leave the airline flying a plane with 6 people on it.
      Do it repeatedly.
      Sure, each person who objects gets the Wonderful SSSSSS code on their tickets from now on, but a protest like that will work. ”

      The TSA doesn’t care if it bankrupts the Airlines.

      1. You’ll find the politicians running the TSA care deeply about the pockets of big donors– sorry, I meant “concerned constituents”.

        In the UK, airlines started making noise about the liquids ban (presumably because it forces operators to carry more beverages themselves, often without profiting from it — they are not all using the RyanAir bizplan), and the Transport Minister is now thinking it might be a good idea to lift it, at least on flights they control.

        I bet airlines and airport operators could turn on the fire under somebody’s feet, especially in a situation where 1) Obama needs to re-energize core voters as well as average citizens, and 2) Congress majorities are slim (i.e. there’s more space to bribe– sorry, “persuade”– representatives to vote “the right way”).

        The only question really is where to leave all those useless “screeners”, it’s not exactly the right time to dump quite a few more (mostly unemployable) individuals in the unemployment pool.

  89. So on my first flight Septmber 24th 2001 going through the security checkpoint we had two lovely gay gentlemen in front of us wearing full chastity belts locks and made of all steel. So how exactly would one TSA official deal with such a device now? Would they not be considered undergarments just because they are made of steel?

    1. Hey Anon, loved your comment about the steel chastity belts. I own a steel corset and love it. Wore it when I flew, completely forgetting the steel bits, and of course set the metal detector beserk. I removed it, much to the amusement of all concerned. Didn’t give a shit about who saw, as thankfully I wear it as an accessory rather than an undergarment, and the other passengers and security had a lesson on how to lace and unlace a corset.

  90. morcheeba – I can’t fap to that!

    When it’s my turn to go to the scanner I will just pull out the 8X10 glossy nudes of my front and backsides and tell them, “Here, I’ve saved you the trouble”

  91. Notice how in every one of these stories one thing is constant: after the person asks to opt out, an agent carefully mentions how the pat-down will physically violate them. This seems to provide evidence that the agents were trained to use this notice with the intent of intimidating people into complying with the body scan. It’s not a courtesy notice, it’s a deliberate threat.

    The pat downs are being articulated precisely to communicate to passsengers that they are being molested as a punishment for opting out.

    The threat of suing him for leaving is both disturbing and bizarre. If someone is not under arrest, you cannot punish them for refusing to remain in your custody. Attempting to force someone to remain where they are against their will, when you’re not conducting an arrest, is called false arrest and is a criminal action.

    We would not allow our normal police to do this. If someone brought a police department to court for this behavior a ruling by the court would probably force a change of policy. Why in the hell are people with less training being trusted with so little oversight that they can attempt to conduct a false arrest and an illegal search and not be censured nor warned?

    This isn’t a small oversight we’re looking at, here. This is agents systematically committing crimes against citizens. What the fuck, TSA?

  92. There only needs to be one rule.

    You get on a plane… there may be a Marshal on board. If not, the ad hoc community of the passengers assures the survival of the cargo (passengers). THE COCKPIT DOORS WILL NOT OPEN.

    Problem solved.

    Terrorists can maybe kill a hundred or more people at a time, but they can’t actually DO anything. Killing lots of people is RIDICULOUSLY easy. There are simply not that many terrorists in the world. Almost all people are not bat-shit-insane. Fear of terrorists is kinda stupid. Because it’s really fear of random (unlikely) nut-jobs.

  93. “I get pissed off when someone I don’t know takes a picture of my kid *with her clothes on*”. Ah… So you never take your kid into a drug store, gas station, convenience store, or department store? Pretty much all of which have video cameras recording all the time? Paranoia is the cause of this problem, not the solution.

    There is no difference between treating every person with a camera as if they might be a pedophile, or the government treating every flyer as if they might be a terrorist. The problem doesn’t go away until we get back to the basic idea that a person shouldn’t be treated as if they might be guilty until there is a reason to believe they are guilty. Without assumption of innocence there is no freedom.

    Next time we fly I think I’ll buy my wife a strap-on and have her wear it under her cloths. Then the scanners will really have something to look at :P

    1. “Next time we fly I think I’ll buy my wife a strap-on and have her wear it under her cloths. Then the scanners will really have something to look at :P”

      Plenty of pre/post op trans people aren’t laughing about this, either.

    2. You simply quoted, “I get pissed off when someone I don’t know takes a picture of my kid *with her clothes on*” and missed the all-important: “…and doesn’t ask me if it’s okay first.”

      It’s not paranoid to get pissed off when someone takes your child’s photograph without permission any more than it’s paranoid to want to confront someone when they cut in front of you in line at a movie theater. People are “free” to do that, too. It doesn’t make them any less of an asshole.

      However, I agree that fear of pedophiles and international kidnappers trading pictures of my child at the park ranks up with “crazy driver running her over in our front yard” and “she disappears from her bed in the middle of the night with no clues” level of parent paranoia. So let’s start at that base level: People who take pictures of children without talking to the children’s parents first are assholes. Can you go that far with me?

      You also said this:

      “Ah… So you never take your kid into a drug store, gas station, convenience store, or department store? Pretty much all of which have video cameras recording all the time? Paranoia is the cause of this problem, not the solution.”

      Right. I actually don’t let her leave the house without her homemade “Privacy Hood,” made out of recyclable grocery bags.

      For real?

      I don’t have any problem bringing my daughter into these places. I’ve been filmed in convenience stores and banks pretty much my whole life. So the idea of this being “without my consent” doesn’t wash. I know that this is happening, and because I selfishly want my groceries, clothes, etc., I take her in with me.

      That’s what makes this new dilemma so strange. Normally, if someone asks to take a picture of my daughter, it works out fine. Now they’re asking me, “Do want a technician somewhere to see a picture of your daughter naked, have someone conduct a search that includes running their hand between her legs, or not ride in an airplane?”

      I honestly can’t bring myself to say yes to either of the first two options.

  94. Also, @WhiteFox77: “There is no difference between treating every person with a camera as if they might be a pedophile, or the government treating every flyer as if they might be a terrorist.”

    There are a number of differences here.

    1) He wasn’t referring to security cameras, he was referring to people he doesn’t know singling his child out, which *is* potentially creepy lacking context.

    2) In this case the camera is snapping shots of his child without clothes on for a person he doesn’t know, and he has no power over this. Again, the lack of ability to give permission or remove permission for viewing his very young children in an undressed state is what’s so distressing here.

  95. Hi there. I’m a good looking woman, mid-twenties, and I keep hearing stories about how we always get chosen. I am absolutely not okay with either the porno-scanner or the “enhanced pat-down.” Does anyone have any advice? I have elderly grandparents across the country and can’t get nearly enough time off of work to drive. Is there any way to fly now without submitting to this bullshit? I’m really starting to get uncomfortable and nervous about all of this.

  96. I have a really big penis. Like practical-joke-from-nature/I’d-do-porn-were-it-not-for-modesty/not-anywhere-near-as-awesome-as some-may-assume big. AND I’m gay, AND I have a “thing” for men in uniform (husband’s an EMT, rowr). So I’m curious what happens next time I fly, and I refuse to go through the scanner, and I have to get the pat down, and I get a semi, and the TSA guy finds it the better part of a foot down my thigh? Should I just take it out at the metal detector, explaining “I don’t want to alarm your agent when he comes across this”?
    And seriously, I thought it would be funny when this comes up (so to speak) and then I saw that video, and heard that greasy TSA wonk say “….and I’ll have to pat your groin”, and suddenly I realize just how personal this shit is.

  97. I LOLd inwardly when, flying OUT of the USA, we were allowed to board the plane with cups of coffee, bottles of water, and boxes of takeout from the airport kiosks.
    Flying back in, however, our dangerous dihydrogen monoxide was seized. Rightly so, as terrorists are discriminating enough in their targets to only want US-bound people and things to go kaboom. I suppose, in the logic of our superior overlords, that they suppose that terrorists would think to praise anyone leaving the US. Because they hate our freedumbs.
    So, if I ever fly again, and I should happen to be wearing a strap-on, would I be fined or held in contempt of transportation security?

  98. As Ben Franklin said: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  99. I will be very…ahhh…*amused* when a (coughcough) ‘terrorist’ sets off a bomb while they are either in the line, in the scanner, or being strip searched.

    In the scanner is preferable, minimal loss of human life and maximum damage to the TSA (who I doubt care so much about their people as they do their ‘scanners’)

  100. Okay, so he was sent to the back-scatter machine because the person before him opted for a pat-down? That’s random?

    Terrorist plan:
    – Find group of N like-minded murderous (but not necessarily suicidal, or even militarily competent) extremists.
    – Equip most compentent / suicidal with a weapon / bomb that goes through metal detector, but not through x-ray machine / gropes (these exist, right? otherwise there’d be no point in having x-ray machines)
    – All book flights. Line up at security with weapon-carrier at the back. All other terrorists are clean.
    – If any of first N-2 terrorists are selected for x-ray, they should decline and ask for grope.
    – Back-scatter machine is now likely free. So terrorist N-1 very likely to be selected for it.
    – Back-scatter machine is now occupied, so weapon-carrier goes through.

  101. I’m going to stop showering now for my Thanksgiving flight, I’ve left some clothes outdoors in the rain and rolled them in gas and dirt and Imma going flying!
    I’m also going to thrust my junk forward and claim that I have leprosy and AIDS (since the people at the TSA are stupid enough to most likely believe that you can get those by contact)

  102. This is all about selling lots of these scanners to the government. They hope to make it as unpleasant as possible so people go along with the scam. This whole thing is the brainchild of ex Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, who now stands to make a bundle of money promoting these things.

  103. Its the leaving that gets me…

    I don’t want to be seen naked –ok, we will touch your penis instead. I don’t want my penis touched –ok, you don’t have to get on the plane. Good so far. But then, to be forced to be searched to LEAVE? At this point, I only see 3 options: We will let you leave if you A) let us see you naked B) let us touch your penis, or C) pay $10,000. In what other situation can you be kept against your will, only to be released when you are seen naked, molested or pay a ransom? If he had refused all three (staying put as to not be subjected to a civil case and potential $10,000 fine) and also refused the searches, would he have just sat on that plastic chair forever? Really, the bottom line is that once you pass the “line” and are inside of security, you will be forced to be seen naked, have your penis touched, or pay a get-out-of-jail fee. –I have been thinking about this all night and I just keep seeing myself, flying with my kids, standing next to a TSA guy saying “…you mean to tell me, that before we can leave, you have to touch my son’s penis or you will sue us… seriously?” Unreal.

  104. he probably doesn’t want them to find his camera phone, that’s why he doesn’t want to go through.

  105. My husband and I went to Philadelphia a few years back and wanted to see the Liberty Bell. We had to have our belongings searched to get into the building where it’s kept. It really bothered me that we had to give up liberties in order to be allowed to see a symbol of liberty.
    I told this story recently to a TSA agent (we were actually having a discussion about the topic of the scanners and pat down procedures). He asked me if I got to see it. I said yes. He asked me if I wanted my kids and grandkids to be able to see it. I thought for a moment and told him that I would prefer that they had the liberties the bell represents instead of a symbol of the liberty that used to be. He seemed rather liberal, but still seemed okay with his job. He informed me that the new scanners have less than 1/10,000 the amount of radiation given off from one call on a cell phone, and that the problem of images being stored did not happen in an airport. I admit I don’t know the actual specs of the machine or the source of the stored pictures. Any help here?
    Regardless, I dislike being treated like a criminal when I have committed no crime. I can’t believe that purchasing a ticket for a flight is implicitly giving my okay to let a stranger see me naked or fondle my genitalia.

    1. 1/10 000th of the radiation from a cell phone? Ridiculous. Let me explain.

      Cell phones operate at microwave frequencies – I know, Big and Scary like the microwave oven which ‘nukes’ your food, but the important thing to remember is that microwave radiation is not *small* enough (sufficiently high frequency) to ionize atoms. Microwave ovens are set at a frequency which vibrates water molecules, but it doesn’t ionize them; it doesn’t directly affect the chemical bonds (though this unique method of heating food may affect nutritional content differently than frying or baking, which will affect nutritional content in their own ways). Heat can certainly affect chemical bonds, but the ‘radiation’ won’t be the direct culprit any more than, say, the radiation from a heat lamp.

      Cell Phones, by the way, operate on a different spectrum of microwave, and there’s been no demonstrated effect of them on brain cancer or anything else, nor even a plausible theory of mechanism.

      Ionizing radiation is the thing you have to worry about: it refers to radiation with wavelengths small enough to excite atoms, and send their electrons pinging off to god knows where (thus making them ions – which is where the term comes from). Ionizing radiation starts in the UV spectrum, and X-Rays are pretty high up beyond that – very high energy, and small enough to cause trouble. (Some) microwaves can affect your cells – xrays affect your DNA, which is how they lead to cancer.

      Comparing x-ray machines to cellphones doesn’t make any sense. That said, however, from what I understand these machines are an utterly negligiable source of radiation. They are well within the safe limits, safer than going outside in the summer, and passing them off as a health concern (as much as I’d like to) would be disingenuous.

  106. Great. Because I had the same name as a white supremacist in Idaho, I had 8 yrs after 9/11 where I was singled out for extra attention about every other time I flew. This past year no incidents. Now this.

    Because I had a stroke last year, I tend to fly instead of drive for meetings I have 4 times a year in Dallas. I also have some international travel from time to time. Gonna have to find some other means. These new policies will drive up expenses for me, big time. The price of being free, I suppose.

    1. @Anon: “The price of being free, I suppose.”

      How is reducing your freedoms preserving your freedoms? I’m sure it was meant well, but that’s quite possibly the dumbest/laziest rationalization I’ve heard to justify their existence.

  107. I enjoy the spectacle of the scanner protest, but if people really want the scanners, and security measures to change, all they need to do is vote with their dollars. Stop flying, or at least fly out of airports without the scanners. The airlines hold the most power in changing the TSA and the government does not want the air transportation system to fail.

    Even before the scanners, the increased security was a deterrent to travel by air for me. The scanners make me all that more reluctant to fly now.

  108. For those still reading this thread, an article I read this morning referenced a 9th Circuit case on opting-out of airport checkpoints. See United States v. Aukai, 497 F.3d 955 (2007).

    The constitutionality of an airport screening search, however, does not depend on consent, and requiring that a potential passenger be allowed to revoke consent to an ongoing airport security search makes little sense in a post-9/11 world.  Such a rule would afford terrorists multiple opportunities to attempt to penetrate airport security by “electing not to fly” on the cusp of detection until a vulnerable portal is found.   This rule would also allow terrorists a low-cost method of detecting systematic vulnerabilities in airport security, knowledge that could be extremely valuable in planning future attacks.   Likewise, given that consent is not required, it makes little sense to predicate the reasonableness of an administrative airport screening search on an irrevocable implied consent theory.   Rather, where an airport screening search is otherwise reasonable and conducted pursuant to statutory authority, all that is required is the passenger’s election to attempt entry into the secured area of an airport. [citations omitted]

    How SCOTUS might rule is anyone’s guess but within the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction Aukai appears to foreclose any consent-based arguments. Section IV of Aukai (at 962-963) discusses the proper scope of airport screening:

    A particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it “is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [ ][and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose.” We conclude that the airport screening search of Aukai satisfied these requirements. [citations omitted]

    For what it’s worth, the facts and security procedures as reported in Johnnyedge’s are somewhat different. (Aukai showed up with no ID, triggered a metal detector wand in secondary screening, failed a pat down, and then tried to opt-out.)

    1. The decision in Aukai is based on what has to be the most egregious abuse of legal reasoning I’ve ever come across. Precedents are misapplied or outright rejected with a waive of the hand and the muttering of the magic incantation: “post-9/11 world”.

      Perhaps the most egregious statement in the Aukai ruling is this: “Significantly, the Supreme Court has held that the constitutionality of administrative searches is not dependent upon consent.” This statement is extremely misleading, bordering on a blatant falsehood. In Camera, the Supreme Court held that administrative searches of private homes DO require consent or a warrant. In See it applied Camera to businesses as well. In Biswell, the Supreme Court did allow very limited warrantless administrative inspections of certain heavily regulated industries in order to insure compliance with federal regulations of those industries; but this was explicitly limited to the inspection of business premises – not to private homes or persons – and applied only to specially regulated industries, such as liquor and firearms, not to other businesses. Later, in the Barlow’s case, the Supreme Court rejected the notion that the government could conduct warrantless administrative inspections of businesses for purposes other than those specified in Biswell. The Aukai decision improperly relies on Biswell to justify warrantless administrative searches in general, when the Supreme Court clearly never intended it to do so.

      Moreover, the Aukai decision never addresses the limits the Supreme Court has placed on searches of travelers for smuggled contraband in cases such as Carroll, Almeida-Sanchez, Ortiz, Place, and Royer. What’s more, Aukai simply dismisses, with the most superficial of hand waves, the precedent set in several previous federal Court of Appeals cases, simply by saying: “Our case law, however, has erroneously suggested that the reasonableness of airport screening searches is dependent upon consent, either ongoing consent or irrevocable implied consent.” The footnotes mention no fewer than four previous cases which explicitly hold that the legitimacy of airport screening depends on consent; but these cases aren’t even discussed in the body of the Aukai decision beyond the single sentence quoted above. Dismissing the most relevant precedent without discussion, Aukai relies almost entirely on a gross misapplication of Biswell – aided by the invocation of the terrorist bogeyman and the spectre of 9/11 – to claim that airport screening does not require the consent of the person being screened. This decision is a travesty of everything stare decisis is supposed to be about.

      Nonetheless, even with its horrendous legal reasoning, Aukai still manages to recognize that there are limits to what constitutes a “reasonable” search for purposes of airport security screening. The Aukai case was specifically about the use of metal detectors; and the Ninth Circuit held that this was reasonable because they were “minimally intrusive”. In its summation, Aukai quotes from a decision by the Third Circuit in the Hartwell case, noting that the screening procedures that were then in use (at a time before the body scanners and “enhanced” pat downs became standard practice) were “well-tailored to protect personal privacy, escalating in invasiveness only after a lower level of screening disclosed a reason to conduct a more probing search.” It’s hard to see how this decision can be used to justify the intrusiveness of mandatory body scans or aggressive pat downs.

  109. @Anon: “I enjoy the spectacle of the scanner protest, but if people really want the scanners, and security measures to change, all they need to do is vote with their dollars. Stop flying, or at least fly out of airports without the scanners. The airlines hold the most power in changing the TSA and the government does not want the air transportation system to fail.”

    The prison-industrials have stronger lobbying agencies than the airlines. We’d sooner bail out the airlines several times over than roll back to reasonable levels.

  110. This was an alarming story to see considering I’d flown out of SD airport days prior to this. I too was prepared to opt out as I was in line. Up to this point I didn’t have to consider an actual opt out or how it might go. Turned out that at the last second they diverted me to a traditional metal detector so I never was body scanned, but in case it’s useful, here’s how it went: I told the pre-screening agent woman that I’d like to opt out of the body scanner. Cordially she said to tell the screeners ahead of her that I wished to opt out. She then warned me that the pat down is far more aggressive that “ordinary” pat downs. I said fine (I was prepared to tolerate it…perhaps easier for me as a man to do so, granted). I didn’t overhear any of the 20 or so people ahead of me or behind me opting out, BTW! After a few seconds and screening one person behind me, as if a reaction to it’s unusual nature, she said “you don’t have to tell me, but why do you prefer to opt out?” I ignored the multiple layers of subtext suddenly presenting itself and simply replied “person preference”, as if the answer would be any different. The mere presence of the question indicated she was poised to defend the scanner’s safety, privacy, or mere existence.

    I’d like to see many more opting out as a quiet protest to this practice (but not necessarily sound security). Personally, I was prepared to allow THEM the awkward position (and inherent risks) of searching me, plus my groin, uncomfortable as I probably would be. I realize not everyone would be ok to do this. I find it useful that they would be put on the spot and made more aware of hidden repercussions, particularly if they were having to aggressively pat down a higher number of people, particularly a wider variety with big swings in personal privacy tolerance. Instead, I saw so many reluctantly submit.

    1. “After a few seconds and screening one person behind me, as if a reaction to it’s unusual nature, she said ‘you don’t have to tell me, but why do you prefer to opt out?’ ”

      That’s policy, not curiosity. I was asked “why do you prefer to opt out?” by a screener when I chose to do so.

  111. If a terrorist really wanted to disrupt airline travel, he would attack the queue waiting to pass through security. What would be the TSA’s response to that? In the name of safety, it should be the banning of security queues, one would think. Perhaps the Israeli security system is an example of a non-queuing app roach ….lots of questions that isn’t the security theatre of the TSA.

    1. agreed. we should, maybe not ban queue lines, but take a page from the Israeli airport security playbook and break them up. the linked article shows how we could easily have top-notch security with a fraction of the current level of hassle. in stead of having all security at one point, break it up into logical segments, and make sure all segments work together.—israelification-high-security-little-bother?

  112. Getting my genitals felt up is the only reason I would fly anymore.

    It’s the naked scans, bitchy employees, flatulent passengers, insane luggage rules, screaming children and TSA thuggery that makes me take the train.

  113. Interesting that if that’s policy they also add “you don’t have to tell me”. Must be a behavioral fishing maneuver.

    It’s a bit creepy b/c in the moment it sounds some kind of personal or professional ideological challenge. Makes perfect sense…not. So if they get a response like “because the Cfour I have in my nickers might be detectable”, that might indeed be cause for further examination.

  114. DUDE, I love it! TSA has no laws. They are above the law. They make the laws as they go and if you don’t like it you’ll have a $10k+ fine and you’ll be a enemy of the state.

  115. The guy set out to be a douche-nozzle at the security check, plain and simple.

    However, and I disagree so strongly with douche-nozzle behavior and even in theory douche-nozzle behavior in a situation such as this, this incident does show the Orwellian manner in which the TSA would like to conduct itself. If they had the man power, and barring the development of Total Recall like scanners, they would submit every man, woman, and child to a strip search. They are not interested in behavioral profiling, the kind of profiling the would work, they are simply interested in enforcing a contraband of potentially dangerous items.

    The real highlight of the video for me was at the beginning with the exchange of:

    “What’s the deal with the shoes, are we still taking them off?”

    “Always and forever.”

    Which shows this guys dickishness and the TSAs unadjusted view of threats and their stance on security.

  116. Good for Johnnyedge he’s a true patriot unlike most people that simply passively accept these gross violations by our government of our rights as Americans. I say bravo sir and let us please have more Americans stand up against these measures which are totally out of proportion to the risk posed by terrorism and largely exist to enrich connected individuals through lucrative security and defense contracts. The money ultimately ends up in election coffers and so this is nothing more than 21st century banana republic corruption and the ultimate personification of Jefferson’s statement about such things.

    “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

  117. Hmmm! Well, there’s one person who left the airport with his pair intact. Too bad it took so many years to find one.

    If millions of people opted to be groped rather than irradiated by the machine, the machines would be gone, but not the airport idiocracy. They added nothing to security by their treatment of this man, and his story should illuminate all those of us who still remember what it means to be a citizen of the US.

  118. I was unaware of this event when I passed through San Diego airport this Sunday with my 2 young sons but I too objected to the full body scan and was told I would be searched. I agreed to do the scan anyway because I did not want my 2 young sons to wait for me while neanderthal TSA employees groped me. As I passed through the scanner a female TSA employees as justification said the had submitted to 7 scans as if that would convince me it was okay. She then said that if terrorist stopped attacking this would likely go away, fat chance. I replied that the U.S. is the biggest manufacturer and seller of arms to the world and perhaps our government is the real terrorist. This went over like you might imagine.

  119. I did an opt out only 3 days ago in oakland because i am completely against the porn machine. I agreed to a pat down to see exactly what they would be doing and how through it would be.

    honestly, i did not feel as though i was being groped unnecessarily. My junk was never touched and he never went to the crotch (perhaps this was bad procedure?). I did think it was over the top nor intrusive. I felt mildly safer after the procedure and didnt think my rights were extremely violated.

    I am still bothered by the simple fact i had to endure it.

  120. You crazy Americans and your fear of absolutely everything. You lot have been governed by fear for years. This is just the next step in it. Wait till the next bomb goes off that was carried onto a plane via wig, then you’ll have inspectors there with nit combs and loreal to make sure your hair ain’t a dangerous weapon. Genius!

  121. I think the TSA is really in a lose-lose situation. So the underwear bomber comes along… If you were the head of TSA, would you not do anything to mitigate that threat? So tougher security measures upset us; but if nothing was changed to prevent a similar situation and another attack was successful, then we would really be upset. Lose-lose.

  122. Ten people walking out won’t change policy, due to the fact that airlines are allowed to over-book flights in case people don’t show. They will never see it hit the bottom line, and if more people started doing this, they would simply over-sell flights all the more.
    I read another blog about this issue, and the blogger posted this link. The article is about the Israeli screening procedure, and it really makes sense. Instead of looking for items that could be dangerous, they look for people acting nervous or suspicious, then take further measures. It’s a very common sense approach. Hire people who are experts at reading people to do your screening for you (or train your employees to read emotions), and focus further screening efforts on those who don’t pass the tests. It seems like we just waste a lot of time and money treating everyone like criminals just so we can travel by air.

    1. I’d get picked for screening every time. I have social anxiety so queuing and having to interact with so many strangers in such a concentrated area makes me all jumpy and I bet it looks like I’m acting suspicious :)

      That said, I agree.

  123. I agree with United States v. Aukai, 497 F.3d 955 (2007). Just as there is no absolute right to free speech (i.e., one cannot shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre), neither is any other right absolute. Travel by jet airplane will always involve searches because, as we have seen, there are those who seek to use them as weapons. We enact security precautions proportional to degree of threats, and in accordance with the resources available to counter those threats. Hence, airport security screening.

    What disturbs me is that so few seem to question why the threats exist in the first place. President Carter proclaimed, as if by fiat, that access to Middle Eastern oil was a vital national interest. Of course, long before the US had been acting to protect this and other “interests”. The result has been, predictably, to use the term of CIA coinage, blowback. Land use decisions in the US are not without consequence, nor is ignorance regarding the availability of energy and mineral resources.

    In the run up to the first Iraq war, I acted to disobey what I thought was deeply immoral: the consumption of fantastic quantities of energy simply to move individuals to and from work, mostly via automobiles piloted by solo drivers. It’s odd that most of my compatriots at the time were not blocking the freeways because they believed that the freeways themselves were profoundly harmful; rather, they were protesting vague notions about the inherent evilness of capitalism, or that the war was somehow “racist”. And, of course, their notions on civil disobedience were similarly inchoate, but that’s another discussion altogether.

    But question the very fabric of their daily lives? Neither then, nor in umbrage in the comments herein, do I see such an inkling of awareness. Believe me, there is far worse in store that mere mega-tons of airliner destroying millions of square feet of our cities: there are in the world bombs an order of magnitude larger than that used on Hiroshima that weigh under 200 kg. Fireball radius: 1-2 km. Everything concrete and steel knocked down: 15-20 km. I can tell you this, such bombs won’t come through airports, or in the mail. Moreover, after somebody explodes such a weapon, every other concern will pale in comparison.

  124. Opt out of the scanner, and then drop your pants in front of the groper so he / she doesn’t have to touch anything.

  125. The only way to stop this madness is to refuse to fly.
    Once the airlines begin losing money you will see this bullshit stop.

    The terrorist are winning. Their very limited past actions have caused the most powerful country on earth to fall to it’s knees and surrender the very things that seperate us from the rest of the world.
    True liberty.
    Everyone that submits to these intrusive , unwarranted, unreasonable searches should be ashamed that they are contributing to the erosion of the very thing that it means to live in a free country.

    What does freedom mean? It means that you are free from a heavy handed government that creates an atmosphere of fear to control you.
    Look up some old school definitions of terrorism, and youll find that it was once defined as a method of government that uses fear and intimidation to control it’s citizens.

    Yes the terrorists have won by making the free people of the USA a lot less free than they used to be.

  126. Just eat brown beans the day before,
    and lots of eggs.

    Better yet inject H2S directly in your arse,
    as much as you can hold.

    Make sure you relax while in them lovely hands.

  127. Uh, yeah, what sapere_aude said. I’ll just shut up now. It would help if I actually read a court decision before commenting on it.

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