TSA is sad that we don't want them to touch our junk

Sources at the TSA are bitterly angry that CNN is covering the global horror at the new pornoscanner/genital-fondling procedure: because, you know, it hurts their feelings. Unlike, say, irradiating breast-cancer survivors, terrorizing three year olds, or sexually assaulting mothers while their children look on. Diddums.


  1. This actually brings up a really good point about the “hearts and minds” of actual TSA agents. Are these labia-graspers and testicle-patters perverted, petty tyrants?

    Well…probably not. As many Boingers have mentioned, they’re probably just people who’d like to pay their mortgage, maybe get car repairs in a timely fashion, and enjoy the occasional pint of expensive ice cream. In other words: they’re people like you and I, clinging to a job in an economy of high joblessness.

    Then again, so are drug dealers?

    1. Hope I’m not the first or last to say this…

      but drug dealers provide an actual valuable service. TSA agents not so much.

    2. If we’ve got Pedophile Priests and horny greedy Preachers, and we do, then there may be a perv amongst TSA feeler-uppers.

  2. I, for one, am now ashamed of my civil rights. The Fourth Amendment simply goes too far if it’s going to upset these poor TSA folks.

    All that junk-clunking? Heck, we might even learn to like it someday.

  3. I almost feel sorry for these poor, oblivious, lackwitted automatons. Some of them might honestly believe that irradiating and groping people is making them feel safer.

  4. Do away with the TSA
    Touching our junk is not okay.
    Feeling up three year olds is not the way
    Just do away with the TSA

  5. I’m so happy to see this! I didn’t think us Americans had it in us. Give ’em hell. The TSA has really gone too far. And the fact that some corporation is getting rich off this? Ugh…

      1. Funny you should say that- the wealthiest 10% of the population aside, the average wage in the US hasn’t changed much since 1980. GDP doesn’t have anything to do with what people actually get paid – in fact, since the income disparity has increased so much in the last 30 years, most people are making less and less compared to the GDP.

    1. That isn’t a screener job. That looks more like a regional supervisor job. I truly doubt that screeners get into that pay range.

    2. Are you sure that’s the salary for the front line security guards doing the pat downs?

      The job placement you point to has this “Duties” description:

      “This Transportation Security Specialist position is located in the International Operations Division (IO), Office of Global Strategies (OGS), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If selected for this position, you will serve as a Desk Officer responsible for conducting studies and analyzing trends regarding global transportation security programs and policies in support of Regional Operations Center (ROC) managers, TSA Representatives (TSARs), and International Industry Representatives (IIRs). You will serve as a communication and coordination link between the field and TSA Headquarters, and be responsible for troubleshooting and providing technical assistance to ROC managers, TSARs and IIRs.”

      A list of TSA Position descriptions (http://www.tsa.gov/join/careers/crp/positions.shtm) seems to indicate that the TSA doesn’t hire security guards, but higher level supervisory people only.

      I’m wondering if these pat-down-morons are contracted out? That would explain a lot. If so, the front line workers – who are in the most dangerous position as per as a terrorist attack – and in the most delicate position – as far as dealing with the public, especially now – are basically McDonalds’ workers.

      ‘Would you like fries with that sexual assault?’

  6. “You try to make it as best you can for that child to come through. If you can come up with some kind of a game to play with a child, it makes it a lot easier,” said Marchand, promising to make it part of TSA training.

    That quote could be used verbatim in another recent Boingboing post about a certain contraversial ebook…

  7. I can see it. It’s not like they asked for this policy, they’re just in charge of enforcing it.

    HOWEVER; they should be just as outspoken as us in pointing out its flaws, as they more than anyone else should be in charge of knowing when they go too far!

      1. I never thought the culture of prude that permeates the US would ever bring us anything good. Now there’s a chance that the average American’s fear of his/her own physique will force the TSA to put an end to the worst of the theatrics.

  8. To be honest the TSA spokesman in the video seems like a fairly reasonable guy, considering his job. Note how he skillfully answers Anderson’s question about Chertoff’s conflict of interest without actually defending Chertoff in any way.

    Someone else is deciding the flawed policies that he has to defend as part of his job. The people to demonize are the ones who make up these policies and procedures.

    1. Pistole stated that opting-out, or encouraging others to opt-out, is “irresponsible”.

      So travelers are partners as long as they don’t question the company line or invoke their constitutional rights, then their irresponsible and a threat to safety.

      It’s reasoning of a sort, i guess

  9. I’m pretty sure the majority of front line TSA officers aren’t particularly thrilled at the prospect of groping American style crotch day in and day out.

    I’m sure some of them are reacting to these protests in ways that, with sober second thought, they might not be proud of. That’s a perfectly human reaction. I’m sure many of them are wonderful human beings who are reacting exactly as the Stanford prison experiment would predict.

    They shouldn’t have to grope us, and we shouldn’t have to let them.

  10. whoops, it seems that this guy is not a spokesman but the Administrator of the TSA. Too late to delete my comment now…

  11. @#11
    Do you understand the difference between GDP and Individual Income? #7 is correct. Overall Median Individual Income is ~$32000 in the US. Overall Median Household Income is ~$45000. I will quote you sources, but truly authentic sources provide you raw data, which you are obviously incapable of parsing.

  12. Personal Income:


    Sorry, I don’t take wiki as substantial data either. GDP PPP is not a measure of personal income. Besides, why take estimates from International Money Fund and World Bank, when you can take the data from people who actually do this counting thing for a living? (note, not sure on how CIA world factbook does their estimates)

    $32k for an individual living in the States is a good ball park number, factoring in local prices of goods, purchase power and what not.

  13. I find this video extremely offensive, primarily because of the eye-destroying graphics… why is news reported as a weird floating head in front of crazy CGI graphics? Are the guys in the graphics department holding privileged extortionate information about the producer? Wow, ray tracing software can render rotating images of the Earth with refraction, who knew!?

  14. He diverts questions with unrelated statements that have that Mom/Apple Pie sound to them.

    AC: Do you think that he’s being hailed as a folk hero?
    JP: Well I don’t know about that, Anderson. I just know that the men and women of the TSA are trained to be and are professionals and…

    He might as well just say, “I’m not a big fancy expert. I just love America!” or “I’m 91 years young!” or “Who wants ice cream?!”

  15. “It’s hard to find a job” is simply not a valid argument as to why one should stay in a morally repugnant position. I’m sure TSA agents are generally nice people, but actions speak louder than words and right now they’re grabbing my junk or sending me through the cancer machine.

    Okay, not literally me… I haven’t been to the US of A in a couple years and I have no desire to visit again until this shit is cleared up. But still…

    1. It may be a while before you come over here again.

      The bull sh*t isn’t getting better anytime soon.

      I recently took a short trip out of country and our border patrol agents were a bit out of control and I felt I caught them on their good day.

  16. Sounds like we have a macro version of the Stanford prison experiment

    Counteractions include redesigned uniforms to produce an amount of humiliation equal to what they incur.

    The constitutional logic is that the government can’t profile specific targets, but must examine every human going past the turnstile.

    I’ve not flown much but I’m pretty sure most of us long for the old-fashioned anxiety of the concept of heavier-than-air flight.

    1. I have the same “twilight zone” feeling you have that I am watching a sick re-creation of the Stanford Prison Experiment being suddenly imposed on the innocent airline passengers. At least the “subjects” of the 1971 experiment volunteered and were paid for their time. We need several heros and heroines like Professor Christina Maslach (she was the PhD girlfriend of the principal researcher, Zimbardo, who helped him realize the harm he was doing to his “subjects”).

      We need to spread the word to all in our “circle of influence” to realize how fundamentally unethical it is to recast airline passengers into the role of “suspected terrorist”.

      This experiment must be stopped.

  17. I had a interesting conversation with a screener recently, went something like this.

    (After opting out)
    TSA: (sigh) all right sir, if you would just step this way.(add on their little blurb about enhanced pat downs here)
    Me: You mind me if I ask you a question?
    TSA: Sure
    Me: Do you enjoy your job?
    TSA: I guess you could say that.
    Me: Well you just don’t seem like the kind of guy who enjoys touching another mans penis.
    TSA:(Defensively) I don’t, it’s just part of the job.
    Me: So under no circumstances would you ever get up close and personal if you weren’t here, working?
    TSA: Hell no.
    Me: So what your telling me is that the United States Government is literally forcing you to touch my crotch, under threat of losing your job.
    TSA: Uh.. well…
    Me: If I were you, I’d be looking for a new job
    TSA: You’re not the only one.

    I lol’d

  18. The saddest thing about all of this, which stems from the way the Bush Admin and now the Obama admin reacted to 9/11: you cannot fight terror and violate the Constitution/Bill of Rights at the same time. What made America great was that it stood for a lot of really great things. I’m beginning to doubt if any of that wasn’t just a line being sold to us by a bunch of politicking pocket pickers.

    Terrorism’s REALLY come out ahead here.

  19. tad604 — it-s the TSA, not you, that’s Godwinning us.

    We’re rapidly approaching a situation like this:


    I’m sad that the CNN guy didn’t ask harder questions. I think the health concerns are a red herring, and we shouldn’t focus too much on them. But the privacy concerns are real– and by focusing on the health concerns because that seems “more valid”, we undermine the privacy arguments.

    The CNN guy did ask in an oblique, “let’s avoid saying anything too offensive” about the patdowns being to personal. But he should have used the words “sexual assault”. Also, when the marketing guy from the DHS (whose very good at spewing bullshit, although this is such bullshit that no matter how good you are at it, you end up looking like a fool) talked about how he’s sure that everybody on the airplane wants to be confident that everybody else has been through the best possible security screening, I wish the CNN guy had said, “did you ask them? Are most people really willing to put up with being groped because they feel better knowing everybody else has been groped or had a naked picture taken too?” I also wish he’d quote some Bruce Schneier and challenge the mindless-asshole-with-a-tie about the assertions that all of this leads to better security. He did as a few specific challenges, but should have followed up with “so, the nude scanners might not have caught the underwear bomber, and the groping wouldn’t catch a rectally inserted device. Is all of this worth it? Of all the terrorist plots that have been stopped in the last several years, have any been stopped at airline checkpoints?”


  20. As with every group of people, I’m sure that some TSA agents are jerks, but most of them are regular folks trying to make a living and they’re only doing what they’re told. The media’s portrayal of them as deviant, authority-hungry sex fiends is irresponsible at best.

  21. ” Well you just don’t seem like the kind of guy who enjoys touching another mans penis.”
    -wins the interwebs for today.

  22. TSA definition of “partnership” is clearly not a two-way dialogue amongst equuals, but a ‘deference to and compliance with their authority’.

    God, I hate scumbag spokespeople who speak with forked-tongues like this (even more than the lazy journalists who don’t pick them up on their obvious bullshit).

  23. well, well.

    Look who is standing up for our rights, Ron Paul. How does that make you feel?

    Ron Paul Introduces The American Traveler Dignity Act

  24. Not merely to assuage myself of the cognitive dissonance of finding myself in agreement with Ron Paul, but from a fore-to-this-moment-concluded notion, I feel that people have a right to dignity and that is recognised by the Constitution and officials are ignoring it.

    Also, I believe that Ron Paul does not actually care a good God damn whether people are being fondled and irradiated to fly; Rather, I believe that Ron Paul sees a constituency moving in a certain direction and is scrambling to get in front of it.

  25. Whatever you want to believe about Ron Paul, his position here is entirely consistent with the quasi-libertarian, pro-Constitutionalist positions he has espoused and acted upon for his entire political career.

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see whether that bill gets anywhere, or how the major players will react to it.

  26. Good on Ron Paul. And this is entirely consistent with a general stance against government involvement, etc. Hopefully he can get some nice, bi- pertisan backing (always more likely when a republican brings up an idea)

  27. I did a bunch of travel in September/October, after they’d installed some of the scanners but before they’d started their new policy that has always been the policy about aggressively groping anybody who didn’t want to be scanned.

    When I was going through the line in Kansas City, I commented to the TSA guard “Oh, you’ve got the naked scanners here too”, and she said “We wish people wouldn’t call them that.” She sounded frustrated and unhappy that that’s what they are and that when people call them that it reminds her what an offensive thing she’s doing for a living.

    And comparing what Blue#38 and Anon#1 said, no, TSA’s idea of “partnership” is them bullying the public, as opposed to drug dealers who are providing the public with services they actually want.

  28. I’d just like to point out that “Or the Terrorists Win” is an anagram for “Horror Twit Sentries”.

  29. To change the mind of anyone in power, in this case, the Administration, give them a back door: Janet Napolitano privately calls Michael Chertoff and cancels the next 1,000 units. The President then goes on TV and says “While the scanning units we put in “test market” are technologically effective, they have raised other issues with the American public. Therefore I have directed Janet Napolitano to abandon this path while maintaining the security all Americans deserve.” Everybody wins and Teller donates consulting fee to Doctors w/o Borders.

  30. After the shoe bomber, we had to take off our shoes. After the underwear bomber, we had to be groped. What happens after the bunghole bomber?

  31. Hey, there *is* a simple fix.

    Make the TSA do their job in their underwear.

    Whats good for the goose is good for the gander. They shouldn’t be any more embarassed than those they are fondling…

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