TSA security groping leaves 61-year-old bladder cancer survivor soaked in own urine

61-year-old Thomas Sawyer is a retired special education teacher, and a survivor of bladder cancer. He says he was "absolutely humiliated," broke down in tears and soaked in his own urine, after a degrading and invasive TSA "pat-down" at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on November 7 caused his urostomy bag to rupture. Snip from MSNBC:

Due to his medical condition, Sawyer asked to be screened in private. "One officer looked at another, rolled his eyes and said that they really didn't have any place to take me," said Sawyer. "After I said again that I'd like privacy, they took me to an office."

Sawyer wears pants two sizes too large in order to accommodate the medical equipment he wears. He'd taken off his belt to go through the scanner and once in the office with security personnel, his pants fell down around his ankles. "I had to ask twice if it was OK to pull up my shorts," said Sawyer, "And every time I tried to tell them about my medical condition, they said they didn't need to know about that."

Before starting the enhanced pat-down procedure, a security officer did tell him what they were going to do and how they were going to it, but Sawyer said it wasn't until they asked him to remove his sweatshirt and saw his urostomy bag that they asked any questions about his medical condition.

"One agent watched as the other used his flat hand to go slowly down my chest. I tried to warn him that he would hit the bag and break the seal on my bag, but he ignored me. Sure enough, the seal was broken and urine started dribbling down my shirt and my leg and into my pants."

Sawyer was forced to walk through the airport drenched in his own urine, then board his plane and wait until after takeoff before he could clean himself up in the plane's toilet.

TSA pat-down leaves traveler covered in urine (MSNBC, photo courtesy Thomas Sawyer)


    1. Yep. Make them look like the heartless, brainless, stupendously incompetent fuckwits they are. Nothing they do makes us safer, it only makes us uncomfortable and at worst more fearful.

    1. Someone who has to wear pants two sizes to big, in order to accommodate his medical equipment. Obviously, you weren’t paying attention.

  1. TSA: “I expect to see a procedure coming in place shortly that will directly address the pat-down procedures for people with disabilities”

    Hey, we’re in luck! We’ve already got such a procedure, and it covers everyone, not just people with disabilities. It’s called a warrant, as outlined in the 4th amendment to the motherf*cking US Constitution. Get a warrant, or get your hands off my junk.

  2. @knowles – who makes deprecating comments about a bladder cancer survivor who has to wear pants 2 sizes too large to accomodate his medical equipment? idiots like you, I guess.

  3. I think we need to focus Congress on this in a big way.

    I suggest pornoscaners at every entrance to every Federal Building on Capitol Hill, and your cute but their “I’m an official” button does not get you a free pass, EVER. So be pornoscanned or groped just like every other American you seem to think the rules should apply to.

    After all Capitol Hill would be an amazing terrorist target, and won’t someone think of the children? It really is time that we subject congresscritters to the brunt of what they force every other American to go through in the name of theater.

    Maybe it is time to yank them out of their bubble so instead of lip service they actually get first hand experience of what their bright ideas cause.

    Besides think of all the fun 4chan would have turning wrinkled old junk pictures into a new generation of eyebleaching horrors.

  4. I’m glad I don’t fly anymore. There is absolutely no way I could ever have the patience to deal with these nut-nuzzling flunkies without getting violent and winding up on the wrong end of beatdown.

    Seriously. I’d snap. Things have gotten so comically profane that, as a nation, we should all be weeping with laughter and embarrassment.

    It just amazes me that America, the home of the brave, could so easily allow itself to be little more than a nation of bedwetting cowards who abandon their rights over, not actual threats, but wildly creative threats spawned from the fevered brains of paranoid people.

    1. “as a nation, we should all be weeping with laughter and embarrassment. ”

      this is what happened toward the final years of the soviet union. ignore the machine, or shake your head in embarrassment.

      it’ll all be over soon.

  5. Has it ever dawned on those in power that make these kinds of stupid fucking decisions, that perhaps all the extra “Security” and massive invasions of privacy, the money and time wasted, is worth a whole lot more to Al Qaeda than the once in a blue moon bomb scare?

    They must be rolling around on the dirt cave floor laughing right now.

  6. yeah, but what if that colostomy bag had been filled with nitroglycerine? what about radioactive nitroglycerine? dick cheney would have the last laugh.

    1. yeah, but what if that colostomy bag had been filled with nitroglycerine? what about radioactive nitroglycerine? dick cheney would have the last laugh.

      You’re talking crazy. Dick Cheney NEVER laughs. He is literally not wired for it.

      1. “Dick Cheney NEVER laughs. He is literally not wired for it.”

        You’re being totally unfair. Cheney is fully capable of laughter. It’s just that few living beings have heard him do it, as he reserves the act for when he sees the look of terror on a meal’s face when he unfolds his feeding tentacles.

  7. Danger averted. Thank you TSA! Also, next time stick to the recommended 3 oz container for liquids and we wouldn’t have this problem to begin with. Sheesh, some people.

  8. while I agree with everyone that this is beyond outrageous there’s one thing about this particular story that isn’t quite ringing true – why did he have to wait until he got on the plane to clean himself up? Why didn’t he just use an airport restroom?

    1. After being held up like that, my guess is that he didn’t have any time to use the restroom in the airport without missing his flight.

      1. not true – I’ve traveled through Detroit countless times and there are plenty of bathrooms in the terminal. In fact I’d hazard a guess that ALL airports in the US have bathrooms after security.

        1. What exactly are you expecting to show here? That, because of some bathroom based confusion, that this guy is lying? Really?

          1. I was merely pointing out what seemed to me to be a discrepancy in the story. I’m not accusing him of lying just being a skeptical reader. Especially when issues get emotionally heated, as this one is (and for good reason), we all need to be doubly sure about the stories we’re reading.

          2. But there isn’t a discrepancy in his story. Your question is answered in the last two lines of the article. He didn’t go to another bathroom before boarding the plane because: “Sawyer was forced to walk through the airport drenched in his own urine, then board his plane and wait until after takeoff before he could clean himself up in the plane’s toilet.”

            He was marched in custody from interrogation to directly on the plane is how the above statement from the article reads to me. He didn’t have an opportunity or choice in the matter which is consistent to his story and shows no discrepancy.

        2. Lakelady, it’s about being in the “secure area” and being unable to LEAVE the “secure area” once you go through the give-me-cancer-and-put-my-naked-pictures-on-google machine or get groped by Uncle Bingo. If you attempt to leave, you can be fined up to $10,000.

          I WISH I was kidding about this.

      1. Based on the TSA “agents” I’ve seen, I suspect there wasn’t much of any job they could’ve landed otherwise. To generalize, these are uneducated, textbook civil-servant types, of the same kind you see staffing any government agency, as clerks and counter “help.”

        “Security guard,” has a very low barrier to entry, if any restriction at all. And, the TSA “agents” aren’t armed, so having some black mark on your record isn’t an impediment either.

        What a miserable job, it’s not much better than the “job” of sticking flyers in the faces of pedestrians. I think doing yardwork/mowing actually requires more talent.

        So, you take these kinds of people, command them to follow/enforce a list of pointless bureaucratic rules, and give them some “authority.”

        Reminds me of that SouthPark Cartman cop character: “Obey my uh-thor-i-tay!”

    2. Time? Do you have ANY IDEA how long it takes those of us who are disabled to get around in an airport? I arrived 8 HOURS before my last flight and barely made it to boarding. I couldn’t arrive any earlier because the airport doesn’t open until 4am.

  9. I imagine that if enough people sue over this kind of thing (as well this man should), we’ll eventually see some changes to this horribly inept system.

  10. The only thing that makes this tolerable is I’m forcing myself to believe the guy who patted him down was sprayed with urine, preferably in the eye.

  11. I’m amazed, despite the seemingly high proportion of Americans who are dumb enough to be transparently manipulated with nonsensical, emotive drivel, that the American people as a whole have allowed themselves to be so brutally overrun by by such blatantly treasonous arseholes.

    It’s pretty bloody obvious that all this security theatre bullshit isn’t about what it’s supposedly about. So why aren’t more folks questioning the motives of the scumbags responsible?

    That stuff in the constitution about the citizenry protecting the country from the government was a nice thought, but evidently under-developed…

  12. If you have medical equipment the TSA has always said you have to be culled from the herd for special manhandling.

    And the Amputee Coalition of America has been unhappy with the TSA for some time & not much publicity generated.

    I’m disabled/wear medical equipment and had to change planes in Detroit a couple months ago.

    I told the screener I was disabled & was wearing medical equipment.

    My computer and bag were sent through xray & I wasn’t allowed to retrieve them from the end of the line where they sat for 10 minutes waiting to be stolen.

    Then I was given a thorough groping / had to raise my shirt up to my bra and afterward I was taken to a swabbing station where my hands were swabbed for explosives.

    Napolitano has said “It’s all about everybody recognizing their role.”

    My role is US citizen – with all the rights that are given by the creator & guaranteed by the Constitution.

    At least I was under that impression at one time.

    1. if all you were doing was changing planes why were you going through security? I’ve never had to do that in Detroit.

      1. Apparently you’ve never been on an international flight through Detroit. Last time I went through there, I had to get my luggage, carry it to another terminal, re-check it, and go through security again.

      2. It can happen in Phoenix if you transfer between some airlines and have to change terminals. You have to reenter security.

    2. Anon@23, I’m not usually disabled, but occasionally I get into arguments with gravity or other laws of physics and lose, so when I was travelling in early October I was using a cane and an ankle brace. It was after many of the airports had installed naked scanners but before they had enough people refusing to go through them so they hadn’t initiated the enhanced-interrogation gropings for uncooperative travellers.

      First I had to deal with the “does the cane go through the baggage X-ray” bit, which had changed since the 80s when I last had to do it – it does, but I could limp through the metal detector without touching it, and didn’t beep. Then, since I didn’t feel like fighting with them that day, I went through the scanner, but when they did the “assume the position” bit for the convenience of the scanning system, I couldn’t, because my ankle wouldn’t go that direction. The after-the-scanner thug decided he felt like groping me a bit – made me take my belt off, which was awkward but my pants only slid down to hip-hop level, and groped me more than in any previous trip but less than the new punishment gropings. I complained to him that he was being inappropriate, but didn’t feel like yelling at his supervisor, who would after all have told me that the rules have always been that way.

      Knowles@2, maybe you don’t know this, but not only has taking off your belt never been a requirement unless you have big heavy belt buckles, but the metal detectors at most airports are usually set so that normal belts and wrist-watches don’t trigger them. And also, maybe you’re one of those skinny non-convex people, but fat people need belts or suspenders to keep our pants up.

    3. sadly, thay’ve already though of it and done a pre-emptive end run around your constitution by declaring these security screening areas to be extra territorial and not subject to the constitution or any other laws of the United states except for those laws they themselves want applied so they can cow you into submission… the ADA doesn’t apply because apparently, these ares are not on US soil unless they want to apply a US law against you… weird isn’t it…

      your fundamental human rights acts don’t apply in these areas either…

      1. I was aware of that possibility.

        I disagree with the legal argument that is used to produce such a situation. However, I am a layman, and as such my opinion of the law has very little weight with the mental masturbation society that has produced legal opinions that trample my rights and protect those poor, helpless governmental institutions from the inconvenience of having to adhere to the constitutional protections this country was supposedly founded upon.

        I still call bullshit.

        (expletive deleted)

  13. Where are our congressmen/woman? They write the laws (with pres sig of course) so they ultimately control the TSA and its function. Pressure needs to be put on congress to let them know the line has been crossed between “safety” and abuse.

    The USSR was supposedly pretty safe from regular criminals. So were mafia-controlled neighborhoods. I don’t think I’d want to live in either one though.

  14. how many horror stories do we need ot hear before we change the way we travel! The powers that be invested millions of dollars in these cancer causing privacy invading machines and all we do is literally piss ourselves and nothing changes!

  15. I initially saw TSA as an exercise in Republican fear-mongering and had hoped that Obama would introduce some rationality. I’m bitterly disappointed, and I’m seriously wondering how I’m going to vote in the next election. Is this an issue that only third parties (e.g. Libertarian) will be willing to touch? Will Obama face a primary challenger? Or will he finally come to his senses, sack Napolitano and Pistole, and see some sane policies implemented?

    1. “Bitterly disappointed” is an excellent way to put it. And based on this CNN story, there’s little doubt that Obama has no plans to return to his senses:

      “One of the most frustrating aspects of this fight against terrorism is that it has created a whole security apparatus around us that causes huge inconvenience for all of us,” [Obama] said.

      It’s not an ‘inconvenience’. Not being able to carry on nail clippers is an inconvenience. These “enhanced searches” are humiliations.

  16. I went through security today at Houston airport and watched two elderly white guys have to stand spread-eagled while TSA agents felt them up. One guy had his groin touched four separate times. It took so many minutes I didn’t have time to watch the whole procedure, but it was conducted in front of everyone going through security.

  17. Mr. President,

    Please don’t make me choose between spending time with family for the holidays and having my little girl molested.

    The American people have already spoken on whether we think it’s acceptable to have people photograph us naked. And it’s not, we have laws against that!

    The American people have already spoken on whether it’s Ok to be molested and have our breasts, vaginas, penis, scrotum and butts fondled. IT’S NOT OK! We have laws against that!

    The American people have already spoken on whether it’s Ok to touch the breasts, vaginas and genitilia of little boys and girls. IT’S NOT OK! THERE ARE LAWS AGAINST THAT!

    We spend BILLIONS of Tax Dollars that could go to rebuilding America to rehabilitate RAPISTS and PEDOPHILES and for what? So instead of being off the streets they can go work for the TSA.

    Mrs. Obama once said she is finally proud to be American. Well today Mr. President, I am ASHAMED to be an American. And if you turn your back on us here, I say I am ASHAMED to have supported YOU!

    1. Hey Anon,
      I was about to copy and paste your entire post and send it to the Prez as an email. (Yes, blatant plagiarism, apologies). But I despair that it would be read, understood or do any good at all.

      I completely agree with your sentiments and all I can think to do right now is sign myself up as one more who is sick to death of this shit.

    2. Dear Anon,
      Well, I did it. I actually stole your words. I paraphrased and added some. And emailed to the White House. I hope you won’t be angry… Just know that your words inspired me to actually try and express my opinion. I hope you’ll approve of what I wrote to the end that we share this struggle. Below is the text I sent.

      Thank you, Jake


      “Dear Mr. President,

      I’ve never written to the President before. I’ve written to my Representatives and Senators a few times. Once even with a semi-satisfying reply.
      But, I find that I must express my strong objection to the latest TSA procedures. I would guess you know what I’m referring to. Invasive scans and physical searches which include people’s most intimate body parts. I find that I need to be convinced that these procedures do anything at all to make the general public safer.
      I believe that the American people have already spoken on whether we think it’s acceptable to have strangers photograph us naked without our permission. And it’s not, we have laws against that.
      The American people have already spoken on whether it’s OK to have strangers touch our breasts, vaginas, penis, scrotum and rear ends without permission. Its not OK. We have laws against that.
      We spend BILLIONS of tax Dollars that could go to rebuilding America… for what? To give SOME people a feeling of “security”? I sincerely believe that there is a strong argument to be made against treating everyone as a suspect. There must be a better way. We are supposed to live in the Land of the Free!
      Mrs. Obama once said she is finally proud to be American. Well today Mr. President, I am almost ashamed to be an American. And if you turn your back on us here, I will have to feel ashamed to have supported you.

      Please consider this.”

  18. Y’know, I’ve been thinking about this thing for a whie now. Especially since I’ve lately had to take planes much more than usual (and, thankfully, was NOT subject to bodyscans or patdowns).

    We’re bitching and bitching about ‘federal thugs’ and ‘government terrorists’. While there is certainly some degree of validity to those claims, I wonder if the extremism of the reaction isn’t going to contribute to causing exactly the same problem under different guise? After all, what will be a Republican controlled congress’ response to this? “It’s because it’s GOVERNMENT! Security should be handled by PRIVATE firms.” And the result? More minimum-waged, poorly trained workers under the cover of authority becoming little tyrants, only at that point, they will be one more step removed from OUR control. They will answer only to their employer, who will doubtlessly be some Blackwater-esque paramilitary private security contractor with their own pet congresscritter.

    It seems to me, and this is just and idea, that our anger should be much more focussed on the INCOMPETENCE of TSA, and how we can change its rules and functions to be less about buying expensive machines from a firm in someone’s home district and more about hiring and training skilled professionals to do a job that, well, requires highly skilled and trained professionals. And the only way to do THAT is to pay them more than a mall security guard.

    Americans clamor for security, safety, and for someone somewhere to DO something, and then get incensed when presented with the bill.

    1. Lectroid brings-up a very valid concern here. Already, it’s being played-up that airports can, in fact, use private firms instead of TSA to perform the security checks. As in competent as the TSA seems to be in this regard, the idea of some Blackwater or CCA-esque firm running the checkpoints is much more disturbing.

      I think the issue is really more of training than anything. I seriously doubt any of the TSA workers want to be groping travellers’ junk. I can only imagine the thoughts of “Can this job get any worse?” that went through their heads when this new act of security-theater was announced. Add to that the low pay, monotonous work, and dealing with an already surly public, it’s no wonder things like this happen.

      What needs to change are the rules being hatched by TSA. The decision process that results in systems such as this. And training. Get the people on the front lines some real, thorough training. And pay them better. Even hookers get paid better to handle your junk.

  19. Isn’t a failure to accommodate a person with a disability a violation of the ADA?
    Doesn’t this give him grounds for a lawsuit?
    Everyone that has a medical issue that they have to adapt to for passing through this particular gauntlet needs to stand firm and flip the switch on a recording device (for their own protection) when they are confronted by these goons.

    I won’t be flying for a while, my current method for dealing with security checkpoints at public buildings is potentially too confrontational for the airport. I use the word “no” when a security person asks me to do something that I don’t like.

    Walk through the metal detector without my aluminum cane- no.

    Walk away from the feed belt for the x-ray machine that I am blocking until I get my cane back- no.

    There is no way that I am going to irradiate the potentially pre-cancerous spots on my face that show up with as little as 15 minutes exposure to the summer sun, so passing through a machine that puts the same amount of radiation that I experience at high altitude directly to the surface of my skin is also going to be a no.

    And finally, when someone has decided that they need to squeeze my junk wants to do so without my permission (and that is not something that I am going to consent to without a fight- knowing that I am going to be beaten down by the army of people that they send- it isn’t pretty) that is also going to be a no, and I am not going to start a fight about it, I am just going to keep repeating the word no until someone decides to take me down or let me go. I’m pretty sure they are not going to let me on the airplane after that, but that is not my fault, I haven’t committed a crime that lets them do that to me, and I refuse to let anyone say to me that I should just go along with it because it is the only way.

    I call bullshit.

    It has now been proven to my satisfaction ((and it should be to yours,as well) that the methods that are used to determine threats to society do not work the way that proponents of theses methods claim- you can look at the news today and find that the person that was trusted with the personal safety of the QUEEN OF ENGLAND was, in fact, a proven threat to the very basic fabric of society. Hell, the President of The United States of America just proudly admitted that he was fine with destroying the essence that holds our nation together in order to “protect” us.

    The sad part about all of this is I look at the people around me in this world as potentially needing my help on a bad day, and if I can, I will help them- if I can. Usually I can help, even if it is only in an emergency response kind of way.

    I am not a threat to the air plane, I travel because I am trying to get somewhere.

    Where does that leave me?

    Out in the cold?

    Probably, it’s why I keep a warm sleeping bag around.

    Bummer, dude.

    1. Airlines and airports aren’t subject to the ADA. There are some protections offered by the DOT, but I have researched this because I am disabled and have had a large number of problems in airports. The DOT protections are far less than those provided by the ADA, and if you have a complaint the airport and airlines hire the people who resolve it, so the findings are ALWAYS in favor of the airline or airport. No appeal is allowed, and no court or impartial third party is involved.

  20. Just out of curiosity, what are these gropers supposed to do if they happen to find explosives/chemical weapons/the Ark of the Covenant strapped into someone’s nether regions? Call a supervisor? Wouldn’t the terrorist simply take that moment of discovery as an opportunity to harm all the people around them, bottle-necked by security theater?

    We make ourselves increasingly less safe while sacrificing liberty, and in the case of the gentleman in the article, basic dignity, to what end?

    We are not safer and we seem to be terrorized. Who is winning this war?

    1. Wouldn’t the terrorist simply take that moment of discovery as an opportunity to harm all the people around them, bottle-necked by security theater?

      The lack of a “security checkpoint bomber” has surprised me for some time. I can’t imagine anything that would drive the already failing US security culture into a costly overdrive more. Why even bother trying to get on the plane?

    2. Mgfarrelly wrote, “Just out of curiosity, what are these gropers supposed to do if they happen to find explosives/chemical weapons/the Ark of the Covenant strapped into someone’s nether regions? Call a supervisor? Wouldn’t the terrorist simply take that moment of discovery as an opportunity to harm all the people around them, bottle-necked by security theater?”

      Of course not. The mad bombers from whom the U.S. Department of Homeland Security protects us are not interested in wreaking havoc in parks, restaurants, train stations or theaters, at sporting events or concerts, on crowded street corners, or in the lines of people just outside TSA’s airport barricades — only on airplanes. If they really wanted to strike fear in the hearts of the public, they’d detonate their bombs in all those places we can’t avoid by simply refraining from flying. You don’t see bombs going off in any of those places large numbers of people frequently assemble, do you? It’s all about the airplanes. Gotta keep the bogeymen off the airplanes.

  21. This story is heart wrenching, but I kind of have to question the editorial decision to run the gentleman’s photo with the story. Hasn’t he been embarrassed enough already?

    1. They can stop doing it and go on strike. I know they’re legally barred from unionising officially, they should just do it unofficially. Can you imagine how much respect they’d get from the public for standing up to this shit?

  22. @anon # 20
    “I understand now… we terrorize our own citizens so Extremists don’t have too Brilliant!”

    Don’t you rather mean:
    “I understand now… we terrorize our own citizens so OTHER Extremists don’t have to. Brilliant!”

    The US government and its various mad subsidiaries must be considered an extremist faction based on its actions.

  23. Instead of refusing the pat-downs at the National Opt-Out Day, I think the protesters should just up the ante by stripping off all their cloth on the spot …

  24. This is most discontent I’ve heard from the public in a long while. I’m an definitely intrigued about where this will go. Maybe people will figure out who their Senators and House reps are?

    This as you know is a trend. Post 9/11 is defined by spying on citizens, torture, opacity of government, and all kinds of liberty rule bendiness.

    Non-Americans calling us pussies doesn’t help much though. Thats just triumphalism.

  25. There’s nobody hiding in any goddamn cave.

    That show was canceled years ago.

    Are we still going to be fighting this phantom cartoon in 2020?

  26. There’s a point at which free people with any self-respect have no choice but to rebel and refuse to participate.

    This will kill the airline industry.

    I hope Congress has the courage to put an end to this — now or after the new representatives take office.

    What a nightmare.

    “Land of the free.”

    Right. Not anymore.

    The regulatory fingers are everywhere — not just in your pants at the airport. They’re also in your medical records (new federal mandate to put all records on computer databases), in you Happy Meals, in your fireplace (can’t start a fire on nights when the government says no, in some places), in your car, basically everywhere you move and everywhere you rest.

    I hope and pray we reclaim at least some of our vanishing freedom in my lifetime.

    The first step is to realize how much we’ve lost, and how precious it is.

    1. The regulatory fingers are everywhere — not just in your pants at the airport. They’re also in your medical records (new federal mandate to put all records on computer databases), in you Happy Meals, in your fireplace (can’t start a fire on nights when the government says no, in some places), in your car, basically everywhere you move and everywhere you rest.

      I hope and pray we reclaim at least some of our vanishing freedom in my lifetime.

      The first step is to realize how much we’ve lost, and how precious it is.

      If you think freedom lives in a Happy Meal, then I think you’re the one who’s not quite clear on how much you’ve lost, and how precious it was. Imagining why there might be a legitimate public interest in regulating air pollution or automobile safety is left as an exercise for the reader.

    2. “The regulatory fingers are everywhere — not just in your pants at the airport. They’re also in your medical records (new federal mandate to put all records on computer databases), in you Happy Meals, in your fireplace (can’t start a fire on nights when the government says no, in some places), in your car, basically everywhere you move and everywhere you rest.

      I hope and pray we reclaim at least some of our vanishing freedom in my lifetime.

      The first step is to realize how much we’ve lost, and how precious it is.”

      “If you think freedom lives in a Happy Meal, then I think you’re the one who’s not quite clear on how much you’ve lost, and how precious it was. Imagining why there might be a legitimate public interest in regulating air pollution or automobile safety is left as an exercise for the reader.”

      You said it. That “happy meal” comment undoubtedly came from a Tea Party’er or “Libertarian” who believes the “free market” will _always_ solve everything, and that corporations and individuals should be able to harm anyone/anything they please.

      “I hope and pray”?

      Prayer: How to do nothing, and still think you’re helping.

  27. Since it happened at an airport within the D.C. Metro area, you would think that now the people on capital hill will take notice. I wonder how many congressmen have to go through these TSA scans, or do they get to skip past them?

    It’s a two-tiered system. If you’re going on a private jet, you don’t deal with any screening security at all (even though a private jet could potentially do as much damage as a commercial airliner). The TSA has considered giving private jet passengers a one-time “background check” but nowhere near the same level of groping and nudity the rest of us face. So as long as rich people get to circumvent the system, they’re quite content to let the peasants suffer.

  28. I have a colostomy (I poop into a bag). I was taken to a private room in Philadelphia the last time I visite the United States. Obviously I wear oversize pants too, when taken to a back room – the “nice screener” (or me) accidenty unlocked the clip holding the bag closed. I think the screener was as uncomfortable as I was, he sure had quite a bit of the brown goo on him.

    He did not like me saying “but this is the price for freedom, I might have had a bazooka in my colostomy bag”)

    But I COULD carry a pistol in the bag, or some drugs.. so it’s best to be safe than sorry. I am 55% disabled, so it’s POSSIBLE that I could outwrestle a stewardess and hijack an American Airplane..

  29. Before 911 I was looking forward to visiting ‘the land of the free’, I mean I knew your country had faults but what country doesn’t.
    Soon after 911 The USA’s foreign policy disgusted me so much I made sure I went boarding in Canada instead.
    A few years later with a change of administration I felt that it wouldn’t be long before I got the chance to travel & experience the US of A.
    Once liberty had been put back in place that is.

    Well I’m sick of waiting and have come around to the fact that no intrusive pat-down by your border stasi is worth it.

    Good thing your country doesn’t need my tourist dollars.

    Extremists 1 USA 0

  30. I was looking forward to an extended holday in the USA which I have now deceided to cancell, as I refuse to put myself or my wife through the PORNOSCAN or the disgusting “bits” fondling by the TSA goons!
    I am not a criminal!!!!!!!!!

  31. One way to bring the pornoscanner problem home for politicians would be to start up a fund to pay a bounty for pornoscanner pics of politicians. It could be set up so that people could donate to the bounty-fund, kind of like how James Randi’s million dollar bounty for proof of the paranormal used to work.

    I’m sure there are plenty of TSA employees who would be more than happy to cash in on the bounty by supplying pics. Perhaps there could be a sliding pay scale with more money paid for pics of more prominent politicians.

    The pics could be posted on a website. Politicians shouldn’t have anything to hide, should they?

    For this to work of course the idea of the bounty existing (whether it does or not) would have to be widely publicized. Want to spread the meme?

    1. If you think the ruling class is going through the same security queues as the drones, I’ve got a bridge I’d be interested in selling you.

  32. Responding to Anon, comment #69…
    I’ve considered that (just taking it all off, right there in front of God and everybody). The fact that I, a conservative 70 year old lady would consider such a thing says a lot about how outraged and offended I am by this BS.

  33. I used to think that once the liberties of straight white men were as grotesquely infringed upon as those who are not, there would be a sense of national empathy that would change the tides of discrimination.

    All I can think now is that Obama will be definitely be out of office come 2012. How long before the GOP turns this against the Democrats? Its like Anthony Burgess’ “The Wanting Seed”.

    THis is crazy. I don’t know what I would do if I saw someone suffer such indignities. Let alone the agents (please don’t throw things at me).

    1. … And I’m proud to be an American! Where at least I know I’m free!

      Thank you! I was planning to sing the Star Spangled Banner while they groped me, but I think I’ll sing this instead.

  34. This is what happens when you take people who normally you only have to deal with when they bag your groceries and give them a uniform and some power.

    1. This is what happens when you take people who normally you only have to deal with when they bag your groceries and give them a uniform and some power.

      You’ve hit the nail on the head there.

  35. Meanwhile, the terrorists are literally laughing at us, as we do their work for them.

    The latest issue of Al-Qaeda’s glossy on-line mag (third-party link that won’t get you arrested, maybe) actually boasts of how much reaction they can cause with a trivially small investment.

    Many First World countries have faced dangerous terrorist groups in the past decades, and successfully dealt with them in a sane, adult manner. The UK’s IRA, France and Spain’s Basque separatists, the Germany’s Red Army Faction: all defeated without the insane war-starting, civil-rights stripping over-reaction that the USA is now specializing in.

  36. How are they going deal with a weapon strapped to a guy if they can’t even deal with a colostomy bag…?

  37. This is pretty disgusting that this is allowed to happen for not even a percentage point in safety.

    TSA: Fighting the battles of yesterday, Today!

  38. So –
    Here we have a man who was trusted to EDUCATE CHILDREN, some of the most vulnerable children in the school population, and now we think he might be too dangerous to board a plane? WTF is wrong with people? Why do people have to be seen as blank slates all the same when they walk through the screening line?

  39. I don’t think my mum will ever fancy flying. Not that she’d have enjoyed it much before either.

    Needless to say, as she has to wear a colostomy bag (thanks to some cancer treatments) that would be a pretty shitty experience with the TSA.

  40. In a previous life as a junk-toucher at Heathrow Airport in the 90s, I frisked an elderly Japanese man and found something strange under his clothes. He spoke no English but one of his companions translated enough that we took him of to the private screening room. Turns out it was a colostomy bag.

    If looks could kill, I’d be typing this through a Ouija board.

    Everyone’s having a go at the TSA screeners, but the truth is their job allows them no leeway. If you set off the metal detectors at a UK airport, the “enhanced” pat-down has been standard practice for over 15 years. Disabled people will be frisked in their wheelchairs, people on crutches are made to hop through metal detectors sans support, old men must show off their colostomy bags. If exceptions are made, Wily Al-Qu’aida will simply start sending amputee-bombers and colostomy assassins to go with the Butt Plug Bombers they’ve already trialled: http://homelandsecuritynewswire.com/saudi-suicide-bomber-hid-ied-his-anal-cavity

    1. “If you set off the metal detectors at a UK airport, the “enhanced” pat-down has been standard practice for over 15 years.”

      I’ve set off plenty of detectors at airports in UK and been patted down many times as a result. And I’ve never experienced a pat-down as “robust” as those now being described to us as now being done by TSA. It was a pat-down every time, not an intimate search – there is a real difference.
      Read this, where the difference is explained.

  41. It has been suggested TSA adopt the Israeli passenger screening methods that rely on the intelligent and experienced screeners to ask passengers questions, so passengers are not needlessly subjected to humiliating body searches and X-ray scans. It should be noted Israel is a small country with few commercial airports compared to America. Israel can staff its limited airports with a sufficient number of educated/intelligent interrogators to screen air passengers; TSA on the other hand is hiring the extreme opposite. TSA screeners appear short on education, interrogation skills and some apparently lack the ability to think and solve simple problems. It is questionable whether U.S. Taxpayers could afford the costs to pay Israeli educated level and experienced screeners at most American airports. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are revolting, won’t stand for being stripped naked/ invasive pat downs and touching by current level TSA screeners and or radiated by X-ray scans every time they fly; problematic in the future to include taking a bus, train and stops at TSA vehicle check points. TSA’s mistreatment, humiliation and general abrasive handling of Americans at airports, may be a portent to Americans (next) getting a Boot in their face if they refuse to be stripped searched or x-rayed before boarding—any form of public transportation.

    Another problem with TSA strip-searching and X-raying Citizens, is that it can be used by the government in power to selectively target individuals that lawfully speak out or write against U.S. Government, harassing targeted Citizens at every mode of transportation with relentless body searches, pat-downs and X-ray scans to the point Americans will be reluctant or afraid to travel anywhere by plane, bus or drive their vehicle on the street because of TSA Check Points. In Northern Ireland not many years ago, it was alleged numerous times over decades that British soldiers at roadway vehicle check points, waved Irish Catholics though, then machine gunned the occupants claiming the vehicle failed to stop. Irish Catholic communities protested and complained. The Northern Ireland British Government would call a committee to investigate taking 18-months to determine cause of death. In the interim another alleged British atrocity would take place against Catholics overshadowing prior killings and alleged false arrests and imprisonments. Catholics traveling were intentionally harassed by British troops and police at highway check points, forced to submit to humiliating searches; political activists were delayed or taken away so they could not drive to a political meeting or speak at an event that opposed British polices. Could U.S. Citizens be similarly targeted e.g., Tea Party Members, anti-war activists and others after TSA overseen by Homeland Security, extends its body searches and X-ray scans of passengers, boarding trains, buses and at vehicle check points?

  42. We can blame the TSA all we want and call the security personnel ‘jerks’, but stupid people in crap jobs who don’t care are stupid.

  43. And there is even a funny side to this sad story:

    The funny side is, that you Americans just TAKE IT. You let not only the government, but also other organisations shit on you from a great height.

    Do you know that there is be a possibility to just stand up and say: “That’s enough now. We don’t want anymore of this!”

    Things like these “security measures” are happening all over the globe. The difference is, if and how the public handles them. Suing the government (and winning), going on national strike, telling the government to get out and electing a new one. These are just some examples of what has been going on in good old europe over the past years.

    You as the people descide how much you want to take and when the line is crossed. But americans just seem to cry and moan in the newspapers and on the internet instead of standing up and making it stop.

    1. Do you know that there is be a possibility to just stand up and say: “That’s enough now. We don’t want anymore of this!”

      People say shit like that all the time.

      Free speech is nice, but it takes a lot more than that to change something.

  44. Oh how I (almost) wish I still had my ostomy bag. (for this one reason) It was hell but it would almost be worth it to empty it in the screening area. Half a liter if shit on the floor would make the rest of their day almost as much fun as the people they are molesting are having.

  45. Is it just me or does anyone else think these extra security procedures are going to find 10000x more drug smugglers than terrorists.

  46. Once again, TSA has proven their incompetence. TSA is the most ineffective organization in America and have not prevented any terrorist attack. All they do is react to what has already been tried by terrorist rather than figure out what could be used. But then again, would you expect anything other than stupidity then a bunch of uneducated and ignorant employees?

    This guy should sue then head of TSA and it’s ignorant employees.

  47. Granted, this man was treated poorly. What a shame. The TSA employees who conduct screenings need to be either better trained or given the freedom to profile people more appropriately, or both. Training can be improved and should be. The facilities needed for privacy and for people with medical conditions should be provided politely and professionally. I think these things will happen because of the outrage going on about the new screening procedures. Good.

    However, I think it’s very difficult to fairly allow the kind of profiling that would be necessary to filter and screen passengers without violating a more precious set of rights. By what basis should we be searching passengers “smartly?” Background checks? Skin color? National origin? What? Obviously, it’s ridiculous to search Grandma or little kids. But I understand the logic behind it. Everyone should be treated the same way. If they weren’t we would be targeting individual stereotypes over others and that would not only fail as a security strategy, but it would also be a more severe violation of civil rights.

    So what do we want? For everyone to be screened and subjected to the same inconvenieces at the airport, or for only a “select” few people (selected by a list of criteria created by who?) to be screened? Or would we rather have nothing at all? The TSA is trying to keep things fair as much as possible while keeping air passengers as safe as possible.

    So what do you think is a better option for airport security, everyone? What should be different? We need solutions. My experinece is that the TSO’s are curt and polite. I don’t particularly enjoy the process of airport security, but it certainly doesn’t outrage me the same way that it does many of you.

    And, okay, I have to say it…. “Pornoscanners?” Give me a break. Those images are hardly pornographic. I would think for all the articles on BoingBoing railing against society’s greater uptightness in general, that most of the readers wouldn’t care too much about it. Personally, I don’t care too much about an anonymous person seeing an anonymous digital scan of my average American body in order to check if I’m carrying explosives or hidden weapons. Most of us are more exposed at the beach. I guess that’s just me.

    1. “So what do you think is a better option for airport security, everyone?”

      Metal detector, puffer, sniffer dogs, reinforced cockpit doors. Oh, and finally get around to screening airport staff. Paying TSA staff enough to retain talented staff would be a good idea too, I dread to think how many people with any brains jump ship to a better paying private sector job.

      There’s a 9/11 every couple of weeks on America’s roads. Nobody would think of using that as an excuse to curtail the priivlege to drive a car. Hell, people can still buy guns and shoot up shopping malls easily enough, but people still whine about gun control. Airplanes are one of the safest things in our society in terms of lives lost, and would still be even if we had a 9/11 every year.

  48. Actually, I seriously doubt current TSA procedures will result in very many additional drug interdictions as they don’t do the vital cavity search.

  49. Welcome to Gropistan

    This is not about air safety, this is psychological warfare on the American public and a submissive a prisoner training program.

    If you’re not outraged – you should be.

    End the TSA, cancel their contracts, charge them with felony assault. Bring it on!

  50. Is the United States still a democracy? If citizens must submit to this when they fly, everyone boarding any aircraft, up to and including Airforce One, needs to go through the same procedure.

    The fault lays with the people who put these policies in place. THEY are the ones responsible. They do NOT have an excuse.

    If you are an undereducated otherwise unemployable TSA employee you have an excuse. The problem is the fact this policy exists at all.
    The question is not whether the screening should be done by government or private screeners, the question is whether it should be done at all.

    This is too much.

  51. Enjoy the ride as its only downhill now. America is officially dead- has been dying in slow agony long before 911. By 2002 I was embarrassed by my government and and ashamed of our country for reasons too long to list. Now we dont want to fly on account of people who humiliate us in the name of protecting us from terrorists. – and not any actual terrorists. It has the same effect 911 did- its scary to fly. stay home like a good little worker- do not protest or question- keep your head down. In public schools the children are taught to do what the people in uniforms tell them to without question because they will suffer if they do not. (in the name of security) That’s it, stay in your car where its safe and buy lots of gas to commute to that low paying job. Watch your TV because it always tells the truth and the nice people in suits know what is good for you. Now eat your TV dinner. Good, sleep now, Little Sheep… (until you die in a car wreck, from a heart attack, or the next burglar -criminal or cop no difference, really- randomly invades your home.) Stay home- its an ugly world- no need for planes- just keep working and consuming…its only going to get worse, Comrades- Remember who our enemies are and that Big Brother loves you! Get ready for the concentration camps or total Mad Max anarchy after our society goes totally insane and commits suicide. I know this rant is crazy- no crazier than a nation of helpless cattle that accept such treatment from agencies like the TSA.

  52. One day some terrorist will decide to blow up the security area of an airport… then what? we all get screened when we leave our house?

  53. Why shouldn’t America be held to its ideals and make everyone go through these?

    Is it wrong now because conservatives are getting scanned? The people have demanded that we do something about security, and we should give them exactly what they want. Just because it is now inconvenient for them, doesn’t mean they should get out of it. After 9/11, I willingly took up a strip search after a Muslim family I had been speaking to in line were ‘randomly’ asked to submit…TSA didn’t find it funny when asking me to step back in line and I told them if they were going to put hard working patriotic americans through this humiliation, I needed to be in the line for the patriots. I ended up spreading my cheeks before the day was over, and missed my flight. It was worth it.

    So instead of complaining about going through scanners that will see your junk pixelated in a form that even the best perverts would have a hard time beating off to, or worrying about getting a small fraction of radiation that someone flying at 36,000 feet for an hour or two will endure, why not submit and encourage more usage of this.

    I mean, lets put the idea of privacy and security back on the uptight idiots that like to hide their bodies (and everyone elses) — why not make it their problem. When the liberals and true libretarians (i.e., not the Tea Partiers), opt out of the protest, it will make all the chicken littles who started this whole process, the ones that needed to bankrupt this country through a ‘patriotic war’ with a country because they were too stupid to realize Iraq is not Afghanistan (or Saudi Arabia) — lets put it on them so they have to figure out that going overboard at every sign of danger is just plain moronic. I say the enlightened go up there and cheerfully submit, all the while smiling to their neighbor and asking them if they are going to get the postcard prints of their sons first genital scan…

  54. “One officer looked at another, rolled his eyes and said that they really didn’t have any place to take me,”

    “Pat-downs are performed by same-gender officers and all passengers have the right to a private screening with a travel companion at any time.”

    One of these statements is a lie. Personally, I lean towards the first being true.

  55. TSA Agent: Sir, I’ll have to confiscate that. No containers of liquid greater than 3.4 oz.

    Passenger: But… that’s my urostomy bag!

    TSA Agent: I don’t care what you put in it. If you want, I’m sure you can purchase more urostomy at the starbucks in terminal B, halfway down.

    Passenger: What!!?? You don’t understand… I need this bag, I have a medical condition…

    TSA Agent: If you needed it that badly, then you should have checked it with your other luggage. [poke]

    Passenger: Gah!!!


  56. is wondering when the TSA will just skip past all of this junk, and just force everyone to wear Hospital gowns for the duration of their trip, not allowing them to bring luggage anywhere they go.

    Luggage will be shipped via ground shipping after being thoroughly processed for anything slightly dangerous.

  57. I worked at LHR, UK. One of my roles was to vet employees for security passesso I had to be very aware and knowledgable about the security measures. Going through security was the same for the staff as it was for passengers.
    I once went to a supervisor to complain that the staff entrance was not fully manned and was made to go through the passenger security three times in her attempt to humiliate me, with the shoes off etc. These people are so full of themselves that they do not like being told that they are in the wrong.
    On another occaision, I became alarmed when the person in front of me turned out to be an unescorted passenger and I brought this up with the security staff and was completely blanked. Luckily the last member of staff on the machine noticed and made the passenger wait for an escort to the baggage hall.
    It has been reported this year that some security staff at LHR were picking on some minor celebrities as they jetted from Ireland to Heathrow frequently and always seemed to be randomly chosen to endure pat downs etc, once again it seems that the rotten lot of supervisors endorse this type of behaviour from their staff.

    I would not say that all security people are terrible as I have many friends at the airport working for BAA who are very professional and respectful. But when the minority who cock up and act like thugs towards passengers are protected by their management it makes me dispair, I have had a couple of arguements over who knows their job better, them or me! I think that says it all really, they are out to please themselves not to provide a service.

    And the security guy from Heathrow, shame on you for not being trained on how to handle medical equipment such as ostomy bags and disability aids. That should be a priority rather than an afterthought and why could you not communicate with Japanese passenger? My retail unit boasted several languages spoken by sales staff from Chinese and even basic Japanese as well as most european and indian languages.

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