Menstruating woman subjected to TSA grope because panty-liner obscured her vulva on pornoscanner

A self-described "rule follower" went through an airport pornoscanner wearing a panty-liner (she was menstruating). Because the hygienic item obscured the screener's view of her vagina vulva, she was made to endure a humiliating fondling, "so invasive that I was left crying and dealing with memories that I thought had been dealt with years ago of prior sexual assaults."
These new scans are so horrible that if you are wearing something unusual (like a piece of cloth on your panties) then you will be subjected to a search where a woman repeatedly has to check your "groin" while another woman watches on (two in my case - they were training in a new girl - awesome). So please, please, tell the ladies not to wear their liners at the airport (I didn't even have an insert in). I'm a strong, confident woman; I'm an Army vet (which is why those camo liners crack me up), I work full-time and go to graduate school full-time, I have a wonderful husband, and I don't take any nonsense from anyone. I don't dramatize, and I don't exaggerate. I'm trying to give you a sense of who I am so you won't think that this is a plea for attention, or a jumping on the bandwagon about the recent TSA proposed boycott. I just don't want another woman to have to go through the "patting down" because she didn't know that her glad-rag would be a matter of national security."
There are plenty of TSA apologists who say that objections to the TSA's invasive "pat-downs" are just whining from people don't want to go through the backscatter radiation machines -- we bring it on ourselves. But as we've seen, anything out of the ordinary -- wearing a fabric pad during menstruation, artificial limbs, medical prostheses, etc -- can send you off for a date with Doctor Jellyfinger, Junior G-Man extraordinaire.

By declaring war on the unexpected, the TSA has set in motion a policy that makes the lives of cancer sufferers, disabled people, people who've had major surgery, and many others who're already having a hard time even harder.

TSA Groin Searches Menstruating Woman (Thanks, Jen!)


  1. We’re going back to the days when pregnant or menstruating women just stay at home behind the unclean screen.

  2. I’m so sick of being outraged.
    How come not enough people get it?
    Personally, I couldn’t care less if someone did a pornoscan of me or gave me a genitals-included “pat-down”. I’m just not that sensitive about my body, its just my shell. But I don’t like the fact that someone might tell me that I HAVE TO accept it if I want to fly.
    Also… I don’t necessarily want my sister, my mom, my wife or my daughter to have to go through one just because they want to fly somewhere. Its too intrusive, its too invasive, its unreasonable. Frankly, its barbaric. The slight risk of “terrorist attack” does not justify the abrogation of our human and civil rights.

    1. Not enouugh people get it because only a fraction of people are getting the treatment, and people can usually find something unusual about them to think it won’t be them:

      – Wearing a reusable pad (heck, we got weird looks for using cloth diapers)
      – Having “Atom Bomb” tatooed
      – Having an implant
      – Stripping naked
      – Opting out
      – Having a medical condition

      Everyone wanta to think they are normal, that they fit in. Going through the scanners is a way of continuing to fit in. Those that opt out, I bet, have a higher degree of self-confidence, and less of a need to “fit in”.

      Forget security for a minute, and look at our models of work. For many, many years, the very nature of work has been changing to more of a knowledge based model. With the advent of the internet, people can easily look for positions which meet not only their drive to acquire, but other innate drives as well. But they don’t. They hold on to the notion that if they just play good citizens, good workers, that employers will take care of them.

      People aren’t outraged because it isn’t happening to *them*. Even when or if it does, they will just try to not do the behavior that got them there in the first place. It’s our social nature to want to conform, to bond, to belong. Until we make it socially safe to rebel against this, it will be a long road ahead.

    2. I’m so much with you!

      The essence of the problem, is a global problem;
      the bureaucratic system is corruptable and self serving, meaning, it creates all laws needed to keep the system (itself) intact, while controlling the society it is payed by (taxpayers).

      We need moral justice, instead of bureaucratic justice. If we ever want to get out of this corrupt global mess.


  3. I adore your blog, but menstruation being counted as “out of the ordinary” seems a little far fetched to me, considering that it’s completely normal for half the population. I agree with the rest of the post, but not that.

  4. “But as we’ve seen, anything out of the ordinary — menstruation…”

    Menstruation is not out of the ordinary! Not that this is the main issue here… but so many women are menstruating at any given time. I would guess that probably 1/6 of the world’s women are menstruating on any given day. (Total guess, figuring that some women are pre or post the menstruation part of their lives.)

    Does the Rape-scan show a string coming out of that woman’s vagina? It’s probably a bomb!

    Do a lot of 13 year old girls still wear thick panty liners instead of tampons? Better molest them and squish that blood all over their pants!

    For that matter, being a cancer survivor isn’t that unusual these days. sigh.

    1. You’re absolutely right, correction made.

      Regarding “unusual” and menstruation; I was thinking of two things when I typed that — the first was on Markle’s lines above (statistically, a relatively small minority of women passing through a checkpoint would be menstruating; a subset of them would be wearing a pad or have some other perceptible indicator of menstruation); the second was about the reusable fabric panty-liner this woman has chosen, which is also “unusual” in that most women who wear pads choose disposables.

      Every one of us does things that would be inexplicable to a stranger, hence the saying, “It’d be a dull world if we were all the same.” A mature adult knows that “inexplicable” isn’t the same as “wrong” — you use ketchup, I loathe the stuff but drown everything in Tobasco; you say grace, I’m an avowed atheist; you like puffer-style ski jackets, I like thick denim; you wear a hijab, I wear a flat cap; you have an American flag in your lapel, I have a badge that says “KEEP LIBEL LAW OUT OF SCIENCE.”

      The TSA’s screening procedure tells them that any time they see something they can’t explain, they should refer that person for a humiliating secondary screening. For people who have something about them that is apt to be outside the direct experience of almost all screeners (people with urine bags, prostheses, disabilities, out-of-the-customary binary gender expression; specialized hobbies or vocations; visible political or religious observances; quirky personal fashion), this is tantamount for punishment for not being “normal” — where “normal” is whatever goes on in the narrow experience of J. Random TSO.

      “See something, say something” and similar programs are the reason that nervous air passengers are allowed to disrupt or even ground flights because they mistake dovening Hassidim for Arab terrorists working themselves up to a suicidal rush or because they mistake a hipster food-photographer’s “ATOM BOMB” tattoo for a sign of suicidal intent.

      In other circles, we have a name for the philosophy whose fundamental tenet is, “If you don’t do this yourself, it’s probably dangerous” — we call it bigotry.

      Bigotry is a poor security procedure — not merely because it wastes finite, scarce security resources on false positives, but because it makes the victims of bigotry less secure. They are more apt to be late, to be physically victimized, to be humiliated, to miss out on full economic and social participation in society, and even to become embroiled in the criminal justice system.

  5. I think he was saying “out of the ordinary” in reference to what the naked-scanner tsa readers are seeing. Not that menstruation itself is out of the ordinary.

  6. Don’t fly with airlines interstate, use bus, train or car. As simple as that. Soon they will realise, but oh – no – you want to travel fast, can’t accept to live like they did 60 years ago — well then, there’s a new tax to be paid. All convinience comes at a cost.

    Enjoy the highways, or your own government will treat you as a threat. And that’s that!

    1. anon (#10)

      “Don’t fly with airlines interstate, use bus, train or car. As simple as that. Soon they will realise, but oh – no – you want to travel fast, can’t accept to live like they did 60 years ago — well then, there’s a new tax to be paid. All convinience comes at a cost.”

      Yeah, well, good luck with that. Bus and train and metro are in the sights next, when Napolitano starts saying “I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime. So, what do we need to be doing to strengthen our protections there?” you can tighten your sphincters and start expecting the worst.

    1. If we don’t fight this insanity, soon enough will be scanners in bus stations, train stations and on any way of transportation, public or private, that means including the interstate, with road blocks… it’s time for people to take this more serious, it’s not a privilege to fly, nor a giving right to be abuse an any kind of way, it’s to paid for a service that do not include in the ticket to be assaulted. It’s as well simple, unconstitutional under the 4th amendment… what part of rights people don’t understand?

      This issue is not about the security of the people, it’s about profit someone is making allot money, and someone’s else are laughing of the situation that American citizens are going through. The terrorist in this Country is the government, why they don’t scan them? or those that are a direct threat for the people, like terrorist? or why instead to expend so many millions on want to believe security they don’t bring all this thugs to the border and close it?

      How stupid is stupid? we have terrorist in this Country. thanks to the incompetent work of the fed’s, if they want to do damage they can do it in a very powerful way…campus, malls, stadiums, where thousands of people gather…
      The question for the people is this…


      They should profile, but obviously those that don’t fly are the one’s that feel is ok, because they don’t see them in that position, this is about control of the people, about destroy another source in the American industry, it’s about kill the moral of the people and we MUST fight back… if TSA keep getting law suits, if people rebel against this tyranny something else will change and will not be against the people. People should STAND UP and need to so do, not on cases here an there but many at the same time, make it a National issue, one day all of those that need to go to fly, not fly but show in the airports of all the Country with something extraordinary, with flags, signs of the Constitution, blocking airports… what do you think they will do, bring everyone to jail? they don’t have enough men power… think about it… this should be like a tea party, the attack is on our freedoms and rights and have nothing to do with security. PERIOD!

      Those like me that has pass through dictatorship can smell the collateral damage and we know that it’s something else behind it, they tasting the waters, more we accept more they will take from us… AMERICA WAKE UP!!!!

  7. OK, we’ve got roughly half the population. How many have passed menarche, but have not reached menopause. Now subtract those using Depo or implants for birth control. Divide by two thirds those using the pill regimen that cuts their menses to once every 3 months. Subtract that number. Subtract those that use tampons. Take that number and multiply by the number of days of menses per cycle and divide by 28. It’s going to be fairly unusual.

    After all that arithmetic, ask yourself whether Cory thinks it’s unfair to treat these women like this.

      1. er, also there are those who might be PREGNANT. how odd this isn’t in people’s ‘exception list’ to menstruation!

    1. @Markle: I’m more concerned with what the TSA thinks than Cory in this instance. Far more women use pads than than we’ve been taught to believe from tampon ads, especially in situations like long-haul flights where changing a tampon can be a hassle. That any part of menstruation could be considered “suspicious” and grounds for security groping is indefensible. Groping someone in the name of “security” after she agreed to go through the scanner just because of what products she uses is indefensible.

      Also, to all the “take the bus” types who keep advocating ground transport: you don’t always get to choose your transportation on business trips, and you can’t take the bus across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. It’s isolationist myopia like that that helped get the TSA the procedures they have now.

      I was thinking of flying to New York next month for a quick vacation. Now Europe is looking good, despite the longer flight, greater jet lag, and potentially more expensive airfare (I’m in Canada).

    2. So are you saying that makes it ok? you are male I take it? You realise some girls start their periods at age 10? and that women who take the pill still have periods. Menstruating is NOT like some weird fashion accessory that we choose to have its part of being and becoming an adult female!!!!! Its 2010 not the dark ages.

      It makes me angry that we let governments get away with kind of crap, they are hypocrites all this was just a knee jerk reaction to one incident and its a step too far. They changed the law in the UK so that they can scan minors….I’m disgusted.

    3. “Divide by two thirds those using the pill regimen…”
      I think you mean multiply by 2/3. Dividing by 2/3 = multiplying by 1.5. Also your estimates of amenorrhea seem high, and ultimately irrelevant.

      Wearing a pad isn’t uncommon, and even if it were it would still be absurd and abusive to perform this sort of search.

  8. “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.”

    I’m not American; but those simple words from Ben Frankling are my mantra.

    The sooner we can just get on a plane and fly somewhere; like you can get on a bus and drive somewhere; or get on a boat and sail somewhere the sooner I’ll be likely to get on a plane again.

    If we could reduce airport custom by as little as 5% it’d probably be enough for these ‘security’ measures to suddenly be reconsidered.

    Although the reasoning behind the measures is ‘security’, the TSA can only enforce them because we let them.

  9. This is so… my mouth is still open. I can’t…

    I’m probably as pissed as the next girl about the TSA’s ridiculous policies, and maybe would even heckle the lady who feels me up for them, but on my period? No way. I don’t mean I’d go through the scanner cause if I don’t get naked for my boyfriend on camera I’m sure as hell not doing it for them.


    Does this crap really happen anyway if you take a train?

  10. Yebbit, these TSA people are not nurses. I don’t know who exactly they are, but the ones from the most redneck born-again airports used to be the ones who searched my carry-on until they found the feminine hygiene products and waved them at my mother.

  11. Soon you will indeed be subject to these measure to get on buses or trains. And you will accept it after a few moments of outrage, and then you will get over it and accept it, and therefore deserve it.

    I have actually cancelled my annual trip home from overseas…I have no wish to have my wife and toddler molested by TSA goons. I doubt I will ever return, even for vacation, as I do not think this will end. It is only the beginning.

  12. This is so awful. I don’t preview flying around in the US because of this, and I certainly won’t, on principle, let someone feel up my balls. Especially if they can’t produce evidence that they’re not listed on a sex offender register.

    It’s all a big joke. There are a thousand simple weapons that would go through this system. They don’t need to be hidden in underwear, or stuffed uncomfortably up bums.

    Besides, “terrorists” have millions of other choices for attack. They’re not wedded to aircraft.

    I’ve read so many comments on BB in the past about the UK becoming a police state, but welcome Americans! to your very own dignity-reduction program, in preparation for invasive spying.

    I would love to see a skit with the grandee presidents and senior figures of American history standing in line waiting for the grope.

    Maybe a cutlass or two would be waved.

    Mr Obama – step up and remove this silliness!

  13. We’re rapidly approaching the point in our society where in order to “fit in”, all of us will have to pretend to be someone we are not.

    “Normal” people do not mind going through backscatter machines because the loss of privacy is worth it in return for protection from terrorism. “Normal” people believe that our country (whichever one that is) is a democracy that has our best interests at heart. “Normal” people throw away stuff that doesn’t work; they don’t try to fix it or make stuff themselves. “Normal” people believe in the sanctity of a family with one woman, one man, and children. “Normal” people have a mortgage, go to work, consume, spend, spend.

    Very soon all of us are going to have to pretend to be normal to get through our day — because people who are not normal are not accepted by society.

    Put simply: very soon we will all have something to hide: who we are.

    1. “Very soon all of us are going to have to pretend to be normal to get through our day — because people who are not normal are not accepted by society.”

      while I wholeheartedly agree with the gist of your post, I’m reminded of something I heard in a story by utah phillips (I’m loosely paraphrasing here): “he is normal. what you mean to say is ‘average.'”

  14. You don’t understand. It’s all your fault.

    It’s your fault if you get searched.
    It’s your fault if your a menstruating woman.
    It’s your fault if you have a long beard.
    It’s your fault if your skin tone is darker than whitey irish people.

    It’s your own damn fault for even questioning the procedure that the TSA/Police use. That sh*t will get you arrested. Only troublemakers cause trouble and the police/tsa/gov’t are there to protect me from you.

    // end ignorant rant

    Unfortunately this is how a lot of Americans feel right now. The same type of people often think it’s the poor person’s fault for being poor, that the police are always right and that if you have health problems it sucks to be you but I ain’t helping.

    Authoritarian followers like strong leadership, (even if it’s morally and ethically wrong) don’t question authority and are perfectly happy being led by people who spout off about wildly conflicting ideals. They don’t judge things based on thinking things through that much but on emotional knee jerk reactions. This lack of thinking things through leads to politicians that are more corrupt than usual and to politicans who don’t think things through.

    These same type of people have no clue what it’s like to commit the crime of walking at night while brown/poor in a major city. They are also blissfully unaware how little it takes in terms of mistaken identity for your life to be turned upside down and essentially over. Eye-witness testimony is a b*tch.

    I’m probably paranoid but I think that any group that organizes protests against the TSA will get heavy govt. scrutiny and possibly even undercover plants from various agencies. *waves hi* to the fbi.

  15. America. I am disappointed in you.

    Why isn’t anyone suing the government or the TSA yet?

    We all know elections don’t decide these kinds of things. The supreme court does.

    1. People are suing. Unfortunately, lawsuits take time. In all likelihood, none of these cases will reach the Supreme Court until after the 2012 election – possibly even the 2014 or 2016 election. The wheels of justice turn slowly.

  16. I live outside the US, but normally travel there once or twice a year for both business and pleasure. I will be avoiding it as much as possible from now on, and when I absolutely must, I will certainly no longer bring my family along to be groped.

  17. I wonder, is this a “legitimate false positive” given that they’re looking for underpants bomb-a-likes, rather than a “bigotry false positive” as Cory and the Great Panic suggest?

    Not that it makes the system any smarter or more humane, mind, but the “baffling wtf” factor fades out.

  18. Suck it up, America. We pitched away our precious rights and allowed our most irrational fears to dictate policy.

    If you think putting an end to the nebulous War on Drugs is difficult, just wait until you try to stop this stupidity. My advice would be to constantly humiliate the TSA screeners to the point where they walk off their sad, depressing jobs. Eventually, they will be replaced by people even more unqualified and dim, and the whole thing will simply collapse upon itself like a kindergarten talent show.

    As for this story, well… It sickens me. It will always sicken me. We’ve been told the terrorists hate us for our freedoms. So, in a strange act of appeasement, we’ve thrown those very same freedoms into the trash and told the Bad Guys, “don’t hate us anymore. We’re scared. We’re terrified. You’ve won!”

  19. Govt against citizens, citizens against govt. Osama is a genius. 10 years on, and America is still self-destructing.

  20. If the TSA agent didn’t inspect what shows up as an “anomaly” on the screen what is the point of screening genitals in the first place? After all, this is all ostensibly to stop the next “underwear bomber.”

    Which is why the entire idea is insane. Basically, the TSA has to thoroughly examine things which should be private or there is no point in doing the scans in the first place. I’ll take the tiny risk of dying in a terror attack on a plane (less than 1 in 10 million), over living in a society that is willing to treat people in this way.

    1. Isn’t it funny that, the people that probably think this kind of thing is needed are probably the same USofA freedom fighters that don’t wear seat belts.

  21. “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

    How long before we declare war on the TSA? How much more will people put up with?

  22. The ACLU’s web page about the TSA has an account of a woman reporting a TSA agent pushing a thumb into her vagina, through her jeans. The thought of this makes my blood run cold.

  23. I wonder why, if the TSA agents are so upset with doing this, that they don’t also rebel? It’s not as though they are the one’s who have come up with these ridiculous, humiliating polcies.

    In light of the woman wearing a pad during her period, it makes me want to go through airport security, and get pulled over for wearing a tampon, then removing it and giving it to the agent. Would they be happy then. What’s next, colonoscopies?

    This gives Big Brother is Watching a new, and much more intimate meaning.

    1. Those TSA agents that say they “don’t like this new requirement either, but can’t do anything about it because it’s their job” have apparently never heard of a strike.

      1. I’m reading more about the lack of options for those in the TSA.

        A strike would be a glorious idea, but how many people would actually strike?

          1. No indeed: it’s much more likely that they, like everybody else, will just continue to follow procedures.

      2. Sethum, as I understand it, since Reagan, when people go on strike at an airport, the government can hire permanent replacement scabs.

        The thing to remember is that this is a capitalist country under corporate rule. Since the airports and airlines didn’t appreciate the loss of money due to consumer objections to TSA invasions of privacy, many of them apparently told the TSA to turn off the scanners yesterday.

        It’s all about money. If the airports and airlines lose money, they’ll stop TSA harrassment.

        Boycotts work.

        Another thing to keep in mind is that if you don’t want government in your pants, you don’t have to delegate your power and authority to people you can’t hold accountable. Stop voting. Half of us refuse to demonstrate our obedience to this police state by doing our civic duty. It isn’t as if a few new players could change the system. But if you’re an establishment type who feels an obligation to do your civic duty, at least be civilized enough to remember to flush afterward.

        1. Oh… Yes… Stop voting. Because people NOT voting is just scaring the living s@%& out of the Establishment. The Establishment is practically wetting its collective pants over people not voting in this country.

          Maybe the question should be, “What is being done in the background, while the story all over the news is TSA scanners.” Seriously… Why are TSA scanners even newsworthy?

          Does not flying make it feel like you’re doing something to thumb your nose at the Establishment? Fine. Don’t fly. The Establishment will really, really care deeply about that.

    2. Trixi the scanners can’t detech if you’re hiding things in body cavities. So… they’re essentially useless.

  24. shouldn’t sniffing dogs be way more effective than pornoscaner and fondlesearch? faster and more accurate to locate explosives and drugs, and also beautiful

  25. The answer to all this crap is to agitate for faster like they have in Finland and for the widespread use of tele-presence rigs.

    Then it doesn’t matter that we end up living isolated from each other as if we all peopled some Azimov sci-fi story…

    That would certainly stop any pandemics or terrorists.

  26. I read the intro to this wondering why, if the TSA is subjecting every woman wearing a pantyliner screening equivalent to sexual assault, this is the first I’d heard of it. The “unusual” aspect is that the pantyliner is non-disposable cotton/cloth thing (a “GladRag”). Presumably the woman was subjected to the additional screening because she was wearing one of these things.

    A complaint against the TSA that’s not part of a private corporation’s advertising would be a lot more credible; the story may well be true by this seems more like a small company’s PR…

  27. This is a bunch of people who will question the power cord for laptops, despite presumably seeing hundreds every day. I’ve said before that TSA employees are hired for lack of imagination, and this helps prove it. The fact that those you meet are either certain the safety of flights is dependent on them and them alone or know it’s a sham and don’t care because it pays four times what Wal- Mart will give you (or are simply bullies) doesn’t help things much.

  28. Just adding the fact that many women wear pantyliners even when they are not menstruating.

    I was patted down after a scanner because i was wearing under-shorts instead of under-briefs.

    Grandma better not go through with a Depends.

  29. Yup… It’s true… We are ruled by fear, and the terrorists HAVE pretty much won.

    Meanwhile, our attention is thoroughly diverted, and our national unity is being dismantled before our eyes. So, when do we stop responding like sheep?

    We don’t even demand accountability from our own banking institutions; never mind retaliation against actual terrorists in foreign countries even when we DO find them. Wouldn’t be “civilized” of us, after all.

    It’s so nice for them that, nobody really has to fear “us.”

    North Korea sinks a ship, unveils a new and magnificent nuclear enrichment program, and later fires on an island and kills a civilian or two… prompting us to go back to the table to engage in peace talks and increase food aid.

    The second and third worlds considers us milquetoasts, our own banks and insurance companies steal our money, and we not only continue to watch helplessly but some even CHEER while we ourselves are being good and thoroughly rogered. Hmmm…

  30. I would rather be blown up by a terrorist and enjoy liberty for a short stay on Earth than live to be ripe and old with my freedoms stricken from me.

    Keep calm and carry on.

  31. So what sort of magic backscatter-proof fabric are these things made from anyway? We could start selling TSA-proof underwear, or whole pants even, made out of the same stuff, since apparently the machines can’t see through it.

    1. There are many sites selling underwear the scanners can’t see through. But the problem is that if any intimate details of your genitalia are not clearly visible to the scanners, you get the full shake down.

      Clearly, TSA knows something that we don’t. They’re looking for pubic bombs. Just because we haven’t figured out how to implant explosives in our genitalia, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a possibility. What TSA knows is that any ordinary American might decide at any time to turn themself, their spouse, and their toddlers into suicide bombers. That’s because TSA is part of Homeland Security, so they know exactly what they’re planning that would make the average American angry enough to do something like that.

      We may not know what it is they’re planning to do yet, but from the precautions they’re taking, we can deduce that they’re planning to do it.

      1. “They’re looking for pubic bombs”

        I wouldn’t want to be the one in charge of finding the fuse.

  32. Trixi, they can also QUIT, as they are not slaves and are free to find employment that does not cause them to commit degradation of their fellow human beings, – i.e., be evil for a living, for a paycheck.

    Stop pretending they have no conscience and no choice. Orders to do wrong are no excuse.

    1. I disagree with simply being able to quit. It is an option, however, the American Economy is the shits, it’s not like you can pick up and find a job wherever.

      Further, people have a fear of authority and will often do as told. Remember the finding of the Milgram Experiment.

      Thanks zandperl! I thought I heard something about TSA workers not being unionized.

  33. These pornoscanners and gropings are nothing more than State Sponsored Sexual Abuse.

    And, like all such abuse, they are intended not for the explicit purpose of sex (or security) but rather to cause the victims to submit to the abusers power.

    What would George Washington have done if the Red Coats had went into Martha’s bloomers? Ray Bradbury was right, we need a revolution in this country.

  34. Here’s the part of the post that most stood out to me:

    I’m trying to give you a sense of who I am so you won’t think that this is a plea for attention, or a jumping on the bandwagon about the recent TSA proposed boycott.

    This translates to: “Before this personally happened to me, I used to think that everyone who was complaining was just an attention-starved, whining, bandwagon-jumper. Now that I personally have been affected, I’m having trouble dealing with the resulting cognitive dissonance.”

    It sucks that this person went through this experience. On the other hand, I’m kind of mad that she was so dismissive of others’ complaints in the first place.

    1. Hm. I can see how you interpret it that way, but to me, it simply read as someone who was aware of the dismissals out there and wanted to preempt them.

  35. Reading the woman’s post to which Corey linked, it’s clear that she was wearing a particular brand of washable/reusable pad, rather than a disposable one. Though the sanitary pad expert in my household was not available for comment at the time of this writing, my own limited understanding is that the type the woman was wearing are indeed far less commonplace than disposables.

    So to me, both the screener’s unfamiliarity with the image the item presented and Corey’s use of the word unexpected seem, well, not unexpected.

    That said, I do not in the least defend the TSA’s policies in this area, which I find abhorrent (in the same ways and for the same reasons as the above commenters, so I won’t repeat what’s already been said).

    But there should also be better mechanisms for handling the unusual. Even if one accepts the TSA’s policies in broad terms, the lack of a more graduated response to the unusual is a large planning gap.

    Perhaps we cannot train every TSA screener to recognize a GladRags pad, a urostomy bag, or the many kinds of prostheses in use. But when the scanning technology already transmits images to a remote screener, the added infrastructure needed to escalate ‘unexpected’ scans to a tier of more specially-trained screeners with expertise in these things just has to be more cost-effective than conducting manual searches, more effective at disseminating knowledge of what’s being encountered ‘in the field’ up to higher levels, and less likely to provoke rebellion as well.

    1. There is nothing particularly unusual about reusable pads. In fact, they are less unusual than disposable pads. They are typically cotton, the same shape as a disposable pad, and strap or velcro to your underwear.

      Glad I didn’t start my period on time this month, I was supposed to start on the day I flew home.

  36. The TSA are NOT doing anything to protect travellers, all they are doing is stamping their authority over people. If they were serious about protection they would follow the Israeli model of air travel security.

    We were planning to take our four kids to Disney world in Florida next summer but four months ago decided not in view how the USA is treating visitors to their country. We Europeans when going to the USA have to allow the USA to know our bank, credit card (Don’t have one),library borrowing habits and some fifty four other intrusions into our lives because we are now all assumed to be criminals unless we can show otherwise. Our oldest daughter, 10, has Spina Bifida and so has surgical repairs to her spine so what sort of humiliation would the TSA subject her to ? Our oldest son, 9, is profoundly deaf and has an implant in his skull so is that going to be another unwarranted pedo grope by TSA staff? I sustained extensive injuries ten years ago and have several metal plates, screws and bolts in my pelvis and extensive scar tissue. I am also lactating so goodness know how that sort of “deviancy” would be viewed by the TSA.In addition I am reasonably attractive (simple statement of fact, that is all) so odds are I will get a thorough genital grope by deviant TSA staff.

    The USA is no longer worth the bother of visiting and that is sad but what is so much sadder is how so many Americans seem to be so complacent about the steady erosion of their rights and liberties as enshrined by what was a very fine constitution. For heavens sake open your eyes to the growth of “security” and so called “law enforcement” in your country since 911. Go and read the wonderful work done by the Washington Post on Secret America and wake up because you are sliding towards a police state.

    Good luck America.

    1. “If they were serious about protection they would follow the Israeli model of air travel security.”

      Racial profiling?

  37. Pointy points:

    There should have been a live testing of this scanner/pat down protocol for a limited period of time before a final decision was made about ordering scads of scanners from OSI Systems.

    Effective security means some sort of social contract with the public. Give and take to reach some reasonable solution.

    People who fly are spending their own money for not only the airfare, but hotels, food, etc. This will seriously hurt commerce at a time when the economy should be stimulated, and not your nads.

    Will all the time/effort/cost by the TSA to make this system work actually make flying safer over the old screening method? Is this being evaluated?

    What’s the end point? Will the BS scan become the standard or even extended to bus and train terminals? Will the BS scanners stay in place for the next 20 years or so?

  38. “Army vet”? no sympathy. couldn’t have happened to a better parasite. if only the official crime gang confined its sadism to the voluntary flock of tools, past and present.

  39. A prime object of terrorists is to to take away our freedom. They did it to a few thousands on 9/11 and then we did it to millions around the world in how we reacted afterwards. The terrorists won. They got us to react in anger and invade countries that seeded even more unrest and provided the fertile ground for even more terrorists and they got us to take away our own freedoms with the Patriot Act and everything that has followed.

    Bin Laden must laugh himself silly at how predictable we have been and how much harm we have done ourselves and our former way of life all in the name of fighting him.

    We have poked a stick at him, largely missed, and poked ourself in the eye at the same time.

    1. A prime object of terrorists is to to take away our freedom.

      Why does everyone say this? Is there some manifesto that Bin Laden put out that says that he hates our freedom or something? I thought that was something people just made up because it fit with their ideology.

    2. I really think the terrorists don’t care about your freedoms one way or the other. They care about what happens in the rest of the world, which Americans good and ill both seem to forget about.

  40. Veterans are proud to have served to protect our freedoms. Perhaps this veteran will realize the most danger to our freedom comes from our own government, not outsiders who have limited power compared to our government. What if Al-Queda fought the US and won, took over our country then made everyone go through genital pat-downs?

    1. Yup. That’s why Janet Napolitano has expressed concern that the US could be in danger from returning American vets. And I thought that it was just a ploy to build NRA membership…

      I was planning to join my wife on a trip to New Orleans. Now I’m reconsidering.

  41. You know the “funniest” part of all his?

    Every ime I read about the TSA, unauthorized vigilance, etc. problems you people un the U.S.A. have, I can’ but think your country is being the greatest terrorist towards its own nation. And so, the “real” terrorists (those angry-evil-non-white folks arround the world) have won in your colourfull “war against terror”.

    By definition, what a terrorist seeks isn’t blowing up planes and buildings, killing people or sending white stuff per mail; it’s simply causing a state of constant fear and a general sensation of insecurity: terror.

    I would say they have quite the advantage there… and the paradox is, their best ally is your government. Seriously, they are causing more fear and uneasyness to you than the whole ETA-IRA-Al Qaeda-Red Army-Unabomber-Colombian Guerrilla have ever done together.

    If every time a country attacked by terrorist decided to play their game, Spain, Ireland ando manny other would allready be police states.

    Try to use your apparently solid democracy to your advantage. Vote out the people that approve this, boicot air transportation, etc.

    Good luck to you all!

  42. I went through a scannymabob at YVR around the Olympics (before I found out it was like being put inside a microwave). My pants contained a liner, which they did not care about. They even let me hang onto my passport and tickets. Was it ’cause I was still in Canada? ‘Cause of the festive nature in the air? I do not know. The year before that we didn’t even have the scanners and everyone boarding my flight was patted down. The agent patting me down was pretty unimpressed with the rule. She’s allergic to latex and they wouldn’t let her wear any other type of glove.

    I’m skeeved out that they want to see labia so very clearly.

  43. Like many of you I am getting very very tired of the US government treating me like a child. I’m an adult and what I wish to do that doesn’t interfere with another citizen should be MY business.

    Now for the terrorism bogyman.

    Terrorism – Government – Media

    What Terrorists NEED is publicity and fear. Deny them that and they have almost no power. In other words, no sensationalism by media or the government.

    You could argue that our government and the media are deliberately aiding and comforting Terrorists and Terrorism. I don’t believe the goal of either is to help our enemies but there is no doubt it is the result. The terrorists are getting all the fear, publicity, and degeneration of our rights they could dream of. The publicity, emphasis, and outright fear mongering for personal and organizational profit is the goal, but the results are absolutely the best the terrorists could have wished for.

    I’m going to avoid any conspiracy theories, they aren’t needed to account for what has and is happening.

    Media is easy, fear and sensationalism drives up ratings. Once upon a time our news was about accurate news, today it’s about how to present and spin the news in as sensationalistic a manner as possible. How often have you heard “news” stories that appear to be next but are delayed while you listen to others and of course a round or two of commercials or “Tune in at 11pm, and get all the details.” Honor and integrity have for been replaced with glitz and profit.

    Governments, all governments, want things to go smoothly. The less power citizens have the simpler things go. Demanding citizens are inconvenient and resource intensive. But you can’t just remove all of a citizens rights at once. Too intrusive might wake up the population. However, when the population is frightened it’s much easier to remove or limit citizens rights especially with a series of “minor” changes, for the children, for your security, to catch the terrorists, and quietly because you can’t be responsible for your own life…

  44. By the way,

    This pretty much puts the lie to the TSA’s claims that it’s not detailed enough to be a problem.

    If they can see a woman’s vulva, I’m pretty sure they can see everything/anything they want to.

    And the design of the scanners require them to be able to save and transfer images. Which makes sense. If someone gets caught later with something they shouldn’t the TSA will want to review those scans to improve recognition as well as to provide legal evidence for court.

    I’m tired of my government acting like it knows what’s better for me than I do.

  45. I live in Japan, which have infrared x-ray cameras installed before the Customs booths as all of their international airports. I have been wondering, how do the new US TSA screening scanners differ from the infrared cameras at Narita, Nagoya, Kansai, Fukuoka, and the like.

    I would be inclined to submit to the x-ray screening provided the rest of the screening process was sped up and all-around friendlier. But the staff at the airports in Japan are incredibly patient and friendly while the staff at US airports scream at the top of their lungs informing people of the most banal policies (THIS IS YOUR LAST OPPORTUNITY TO USE THE BATHROOM BEFORE CUSTOMS!)

    From my personal experience, every party in the flying process contributes to the overall misery of the experience. People don’t pay attention to even the simplest requests from airlines and screeners. During my last flight in America (from San Francisco to Chicago), a single passenger was able to carry on 7 carry-ons including:

    1) A giant folding stroller (for which no baby accompanied him to require)
    2) A guitar.
    3) A bag of electronic goods including a laptop and Kindle.
    4) A bag with an order of KFC and Yoshinoya Beef Bowl which he consumed during the preflight process on his traytable for which he was more-than-politely asked to put away by the stewardess but just completely blew off. As the plane took off, he was still eating his KFC on the tray table much to his neighbors’ irritation.
    5) A larger-than-overhead-storage-bin-sized sealed cardboard box.
    6) A bag of Duty Free products.
    7) A laptop bag with a second computer.

    I was across the aisle from this passenger and had to stow my carry-on in the next section of the cabin as a result.

    The screeners scream at foreigners using complicated directions.

    TSA Screener: “We’re going to have to ask you to remove your Timberland’s during this part of the screening process.”

    Passenger: “Pardon?”

    TSA Screener: “I’m not going to repeat myself again! Remove your Timberland’s during this part of the screen process, now!”

    Passenger: “I don’t understand. [Looks at me]

    Me: [In Japanese] “Take your shoes off, please.”


    Security stinks too. The police at the airports also will make overly complex statements to people who may not understand English.

    “I need all of the people from the flight from Narita who are heading to Dallas on NWA RE-104 to form three lines in the far corner of this hallway. A tram will pick you up shortly.”

    The security agent’s screaming continued after many of the Narita passengers who only understood the “People from Narita” part of the previous statement realized they aren’t heading to Dallas and that they needed to leave right away.


    The employees of the airlines are also guilty of this. A lot of the time, I get false promises from the desk clerks which are overturned by the gate clerk.

    Desk Clerk: Sure we can get you two seated next to each other. Walk over to the Gate Counter and ask for a new boarding pass assignment

    [Later at the gate]

    Gate Clerk: If you are wanting a seating reassignment sit back down, it isn’t going to happen! We are overbooked for this flight!


    Even the repair crews are scum. On a United flight from LA to San Francisco, I got to my seat only to notice that my seat cushion was completely gone from my seat. The stewardess called a repair agent who walked to the other side of the cabin and pulled the cushion out from under a group of seats. He snapped the cushion back on the seat and said, “You could’ve handed that, champ.”

    I suppose it SHOULD be natural to assume that if your seat cushion is missing that it would be tucked away under a seat on the other side of the cabin.

    NOW, I have to look forward to agents who are interested in molesting my wife and I. For crying out loud… what a pile.

  46. I am speechless with rage over this.

    In perusing news stories I have come across one very recent one of a TSA agent arrested for rape, and three of TSA agents at three different airports arrested for pedophilia and child sexual abuse. None of these arrests were in connection with their jobs. I am not a statistician, but this certainly suggests that the odds of being legally molested by a rapist or child abuser are substantially higher than being on an airplane with a bomb aboard.

    It also suggests that the TSA job requirements are attracting thugs, perverts, pedophiles, sadists and misogynists.

  47. John Pistole needs to go. TSA ran better without a head than with him. He isnt up to the task. He is continuing the myth that there is a single set of rules that can be applied to everyone. This allows TSA employees to avoid using logic or common sense.

  48. Talking about bad receiving obscure directions in airport or aircrafts… I always wonder… How come a bunch of engineers who can take a small village of 50 tons with its 300 inhabitants, bring it airborne and drop it softly in England CANNOT make a simple MICROPHONE and SPEAKER that’s good enough so I can hear what the captain says in the cabin.

    It’s like: they can fly you to the Moon, but you won’t find a working pen on board. Haven’t figured that one out just yet.

  49. Enough is enough, seriously. The things I’ve read about the new searches are disgusting. I went looking for petitions to sign, or something, anything to make my displeasure with the TSA known. If I hadn’t found petitions, I would have made my own, but as it turns out, I am not the only one fed up.

    If anyone else would like to express their displeasure, here’s some of the petitions that I liked (and there’s more where they came from):
    Make the TSA Accountable for Offenses Against the American People

    Support the “American Traveler Dignity Act,” Tell the TSA Enough is Enough

  50. Oh… Yes… Stop voting. Because people NOT voting is just scaring the living s@%& out of the Establishment. The Establishment is practically wetting its collective pants over people not voting in this country.

    Ssssh. If stupid people want to stop voting because they think it’ll show the man, let them. It just means that our vote becomes worth more.

    1. You wrote, “If stupid people want to stop voting because they think it’ll show the man, let them. It just means that our vote becomes worth more.”

      Really? 97% of all votes cast in the United States, whether on voting machines or paper ballots, are counted by easily-hacked and totally unverifiable central tabulators. Like Stalin said, it isn’t important how people vote, it is important who counts the votes. In our case the central tabulators are computers that can be programmed to allocate a certain percentage of all votes cast to each candidate without regard to how people voted, and there is no way for anyone to know whether the results are accurate or not as both the central tabulators and their software are privately owned.

      Even if it was possible to verify the results, it would be too late, as once a candidate has been sworn into office, only Congress has the Constitutional right to remove them, and even where there has been solid proof that the results were falsified, Congress has never done so.

      In some cases we’ve had 14,000 or 16,000 votes simply disappear, and in other cases we’ve had 3,000 votes tallied in a district with only 300 registered voters.

      But of course the Supreme Court can intervene and stop the vote count and hand the election to the candidate of their choice at any time, for any reason, or for no reason whatsoever, as they are the highest law of the land and their decisions cannot be appealed.

      But your “precious” vote is not a vote on the federal budget or on important national issues, it is a vote for which candidate you would prefer make such decisions for you, since you consider yourself incompetent to make decisions like that yourself.

      In the case of Presidential elections, the names of Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates are on the ballot fraudulently, as our Constitution does not allow Americans to vote for President or Vice-President. Your vote is counted towards the slate of Electors of the political party to which those candidates belong, and the names of the Electors, the people you’re really voting for, are not on the ballot.

      But even if your vote was counted accurately and your candidate wins, they can change their mind and break all their campaign promises and there’s nothing you can do about it. We have no Constitutional way to hold our federal elected officials accountable during their terms of office–all we can do is wait until their terms of office are up and try to elect somebody else (whom we also will not be able to hold accountable if they fail to represent us). But it so happens that their terms of office are the ONLY time that they’re supposed to represent us. If we can’t hold them accountable during their terms of office, we have no power over them and no way to exercise our will through them, so they don’t have to represent us, they can represent their big corporate donors instead, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

      If you happen to be among the top 2% of the wealthiest people in this country, then our “elected” federal officials are representing your interests and you have every reason to continue to vote for them. If not, you’re voting against your own interests.

      Mussolini’s definition of fascism was that a government operates on behalf of business rather than on behalf of its citizens. He was a fascist dictator, so he knew what fascism is. Our government operates on behalf of business, not on behalf of its citizens. We’re a capitalist country and money is the bottom line. If the corporations lose money, the government is going to take money from working people to bail out the corporations. Corporations do care about money–it is the ONLY thing they care about. Corporations in the U.S. are required by law to maximize profits to their shareholders. If they lose money, their big shareholders, those who hold controlling interests in their companies, can hold them accountable. There is only one power on earth that could have forced TSA to shut down most of its scanners the day before Thanksgiving, and that is the airlines who are losing money due to passenger cancellations and stood to lose a lot more if flights were delayed by protests.

      Boycotts work. It was boycotts that finally ended Apartheid in South Africa. But not just boycotts of South African businesses. The people of South Africa boycotted an election. When the Apartheid government held an election, fewer than 7% of South Africans voted. That meant that other countries could no longer use the excuse of supporting the legitimate government of South Africa to continue supporting Apartheid, as without the consent of the governed, as demonstrated through elections, no government can claim legitimacy. It was the election boycott that turned the ANC from imprisoned terrorists into legitimate freedom fighters, forced the Apartheid government to change, and released Nelson Mandela from prison. When he then ran for President the turnout was the greatest they’d ever seen.

      A government without the consent of the governed can declare martial law and govern by force of violence, but it has no legitimacy. In most cases where there is a successful election boycott, the oligarchs take the huge fortunes they’ve made by stealing from their own people and flee into exile so that they can live happily ever after in exclusive enclaves with other ousted millionaire and billionaire oligarchs like themselves. They delight in taxing you, but they wouldn’t stand for being taxed themselves.

      Where there are free, fair, honest, open, verifiable elections, changes can be made by voting. We do not have verifiable elections. So if we really want change, our only nonviolent option is an election boycott.

      You can’t get honest elections by saying, “We demand honest elections or else we’ll continue to vote in rigged elections.” The only way to get honest elections is to say, “We demand honest elections and we won’t vote until we get them.” Europe has banned the electronic voting machines and central tabulators because they are unverifiable and therefore incompatible with the most basic principles of democracy. Look up the word democracy in the dictionary before you call other people stupid. It means that power is vested in the hands of the people, not in the hands of officials who cannot be held accountable.

      The only way to stop the TSA invasions of privacy is to boycott the airlines. If they lose money, they’ll make sure that the problems stop. They’re not in business to lose money, they’re in business to make money. The same thing goes for government. The only way to get government to be accountable to the 98% of us who aren’t ultra-rich, is to boycott elections. If the corporations spend billions (they’re averaging four to five billion dollars getting out the vote in recent elections, and with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, that amount will surely increase) and nobody votes, they won’t be able to claim legitimacy for their puppets and bureaucrats. Note that the big corporations give almost equal amounts to the Democrats and Republicans, so it isn’t a question of which party wins–either way the corporations always win.

      Yes, some candidates are more evil than others. They play the good cop/bad cop game. But they’re both on the same team and have the same big corporate donors and the same corporate agenda.

      Yes, there are a few good people in government. But due to the need of the political parties to retain their big corporate donors, the good guys can’t must enough votes to pass a fart, no less any useful legislation, and if they did, the Supreme Court could strike it down.

      A Rasmussen Reports survey not too long ago found that almost half of all voters believed that citizens chosen at random out of the phone book could do a better job than our current elected politicians. They’re almost right. Citizens chosen at random out of the phone book have paid their phone bills, which means that they know how to balance their budgets and pay their bills, which is a lot more than Congress can do, so they’d do a better job than Congress. Oh, they wouldn’t have the expensive hair cuts, perfect teeth, and designer clothes, but if they’ve ever worked for a living, they’re more competent than most people in Congress, as most politicians inherited their wealth and don’t know what it is to earn an honest living.

      Half of us don’t vote. In mid-term elections it is closer to 65% who don’t vote. What if the corporations spent five or six billion dollars promoting their candidates in 2012 and nobody voted? Do you think they’d do it again? Their justification for spending that much money is so that they can get favorable legislation that will help them make trillions in profits. You think the big corporations are spending billions on elections because they don’t care if people vote? Maybe airlines don’t care if people don’t fly? Get real. This is America and it’s all about the money. Our best vote is with our dollars. When people figure out that a product is harmful and stop buying it, no legislation is needed to take it off the market, it just disappears and products that aren’t harmful take its place. When people figure out that our government is not “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” and stop voting, it will disappear and a more democratic form of government will take its place.

      Happy Buy Nothing Day, for those who are socially conscious, and for the rest, those materialistic consumers who are still shopping because Bush told them to, your empire, like every empire before it, is falling. It is deeply in debt, overextended militarily, and no longer produces anything of value. We have greater income disparities and more homeless people than India did when I was a child (I’m 70 years old), and we now have the larges gulag in the world. Our corporations now use more prison labor than China ever did. You’re living in a bubble and despite what capitalist economists believe, bubbles can’t expand forever.

      Like George Carlin said, “The reason they call it the American dream is that you’d have to be asleep to believe it.”

  51. My wife is disabled, travels in a wheelchair and has had a knee replacement. However, here in Australia when we fly she is simply wanded by the security guards at the metal detector checkpoint and she shows them a copy of her knee xray (which she has printed out for just such an occasion) and they let her through.

    I dread to think of the horrors she would be subjected to in the USA. How exactly do they carry out an “enhanced patdown” on someone who is unable to get out of a chair?

  52. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
    –Helen Keller

  53. So the protest against Barack Obama and the Democrats that are in charge of this policy is coming………..?

    1. Why protest Obama? Both Democrats and Republicans own stock in Michael Chertoff’s scanning machine company. Both Democrats and Republicans vote to fund and support TSA. Both Democrats and Republicans vote for and support wars of aggression based on lies, deregulation that results in bailouts for corrupt banksters and mortgage fraudsters, free trade agreements that outsource US jobs, torture, etc. This is a bipartisan government. It doesn’t matter which party is in power, the agenda remains the same.

      If you want to protest corporate rule, rule by the big corporate donors to both political parties and their candidates, you have to stop buying corporate products. Buy local, made in USA products or do without.

      I understand that there are many Americans who can’t imagine doing without anything, and will do whatever it takes to keep their jobs, just like the TSA agents do. Most of those whose jobs were outsourced, whose homes were fraudulently foreclosed, and who are now homeless, were the same way, but it didn’t help them and it won’t help you.

      If you can’t figure out that our government, including both political parties, is waging economic war against the American people on behalf of their big multinational corporate donors (most of whom pay no taxes in the U.S.), and you think that the problem is just one of the major political parties, you can keep rotating power back and forth between the two parties forever and keep blaming whichever one is in power that year as things continue to get worse. Until you begin to understand that this is a war of the richest 2% against the rest of us, you’ll continue to fall for the “good cop/bad cop” game. There are many websites that list political donations to both parties. If you haven’t bothered to notice that the big corporations give almost equal amounts to both political parties, and that the big corporations benefit no matter which party is in power, you’re not bothering to be informed.

  54. Perhaps going after women who are menstruating is just a ploy to soften females up for the next step down the line of vaginal searches after some creepette is found to be carrying an explosive in her crotch.
    We must realize that as a group of millions of us we have a voice to speak up and out…write to Congress and to the airlines & don’t fly anymore until this madness is stopped.
    REVOLT OF THE MENSTRUATING FEMALES because it sure as heck isn’t going to be Vaginal Search Day anytime soon if we can help it.

  55. I doubt women have any control over this happening to them. Menopause is not really a solution, as it just happens (a joke).

    I do recommend that TSA start giving more privacy to woman and begin to come up with practical solutions to this new technology’s nightmares. One suggestion would to be to begin to separate men and women into different lines, which will cut down on the attacks on women that are escalating from TSA male workers. Next I recommend they stop patting down or radiating highly sensitive teenagers. Why inflect thyroid damage or a panic attack in a teenager? Teenagers have less control over their feelings and are especially vulnerable to such heavy handed techniques. They can easily get scared for life.

    And of course, TSA needs to stop pat downs/x rays of children right now (a huge, I mean big, priority). Perhaps if we begin right at the heart of the matter, what really really bothers us about the whole idea, we can get them to back down on using our children like cannon fodder.

    TSA should never have considered putting children into this situation at all (I say TSA, or whoever is behind them). Perhaps they have man-handled this situation (a lame joke). As I have no idea when/how this will end, I would like to see some solutions happen right away for safe travel again. Only giving TSA agents our righteous indignation might prejudice them against the public forever and I don’t see that as good idea. They are mere mortals living in stressful conditions. So hate them if you will, but as hate only helps the person who loves hating, people like me who do not hate would rather see a definite resolution to this mess right away.

    And to make matters much much worse, on a more long term basis, hundreds of thousands of armed angry men are returning from the wars and they will be security threats. Many are angry at their U.S. government (and accidentally the rest of us) and I am sure their anger will be used to strong arm us into more Stateside security contracts (because not only will this provide these out of work, in power, Security firms with contracts for jobs and machines, but it also establishes a new military force in the U.S., which seems to make some people in power very happy).

    I for one, would rather shift the battle to something that works, rather than try for a big fight right now. As we seem to lack the number of people needed to do the job of fighting them right now. Perhaps next year we can muster the forces, but today they shut us down at the airports by turning off the scanners. So our demonstration became a big
    bust and its failure is being used to trivialize the whole idea of stopping the scanners/pat downs in today’s corporate media news. We need to be smarter. Eileen H.

  56. I used to use GladRags. They’re flannel cloth with a snap to hold the wrap-around parts to your underpants. If a couple of layers of flannel is enough to block the scanners from seeing a woman’s vulva, then why wouldn’t multiple layers of clothing or a disposable menstrual pad cause the same blockage?

    I’ve been doing research for our upcoming trip to visit family a few thousand miles away this Christmas because it looks like my period will hit right about then. I now use a Diva Cup, which is silicone. Checked on a few sites to see how that’s going to go over (especially traveling with young girls and my parents, who will all be traumatized if they have to watch me pull that out in front of them in a public area). Apparently the silicone won’t show up because it’s inside. So, the easiest way for a woman to smuggle dangerous stuff onto a flight can’t be detected anyway without an actual physical probe.

    This is going to be fun.

  57. But who is going to really get their asses chomped into oblivion if they let a terrorist get through the line? Not saying it’s right or necessary, because it seems perverse and extreme to me, but we’re entrenched in a war of finger pointing right now and between the uss and thems there’s no way it’s going to stop with pornoscanners. I feel bad for us all.

    I’d say the next step is to only allow the TSA to pat down/feel up those who refuse the scanner or anyone who has a device that IS identifiable as a bomb. Not, “I don’t recognize that object therefore it must be…”, rather intensified training based on actual substances and devises.

    Beyond that I’ll be happy to sign a form that states I don’t hold the airlines or TSA accountable if someone slips through their enhanced screening devices. Anyone up for flying without security?

  58. Those that made comments on the phrase “out of the ordinary”…think for a moment. I’m sure the blogger didn’t insinuate in the least that menstruation is “out of the ordinary”. I think what was meant here was seeing something between a woman’s legs – the panty liner – that was seen as something “out of the ordinary” on the backscatter. Make sense? Not that I agree with having to be patted down because of it. I would think a simple “I’m on my period, I’m wearing a panty liner” would have been and should have been sufficient. But then who am I to make a suggestion to the TSA…I’m just an American.

  59. As I’ve been saying for the last 9 years, this is a case of guarding the barn after the horse has been stolen. Assuming that the enemy is idiotic because they are the enemy is the worst kind of thinking. Just because terrorists used airplanes once as a vehicle of destruction means that they’ll do it again makes the US the idiots, not them. There are many other ways to cause terror than by hijacking an airplane. Why not sink a cruise ship, or demolish a building in a completely unexpected way? Hell, a suicide bomber in Seattle would be a new form of acts of aggression.

    1. But it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been tried either. Or that we should assume they never will again. But I agree, we can’t protect everything.

  60. the stated use of the porno scanner is to look for objects in underwear. I’m surprised that every woman single who uses pads isn’t pulled out of line for a grope.

  61. And while we’re being poked, prodded and irradiated our air freight goes out uninspected. Unless a terrorist is more interested in martyrdom than damage it would seem that the big devices are going to fly freight.

  62. Guys, what is “out of the ordinary” and “unusual” is the type of fabric pad she was wearing, not that she was menstruating or wearing a pad at all. Did you read the link? She was wearing a particular type of reusable pad (GladRags) that the scanners couldn’t see through.

    Totally agree that they’ve gone too far, but just wanted to clear up the misunderstanding about the details of this particular story.

    Also, it got me thinking that I hope they don’t bother people who have to (or want to!) wear adult diapers.

  63. I recently read a blog entitled “We’re all German Jews Now”. Indeed. Personally I wouldn’t go within 5 miles of a US airport. Since the 4th Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, and certainly the government is always completely honest, honorable and lawful… then airports must be absolutely swarming with criminals for which the TSA has Reasonable Cause to suspect are attempting to commit a crime. YIKES! AIRPORTS ARE FULL OF NOTHING BUT DANGEROUS CRIMINALS! Stay away, save yourself from this dangerous and deadly mob! Those nasty toddlers (very young and very old), those psychopathic maniacs with artificial limbs and implants and wheelchairs and of course those beautiful BUT DEADLY women with paper thingies in their panties! Thank you TSA for saving us from these heinous threats to Democracy and Freedom!

  64. I’m so disgusted and upset by this. I’ve been thinking about this article from the Atlantic a lot lately.

    ‘In other words, people, when faced with a choice, will inevitably choose the Dick-Measuring Device over molestation? “That’s what we’re hoping for. We’re trying to get everyone into the machine.” He called over a colleague. “Tell him what you call the back-scatter,” he said. “The Dick-Measuring Device,” I said. “That’s the truth,” the other officer responded.’

  65. I was wondering if you opt out of the scanner and you are wearing a panty liner, would the tsa even know that you are wearing a panty liner? As a result, in the future, women who are menstruating would be better off, if selected, to go through the groping procedure to begin with, and be humiliated just once rather than twice. These procedures are preposterous; the public sector who actually believes that the underwear bomber would have been detected had this scanner been in place, are wrong. An expert has already stated that the scanner would have never detected the explosive that he concealed. I’m for going back to the orignial method; walk through the metal detector and if alarmed or acting suspicious, go through the “original” pat down procedure which was not invasive at all. I know because my husband and I both went throught it then.

  66.’s not that the camo liner is made out of anything unusual, it’s the design on the liner..she’s a veteran and thinks their fashionable…so do I. So far as glad rag, that is a slang term for the liner used for menstruation…didn’t you ever hear the outdated term “on the rag”? Meaning either a woman is menstruating or she’s angry about something.

  67. Scanners for buses and trains?

    This is an Amtrak station:

    It has two platforms and two shelters. Where are they going to put a scanner and who is going to operate it? It’s an unstaffed station. There are dozens of unstaffed stations on Amtrak; some of them don’t even have platforms, you just stop in the middle of Montana. (The trains that stop in the middle of Montana go to Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis and Chicago, so it’s not that a terrorist would ignore it because it’s just Montana.)

    I could show you the “stations” for the Chinatown buses in Philadelphia…but they’re not stations. The buses pull up on the sidewalk. Where would the scanner be? In the middle of the street?

  68. I won’t go through any thing that doses me with radiation…and I will warn anyone wanting to pat me down: I am very ticklish in certain areas.

    If they don’t believe me, maybe they’ll believe the knee that comes up and coldcocks them on the chin.


  69. I am just totally amazed at how everyone forgets how we felt on September 11th. We were all horrified and scared and wondering how someone could get away with bringing weapons onto an airplane and wondering how this kind of thing could be prevented in the future. I don’t fly, because I’m scared to death of it, but if I did, I would go through a strip search if it was required (and I don’t even like to be naked in front of myself) in order to be safe in the air. What’s with you people? As long as everyone is getting patted down, I say go for it and whatever else it takes to stop people from blowing up or crashing our planes. While I don’t like the thought of a stranger touching me, I like a lot less the thought of getting killed just because I took a plane ride. If you don’t want to go through this, pick a different mode of transportation and GET OVER YOURSELVES!

    1. Imagine a 9/11-style terrorist attack, killing nearly 3,000 people, occurring once a month, every month, for an entire year – leading to the violent deaths of nearly 36,000 innocent people. That would still be substantially less than the number of people killed in auto accidents in the United States in a typical year (for example, in 2007, the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents in the U.S., according to CDC statistics, was 43,945).

      It’s understandable that you would be frightened of terrorism. After all, the purpose of terrorism is to instill terror. The terrorists want you to be afraid. But this fear is unjustified. The threat posed by terrorism is extremely tiny compared to other dangers. The 9/11 attacks were the most deadly terrorist attacks in history; but the number of Americans killed in those attacks was roughly equal to the number of Americans who die each year from malnutrition (ibid). The only way to defeat terrorism is to STOP BEING AFRAID and get on with our lives.

      Besides that, the TSA’s intrusive security measures aren’t making us any safer! More importantly, these security measures infringe on our Constitutionally-protected civil liberties and privacy rights. It is essential that we preserve our most cherished rights and freedoms – the rights and freedoms that our government was established to protect – and that we not sacrifice those rights and freedoms to the false god of “security”.

      As Madison wrote to Jefferson: “Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged against provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad.” We can’t afford to let that happen – not now, not ever.

  70. I passed on the porno scanner on monday when flying. The agents at the check point appeared to be shocked that I was refusing the porn scanner. It appeared to me that such an act was rare at that airport (or at least with the 3 agents who were involved). They had to call over some other agent to do the pat down and he seemd to be a little unsure of exactly what to do. Much hesitation on is part (mostly related to getting the script of what he was saying to me ‘right’). Although I am not often professionally searched for hidden weapons, it seemed to me that the pat down, while being more than one would get in the past, was still miles from being effective. I could have gotten through with almost anything that would fit in my undies. The poor TSA agent who did the job avoided my loins as if I had the plague. Add to this the fact that they did not put me through the metal detector and one can sea that despite all the fear and loathing associated with the new porn scanners, the path to getting a weapon onto a plane has not really changed substancially. WTF?

  71. John Pistole made sure the pat downs so offensive hopping that americans who flock to the body scanners being peddled by former TSA administrator michael chertoff who stands to make millions if janet napolatano gets her way and puts those devices all over the country, so americans are left with two choices donate to the chertoff pistole retirement fund and subject your kids to government sponsored kiddy porn or let one of pistoles uneducated two weeks work of training goons fondle your private parts, while a number of us. senators are just saying your doing a good job john, I hope my opponent doesn’t make this a campaign issue.

  72. Grab a cassette player and cue MC Hammer’s You Can’t Touch This. Given the sensitive nature of the genital region, whenever should it be plausable for a stranger to touch another’s genetails as a controled security measure? NEVER.

    If I were a terrorist. Would I

    a.) Blow up a jumbo jet
    b.) Blow up a daycare
    c.) Posion a water supply


    Not to mention that screening a small population of those passing through security is a statistical laughing matter.

Comments are closed.