TSA agents discover "anomaly in crotch area" of 79-year-old woman

Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic reports that his 79-year-old mother-in-law triggered a TSA pornoscanner at Washington Reagan airport last week, and was then asked by a TSA officer to explain what was the matter with her crotch:

She entered the machine and struck the humiliating pose one is forced to strike -- hands up, as in an armed robbery -- and then walked out, when she was asked by a TSA agent, in a voice loud enough for several people to hear, "Are you wearing a sanitary napkin?"

Remember, she's 79.

My mother-in-law answered, "No. Why do you ask?"

The TSA agent responded: "Well, are you wearing anything else down there?"

Yes, "down there."

She said no, at which point, the friend with whom she was traveling, also a not-young volunteer library advocate, came over and asked if there was a problem.

The TSA agent said, again, in full voice, "There's an anomaly in the crotch area."

This is, of course, a painful post for me to write. Like most normal American men, I don't want to see the words "my mother-in-law" and "crotch area" in the same paragraph. But let me go on anyway.

My mother-in-law said, "As far as I know I don't have any anomalies in the crotch area."

The TSA agent told her she would have to go through the scanner again. She demurred, saying she didn't like the machine very much. The agent told her she could opt for a pat-down. My mother-in-law refused to be frisked, figuring, correctly, that "they were going to pat-down my crotch area. I mean, there wasn't an anomaly in the chest area."

TSA to My Mother-in-Law: 'There's an Anomaly in the Crotch Area' (Via The Agitator)



  1. An anomaly in my crotch area doesn’t sound too bad. I’ve gone through a long dry spell.

  2. The updated story is interesting too – a congressman slapped a TSA agent who “got fresh,” and “no charges were filed and no citations were issued” even though the poor agent cried out that he had “been assaulted” after simply trying to feel a federal politician’s wangola to check for explosive devices and also probably a quick comparative girth-check.

    A real person would have been thrown in the hole if they dared raise a hand against their government mandated molester, I bet.

    1. Yeah that is pretty interesting.  I like this part:  “.. and my right arm came down and moved away
      his hand briskly.”

      He’s unable to take responsibility even for the actions of his own arm and hand.  He’s a natural for politics.

  3. Is anyone else wondering what the parameters are for a person to be ‘crotch nominal’?

      1. .. and as with many matters involving national security, the magnitude of the threat is frequently exaggerated.

    1. I bet they have a chart of crotch silhouettes like those cards they used in WW2 for plane identification. 
      “Oh yeah that one’s definitely a zucchini wrapped in foil, look at the contours.”

    2. Anyone who describes my crotch as ‘baseline’ is getting popped in the eye.

  4. So, why are there no 80 year old bombers?  It’s not a pursuit that seems like it would require a lot of physical fitness.  And if you have a community of people who believe that violence is appropriate, why isn’t it carried out by those who have the least to lose?

    If you’re a true believer, why would you want to die in bed, when you could go out fighting the good fight?

    1. The problem is that with age comes wisdom.

      Suicide bombing appears to be a job of hotheaded young guys who can be swayed by  impassioned rhetoric and societal pressure.  Once you’ve been around the block a few times it’s a lot harder to take those guys seriously and you start seeing them for what they are–just trying to destabilize the government to create a power vacuum that they can then step into and proceed to rob the country blind.  They’re using religion as a weapon to advance their own agenda, they’re not true believers. 

      Even the 9/11 hijackers were renting porn and drinking booze on the nights leading up to the act. 

      1. you mean the highjackers have less credibility because they were not religious nut-jobs, but, seemingly, normal soldiers going into battle? I will have to think about that for a while.

    2. The older you get the more precious life becomes and the less patience you have for extremist foolishness.

    3. Because radicals are most likely to be under 30. And suicide bombers in places like Afghanistan are not all radicals. They’re often children or people who are doing it to prevent their families from being murdered.

    4.  There are old suicide bombers, and there are bold suicide bombers, but there are no old, bold suicide bombers?

  5. What do you make of that, Ron? Some kind of wizard sleeve?

    I’m guessing that all the money the TSA spends on equipment and theatrics could put an air marshal on every plane. Or at least make us believe it…

  6. Well, if I ever start a blog or a band, I’ve got my name.

    “Appearing for one night only – ‘An Anomoly In The Crotch Area’!”

  7. Subtract 40 years in age and go back in time 3 weeks, and that was me.  Also at DCA — I was wearing leggings (so basically tights) and a very thin silk tunic.  You could tell at a glance if there was anything under there.  Through the scanner–crotch area alert.  So I went back–crotch area alert.  I looked over at the screen, and sure enough, on the blank person, there was a big old glowing circle around the crotch.  Although actually, the two agents seemed to think it was my backside.

    As I stood in the scanner the (quite nice, and I would say frustrated by the machine’s foolishness) TSA agents suggested maybe it was the tunic.  So I happily grabbed the bottom and pulled it up so that you could clearly see just leggings and my top over my head (embarrassed husband: check.)  Finally I was told they’d need a pat down.  I’m pretty sure the agent used the term hiney.  Some entertaining word for butt.  She also did ask if I had a pad on, in a stage whisper.  Unlike the lady in the story, I was pretty amused by this point and had already partially exposed myself, so I loudly assured that “No.  In fact, by now, my underwear is really riding up!” in a clear, carrying voice. 

    Had the same thing happen, same place, a month ago.  Clearly nothing there.  Machine is acting up or the user is. TSA agents were quite nice, fortunately, but it sure doesn’t make you feel safer.

    1. At the risk of starting a disagreement here, I was confused by the part of the story where you said you looked over at the screen and saw your image.  I travel a bunch for work and follow these TSA stories quite closely and my understanding and experience is that the monitor that shows the scanner results is never in view of the public.

      Was I reading correctly that you were seeing the image of your scan?

      1. After I had gone through, there was a small screen on the “safe” side of the unit, and it had an outline of a generic person in scan position.  On that, the crotch was highlighted.  Not, mercifully, my actual scan. Maybe it wasn’t part of the unit and was just right there next to it?  I probably wasn’t supposed to see it, but there was a fair bit of loitering and back and forth back in and out of the scanner while we discussed.

    2.  There are several fails, even if there was a real reason for an alert.

      TSA should be required to construct open areas whose design dampens sound dramatically, so that when a problem is detected, the passenger and screener can walk to the dampened area and talk, but are still where they’re visible to others for ensuring that proper liberties for the passenger are maintained.

      TSA should be trained on proper vocabulary.

      TSA should use the proper gender staff when even just discussing primary and secondary sexual characteristics.

      Of course, I agree with the air marshal statement even more.  I would be surprised if this costs less than the basic metal detector security we had twelve years ago plus an air marshal on every flight.  If they don’t want to pay for hotel rooms for air marshals, they could construct or appropriate space on the airport grounds for barracks that the air marshals could sleep in when their schedules don’t permit turnaround flights.  High end airport lounges manage to be built where they’re quiet, I don’t see why they couldn’t apply the same techniques to sleeping quarters for security personnel.

  8. The prison/military/security industrial complex… saving us all from crotchal-area threats daily.

    No wonder we spend so much money on these things.  You can never be too safe.  Totally worth bankrupting the nation, for sure.

  9. The article’s author now believes Al Qaeda has won. Clearly none of the thousands of other similar stories prior to this were persuasive; it had to happen to someone with whom he had a close personal connection.

    As long as people are only swayed by what affects them directly and personally, this bullshit will go on.

  10. Can I get a pricecheck for a flight in the USA?

    It appears to be, 1 humanity + 1 dignity.

    Seems quite expensive.

    1. I take heart in the fact that it’s still possible to take a train to the coast and board a boat for a foreign land without some McDonald’s-reject complicating my life.  Or my crotch area.

  11. If I am not mistaken, the computer systems in these devices generate a certain number of random alerts both to test the “officers” and to somehow keep terrorists guessing. (Never understood that last part, they (if “they” actually exist in significant numbers which does not seem to be the case) intend to die blowing up a large number of Americans and a crowded security area would do just fine.)

    The computer  enhanced x-ray machines do this as well.  Random highlights of stuff that require your luggage get dumped out and pawed over.

    These are mind-numbingly boring jobs and I suspect someone thinks this helps keep these blockheads on their toes.

    1. This, so much this. I have never understood the entire point of it all when it would be just as emotionally scarring for someone to walk in and detonate in the line before the scan. And the way the US handles things, it seems like the reaction would be a supplementary security point you would have to get through before you get to the primary security site…

  12. Clearly the most dangerous terrorists are those younger than 7 and older than 75. TSA FTW.

  13. Anybody know if it’s actually unlawful to go through screening with a 16-inch dildo stuffed down the front of your jeans?

    “I got yer “anomaly” right HERE!…”

    1. Yeah, me too. Since transitioning I have never once not been pulled for ancillary screening and such. Different == scary == dangerous! 

  14. So THOUSANDS OF POUNDS OF METH make it past the TSA for a little $$, but GRANNIES CROTCH absolutely must be PHOTOGRAPHED repeatedly or FONDLED.  NO EXCEPTIONS IF YOU WANT TO FLY. 

    Ill just throw this one out there since most dont even contemplate it in the least.
    You know why they are scared of the feeble elderly??  Because they know what it used to be like in America before greed took over and they are so old they dont have a lot to live for, thereby making them an immediate threat. Well either that or some disgusting GILF fantasy…

    Hear the one about the 2 elderly ex-agents and a friend of theirs planning attacks on some government place?  They were in a position to truly see the bullshit going on before they retired.  They got caught, but I believe that is the reason they keep fondling the elderly, they are afraid of their cute little wrinkled old faces hiding ill intent to bring down the greedy hypocrisy.   Let alone all the abuse on beautiful women being repeatedly scanned for laughs, and little girls being traumatized by ignorant fat lazy idiots with a little control. 

    The TSA reminds me of the morons cops from the 5th element.  They show up and ask what is behind the door, one guy says meat popsicle and is left alone. 

    PS I just love it when I spell a word correctly and the spell checker underlines it anyways….(popsicle for instance)—————–
    Technology making us stupid since it was invented…

  15. Orwell got it wrong:

    If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

    If you want a picture of the future, imagine crotch anomalies being inspected — forever. See? I fixed it.

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