More TSA abuses


This article describes the appalling way that even elderly people with medical conditions are treated by the TSA at airports. Here are a few examples, starting with happened to an 82-year old woman at the Pheonex airport.

The metal detector beeps over her chest. She explains she has a prosthesis. She’d opted out of reconstructive surgery after the breast cancer.

Transportation Security Administration agents take the woman to a room and order her to take off her blouse. Then her bra. Then her prosthesis, which they examine. The elderly woman strips to her waist, with nothing to hide her scars.

One woman wrote that an agent ordered a pat down of her prosthetic breast and refused to conduct the search in private, before a flight in May 2012.

“She made me pull it out in front of the world. When I got upset I was told to shut up. I have never been so humiliated in my life,” the woman wrote. “The TSA has overstepped their bounds and ruined my vacation.”

A woman on a layover in January says she was in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank and was transferring planes when agents drew their guns on her and called her a terrorist. Agents accused her of smuggling contraband. When she returned home, all of her prescribed pain pills had been confiscated, she reported.

A 92-year-old man with childhood polio was ordered out of his wheelchair to stand up in the body-scanning machine. His grandson reported overhearing one TSA screener shout: “Find out if he has his knees and hips. If he does, then there is no reason he can’t stand.”

Between the TSA and the Customs and Border Protection agency and the Border Patrol, the government is doing a fine job of alienating people. It is almost as if they go out of their way to get a bad name for the security system.

The grandchild of the woman with the prosthesis hit the nail on the head with her complaint: “This sort of degrading treatment is more appropriate for prisoners.” Yes, the great success of groups like al Qaeda is that we now are all treated as if we are terrorists.

Comments

  1. trucreep says

    “Yes, the great success of groups like al Qaeda is that we now are all treated as if we are terrorists.”

    Seriously – we always hear about if we do this or we don’t do that then we’ve “let the terrorists win.” I think our officials have done a fine job in helping them succeed. Honestly, has Al-Qaida ever had a more effective marketer or PR machine than the United States?

  2. says

    The grandchild of the woman with the prosthesis hit the nail on the head with her complaint: “This sort of degrading treatment is more appropriate for prisoners.”

    I’m sorry, but humiliating prisoners is also not acceptable.

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    There’s at least a certain consistency here. After all, most of the Guantanamo inmates were innocent of any wrongdoing. Come to that, has innocence ever been of primary concern in the American justice system? Compared to race and class, say.

  4. smrnda says

    This is what I don’t get – according to some, no level of intrusive government is too much if it’s to ‘fight terrorism.’ Given that it’s our own safety they are, supposedly, fighting for, if we simply don’t feel it’s a reasonable exchange the security state should piss off.

    I suspect the TSA attracts the same type of people who are inclined to work as prison guards; the idea of humiliating people and subjecting them to invasive searches all with the ability to say, as patronizing as ever, that it’s for their own good probably appeals to them.

  5. sarah00 says

    I grew up thinking that one of the ways we ‘let the terrorists win’ was if we substantially changed how we lived our lives. I missed the worst of the IRA attacks but always knew to be cautious about left bags etc, yet it never interfered with everyday life. Even when the shopping centre had to be evacuated after a suspicious bag was found it had little effect other than to waste half an hour finding my friends afterwards (this was before mobile phones).

    Under this definition the terrorists have clearly won. They’ve made entire continents paranoid and security-obsessed, they’ve convinced governments that ‘security’ is more important than freedom or personal dignity, and they’ve enabled governments to observe their citizens to a level even Orwell would have thought a bit excessive. They’ve achieved what all the terrorists of the 20th century could not – they’ve changed our way of life.

  6. colnago80 says

    What we have here is a classic case of hub-capping. Those TSA inspectors are making damn sure that no weapon or explosive gets on board the plane on their shift.

  7. daved says

    Of course, a nine-year-old kid from Minnesota managed to get onto a flight to Las Vegas last week, and the TSA didn’t stop him. Makes me feel oh, so safe. TSA is theater. It’s not real security.

  8. mnb0 says

    “This sort of degrading treatment is more appropriate for prisoners.”
    Frankly in civilized countries, like say Norway, the country of Anders Breivik, the government doesn’t treat prisoners that way either.

  9. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    This is exactly the sort of behavior that creates terrorists out of the population of discontented people who are so inclined to that sort of action.

  10. wtfwhateverd00d says

    “Between the TSA and the Customs and Border Protection agency and the Border Patrol, the government is doing a fine job of alienating people. It is almost as if they go out of their way to get a bad name for the security system.”

    They are anchoring, moving the goalposts, and training.

    I am called a lunatic for wanting the freedom to travel, wanting the freedom of speech that I grew up in the sixties being told marked the difference between us and them.

    I am pretty sure my kids, your kids, many many others look at us as idiots for questioning the searches and slowing the line down.

  11. says

    “This sort of degrading treatment is more appropriate for prisoners.”

    Actually, there are very strict laws and policies that prevent this kind of humiliation of prisoners, and prison officials who violate those laws and policies are (more often than not) reprimanded. There are no such laws or policies protecting the general public.

    Meditate on that for a while.

  12. sailor1031 says

    “This sort of degrading treatment is more appropriate for prisoners.”

    No it bloody isn’t!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>