After multiple conversations recently with people who have responded to this saying, “I’d just go through the scanners,” I think it’s now time to share my story even more. YOU WILL NOT ALWAYS HAVE THE OPTION FOR THE SCANNER. I DIDN’T. Even after they scan you and find nothing, they can still select you to be molested. After what TSA did to me, I sent the following letter to every government rep I could find.
March 25, 2011
To those who have taken an oath to protect and represent me:
They say you don’t understand something until it happens to you. I admit to being guilty of just that.
I need to say here I am an open person. I have no past sexual trauma. Even getting a massage, I don’t care if it’s by a man or a woman. I normally love being touched.
I am an Austin resident. Last week, I took a vacation to Disneyland and Vegas. While walking through the metal detector at Orange County airport, the machines made a noise I had never heard before. A woman informed me I had been randomly selected. I maintained a sense of humor even telling the woman, “I usually get dinner before something like this.” Then her words started to creep through me. “I am going to touch you with my fingertips, but I will use the backs of my hands to touch you in your sensitive areas,” she said. Touch me where? My sensitive areas? She told me she would be sticking her hands down my shirt and down my pants. I thought there must be a more reasonable option so I asked, “Is there another option?!” (Note Orange County does not have body scanners.) She told me I could have a “private screening” and went and got another woman to watch. I felt very threatened by this. I asked a simple question and she now had backup? There was no way I wanted to be put in a back room and have someone touch me against my will. I decided to remain cooperative. After all, if I don’t comply won’t I be breaking the law? If I break the law, won’t I also be subject to a body search?
Her hands touched every inch of my body. There was a moment when I realized I hated her hands touching me and wanted it to stop. I didn’t like some stranger putting her hands down my shirt and pants. I felt myself cringing emotionally. I wanted to run. However, I knew I wasn’t allowed to leave. I wasn’t allowed to say no to someone touching my body. I kept trying to be polite. She even thanked me for my cooperation when I walked away.
By the next day, I just felt gross. I was all dressed up for Vegas, but I felt wrong. I felt unsafe. I started feeling angry. Eventually, the anger turned to sadness. Back at work today, I can hardly concentrate. I barely got anything done today. I normally consider myself to be articulate, but can hardly write this letter. I am crying as I write it.
However, I am not a silent person. I am telling everyone I know what happened to me and encouraging them to take action. I am telling everyone that this was molestation and it’s not okay.
Most importantly, where is the logic and common sense? Why are we not using less intrusive, less expensive, and more effective methods of protection such as K-9 units? Why is the former head of Department Security, Michael Chertoff, financially benefiting from the sales of body scanners? Why aren’t we voting on the matter? Why aren’t we able to see independent studies about the effects of the radiation of these machines? Where is the proof that this solution provides better security? Why is it okay to force children to be subjected to this?
I have never been arrested. I’ve never even had a moving violation. We must ask ourselves what type of country we live in where a person who isn’t even accused of a crime forced to decide between the right to travel and the right to our own body. Is this the land of the free??
So that’s my story. I have made this note public. I ask that you share so others can read it. Why? Because crimes like this breed in silence and ignorance.
“The unnecessary deaths of 3000 people on September 11, 2001 is no more or no less important than the deaths of those during the World Wars, via cancer and disease, accidents or anything else… the United States alone each year, roughly 30,000 people die from automobile accidents, the majority of which could be stopped by very simple structural changes. That’s ten 9/11′s each year… yet no one seems to pine over this epidemic. Likewise, over 1 million Americans die from heart disease and cancer annually… Yet, regardless of the over 330 9/11′s occurring each year in this context, the governmental budget allocations for research on these illnesses is only a fraction of the money spent on ‘anti-terrorism’ operations.” ~Peter Joseph, thezeitgeistmovement.com
Also, useful links:
Good overall info and boycott movement http://wewontfly.com/
Good overall info and quick, easy way to write http://stopaustinscanners.org/write/
Check and report on recent experiences by airport http://tsastatus.net/
MIT article calling scanner damage to the body “jaw dropping” http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/24331/More info on scanner issues http://camerafraud.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/21-reasons-scientists-oppose-body-scanners/ and http://camerafraud.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/21-reasons-scientists-oppose-body-scanners/
I watched the TSA pat down that 6-year-old girl about two weeks ago. I watched her horrified parents and the look on the little girls face of utter shock and confusion that this person was touching her all over her body. Her mother looked so helpless. This is utterly uncalled for and not something you expect from “the land of the free.”
My story: I dislocated my knee in the middle of June and had to fly back home to FL so that my mother could drive me around and take me to doctors’ appointments and also help take care of me! Jet Blue was nice enough to arrange for a wheelchair and a nice gentleman to assist me. I thought it was kind of funny at first that I got to skip the security check-point line and go to the front. I had to get out of my wheelchair and hobble through the security machine. Of course the detector went off because under my jeans I was wearing my knee brace. I was pretty shocked at what happened next. Two female TSA agents escorted me into a private room, patted me down several times, and told me that I needed to either lift up my jeans to show my knee brace (which was clearly impossible as my jeans were skinny jeans) or take my jeans off. I was forced with no other option but to take my jeans off! It was so embarrassing and weird and they had me standing the whole time while I clearly was injured. Not only did I have to take my jeans off, but they asked me to take my brace off too. After the brace came off that is when they saw how swollen my knee was and they started making comments like, “Oh yea. That knee is super swollen.” NO KIDDING! It was really uncomfortable and I felt pretty violated. I felt like a criminal when all I was trying to do was go home to take care of my knee. If you’re injured and flying, get ready to feel like a terrorist! AWKWARD!
I was boarding a flight to PR and declined the human microwave scanner. Thus, I was subsequently forced o undergo an “enhanced” pat down, but what ended up being a full body groping session. I felt like I was a piece of meat and they were seasoning me- it was never a “patting” it was a consistent massaging, incredibly creepy to have another man’s hand all over me, in full view of everyone else. I am dark skinned and definitely felt singled b/c I saw no other person being molested like this. He actually had his hand CUP my testicles. He also did what felt like a “credit card” swipe through my butt cheeks. I felt showcased. I asked him to “take it easy” and he just ignored me like I was put on this Earth for the sole purpose of him to rub me up and down.
You weren’t singled out b/c you have dark skin. Don’t make it a racial thing. I have white skin and I got the same treatment. Be pro active and contact your elected officials. People just complain and then do nothing to stop it.
I am a 61 yr old wife, mom, and grandma. Because of a knee injury, I wear a knee brace. Last fall, before I was aware, I chose to go through the porno scanner thinking that would save me the pat down because they would be able to see the brace. Wrong. Before I even entered the scanner, I informed the agent that I was wearing a brace. After I was scanned, she said she needed to see the brace and asked me to pull up my pant leg. My slacks were too tight to pull over the brace. She said she had to see it, so she got two other women to go with us to a room. One stood outside the door and the other two went in with me. I was required to drop my pants there in front of two strangers! I felt humiliated, demeaned, violated and angry. I told them that while they were busy searching the granny with the knee brace, the real terrorists could go on by.
on a recent trip to Seattle I was in a Verbal confrontation with a TSA agent.The man was hounding my wife,taking water,going through her bags…BS for short.I commented “damn TSA” he immediately jumped in my face saying what did I say and telling me I did not want him in my face.I responded in kind and just called him every name in the book and begged him to lay hands on me so I could kick his ass.I will never travel by air again and I will go to jail if one of these Gestapo TSA Traitors ever lays hands on me.Screw homeland Security(Nazis) and screw every libtard that supports this violaqtion of my constitutional rights.
You are wrong that it is liberals who are supporting TSA and its abusive illegal practices. I belong to several organizations comprised of VERY conservative people. One person is the chairperson of Republican women in our county. Almost everyone I have spoken with is either on board with this or resigned. I am the only one who is protesting…and I appear to be the only non-Republican in the group. (Notice I did NOT say I am a Democrat.)
This matter cuts across party lines. It really is not about conservative or liberal. It’s all about fear, following orders, and believing that the government has our best interests at heart.
The Federal Government itself is the enemy. The Republicans and the Democrats have BOTH sold us out. They are all making huge bucks out of this, so they have no interest in helping us.
You are just now worried about your Constitutional Rights? You are sadly mistaken (or painfully ignorant) if you think that liberals are in favor of this, seriously? Your term “libtards” just demonstrates your ignorance. It shows that you are still someone who still thinks that this two-party game that’s being played in Washington truly represents a government with our best interests.
This “choose a side” mentality is what’s sickly wrong with this country. Red vs. Blue, Left vs. Right, Donkey vs. Elephant, Republican vs. Democrat. Created to keep us separated. If you control both sides, and play them off of each other… it’s a hell of a lot easier to control.
Divided we fall… by design.
Put your idiotic political and religious beliefs aside for one goddamn second and stop pretending that these corrupt politicians (ON EITHER SIDE) are actually in the game to represent your personal ideals…or you won’t have ANY ideals to hold on to anymore.
The people you need to be mad at are the people that have purposefully fear-mongered the public into backing the nasty shit our government has been doing for since the beginning, not to mention since 2000. If you still think that the 2009 “Underwear Bomber” or 9/11 had absolutely NOTHING to do with our own government… well, then, you DESERVE to deal with the “Nazis” you so accurately put it in the airport. These “Nazis” have been created by our own government. The Patriot Act (2001), The Food and Safety Modernization Act (2010), and coming to a theater near you, The Cyber Security and Safety Act (2011). You REALLY think these recent government “computer hackings” that are happening all at once are just a coincidence?
Cyber Security? Patriot? Food Safety? All of these “Acts” sound nice and warm, don’t they? Kinda like grandma’s cookies? Turn off CNN, FOX, anything mainstream that’s bought and paid for and do your own damn research. Look these “Acts” up on your own and I guarantee you’ll be bitching about something a little more than our scumbag government molesting us at the airport.
Constitutional Rights! Haha!
Wake the f**k up people! THE GOVERNMENT CREATES THE PROBLEM TO OFFER THE SOLUTION. Call it profit-driven, call it the beginning of the New World Order, call it just sheer corruption… Whatever you call it… IT’S DESTROYING US… U.S.
How long will people sit around and take it up the ass, before enough is enough? This is just the beginning!
Ignorance is only bliss for so long.
Agreed, well said.
Kathy, I feel for you. I’ve had people put their fingers underneath my bra after neglecting a scanner of any sort. I’ve been patted down every single time each way I’ve used an airline, any airline!
Robert, I’ve had my bags rifled through more times than I can count, so I feel for your wife!
Excessive ‘security’ isn’t even effective! The reasons for their ‘protecting’ us have already happened, and if they believe those giving them reason to search us will use the same methods they had before they’re mistaken or there wouldn’t be any reason at all for ‘security’. People aren’t stagnant, and they’ll just get around it some other way. Excessive groping and fondling helps no-one and nothing, and just infuriates the public. It’s awful and I hate flying. And whats with the shoes?! Disgusting floor to walk all over while they take your shoes for scanning.
Here is my story that I reposted to a newly created blog that I wrote due to TSA Abuse and Sexual Assault: http://tsaabusestory.blogspot.com/2011/07/if-you-want-to-know-what-to-expect-when.html
If you want to know what to expect when flying and going through TSA security checkpoint you had better read this.
Incident occurred at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 4 Gate D July 13, 2011 at approximately 3:20 PM far right security line.
I entered the screening line and opted out of the full body scanner – for reasons why see below.
After politely opting out of the Full Body Imaging the lady working the line told me to wait at the gate for a pat down. My wallet, shoes, belt and laptop was already through the imaging machine which was out of my sight and control for approximately 15 minutes. I watched several people leave the area with their belongings while mine (as I found out when the TSA agent finally collect them) was sitting in the open at the end of the conveyor belt with no TSA agents in plain view of my items. I told the lady at the gate that my wallet and laptop was sitting there with no one watching and unsecured. Yes I was worried about my laptop, and wallet with personal Identification, money and enough credit cards with limits to make the most discerning thief very happy. She stated that they have cameras watching; I told her that I wanted my belongings secured which she refused to take action. The only thing the female agent had to say was that there were cameras in the area – each time she stated that “this is your fault for refusing the body scanner”. I finally demanded to speak to a supervisor, at this point the TSA agent sitting at the carry on screening machine spoke up and in a very annoyed tone and loud voice said the supervisor was already called. This agent, a stocky balding man whose name was later identified as Detras will enter this series of events a little further down.
The supervisor who finally showed up (later identified as Schmidt) can be described as light completed with freckles about 5’9” with large stretched holes in his ear lobes from what appears to be gauging; they were large enough that light was passing through the holes. Officer Schmidt took me to get my belongings (again which were un-secure and out of my sight and control for 15 minutes) which he picked up and had to carry them as if they were now somehow secure. It is totally incompetent to allow my belongings to be accessible to strangers for 15 minutes than all the sudden they are somehow secure and I cant touch them. I was led to the open area downstream from the scanners. He explained that he was going to do a pat down which he did. This person with the freaky earlobes touched my scrotum 4 times and continued to run his hands all over my body. After the search he did a test on his gloves which he said came back as positive for something. The TSA agent with the freaky earlobes collected a printout from the testing machine and attached them to a book which appeared to be kept near the machine. I asked to see the results. He said that that I could not see them and they were only for the TSA to see. He then said that they had to do a more thorough pat down. The supervisor got the TSA agent sitting at the far right (Detras from before) and started whispering to him, then I heard this agent Detras say “I can do that” smiling and happily volunteering as if there was something in it for him. At this point I couldn’t help but think this was payback for refusing the Full Body Scanner. Given the fact that Detras was annoyed before and Schmidt who would not show me the results lead me to believe this was definitely payback.
At this point Detras led me to the area which was at the far left (as an entering passenger would view it) and taken behind a cube that was made of white frosty glass. The officer described that he was going to do an enhanced pat down which would be even more intrusive than before. I asked again to see the report that came back from the first pat down which was suppose to be positive, he said that was classified and then corrected that it was not classified but for TSA only. Detras described the enhanced pat down and mentioned he was going to feel my groin with the back of his hand. Apparently there is an enhanced pat down for refusing the scanner and another more enhanced pat down when the gloves fail the test. I then asked if he was going to touch my penis, he got very angry and ordered me to sit down in the chair and said that he was not going to put up with this and was going to call an officer and threatened that I would be removed from airport property and I would miss my flight. At this point I told him that they were violating my rights, he stated that I gave up my rights when I bought a ticket. My comment was “I never gave up any rights”. At this point I felt that the only way to end the ordeal was to allow this person to “feel my groin area”. Then the pat down started. The officer touched my penis 5 times during the pat down which was extremely humiliating and at which time a sense that something was totally wrong going on rushed through my mind (and later that night and still today). How is it that in order to get on an airplane to make my business trip I have to let a stranger touch my penis? Why is it that anyone else doing something like this is considered sexual assault? After they tested my items (which strangers has access to for 15 minutes) and checked their gloves again which were good I was allowed to leave. The gloves tested positive at first now they test good. How could this be?
The only difference between the first enhanced pat down (because of the supposed glove test failure) and the 2nd more intense pat down was 1) this one was conducted out of public view, 2) the pat down now included specifically touching my penis 5 times. All other body areas were handled exactly the same. And for a definition of “touch your groin”; this means for males (including little boys) that they are going to feel your inside buttocks and penis and for females (including little girls) they are going to feel your inside buttocks, vagina and breasts. Why couldn’t the re-testing be done on the same exact areas that supposedly failed the first time? If those areas failed the first time they were obviously the areas of concern. Why was my penis the only body part added to the enhanced, enhanced pat down? For me the answer is clear, they were using this as a means of intimidation for refusing the full body scanner.
About me: 40ish professional male, well groomed, blond hair, dress business casual – even on this day. Love this country. I regularly fly the American flag. Rode my motorcycle in the Run to the Wall ride honoring all Veterans. Served in the military. Disgusted with politicians and the erosion of our rights – getting tired of TSA and other agencies pissing on the graves of veterans that gave their lives in the name of freedom.
Why I opted out of the Full Body Scanner:
There are many reasons I have for refusing the extra dose of radiation and violation of privacy. Being a very frequent flier (on the A list) I do not want dose, after dose, after dose of radiation. The ionizing effect of back-scatter radiation has been classified as a carcinogenic. There have been testing on live biological species (mice and rats) which have been determined to cause cancer. I have never heard of this so called “low dose” back-scatter testing on live biological studies – I have not heard of event one reference to this type of testing or the results and I have looked extensively. I have heard reports where it was never done. Post up if there is any info on this. I certainly do not want to be the quinine pig only to find out that I have lymph node, testicular or skin cancer.
What is absolutely comical and a total lie to the public is the chalky white images that are shown on TSA press releases some of which feature Janet Napolitano standing next to the image. Many of the companies selling Back-scatter X ray machines report “photo like quality images” on most of their equipment but their Full Body Imaging machine statements avoid any statements about image quality all together, nothing about a chalky white image only and nothing about “photo like images”. For the cost of these machines and the available technology being used it only makes sense that they can take photo like images. Common sense should dictate here..
The next time you accept the full body scan think of what that little girl or boy that will have a pornographic picture taken of them. Think your rights are not being violated? On 7/19/2011 as a result of a lawsuit brought by EPIC, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the TSA violated federal law when it installed body scanners in airports for primary screening across the country without first soliciting public comment. The list of violations goes on.
The next time you go voluntarily go through a full body scanner or are exposed to the enhanced pat down think about those little girls and boys out there that have to be exposed to this. You are doing a dis-service to the rest of Americans – young, old and disabled. Think about that.
Thank you for sharing your story! This is incredibly compelling and exactly what the American public needs to be aware of when they arrive at an airport!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ra3ov1mEZE I am so glad I’m not active duty anymore defending and upholding this joke of a Constitution that I could have lost my life for
Good video Nicole. I was AF as well. Remember this: I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC… And for your video I feel the same way.. I am a SW Airlines A list Member . I am sitting in Chicago writing this – felt the same panic today, canceled my flight which would have took 45 min and drove 6 hours. I will not put up with a stranger – a man – a federal agent dropping to his knees while I hold my arms out and let him feel my groin area (defined: penis) because I was threatened to be removed, arrested and fined. If this would have been attempted today I would be in jail for protecting myself against an assault (since the police cant even do that against TSA) The corn fields of Illinois are a better sight than bars.
We are Freedom to Travel USA, an organization dedicated to regaining freedoms taken away from us by the TSA. We believe that suspicionless unwanted touching should not be a condition of travel. We believe that being subject to the equivalent of Peeping Toms without cause should not be a condition of travel. We believe that exposing ourselves to radiation, however small, should not be a condition of travel. We believe that merely the presence of a medical device, in and of itself, should not constitute “probable cause.” http://fttusa.org
I was punished with a public frisking in Seattle last week for refusing to submit to the rapescan machines. It felt like “America’s Most Wanted.” I am not a criminal and I don’t see why the TSA treats me like one.
The rapescan machines are a violation of civil liberties, a potential radiation risk and a waste of taxpayer money. They should be junked immediately.
I used to go on vacation in Florida two weeks every winter and because of this scan or pat down thing I didn’t go last year and I won’t be going this winter.
I don’t think the scanners are safe for our health, and I simply won’t go thru them. I work as a physician.
I strongly oppose that the government mandates I be subject to an intimate body search “at random” or because I refuse to step thru their scanners as a condition to travel from one city to another. The fact that I buy an airline ticket does not manufacture my consent. I view these government actions as violations of my civil rights as an American, and of my human rights as a human being.
I was subject to a TSA body search at the Orange County Airport (i.e. John Wayne) on 12/28 of this past year once I refused to subject myself to their scanners. It was a terrible experience. One of the TSA “inspectors” was reasonably professional, but the other was rude, gruff, intimidating, and basically barked orders. Early on during their “search”, I turned to the intimidator and loudly and clearly told him he was rude, gruff, unprofessional, and basically unfit for his job, and that he needed to stop it right there and then. This was in the private screening room as I demanded the right of privacy and did not consent to be groped in public view. The younger, more professional TSA agent then stepped forward and completed the “search.” It’s a good thing, because I was about to ask for the TSA supervisor to be present….only to find out, the rude agent was actually the onsite TSA SUPERVISOR himself!! Believe me, this man had absolutely zero person-to-person communication skills, and should not be allowed to work with the public, period.
Fellow Americans, what recourse does the public have?
Manufactured consent? NEVER. I was violated pure and simple. I felt violated and angry, and I have a taste now what it must feel like to be raped. I did not consent to this, and I don’t like it one bit.
After this episode, I sat down on a bench and wrote out my experience on a form to put it into the little TSA box set aside for consumer reactions. The young woman behind me who was debriefing her own trauma with her traveling companion was audibly crying and exclaimed, “My god, I feel like I’ve been raped–I suppose we should just arrive naked at the airport to make it easier for the TSA!” As I sat there writing, a polite and professional black woman who identified herself as the TSA Manager on site walked up to me and asked me about my experience. I relayed it to her, and also asked I be contacted by telephone or email by TSA itself so as to continue registering my objections to what had happened to me. Well, here it is the 21 January, and I haven’t heard one word from her or any TSA representative.
In the course of my professional life I can’t always not fly, but I will most certainly minimize my flights for now on. I will continue to resist what I consider TSA’s violation of my civil and human rights and liberties, and I will voice my objections loudly.
I encourage all travelers to resist and be vocal about it.
Once again, this occurred at John Wayne Airport.
Thanks for reading.
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