This city deserves a better class of criminal.
November 14, 2010 11:58 AM   Subscribe

This post was deleted for the following reason: there are several open TSA threads, please put this in one of them. -- jessamyn



 
Perhaps this might fit better in one of the recent, and still active, TSA threads? It seems like it would fit in well with TSA National Opt-Out Day thread (Nov 10), or the vaguely similar For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance tread (Oct 29), or the thread about the pilot who refused to enter the millimeter wave machine (Oct 20).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:04 PM on November 14, 2010


I wonder if I would get in trouble if I asked whether I could both have a picture taken of me naked and have my cock-n-balls fondled. It's cruel that they make you choose one or the other.
posted by planet at 12:04 PM on November 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


So now in the U.S., somebody either has to touch your junk or take a picture it of before you get on a plane? Even the kids?

Way to go, Land Of The Free And Home Of The Brave. Way to go.
posted by mhoye at 12:10 PM on November 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


It looks to me as if the backscatter thing is going to snowball. They are going to get more and more of these situations. I certainly hope so.
posted by unSane at 12:11 PM on November 14, 2010


I'd like to see some pushback. It's about goddamned time.
posted by Lord_Pall at 12:11 PM on November 14, 2010


I do not have "junk". I have treasure.
posted by srboisvert at 12:15 PM on November 14, 2010 [28 favorites]


I'll be flying out of Hartford in December, where they have a backscatter machine.

Used to be I got fined if I showed my genitalia to government agents. Now they're requiring me to! This is progress!
posted by Legomancer at 12:16 PM on November 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


It bothers me that Americans are like, "Habeas Corpus? Only criminals would need that! Go ahead, take that away", but "ZOMG backscatter pornoscanner/pre-flight fondler" = TIME TO RESIST.
posted by yeloson at 12:20 PM on November 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


Another obnoxious and maybe illegal aspect of the current screening process.
posted by Xurando at 12:20 PM on November 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


I totally understand the objection to being searched. The TSA was just doing their job and he made their day longer. Take it up with your representatives, take it up with your political party, write letters, and sign petitions, but please do not mess with people who are just doing their job.
posted by Felex at 12:21 PM on November 14, 2010


Resist with shirts!
posted by Eideteker at 12:22 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


He offered to go through the metal detector (which most people were doing) and they refused. TSA escalated this when they could have easily accommodated his request. Crazy shit!
posted by ericb at 12:23 PM on November 14, 2010


Felex: "I totally understand the objection to being searched. The TSA was just doing their job and he made their day longer. Take it up with your representatives, take it up with your political party, write letters, and sign petitions, but please do not mess with people who are just doing their job"

Did you just suggest that civil liberties aren't worth worrying about if we inconvenience someone in the process of doing so?

You're ridiculous.
posted by barnacles at 12:23 PM on November 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


Eponysterical?
posted by ShawnStruck at 12:23 PM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nude model or groping victim?
posted by kliuless at 12:24 PM on November 14, 2010


The fact that he lacks video/audio for the part that makes this story most outrageous (the fine, and whatnot) really takes away from his credibility. After all he had the presence of mind to tape everything else...
posted by sunshinesky at 12:24 PM on November 14, 2010


I found myself cringing before getting on a flight last month, before I remembered that Canada hasn't started a genital fondling program for domestic flights.

So now in the U.S., somebody either has to touch your junk or take a picture it of before you get on a plane?


When next I have to fly to the states, I'm having my junk shipped. Apparently no one scans junk shipped on cargo planes.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:25 PM on November 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


The fact that he lacks video/audio for the part that makes this story most outrageous (the fine, and whatnot) really takes away from his credibility.

The man in the last video mentions the suit to be brought against him.
posted by dobbs at 12:26 PM on November 14, 2010


I've noticed those on the right are finally losing their minds over this now that there is a Democratic president. Before when this was brought up we were shouted down and told American needed to be safe. That fucking asshole Drudge is having a good ole time calling Napolitano "Big Sis."
posted by zzazazz at 12:27 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mr. Wang, thanks for sharing!
posted by John of Michigan at 12:28 PM on November 14, 2010


"You should never have to explain to your children, 'Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it's a government employee, then it's OK.'"*
posted by ericb at 12:31 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I support the backskatter machines as long as I'm allowed to make a thumb-up gesture next to my junk for the picture.

Actually I'm flying tomorrow and really need to stop reading MeFi / Reddit TSA threads, they make my heart rate go through the roof.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:32 PM on November 14, 2010


The man in the last video mentions the suit to be brought against him.

Oh ok, forgive me. I watched these last night and must have missed that part...
posted by sunshinesky at 12:32 PM on November 14, 2010


I wonder if I would get in trouble if I asked whether I could both have a picture taken of me naked and have my cock-n-balls fondled. It's cruel that they make you choose one or the other.

I love this. I'd have to work on the exact wording to make it as pithy as possible, but something to the effect of "I'm quite proud of my genitals. Can I have BOTH the naked photo AND the full-on grope? I'd like to spread news of my penis and balls as far and wide as possible."
posted by hippybear at 12:33 PM on November 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Barnacles; God no, I do not mind bothering other people when it would do something. This whole thing seems incredibly self indulgent. The officer was just doing his job, if the officer was stepping out of line or did something out of procedure; then hell yeah, jump up and shout, be a pain in the ass and do your part. If its a matter out of his hands, a matter of procedure, then call someone important or stand up for your rights by working with the many organisations that work to fight this. Point being: threating to have the officer arrested did not help anyone but a blogger who wanted more content.
posted by Felex at 12:35 PM on November 14, 2010


I'm all for people standing up for this in person, but why stop there? Maybe we should be faxing/mailing pictures of our junk to the TSA's offices and the senate subcommittee on aviation operations, safety, and security, since this is apparently all essential to national security.

The big thing that I really hate about all this isn't the pornoscanners so much as it is the reports I'm hearing of how they treat people who opt out, including this one. They're clearly handling this in a way that's far less about being effective and far more about hassling people who don't just go along. OK, you don't comply with the procedures, you might expect to be told something along the lines of "we're sorry, this is how we do it, we can't let you through security, you can send in a complaint if you don't like it, but you're not getting on your plane unless we follow these procedures" -- which has its own problems, but it's not entirely unreasonable. It's this harassment impulse that seems to kick in where they apparently feel like they have to start threatening you with criminal and civil penalties and jerking you around. That's over the line, that's into goon-squad and on its way to gestapo territory, and it has to stop.
posted by weston at 12:35 PM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or maybe just opt for the pat-down. "You know, I like to see the face of the person examining my genitals. So I'll take the body search, please."
posted by hippybear at 12:36 PM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


"You know, I like to see the facelook deep into the eyes of the person examining my genitals. So I'll take the body search, please."
posted by kenko at 12:39 PM on November 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can I opt for the airport bathroom?
posted by mek at 12:40 PM on November 14, 2010


This is why I'm taking the train Thanksgiving.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:40 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does this compare to procedures in other countries?
posted by pracowity at 12:41 PM on November 14, 2010


Back in March, a TSA worker was arrested for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. In response, the TSA claimed that "we can assure travelers every TSA employee is subject to a significant background check, including criminal history, before they are offered a job."

But not according to this DHS Report from 2004 (PDF), which revealed the following:
TSA did not maintain control over the quantity, quality, and timeliness of background check documentation and processing. TSA did not initiate timely final background checks and initiated unnecessary background checks on thousands of screeners. TSA's inadequate oversight of its contractors contributed to more than 500 boxes of background check documentation remaining unprocessed for months.

TSA allowed some screeners to work for months without first completing a criminal history records check, and retained others with adverse background checks for weeks or months while processing the results of the background checks and terminations.
In 2009, the DHS Press Secretary issued a press release indicating that there was some concern on background checks. The Press Secretary noted that
we have discovered these checks are conducted on people who have clear disqualifying factors that will prevent them from being hired. Nonetheless, the hiring process continues, and it wastes money, up to $5,500 per background check for a top secret clearance. And by the way, it also creates unnecessary backlogs. In the future, we are going to make it easier to identify potential disqualifying factors early on in the process. This will reduce the number of overall background checks and the time it takes to bring cleared personnel on board.
What are these "potential disqualifying factors" being implemented here to save money? According to the TSA site, it involves conviction for a felony. But notice Part B, which includes rape, dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation, assault with intent to kill, and so forth. You only have to wait seven years to get a TWIC if you were convicted, pled guilt, or were found not guilty by reason of insanity. You only have to wait five years to get a TWIC if you just got out of prison for any of the Part B offenses.
posted by ed at 12:49 PM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


My family is flying this weekend, into and out of airports that have the fancy naked picture machines. We intend to opt out, and I am more or less okay with taking my lumps with the "enhanced" pat-down - at least the person touching my breasts and groin has to look at me and talk to me and acknowledge that I am a person. (I like my awkward out in the open.)

And I don't want to be huffy and hyperbolic. And I understand about 25% of the "The TSA agent is just doing their job!" argument... I guess.

But we have a twelve-month-old kid. I don't want freaky naked pictures taken of him, and I also don't want a TSA dude touching him in the diaper region. And again, I don't want to be huffy and hyperbolic. But man, I don't want my kid touched in his private areas by someone who is not his parent or caregiver or a medical professional. Particularly when the person doing so has no probable cause to suspect my child of terrorism and is participating in BULLSHIT.

Grumble grumble grumble. We've decided to give money to EPIC and, going forward, to not fly for trips under 1000 miles (this one is too long to make driving or taking the train feasible).

Anyway. I've done some googling, but I don't see much about how other families are handling this stuff. Anyone?
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:52 PM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are there still Airplanes? heh...people are still willing to be treated like shit.... go figure.

I stopped flying a year ago... life is better for it...
posted by HuronBob at 12:52 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


That fucking asshole Drudge is having a good ole time calling Napolitano "Big Sis."

Does anyone really read that twit anymore? One of the best things I did for my sanity this year was to just completely ignore Drudge.
posted by blucevalo at 12:56 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Background checks are irrelevant. The nature of the job will attract many people. Most people who would get off on the job don't have anything that would come up in a background check anyway.
posted by yesster at 12:56 PM on November 14, 2010


This is just what the terrorists were trying to accomplish with their attacks: sowing enough fear to disrupt our daily lives. By giving in to fear, we have helped them win.
posted by birdhaus at 12:58 PM on November 14, 2010


"You should never have to explain to your children, 'Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it's a government employee, then it's OK.' " (from the CNN article)

I get the point, and rest assured I'm firmly in the no-groping camp; BUTt I'm unclear on the facts here. Are the body-scan/pat-down methods actually used on underage passengers? Is there a policy in place prohibiting the use of these methods on underage passengers? Is this wild speculation or reasonable speculation?

Has any of the coverage, or anybody from TSA, directly addressed this?
posted by unregistered_animagus at 1:00 PM on November 14, 2010


Anyway. I've done some googling, but I don't see much about how other families are handling this stuff. Anyone?

thehmsbeagle: I am flying with two children in December and am freaking a little in advance between the nude pictures, history of skin cancer, and small children. Will you post or message your experience? I also just can't see explaining to them that this kind of touching is okay. I'll find a way but I really don't like having to do this.

What was the basis for the threatened civil suit against this guy -- does anyone know? Seems extra-crazy. Extra-crazy is the new normal, apparently.
posted by theredpen at 1:01 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


pracowity: "How does this compare to procedures in other countries?"

I've crossed at least 50 borders in my life, and the U.S. is by far the most degrading experience. Going into the U.S. from Canada, I can expect to be held for several hours and have my shit ripped apart in a segregated area. Upon exiting, I am pretty much treated like most others, and I've taken to humoring myself by fucking with the TSA in my own special way. I use their ziploc bags to hold all my carry-on liquids, one of which (whether I need it or not) is always a small bottle of lube, which somehow doesn't quite have the top screwed on properly. I don't care if they're wearing latex gloves, it's always amusing to watch the trepidation as they remove each sticky bottle to ensure it's under 100ml.
posted by gman at 1:04 PM on November 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


How does this compare to procedures in other countries?

Last year I flew from South Africa to Turkey and then on to Israel. That's from a 3rd World country with porous borders to a Muslim (although secular) country to freaking Israel. The harshest security I encountered besides the usual metal detectors was a 'friendly' chat with the El-Al security agent at Ataturk Inernational on our way to Israel, who asked the usual rapid fire interrogative questions but done so in a professional manner.

The only time I have ever been asked to remove my shoes before boarding a flight is when I flew from Richmond, VA to Chicago (and then from Chicago to NY) the previous year when I was in the US.
posted by PenDevil at 1:06 PM on November 14, 2010


How does this compare to procedures in other countries?

In Australia, for domestic flights you walk through a metal detector & put your carry-on luggage through an x-ray as you enter the secure zone of the airport (anybody can go there; no need to have a boarding pass).

Random people are pulled aside at this point to have their luggage and part of their outer clothing swabbed by some kind of explosive-detecting device, which takes about 10 sec for the swabbing and no more than a minute for the results to come back.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:08 PM on November 14, 2010


At least the TSA agents are having fun using the pornoscanners on each other, too. Models of professionalism, all of them.
posted by Forktine at 1:10 PM on November 14, 2010


I'm unclear on the facts here. Are the body-scan/pat-down methods actually used on underage passengers?
"All children, regardless of age or disability, must complete the TSA screening process before boarding a plane. The most common screening procedures take place by walking though a full-body medal detection scanner or newer advanced imaging scanners. Children must be removed from strollers, carriers or wheelchairs before passing through the scanner. While parents are able to carry their child through the scanner, children are not allowed to be passed through the scanner and TSA officers are not permitted to hold children, or assist in removing them from any carriers they may be in, according to the TSA website. At no point during the scanning process are parents and children required to be separated.

Children or their parents may request that a child receives a pat-down inspection in place of completing a full-body scan at any time and with no reason given, according to the TSA website. Parents or children are able to request a private pat-down or agree to a pat-down in the public area. In addition, parents are able to accompany and assist a child during a pat-down screening and children in a wheelchair are permitted to remain in the chair for the screening process."*
posted by ericb at 1:12 PM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Leaving O'Hare the other day, the TSA had a Passive Millimeter Wave device set up, in a cordoned-off area, and were scanning everyone exiting the CTA. The CTA station does not exit directly to the TSA station, rather, it exits to walkways that lead to hotels, parking lots and to the O'Hare terminals. So, anybody who goes to work at the hotel adjacent to the airport is being screened. Like it or not. Cause or not. Need or not.

I too, was subject to a grope on my way out of O'Hare. Silly me, I kept wallet in my pocket (as I always do, going through security) and my belt on (as I always do, going through security). This meant additional subtle questioning like "why didn't you take off your belt? and "why didn't you put your wallet through the screening machine?". Which allowed me to say "because I never have and will not put my wallet out of my sight, ever". This earned me an "inside the top of my pants" feel-around. For good measure they swabbed my hands for explosive residue. All I could do at that point was clench my jaw and stay silent because I wanted to get home.

I think that when I travel during the holidays I will insist on the pat down (since that is what I got even after going through a metal detector and body imaging device). Sounds like lots of folks will be doing the same.
posted by zerobyproxy at 1:12 PM on November 14, 2010


full-body medal detection scanner

but then they'll know where I keep my medals!
posted by snofoam at 1:15 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


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