Skip to comments.TSA abuse has been going on for years – here’s my story
Posted on 01/03/2012 5:17:42 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
As I was reading an email string about tactics to get mainstream Americans aware of what the TSA is actually doing, it occurred to me that I have never told my entire story. So here goes.
My saga starts when I was four years old and had my right leg amputated at the knee. Fast-forward to 2004, when I had a spate of business trips to Washington, DC and Texas.
12/1/2004: I walked up to a DTW (Detroit) security checkpoint and announced I had an artificial leg. Without being wanded I was taken aside by two women to Concourse A, MacNamara Terminal, where the women took three cubicle panels that were leaning up against the wall and made a makeshift enclosure at the public entrance to the Concourse. The panels were not stable, so the screeners had to lean them up against one another.
When inside I was instructed to remove my pants. The screeners were about to instruct me to also remove my pantyhose, but since I was standing there pretty much naked anyway they swabbed the top of my prosthesis with a swab and told me to get dressed.
12/1/2004: return trip from Dulles. I announced I had an artificial leg. I again was not wanded, but was subjected to an extensive search of torso and especially my breasts. The toe of my right shoe was swabbed, but other than that my prosthesis was not checked.
12/12/2004: After my complaints, this time I called ahead to DTW and requested a supervisory escort. I was given one, Tyrone Stokes, who instructed the screener to conduct a simple pat-down. The screener did not wand me to determine where my metal was but I was subjected to a Full Monty pat-down crotch, inside my pants, everywhere. The screener wanted to show Mr. Stokes, apparently, that she knew how to do it.
12/14/2004: returning from DFW. Announcement by me about my leg. This time I was wanded to determine the location of the metal. I was instructed to lift my pant leg. I was also subjected to an upper-body pat-down (no metal alarm there) and had my hands swabbed.
12/23/2004: Back again at DTW. This time I had printed a copy of instructions from the TSAs own website. Made my announcement. I set off the regular metal detector but did not set off the subsequent wand. The screener did an upper body pat-down (no metal alarm there) but indicated that because the wand did not alarm around my announced prosthesis it would not need to be checked.
12/31/2004: Sky Harbor, Phoenix. Same announcement by me. I was wanded and my left shoe was swabbed (whats that about? My prosthesis is on my right side). Once again the upper body pat-down (once again, no metal alarm there).
2/12/2005: Back at DTW. Announcement per usual. I was wanded again the only alarm was between my right knee and ankle. Never mind: I got a thorough chest/breast massage anyway, along with hand-swabbing and prosthesis-swabbing.
12/14/2005: Back at Dallas-Fort Worth. This time, though, I told the screeners that they could check the area that alarmed but they could not check areas that did not. After over two hours of their trying to convince me to allow myself to be assaulted once again, to no avail, I was denied boarding. On 2/16/2005 my employer flew me home on the corporate jet but I was told that they would have to think twice about putting me on a plane again. So now you know what happened to THAT career . . . .
I didnt fly for several years. I discovered, however, that all the folderol would disappear if I took off the leg, put it on the conveyor, and hopped through the metal detector. I made several trips that way. But that move required that I wear dresses. All sorts of screeners were upset with me. That tactic stopped when I read about a woman from Grand Rapids who received a full-on grope for the sole reason she was wearing a dress. I did try once to go through a MMW machine (millimeter wave scanner), but I got called over for a grope anyway. The word from the back room was to check my right thigh. The result was no right thigh but an upper body pat-down instead.
The last time I flew was October 2010. The TSAs position of scanners or Full Monty is too much for me. Ive done my share, and I will not be treated that way ever again.
I sued the TSA and got the Jesse Ventura answer that Federal District Courts did not have jurisdiction; the Appellate Court did. Try as I might, I never figured out how to appeal a ruling that wasnt.
I was on the front page, Sunday edition, of the Detroit News and had the local ABC affiliate run an investigative report on my experiences, complete with a hidden camera crew that documented one of my flights.
One person cannot change the monster the TSA has become it takes many. Therefore, I have turned to organizing those of us who understand whats going on. We need to speak with one loud, persistent, forceful voice.
Now you know the story. This insanity must stop.
One time, I forgot to take off my watch before going through the metal detector, so I covered it with my hand, as they used to tell us to do pre 9-11. I was told to hold my arms out straight and go through again. They did not advise me to take my watch off. I don’t fly very often, so some of what is required is not habitual to me. Naturally my watch, which has a metal band set off the alarms. The TSA still didn’t ask me to remove my watch and go through again. Instead they pulled me aside and wanded me and patted me down. The wand was shoved up into my crotch, and the pat down got a bit personal. In retrospect, I think it was a TSA agent on a power trip. For those of you who are nostalgic for Bush, remember that he gave us Homeland Security and TSA.
Since they seemed to concentrate on the woman’s upper torso, I must ask, is she well-endowed?
I am, and always get groped, too. If it’s within two days drive, we drive.
I wouldn’t fly if you gave me first class, free tickets, and I got ‘favors’ from a beautiful stewardess the entire time.
Hate to bring race into it, but wonder if white women get groped more than black women...and is someone of a different race doing the groping.
The really sad thing about all of this is that TSA does absolutely nothing to enhance your safety. Any terrorist can simply wait in the airport employees’ parking lot, knock an employee out and steal their ID badge, stripe the card at the employee gate (which is almost never manned), and from that point on, they have full access to the tarmac, baggage area, and the planes themselves. All TSA does is raise the cost of flying...it’s a very bad joke.
I invite you to Lazamataz International Airport (LAZ) for a free flight and free security screening.
A few of my friends will help me.
“For those of you who are nostalgic for Bush, remember that he gave us Homeland Security and TSA.”
He also fought unionizing the TSA, but Congress pushed it anyway.
You should hire Cam while you are at it.
And so what? He imposed martial law in our airports.
We don’t fly much, 2 or 3 times a year but we have never had this stuff done to us.
I keep telling them I am gay and demand a female screener — so far no luck...
I think everyone misses the point of TSA at the airports...it is not to catch the terrorists..it is to employ them as screeners so they can terrorize all the passengers.
Thanks for posting this! I am also a transtibial amputee and travel frequently. My amputation is recent (9/9) and on my first screening I was gropped heavily (3/10) during a pointless 30 min search that never looked at my prosthesis. Like Wendy, I figured the best thing for everyone was that I put my prosthesis through the x-ray and hop through, which I did around 50 times all over the country for over a year. Then a few months ago I tripped a metal detector twice and hoped over to secondary as instructed. There, while following TSA instructions, two police officers flanked me and said “come with us”. I objected, asked for grounds, and was td I was being arrested for charges “we’ll figure out later”! I was put to the ground twice (hoping on one leg with nothing but jeans and a tee shirt). I bailed out that night, went back to the airport, did exactly the same thing with the same possessions at thesame check point, and got on the plane. Turns out, you are not allowed to remove a prosthesis in a TSA check point — because it’s embarrassing! You must go through secondary! There are no signs and no-one has ever told me not to. TSA dropped it, but the police still have charges on me (resisting strewed and other bs) and I’m still waiting for a court date.
The first presidential candidate that promises the elimination of the DHS will get my full support.
There are much better ways to catch terrorists than punishing the flying public. The Israelis have been doing it successfully for decades.
“This insanity must stop.”
Part of stopping this insanity is to remember that it was Senator Charles Schumer (D, NY) who assured us that if airport security staff were made federal employees that they would be much more “professional.”
We must never forget that government is only power, and like fire a wonderful servant, but a horrible master. In saying this, George Washington was warning us to never allow government to think it is our master, which clearly the TSA does. We must put TSA on an ever-shorter leash until the relationship the citizen is return to his proper position with that agency.
from what I’ve seen here in Atlanta the TSA is job core for the under privileged who enjoy harassing the people who come through
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