Posted by: wrmcnutt | April 28, 2011

An Intimate Personal Experience – With the TSA


I had the misfortune to fly last week.  The new “take a picture of you naked or get groped” security protocols are so offensive to me that I’ve stopped flying if the drive is less than ten hours.

It’s really a superior way to travel.  No waiting in line. Leave when you want to.  Stop when you want to.  Comfortable seating.  You control the temperature.

My professional obligations obliged me to fly to and from San Francisco.  Security at Knoxville was obnoxious, but not offensive.  I’d like to rig up Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, so that he gets kicked in the groin every time an American has to take off their shoes to get on a plane, but my friend Louis assures me that that’s almost certainly unconstitutional.  But I digress.

But at the San Francisco airport I had to submit to nude photos being taken of my by the scanner, and then allowing a TOTAL STRANGER to put their hands on my body!

The line was enormous, but credit where credit is due, the TSA drovers were processing the cattle quickly and efficiently.  I removed my shoes, unpacked my laptop, unpacked my projector, and ran my personal effects through the scanner.  It too no less that FOUR bus pans to scan all of that stuff.  I have to carry a bunch of electronics when I travel.  I removed my belt, keys, and Kindle, but forgot my cell phone.  One of the drovers noted it, and sent me back to get another tray. But when I dropped off my phone, I was re-directed through the nude scanner.  As I waited my turn, I noted that the TSA seemed to prefer doing nude scans of large-breasted women.  I am told that this is because they wear under-wire bras that set off the metal detectors.  Forgive me if I’m skeptical.  The woman who preceded me was a tiny Indian woman in a choli.  Then it was my turn.

I entered a device that was clearly designed to be ADA compliant. There’s plenty of room to wheel a wheel chair in there if necessary. I was instructed to raise my arms over my head and the scan was quick. There I stood, under the gaze of five people dressed like prison guards, my hands over my head in the manner of a terrorist being arrested, while nude pictures were taken of me.  Then, on the other side, my way was blocked by a stocky women with a bored look on her face, who impeded my way until a male colleague came over, and stroked my chest, abdomen, and armpits.

To say I am outraged is an understatement.  I’m also slightly ashamed that I tolerated it.  But the alternative was to make a fuss, and be turned away from my flight, and I wanted to go home.

This is beneath the dignity of a free man, and it needs to STOP.  Why are our elected representatives  not DOING something about this?

Bill McNutt
Registered Voter

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Responses

  1. You know, I thought Donald Rumsfeld was an affront to freedom, when he started trying to wiretap without a warrant and get people’s library records, but this is a step beyond that.

    I thought Obama was going to change all of this? He was going to shut down Guantanamo Bay and restore our personal liberties that the paranoid, fear-mongering Republicans were trying to take from us. But now, instead of the government looking at our library records, they’re looking at our junk.

    Either he changed his stance on all of that when he got briefed on all the classified things regular people don’t know about–and he found that America can’t afford too much idealism and survive–or he can talk all day about what he wants to do, but has no follow through.

    I just hope Jesse Ventura’s lawsuit is successful. His metal hip sets the detectors off, and he gets frisked every time he travels. If he can’t sue us into freedom, maybe he’ll run for Congress and take on the TSA from there. There’s more than a few politicians that need to be body-slammed on the floor of the House chambers.

  2. I’m too poor to fly.

  3. You can register a complaint online like Miss USA did:

    http://gothamist.com/2011/04/29/video_miss_usa_claims_tsa_repeatedl.php


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