Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Scanners and Invasive PERVERTED Pat-Downs Upset Airline Workers and Passengers
The Secretary basically repeated the talking points that she made in Monday's USA Today article, including the claim that the scanners don't violate privacy ho ho ho, and that scanners "cannot store, export, print or transmit images." No word on how images were discovered a couple of months ago to have been stored, transmitted, and exported.
If John Pistole a TSA Administrator is so sure we're all wrong to object to a virtual strip search, or a perverted fondling of our genitals, that it's just good security not invasion of privacy. A TSA Administrator, John Pistole, is quoted as saying "On the eve of a major national holiday and less than one year after al-Qaeda's failed attack last Christmas Day, it is irresponsible for a group to suggest travelers opt out of the very screening that may prevent an attack using non-metallic explosives." Then let's see him naked in pictures on the web, lets see a video of him being "patted down," by his paid perverts. Problem is he'd, like Ms Napolitano, probably enjoy it too much, except in her case it'd probably be the first time in a long time, if ever that a man touched her privates. She is NOT a good looking woman so if she were flying she probably never has to worry much.
The Chicago Tribune reports that there is "no guarantee that either of the new procedures would have detected" the undy-bomber's device.
(the quotes in red are from an article by Kennth Hayes on Examiner.Com Chicago) Mr. Hayes Article
From here on read the articles and check out the TSA job info, they say it better than I can. I find the whole thing so far beyond outrageous that...well I just don't know. I do know as I've said before this is not the USA I was born into. The government is afraid of the citizens. It started in the sixties when crossdresser Hoover and the FBI felt it was necessary to harrass and even kill students and others who were against the war in Vietnam or working for Civil Rights and every year it gets a little worse, we lose another of our rights. One reason that I'm a life member of the NRA for that matter. What really upsets me are the morons that think it's ok to give up our rights, to submit to invasive and humiliating searches at the airport if they'll "keep them safe." The problem is they don't add to your safety and once the right is gone you never get it back. The airlines and government have been in a tizzy about security ever since the first hijacking to Cuba, or wherever, and they never solved the problem. Then 911 came along and gave them the long awaited opportunity to start whittling away our rights. Homeland Security, really why not call it what it really is the Gestapo. George Bush doesn't look much like Hitler, (who I admit I admired as a kid before I knew who and what he was, I read Mein Kampf in the 7th grade, and still have a copy, know your enemy), but he sure thought like him. Obama is more a Stalin, I think. But really there's not a lot of difference and neither bodes well for the USA I was born in. What's next a National Security Police? Well isn't that what the FBI is? Apparently Obama is thinking about a national police force, an American Gestapo.
From EAWorldView Link to Article
Today's Vigilant Citizen Award has to go to Republican Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia.
That's because Broun has uncovered Obama's plot to impose an American Gestapo upon us. He tipped off the Associated Press on Monday, "It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he's the one who proposed this national security force."
In July Obama gave a speech in which he called for an expanded civilian service corps. In addition to expanding the US foreign and diplomatic service and doubliing the Peace Corps, he proposed a civilian national security force to support the US military. Now to you and me, that might sound a homeland security measure alongside the police and National Guard, but Broun has the real story.
"That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it's exactly what the Soviet Union did. When he's proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist."
In addition to the historical breakthrough of establishing that 1930s Germany National Socialists were exactly the same as 1930s Soviet Communists (that later war between them must have been a fluke), Broun has called the President-elect to account: "We may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism."
And, in an essential update of the "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" rule, Broun can reveal that, as the civilian security corps hauls us in for enhanced interrogation, Obama's gun control laws will take our weapons away from us.
"We can't be lulled into complacency," Broun warned. "You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential."
Congressman Broun, I thank you. And to you, Enduring America readers, I say: Be vigilant. Be very vigilant.
It's truely amazing what you can find on the internet.
Job Title: Transportation Security Officer (TSO)
Department: Department Of Homeland Security
Agency: Transportation Security Administration
Sub Agency: DHS - Transportation Security Administration
Job Announcement Number:
SALARY RANGE: $29,131.00 - $43,697.00 /year
SERIES & GRADE: SV-1802-D/D
POSITION INFORMATION: Part-Time Permanent
PROMOTION POTENTIAL: E
DUTY LOCATIONS: many vacancies - Fort Leonard Wood, MO
WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: Open to All U.S. Citizens and U.S. Nationals.
The salary range listed includes locality pay of 14.16%.
The salary range listed is for a full-time position. If you are
applying to a part-time position, your salary will be pro-rated
based upon the actual number of hours worked.
Securing Travel, Protecting People: At the Transportation Security
Administration, we serve in a high-stakes
environment to safeguard the American way of life. In cities across
the country, we secure airports, seaports, railroads, highways, and
public transit systems. We protect our transportation infrastructure
from terrorist attack and ensure freedom of movement for people and
At TSA, we act swiftly and with integrity to:
Discover and stop emerging transportation security threats,
utilizing state of the art technology
Educate and provide friendly customer service to travelers
Screen passengers and gather intelligence
Coordinate security involving aviation, rail, and other surface
and maritime transportation
Oversee most transportation-related responsibilities of the
federal government during a national emergency
Per TSA Management Directive 1100.61-1, Transportation Security
Officer (TSO) positions have been designated as emergency/essential.
This means that in the event of an emergency, including adverse
weather conditions, individuals occupying emergency/essential
positions may be required to continue working. These individuals
will not be dismissed or excused from any responsibilities due to the
need to continue TSA operations during emergency situations. This
also means that emergency/essential employees could be ordered to
report for duty based on operational needs.
US Department of Homeland Security
Transportation Security Administration
Must be a US Citizen or US National; be 18 years old at time of application
Be proficient in English; have customer service skills
Dependable & operate with integrity; repeatedly lift/carry up to 70 pounds
Maintain focus & awareness within a stressful environment
Meet job-related medical standards and pass background investigation
See Qualifications and Evaluations for additional requirements.
You will perform a variety of duties related to providing security
and protection of air travelers, airports and aircraft. As a TSO,
you may be required to perform passenger screening, baggage
screening or both. You are expected to perform all of these duties
in a courteous and professional manner. The principal duties and
responsibilities include the following:
Perform security screening:
Of persons, including tasks such as: hand-wanding (which
includes the requirement to reach and wand the individual from the
floor to over head), pat-down searches, and monitoring walk-through
metal detector screening equipment
Of property, including the operation of x-ray machines to
identify dangerous objects in baggage, cargo and on passengers; and
preventing those objects from being transported onto aircraft
Control entry and exit points
Continuously improve security screening processes and personal
performance through training and development
TSOs MUST be willing and able to:
Repeatedly lift and carry up to 70 pounds;
Continuously stand between one (1) to four (4) hours without a
break to carry out screening functions;
Walk up to two (2) miles during a shift;
Communicate with the public, giving directions and responding to
inquiries in a professional and courteous manner;
Maintain focus and awareness and work within a stressful
environment which includes noise from alarms, machinery, and people,
distractions, time pressure, disruptive and angry passengers, and
the requirement to identify and locate potentially life threatening
devices and devices intended on creating massive destruction;
and, make effective decisions in both crisis and routine
Have reached his/her 18th birthday at the time of application submission;
Be proficient in English (e.g., reading, writing,
speaking, and listening);
Have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent; OR
Have at least one year of full-time work experience in security
work, aviation screener work, or X-ray technician work.
Applicants must also possess the following job-related knowledge,
skills, and abilities (selective factors):
PHYSICAL ABILITY: This position requires employees to be
willing and able to: repeatedly lift and carry baggage weighing up
to 70 pounds; bend, reach, stoop, squat, stand, and walk;
continuously stand between one and four hours without a break to
carry out screening functions; and walk up to two miles during a
COMMUNICATION SKILLS & PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS: TSOs
are required to communicate with the public, giving directions and
responding to inquiries in a professional and courteous manner.
Applicants must possess customer service skills, be dependable and
operate with integrity.
FOCUS & MENTAL ABILITY: TSOs must be able to maintain focus
and awareness and work within a stressful environment. The position
requires employees to make effective decisions in both crisis and
routine situations. Necessary skills include visual observation and
x-ray interpretation. The work environment includes noise from
alarms, machinery, and people, distractions, time pressure,
disruptive and angry passengers, and the requirement to identify and
locate potentially life threatening devices and devices intended on
creating massive destruction.
MEDICAL STANDARDS: All TSOs must meet job-related medical
standards that will be assessed in a pre-employment medical
evaluation that considers relevant aspects of all body systems
(e.g., cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, auditory,
etc.). These medical standards include but are not limited to:
Visual ability including two functioning eyes with: a)
distance vision correctable to 20/30 or better in the best eye and
20/100 or better in the worse eye, b) near vision correctable to
20/40 or better binocular, and c) color perception (e.g., red,
green, blue, yellow, orange, purple, brown, black, white,
gray). Color filters (e.g., contact lenses) for enhancing color
discrimination are prohibited;
Hearing ability (corrected or uncorrected) as measured by
audiometry cannot exceed: a) an average hearing loss of 25 decibels
(ANSI) at 500, 1000, 2000 and 3000Hz in each ear, and b) single
reading of 45 decibels at 4000 and 6000 Hz in each ear;
Adequate joint mobility, dexterity and range of motion,
strength, and stability to repeatedly lift and carry up to 70
Blood pressure not to exceed 140 / 90.
These requirements comply with the Aviation and Transportation
Security Act (ATSA Public Law 107-71 (PDF* 174KB), and are required
for safe and effective job performance. For more information and what
it means to you, please visit:
Conditions of Employment:
To be considered for initial employment, you must also pass a
pre-employment drug screening test and a background investigation,
including a criminal check and a credit check.
This is a non-critical sensitive National Security position that
requires you to be fingerprinted, photographed, and complete
appropriate security paperwork, including a SF-86 Questionnaire for
National Security Positions. The pre-employment background
investigation must be COMPLETED with favorable results prior
to a final offer of employment and cannot be initiated until
submission of a completed questionnaire.
If your credit check reveals any of the following, YOU WILL NOT
BE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS POSITION:
Defaulted on $7,500 or more in debt (excluding certain
circumstances of bankruptcy).
Owe any delinquent Federal or State taxes.
Owe any past due child support payments.
You must pass all initial training requirements including 56-72
hours of classroom training, 112-128 hours of on-the-job training,
and all initial certification testing.
NOTE: Initial training may require you to travel for up to two weeks
on a full-time schedule.
To maintain employment, you must continue to meet all
qualification requirements described above and agree to:
Participate in and pass random drug screening tests; and pass
all recurrent background investigations, including a criminal check
and credit check.
Participate in and pass all recurrent and specialized training
and recertification tests on a periodic basis.
Demonstrate daily a fitness for duty without impairment due to
illegal drugs, sleep deprivation, medication, or alcohol.
Failure to meet these requirements mandates removal from security
screening and may result in termination of employment.
HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications may be invited to
take the computerized Screener Assessment Battery. These tests
evaluate English proficiency, and the aptitude for x-ray
If you pass the computerized Screener Assessment Battery, you will
be eligible to be scheduled for additional assessments. Additional
assessments include: (1) a color vision test; (2) a job-related
medical evaluation; (3) a drug test; and (4) a structured interview.
In addition you may undergo a personal interview. If you
successfully pass each of the above assessments, you will be
considered further for employment. Preference will also be afforded
to veterans (under Title V and ATSA) when candidates are referred
for consideration and in the selection process.
Referral and Consideration:
Note: TSA has a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ)
requirement for gender requiring a certain percentage of male and
female passenger screeners for gender-based pat downs. In airports
where there is a BFOQ, the needed gender will be provided preference
in the referral and scheduling process. It is to your advantage to
Veterans' Preference: TSA will provide preference at the
point of selection to eligible veterans by applying veterans'
preference as defined in the Aviation and Transportation Security
Act (PL 107-71) and to those individuals eligible under the
provisions of title 5, United States Code (USC), Section 2108.
To be eligible for veterans' preference under Public Law 107-71
you must be a member or former member of the U.S. Armed Forces, and
entitled under statute to retired, retirement, or retainer pay.
Management's Web site at http://www.opm.gov/
You must identify your claim of veterans' preference on your
application. As part of the application process, you will be
required to provide proof of entitlement by submitting a copy of
your DD-214, Certificate of Release of Discharge from Active Duty
(Member 4 copy) or other proof of entitlement.
SELECTIVE SERVICE: TSA policy requires verification of
Selective Service registration for male applicants born after
12/31/59. Generally, male applicants who knowingly fail to register
will be ineligible for employment with TSA.
Benefits of Working for the TSA Transportation Security Officer
The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program has many
plans to choose from all at very reasonable rates, which can be paid
from pre-tax income. In addition, to further promote employee
wellness and affordable health coverage, part-time TSA TSOs are able
to take advantage of reduced FEHB premiums. TSA will pay the maximum
government contribution allowed for health benefits under the TSA
Health Benefit Incentive for Part-Time TSOs. All part-time TSOs will
pay the same lower cost for federal health benefits as full-time
employees. This means that TSA pays a greater portion of FEHB
premium costs for part-time TSOs.
The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) is one of the
premier retirement programs in the Nation. The program features
three components: a retirement pension; the Thrift Savings Plan (an
employee controlled investment program); and social security.
Federal Employee Group Life Insurance offers numerous life
insurance policy options covering employees and dependents.
The leave program offers exceptional time off benefits including
annual leave, sick leave, family medical leave, and 10 paid holidays
You may be eligible for career development and enrichment
training; family friendly policies; and Employee Assistance
If you commute using public transportation, you may be eligible
for a transit subsidy.
Pay Scales at TSA (2010)
We are unique among our fellow Federal employees because we do not use the standard GS grading system you may be familiar with. We use an "SV" grading system, which is a system of discrete grades with pay ranges that differ from GS pay ranges. These discrete grades, which are identified by letters rather than numbers, have minimum and maximum rates.
In the table below, we show the ranges for each pay band.
Pay Band Minimum Maximum
A $17,083 $24,977
B $19,570 $28,546
C $22,167 $33,303
D $25,518 $38,277
E $29,302 $44,007
F $33,627 $50,494
G $39,358 $60,982
H $48,007 $74,390
I $58,495 $90,717
J $71,364 $110,612
K $85,311 $132,237
L $101,962 $155,500
M $120,236 $155,500
New TSA Screenings Too Invasive?
AP – By JOAN LOWY and ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Joan Lowy And Adam Goldman, Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Nearly a week before the Thanksgiving travel crush, federal air security officials were struggling to reassure rising numbers of fliers and airline workers outraged by new anti-terrorism screening procedures they consider invasive and harmful.
Across the country, passengers simmered over being forced to choose scans by full-body image detectors or probing pat-downs. Top federal security officials said Monday that the procedures were safe and necessary sacrifices to ward off terror attacks.
"It's all about security," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said. "It's all about everybody recognizing their role."
Despite officials' insistence that they had taken care to prepare the American flying public, the flurry of criticism from private citizens to airline pilots' groups suggested that Napolitano and other federal officials had been caught off guard.
At the San Diego airport, a software engineer posted an Internet blog item saying he had been ejected after being threatened with a fine and lawsuit for refusing a groin check after turning down a full-body scan. The passenger, John Tyner, said he told a federal Transportation Security Administration worker, "If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested."
Tyner's individual protest quickly became a web sensation, but questions also came from travel business groups, civil liberties activists and pilots, raising concerns both about the procedures themselves and about the possibility of delays caused by passengers reluctant to accept the new procedures.
"Almost to a person, travel managers are concerned that TSA is going too far and without proper procedures and sufficient oversight," said Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, an advocacy group representing corporate travel departments. "Travel managers are hearing from their travelers about this virtually on a daily basis."
Jeffrey Price, an aviation professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver, said two trends are converging: the regular holiday security increases and the addition of body scanners and new heightened measures stemming from the recent attempted cargo bombings. Also, several airports are short-staffed, which will add to delays, Price said.
Homeland Security and the TSA have moved forcefully to shift airport screening from familiar scanners to full-body detection machines. The new machines show the body's contours on a computer stationed in a private room removed from the security checkpoints. A person's face is never shown and the person's identity is supposedly not known to the screener reviewing the computer images.
Concerns about privacy and low-level radiation emitted by the machines have led some passengers to refuse screening. Under TSA rules, those who decline must submit to rigorous pat-down inspections that include checks of the inside of travelers' thighs and buttocks. The American Civil Liberties Union has denounced the machines as a "virtual strip search."
Concerns about both procedures are not limited to the U.S. In Germany over the weekend, organized protesters stripped off their clothes in airports to voice their opposition to full-body scans.
Douglas R. Laird, a former security director for Northwest Airlines, said it's the resistance to these measures that will cause the most delays. The new enhanced pat-downs, an alternative to body scanners, take more time — about 2 minutes compared with a 30-second scan. Delays could multiply if many travelers opt for a pat-down or contest certain new procedures.
Beyond the scanning process, passengers will also be subject to greater scrutiny of their luggage and personal identification and stricter enforcement of long-standing rules like the ban on carry-on liquids over 3 ounces.
On Monday, top security officials were out in force to defend the new policies. Napolitano wrote an op-ed piece in USA Today insisting that the body scanners used at many airports were safe and any images were viewed by federal airport workers in private settings.
Napolitano later said in a news conference at Ronald Reagan National Airport that she regretted the growing opposition to moves by the federal government to make flying safer. But she said the changes were necessary to deal with emerging terrorist threats such as a Nigerian man's alleged attempt to blow up a jetliner bound from Amsterdam to Detroit last Christmas Day using hard-to-detect explosives. Authorities allege that the explosives were hidden in the suspect's underwear.
There are some 300 full-body scanners now operational in 60 U.S. airports. TSA is on track to deploy approximately 500 units by the end of 2010.
Officials for the Airports Council International-North America, which represents U.S. and Canadian airports, said their members haven't complained about the scanner and pat-down policy or reported any special problems. But airports have been urging the government to engage in an aggressive public education campaign regarding the new screening, said Debby McElroy, the council's executive vice president.
"TSA is trying to address a real, credible threat, both through the advanced imaging technology and through the pat-downs," McElroy said. "We think it's important that they continue to address it with passengers and the media because there continues to be a significant misunderstanding about both the safety and the privacy concerns."
A spokeswoman for American Airlines issued a carefully worded statement that stopped short of welcoming the government's security moves. "We are working with the unions and the TSA and continue to evaluate and discuss screening options," American spokeswoman Missy Latham said.
Some airline pilots have pushed back against the new rules screening them. Many pilots are already part of the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program, which trains pilots in the use of firearms and defensive tactics. They are permitted to carry weapons on board.
Pilots enrolled in the program don't have to go through scanners and pat-downs. But only a small share of the total number of U.S. pilots are enrolled in the program.
Capt. John Prater, head of the Air Line Pilots Association, said based on discussions with TSA officials on Monday that he's optimistic the agency will soon approve a "crew pass" system that allows flight attendants and pilots to undergo less-stringent screenings.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, pilot unions were shown an off-the-shelf biometric identification system that was ready to go by government officials, said Sam Mayer, a Boeing 767 captain and a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents pilots at American Airlines. The system would have made screening pilots unnecessary, he said.
Nine years later, pilots still don't have biometric identification cards because the government and airlines have been quarreling over who should pay for the machines that can read biometric information like fingerprints and iris scans, Mayer said.
"At the end of the day we're not the threat, and we want the TSA to concentrate on getting bads guys," he said.
Pilots are also concerned about the cumulative effects of radiation, Mayer said. Depending upon their schedules, pilots can go through a scanner several times a day and several days a week, he said.
"We're already at the top of the radiation (exposure) charts to begin with because we're flying at high altitudes for long distances," Mayer said. "The cumulative effects of this are more than most pilots are willing to subject themselves to. We're right up there with nuclear power plant workers in terms of exposure."
Associated Press writers Samantha L. Bonkamp in New York, Sam Hananel in Washington, D.C., and Robert Jablon and Daisy Ngyuen in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
From the Christian Science Monitor by Jonathan Adams Link to CSM Article
Body scanners, pat downs prompt traveler backlash New airport security measures, particularly full-body scanners, are angering many passengers. One man's refusal of the scan has galvanized others
across the US.
Tyner was irate about having to either undergo a full-body scan or endure security officials' new pat-down methods, which the Associated Press said now include running hands up the inside of passengers' legs. The New York Times said the more aggressive pat-downs – "in which women's breasts and all passengers' genital areas are patted firmly" – began Nov. 1.
Tyner refused to go through the scanning machine, and so was offered a pat-down as an alternative, which he also declined. He then exchanged words with airport security staff, while recording the showdown.
"I don't understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying," Tyner said at one point.
"This is not considered a sexual assault," responded an unidentified airport security official.
"It would be if you weren't the government," Tyner snapped back.
One Internet campaign organized by fed-up fliers is calling for a nationwide opt-out day on Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving, the New York Times reported. (See the campaign's website.) Participants plan to refuse to undergo a full-body scan that day and take the pat-down instead, which could seriously snarl airport security if enough passengers participate. Link to Opt Out Day Campaign Website
From the New York Times
Screening Protests Grow as Holiday Crunch Looms
By JOE SHARKEY
Published: November 15, 2010 Link to NYT Article
WHO knows how these things gain momentum on the Internet, but there have been enough online protests against the new body imaging machines at airport checkpoints that the Transportation Security Administration’s new boss, John S. Pistole, called me on Monday to talk.
Mr. Pistole was specifically worried about the Internet-based campaign encouraging fliers who opposed the new machines to observe a “national opt-out day” on Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving. Any passenger can opt out of a scan that creates an image of the naked body and choose a full-body pat down instead. Only a tiny percentage of passengers now do, the T.S.A. says. But if enough people choose to do so on one of the busiest travel days of the year, checkpoints could become crowded and disorderly.
As any security expert knows, a chaotic checkpoint is a security problem. “If terrorists can anticipate that, it gives them an opportunity” to try to evade various layers of security by creating an incident for diversion, Mr. Pistole said. “And what would this do for travel plans for Thanksgiving? Are people going to miss flights because there are long backups, because other people are protesting?”
As if that were not trouble enough, some airline pilots are engaged in their own protests against the body imagers, which the T.S.A. is now calling advanced imaging technology. Pilots have long bristled at being subjected to intensive security when, as they point out, a pilot in control of an airplane does not need a Swiss Army knife to bring it down. Last week, the union representing 11,500 pilots at American Airlines called on members to “politely decline” screening by the “backscatter” models of the machines, the models that use X-ray technology.
The union’s main concern is the potential cumulative effects of repeated exposures to radiation. The T.S.A. cites studies showing that the effects are harmless, but other studies have challenged that conclusion. The other model of the body imagers uses millimeter-wave technology, which doesn’t raise radiation issues. There are now about 385 body imagers in place at 68 airports — 211 of them backscatters and the rest millimeter wave units. A total of 1,000 are planned by the end of 2011.
The pilots are being heard. Mr. Pistole said that the agency would meet Tuesday with pilots’ representatives and airline security officers to discuss new procedures that could allow pilots to avoid the intensive screening that passengers receive. Doing that would require a pilot to have a foolproof form of identification like cards encoded with their fingerprints and iris scan.
Judging from the intense reader reaction I’ve had on this subject, questions abound about what to expect at the checkpoint, especially as more people are now routinely being directed by screeners to use the new machines, even when an old-fashioned metal detector is available. The scanners detect anything on the body, including a slip of paper in a pocket. An alarm necessitates a pat down.
On Nov. 1, screeners began using a far more invasive form of procedure for all pat-downs — in which women’s breasts and all passengers’ genital areas are patted firmly. Since that change happened to coincide with the accelerated introduction of the body scanning machines, many fliers began expressing their dismay on blogs, fanning anti-T.S.A. reactions.
A traveler named John Tyner, for example, posted a detailed account of being detained at the San Diego airport when he tried to leave after declining a body scan. Mr. Tyner recorded the encounter, in which person who appeared to be a T.S.A. screener insisted that he undergo a “groin check.” That account, and that indelicate term, quickly went viral.
I’m getting a lot of questions about the new security regime, including some pointed ones from women. Do the imagers, for example, detect sanitary napkins? Yes. Does that then necessitate a pat-down? The T.S.A. couldn’t say. Screeners, the T.S.A. has said, are expected to exercise some discretion.
Meanwhile, as the holiday crunch looms, Mr. Pistole said, “What we’re telling our security officers is remain calm, remain professional, just provide clear instruction.”
Did the T.S.A. anticipate this kind of reaction to the new measures? “We knew it would be controversial, in terms of some people not liking that combination,” he said. But, he added, “When somebody gets on a plane, they want to know that everybody else — O.K., maybe not themselves but everyone else — has been thoroughly screened.”
Mr Tyner's Story in His Own Words
14 November 2010Motivation of my filming of my TSA encounter
A lot of commenters are saying that they agree with my position on the whole issue of TSA overreach, but many of them (and also those who disagree) are asking why I filmed the entire incident. Many are suggesting that my starting the recorder is evidence of an intention to pick a fight with the TSA. As I've stated repeatedly, I checked to see if SAN had AIT machines before flying. I tried to avoid the machine once I arrived at the airport. I did everything I could to avoid a confrontation with the TSA. I'll admit that "if you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested" was not the most artful response, but I was trying to add some levity to a situation that I knew could escalate very quickly. The reason I started the recorder before placing it in the bin, though, is because of stories like this:
Detained by TSA
ACLU Sues TSA
In praise of Michael Roberts
After reading stories about what the TSA had been doing, I wanted to avoid them, but I also wanted to be prepared should I be unable avoid them. That recording was to protect my rights and theirs. At no point have I bashed the TSA agents or their handling of the situation. They were all professional, if a bit standoffish, but the standoffishness is not to be unexpected. I'm sure they deal with people far more unruly than me every day. The only time I lost my cool was at the very end when the TSA representative tried to force me back into the screening area instead of simply allowing me to be on my way. The entire incident should be judged on its merits (as demonstrated by the recording), not by whether I tried to bait them (which I did not).
So, the next question is obviously, "what do I expect to get out of this?" I don't want to be a hero; I simply want to draw attention to what is going on and give people a sense that they're not alone in the fight against the ever expanding erosion of liberty. I had this to say in response to another commenter about what had transpired:
Every attempt to blow up a plane since 9/11 has been stopped by passengers after the government failed to provide protection for them. Every incident, however, has been met by throwing more money and less sensibility at the problem. Aside from securing the cockpit doors and the realization by passengers that they must fend for themselves because they're more likely to be killed by a hijacker than flown safely to their destination where the hijacker's demands can be met, security is largely the same as it was before 9/11.
The only thing changing is the amount of money being spent on the problem and the constant erosion of liberty, and all I did was draw attention to this. If you want to argue that the airlines are private, you're preaching to the choir. I refused the x-ray machine, and then I refused a groping by a government official. I mildly protested, and when they told me that I could submit to the screening or leave the airport, I left peacefully. The only time I got angry during the entire encounter was when I was unlawfully detained and threatened with a lawsuit and a fine.
If you think the government is protecting you, ask yourself this: If the official at the end of the video thought I had an incendiary device, why would he want me to go *back* into a small area crowded with hundreds of people instead of leaving the airport as quickly as possible?
Obviously the issue of the private airline industry mingling with the government handling of security is more complex than that. For example, with private handling of security, the screener may choose to overlook victimless crimes like drug possession or possession of sexually explicit (but otherwise legal) materials or paraphernalia during a search for dangerous items (i.e. those that could be used to commit acts of terrorism). The government, on the other hand, has, does, and will use the search for dangerous items as a pretext to arrest you for anything else they may find.
13 November 2010More about my TSA encounter at SAN
I've been keeping up with all of the comments, but today has been kind of hectic as you can imagine, and I don't have time to reply to them. Thank you all so much for the encouraging words and offers to help in my legal defense (should it become necessary). I'm starting to see people ask questions about my motives and some of the particulars if the incident. My original post was meant only to serve as an account of what happened should I eventually be sued. Here are some more of the particulars:
I mentioned in my blog post that my father-in-law had purchased my ticket for travel. One commenter called me a spoiled brat for costing him so much money. If you listen to the video, you'll hear that I offered a number of times to "eat the cost" of the ticket and pay him back. In the end, American Airlines stepped up to the plate and made things right on this front.
Treatment of TSA
Some have criticized my treatment of the TSA officer who was going to be performing the pat down. I admit that the language used was not exactly what most would consider "highbrow"; however, it was not intended to be insulting to the officer. I used the word "junk" partly because I was uncomfortable using a more technical term and also as an attempt to introduce some levity to what I knew was about to become a fairly tense situation. I was actually trying to smile almost the entire time, trying to keep the situation from escalating.
One commenter called out my father-in-law for asking for some professional courtesy from the TSA agents. My father-in-law is one of the most stand-up guys I know. I realize that some (including myself) find it disgusting when LEO's "abuse" their power in this way, and I don't want to excuse it here. But I want to stand up for my father-in-law and say that he is a good, honest man. (I truly considered not posting this video at all because I didn't want him to be viewed in a negative light.) His goal was to get us out of there and off to visit the family and do some hunting. Once he arrived at the final destination, he called to tell me that he was proud that I stood up for what I believed to be right.
Was this a set up?
Some people have questioned whether I entered into this situation intending to set up the TSA. Let me state unequivocally that it was not my intention to set up the TSA. Remember that I checked the TSA's website prior to my departure and confirmed that SAN was not using AIT machines. When I arrived at the screening area and saw that they were using those machines, I recalled various news articles and blog posts advocating that people record these situations so that they are not taken advantage of or have their rights (further) abused. As I stated, I tried to avoid the AIT scanner machine by getting in the metal detector line. I was actually relieved when the person in front of me was pulled out of line. I would have been just fine to walk through the metal detector, delete the video, and be on my way.
Finally, local news has been alerted. I had one interview already, and another one is scheduled shortly. One local news outlet refused to cover the story. I got the impression from talking to the man on the phone that he thought I was some kind of right-wing or tea party nut job. He sounded a bit apologetic, but I told him, no big deal. Do the story; don't do the story. My feelings aren't hurt either way. I just want the message to get out.
Thank you all again for ALL of the support! I'll keep you posted.
TSA encounter at SAN
[These events took place roughly between 5:30 and 6:30 AM, November 13th in Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport. I'm writing this approximately 2 1/2 hours after the events transpired, and they are correct to the best of my recollection. I will admit to being particularly fuzzy on the exact order of events when dealing with the agents after getting my ticket refunded; however, all of the events described did occur.
I had my phone recording audio and video of much of these events. It can be viewed below.
Please spread this story as far and wide as possible. I will make no claims to copyright or otherwise.]
This morning, I tried to fly out of San Diego International Airport but was refused by the TSA. I had been somewhat prepared for this eventuality. I have been reading about the millimeter wave and backscatter x-ray machines and the possible harm to health as well as the vivid pictures they create of people's naked bodies. Not wanting to go through them, I had done my research on the TSA's website prior to traveling to see if SAN had them. From all indications, they did not. When I arrived at the security line, I found that the TSA's website was out of date. SAN does in fact utilize backscatter x-ray machines.
I made my way through the line toward the first line of "defense": the TSA ID checker. This agent looked over my boarding pass, looked over my ID, looked at me and then back at my ID. After that, he waved me through. SAN is still operating metal detectors, so I walked over to one of the lines for them. After removing my shoes and making my way toward the metal detector, the person in front of me in line was pulled out to go through the backscatter machine. After asking what it was and being told, he opted out. This left the machine free, and before I could go through the metal detector, I was pulled out of line to go through the backscatter machine. When asked, I half-chuckled and said, "I don't think so." At this point, I was informed that I would be subject to a pat down, and I waited for another agent.
A male agent (it was a female who had directed me to the backscatter machine in the first place), came and waited for me to get my bags and then directed me over to the far corner of the area for screening. After setting my things on a table, he turned to me and began to explain that he was going to do a "standard" pat down. (I thought to myself, "great, not one of those gropings like I've been reading about".) After he described, the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "if you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested." He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment.
We both stood there for no more than probably two minutes before a female TSA agent (apparently, the supervisor) arrived. She described to me that because I had opted out of the backscatter screening, I would now be patted down, and that involved running hands up the inside of my legs until they felt my groin. I stated that I would not allow myself to be subject to a molestation as a condition of getting on my flight. The supervisor informed me that it was a standard administrative security check and that they were authorized to do it. I repeated that I felt what they were doing was a sexual assault, and that if they were anyone but the government, the act would be illegal. I believe that I was then informed that if I did not submit to the inspection, I would not be getting on my flight. I again stated that I thought the search was illegal. I told her that I would be willing to submit to a walk through the metal detector as over 80% of the rest of the people were doing, but I would not be groped. The supervisor, then offered to go get her supervisor.
I took a seat in a tiny metal chair next to the table with my belongings and waited. While waiting, I asked the original agent (who was supposed to do the pat down) if he had many people opt out to which he replied, none (or almost none, I don't remember exactly). He said that I gave up a lot of rights when I bought my ticket. I replied that the government took them away after September 11th. There was silence until the next supervisor arrived. A few minutes later, the female agent/supervisor arrived with a man in a suit (not a uniform). He gave me a business card identifying him as David Silva, Transportation Security Manager, San Diego International Airport. At this point, more TSA agents as well as what I assume was a local police officer arrived on the scene and surrounded the area where I was being detained. The female supervisor explained the situation to Mr. Silva. After some quick back and forth (that I didn't understand/hear), I could overhear Mr. Silva say something to the effect of, "then escort him from the airport." I again offered to submit to the metal detector, and my father-in-law, who was near by also tried to plead for some reasonableness on the TSA's part.
The female supervisor took my ID at this point and began taking some kind of report with which I cooperated. Once she had finished, I asked if I could put my shoes back on. I was allowed to put my shoes back on and gather my belongs. I asked, "are we done here" (it was clear at this point that I was going to be escorted out), and the local police officer said, "follow me". I followed him around the side of the screening area and back out to the ticketing area. I said apologized to him for the hassle, to which he replied that it was not a problem.
I made my way over to the American Airlines counter, explained the situation, and asked if my ticket could be refunded. The woman behind the counter furiously typed away for about 30 seconds before letting me know that she would need a supervisor. She went to the other end of the counter. When she returned, she informed me that the ticket was non-refundable, but that she was still trying to find a supervisor. After a few more minutes, she was able to refund my ticket. I told her that I had previously had a bad experience with American Airlines and had sworn never to fly with them again (I rationalized this trip since my father-in-law had paid for the ticket), but that after her helpfulness, I would once again be willing to use their carrier again.
At this point, I thought it was all over. I began to make my way to the stairs to exit the airport, when I was approached by another man in slacks and a sport coat. He was accompanied by the officer that had escorted me to the ticketing area and Mr. Silva. He informed me that I could not leave the airport. He said that once I start the screening in the secure area, I could not leave until it was completed. Having left the area, he stated, I would be subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine. I asked him if he was also going to fine the 6 TSA agents and the local police officer who escorted me from the secure area. After all, I did exactly what I was told. He said that they didn't know the rules, and that he would deal with them later. They would not be subject to civil penalties. I then pointed to Mr. Silva and asked if he would be subject to any penalties. He is the agents' supervisor, and he directed them to escort me out. The man informed me that Mr. Silva was new and he would not be subject to penalties, either. He again asserted the necessity that I return to the screening area. When I asked why, he explained that I may have an incendiary device and whether or not that was true needed to be determined. I told him that I would submit to a walk through the metal detector, but that was it; I would not be groped. He told me that their procedures are on their website, and therefore, I was fully informed before I entered the airport; I had implicitly agreed to whatever screening they deemed appropriate. I told him that San Diego was not listed on the TSA's website as an airport using Advanced Imaging Technology, and I believed that I would only be subject to the metal detector. He replied that he was not a webmaster, and I asked then why he was referring me to the TSA's website if he didn't know anything about it. I again refused to re-enter the screening area.
The man asked me to stay put while he walked off to confer with the officer and Mr. Silva. They went about 20 feet away and began talking amongst themselves while I waited. I couldn't over hear anything, but I got the impression that the police officer was recounting his version of the events that had transpired in the screening area (my initial refusal to be patted down). After a few minutes, I asked loudly across the distance if I was free to leave. The man dismissively held up a finger and said, "hold on". I waited. After another minute or so, he returned and asked for my name. I asked why he needed it, and reminded him that the female supervisor/agent had already taken a report. He said that he was trying to be friendly and help me out. I asked to what end. He reminded me that I could be sued civilly and face a $10,000 fine and that my cooperation could help mitigate the penalties I was facing. I replied that he already had my information in the report that was taken and I asked if I was free to leave. I reminded him that he was now illegally detaining me and that I would not be subject to screening as a condition of leaving the airport. He told me that he was only trying to help (I should note that his demeanor never suggested that he was trying to help. I was clearly being interrogated.), and that no one was forcing me to stay. I asked if tried to leave if he would have the officer arrest me. He again said that no one was forcing me to stay. I looked him in the eye, and said, "then I'm leaving". He replied, "then we'll bring a civil suit against you", to which I said, "you bring that suit" and walked out of the airport.
Link to Original Blog WITH Videos