TSA implements enhanced feel-me-up security at airports – Americans not feeling it

We’ve found the tipping point. I’m calling this week’s TSA news Groper-gate even as the agencies leadership continue to deny screeners are molesting anyone. It’s kind of like a pedophile claiming he or she is innocent after getting caught on video. Travelers themselves will define their own experiences thank you very much.

This is a huge problem for Janet Napolitano, the director of Homeland Security, and the entire system the Bush and Obama administrations have put in place at airports across the country. Arriving to the airport early and waiting in lines? Not to difficult to deal with. Leaving your 24 ounce super-value bottle of Breck shampoo at home? Fine. Taking off your shoes? Well … OK.

Randomly getting pulled into a special screening area where your bag’s contents are throughly inspected and you go through a “light” pat-down with the screener using the back of his or her hands? Now … we’re getting annoyed.

But opt out of the new backscatter or millimeter wave imaging systems due to health or privacy concerns, TSA screeners immediately begin the humiliation process by chanting opt out, opt out and put you on display for all to see. The “light” pat-down with the back of the hand has turned into a full-fledged groping with the palm and fingers of both hands. Seemingly, no part of the body is excluded from inspection.

Imagine watching a perp getting caught on the Fox series Cops and the officer searching the criminal for weapons or contraband. Just replace the cop with a smiling 22 year-old in a blue TSA uniform at the airport as he or she gropes your 12 year-old daughter on her way to Disneyland.

Tipping. Point.

The over-bearing United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has deemed these procedures to be necessary and reasonable to make us safe while flying the unfriendly skies. The problem is, DHS can not make us safe, it’s totally and completely impossible to “make us safe” and the sooner everyone understand that fact the better.

Some steps can certainly make things safer while traveling, but safe is not possible. Wrap your mind around that for a few seconds. There are between 150 and 180 seats on a Boeing 737 commercial airliner, the most frequently used aircraft for passenger traffic in the United States.

The TSA – specifically as a result of the high-impact 9/11 attacks – have almost exclusively targeted airport passengers for enhanced security screening because the attacks originated at airports, and on commercial airliners. Up until the past couple of weeks, Americans have – in general – been willing to accept the loss of some liberty and freedom to make us a little safer when flying.

We’re not feeling it any more, especially since the TSA implemented their enhanced feeling techniques. We’re not feeling safer, we’re feeling molested.

There are not many self-contained modes of transportation – other than a cruise ship – that can carry that many passengers, but there are many other buildings, schools, bridges, tunnels and stadiums that can contain thousands of people. One school bus transports between 45 and 65 kids.

If, God-forbid, another large-scale terrorist attack happens at or near ground-level, how willing are you to accept backscatter, millimeter wave imaging systems and groping at schools, baseball stadiums, or even at work? If you’re OK with the imaging systems and enhanced feel-me-up techniques at the airport, Homeland Security will assume you’ll happily give up more of your liberty and freedom to be “safe” at other public locations.

The Fort Hood terrorist attack killed 13 and wounded 30. We’re waiting to hear from Homeland Security concerning how many deaths would be required before they bring in the machines.

Every day we are willing to accept a certain amount of risk. Driving to work, putting your child on a school bus, going to the mall, scuba diving, running at the side of the road, riding a bicycle, and yes, getting on an airplane, all include an an element of risk we are willing to accept.

Every day, we are also willing to relinquish a small percentage of our liberty and freedom for one reason or another, but the TSA intrusion – with imaging and outright groping – has tripped the liberty and freedom circuit breaker of many Americans. [At this point, you’re welcome to sing a stanza of Quiot Riot’s We’re Not Gonna Take It on your own.]

No more. Something must be done to stop this intrusion.

This week’s TSA stories…



18 replies
  1. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    Weighing this out, it isn't worth flying.  

    But taking alternate forms of travel does not address the real issue.  

    The Patriot Act needs to be repealed.  BOTH parties voted for this act.  If this is the privacy that we gave up for safety, then it isn't worth it. 

    Being responsible for one's self starts well before ordering the tickets, or opting out.  This is worth 3 phone calls A DAY to DC demanding that this stop and that the Patriot Act be repealed.

  2. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    With my luck, I would be in the plane seat between the exhibitionist who took extra long in the full scan machine and the guy constantly checking his watch who SHOULD have gone through that machine.

  3. Steve M
    Steve M says:

    For those of you who saw one big paragraph, sorry about that. I'm interested PatRiot … what part of the Patriot Act has to do with TSA and how they screen passengers at the airport?

  4. winnie888
    winnie888 says:

    I already hate annual exams w/ the gyno…I certainly don't want some uppity little TSA employee doing what only a doctor should be permitted to do (with my permission) to my body.  Until this is stopped, I will gladly take my crappy little flex-fuel Taurus where I need to go.  If I can't get there by car, I just won't go.

  5. Trawlerowner
    Trawlerowner says:

    We have travelled by air many times. Wealso have learned that we don't have any metal in our pockets or on our bodieswhen we enter the present scanners – we put everything into the boxes that go on the belt. One of us has had two knee replacements & always sounds the alarm with the scanning machine, so has to have a "wand" hand pat search. It is not a "gropping" situation but it takes a bit longer. Thus…we are all in favor of the new scanners!! If men & women haven't seen the outlines of a male or female body …they haven't been in science classes in school! We (republican, democrat, independant)  need to stop being "whiners" and just "do it". It just "might" make a difference. We will continue to fly & the plane might crash because of a mechanical problem but we feel a bit safer having gone through the security scanner. the new scanners will make the process much faster.

  6. pauldow
    pauldow says:


    -Note that the new procedure now in place takes wanding out. If you set a metal detector off, you go in for the full "Freedom Grope" if the checkpoint doesn't have the naked scanner.

    The thing I want to know is how many people the TSA, and their procedures, have killed by diverting people to more dangerous forms of travel? I know I've driven to Philadelphia and Washington, and I've taken the train back from Chicago twice to avoid air travel. By putting people in more risky forms of travel, people will die. It's difficult to measure since the person who would have flown may not be the one killed, but what if that person makes the road more crowded so it affects someone a few hundred feet away?

    The most dangerous place in the airport is the waiting line for the checkpoint. I was at O'Hare a Sunday night a few months ago, and the line was like an attraction at the Shanghai World's Fair. Some real damage could have been done with a carry-on suitcase to the hundreds of people in line.

    The TSA is throwing away its best weapon against terrorism. The "First Responder." I'm not talking about the fire or police. I'm talking about the ordinary citizen who by fate, divine intervention, or whatever, is put at the scene. Hero flight 93 was our first victory against terrorists. The people stopped Richard Reid. Yet the TSA throws away the best line of defense.

    Archie Bunker had it right. (Season 3, Episode 1)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLjNJI54GMM
    I know if may sound silly and simplistic, but if we listened to him, maybe a couple people would have died, but thousands would be living, hundreds of billions of dollars wouldn't be spent on the war, and those towers would still be standing.

  7. GdavidH
    GdavidH says:

    Do I really have to be the only one who sees the real problem?????

    ALL security and prevention is based on profiling!!!

    Stop searching:… 12 year old girls with their families on the way to Disney, 30 something men with a diaper bag in one hand and a baby in the other, GRANDMA!!!, GRANDPA!!!!

    Drop the P.C. crap and harass the people who fit the terrorist profile to effectively end the belief that they can FLY under the radar.

    Google the effectiveness of the Isreali airline, and tell me I'm wrong.

  8. philgrannan@yahoo.co
    [email protected] says:


    I don't agree with you on this.  I have a replaced knee joint and I always get the pat down when the X-ray machine beeps.  My feeling is: "if this is the price of flying more safely, I'm willing to put up with it."  It's not the TSA's fault, the terrorists brought this on.

    This is really a non-issue to most folk.  If the new machines can actually target the fact that I have that metal knee joint, it'll make flying a lot easier for me and my wife (who has to wait and guard my luggage as I get patted down).

  9. TomTGRWolcott
    TomTGRWolcott says:

    I can understand that the TSA and the FAA want to ensure that all passengers are for real, and not carrying any sort of bomb or knife or weapon.

    My problem is this…why are we the ones, the American public being punished by more regulations.  Look I dont mind a quick screening and I am sure most of us do not.

    but when I have to be exposed to more xray, type radiation do I really need more?

    Do I really need to be told that because my brand new tooth paste is .01 oz over limit that they had to take it away from me?  REALLY?  Because my shampoo bottle was open I could not take it with me… REALLY?

    Look we all want to be safe on an airplane, but stop punishing the people and target those that are responsible…and if it means profiling then so be it…

  10. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, explosives are sifting through the gaping hole of shipped items on airplanes and shipping containers on ocean going vessels.


    Why can't we send our TSA folks to Isreal for some in depth and practical training on how to spot a potential terrorist rather than relying on dumb luck to pull one out via random checks or hope that the threat of said attacks will deter terrorists?  Like them or not, you have to admit that the Israelis know what they are doing in airports.  They have to.  And so do we.


    If that proves impossible, then hire Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders to do the pat downs…..  😉

  11. TomL
    TomL says:

    Air Cargo is the weak link. Very little of it gets checked. That's why it was targeted on the latest attempt.

  12. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    @ SteveM   The Patriot Act, H.R. 3162, is found in the Library of Congress site.   

    Keep in mind that the President still has emergency powers- inherited from Mr. Bush.  Also, the TSA is part of the Dept of Homeland Security (DHS).  According to the head of DHS – Ms. Nepolitano, MOST Americans are terroist threats up to and including members of our military.

         Inside the Patriot Act under title I, section 106 is a reference to Section 203 of the International Emergency Powers Act.  In this the President, or his designees, can suspend the 4th Amendment.    

         Next – Title VIII sec.1993. deals directly with mass transportation.  There is alot here that can be, and has been, misinterpreted. 

         I am by no means a legal scholar.  It seems clear to me that the President's emergency powers should have been rescinded.  It is also clear that Ms. Nepolitano is extremist in her assessments of who is a terroist.  

         I will stand by my claim is that the Patriot Act is unconstitutional and that its application is perverse.   

         We Americans are fully capable of living up to the high standards of the Constitution and finding a more dignified way of handling this.

  13. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    Not for nothing, but when the US got into the middle east's issues, it was getting into something thousands of years old.  To make a major step like that  means you want to play hard ball and for a VERY long time.  Then hard ball it is:  Rescind the President's emergency powers.  We really cannot

    suspend the Constitution until this is all resolved now can we?

    And advise for Ms. Nepolitano – follow the "Best practice" which at this point is Isreal's screening process.  We don't want to learn the hard way by reinventing the wheel do we?  After all, (urban legend)the U.S. spend over one hundred thousand dollars on a pen that the astronauts could use to write upside down with and the Russians used a pencil.

  14. penny56r
    penny56r says:

    Because of two knee replacements, I went through the "Pat-Down" yesterday at Bradley.  It was a piece of cake.  The gal explained everything she was going to do and was very polite.  When she was done – her gloves were then scanned to check for explosive residue on my clothes.  After I passed this test her gloves were discarded.

    Not sure why Bradley doesn't have the full body scan like other airports.  It seems like they only pat-down those that have had replacements – like knees and/or hips.

    It may be a different story when I go through the screening process at the Tampa International Airport.  Will have to let you know.

    Penny M.

  15. penny56r
    penny56r says:

    Because of two knee replacements, I went through the "Pat-Down" yesterday at Bradley.  It was a piece of cake.  The gal explained everything she was going to do and was very polite.  When she was done – her gloves were then scanned to check for explosive residue on my clothes.  After I passed this test her gloves were discarded.

    Not sure why Bradley doesn't have the full body scan like other airports.  It seems like most pat-downs are done to those that have had replacements – like knees and/or hips.

    It may be a different story when I go through the screening process at the Tampa International Airport.  Will have to let you know.

    Penny M.

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