What happens when you refuse to pose for TSA or be sexually molested to fly.

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Blind_Io

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http://johnnyedge.blogspot.com/2010/11/these-events-took-place-roughly-between.html

[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 When I arrived at the security line, I found that the TSA's website was out of date.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.
There are several videos at the main site.

I've tried to get out of the habit of making commentary on political articles until others have weighed in, but I have to say, if this guy needed money for his legal defense I would contribute what I could spare (which isn't much).
 

deathrazor

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I'll defend the TSA agents insofar as they are simply doing their job, but the guy coming out and threatening him with the civil suit is just being a jackass.
 

Blind_Io

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These TSA agents seemed to be quite civil and are only following orders (guess who else was "only following orders"). But that doesn't change the policy that makes shit like this possible.
 

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Ignoring the last two paragraphs, he just sounds like an unreasonable arsehole. What did he expect to happen if he refused the checks? I can accept not wanting to be subject to the full body scan but not the pat down. Any reasonable person knows that there is a chance that you will have to undergo a pat down as part of the checks at an airport.
 

Redliner

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Well, he claims he was willing to walk through the metal detector. Seems reasonable enough to me.
 

Blind_Io

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Except he did his due diligence to avoid the body scanners entirely - something that he brought up to the TSA agents.

Also, the choice of "Pose naked or be molested" isn't a choice and I think as more and more people fly this holiday season you will find an increasing wave of resistance as people realize exactly what is going on.

Some of us have to fly and there is no reasonable alternative. This is a huge country with limited rail service and it would take days to travel by car - and for residents in Alaska and Hawaii (which are still states, the last time I checked) you simply cant get to the lower-48 any other way. Don't kid yourself, there is no "choice" here, it's like asking which foot would you like to have removed and then saying, "What's the problem? I gave you a choice."

I'd like to see someone make a religious challenge to these laws, we've bent the rules of military uniforms to accommodate religious headwear such as turbans.
 

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I wonder how long before we are handed a paper gown and slippers to get through airport security?
 

jmsprovan

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tl:dr - man with small cock syndrome doesnt want that knowledge to get out, so throws a hissy fit and looks to the internet for assistance.

i'm convinced now, the TSA must burn.
 
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teeb

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Well, he claims he was willing to walk through the metal detector. Seems reasonable enough to me.
The metal detector detects metal. Plenty non-metal things aren't allowed on flights (a knife made from plastic, for example).

Playing devil's advocate : Every time I fly I accept there's a reasonable chance of being patted down all-over, whether I use a full-body scanner or not - although if I behave suspiciously, like refusing to get into the full-body scanner, then I am more at risk of a pat-down. And those pat-downs may well get intimate. It's just a fact of modern air travel, sadly.
 

Blind_Io

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Refusing to consent to a search is not probable cause in the US. I've had police ask to search my vehicle and I have refused. Police on the street are allowed to do a much less intrusive pat-down to ensure someone has no weapons - if it's good enough for cops on the street to protect themselves why do TSA agents need to fondle my nuts or my girl's breasts?

The point is that these requirements and regulations are overly intrusive and ultimately futile. The Israelis have a security system that actually works and doesn't involve backscatter scanners (a technology with questionable safety that was shoved down our throats with a pack of lies about how the images would be used) or being sexually molested.

TSA is primarily staffed by a bunch of power-tripping slack-jawed underachievers who consistently fail to detect someone walking through their security checkpoints with hand grenades in their pockets because they are too busy groping old ladies and selecting uniformed military personnel returning from Iraq for additional security screenings.

The system is a joke, it makes travelers the daily victims of behavior that would be considered sexual assault in any other setting and doesn't do anything to make us any safer.
 

Blind_Io

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Layers of security, starting when you drive into the airport. Instead of being staffed by monkeys, they have highly trained personnel who observe behavior and make targeted interventions rather than randomly selected travelers who pose no threat. There are multiple rings of security that move passengers quickly through security so there are no bottlenecks where people pile up, creating an inviting target.

Here is an article on their security: http://www.nola.com/newsflash/index.ssf/story/israeli-airport-gives-rare-glimpse-into-security/af51713418bd4f339599be851ae32440

They use the word "profiling" but it's based on behavior - facial expression, body language, and other factors.
 

jmsprovan

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TSA is primarily staffed by a bunch of power-tripping slack-jawed underachievers who consistently fail to detect someone walking through their security checkpoints with hand grenades in their pockets because they are too busy groping old ladies and selecting uniformed military personnel returning from Iraq for additional security screenings.
[citation needed]

The system is a joke, it makes travelers the daily victims of behavior that would be considered sexual assault in any other setting and doesn't do anything to make us any safer.
frisking is not sexual assault, and the simple answer is people either deal with it or don't fly. Those are the circumstances under which millions of people fly every day without hassle and a handful of people thinking they were somehow born to be martyrs for supposed "rights" won't change that.
 

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Layers of security, starting when you drive into the airport. Instead of being staffed by monkeys, they have highly trained personnel who observe behavior and make targeted interventions rather than randomly selected travelers who pose no threat. There are multiple rings of security that move passengers quickly through security so there are no bottlenecks where people pile up, creating an inviting target.

Here is an article on their security: http://www.nola.com/newsflash/index.ssf/story/israeli-airport-gives-rare-glimpse-into-security/af51713418bd4f339599be851ae32440

They use the word "profiling" but it's based on behavior - facial expression, body language, and other factors.
Armed checkpoints are better than pat downs?
 

Blind_Io

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Yes, they are better - more effective and less invasive.

frisking is not sexual assault, and the simple answer is people either deal with it or don't fly. Those are the circumstances under which millions of people fly every day without hassle and a handful of people thinking they were somehow born to be martyrs for supposed "rights" won't change that.
Read what I said again:

The system is a joke, it makes travelers the daily victims of behavior that would be considered sexual assault in any other setting and doesn't do anything to make us any safer.
And while we are at it, how do you think victims of sexual assault feel about these procedures? In 2005 alone there were and estimated 191,670 rapes or sexual assaults (only a small percentage result in police reports or arrests). Now if there are that many per year, imagine how many people that adds up to as the population ages.

How do you propose people get to Hawaii or Alaska (especially in the winter)? We have no rail network in the US, air travel is the only reasonable way to travel in most cases.

EDIT: Dammit, I had a bunch of links posted about TSA screeners failing to find bombs, bomb components and other contraband as well as a couple about TSA watering down testing because their employees couldn't pass - and the TSA union screaming bloody murder about firing incompetents.

Hang on, let me find them again.

http://politicalmavens.com/index.php/2006/10/28/tsa-fails-another-test/

http://logisticstoday.com/operations_strategy/tsa-ineffective-bureaucracy-rep-john-mica-0524/

http://articles.cnn.com/2008-01-28/us/tsa.bombtest_1_airport-screeners-airport-security-fake-bombs?_s=PM:US

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11863165/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/05/20/congressman-calls-reorganization-tsa-amid-new-report-agencys-failures/

http://usgovinfo.about.com/b/2006/03/19/tsa-airport-screeners-fail-federal-bomb-test.htm

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-10-17-airport-security_N.htm

But it's ok, because they're all highly trained and certified personnel, right?
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/SharpSticks/Majority-of-TSA-workers-at-BWI-Dulles-fail-recertification-test--48913597.html

But, hey, that's only one airport.. oh wait..
http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/08/over_half_of_ts.html

And they don't even ask for their security passes and uniforms back from previous employees:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-10-12-TSA_N.htm
 
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I haven't traveled in the US, but the TSA does look like a mess. I guess I think it's silly refusing to be patted down. Well, not really. I just know I've been subject to it a couple of times, and while the guy who did it in Israel was a little.. rough in the crotch area, it's never really made me squirm. That said, I do get that some people might feel it unacceptable. And again, that said, I do get why it's done. If you're patting someone down, you touch the crotch. Otherwise, there's no point in it, is it?

I do not think the threats were warranted, though. As the situation is described, it does look a lot like this chap has a good leg to stand on in court. The TSA does not seem to have even a peg leg.
 

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[citation needed]



frisking is not sexual assault, and the simple answer is people either deal with it or don't fly. Those are the circumstances under which millions of people fly every day without hassle and a handful of people thinking they were somehow born to be martyrs for supposed "rights" won't change that.
You go up to somebody on the street and start frisking them, chances are you'll get your face kicked in. You have the right to deny a back scatter and a frisking at an airport just as much as you have the right to deny police searching your car without a court order, it's up to you to use it. It's so stupid how these back scatter devices are suddenly forced down our throats, what happened that made a regular metal detector not as useful? What happened to actually having military at the airport who can profile people more successfully than some jamoke hired off the street and trained to pat you down and run you through rings to board your flight?
 

teeb

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Refusing to consent to a search is not probable cause in the US. I've had police ask to search my vehicle and I have refused. Police on the street are allowed to do a much less intrusive pat-down to ensure someone has no weapons - if it's good enough for cops on the street to protect themselves why do TSA agents need to fondle my nuts or my girl's breasts?
Because the cop on the street is looking for a gun or a knife, and the TSA guy is - in theory - looking for explosives or contraband.



TSA is primarily staffed by a bunch of power-tripping slack-jawed underachievers
No argument there.
 
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