Posts Tagged ‘Transportation Security Administration’

Cancer surviving flight attendant told to remove prosthetic breast during pat-down

November 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Cabin in a PBair Embraer ERJ 145 LR featuring ...

Cabin in a PBair Embraer ERJ 145 LR featuring an air hostess and a steward serving passengers in the...

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – A Charlotte-area flight attendant and cancer survivor contacted WBTV after she says she was forced to show her prosthetic breast during a pat-down.

Cathy Bossi lives in south Charlotte and has been a flight attendant for the past 32 years, working the past 28 for U.S. Airways.

In early August Bossie was walking through security when she says she was asked to go through the new full body-scanners at Concourse “D” at Charlotte Douglas International.

She reluctantly agreed. As a 3-year breast cancer survivor she says she didn’t want the added radiation through her body. But, Bossi says she did agree.

“The T.S.A. Agent told me to put my I.D. on my back,” she said. “When I got out of there she said because my I.D. was on my back, I had to go to a personal screening area.”

She says two female Charlotte T.S.A. agents took her to a private room and began what she calls an aggressive pat down. She says they stopped when they got around to feeling her right breast… the one where she’d had surgery.

Pat-down Backlash: Child groped during pat-down? What are the rules?

“She put her full hand on my breast and said, ‘What is this?’. And I said, ‘It’s my prosthesis because I’ve had breast cancer.’ And she said, ‘Well, you’ll need to show me that’.”

Cathy was asked to show her prosthetic breast, removing it from her bra.

“I did not take the name of the person at the time because it was just so horrific of an experience, I couldn’t believe someone had done that to me. I’m a flight attendant. I was just trying to get to work.”

Since then, Cathy has contacted the Legislative Affairs Team, a group through the flight attendant union. She says she wants to see a crackdown on these personal pat downs.

“There are blowers and there are dogs out there that can sniff out bombs,” she says. “There’s no reason to have somebody’s hands touching your body parts.”

A T.S.A. representative says agents aren’t supposed to remove any prosthetics, but are allowed to ask to see and touch any passenger’s prosthetic.

T.S.A. says it will review this matter.



TSA Desktop Image Makes Joke of Cavity Searching Children

November 19, 2010 Leave a comment

A Flickr photo shows a computer in a TSA airport office with a desktop image of a satirical book entitled “My First Cavity Search.” Our photo and Photoshop experts have examined the image and believe that it is real. is currently attempting to contact the Flickr photographer to establish if the image is real.

TSA Desktop Image Makes Joke of Cavity Searching Children  3304306634 0a9e51503c z

TSA Desktop Image Makes Joke of Cavity Searching Children  cavitysearch

In January, the Guardian reported that experts determined that naked body scanner technology violates child protection laws which ban the creation of indecent images of children. The British Department for Transport confirmed that the “child porn” problem was among the “legal and operational issues” under discussion within the government.

Since the introduction of airport scanners, there have been countless complaints regarding privacy issues.

Earlier this year, a TSA employee in Miami was arrested after he physically assaulted a co-worker who had joked about the size of his penis.

In March, a TSA worker who conducted so-called patdowns was charged with multiple child sex crimes targeting an underage girl. “The bust outraged privacy and passenger advocates who say it justifies their fears about Logan International Airport’s full-body scanner,” the Boston Herald reported.

In September, 2007, a woman died while in custody at Phoenix’s notorious Sky Harbor Airport. Carol Ann Gotbaum had argued with TSA employees prior to her death and the official explanation was that she had strangled herself “while trying to get out of her handcuffs,” according to a report posted on the Gothamist website.

As the neocon Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in late October, the TSA considers the backscatter scanners and the “opt-out” manual search comical. Goldberg asked a TSA officer if the new Department of Homeland Security guidelines include a cavity search. “No way. You think Congress would allow that?” the TSA employee responded.

In addition, the Atlantic’s Goldberg was told by the TSA agent directly that pat downs were made increasingly invasive not for any genuine security reason, but to make the experience so uncomfortable for the traveler that they would prefer to use the body scanner, despite the fact that scientists at Columbia University and the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety, along with other scientific bodies, have all warned that the devices increase the risk of developing cancer.

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Congress may be squeamish about anal cavity searches, but if the photo below is indeed real, employees at the TSA consider this most humiliating form of molestation to be a laughing matter, especially when conducted on children.


TSA Now Putting Hands Down Fliers’ Pants

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Security checkpoint at Seattle Tacoma (SeaTac)...

Security checkpoint at Seattle Tacoma (SeaTac) International Airport

TSA Now Putting Hands Down Fliers’ Pants

The TSA’s invasive new screening measures include officers literally putting their hands down people’s pants if they are wearing baggy clothing in a shocking new elevation of groping procedures that have stoked a nationwide revolt against privacy-busting airport security measures.

Forget John Tyner’s “don’t touch my junk” experience at the hands of TSA goons in San Diego recently, another victim of Big Sis was told by TSA officials that it was now policy to go even further when dealing with people wearing loose pants or shorts.

Going through airport security this past weekend, radio host Owen JJ Stone, known as “OhDoctah,” related how he was told that the rules had been changed and was offered a private screening. When he asked what the procedure entailed, the TSA agent responded, “I have to go in your waistband, I have to put my hand down your pants,” after which he did precisely that.

Stone chose to conduct the search in public in the fear that the TSA worker would be even more aggressive in a private room.

“If you’re wearing sweat pants or baggy clothing, I was wearing sweat pants they’re not baggy, they’re sweat pants,” said Stone, adding that the agent pulled out his waistband before patting his backside and his crotch.

Even the TSA agent who put his hands down the man’s pants was embarrassed at what he had been told to do by his superiors, apologizing profusely to the victim.

A 54-year-old Missouri City man experienced similar treatment when he was going through security at Fort Lauderdale Airport.

Thomas Mollman was subject to a groping by a TSA officer that was tantamount to sexual molestation.

“I was wearing shorts at the time – between the underwear, right on the skin, all the way around the back, all the way around my front, 360 degrees, touched inappropriately,” he said.

“This was an assault. This was no different than a sexual assault,” said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.

The level of abuse appears to be getting worse on an almost daily basis. First TSA agents use the back of their hands, then they outright grope you with the front, and now they are being trained to put their hands down traveler’s pants. What’s next? Mandatory bodily probes?

Even as the resistance to airport oppression grows, Big Sis and the TSA are responding by making the pat down procedures more invasive. Napolitano has figuratively said to the American people ‘let them eat cake’ as she slaps them in the face.

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Given the fact that the TSA’s own woeful background checks for their own employees allows rapists and pedophiles to get jobs as pat down agents, will you allow TSA workers to put their hands down the pants of your daughter or wife?

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show. Watson has been interviewed by many publications and radio shows, including Vanity Fair and Coast to Coast AM, America’s most listened to late night talk show.


TSA porno-scanners: what they’re really looking for

November 12, 2010 1 comment

Computer modeling for aviation explosive detec...

Computer modeling for aviation explosive detection requirements

Source article

The following is from a blog reader and frequent flyer who wishes to remain anonymous.


“Male, anomaly, right thigh.”

“Female, anomaly, right arm”

“Male, clear.”

It’s just after 6 AM. I’m sitting at a gate at Boston’s Logan airport. I had noticed a long line at the checkpoint, and saw that it was because they were using the porno scanners. As a frequent traveler who lives in the Boston area, I know Logan. I went to another checkpoint where I walked through the magnetometer without incident, then made my circuitous way back to my flight’s gate.

I hadn’t realized when I took my seat at the gate that the black cloth surrounding the area next to me held the TSA voyeur ogling the images from the porno scanner.

“Male, anomaly, lower back.”

“Female, anomaly, groin.”

“Male, clear.”

This went on for several minutes, at a rate of about 4 per minute. The porno scanners are much slower than magnetometers. They aren’t any better at detecting explosives or bomb-making parts, as several critics have demonstrated. So why is the TSA so determined to force these extremely expensive, dangerous, humiliating x-ray machines upon us? It can’t be because of the fool who scorched his privates last Christmas; these machines have been in development for many years.

Economists will explain that the TSA is a monopoly, and monopolies always raise the price and lower the quality of goods and services. Raising the price means slower scans and longer lines. But it also means that the TSA will have a perfect excuse to demand larger budgets and more workers to deal with the intolerable lines they create once the porno scanners are in widespread use. It’s a perfectly understandable, rational decision for a tax-feeding bureaucracy immune to competition.

Besides, certain perverts think it is fun to look at naked people.

“Male, anomaly, groin.”

I hear a door open, and soon there is another voice in the room. They talk quietly and I can’t hear what they are saying.

“Female, anomaly, right breast.”

“Female, clear.”

“Male, clear.”

“Male, anomaly, right torso.”

“Female, anomaly, abdomen.”

The two suddenly erupt in laughter. I don’t know the joke, but it is all too easy to imagine what they find amusing.

The litany goes on, and I’m left to contemplate the dying Republic and the loss of any pretense of freedom, dignity, or basic decency. The contempt of the government for its victims is obvious. There is no reason to think that strip searches will stay confined to airports.

The operating procedure for the porno scanners make it clear that control, not security, is the overriding concern. If a TSA agent decides to send you through the magnetometer, usually but not always because the porno scanner is occupied, you can walk through with no further action required. But if you choose the magnetometer, or “opt out” in TSA parlance, you are punished by shouting and being made the center of attention, then subjected to a humiliating public groping.

The procedure is designed to punish those who do not meekly submit to any and every whim of people wearing government-issued costumes. It has nothing to do with security.

Listening, I realize that the TSA voyeurs are not looking for potential threats to aircraft safety. They search for “anomalies.” They are looking for anyone and anything that is different. Colostomy bags, breast prostheses, catheters, money belts, covered piercings, deformities of all kinds, the list of intimate things that many of us conceal beneath clothing is very long, while the list of things truly dangerous to aircraft is short.

The drill is to first identify the sex of the victim by looking at their naked image. This takes some careful scrutiny when the victim is a young child. But the porno scanners are up to the task, the image is so clear the voyeurs can tell if males are circumcised.

When you submit to a porno scan, you can be quite certain that your sex organs are the first thing the voyeur examines. Then the rest of your body is scrutinized for as long as the jaded voyeur finds it pleasurable. Those with unusual or particularly attractive physiques will be given especially careful scrutiny, with the most interesting images captured on cell phones or other devices, including the scanner itself. You will be free to go only if the pervert in the dark room fails to find anything at all different about your body.


Feds Admit to Storing Thousands of Images from Naked Body Scanners

November 9, 2010 Leave a comment

X-ray machines and metal detectors are used to...

X-ray machines and metal detectors are used to control what is allowed to pass through an airport se...

Full body scanners, which thwart terrorist attacks by flashing airport security your genitals and breasts, are supposed to generate images that disappear as soon as they’re viewed. At least that’s what the TSA has claimed in response to privacy concerns over the creepy technology.

As it turns out, that’s the opposite of true: The U.S. Marshals Service admitted that just one courthouse checkpoint in Florida has stored tens of thousands of the images. And a report released last week revealed that the TSA demands all machines be equipped with the ability to record and transmit images for “testing, training, and evaluation purposes.”     Read more

By Tana Ganeva | AlterNet
Posted on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 @ 12:00 PM


Airport security reaches new levels of absurdity

November 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s what happens when you refuse to comply with TSA’s “new rule.” Blue-glove groping, anyone?

Airport security reaches new levels of absurdity

A security official demonstrates a full-body scanner at Hamburg Airport in September.

Wait, wait, stop the presses. It gets worse.

Airport security, I mean.

Truly I had no intention of devoting yet another post to the sad, silly foibles of the Transportation Security Administration, but I’m risking heart attack or a nervous breakdown if I don’t get this latest one out of my system.

I was at the airport yesterday, on duty, headed through a TSA checkpoint in my full uniform and with all of my applicable credentials. I hoisted my bags onto the belt, deposited my MacBook in a plastic tray, and approached the metal detector.

“Sir,” said a guard.

And I knew. I just knew this was going to be something stupid.

“I need you to remove your belt.”

“Huh? My belt? Why?”

“All passengers need to remove their belts.”

“I’m not a passenger.”

“All pilots have to remove their belts.”

“We do? Why?”

“Sir, remove your belt.”


“Because that’s the rule.”

“What rule? I never have to remove my belt. The buckle is nonmetallic.”

“It’s the new rule. All belts have to come off.”

“What new rule? I don’t understand.”

“Sir, you need to take it off.”

“But … What if I don’t?”

“Then you’ll have to go through secondary screening and a full pat-down.”

And so I opted for the secondary screening. Not that a pat-down is reasonable, either, but I did not want to submit to something that I felt was excessive and ridiculous without a reason or explanation.

I was asked to stand in a cordoned-off area, where I waited for several minutes as guards stood around looking at me. Finally a supervisor came over, wearing disposable blue gloves, to administer my secondary screening.

“Sir,” he said, “um, you still need to remove your belt.”

“What do you mean? I chose this so I could leave the belt on.”

“No, either way the belt has to come off.”

“What? And if it doesn’t come off?”

“Then I cannot let you through.”

So, it would seem, secondary screening isn’t really “secondary” at all. Instead of simply taking off my belt, I get a full, blue-glove groping and I have to take off my belt. Either that or I’m not allowed to fly the plane.

“Really?” I asked.


And with that I started laughing.

Much to his credit, the supervisor also laughed. He smiled, nodded and proceeded to explain this “new rule.”

Before getting to that explanation, I will note, for what it’s worth, that this particular supervisor, who asked that I not reveal his name or location, was perhaps the most decent and reasonable TSA employee I’ve ever interacted with. He was courteous and professional, not to mention sympathetic. He acknowledged that much of what flight crews are forced to endure does not make sense from a security standpoint. He does not enact policy; he enforces it. Further, he seemed fully aware of the ridiculousness of the new belts procedure.

Belts, it has been determined, can interfere with the images procured by the new full-body scanners being deployed at checkpoints around the country. And so, from now on, passengers need to remove them.

Now, although we can debate the body scanners from an effectiveness point of view, or from a privacy-rights point of view, separately, this at least makes sense.

Fair enough, except for one thing. As I looked around me, I noticed that there weren’t any body scanners anywhere at the checkpoint.

“But sir,” I said, motioning to the left and right, “there are no scanners here.”

“I know,” he replied. “I know. But to keep things consistent, across the board, everybody has to do it.”



He looked at me. He shrugged and sighed.

It’s not his fault, I know.

I took off my belt.

Somebody, somewhere, needs to shake us from this stupor of blind policy and blind obedience. I’m beginning to wonder if this isn’t some test — a test of just how stupid Americans are. If TSA said that from now on we had to hop on one foot while humming “God Bless America,” would we do that too?

That’d be ludicrous, certainly, but how much more ludicrous is it, really, than asking people to remove their belts for purposes of walking through a nonexistent body scanner?

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Do you have questions for Salon‘s aviation expert? Contact Patrick Smith through his website and look for answers in a future column.

Two U.S. air marshals flee Brazil after being charged with assault

October 22, 2010 Leave a comment

By Mike M. Ahlers, CNN
October 22, 2010 — Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
The air marshals were arrested in Brazil after they arrested the wife of a Brazilian judge aboard a Continental flight.
The air marshals were arrested in Brazil after they arrested the wife of a Brazilian judge aboard a Continental flight.

Washington (CNN) — Two U.S. air marshals who arrested the wife of a Brazilian judge on a flight to Rio de Janeiro — and were themselves arrested and had their passports confiscated by Brazilian authorities — fled the country using alternate travel documents rather than face what they believed to be trumped-up charges, sources said.

The incident has impacted air marshal operations on flights to Brazil, officials said, and air marshals contacted by CNN said the case raises questions about Brazil’s willingness to support future law enforcement actions by U.S. officials on international flights.

The incident occurred on October 1 on Continental Flight 128 from Houston, Texas, to Rio de Janeiro. During the flight, a female passenger who appeared to be intoxicated tried to serve herself drinks by going to the plane’s galley, one source said. The plane’s crew asked air marshals to intervene, and two marshals approached the woman, who began struggling with them.

Two sources said the woman bit one of the air marshals, and she was handcuffed and placed under arrest.

At the Rio airport, the air marshals went to turn over the woman to local authorities but were themselves brought before a federal judge and charged with misdemeanor counts of assault, sources said. Brazilian authorities took the air marshals’ passports, so they could not leave the country and set a court hearing for the following week, sources said.

“They (Brazilian officials) did not want them to leave. They were not free to go,” one U.S. law enforcement source said.

But the air marshals used alternate travel documents and quietly departed the country on a commercial flight that same day without the knowledge of the Brazilian court officials who had sought their detention.

One source said the air marshals believed the charges against them were retaliatory because the passenger they arrested is the wife of a prominent Brazilian judge. The air marshals believed it was to their benefit to leave the country and let the U.S. and Brazilian governments resolve the dispute, the source said.

The air marshals had not recovered their passports when they left, the sources said.

A Transportation Security Administration official, contacted by CNN on the day of the incident, confirmed that air marshals had confronted a “disruptive passenger” on Flight 128, and said that U.S. officials were working with their Brazilian counterparts to resolve “an issue,” which the official declined to discuss.

Shortly before midnight the day of the incident, the TSA official said the air marshal team had left Brazil, but the official did not elaborate on the circumstances.

U.S. officials on October 1 and again this week declined to discuss the circumstances in which the air marshals left Brazil. But, commenting about the incident on board the aircraft, an official said, “We believe our federal air marshals acted appropriately within the provisions of the Convention on Offenses and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft (Tokyo Convention).”

Air marshals and union representatives contacted by CNN say it is important that Brazil and other nations recognize law enforcement actions taken by air marshals during international flights.

“In theory we’re all working together to combat the threat of terrorism and we should not let egos or marital relations impact proper procedure and legal protocols,” said Jon Adler, national president for the union that represents air marshals.

Numerous sources said the issue is still unresolved. According to court documents in Brazil, after the air marshals missed a scheduled court appointment on October 6, the court contacted the U.S. embassy in an attempt to get the air marshal’s addresses.

On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano met with Brazilian Minister of Defense Nelson Job to discuss strengthening the global aviation system. The United States and Brazil signed a “joint statement of intent on aviation security.” A Department of Homeland Security official said the parties did not discuss the Continental Flight 128 incident or its aftermath.

Sources said they believe the two agents remain charged in Brazilian courts. They did not know if the agents’ passports had been returned to them or the U.S. government.

State Department officials have declined to comment on the incident, but said it is not affecting relations with Brazil.

“We’ve got broad, deep relations with Brazil,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. “We have many, many areas of cooperation with Brazil. And on those areas where we have had disagreements, or rather issues to address, and challenges, we’ve worked through them quite effectively.”

A call to the Brazilian embassy in Washington on Thursday was not immediately returned.

Journalist Luciani Gomes contributed to this report.