People who complain about TSA screens: Whiners OR Legitimate Concerns?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 09, 2011 12:40 AM GMT
    I've been flying regularly for the last 6 weeks and have come across a handful of flyers who complained to the agents and protested any type of scan/pat down claiming it was an invasion of privacy and that they were being groped etc. One lady today started crying BEFORE she even went through the scanner, she yelled loudly at the female agent who ONLY TOUCHED HER HIPS AND ARMs and this lady still was crying at the coffee shop well afterwards.

    I have always thought that these people were slightly unstable or just wanted some attention. My feelings are that flying is a convenient and quick way to travel, but it isn't the only way to get from A to B. Get on a train, drive, cab, bus, take a cruise, etc if you feel that strongly about the process versus holding up the line and causing a scene. At this point, we know that the agents are looking for explosives and weapons. We can argue about how ineffective the methods are but the bottom line is that if I'm getting on a plane, I want the airport to do what they can to make sure I and my family get to our destination without being stabbed or blown up. If that means a scan and/or a pat down, I know that well before I purchase my tickets and can make the decision to travel another way.

    Thoughts?

  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jul 09, 2011 12:52 AM GMT
    My thought is that the current screening methods are basically a show to make people feel better.

    The government has had all sorts of information on me since the day I was born. They know where I was born, where I've gone to school, my parents, my blood type, how much money I've earned every year since I started working, my registered political party, etc. They have everything they need to know about me to assess my threat potential and screen me accordingly when I get to the airport.

    Since that's not going to happen, because too many people would cry 'profiling', I'm fine with a pat down and a bag search. I'm not getting in a full body scanner.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 16, 2011 9:05 PM GMT
    In my experience, TSA agents are nothing more than self-important thugs who play at being policemen. I view the current backlash against body scanning and “pat-downs” as bad feeling among the general public that has been mounting for ten years, and has finally found a focal point.

    In July of last year I was passing through airport security in Columbus, Ohio, where body scanners had been installed. There was no announcement or signage of any sort to that effect; the only clue that this was not the standard security checkpoint was the TSA agents instructing passengers to remove all items from their pockets and put them through the X-ray machine, even wallets. Since I don’t let my cash, credit cards, or identification out of my sight while traveling and I knew it wouldn’t trigger a metal detector, I left my wallet in my pocket.

    As I entered the checkpoint I was told to “Stand over there and do what he tells you.” There was still no indication that a body scanner would be used, and I was not given the option of a hand search. I realized what was going on only when the scan was in progress. The screener spotted my wallet. The TSA agent asked to se it, whereupon he took it from me, opened it and thumbed through the bills!

    Seeing me naked or groping my groin in the name of security is one thing, but rifling through my money is highly inappropriate in any context.

    This is not the only time I have seen inappropriate behavior from the TSA. A couple of years ago I was in a security line at LAX. A few places ahead of me in line was an old man of 65 years or so, wearing a bulky sweater. The TSA agent told him to remove the sweater and place it in the X-ray bin, and when he pulled it off his T-shirt came off with it. It was obviously unintentional, but the old man just said “hell with it” and threw them both into the bin. The TSA agent yelled at him sharply a couple of times, “Sir! You can’t go through like that!” The old man put his shirt back on, but he was pulled out of line for a thorough search of his person and his carry-on.

    Clearly this was no security concern. A shirtless man has less to hide than a fully clothed one. The old man was harassed because he “misbehaved”.

    Unfortunately, these are only two of many examples of abuse of power I have witnessed or experienced myself.

    Regarding body scans, the concept that "privacy" is maintained just because the screener and passenger never meet face to face is ridiculous. This is essentially no different from ordering someone to strip naked - but giving him a bag to put over his head. Would President Obama submit to that? How can any civilized society condone it?

    Regarding pat-downs, the TSA has repeatedly stated that these are "necessary". Since when, and based on what? Are they seriously claiming that it's suddenly become "necessary" to touch a passenger's groin simply because a single would-be terrorist, who was not even in the United states, was found with explosives in his underwear? Were they somehow unaware until now that people could hide things in their underwear? Or have they just been waiting for an good excuse? Based on what I’ve seen in the news, these “pat-downs” are more invasive than the frisking given to dangerous criminals by policemen on the street. You can’t dispense with the Bill of Rights on the grounds that you treat everyone equally poorly.

    The policies enacted by Homeland Security are unconscionable enough, but at the grass roots level the TSA agents are out of control. They seem to have no supervision. They make up and enforce their own rules as they see fit. And they hassle anyone who questions their authority, with impunity. The only reason they have been tolerated this long is that nobody – myself included – wants to miss his flight.

    I’ve passed through airports around the world. I’ve been questioned, frisked, and one time strip-searched down to my underwear – by customs agents who seemed to be more interested in humiliating me than in finding contraband. But I have never seen a security force anywhere on earth that acts like such thugs on a day-to-day basis as the TSA. I’d have to watch old films of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union for that.

    When I pass through an airport security checkpoint, I don’t feel like I’m in America anymore.



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 16, 2011 11:51 PM GMT
    Athaleet saidIn my experience, TSA agents are nothing more than self-important thugs who play at being policemen. I view the current backlash against body scanning and “pat-downs” as bad feeling among the general public that has been mounting for ten years, and has finally found a focal point.

    In July of last year I was passing through airport security in Columbus, Ohio, where body scanners had been installed. There was no announcement or signage of any sort to that effect; the only clue that this was not the standard security checkpoint was the TSA agents instructing passengers to remove all items from their pockets and put them through the X-ray machine, even wallets. Since I don’t let my cash, credit cards, or identification out of my sight while traveling and I knew it wouldn’t trigger a metal detector, I left my wallet in my pocket.

    As I entered the checkpoint I was told to “Stand over there and do what he tells you.” There was still no indication that a body scanner would be used, and I was not given the option of a hand search. I realized what was going on only when the scan was in progress. The screener spotted my wallet. The TSA agent asked to se it, whereupon he took it from me, opened it and thumbed through the bills!

    Seeing me naked or groping my groin in the name of security is one thing, but rifling through my money is highly inappropriate in any context.

    This is not the only time I have seen inappropriate behavior from the TSA. A couple of years ago I was in a security line at LAX. A few places ahead of me in line was an old man of 65 years or so, wearing a bulky sweater. The TSA agent told him to remove the sweater and place it in the X-ray bin, and when he pulled it off his T-shirt came off with it. It was obviously unintentional, but the old man just said “hell with it” and threw them both into the bin. The TSA agent yelled at him sharply a couple of times, “Sir! You can’t go through like that!” The old man put his shirt back on, but he was pulled out of line for a thorough search of his person and his carry-on.

    Clearly this was no security concern. A shirtless man has less to hide than a fully clothed one. The old man was harassed because he “misbehaved”.

    Unfortunately, these are only two of many examples of abuse of power I have witnessed or experienced myself.

    Regarding body scans, the concept that "privacy" is maintained just because the screener and passenger never meet face to face is ridiculous. This is essentially no different from ordering someone to strip naked - but giving him a bag to put over his head. Would President Obama submit to that? How can any civilized society condone it?

    Regarding pat-downs, the TSA has repeatedly stated that these are "necessary". Since when, and based on what? Are they seriously claiming that it's suddenly become "necessary" to touch a passenger's groin simply because a single would-be terrorist, who was not even in the United states, was found with explosives in his underwear? Were they somehow unaware until now that people could hide things in their underwear? Or have they just been waiting for an good excuse? Based on what I’ve seen in the news, these “pat-downs” are more invasive than the frisking given to dangerous criminals by policemen on the street. You can’t dispense with the Bill of Rights on the grounds that you treat everyone equally poorly.

    The policies enacted by Homeland Security are unconscionable enough, but at the grass roots level the TSA agents are out of control. They seem to have no supervision. They make up and enforce their own rules as they see fit. And they hassle anyone who questions their authority, with impunity. The only reason they have been tolerated this long is that nobody – myself included – wants to miss his flight.

    I’ve passed through airports around the world. I’ve been questioned, frisked, and one time strip-searched down to my underwear – by customs agents who seemed to be more interested in humiliating me than in finding contraband. But I have never seen a security force anywhere on earth that acts like such thugs on a day-to-day basis as the TSA. I’d have to watch old films of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union for that.

    When I pass through an airport security checkpoint, I don’t feel like I’m in America anymore.






    +1 Well said.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 17, 2011 12:04 AM GMT
    Some people just like to complain. Some people, if they couldn't complain, really would have nothing to say. If the TSA screening wasn't invasion of privacy then they'd say that they don't feel safe and that the government isn't doing enough to protect them.
    Look, you know that if you fly commercially, and yes flying is a choice, that you will go through TSA screening. If you really had such a big objection to the screening process then you wouldn't be going through it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 17, 2011 12:13 AM GMT
    I fly every week and it is a bunch of BS. People just want to bitch about something... I've done the full body scanners and pat downs at several airports and have had no issue with it. While the screeners may not be the "cream of the crop" as far as intelligence goes, they have always been professional in my experience.

    My experience echoes 99% of other travelers experiences as well. The crazies who have had "issues" with the TSA are loud and make for a nice story on the evening news, but they are by no means the norm.

    As a frequent traveler, I'm all for scanners, profiling, body cavity searches -- whatever it takes to ensure the security of my flight. If you don't like it, drive, take AmTrak or Greyhound.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 17, 2011 12:15 AM GMT
    Body scanners giving TSA agents cancer: http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/30/did-airport-scanners-give-boston-tsa-agents-cancer/
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    Jul 17, 2011 12:24 AM GMT
    Scruffypup saidBody scanners giving TSA agents cancer: http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/30/did-airport-scanners-give-boston-tsa-agents-cancer/


    The ArticleHe adds that while it isn't impossible for the cancer cases in the Boston airport workers to be linked to radiation exposure on the job, the "latency period between radiation exposure and a radiation-induced cancer" is generally years, not months.


    I seriously doubt that the scanners had anything to do with this. Yet another sensational headline that disputes itself in the body of the article...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 17, 2011 12:31 AM GMT
    They've already concluded that your chance of getting cancer from the body scanners is about the same as your plane being hit by a terrorist. I'd rather go down in flames and skip the cavity searches you don't seem to have a problem with.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 17, 2011 12:36 AM GMT
    I second athaleet's comments


    Seriously...THE USA is bankrupt you could have re-built the twin towers 10 times over with the countless billions you have wasted on security theatre by make believe transport police icon_neutral.gif
  • thebigtwist

    Posts: 102

    Jul 17, 2011 12:42 AM GMT
    It's the choice between being photographed naked or being groped. Maybe we're not the best people to choose between those -- either sounds like a good day to me. Except for the part where TSA employees are undertrained inbred mongrels who regularly steal from the public. And the part where the TSA is an ineffectual, bloated waste of money.

    http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Recent-TSA-Arrest-at-LAX-Continues-Theft-Trend-124503234.html
    http://www.khon2.com/news/local/story/Former-TSA-employee-admits-to-theft/vxVlKThX-EqAEw28oh9hxw.cspx

    Some people like to complain, yes. Others like to complain about people who like to complain. I, myself, prefer to complain about people who like to complain about people who like to complain. That's really the only way I can validate my general sense of superiority these days, that and yelling at children about how terrible their generation is. Never too early to start doing that.
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    Jul 17, 2011 12:43 AM GMT
    thebigtwist said
    Some people like to complain, yes. Others like to complain about people who like to complain. I, myself, prefer to complain about people who like to complain about people who like to complain. That's really the only way I can validate my general sense of superiority these days, that and yelling at children about how terrible their generation is. Never too early to start doing that.


    LOL +1
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    Jul 17, 2011 12:45 AM GMT
    I thought this was interesting


    QUOTE AUTHOR GOES HEREThe radiation you get from body scanners is the same as what you get in two minutes in an airplane at 30,000 feet.
    http://news.discovery.com/human/travel-body-scanners-radiation.html
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 17, 2011 12:46 AM GMT
    Scruffypup saidBody scanners giving TSA agents cancer: http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/30/did-airport-scanners-give-boston-tsa-agents-cancer/


    Article Title: "Did Airport Scanners Give Boston TSA Agents Cancer?"

    The article cites more reason why it probably didn't give them cancer including the fact that cancer affects 40% of Americans, and only 25 out of 1100 TSA employees are in the "cluster" of cases.

    Maximum Radiation allowable for general public is 5 rem a year. (10CFR Part 20, Standards for Protection Against Radiation)

    A backscatter Xray (like the ones at airports) gives you a dose of about 0.005 mili-rem so you'd have to go through it 1,000,000 times to receive your maximum yearly dose. You receive more radiation during the flight than the scanner gives you. Typical symptoms of radiation don't even appear until 25 rem. (http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/nucene/radexp.html)

    Yes workers may experience more than the average person but medical xray technicians figured it out a long time ago and I'm sure TSA will too.

    Unless you're one of those "don't trust the man" kind of people, then I have no logical way to combat your thinking.
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    Jul 17, 2011 12:52 AM GMT
    The fact that people are so up in arms about TSA screening practices absolutely astounds me for so many reasons.

    Let's backtrack prior to September 11th. Airports and airlines hired private security firms to conduct security screenings. For the most part, they were untrained to detect the newest and most severe of threats.

    Days after September 11th, 2001, when airplanes were allowed back into the air, President George Bush ordered states' governors to deploy National Guard troops to protect our nations airports. I remember that vividly because I flew home not too long after that order. Troops had machine guns and full-on weaponry--ready, able and willing. No complained about that presence or that order when the threat was high. Let's also remember that no one complained about having to take their shoes off when Richard Reid attempted to blow up a plane via a shoe-bomb.

    The government has done something about security to respond to a post-9/11 world--they created the TSA. (Let's keep in mind that Bush was originally against the idea but finally agreed). We changed how we handle threats and so forth. This country changed how it gathers, assesses and implements its intelligence. Okay, so now the threat of terrorism is somewhat lowered because we've increased our awareness and intelligence gathering.

    Now that we have not had a terrorist incident actually occur in this country in almost a decade (there have been attempts but nothing successful), people's sensitivity have gone down; the "threat" has decreased.

    I honestly question if people would continue to complain about enhanced screening techniques and/or pat-downs if we were facing a higher level/probability of attack via airplanes; or is the complaining the result of our sensitivity being lowered.
  • DrobUA

    Posts: 1331

    Jul 17, 2011 1:04 AM GMT
    Scan me, feel me up, check out my junk, doesn't matter to me. Is it all a show to deter people from bringing shit they aren't supposed to on a plane? Probably, but who cares. If you don't like it don't fly.

    As long as they aren't doing random cavity searches I don't think it's a big deal. People just want reasons to bitch.
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    Jul 17, 2011 2:14 AM GMT
    HaloJockNYC saidI honestly question if people would continue to complain about enhanced screening techniques and/or pat-downs if we were facing a higher level/probability of attack via airplanes


    Well, that's the whole point, isn't it?

    In the ten years that TSA has been in business, have you heard of even one terrorist they've caught? I haven't. But I have heard that they perform terribly whenever they're put to the test by their own superiors - when someone comes through the checkpoint with a fake weapon, they almost never catch them.

    People seem to forget that on 9/11, the hijackers did not have to sneak any weapons at all aboard the planes - the boxcutters they used were allowed by federal regulations at the time. And even so, the plot only worked because airline policy at the time was to cooperate with hijackers, and passengers did the same. It worked because they caught people by surprise. That kind of plot would never work again.

    For the past ten years the U.S. government has largely been reacting to failed terrorist plots that occurred overseas - some jerk who boarded a flight in Paris tries to blow up his shoe, so now we all have to take our shoes off. In London they discover a plot to bring liquid explosives onto a plane (they never even got near the airport), so now we can't bring liquids on board. An idiot from Nigeria smuggles a bomb in his underwear, so now we have the option of being electronically strip-searched, or manually felt up.

    The simple fact remains that it is ridiculously easy to bring a weapon onto an airplane. You want something sharp? Bring an empty bottle on board, and break it in flight. Want a gun? They seem to be easy enough to get past the TSA screeners. Explosives? Disguise it as a candy bar (modern baggage scanning technology still can't tell the difference between a bar of chocolate, a hunk of cheese, and a block of C-4 plastic explosive).

    What all this should tell you is that (a) the government's security measures are more about making passengers feel safe than they are about offering any real protection. And (b), they don't much matter anyway because if there really are any terrorist plots out there, they don't seem to make it as far as American airports.

    Unfortunately, the U.S. government does not seem to be finished wiping their asses on the Bill of Rights. After some recent intelligence from Yemen that suggested terrorists were strongly considering using explosive devices implanted in their bodies (never mind that all the security experts claim it would be a ridiculous thing to attempt), our pals in Homeland Security have announced they will be changing their tactics once again. They say they'll be introducing some new techniques, including "personal interaction". Any guesses what that might mean?

    On 9/11/2001, I watched President Bush stand up and say, "We will not let terrorism change our way of life." What a laugh.
  • tautomer

    Posts: 1010

    Jul 17, 2011 2:16 AM GMT
    Whiners. Suck it up.

    Honestly, if you have nothing to hide, what's the problem? These people are doing a job, simple as that. If you don't like it, don't fly. Simple.

    And to those who don't like being "touched"; I'm sorry, but you have to get over yourself. I feel no pity for you.
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    Jul 17, 2011 3:28 AM GMT
    I think the entire airline industry is abusive, i avoid air travel whenever realistically possible. The entire process is degrading and dehumanizing, icon_neutral.gif
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    Jul 17, 2011 3:48 AM GMT
    Johnnyhotsauce saidI think the entire airline industry is abusive, i avoid air travel whenever realistically possible. The entire process is degrading and dehumanizing, icon_neutral.gif


    There's a huge difference between airline security by the government and the practices of the airline industry (baggage fees, fees for changing your itinerary, buying meals on the plane, etc).

    Although, I will agree that the process can be intrusive and dehumanizing sometimes.
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    Jul 17, 2011 3:52 AM GMT
    People receive radiation YEAR round from background, and cosmic sources. It is said that flying from point A to point B is the equivalent of receiving radiation from a chest x-ray.
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    Jul 17, 2011 3:58 AM GMT
    HaloJockNYC said
    Johnnyhotsauce saidI think the entire airline industry is abusive, i avoid air travel whenever realistically possible. The entire process is degrading and dehumanizing, icon_neutral.gif


    There's a huge difference between airline security by the government and the practices of the airline industry (baggage fees, fees for changing your itinerary, buying meals on the plane, etc).

    Although, I will agree that the process can be intrusive and dehumanizing sometimes.


    the whole process just generally leaves a bad taste in my mouth, being treated poorly is not something i enjoy, not to say that i haven't had several good experiences tho, delays are actually something i generally dont mind ironically, I spent 4 years in the air force working on planes and if anyone says this plane isn't safe ta fly i wont give em any grief about it
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 17, 2011 4:00 AM GMT
    Just one more thing to say, and then I'll shut up.

    For those of you who missed that day in Civics class, the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    "Unreasonable" may not be clearly defined, but I hope there's no doubt that what goes on at the airports is in clear opposition to the intent of this fundamental law of our republic. And, I don't think it's "whining" to insist that the government respect the rights guaranteed to us by the U. S. Constitution.

    But I can't really fault the current administration or its predecessor for dismissing as "whiners" anyone who complains about government abuse in the name of guarding against some real, perceived, or invented threat. After all, it's a tried-and-true tactic for bullying people into giving up their legal rights. It worked just fine for Hitler.
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    Jul 17, 2011 4:24 AM GMT
    Athaleet saidJust one more thing to say, and then I'll shut up.

    For those of you who missed that day in Civics class, the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    "Unreasonable" may not be clearly defined, but I hope there's no doubt that what goes on at the airports is in clear opposition to the intent of this fundamental law of our republic. And, I don't think it's "whining" to insist that the government respect the rights guaranteed to us by the U. S. Constitution.

    But I can't really fault the current administration or its predecessor for dismissing as "whiners" anyone who complains about government abuse in the name of guarding against some real, perceived, or invented threat. After all, it's a tried-and-true tactic for bullying people into giving up their legal rights. It worked just fine for Hitler.



    +1
  • BIG_N_TALL

    Posts: 2190

    Jul 17, 2011 4:26 AM GMT
    Athaleet saidJust one more thing to say, and then I'll shut up.

    For those of you who missed that day in Civics class, the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    "Unreasonable" may not be clearly defined, but I hope there's no doubt that what goes on at the airports is in clear opposition to the intent of this fundamental law of our republic. And, I don't think it's "whining" to insist that the government respect the rights guaranteed to us by the U. S. Constitution.

    But I can't really fault the current administration or its predecessor for dismissing as "whiners" anyone who complains about government abuse in the name of guarding against some real, perceived, or invented threat. After all, it's a tried-and-true tactic for bullying people into giving up their legal rights. It worked just fine for Hitler.


    I have to agree. Dismissing people as "whinners" is truly counterproductive. Complicity is the reason we got into this big damn mess in the first place.