Friday, August 27, 2010

Enhanced Pat-downs

You may have read about TSA implementing enhanced pat downs as part of our layered approach to security. Using the latest intelligence, TSA constantly updates our screening procedures to stay ahead of those who wish to do us harm and keep the skies safe for the flying public. When developing our security procedures, we use input from across the agency, including our Offices of Intelligence, Privacy, and Civil Rights and Liberties.

To add some perspective, TSA has used pat downs since our agency started federalizing checkpoints in 2002. They’re an effective way of helping us keep dangerous items such as weapons or improvised explosive devices off of planes.

So, what might cause you to receive a pat-down? Passengers may receive a pat-down in a number of circumstances: to resolve an alarm at a walk-through metal detector; if an anomaly is detected during screening with advanced imaging technology; or during random screening. Passengers who opt out of enhanced screening such as advanced imaging technology will receive an equivalent level of screening to include a thorough pat-down. Remember, you can always request to be screened in a private area.

You shouldn’t expect to see the same security procedures at every airport. Our security measures are designed to be unpredictable and are constantly assessed and updated to address evolving threats.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

331 comments:

1 – 200 of 331   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

I'm confused. What's the difference between a regular pat-down and an enhanced pat-down? Please clarify.

Bill said...

I'm all for gripping and groping. I don't want to sit next to a panty-bomber on my next flight.

Just one question, can I request an opposite-gender screener for my groping?

RB said...

So TSA admits to feeling up little kids whose parents feel Naked Imaging is excessive and abusive.

Anonymous said...

From the Boston Herald:

“If a terrorist was intent on blowing up a plane, you would really need an exam from a physician to prevent it, you would need a totalitarian state,” he said. “All they are doing is annoying law-abiding, peaceful citizens, and in the end if there are terrorists intent on blowing up a plane , they will. ”

Anonymous said...

I personally hope this causes some child who's groped in front of his parents to start crying and saying he was touched in a "bad place". I further hope this causes the parent to call a LEO over and press charges against the screener. Even if they don't stick, it would be nice to see a screener be hassled by going through the booking process and having to spend a night in jail.

If the above were to happen enough times, perhaps that would put a bit of a chill on screeners who get their jollies from feeling up airline passengers.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob has just started a blog about enhanced pat-downs but has actually said NOTHING about the new procedure. Like every TSA security measure we are left in the dark and then the TSA wonder why people inevitably come to their own conclusions - right or wrong. Lack of information is nearly as bad as misinformation. Are genitals being touched - yes or no? What is the point of this Blogger Bob?

Anonymous said...

Bob, why are screeners reportedly squeezing and fondling passengers' genitals during these absurd pat-downs? What about reports of people's bare skin, including their faces, being "searched," God knows for what?

Anonymous said...

Care to explain TSA's newfound obsession with seeing and feeling people's genitals, Bob?

Anonymous said...

Why should people have to be sexually assaulted to get on an airplane, Curtis?

Anonymous said...

If a screener attempts to touch my or my child's genitals, I will summon an LEO and file sexual assault charges. Will TSA pay the screener's legal bills, or will the screener be on his own?

Chris Boyce said...

No TSA screener needs to view my penis nor grab it in order to allow me to fly on an airplane -- period.

Anonymous said...

Give people a chance to comment. If you have to get one of these "rub-downs" (my name for them--there is no patting), you'll understand the headline. I got one in Chicago O'Hare, and it was horrible, disgusting, and truly shocking.

Anonymous said...

Do people visiting TSA headquarters get these sorts of pat-down gropes, Bob?

Anonymous said...

The front-of-the-hand grope is punishment for not going through the nude-o-scope. Think many people will refuse after word gets out on how invasive (read: sexually assaultive) the "pat down" is? It's all part of the plan. They don't want a lot of people refusing to go through the "scanner" because that backs up the lines, so they're going to make sure to instruct the TSA employees to be as obnoxious and offensive as possible.

Anonymous said...

The TSA is on a mission to both increase their own numbers and violate our constitutional rights. The TSA has yet to identify and detain a single terrorist.

Anonymous said...

ANOTHER reason to Not Fly...what next a "cavity" search probe???

This country is a mess

Anonymous said...

It is NOT RIGHT for others to run their hands over your private parts when you've done nothing wrong. In other circumstances, they'd put someone in jail who did that.

Anonymous said...

Are the TSA agents advertising their "touchy feely" services on Craigslist?

Anonymous said...

It’s so important to keep reminding people that the government’s most important priority is to protect our freedoms, not Keep Us Safe(tm). Over the years many thousands of Americans have given their lives to secure those freedoms, and to simply hand them over now in exchange for a dubious promise to Keep Us Safe(tm) is a disgusting insult to their sacrifice.

Look here to see what the pervs see:
http://www.rupture.co.uk/Terminal 4.html

Anonymous said...

Before you run and hide for the weekend, Bob-o, move the thread for off-topic posts up please. It's now #4 in line and headed for being off the list.

BTW, please tell us exactly what an enhanced pat down consists of? Boy oh boy, I can hardly wait until the law suits start - and they will.

You betcha!

Anonymous said...

Freedom is more important than safety - that's why so many have been willing to die for for their own freedom and for yours.

Anonymous said...

The American Revolution began in Boston - why don't you Bostonians now start another revolt against the TSA and its practices?

Anonymous said...

In the old days, when someone rubbed your crotch in the airport they would be arrested.

Now it appears that getting your crotch rubbed is mandatory for airline travel. And the people doing the crotch rubbing wear badges.

TSA is way over the line on this one. Neither I or my grandchildren are flying until this idiocy stops.

Anonymous said...

Let's see: it's okay to 'molest', grope, and harass U.S. citizens at airports, but we can't ask Hispanics/illegal aliens to show ID during a police stop?

If I were a terrorist, my entry point would be the wide-open Mexican border not Logan airport.

Anonymous said...

Boston - WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU PEOPLE? The home of Samuel Adams and the Minutemen, the Pilgrims and the Shot Heard Round the World and you line up and take this crap and say you're happy about it to be safe?

Anonymous said...

I will go through a metal detector or wand search, but will not allow a pat down. If I'm not being arrested for a suspected crime it is against my constitutionally protected right to privacy. My line in the sand is drawn, the showdown is coming. Every publicized potential terror traveler event has been later admitted to be a staged drill or a government agency managed false flag event. Wake up to the tyranny!

Anonymous said...

Anyone from TSA: What is the difference between a regular patdown and these new 'enhanced' patdowns?

I'm really curious, and the post... led to no clarification at all on the meaning of "enhanced," as used here.

Thanks!

Frank Gomez said...

How can a passenger tell when an airport screener is committing sexual assault? What are the limits to the enhanced patdown?

How do we protect our children from TSA employees who go too far?

Are TSA agents and airport employees receiving these kind of searches every time they enter the "sterile" area?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
It is NOT RIGHT for others to run their hands over your private parts when you've done nothing wrong. In other circumstances, they'd put someone in jail who did that.

August 27, 2010 5:11 PM
........
Of course it not right.

The TSA screeners who sexually assualt travelers should have legal complaints filed and let the courts take care of these perverts.

There are police near all checkpoints, make use of them.

I fail to understand why one needs to be sexually assulated by TSA just to fly on a commercial airplane.

Anonymous said...

This is designed to draw attention away from the naked scanners by creating a new diversionary scandal. Seemingly clever, but actually it will back-fire. The grope-down is purely and simply undisguised sexual assault. The public will not accept it or the naked scanners. They are both unconstitutional and undemocratic.

Your friend Ethel Rosenberg said...

Burns and pistole.

Just a FYI the last person who open hand groped my genitals ended up with a crushed right orbit , depressed skull fracture and a very large sub-dural hematoma requiring burr-holes to be drill in the persons skull.

No charges were filed against me but the grabber was charged with aggrivatted sexual battery and was given 5 years jail sentence and is registered sex offender.

If any of your employees do a open hand grope in me, or my family you can expect that individual will need medical and legal help as there is no justification for sexual battery/assault. I will also make sure the DA of that jurisdiction makes a example of that person and seeks max penalties. The just following orders Nuremberg defense doesn't excuse the behavior. Just look at the Nazis and see how well it worked for them.

I see this ending up in court for tsa overstepping the bounds of multiple court cases for violating the limits of a administrative search and "reasonableness"

Your friend, Ethel said...

Do all screeners get training in the sexual assault grope or are you relying on volunteers?

Good heavens, I can not imagine a job where I would have to put my hand into someone else's crotch and grab and squeeze or poke or whatever.

I imagine the majority of your workfarce is not happy if all screeners are being trained in this very special procedure.

The grope is nothing but punishment for refusing be to strip searched.

You must be so proud, Bob.

Who "borrowed" my name? I'll thank you to leave it alone - it's mine, not yours.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"Even if they don't stick, it would be nice to see a screener be hassled by going through the booking process and having to spend a night in jail."
perhaps the tsa agent is doing his/her job. would you like to see them fired for not doing their job? who will give them a new job if they refuse to do the job that they signed up for, and when they signed up for it this wasnt part of their job description.

Anonymous said...

Sorry...but this sure seems like a punitive measure designed to ensure that only a minimum of people opt out of the electronic strip search. Otherwise, many travelers would opt out and security lines would be horrendous.

Does the TSA even consider consumer input before spending billions on a new technology?? The most effective and proven method of security post-9/11 doesn't cost a cent: passenger intervention.

Anonymous said...

so what is the right way to stop another "underwear bomber"? i see alot of people assuuming that the tsa is touching private parts but have yet to see any possible alternatives to such a search. this is tsa's alternative to having travelers not go through the body scanners. the underwear bomber used his methods just for this reason. he used peoples morales and ethics against them. luckily he wasnt trained well enough to get it to work. remember he didnt pass through a tsa screening area but another countries. before this episode, here in the us it is against the tsas policies not to touch private areas because of this reaction. and it shows that it is working, it is telling the "bad guys" to wait until the public gets this changed and then its an open area to get items through. for those of you that dont think that there are any "bad guys" out there i hope your right but the tsa cant assume this with the world that is out there.

Anonymous said...

wheres the "puppy post" comments on this one?

George said...

As usual, we can count on Blogger Bob to respond to an emerging concern by rehashing the TSA's favorite buzzwords, but offering nothing to address the concern in any useful fashion.

He apparently is telling us that we can now expect a friendly genital inspection from Buster the TSO for any reason, or for no reason at all. It's necessary and justified by the "latest intelligence." It's an updated screening procedure "to stay ahead of those who wish to do us harm and keep the skies safe for the flying public." If Buster did it anywhere else, he would face many years in prison as a sex offender. But at a TSA checkpoint he's now officially licensed to grope genitals, since in the TSA's rights-free zone that's not a crime but a layer of security!

And for those who "opt out of enhanced screening such as advanced imaging technology," Buster has an open license to administer a punitive "thorough pat-down" sufficiently humiliating to convince the offender that "opting out" is NOT a good idea. Of course, Buster and his superiors will vigorously deny that the "thorough pat-down" was in any way punitive or retributive. The secret SOP prohibits that, so it should not happen. And if the offender makes enough noise to require defensive action, the TSA's Propaganda Department will issue a press release that stands firmly behind Buster. As Buster faces no adverse consequences for indulging in "behavior modification" when he decides someone needs it, what's to stop him?

The only possible benefit from this development is that it may represent the point where the TSA has finally exceeded what people will tolerate. When people start complaining to their elected officials about how Buster violated them, that may be what it takes for Congress to finally start forcing some accountability on the TSA. Lost liberties and billions of wasted dollars and may not matter, but there's nothing like allegations of sexual harassment to get members of Congress onto their highest dudgeon.

Anonymous said...

alright i understand the enhanced patdown is wrong(as well as a vast majority of TSO's) most of us wil be taking the route of not performing these front of the hands patdown, BUT you guys should be attacking TSA not the officers. Officers are following orders and wil be discipined if they do not. SO the best thing to do is to get the ACLU involved and not press charges on the officers.

Like i said a majority of us(tso's) do not want to be performing this search.

Anonymous said...

The rules should be the same at every airport or do you make up the rulses as you go. If the same procedures arn't followed by every airport yheb get rid of the SOP ( Standard Operating Procedures)it would be worthless since many of
the screeners don't know it anyway and why have it if you do not follow it everywhere. Again it is Security Theater with smoke and mirrors.

RB said...

TSA to grope flyers who don’t want to submit to naked X-ray scans
By BILL SANDERSON

Last Updated: 1:05 PM, August 27, 2010



"TSA tried out similar aggressive patdowns in 2004, but abandoned the idea after the American Civil Liberties Union began investigating.

Imposing the patdowns on people who won’t submit to full-body electronic scans would be "punitive," said ACLU legislative counsel Chris Calabrese.

"It seems like another erosion of privacy — yet another indignity the traveling public has to endure," Calabrese said. "Modesty and decency seem to count for very little, but security seems to count for everything." "



Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/tsa_naked_grope_flyers_who_don_want_L8TOJlYDkGzOULNhSsE6IK#ixzz0xrggZzoH

Anonymous said...

I do not want my privates touched in order to fly domestically.

Nor do I see the point in touching my face, with nothing covering it, or hair, which I hear is happening as well...

Tomas said...

Hi, Bob! Been a while since I dropped you a note. :o)

I'll make you a deal, if the TSA really feels the need to sexually grope me, let's open up the options a little bit - allow us to select being groped by the sex of our choice, and, just to make things equal, let us grope 'em right back.

I'll even bring my own rubber gloves.

Take care,
Tom

Bubba said...

If a TSO touches your genitals, file a complaint for sexual assault. Call the police. Make sure to do it immediately.

Anonymous said...

The enhanced pat downs are nothing more than an attempt to intimidate passengers who who opt on from the strip search machine.

Fay said...

I am a 63 year old Federal Employee with Security clearence who is patted down just because I am wearing a skirt. This happens only in Albany, NY! I fly frequently and am never patted down while wearing a skirt anywhere else in the country. How ridiculous this TSA security has become for everyone, except the terriorist intent on blowing up a plane. The TSA has never caught one terriorist.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, just wanted to fly. Didn't think that flying ever required a full body pat down like they do to incoming guests of the government (prisoners).

This saddens me on so many levels, that anything in the name of 'improving' security is now justified.

Figures that someone with a LEO background would be all for this.

Disgusting when you consider that the gains done by doing this won't stop a dedicated terrorist from getting a job with TSA.

Anonymous said...

"Do you want to fly today?"

No, not me. Not any day.

I prefer more family oriented activities. Electronic or manual strip searches just aren't my idea of a good time. I won't tell my children that it's ok for government employees to grope them.

And you're really going to use a mind reading machine? The government will really buy anything...

Adrian said...

I opted out of the whole body imaging device on a recent flight. The pat down was much faster and simpler than submitting to the x-ray backscatter machine. I got through the checkpoint before the two people who had been ahead of me in line.

The WBI machines are not fast, and they always seem to spot something that the TSO cannot actually find on the person. I've yet to see someone go through one without it turning into a long hassle of scan, pat-down, repeat. In fact, I've never seen anyone get through on a single scan.

Adrian said...

I notice that the signs at the checkpoint show example images of male and female adults in the WBI scanners. Will you be posting pictures of male and female children as well so that parents can make an informed choice?

Anonymous said...

It didn't seem to me that the body-scanner I went through was working all that well yesterday. Suggest you have the metal detectors working along with them.

Other then that, no issues.

One thing that is worrisome. These are x-ray scanners. I only had to go through it once. What about the people who have to work around them?

Anonymous said...

"alright i understand the enhanced patdown is wrong(as well as a vast majority of TSO's) most of us wil be taking the route of not performing these front of the hands patdown, BUT you guys should be attacking TSA not the officers. Officers are following orders and wil be discipined if they do not. SO the best thing to do is to get the ACLU involved and not press charges on the officers.

Like i said a majority of us(tso's) do not want to be performing this search.

Nuremberg Principles:
Principle I states, "Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment."
Principle II states, "The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law."
Principle III states, "The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law."
Principle IV states: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him".

This principle could be paraphrased as follows: "It is not an acceptable excuse to say 'I was just following my superior's orders'".

SEE ALL YOU TSO'S IN COURT SOON!

Your friend, Ethel said...

This post from Anonymous answers my question:

"alright i understand the enhanced patdown is wrong(as well as a vast majority of TSO's) most of us wil be taking the route of not performing these front of the hands patdown, BUT you guys should be attacking TSA not the officers. Officers are following orders and wil be discipined if they do not. SO the best thing to do is to get the ACLU involved and not press charges on the officers.

Like i said a majority of us(tso's) do not want to be performing this search."

Thanks, Anonymous!

Ayn R. Key said...

Anonymous wrote...
Even if they don't stick, it would be nice to see a screener be hassled by going through the booking process and having to spend a night in jail.

Anonymous TSO wrote...
perhaps the tsa agent is doing his/her job. would you like to see them fired for not doing their job?

"Just doing my job" is the Nuremberg Defense, and it is not a defense. If the job is to commit criminal acts then the job should not be done.

Thus TSOs should go to jail for sexual assault if they do these "advanced pat-downs". It didn't work for the Nazis, it should not work for the TSA.

If a mob enforcer shook you down for protection money, would you say he shouldn't go to jail because he's just doing his job?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
alright i understand the enhanced patdown is wrong(as well as a vast majority of TSO's) most of us wil be taking the route of not performing these front of the hands patdown, BUT you guys should be attacking TSA not the officers. Officers are following orders and wil be discipined if they do not. SO the best thing to do is to get the ACLU involved and not press charges on the officers.

Like i said a majority of us(tso's) do not want to be performing this search.

August 27, 2010 9:42 PM
...............
If you follow orders that you know are wrong and indecent then why haven't you resigned?

That would be the honorable thing to do!

The Nuremberg defense didn't work 60 years ago and will not work now.

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Nor do I see the point in touching my face, with nothing covering it, or hair, which I hear is happening as well..."

I have not heard of folks being touched on the face, could you post a link to that for me so I can read up on it?

As for hair, in some instances when a person alarms a WTMD, or there is an anomoly in AIT, the hair may be cleared by observing closely (if that is sufficient) or by manually patting the area down to make certain no threat items are there.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pistole,

Can you honestly say that this post represents the quality of communication that we as Americans should expect from the TSA?

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with all of you who think that TSA workers ENJOY any of this? My friend is TSA and it is a job...it's one she believes in, but it's still a job. She has a family...a husband, daughters a son. Don't act like your concerns are not her concerns and that she (and others who work with her) is too stupid or perverted or non-human to care that people are upset! She flies too and has to do the same things you people do (which I note in your comments, most of you are just ranting with absolutely NO personal experience!)...the only difference is, she knows exactly why these things occur, she knows it's not perverted and she knows she's saving people's lives by doing them. What a bunch of high-minded hypocrites! What are your jobs, exactly? Do you think other people understand every single thing you do and would not call you names (if you're a lawyer, I'm sure you've been called PLENTY of names...an accountant....an IRS auditor?) just for doing your job? Critique the processes if you need to, but don't talk about these officers as though they are sub-human. You are just showing your immense ignorance when you do.

Ponter said...

I can certainly understand why people are getting angry about the increasing intrusiveness of TSA screening, especially when they are getting most of their information about it from biased sources who are determined to make the TSA look bad. But rather than reacting emotionally, it's time to THINK for a moment.

Instead of being angry at the TSA, we should be angry at those who are truly responsible for making the increased intrusiveness necessary: the TERRORISTS! AIT and enhanced pat downs have become necessary because the TSA's procedures are WORKING EFFECTIVELY! The high efficacy of TSA screening means that terrorists who seek to kill Americans have to take increasingly desperate measures in their attempt to circumvent that screening. Those desperate measures now involve artfully concealing weapons and explosives near the genitals and in other areas of the body that, until now, the TSA was reluctant to search adequately.

Rather than being angry or upset, we should be GRATEFUL that the TSA is proactively responding to this enhanced threat with enhanced screening that include AIT and enhanced pat downs. Those measures aren't pleasant or comfortable for anyone, particularly for the TSOs who have to implement them on passengers. But they're a necessary response to the current threat environment, and a necessary evolution of TSA's security to maintain the proven effectiveness that has PREVENTED any further occurrences of the horrifying tragedy that occurred on 9/11/01.

And as Blogger Bob noted, the TSA's Offices of Intelligence, Privacy, and Civil Rights and Liberties have been involved in every aspect of developing the SOP, to ensure that the enhanced measures fully respect the privacy, civil liberties, and dignity of every passenger. I'm therefore confident that the sensational accusations about "sexual assault" and "punitive retribution for opting out of AIT" are utterly unfounded, and are nothing more than the pernicious prattle of disgruntled individuals who are aiding the enemy by making the TSA look bad for purely selfish reasons. The SOP explicitly prohibits retaliation and requires all passengers to be treated with dignity and respect. So the slanderous accusations are certainly groundless, since none of those things should ever happen.

Again, it isn't that the TSA wants to view unclothed images of passengers or subject them to an enhanced pat down. Rather, they have to do this because the terrorists made it necessary! Any anger is properly directed at al-Qaida and the various other terrorists whose goal is to kill Americans! And of course, the most constructive way to express that anger is to help the TSA defeat the terrorist enemy! You can do that by fully and gratefully cooperating with TSOs during screening. You can also help to defeat terrorists through active efforts to counter the lies and slander about the TSA, by spreading the truth about how the TSA is protecting our freedom.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
so what is the right way to stop another "underwear bomber"? i see alot of people assuuming that the tsa is touching private parts but have yet to see any possible alternatives to such a search. this is tsa's alternative to having travelers not go through the body scanners. the underwear bomber used his methods just for this reason. he used peoples morales and ethics against them. luckily he wasnt trained well enough to get it to work. remember he didnt pass through a tsa screening area but another countries. before this episode, here in the us it is against the tsas policies not to touch private areas because of this reaction. and it shows that it is working, it is telling the "bad guys" to wait until the public gets this changed and then its an open area to get items through. for those of you that dont think that there are any "bad guys" out there i hope your right but the tsa cant assume this with the world that is out there.

August 27, 2010 7:19 PM

TSA has the explosive test machines and liquids testing equipment that they admit would likely have caught the "X-mas bomber". That is why TSA was testing passenger's hands in the airport right after the event. But, if people only had to be swab tested, passengers would choose alternate screening. After all, people would not be exposed to radiation, the swab is quick and easy and you wouldn't need the expensive new equipment.

If selected make sure to demand that your items remain in your view. Make sure to request a private screening and take a friend with you for proof. Then call a policeman and the EEOC to file a complaint if you are violated.

Anonymous said...

Hurray, a TSA response! But... Will you tell us how an 'enhanced' pat-down differs from a regular pat-down? That's one thing this blog post left out completely.

Thanks!

Sandra said...

Boston Herald, West:

"The TSA screeners used the palms of their hands to search her face, hair, torso and directly underneath and between her breasts, she said."

FT, West:

"I've seen them feeling and searching through women's hair: making them take it out of a chignon or ponytail and then taking pieces and separating them and feeling through them - even for women without super long hair."

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine had one of these grope-downs when he refused the naked scanners recently. He told me his testicles were squeezed so hard it made his eyes water. This was clear punishment for not wanting to be stripped naked.

Anonymous said...

Do you think the new TSA body search policy at Logan goes too far?

72% - Yes, it’s a violation of privacy.

28% - No, airplane safety is the most important thing.
Poll Closed: 2010-08-22

Anonymous said...

1. The government implements new intrusive measures in the name of "national security."

2. You complain about violations of constitutional rights.

3. The government arrests you on suspicion of being a threat to national security.

4. As a presumed terrorist, you have no constitutional rights and thus cannot petition to the courts for a review of whether or not your now non-existant rights have been violated.

5. The government uses your arrest as an excuse to "tighten security."

6. Go to step 1.

We are very rapidly approaching an America where we have rights only on the condition that we make no effort to exercise those rights.

GSOLTSO said...

Sandra sez - "Boston Herald, West:

"The TSA screeners used the palms of their hands to search her face, hair, torso and directly underneath and between her breasts, she said."

FT, West:

"I've seen them feeling and searching through women's hair: making them take it out of a chignon or ponytail and then taking pieces and separating them and feeling through them - even for women without super long hair."

Thanks for the info Sandra. Much of what they describe is normal from my past experiences, but I have nothing on the touching of the face. The hair is something that has been going on since I have been here. there have been many times where there was a question about items in someones hair (male and female), and the hair was cleared to make certain there was not threat item there. I have seen knives and soem other assorted threat items found in peoples hair, so it is a normal part of the clearing procedure to check the hair if there is some question.

West
TSA Blog Team

Your friend, Ethel said...

Anonymous wrote:

"Hurray, a TSA response! But... Will you tell us how an 'enhanced' pat-down differs from a regular pat-down? That's one thing this blog post left out completely."

Because they don't want you to know, Anonymous, that your genitals will be grabbed, squeezed, poked, prodded, the breasts of women will be lifted up and, if wearing sanitary/incontinence products, those products will be squeezed and poked also.

Don't you feel safer now?

Anonymous said...

Ponter said...
'AIT and enhanced pat-downs have become necessary because the TSA procedures are WORKING EFFECTIVELY'.
Really? If the naked scanners are so popular then why is it necessary to introduce the grope-down?
According to Ponter we should also be GRATEFUL for the naked scans and the grope-down. Well, I for one simply cannot contain my gratitude!
According to Ponter the naked scan and the grope-down is MORE unpleasant for the TSO's doing them than it is for the passengers who are being stripped naked or sexually assaulted. That statement by Ponter does not even deserve a response.
If these procedures are so wonderful and so popular, as Ponter assures us they are, then why not combine them into one fun-filled experience - strip passengers naked and sexually assault them at the same time. Now we would all be GRATEFUL for that!

RB said...

If selected make sure to demand that your items remain in your view. Make sure to request a private screening and take a friend with you for proof. Then call a policeman and the EEOC to file a complaint if you are violated.

August 29, 2010 9:30 AM
.............
I suggest the TSA Sexual Assault should be done in public so you have witnesses.

Having it done in private places you in greater jeapordy.

And do file an assault complaint with the police waiting around the checkpoint. They are there for your protection.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
What is wrong with all of you who think that TSA workers ENJOY any of this? My friend is TSA and it is a job...it's one she believes in, but it's still a job. She has a family...a husband, daughters a son. Don't act like your concerns are not her concerns...

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I hope your friend soon sees herself in one of three places: the unemployment line, at a criminal defense attorney's office, or in a prison line.

May she and her family all feel the shame that she brings upon the United States by working for the most disgusting agency ever created.

It is time for Americans to show how disgusted they really are with this organization and its policies. We can begin by ostracizing all TSA employees and their families as social outcasts. I've already done that very thing in my life-- no sex perverts are welcome in my home.

RB said...

Ponter said...
I can certainly understand why people are getting angry about the increasing intrusiveness of TSA screening, especially when they are getting most of their information about it from biased sources who are determined to make the TSA look bad. But rather than reacting emotionally, it's time to THINK for a moment.................
.....
....................
Never read so much bull excrement.

Anonymous said...

I saw a guy get on to a plane wearing a BELT. Do you know you can whip a guy with a belt? Choke one? When he took out his pen to doodle on a napkin I knew for sure: terrorist ninja. A pen is just a knife that he has ink in it! I won't rest till we're all safe, till every passenger is placed in cuffs & gagged.

Ponter said...

Anonymous (August 29, 2010 3:10 PM) clearly did not read my comment. I never said AIT or the enhanced pat down was "wonderful and popular." Nobody inside or outside the TSA will ever claim that they are popular with either the TSOs who administer them or passengers who are subjected to them.

What I did say was that they are necessary to protect aviation from people who seek to kill Americans. We all surely wish they were not necessary. We wish that 19 al-Qaida terrorists did not cunningly exploit weaknesses in security, using airplanes to destroy the Twin Towers and condemn thousands of innocent people to horrifying deaths. We wish that 9/11 had not happened. But it did happen. Which is why we need the TSA to provide proven, effective protection against that threat. And thanks to the TSA's procedures that evolve to meet the continually evolving threat, there have been NO SUCCESSFUL TERRORIST ATTACKS against aviation since 9/11. For that we should all be grateful!

As I said before, it's not that the TSA's leadership wants to put TSOs in the very uncomfortable position of executing enhanced pat downs that involve uncomfortable contact with passengers' sensitive areas. They are NOT doing this to punish or humiliate. Rather, the specific threats now posed by individuals and groups seeking to kill Americans REQUIRE this heightened level of inspection of all passengers. Remember, THEY ARE DOING THIS ONLY TO PROTECT US FROM INDIVIDUALS WHO SEEK TO KILL AMERICANS! Just as we all wish 9/11 had never happened, we wish such a thorough and admittedly intrusive inspection was not necessary. But it is a necessary response to the current threat environment. Otherwise the TSA would not need to enhance screening with measures that are even more uncomfortable for TSOs than for passengers.

Again, it is completely out of line to make unfounded accusations about TSOs, who are doing what is necessary to keep aviation safe. It is appropriate to be angry that the level of enhanced inspection is necessary. But that anger should be properly directed at the terrorists who make it necessary. As always, the best and most constructive way to channel that anger is to give your fullest support and appreciation to the TSA, and do everything possible to aid their efforts to defeat the terrorist threat!

Finally, regarding Anonymous (August 29, 2010 10:07 AM) who claims that a TSO painfully squeezed the testicles of "a friend": Did the friend file a claim through the TSA's official feedback channels? Is there ANY proof that this happened? Since we all know that the TSA does not tolerate that sort of conduct, we should ignore all such unfounded and implausible claims, especially from "anonymous" blog commenters. Repeating and responding to such lies only aids the enemy.

Tomas said...

Hmmmmmmm... I wonder what the response might be like if we just pretended very obviously that we really enjoyed the gropings? :o)

Anonymous said...

"She flies too and has to do the same things you people do (which I note in your comments, most of you are just ranting with absolutely NO personal experience!)...the only difference is, she knows exactly why these things occur, she knows it's not perverted and she knows she's saving people's lives by doing them. What a bunch of high-minded hypocrites! What are your jobs, exactly? Do you think other people understand every single thing you do and would not call you names (if you're a lawyer, I'm sure you've been called PLENTY of names...an accountant....an IRS auditor?) just for doing your job?"
-------------------------------------
Do you really believe that tens of thousands of poorly-paid, entry-level workers are privy to intelligence that is too important for the rest of us to know?

As for the rest of your post: I'm not sure that you understand what the word "hypocrite" means, but I'll go ahead and answer your questions.

1. "What are your jobs, exactly?"
I am a college instructor.

2. "Do you think other people understand every single thing you do and would not call you names... just for doing your job?""

If one of my students had a question about my methodology, I would explain the reasons behind my approach. If I were shown that my practices had no basis in logic or research, I would alter them. Also, I've never been called a name for doing my job. Maybe that has something to do with my long-standing policy of not grabbing my students' testicles.

Anonymous said...

"Since we all know that the TSA does not tolerate that sort of conduct,"

Since TSA now requires people, including minor children, to be sexually assaulted before getting on an airplane, we in fact know that they DO tolerate this sort of conduct.

RB said...

There is a Federal Correctional Institution just southeast of Dallas. A large part of the inmates are locked up for sex crimes.

So now TSA knows where to find its new hires. We already know that being a felon is not a disqualifying issue for TSA employment.

Some poster using the name Ponter thinks we should be grateful for the sexual abuse TSA is inflicting on the public.

Ponter says this sexual abuse is needed.

Show us some facts Ponter. Prove that Strip Search Machines would have found the skivvy bombers device. Something concrete.

Oh, and how will TSA react when someone deploys an anus bomb. It is documented that at least a full pound of high explosive can be inserted rectally.

Will TSA then decide to inspect every ones anus?

There comes a point when the steps taken to ensure safety are no longer reasonable.

TSA has exceeded that point.

I truly hope that any TSA employee who looks at children with Strip Search Machines or conducts the Enhanced Pat Down Sexual Assault ends up in prison for a long time.

If a jury trial comes to my area and I am lucky enough to be selected for jury duty you can count on my vote for conviction.

That is what TSA employees engaged in this behavior deserve.

Anonymous said...

Perverts Work at TSA too
The people that sit and look at these all day are nothing less than the creepy perverts that we send to jail for doing exactly the same thing. Who else would sit and look at people in a state of undress all day. That's what they're doing. Electronically removing your clothes is no different than having someone stand in front of you and undress. They can make all the claims they want about security and respect for privacy, but there is nothing that would convince me that many of the people viewing these images are any different then the perverted sex offenders we send to jail every day.

Anonymous said...

"Finally, regarding Anonymous (August 29, 2010 10:07 AM) who claims that a TSO painfully squeezed the testicles of "a friend": Did the friend file a claim through the TSA's official feedback channels? Is there ANY proof that this happened? Since we all know that the TSA does not tolerate that sort of conduct, we should ignore all such unfounded and implausible claims, especially from "anonymous" blog commenters. Repeating and responding to such lies only aids the enemy."
----------------------------------------
1. How, pray tell, do "we all know that the TSA does not tolerate" squeezing testicles. Bob has given us little indication of what the new procedures actually entail, but there have been multiple reports that it involves intrusive contact with the passenger's genitals. Far from "not tolerat[ing]," such actions, the TSA appears to be explicitly endorsing them.

2. Now that we're playing "where's the evidence?" how about you go ahead and tell us exactly how you know that all policies instituted by the TSA have been reasonable and necessary responses to a real threat? Do you think that they are necessary by virtue of the fact that they have been implemented? Do you believe that the TSA could ever overstep its authority, or are you willing to give them carte blanche to do anything they see fit to protect us from a terrorist attack?

Or are you just a victim of the logical fallacy according to which the absence of terrorist attacks proves the efficacy of our security system? If so, perhaps you'd like to buy one of my alligator-repellent bracelets. I've been wearing one for years and I have never even seen an alligator. They must be working!

3. Yes, posts tagged with "anonymous" should be disregarded as enemy agitprop. Posters that come right out and proclaim their identity as "Ponter" should be regarded as serious, earnest contributors and patriotic Americans.

Anonymous said...

Yet more security theater in place of real security....just walk through the magic electronic strip search...we hardly drool at all...and just to help you decide to give up more rights, we'll take away the walk through metal detectors and offer a free groping by a pervert of the same sex (in uniform).

Anonymous said...

Applications for employment have risen by 400%, mostly by registered sexual offenders, for TSA screening jobs.

Anonymous said...

The TSA is on a mission to both increase their own numbers and violate our constitutional rights. The TSA has yet to identify and detain a single terrorist. X-ray our bags and send us through a metal detector. That should be it. Checking IDs, the war on liquids, and the removal of shoes are all just knee-jerk reactions that are ineffective in catching any real threats.

The TSA as it stands today is a joke.

Anonymous said...

It is NOT RIGHT for others to run their hands over your private parts when you've done nothing wrong. In other circumstances, they'd put someone in jail who did that.

Anonymous said...

I was not allowed to go through the metal detector and was sent to the imaging machine line. I asked if they had any literature or testing about whether or not this machine was harmful to my body, and they said no. Therefore, I said I did not want to go through the machine, and they said I could have a patdown instead. Expecting the traditional combination of patting and waving of the metal detector wand, I chose this option. Well, it turned out that I was getting the enhanced patdown, which I insist should be called a "rub-down." There was no patting at all. This was a disgusting, invasive experience. I made the first person stop and was begging them to let me go through either of the machines. The management refused and said my only option was to get the patdown or leave the airport. I eventually succumbed, and it was disgusting.
What can we do to fight this treatment in our airports? It is becoming absolutely intolerable. There should be ways of protecting the flying public without this kind of treatment.

Anonymous said...

What law abiding citizen doesn't feel an affront to his dignity by being subjected to the same search techniques that are applied to those being arrested?

If you feel that being treated like a criminal is nothing you belong in the totalitarian state you seem to long for.

When faced with the choice of offending Muslims or offending law abiding citizens, our government chooses to offend law abiding citizens. Why do you defend that?

How does subjecting a grandmother from Nebraska, traveling with her family, to a strip search or a pat down make us safer? Everyone knows it doesn't except the politically correct idiots in our government.

Anonymous said...

Freedom is more important than safety - that's why so many have been willing to die for for their own freedom and for yours.

Anonymous said...

If any TSO touches my genitals, I will file sexual assault charges so fast that he won't know what is going on.

I have played along with the TSA until this point but enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

I will go through a metal detector or wand search, but will not allow a pat down. If I'm not being arrested for a suspected crime it is against my constitutionally protected right to privacy. My line in the sand is drawn, the showdown is coming.

Anonymous said...

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

John F. Kennedy

Anonymous said...

I would like to congratulate the Talaban and Al- Quada on another smashing victory against Freedom, democracy, and the constitution!

Ooops! my mistake!

I would like to congratulate the U.S. Government on it’s smashing victory against freedom, democracy, and the constitution!

It’s getting hard to tell who is who anymore!

Anonymous said...

We aren’t ever going to be 100% secure. That is just the way of life. We can do things to make us more secure, but it should not be at the expense of individual freedoms and privacy.

Anonymous said...

Ponter, you fail to grasp an important point: the TSA groping puts Americans in the position of either not flying, or getting groped. I and others choose not to be groped.

By forcing that choice on Americans, TSA is giving the terrorists what they want. American no longer have the freedom to travel unmolested.

I hope that TSA reconsiders and chooses to protect us from the terrorists, rather than making innocent Americans protect themselves from the TSA.

Ayn R. Key said...

Anonymous wrote:
What is wrong with all of you who think that TSA workers ENJOY any of this?

There's plenty of evidence that they get off on the power trip, and plenty of evidence that a signifigant number are indeed perverts, so there's reason to believe that the TSA workers do enjoy this.

Anonymous wrote:
which I note in your comments, most of you are just ranting with absolutely NO personal experience!

Actually, if you've been reading the comments, you'll find many of us are more informed than the average TSO.

Anonymous wrote:
Critique the processes if you need to, but don't talk about these officers as though they are sub-human.

The problem is, if you obey an order to break the law, you are a criminal.

Anonymous said...

"Never read so much bull excrement."

Have to agree, what a load of pathetic disease ridden tripe.

I guess the chances of being killed by a terrorist in a commercial aircraft have increased lately. Pfft.
1 in 17,000,000 has suddenly become what Ponter- 1 in 16,500,000? Get a grip, this measures so low on the scale of death risks, it is hardly at all. The real death risks are cancer, heart disease, car accident, murder, suicide, natural causes, those are risky things. A lightning strike is 8 times more likely to kill you. Death by terrorist, just a highly unlikely improbability.
Cry all you like about 9/11, Ponter, wring your hands, sadly, about 10,000 more people died that day of things unrelated to that terrible attack.

You do a terrible injustice to the American public and TSA in perpetuating the myth that people are under any huge risk in flying, even on commercial aircraft. And private planes fly just as safely every day now out of GA as before 9/11 without the interference of TSA. I can't imagine why anyone who THINKS would believe you, even for a moment.

MarkVII said...

RE Anon's comments at August 28, 2010 10:19 PM -- "What is wrong with all of you who think that TSA workers ENJOY any of this?"

A couple of thoughts here...

If the TSA folks were "just doing their jobs", they would use enough touch to clear a person's genital area, but no more. I completely fail to see how the "grab and squeeze" of a man's genitals serves any security purpose whatsoever. The only purpose I see is to inflict pain, and what other purpose would they have in inflicting pain but for their own enjoyment, or in retaliation for opting out of a WBI scan?

I've personally experienced TSA personnel that are just plain mean. The amount of unnecessary yelling that I've experienced is ridiculous.

This is the same agency that brought us "do you want to fly today" and "retaliatory secondary".

Further, it is clear that the TSA's personnel fear accountability, both individually and collectively. Why else would we continue to see posts on this blog on the threat of negative consequences for asking for a supervisor?

It's time for the TSA to clamp down hard on the "grab and squeeze" crowd.

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Isaac Newton said...

Bob, if you were my student in a 10th grade English class, and this sort of writing was your attempt at an essay, I'd give you an F for logic.

Nowhere in all that drivel did you explain why the "enhanced" pat down is necessary, or indeed, exactly what makes it different than the earlier unenhanced patdown. Yes, there was a fair bit of scare-mongering about "those who wish to do us harm" and "keep the skies safe", and an explanation of why someone might get a patdown.

Are you saying that the old-fashioned, unenhanced patdowns - the ones that people used to get when they has SSSS or wore a baggy sweater or the checkpoint staff were bored - were inadequate to detect dangerous things that can now be found with the enhanced patdown? If so, then why weren't there planes falling out of the sky daily when the old-fashioned patdown was the norm?

The only true statement is the last paragraph, about the lack of consistency, but again you're going to pretend that this is deliberate rather than pathetically poor management and training.

TSAFail.

Anonymous said...

Hey folks, didn't you know the flying public are all common criminals. We are guily until proven innocent!

Not Anonymous said...

One of several unimaginitive people calling themselves 'Anonymous' wrote " BUT you guys should be attacking TSA not the officers"

Stop calling yourselves officers. Law Enforcement Officers are officers, you are clerks. Nothing wrong with that, and I'm not being insulting, but call a spade a spade, ok?

Anonymous said...

"What's the difference between a regular pat-down and an enhanced pat-down?"

I think the term is 'symbolic rape'. You don't go through the machine strip search as they want you to, then you're punished with a groping that will make you wince. Of course, that goes for the children, too.

Welcome to America. Get used to it.

George said...

@Ponter: Since we all know that the TSA does not tolerate that sort of conduct, we should ignore all such unfounded and implausible claims, especially from "anonymous" blog commenters. Repeating and responding to such lies only aids the enemy.

While I too am skeptical of second-hand accounts of abuse from anonymous blog commenters, I don't think they should be automatically dismissed as treasonous (i.e., giving aid and comfort to the enemy). Yes, whenever a somewhat credible account of passenger mistreatment surfaces we can count on Blogger Bob's propaganda department to remind us that "it shouldn't happen" because the the TSA does not tolerate it and/or the (secret) SOP prohibits it.

The problem is that all the soothing assurances that "it shouldn't happen" or "the TSA does not tolerate this" have no factual basis that we can verify. Whatever rules there are about what a TSO is and is not allowed to do are secret. Whatever processes exist to discipline TSOs who do violate rules are secret. Whatever action might or might not have been taken against a TSO in response to a complaint is secret.

The TSA's secrecy and complete lack of accountability make even wild anonymous accusations plausible. Those accusations become even more plausible when they're consistent with other, better-documented accounts. Especially when the TSA responds only with "It shouldn't happen. Trust us." The TSA's lack of credibility only increases the credibility of people who accuse them of abuse.

I think there's every reason to believe that the TSOs are either encouraged or at least not discouraged from intentionally inflicting a retaliatory "enhanced pat down" on people who refuse the strip search scanner. Exercising the supposed right to "opt out" slows down screening and creates difficulty for TSOs, so there is a very powerful incentive to discourage people from "opting out." The most effective way to do that is to make the pat down uncomfortable, humiliating, or possibly even painful enough to condition any such passengers to make "the right choice" the next time.

Regardless of what the (secret) SOP might or might not say, TSOs (and their supervisors?) can readily get away with that. TSOs face no sanctions for it, and may even believe they're implicitly rewarded for it if their performance metrics reflect efficiency. And if someone complains too loudly about being "violated," the TSA will justify it by insisting that it's a necessary response to current threats. So TSOs have what amounts to an open license to "correct" people who make the wrong choice about the strip search.

I think that theory is more plausible than "It shouldn't happen. Trust us." Blogger Bob, can you give me any reason why I'm wrong (other than "trust us")? I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

rb said:
If you follow orders that you know are wrong and indecent then why haven't you resigned?

That would be the honorable thing to do!
how does the person support his/her family? looking at the big picture, the economy is horrible and a federal job has good benefits. rb, are you going to support these honorable people?

Anonymous said...

Ponter said...
Repeating and responding to such lies only aids the enemy.
******
We have met the enemy and he is us.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
The TSA is on a mission to both increase their own numbers and violate our constitutional rights. The TSA has yet to identify and detain a single terrorist.

August 27, 2010 5:08 PM

So you're saying that the TSA is keeping terrorist from attacking airports/airplanes? SUCCESS!!!!

Gunner said...

Ponter spewed:

As I said before, it's not that the TSA's leadership wants to put TSOs in the very uncomfortable position of executing enhanced pat downs that involve uncomfortable contact with passengers' sensitive areas. They are NOT doing this to punish or humiliate. Rather, the specific threats now posed by individuals and groups seeking to kill Americans REQUIRE this heightened level of inspection of all passengers. Remember, THEY ARE DOING THIS ONLY TO PROTECT US FROM INDIVIDUALS WHO SEEK TO KILL AMERICANS! Just as we all wish 9/11 had never happened, we wish such a thorough and admittedly intrusive inspection was not necessary. But it is a necessary response to the current threat environment. Otherwise the TSA would not need to enhance screening with measures that are even more uncomfortable for TSOs than for passengers.

-----------

Not even close. TSA leadership has consistently shown a total disregard for the rights and dignity of passengers. don't even get started on their disregard for the Consitution. Your Barney Fifesque approach to security does nothing to enhance security, it only inconviences the passenger.

The entire 'YOU PEOPLE' approach is unforgiveable, and the cause of the comparisons between TSA and Wal*Mart security. TSA is every bad stereotype of the out-of-control rent-a-cop personified.

There is nothing necessary about child porn or sexual assault.

There is nothing necessary about retaliatory screenings.

There is nothing necessary about DYWTFT.

There is nothing necessary about separating passengers from their valuables during the screening process.

There is nothing necessary about TSA agents standing in front of the checkpoint screaming out so-called "instructions".

There is nothing necessary about trying to play of fears and "the enemy' to justify bad behavior, bad policy, and bad leadership.

Bubba said...

Ponter,

Imaging and patting do not detect explosives, unless they star including cavity checks, in which case few people will doubt they are too invasive.

The technology is wrong for the task at hand. The focus should be on techniques that detect traces of chemicals. They rest is theatrics.

Speaking of theatrics, reports online state that the enhanced pat downs include testicle squeezing and rear end rubbing with the front of the hand. If that is not an inappropriate contact between strangers, I don't know what is.

Anonymous said...

The TSA will not say what the enhanced pat downs allow.

How will we know if your staff are following procedures or sexually assaulting us under cover of authority?

Anonymous said...

Do you work for the TSA Ponter?
If not, what qualifies you to be their mouthpiece?

Anonymous said...

The whole point of this is to see just how far Americans can be pushed, prodded, and humiliated. And there will always be the idiots who say, "Yeah, sure, do a body cavity search with your filthy hands and instruments and in front of everybody. Just as long as I'm safe!" Well, guess what? You're not safe. None of these "security measures" will make you safe because there's really nothing out there threatening you except your own government.

Anonymous said...

Nope, sorry. No TSA goon is going to put their hands on my body without probable cause. Physical contact is where I draw the line. If they won't let me get on a plane without feeling me up, so be it - I'll drive.

Anonymous said...

"This was a very probing-type touching - not just patting over all your areas, but actually probing and pushing and seeing if I was concealing something in my genital area"

Sounds like a butt whupping waiting to happen with a jail term afterwards. We are not criminals, speaking for myself I will not be treated like one - neither will I let some dimwitted pervert feel up my wife and daughters.
Enough of this junk.

GSOLTSO said...

Some have commented they believe the agency is either allowing or encouraging retaliatory behaviors by TSOs, this is not true. Per SOP, TSOs are specifically prohibited from performing any procedure (whether it be an increase in the level of screening of the passenger or their items) as a retaliatory act.

Some have also commented they think the pat-down procedures (both enhanced and other types used by the agency) are sexual assault, this is untrue as well, it is simply a method used to clear the passengers person of possible threat items. Different versions of the pat down have been in use since before TSA came into being, the "enhanced" pat-down is simply the most current version and reflects adjustments made based on Headquarters analysis of intel and policy discussions (I am quite certain that the process is much more complicated than that, but that is the basic).

I have seen some references to the fact that TSOs are not "sworn officers", this is also incorrect. All TSOs are sworn officers, as we all have an Oath that we take before we even begin training fo the position, and reaffirm it from time to time.

Anon, I would really like one of those alligator repellent bracelets.

I have also seen commentary that "most/many/all" of the TSOs enjoy/love/like the pat downs. I also think this is incorrect, as the pat down is one of the most uncomfortable situations for both the passenger and the TSO. Just because it generates a level of discomfort does not mean that the TSO will shirk their duty in performing the pat down, it is just another procedure to clear passengers of possible threats.

Some have indicated that screening all passengers is a failure, that we are too politically correct. To those people, I say that profiling based upon race, ethnicity or geographic relation is not effective in this country. We have too many people from differing enthncities, countries and races to profile based on those characteristics. It is also just not right IMHO.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

all i know is, the instant some stranger puts his hands on me, we're gonna have trouble.
and i can promise this - one or both of us will be going to jail or the hospital - and i don't care which. I'll get out soon enough. but i draw the line at this invasion of my body. enough is enough.
You watch, after several incidences like this happen - and they will - this policy will go bye-bye.

Anonymous said...

Last I checked, the 4th Amendment said nothing about 'as long as everyone gets searched invasively, it's ok'.

Because it's NOT. Even worse, this is a US GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION.

As a reminder:
"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."

So, where is the warrant they need to frisk me to get on a plane? What crime am I suspected of?

Anonymous said...

Welcome to being arrested everytime you go to an airport. That is what this is. This is being frisked like the cops just arrested you.

Last I read the Constitution this is BLATANTLY Unconstitutional. We are not under warrant, we are not under suspicion, we are just innocent travelers. The founding fathers are rolling over in their graves.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of another country that is infamous for doing the same civil liberties destruction after its Reichstag Parliament building was deliberately burnt down. Gestapo anyone? Only now it is called 'Homeland Security'. Gee, that name sounds familiar too. Welcome to the Fourth Reich.

Anonymous said...

"So, where is the warrant they need to frisk me to get on a plane?"

Or on a bus.

Or a bridge.

Or a ferry.

Or a train.

My understanding is that TSA has legal authority to carry there operations on at those places as well as airports.

And Pistole wants them to carry guns and have the powers of law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

"because it generates a level of discomfort does not mean that the TSO will shirk their duty in performing the pat down"


Since TSA will not tell us what is allowed how we will know if one of you is 'following orders' and doing their duty or committing sexual assault under cover of authority?

Anonymous said...

Quothe GSOLTSO:

"Some have also commented they think the pat-down procedures (both enhanced and other types used by the agency) are sexual assault, this is untrue as well"

Would you be willing to tell us exactly what this new "enchanced" style pat-down procedure entails, then, so we know where the line is between "enhanced pat-down" and "sexual assault?" Alternatively, will you tell us anything at all about what how an "enhanced" pat-down differs from a regular one?

I'm not asking for detailed images or anything difficult. I'm asking for only the level of information required to make this blog post in any way meaningful, because as is... it is, quite literally, meaningless, relying on undefined terms. Aren't you guys telling us that communication and clarity is important?

Anonymous said...

West said:

"I have seen some references to the fact that TSOs are not "sworn officers", this is also incorrect. All TSOs are sworn officers..."

They are now sworn, badged and if a report in the Wash. Post is true they will soon be armed.

Heaven help us all when you all get THAT much power.

George said...

Something occurred to me in re-reading Bob's original post. The TSA has some unfathomable need to officially provide passengers with various rights and options, including the right to opt out of the virtual strip search scanner. The trouble is that if passengers actually knew and exercised their rights, screening would become unacceptably slow and troublesome for TSOs.

Given the logistical considerations, the TSA has an entirely reasonable goal of encouraging passengers to always choose the option that makes screening easiest for TSOs. In the case of the strip search, that means choosing the AIT rather than the official alternative of an enhanced pat down.

One way to persuade passengers to choose AIT is to make the pat down sufficiently unpleasant (including testicle squeezing when appropriate). But that's surely an approach that would be very uncomfortable for the overwhelming majority of TSOs who are not perverts. (It's also uncomfortable for passengers, but that's the whole purpose.)

Perhaps, then, it might be easier to encourage press accounts of "sexual abuse" or squeezed testicles. That doesn't mean planting fake stories, but actually groping and squeezing passengers knowing that they'll complain far and wide about it. Thus, Blogger Bob responds to the growing controversy with a content-free post that subtly implies the testicle squeezing is necessary to keep aviation safe. Then he gets out of the way.

If passengers arrive at the checkpoint knowing that that their testicles will be squeezed if they opt out (necessary and entirely justified by "Headquarters analysis of intel and policy discussions"), they will of course choose the AIT. By ensuring that the passengers are terrified of the consequences of opting out of AIT, they achieve their goal while sparing the TSOs the discomfort of administering the time-consuming enhanced pat downs.

It may be quite ironic if those "policy discussions" at Headquarters determined that employing terrorist tactics to instill fear in the enemy (i.e., the traveling public) is an appropriate way to enhance the TSA's mission of fighting terrorism. That's what it's starting to look like to me.

One question, though. If "West/GSOLTSO" openly identifies himself as part of the "TSA Blog Team," why does he also feel the need to repeat his statements as "Ponter"?

George said...

@West/GSOLTSO/Ponter?: Per SOP, TSOs are specifically prohibited from performing any procedure (whether it be an increase in the level of screening of the passenger or their items) as a retaliatory act.

Since I can't read the secret SOP for myself, I'll have to trust you that it does.

But what happens if a TSO does punish a passenger with a humiliating search for opting out of AIT? As I've noted before, there seem to be strong incentives for "encouraging" passengers to "choose" the option that makes screening easiest for the TSOs. How do you distinguish between "punishment" and "necessary"? Since the rules about what a TSO can and cannot do are secret, how can a passenger even know whether a TSO is doing something "specifically prohibited"?

Assume that a hypothetical passenger whose testicles were squeezed as part of an enhanced pat down makes a complaint through the official channels. What assurance does he have that anything will happen? After the form has been completed, it's effectively cast into a black hole. The process for responding to it is secret, as is any action that may or may not be taken as a result. If the TSA employee who takes the form simply places it in the shredder, how will the passenger even know?

I'll trust your assertion that the SOP prohibits retaliation. I'll also believe that the SOP gives passengers various rights, and perhaps even includes a complaint resolution process. But as long as it's all shrouded in secrecy, there can be no accountability for compliance with the SOP. That makes whatever rights the passenger has, and whatever obligations the TSA has to passengers, completely meaningless.

In practice, that means TSOs can do whatever they want. Including "behavior modification" that includes genital contact, which the TSA will invariably justify as a necessary response to "intel." That's an inevitable consequence of operating an agency with unlimited authority under secret rules and procedures.

Anonymous said...

"Some have also commented they think the pat-down procedures (both enhanced and other types used by the agency) are sexual assault, this is untrue as well, it is simply a method used to clear the passengers person of possible threat items."

Unwanted fondling of one's genitals constitutes sexual assault, even if the person committing the sexual assault is wearing a cheap blue shirt and a phony tin badge.

And, West, you are not sworn law enforcement officers. Shame on you for implying otherwise.

Anonymous said...

What does an "enhanced pat down" consist of, Curtis, and how does it differ from sexual assault?

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
The grope-down is not sexual assault, 'it is simply a method used to clear the passengers person of possible threat items'.
The TSA uses euphemisms to try to disguise the reality of what is going on, and they think people do not see this. Groping, grabbing, slapping, pulling, proding, twisting and squeezing of genitalia is simply a METHOD - it is not sexual assault - honest!
Extending that TSA rationale, rape is not really rape, it is simply a METHOD of having sex - yeah it is, but IT IS STILL RAPE,and the GROPE_DOWN is still SEXUAL ASSAULT.

MarkVII said...

Hi West --

I know the SOP says "no retaliation", but the anecdotes on this blog (particularly the recent one involving contact lens solution) leave me skeptical.

Be that as it may, the issue I wish the TSA would meet head-on is the reports of the "grab and squeeze" technique being used on men.

I can understand the concerns that came about with the jockstrap bomber (I live in the metro area where the plane would have come down, had he succeeded), but I simply do not see how inflicting pain has anything to do with security.

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Anonymous said...

West, you need to join the real world and stop living in the make believe land call TSA.

Screeners DO retaliate against flyers - it happens every single day whether you want to admit it or not.

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
Some have commented they believe the agency is either allowing or encouraging retaliatory behaviors by TSOs, this is not true. Per SOP, TSOs are specifically prohibited from performing any procedure (whether it be an increase in the level of screening of the passenger or their items) as a retaliatory act.

************
This from the same agency that thought threatening people with the phrase "do you want to fly today" was a good idea. TSO's are so badly trained they have problems recognizing any ID other than a drivers license as valid under TSA regulations. As well as the recent search of woman's bank checks that should not have happened per TSA policy.

Anonymous said...

All this whining, complaining and threatening.....how about you put your brains to use and come up with a BETTER solution. For those of you that would remark "That's not my job to do this it is the TSA (among others)......that's right, so LET THEM DO IT. Perhaps if the people complain too much, the TSA should give them their way and stand down and not screen anyone. Who will you family try to sue when the terrorists take advantage of this and you don't make it home? Oh yeah. Can't sue the TSA cause it was your pathetic whining that killed off the chance to be safe! Do everyone a favor. Find and share a better solution to the current threat environment or just keep your mouth shut and be grateful.

Anonymous said...

Based on timestamps of some of the comments it looks like an anonymous commenter has been rattling off lots of comments in a row. Not sure if that's the case or not, but please remember that many of us come to this blog because we absolutely hate it when it appears someone is trying to deceive us or others.

On that subject, Bob could you please tell us what an enhanced screening entails? You seem to have left that out of the post about enhanced screening!

Anonymous said...

West said...
"I have seen some references to the fact that TSOs are not "sworn officers", this is also incorrect. All TSOs are sworn officers, as we all have an Oath that we take before we even begin training fo the position, and reaffirm it from time to time."

West, please do not try to compare TSOs to LEOs.

Whatever you do during your new employee orientation has no real significance. Your badges are made out of plastic.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
rb said:
If you follow orders that you know are wrong and indecent then why haven't you resigned?

That would be the honorable thing to do!
how does the person support his/her family? looking at the big picture, the economy is horrible and a federal job has good benefits. rb, are you going to support these honorable people?

August 30, 2010 12:32 PM
..............
So you don't have the backbone to stand up against government wrongs.

I would rather starve than work for TSA!

What will you do when they torch off the ovens?

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
Some have commented they believe the agency is either allowing or encouraging retaliatory behaviors by TSOs, this is not true. Per SOP, TSOs are specifically prohibited from performing any procedure (whether it be an increase in the level of screening of the passenger or their items) as a retaliatory act.

Some have also commented they think the pat-down procedures (both enhanced and other types used by the agency) are sexual assault, this is untrue as well, it is simply a method used to clear the passengers person of possible threat items. Different versions of the pat down have been in use since before TSA came into being, the "enhanced" pat-down is simply the most current version and reflects adjustments made based on Headquarters analysis of intel and policy discussions (I am quite certain that the process is much more complicated than that, but that is the basic).

I have seen some references to the fact that TSOs are not "sworn officers", this is also incorrect. All TSOs are sworn officers, as we all have an Oath that we take before we even begin training fo the position, and reaffirm it from time to time.

Anon, I would really like one of those alligator repellent bracelets.

I have also seen commentary that "most/many/all" of the TSOs enjoy/love/like the pat downs. I also think this is incorrect, as the pat down is one of the most uncomfortable situations for both the passenger and the TSO. Just because it generates a level of discomfort does not mean that the TSO will shirk their duty in performing the pat down, it is just another procedure to clear passengers of possible threats.

Some have indicated that screening all passengers is a failure, that we are too politically correct. To those people, I say that profiling based upon race, ethnicity or geographic relation is not effective in this country. We have too many people from differing enthncities, countries and races to profile based on those characteristics. It is also just not right IMHO.

West
TSA Blog Team

August 30, 2010 6:19 PM
...............
The TSA Enhanced Pat Down is sexual Assualt, plain and simple.

The TSA employees conducting the TSA Enhanced Sexual Assault Pat Down are perverts and should be charged with a sex crime.

RB said...

TSA workers, time for a walk out.

Your management is asking you to do things you know are wrong and indecent.

Electronic Strip Searches of children or feeling them up is something you know is wrong.

I suggest all TSA workers read the Bill of Rights just to refresh yourselves.

If this nonsense continues then it is time for all TSA employees to just walk off. Organize and let HQ know this abuse will not stand.

Anonymous said...

Will screeners performing "enhanced pat-downs" be physically grabbing the penis and testicles of children who's parents refuse WBI? please answer this question.

Anonymous said...

Lovely. Now we have a choice of cancer or sexual assault. I'd rather take the assault. At least it's not a death sentence. It's clear from this that the terrorists have indeed won.

Anonymous said...

So if I refuse to let my children through a scanner (no way some 2 minute trained, if that, security guard is getting to see my kids naked) then there is no way I am going to let them be groped by some stranger.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the full body scanner or pat downs will stop a terrorist. I refuse to fly if they are a condition of travel.

Anonymous said...

Blogger GSOLTSO said...

Some have commented they believe the agency is either allowing or encouraging retaliatory behaviors by TSOs, this is not true. Per SOP, TSOs are specifically prohibited from performing any procedure (whether it be an increase in the level of screening of the passenger or their items) as a retaliatory act

So because it is against SOP it doesn't happen?

That's a good one!

How many TSO's have been caught stealing? I mean, how can that happen, it is against SOP!

Just because you say something, doesn't make it so.

Anonymous said...

Blogger GSOLTSO said...
I have seen some references to the fact that TSOs are not "sworn officers", this is also incorrect. All TSOs are sworn officers, as we all have an Oath that we take before we even begin training fo the position, and reaffirm it from time to time

Well, I've sworn and oath, AND I've got the secret decoder ring AND I know the secret handshake.

I hereby request that all TSA personnel refer to me as "OFFICER" when addressing me.

Anonymous said...

West-

While retaliatory screening may be "against SOP", there seems to be no consequences for a TSO that engages in such acts. Therefore, it's pretty obvious that while retaliatory screening might be technically against the rules, it's tacitly condoned by management.

And taking that oath doesn't make you a sworn officer. If it did, every federal government employee would be a "sworn officer". And as part of that oath? You're taking an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. So you're not even living up to the words in that oath you take.

Anonymous said...

Quoted:
" Anonymous said...
all i know is, the instant some stranger puts his hands on me, we're gonna have trouble.
and i can promise this - one or both of us will be going to jail or the hospital - and i don't care which. I'll get out soon enough. but i draw the line at this invasion of my body. enough is enough.
You watch, after several incidences like this happen - and they will - this policy will go bye-bye.

August 30, 2010 6:19 PM"
-----------
Well, for all everyon'e big talk about how they wouldn't allow this, call a cop, press charges, have TSOs arested, etc. Simple fact is, the pat downs have been going on for a couple of months at the test airports, will be coming to all airports and guess what, no arrests, no lawsuits, no assaults.
Sorry but your choice is deal with it or don't fly.

Anonymous said...

Just got back from a great trip to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole. Used 2 tanks of gas and carried whatever the heck I wanted. Planning another trip to Zion National Park soon. Next year we're going to Jasper.

Fly in a plane? Never again.

Anonymous said...

We are either free or we aren't. It's looking more and more like those "terrorists" succeeded in taking away our freedom, exactly what are government was supposed to defend against.

Anonymous said...

Blogger GSOLTSO said...
I have also seen commentary that "most/many/all" of the TSOs enjoy/love/like the pat downs. I also think this is incorrect, as the pat down is one of the most uncomfortable situations for both the passenger and the TSO. Just because it generates a level of discomfort does not mean that the TSO will shirk their duty in performing the pat down, it is just another procedure to clear passengers of possible threats.
---------------------------------
West,

Do you think the child pornographer TSO from LAX would be uncomfortable squeezing the genitals of of a child?

http://cbs2.com/goldstein/TSA.Screener.Child.2.1471579.html

Anonymous said...

West - you say tomato:

"Some have also commented they think the pat-down procedures (both enhanced and other types used by the agency) are sexual assault, this is untrue as well, it is simply a method used to clear the passengers person of possible threat items. "

and I say to-mah-to:

sexual assault (n.) Conduct of a sexual or indecent nature toward another person that is accompanied by actual or threatened physical force or that induces fear, shame, or mental suffering.

You think there might be a court out there somewhere in the US that would deem a manditory genital rubdown by a TSO as "indecent conduct accompanied by induced fear or shame"?

America - I *used* to know you said...

You Americans realize that by allowing the DHS to run roughshod over your rights, you are becoming a laughing stock around the free world, yes? If you can't stand for Freedom, all that's left to symbolize America is conspicuous consumption, and that's hardly a lofty goal is it?

Anonymous said...

By posting a blog about enhanced pat-downs and then telling us nothing about them you are just treating the public with utter contempt. It is just another TSA way to infuriate and alienate the public. TSA you should be very proud of your appalling behaviour.

Anonymous said...

Well, for all everyon'e big talk about how they wouldn't allow this, call a cop, press charges, have TSOs arested, etc. Simple fact is, the pat downs have been going on for a couple of months at the test airports, will be coming to all airports and guess what, no arrests, no lawsuits, no assaults.
Sorry but your choice is deal with it or don't fly.

---------------------------------

Not yet....

Anonymous said...

They've gotten the public so worked up over shadows and ghosts (the hyped terrorist threat) that people willingly subject themselves to abuse. Not me, thanks. I won't take another commercial jet anywhere until this nonsense ceases.

Tomas said...

Ya know, folks, as soon as you stand there agreeing to allow a TSO to fondle your genitals, it ceases being sexual assault and becomes consensual...

Think it through.

If your choice (there is a choice) is to turn around and walk away, or allow sexual contact, and you allow sexual contact, you have lost the argument of it being non-consensual. YOU JUST CONSENTED.

(Of course not consenting also means you will not be flying today, that is a different problem altogether. You were offered an inducement to allow the contact, you can accept or decline.)

Personally, I believe I have finally stopped flying.

If that means the terrorists have won by changing our behavior through their tactics, they certainly had more than enough professional help in reaching their goals from Homeland Security and the TSA.

For me, personally, the TSA is much more of a problem than are the actual terrorists. They also directly affect many more people, and cost us much more money than do any actual terrorists in this country.

Anonymous said...

"They've gotten the public so worked up over shadows and ghosts (the hyped terrorist threat) that people willingly subject themselves to abuse. Not me, thanks. I won't take another commercial jet anywhere until this nonsense ceases."

I agree.

If even 1,000,00 fliers a day agreed with you, this would be history very soon.

GSOLTSO said...

George sez - "One question, though. If "West/GSOLTSO" openly identifies himself as part of the "TSA Blog Team," why does he also feel the need to repeat his statements as "Ponter"?"

Bzzzzzz, wrongo George, I always label my posts. Ponter is making statemments of their own accord, so nice try...

Anon sez - "And, West, you are not sworn law enforcement officers. Shame on you for implying otherwise."

Never said we were "Law Enforcement", just that we are sworn officers. Big difference in those statements.

Another anon sez - "Would you be willing to tell us exactly what this new "enchanced" style pat-down procedure entails"

There are two reasons I am not able to give more info:
1) The SOP is SSI and I can't disclose it without HQ approval
2) I do not have HQ approval.

Another Anon sez - "West, please do not try to compare TSOs to LEOs.

Whatever you do during your new employee orientation has no real significance. Your badges are made out of plastic."

Again,I never compared TSOs to LEOs, merely stated we are sworn officers. Oh, and the badge is actually made of metal.

Another Anon sez - "I hereby request that all TSA personnel refer to me as "OFFICER" when addressing me."

Nice to meet you Officer Anon. You know you really should create that handle now...

And finally, Mark VII it is nice to see you commenting again, you have been infrequent in your postings! Unfortunately I am unable to give you any details on the process (SSI). If any more information is given to the public about the process, I will be certain to follow up with a post here to clarify for you folks. Take care and come visit us more often.

West
TSA BLog Team

Anonymous said...

1) The SOP is SSI and I can't disclose it without HQ approval
2) I do not have HQ approval.
-----------------------------------
So let's review. TSA has announced the implementation of new, "enhanced" pat-downs and has moved to reassure as that these searches are reasonable and lawful. When citizens ask what an enhanced pat-down is, a government spokesman tells us that HQ won't release an SSI SOP. West, if you love acronyms so much, here's one for you: RIP Land of the Free. Read some Orwell, would you?

Anonymous said...

. If any more information is given to the public about the process, I will be certain to follow up with a post here to clarify for you folks.

If additional information is given to the "public" we don't need you to parrot it.

And by "clarify" I assume you mean "I can't add anything else to the already public information because more information is SSI and I don't have HQ's permission"

Anonymous said...

You know you really should create that handle now...

I can't. It is SSI and I don't have permission from HQ

Anonymous said...

Tomas wrote:

"Ya know, folks, as soon as you stand there agreeing to allow a TSO to fondle your genitals, it ceases being sexual assault and becomes consensual..."

Not if you have not been informed that your genitals will be palmed, prodded and squeezed.

Going into an opt out pat down without being told specifically that this will be done to you is NOT consensual. TSA can claim signage all it wants. However, until it stops using the term "sensitive area" and says we will touch your genitals, and those of your children, it is NOT informed consent. Just as going through AIT is NOT informed consent if TSA does not tell you that AIT uses ionizing radiation.

George said...

@West: Bzzzzzz, wrongo George, I always label my posts. Ponter is making statemments of their own accord, so nice try...

Ponter is more annoying, but he seems to be saying the very same things you are. So I just assumed it might be you under a different name.

I guess I have to express my appreciation that, as an official TSA representative, you're at least directly responding to our questions rather than ignoring them. Unfortunately, the response to the most important questions is "That's SSI," which in practice is about as useful as ignoring the questions. But at least you care enough to spend the time telling us not to expect answers because it's SSI.

So the only thing we can glean from reading this blog post is to expect an intrusive, humiliating, and possibly even painful "pat down" if we choose to fly. It's not a "sexual assault," but a security measure that the TSA has decided is necessary to keep aviation safe.

I don't know about anyone else, but I have serious doubts about any government agency that considers squeezing testicles and groping breasts of innocent citizens necessary for any purpose. I'm still skeptical of claims that the TSA is in fact doing that, although Bob's non-response has if anything reduced that skepticism. But that's indeed the super-secret "enhancement" to the pat down procedures, I think the TSA has stepped over the bounds of what the public can or should tolerate.

George said...

@Anonymous (August 31, 2010 11:24 AM) Just got back from a great trip to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole. Used 2 tanks of gas and carried whatever the heck I wanted. Planning another trip to Zion National Park soon. Next year we're going to Jasper.

Fly in a plane? Never again.


The TSA indeed gives us choices:

1. An AIT scanner that is a known threat to privacy and an unknown threat to health;

2. An "enhanced pat down" that may or may not involve humiliating and/or painful contact with genitals;

3. A significant risk of death or severe injury from a mode of transportation that is several orders of magnitude more dangerous than flying.

We can be thankful that the TSA gives a wide range of bad options. It's just a matter of choosing the one that's "least bad." Somehow that's supposed to keep us safe.

RB said...

Tomas said...
Ya know, folks, as soon as you stand there agreeing to allow a TSO to fondle your genitals, it ceases being sexual assault and becomes consensual...

Think it through.

If your choice (there is a choice) is to turn around and walk away, or allow sexual contact, and you allow sexual contact, you have lost the argument of it being non-consensual. YOU JUST CONSENTED.
...............
While what you are saying should be true Tomas when adding TSA to the mix your statements cease to be true.

Once a person places their gear on the xray belt a person cannot withdraw from the screening process.

So if a person Opts Out of STrip Search Screeing they will be Sexually Assaulted by a TSA employee.

And a person has no way of knowing what screening procedures will be used since TSA is afraid for the public to know what they will do to people.

You and I both know this isn't right but TSA doesn't comply with the law or constitution.

What we have here is America's Nazis.

Ayn R. Key said...

Oh, that's why my post was censored. I correctly guessed what was in the SOP.

Anonymous said...

So, then, if you're not allowed to tell us what the enhancements are, how do we know if it's a by-the-book "enhanced pat-down" or a sexual assault? Given that we know the TSA has hired felons, including those charged with sexual misconduct... Do you see why there would be cause for concern?

Also, what is the point of a blog post saying "something is happening, but we can't tell you what it is?" Further, why did it take 150 posts to tell us you couldn't tell us?

Do you see why we're concerned?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "West, if you love acronyms so much, here's one for you: RIP Land of the Free. Read some Orwell, would you?"

I have actually read some Orwell, he had a decent writing style and an active imagination - both excellent qualities for an author.

Another Anon sez - "I can't. It is SSI and I don't have permission from HQ"

I must say, that was awesome and would make an excellent t-shirt. Maybe TrollKiller can make one up for you? TK, you still around?

George sez - "But at least you care enough to spend the time telling us not to expect answers because it's SSI."

I do care enough (although some of the regulars here will disagree with that). I have always cared a great deal more than many people think, and this is one of the hardest things about being on the blog team as a frontline member of the workforce. I know the SOP, and some things (face it, most things) I can't discuss (again with the SSI!). It is hard to sit here and be able to refute/disagree based on what I know, without the ability to publish that info. Sorry I can't give you guys better answers some times.. =(


Ayn sez - "Oh, that's why my post was censored. I correctly guessed what was in the SOP."

I seriously doubt it. Maybe there was something else in there or in the way you wrote it?

Anon sez - "So, then, if you're not allowed to tell us what the enhancements are, how do we know if it's a by-the-book "enhanced pat-down" or a sexual assault? Given that we know the TSA has hired felons, including those charged with sexual misconduct... Do you see why there would be cause for concern?

Also, what is the point of a blog post saying "something is happening, but we can't tell you what it is?" Further, why did it take 150 posts to tell us you couldn't tell us?

Do you see why we're concerned?"

I can understand your concern, any time there is a change in policy, it is a matter of concern (seriously, I understand how one little thing can upset someones normal routine and create challenges for them!).

As far as a better answer, I am sorry, I can't do that at this time. I have not seen where we hired a known felon charged with sexual conduct prior to being employed with TSA, could you please include a link for me to read up about that?

Sorry it took 150 posts for me to get involved, but it is my weekend and I have been busier than a bee hive in June.

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Tomas said...
Ya know, folks, as soon as you stand there agreeing to allow a TSO to fondle your genitals, it ceases being sexual assault and becomes consensual...

Think it through.

If your choice (there is a choice) is to turn around and walk away, or allow sexual contact, and you allow sexual contact, you have lost the argument of it being non-consensual. YOU JUST CONSENTED.
...............
I was chatting with a former Federal Bureau of Prisons employee this afternoon.

Seems even prisoners in federal penitentiaries are subject to a less intrusive Pat Down than those imposed upon law abiding citizens by the employees of TSA.

Think about that folks, prisoners in the pen get better treatment than you or I if we wish to travel.

Anonymous said...

"I have not seen where we hired a known felon charged with sexual conduct prior to being employed with TSA, could you please include a link for me to read up about that?"

Okay, I did a quick search, and it appears I was conflating two separate issues.

First, the felon that passed the TSA's investigation, but who the Richmond Airport (where he was to work) refused to issue a badge to. The TSA then forced the airport to issue a badge, because apparently hiring convicted felons is part of TSA SOP (http://www.gadling.com/2010/02/04/tsa-forces-richmond-airport-to-issue-access-badge-to-convicted-f/ or http://boardingarea.com/blogs/flyingwithfish/2010/02/05/tsa-hires-felon-forces-airport-to-issue-security-badge/ )

Second, the pedophile who was already a TSO when he got charged (for instance, http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2010/03/18/boston-tsa-screener-charged-with-child-rape/ )

Still, this doesn't alleviate any concerns about whether one is experiencing an "enhanced pat down" or being sexually assaulted, as we have evidence of the sexual misconduct of TSOs towards minors. My concern, still, is that a TSO may be going past SOP and groping/molesting/assaulting citizens, and those citizens will have no guidance on whether the TSA considers this acceptable, or over the line.

Thanks for addressing my concerns, in what limited ways you can, though! And again, my apologies for confusing the two separate incidents (there may well have been more, but my knowledge of the ne'er do well TSOs is obviously far from encyclopedic, and I didn't bother to research farther).

George said...

@RB: Think about that folks, prisoners in the pen get better treatment than you or I if we wish to travel.

But as we all know, prisons are the most secure places in America. There is no contraband, no drugs, no violence, no crime. They're probably the only place in this country that is completely safe and secure.

So why shouldn't we all want the TSA want to make the Sterile Area even more safe and secure than prisons by making those who want to enter it undergo a search that's even more intrusive and thorough than at prisons? And the TSA's search is much more effective because the details are secret.

George said...

@West: I know the SOP, and some things (face it, most things) I can't discuss (again with the SSI!). It is hard to sit here and be able to refute/disagree based on what I know, without the ability to publish that info. Sorry I can't give you guys better answers some times.. =(

Discussion is effectively impossible when all the relevant facts are secret.

Sometimes I think the only purpose of this blog is to keep Pistole and his staff entertained when they're not poring over the latest intel. Blogger Bob tosses out a piece of meat (in the form of a content-free post) and we run around in circles as Pistole chuckles about how stupid the enemy (i.e., the public) really is. It's not quite as much fun as watching the enemy scream when you squeeze his testicles, but it's surely still enjoyable for bosses whose job unfortunately doesn't give them that opportunity.

I can understand your concern, any time there is a change in policy, it is a matter of concern (seriously, I understand how one little thing can upset someones normal routine and create challenges for them!).

Especially when that "change in policy" involves a humiliating or even painful "pat down." Yes, that's a concern. And it's not satisfactorily addressed with "That's SSI."

If you really do care, you would find some way to escalate our concerns to the people behind the locked doors who make the policies rather than merely reminding us that those policies are SSI. But I wouldn't be surprised if you actually tried to do that, and were told that they don't care what the enemy thinks of the TSA.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what would happen if, after receiving an "enhanced pat down" involving genital contact, the recipient smiled and told the TSO how much he enjoyed it.

How would the TSO retaliate?

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
Another Anon sez - "I can't. It is SSI and I don't have permission from HQ"

I must say, that was awesome and would make an excellent t-shirt. Maybe TrollKiller can make one up for you? TK, you still around?


On the front, "I can't. It is SSI and I don't have permission from HQ". On the back, A TSA(ish) logo with "Thousands Sexually Assaulting" written on it.

I'd buy one. And make a trip to the airport with it, too.

Ayn R. Key said...

West wrote...
Ayn sez - "Oh, that's why my post was censored. I correctly guessed what was in the SOP."

I seriously doubt it. Maybe there was something else in there or in the way you wrote it?


I don't doubt it. Why don't you ask Curtis. He likes to play a game where he holds up comments I make until I post it again and complain about him censoring me. Then he allows them all and says "see, I didn't censor your repetitive comments."

Unless Curtis thinks saying "bull" is a profanity.

Anonymous said...

West,

Since you are so interested in answering questions i am still looking for an answer to this:

Just your opinion if my question about TSA hiring child pornographers is SSI:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger GSOLTSO said...
I have also seen commentary that "most/many/all" of the TSOs enjoy/love/like the pat downs. I also think this is incorrect, as the pat down is one of the most uncomfortable situations for both the passenger and the TSO. Just because it generates a level of discomfort does not mean that the TSO will shirk their duty in performing the pat down, it is just another procedure to clear passengers of possible threats.
---------------------------------
West,

Do you think the child pornographer TSO from LAX would be uncomfortable squeezing the genitals of of a child?

http://cbs2.com/goldstein/TSA.Screener.Child.2.1471579.html

Anonymous said...

Blogger GSOLTSO said...

As far as a better answer, I am sorry, I can't do that at this time. I have not seen where we hired a known felon charged with sexual conduct prior to being employed with TSA, could you please include a link for me to read up about that?

-------------------------------------

West......so why do most TSO undesirables become criminals after they get hired by the TSA?

Here are the links:

http://jonathanturley.org/2008/10/14/tsa-employee-arrested-as-stealing-more-than-100-items-out-of-luggage-and-trying-to-sell-them-on-ebay/

http://blog.tsa.gov/2010/02/orlando-officer-arrested.html


http://www.examiner.com/la-county-libertarian-in-los-angeles/tsa-airport-screener-arrested-for-child-porn-also-worked-at-catholic-school-questions-remain

Anonymous said...

I think we can probably DEDUCE what the new enhanced pat-down involves, or does not involve, now: it PROBABLY does not involve direct genital contact.
Two reasons for this deduction:
(1)Touching of someone's genitals against their will IS SEXUAL ASSAULT. There is no consent here because passengers have not been told beforehand that they are consenting to having their genitals groped.
(2) If genitals were being touched to directly deter and prevent people from hiding threat items there then the TSA would publicise this. If you are told that your genitals will be groped you will not attempt to hide threats there. The release of this information would be a strong deterent to anyone thinking of hiding things in their genital area. By refusing to say whether genitals are touched the TSA are hoping that the FEAR that they are being touched is enough to deter would be terrorists. I can see the logic, but it cannot be justified because it causes such worry and frustration of decent law-abiding passengers who have done NOTHING WRONG.

Anonymous said...

The TSA have thrown the ball into the long grass with this one, and we have all foolishly raced after it.
It is now very clear that the enhanced pat-down is just TSA HYPE, and the media have actually been encouraged by the TSA in this to fool us into using the naked scanners. The TSA has cleverly killed three birds with this one stone and they hope people will not realise what is going on.

(1) Force people into the naked scanners through FEAR of a worse, retaliatory and punitive enhanced pat-down.
(2) Deter terrorists from trying to board aircraft with 'genital bombs' through FEAR of being caught in the enhanced pat-down.
(3)There is no need for complex PIA's or need to worry about litigation due to charges of sexual assault, because no one is ACTUALLY being sexually assaulted - they are just being hoodwinked through smoke and mirrors into believing that they will be.

It is a clever policy designed purely to pyschologicaly force people into the naked scanners. Opt for the enhanced pat-down and do not allow them to fool you into the naked scanners in this way.

TJ said...

The short answer of why the TSA is touching people's privates is because of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's underwear bomb.

Of course, never mind that this plot didn't - and would never - successfully harm anyone except the mischief maker himself.

At O'Hare Terminal 2, the TSA checkpoint is a joke. They have one body scanner on the far right line. EVERYONE in the far right line had to go through the scanner or get a pat down (myself included) and NOBODY in the left line received body scans or patdowns.

If I was an evildoer and knew this, which line do you think I would pick?

George said...

@Anonymous (September 1, 2010 5:15 AM): By refusing to say whether genitals are touched the TSA are hoping that the FEAR that they are being touched is enough to deter would be terrorists. I can see the logic, but it cannot be justified because it causes such worry and frustration of decent law-abiding passengers who have done NOTHING WRONG.

That thought occurred to me as well, but you posted it before I could. A lot of what the TSA seems to be smoke and mirrors intended to deter would-be terrorists. The secrecy and inconsistency that are synonmyous with the TSA make the smoke thicker and the mirrors more dazzling. There is actually some logic to that, since security theatre is cheaper than actual security and may actually have some benefit. Terrorists really do seem to be stupid (e.g., the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber), and may actually be deterred. And some passengers find the smoke and mirrors reassuring.

But here I think it more likely that the TSA are looking to deter "decent law-abiding passengers" from exercising their supposed right to opt out of the electronic strip search. In practice, passengers knowing and demanding their rights is a greater threat to the TSA than terrorism, since it would greatly slow down screening and make the TSO's job much more difficult. So the secretive folks at Headquarters may have decided that it's useful to have the public just as fearful as the terrorists, since it addresses two threats at once.

Is this justified? Well, those secretive folks at Headquarters may think it is. They don't need to justify anything to us anyway. They do what they want and hide behind a veil of secrecy, so they have no reason to care what we think.

The real question is whether we should continue to tolerate an agency that considers even threatening innocent citizens with squeezed testicles to be necessary and justified. I really think it's time to start actively expressing our concerns to Congress.

Anonymous said...

TSA's modus operandi seems to be instituting ridiculously invasive, inconvenient, and restrictive policies in reaction to utterly failed plots, most of which never get off the ground and all of which fail miserably. Look, all we need to do is find one idiot willing to smuggle explosives in his anal cavity. TSA will predictably institute mandatory cavity searches, the airline industry will collapse, and we won't have to worry about any of this junk anymore. Problem solved!

TSM said...

Quoted:
" Ayn R. Key said...
West wrote...
Ayn sez - "Oh, that's why my post was censored. I correctly guessed what was in the SOP."

I seriously doubt it. Maybe there was something else in there or in the way you wrote it?

I don't doubt it. Why don't you ask Curtis. He likes to play a game where he holds up comments I make until I post it again and complain about him censoring me. Then he allows them all and says "see, I didn't censor your repetitive comments."

Unless Curtis thinks saying "bull" is a profanity.

September 1, 2010 1:20 AM"
----------------------
Wow Ayn, what an ego! You really think the world revolves around you don't you!
Look up "paranoia" in the dictionary.

Anonymous said...

RB said
I was chatting with a former Federal Bureau of Prisons employee this afternoon.

Seems even prisoners in federal penitentiaries are subject to a less intrusive Pat Down than those imposed upon law abiding citizens by the employees of TSA.

Think about that folks, prisoners in the pen get better treatment than you or I if we wish to travel.

August 31, 2010 8:44 PM
-----------------------------------
I highly doubt it RB. Do the words bend over and spread them mean anything to you? they do to all inmates during their intake.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
All this whining, complaining and threatening.....how about you put your brains to use and come up with a BETTER solution.
********
Been there, done that. Trollkiller came up with a very effective and low cost solution that the TSA could use at airports that would reduce the theft of the contents of checked luggage. The TSA never got back to us.

Anonymous said...

When will this nightmare end.

George said...

@Anonymous (September 2, 2010 4:34 AM): When will this nightmare end.

It will end when the TSA screening becomes so burdensome (due to the continued accretion of reactive patches) that commercial passenger air travel becomes impractical and ceases to operate in the United States.

The TSA Administrator will then hold a press conference triumphantly declaring "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED." And for the one and only time, a TSA official will be giving the public the complete and honest truth. Because the truth is that the only truly effective way to eliminate the threat of terrorist attacks on aviation is to eliminate aviation.

Then all the TSOs will be redeployed at train stations, bus stations, subway stations, and highway checkpoints. There they will administer the Homeland Security Genital Squeeze Inspection, to which all persons in the Homeland voluntarily consent whenever they leave their homes, in accordance with the Revised Standard Operating Procedure (classified Tippy-Top Secret).

RB said...

Anonymous said...
RB said
I was chatting with a former Federal Bureau of Prisons employee this afternoon.

Seems even prisoners in federal penitentiaries are subject to a less intrusive Pat Down than those imposed upon law abiding citizens by the employees of TSA.

Think about that folks, prisoners in the pen get better treatment than you or I if we wish to travel.

August 31, 2010 8:44 PM
-----------------------------------
I highly doubt it RB. Do the words bend over and spread them mean anything to you? they do to all inmates during their intake.

September 1, 2010 3:52 PM
...........
Your talking about the "squat and cough".

Hands on pat downs are less invasive than what TSA is subjecting law abiding citizens and visitors to the U.S. to.

TSA is Sexually Assaulting people who wish to travel by commercial aircraft.

TSA employees are doing pat downs that should get them a stint in prison.

TSA and its employees are a despicable group.

Ayn R. Key said...

TSM wrote...
Wow Ayn, what an ego! You really think the world revolves around you don't you!
Look up "paranoia" in the dictionary.


Apparently TSM can read the posts that Curtis isn't allowing. I am paranoid for thinking the posts aren't there.

Either they've been held up or they've been disallowed.

In the past Curtis has held them up until I repost them, preferably twice, and then until I post complaining about him not posting them. Then he approves all the posts at once and sarcastically writes that he can't be censoring me because he approved all the comments.

Or they've been disallowed. Why would they be disallowed? The rules are "on topic" and "no profanity". The strongest word I used was "bull", and since he allowed another post where I used that word then it can't be because of that word.

The other possible reason they've been disallowed is if I actually correctly guessed what is in your SSI SOP.

So Curtis, why did you disapprove the comments?

Or are you going to allow those comments at this late stage and then point out that you didn't disallow them?

Anonymous said...

hello

Anonymous said...

And now I'm getting comments disallowed which are simple, honest questions and discussion. No hyperbole, nothing even arguable like calling them "strip search scanners." Huh.

What's up with that?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "hello"

Howdy

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I've also had numerous posts disallowed for no valid reason. They just disallow for a power trip. It's pathetic, but that is what we have come to expect from the TSA.

Anonymous said...

I submitted a post this morning about my recent opt out experience.

Why hasn't it been posted?

RB said...

Ayn R. Key said...
TSM wrote...
Wow Ayn, what an ego! You really think the world revolves around you don't you!
Look up "paranoia" in the dictionary.

Apparently TSM can read the posts that Curtis isn't allowing. I am paranoid for thinking the posts aren't there.

Either they've been held up or they've been disallowed.

In the past Curtis has held them up until I repost them, preferably twice, and then until I post complaining about him not posting them. Then he approves all the posts at once and sarcastically writes that he can't be censoring me because he approved all the comments.

Or they've been disallowed. Why would they be disallowed? The rules are "on topic" and "no profanity". The strongest word I used was "bull", and since he allowed another post where I used that word then it can't be because of that word.

The other possible reason they've been disallowed is if I actually correctly guessed what is in your SSI SOP.

So Curtis, why did you disapprove the comments?

Or are you going to allow those comments at this late stage and then point out that you didn't disallow them?

September 2, 2010 3:50 PM
.....
Curtis has allowed the word CRAP before.

The real point is censorship by the government is a clear violation of 1st Amendment and while Curtis took an oath to defend the Constitution he violates that oath every time he censors speech.

"The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law "respecting an establishment of religion", impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

Originally, the First Amendment only applied to the Congress. However, starting with Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925), the Supreme Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the First Amendment to each state, including any local government.

Seems Curtis should be brought up on charges for illegal activites against the United States government.

Anonymous said...

And out of all these posts no one, no not one of you, have come up with a better legitimate solution than the AIT and enhanced pat down. This topic has become old, tired, and outlived its usefulness. Provide better legitimate solutions, not mindless droning complaints.

Anonymous said...

RB said: TSA and its employees are a despicable group.
---------------------------------------

RB you are wrong. They are miss guided by the Terrorist hysteria that is apparently still able to influence our government into taking away our rights.

Although flying is NOT a right. It is a privilege.

Isaac Newton said...

Some Anonymous at September 1, 2010 5:15 AM said:

I think we can probably DEDUCE what the new enhanced pat-down involves, or does not involve, now: it PROBABLY does not involve direct genital contact.
Two reasons for this deduction:
(1)Touching of someone's genitals against their will IS SEXUAL ASSAULT.


Ahh, but see, TSA says that whatever they're doing is "not sexual assault", so that makes it okay. Apparently they get to define that term anyway that suits them. There are pretty clear indications that they are squeezing, prodding and lifting genitals. Sounds like "direct contact" to me.

In the same vein, the WBI pictures are not "revealing" because TSA says they're not. Anyone else might think they're revealing, but TSA is the final authority on what's revealing and what's not. So there.

Anonymous continues:
(2) If genitals were being touched to directly deter and prevent people from hiding threat items there then the TSA would publicise this.

Oh dear, where to start?

a) TSA never just tells people what they're doing.

b) TSA would rather make the "Big Catch" by actually finding something being hidden in the crotch, than deter people. Deterrence doesn't make for exciting news coverages in the war on terror.

c) Anyway, TSA is not doing this to deter (or even to catch) terrorists; they are doing this to coerce people to use the WBI instead.

Anonymous concludes:
I can see the logic, but it cannot be justified because it causes such worry and frustration of decent law-abiding passengers who have done NOTHING WRONG.

Yes, but it's not just "worry and frustration", it's actual assault on decent law-abiding passengers.

txrus said...

Seems the TSA has now lost the airline pilots support...

http://www.prlog.org/10891401-airline-pilots-reject-tsa-tyranny.html

RB said...

Anonymous said...
RB said: TSA and its employees are a despicable group.
---------------------------------------

RB you are wrong. They are miss guided by the Terrorist hysteria that is apparently still able to influence our government into taking away our rights.

Although flying is NOT a right. It is a privilege.

September 3, 2010 12:36 AM
..............

I disagree, TSA employees have sold out their country and fellow citizens.

Travel is a right.

Travel by commercial air is a contract between a private company and an individual. Government getting in the middle of that contract is unconstitutional.

Anonymous said...

The TSA has got everybody running around like headless chickens over the enhanced grope-down and the naked scanners. They will never ever address people's legitimate concerns or questions, this blog is certainly not a dialogue, it is just a place where people vent their understandable anger and frustration and then the TSA use it as a source of entertainment and amusement.
The ONLY way the TSA will start listening to legitimate concerns is if people start protesting with their feet instead of their mouths - if ENOUGH people stopped flying, if only for a short time, it would bring the airline industry to its knees and, most importantly, to its SENSES.
With regard to alternatives to the grope-down and the naked body scanners:
Automated target recognition (ATR) scanners, which do not produce an image of the body, have already been developed - the TSA are CHOOSING not to use them.
Explosive trace detection systems have been developed - the TSA are CHOOSING not to use them.
Tera-hertz scanners which also produce no image of the body have been developed - the TSA are CHOOSING not to use them.
These are just a few of the effective, and less privacy invasive security measures the TSA could be using - they are CHOOSING not to. Why?

Anonymous said...

"And out of all these posts no one, no not one of you, have come up with a better legitimate solution than the AIT and enhanced pat down."

WTMD, possibly augmented with the random and professionally conducted ETD of bags. You're welcome.

TSORon said...

txrus said...
Seems the TSA has now lost the airline pilots support...

http://www.prlog.org/10891401-airline-pilots-reject-tsa-tyranny.html
-------------------
Txrus, lets be honest please, its an opinion piece, from a single individual, not a "pilot" organization. “TSA has lost a pilots (single) support…” There, I corrected it for ya.

The Secret Association said...

Here's a link to the "pre-schooler" safe images that the TSA uses, since they seem to think the machines don't have this resolution

http://www.prlog.org/10891401-airline-pilots-reject-tsa-tyranny.html

Blogger Bob said...

The Secret Association,

Those are not the images we see. You can browse through this blog or the TSA Web page to see the correct images.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
The Secret Association,

Those are not the images we see. You can browse through this blog or the TSA Web page to see the correct images.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

September 3, 2010 3:58 PM
.........
Bob, you have stated that the images TSA has posted on this blog are not of the same size or reslution that operators of the Strip Search Machines view.

So why not come clean, once and for all and post actual images?

They are suitable for viewing by children, correct?

Marshall's SO said...

TSORon wrote:

"“TSA has lost a pilots (single) support…” There, I corrected it for ya."

Once again you would be wRONg in that statement, TSORon.

Every single pilot that I know and I know many hate the TSA.

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