TSA in the News

The TSA has been making a lot of headlines lately. None of them are very flattering:

  • A woman going through Madison, Wisconsin’s airport was reduced to tears and was visibly shaking during her pat-down. A fellow traveler took video, which you can see here. Many victims of sexual abuse have reported feeling similar emotions during pat-downs.
  • Dina Frank is 7 years old and has cerebral palsy. She needs leg braces and crutches to walk, and has had a double hip replacement. Since she can’t walk through the metal detectors, she has to get pat-down every time she flies. The screeners were apparently aggressive as well as thorough, and upset the poor child. The screening took so long, her family ended up missing their flight. TSA defended the actions, saying proper procedures were followed.
  • A now-former TSA officer is facing 20 years in prison for trafficking painkillers. Twenty people have been arrested in the case, and two TSA officers have so far pled guilty. If the FDA and DEA weren’t so intent on limiting the supply of pain relief, this black market would never have emerged. And the sentence is entirely out of line for a victimless crime. But it does show that TSA employees are corruptible.
  • Two TSA employees in Los Angeles have also been charged with drug trafficking. They allegedly accepted cash bribes to let narcotics pass through LAX.
  • A Congressman who co-sponsored an anti-TSA bill received a particularly vigorous pat-down, and is calling it assault.
  • An elderly couple with two artificial knees and an artificial hip between them weren’t that surprised to set off a metal detector and be patted down as a result. But they were surprised to go  through multiple pat-downs, and that $300 in cash was stolen.
  • A frequent flyer, feeling harassed in Portland, Oregon’s airport, lost his cool and stripped naked. According to the police report, “Mr. Brennan’s actions caused two screening lanes to be closed and while some passengers covered their eyes and their children’s eyes and moved away from the screening area, others stepped out of the screening lanes to look, laugh and take photos of Mr. Brennan.”
  • And as a bonus, a (non-TSA) London screener gave a surprisingly thorough screening to supermodel Bar Rafaeli, which she remarked “left no doubt about her sexual preferences.”