Monday, February 28, 2011

TSA Refuses To Allow Husband To Videotape Patdown

When I first heard about the new scanners in airports, I did some research and wrote a column on the topic. By the time all of this happened though, my husband and I had already purchased tickets for a vacation so I knew it was possible that I would have to deal with this myself.

I knew the airport we would take off from Standiford Field, Louisville International Airport which does not have the scanners but our destination, Miami International Airport, does so I realized this could affect me if I was randomly selected.

Well guess who was randomly selected?

I said I was not going in the machine and they said that’s fine, you don’t have to, you can opt out. They directed me through the metal detector and out of the way to wait. The lady at the metal detector yelled out to a group behind her, “We need a female for a pat down!”

I stood there for a minute and nothing happened and she yelled again.

“We have a female pat down!”

I started pacing and she said stay where you are and yelled again for a female pat down. I heard the snap of the rubber gloves and knew someone was finally ready for me.

She had me collect my bag and put it on a table near the pat down area and proceeded to tell me what she was going to do, where she was going to touch me and if it I was okay with the procedure.

I said, “Well, no, it’s not okay for you touch me.”

She looked surprised and nervous and then called a man over. She explained to him that I did not give permission for her to touch me and so she wanted him to be there with her when she did it.

He looked at me and said, “You opted out of the machine so we need to give you a pat-down. If you don’t give us permission, we can escort you out of the airport if you prefer. So do you give permission?”

I said, “No. I might end up accepting a pat down but I want to be very clear that I object to this treatment.”

He said, “You have to have the pat-down if you want to go any further.”

By this time, my husband was behind us waiting for me. I wanted him to video tape the pat down but unfortunately I did not plan ahead and had my camera in my bag.

I said, “Okay I will allow it if my husband can video tape it for my protection. The camera’s in my bag so I need to get it out and give it to him.”

The guy immediately said “NO, you can’t do that.”

He looked at John and said “Back away sir!” like he was some sort of threat just standing there waiting for me.

I asked if it was written somewhere that I can’t videotape this and he said yes, it’s on our site. I had no idea whether it was or not but I continued, “I just don’t understand why you won’t let my husband videotape this for my protection.”

He was getting annoyed now and said “You can’t do it. We don’t know what you will do with the tape. Do you want the terrorists to see how we do a pat-down? Do you want to help the terrorists?”

I started to object again and make some obvious points about how silly that was when he said, “I’m not discussing this with you any more. You can get a pat down or I will call the police to escort you out of this airport. It’s your choice.”

We stared at each other for a minute before I told the lady to do her thing. They asked me if I wanted to do it in private and I said, “No way. I want everyone here to see what you guys are doing to people.”

As the lady was feeling around my breasts, I asked her if she liked her job. She said “Someone’s got to do it.”

(I have since looked on the website and am still not sure if I could have pushed to get the camera to my husband. Anyone know for sure?)


  1. TSA's own rules state that photography and videography are both permitted as long as you don't disrupt their procedures or take images of the monitors. You would have been well within your rights to hand the camera to your husband.

    Please come and join us at Boycott Flying ...

  2. actually you are not allowed to touch your things once you are in the screening area, if you had wanted this video taped, your husband should have had the camera in his belongings.

  3. Anika, they could not have predicted which of them was to be "randomly" selected for the scanner & patdown. Since TSA is expanding into other forms of transportation, boycotting flying is only a temporary answer, Lynn. We the People MUST push back, or eventually they will be confronting us every time we go grocery shopping.

  4. When the TSA terrorist asked "Do you want to help the terrorists?" I would have been very tempted to say "No, that's why I resist you."
    I know to stay away from airports, but I do know this domestic terrorist program will be expanded (just like the recent incident where TSA terrorists groped people GETTING OFF a train- the incident that set Charlie Sheen off on one of his on-air rages).

  5. I thought the pat-down procedure was described on their website, if not hundreds of others. How would that be helping the terrorists? They explain the pat-down to everybody that goes through the procedure. By their logic, the TSA are helping terrorists and should arrest themselves (which would be a bad idea for different reasons). The only thing you can't film is monitors, but you can film the pat-down.

    It sounds to me this was either another TSO who doesn't know their own procedures, or they do know but lied because they didn't want to go on YouTube with all the other freedom abusers.

  6. I meant to say, "By their logic, the TSA are helping terrorists and should arrest themselves (which would *not* be a bad idea for different reasons)."

  7. I can't agree with those who feel that a pat-down is somehow a loss of freedom. Freedom has always come at a cost. For over two hundred years that cost has often been in the form of blood and treasure which helped pay the way for the lives we enjoy today. It is both ludicrous and selfish to compare those kinds of costs with a TSA pat-down. If you are unwilling to pay that negligible cost,you have the freedom to travel via some other mode.

  8. IG- You can't preserve freedom by violating freedom, which is what you claim is the cost of freedom. But you are right about one thing: we still (for the moment) have the freedom to travel in other ways. Will you still support the TSA terrorists when they insist on molesting everyone even if they are not flying?

  9. K McM - "TSA terrosits...."? You are way over the top dude. I have no further comment.

  10. Indiana Guy, you seem to have experienced Kent's use of the word terrorist with irritation. Why do you think that happened? Terrorism simply means this: "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes."

    Do you think there is any evidence in my experience that could make someone use the term back at the TSA that would be a rational use of the phrase?

  11. Remembering that I wasn't there to witness the demeanors during the encounter, I don't think I can opine on the "rational use of the phrase" in that particular situation. If you don't think Kent used the phrase to be anything other than derogatory, perhaps you wouldn't find it inappropriate. I personally don't believe for a New York minute he meant it any other way. These are men and women who have to do their job under very difficult circumstances - the general public. They deserve better than to be labeled terrorists. We are miles apart on this one, Debbie.

  12. Harry, I meant the word exactly as Debbie laid out. How can you not see the purpose of "security theater"? Terrorism is still terrorism even if you personally like it and refuse to see it for what it is.

    In fact, my choice to use the correct word to describe these terrorists is more kind than the other (and just as applicable) words that come to mind. It is a completely honest assessment of what these "Terrorist Support Administration" thugs are doing.

    But, you are a good citizen. You would have been ratting out the jews hiding in the attic, since those who were trying to round them up were "just doing a difficult job". "These are men and women who have to do their job under very difficult circumstances..." Um, no. They do not "have to", and their job is completely wrong. It is not noble to do the wrong thing to the best of your ability.

  13. Quite some leap, Kent. "Ratting out the jews". Your post does not deserve further comment.

  14. Not a leap at all, Harry, not a leap at all. Not even much of a step from one to the other. It's all just supporting "the law" rather than standing up for what's right. But you just go right ahead denying and cooperating.

  15. "If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy." --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1802