One of the common themes that people keep mentioning in talking about the new TSA pat down procedures is that those involved must "enjoy" the groping they're giving people. But, of course, most TSA agents are normal every day people who don't
actually want to grope random people. Chris Tolles
points us to a post from BoardingArea.com, who reached out to some TSA agents and found that many TSA agents hate the new rules and find it to be sapping morale
to have to grope passengers. Some of it appears to be the verbal abuse they're getting from travelers, but some of it is just the fact that they have to keep touching people they'd rather not touch in that way:
"It is not comfortable to come to work knowing full well that my hands will be feeling another manís private parts, their butt, their inner thigh. Even worse is having to try and feel inside the flab rolls of obese passengers and we seem to get a lot of obese passengers!"
Of course, it does seem like a lot of the "morale" part comes from everyone accusing them of molesting them. I recognize, they're not the ones making policy, but many of the people being groped do
feel violated and it's not surprising that many of them speak out.
"Molester, pervert, disgusting, an embarrassment, creep. These are all words I have heard today at work describing me, said in my presence as I patted passengers down. These comments are painful and demoralizing, one day is bad enough, but I have to come back tomorrow, the next day and the day after that to keep hearing these comments. If something doesnít change in the next two weeks I donít know how much longer I can withstand this taunting. I go home and I cry. I am serving my country, I should not have to go home and cry after a day of honorably serving my country."
This is going to be a serious problem for the TSA if it doesn't figure out something quick. So far, the TSA seems to be in near absolute denial that this is actually a problem, but if these TSA responses are indicative of how most TSA agents feel, there are going to be a lot fewer security people at airports very, very soon.
Of course... it could be true that at least some of those actually are enjoying the process. Reader Lance point us to (an admittedly hearsay) story of a pilot traveling with his 18-year old daughter
. As they approached the naked image scanner, the pilot overheard a TSA agent say into his radio: "heads up, got a cutie for you." One of the points the TSA has been making is that the folks looking at the images are off in another room somewhere, unable to see the people -- but they are
in contact with those at the security checkpoint, and you'd have to imagine this kind of thing happens.