TSA Now Making Its Intrusive Searches Even More Gropey & Assaulty

from the hello-sexual-assault dept

For years we’ve pointed out the sheer insanity of the TSA’s security theater, which is intrusive, insulting and does little to actually make us any safer. One aspect (of many) that has been particularly troubling is the way that the TSA has basically enabled sexual assault of travelers. If you felt that wasn’t too bad, have no fear, the TSA is apparently increasing the sexual assaulty nature of these searches:

The new physical touching?for those selected to have a pat-down?will be be what the federal agency officially describes as a more ?comprehensive? physical screening, according to a Transportation Security Administration spokesman.

Denver International Airport, for example, notified employees and flight crews on Thursday that the ?more rigorous? searches ?will be more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before.?

Got that? I love the way they dance around the fact that this is randomly allowed sexual assault on people who just want to travel somewhere. But it’s described as “physical touching” that is more “comprehensive” and “may involve an officer making more intimate contact.”

So why are TSA agents allowed to get more gropey, just a year or so after it was discovered that some TSA agents were scheming specifically to be able to sexually assault travelers they found attractive? Well, it’s because it’s been revealed how useless TSA security theater is. Really. After yet another set of reports pointed out that all this security theater is useless, the TSA said “welp, the answer to that must be moar sexual assault!:

The change is partly a result of the agency?s study of a 2015 report that criticized aspects of TSA screening procedures. That audit, by the Department of Homeland Security?s Inspector General, drew headlines because airport officers had failed to detect handguns and other weapons.

This is madness. The answer to the TSA’s awful and useless security theater should never be to give TSA agents more power to sexually assault travelers with “more intimate contact.” This is not about security. This is about the TSA wanting to make it look like they’re doing something, and apparently that includes groping strangers who are just trying to get somewhere. How the hell does sexually assaulting travelers make anyone any safer?

Filed Under: , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “TSA Now Making Its Intrusive Searches Even More Gropey & Assaulty”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

But whatever you do do NOT speak up!

I asked a TSA guy feeling me up if I could have his phone number. He called over his TSA supervisor to tell me that what I said constituted “Sexual Harassment” and I could be arrested right there for it.

These blue-gloved thugs need to be removed from airports FOR OUR SAFETY AND SECURITY not given greater powers.


Bergman (profile) says:

Re: But whatever you do do NOT speak up!

If it’s sexual harassment to ask for a phone number while your genitals are being groped, then it is sexual assault for them to grope your genitals without a search warrant.

Fun fact: There is no law prohibiting you from making a citizen’s arrest for a breach of the peace (such as groping someone) in 49 out of 50 states. In that 50th state, you can merely detain the criminal for police. While federal agents/employees are often exempt from state laws while on the job, they’re not exempt from federal laws.

And last time I checked, there was no law enforcement or customs enforcement exemption to sexual assault laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

What makes them all the same...

TSA was created with the blessings of both parties and has been strengthened now by three administrations. I love it how tools on both sides think “their party” is somehow better than the other, meanwhile your wife and daughter are getting their bits molested. Maybe they enjoy it? Who knows?

Every Nation gets the Government it deserves!

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Re: "Every Nation gets the Government it deserves!"

So the people in Syria deserve El Assad?

The people in Turkey deserve Erdogan?

The people in Yugoslavia deserved Milosevic?

I’m sure you just meant somehow that we US Citizens DESERVE the TSA. Right? Because somehow anyone other than politicians thought this was a good idea?

I’m sure you also didn’t mean to plagiarize the quote from De Maistre.

Well played. By which I mean “are you for real???”


timmaguire42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "Every Nation gets the Government it deserves!"

People in democracies get the government they deserve.

Most people don’t vote based on TSA policy, they vote based on a basket of issues and some compromise. Just because the politicians support TSA for everybody except themselves doesn’t mean the people deserve it–it’s not that easy to change federal policy.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "Every Nation gets the Government it deserves!"

Define “the people”. Did the people who openly opposed those leaders deserve what they got because they were either outnumbered or blocked from having their opinion heard? There’s always people opposing whatever regime is being put into place, and they’re not always the minority.

“When you ignore your political well-being, you get bad law and worse leaders, in other words, what you deserve.”

…and sometimes the people who DO NOT ignore their political well-being still suffer the consequences. Are you going to ignore them because they “deserve” what others decided for them?

Cowardly Lion says:

Re: Re: Re: "Every Nation gets the Government it deserves!"

So the people in Syria deserve El Assad?


The people in Turkey deserve Erdogan?


The people in Yugoslavia deserved Milosevic?


Breathtaking arguments, but somewhat lacking in conviction. Me, I’d add Hitler to the above list. The German people in the interwar period did nothing to deserve that monster. A product of the Treaty of Versailles, he changed colour on day one. Only Nostradamus saw that one coming…

Emergency powers are the tool of despots. And no-one deserves despots.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "Every Nation gets the Government it deserves!"

You sound just exactly like the people that stand around in a crowd doing nothing but looking on while someone gets raped.

Go ahead, keep going through life thinking things are not your fault. It’s going to work out so well for you. Just remember, there is another Trump around the corner for you democrats and another Obama for the republicans. You cannot avoid this fate because you actively, though ignorantly, bring them upon yourselves.

First, one needs to become aware of the difference between collective and individual responsibility. You may KNOW they are different, but until you “understand” that difference all you will be is a person that refuses to accept the responsibility for their own actions. Which is why so many on the left think that it is better to blame material objects or the makers of material than the person using the material object for wrong.

If you vote for parties, instead of the individual, or refuse to stand up to dictators and thugs, you ARE part of the problem and of the vast ignorance that plagues & populates the nations!

If you clamor for a government to save you, then you DESERVE what it does to you in return for that protection.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Because it hasn’t worked yet, we have to keep doing it until it works right.

This entire thing is pointless, yet we have to keep doing it harder because this time it will work.

From the same minds who claimed that no TSA agents robbed travelers, who then kept trying to downplay the MULTIPLE rings of TSA agents who were helping move drugs & steal to order. They can’t say their own staff is above reproach (without laughing), and after many stories of sexual assaults lets just find a way to make it more acceptable.

Perhaps its time we tell those who scream we have to do this to be safe, to shut the fuck up. They have caused WAY more problems then they have solved. They are above us serfs & fully take advantage because they know there is no downside for them. We have no recourse, despite promises these are isolated incidents they happen over and over and over…

If you hang out with your buddy, get drunk, have sex with him… that can be a one off. If you keep showing up with a 6 pack saying how drunk you are after 1 sip… perhaps you just like having an excuse. Extreme TSA fondling should require them to provide you with 2 drinks minimum.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

We almost got to that point.

After the shoe bomber we all had to take off our shoes at the airport. There was a lot of joking that it was a good thing the bomber didn’t put the bomb in his underwear.

One attempted underwear bombing later, and here we are.

Apparently the guy who made the bombs for that plot and others, Ibrahim al-Asiri, took the TSA’s new pornscan & fondle routine as a challenge. He stuck a bomb up his brother’s rectum, where it wouldn’t be detected by the TSA’s new methods. Then sent him off to assassinate a Saudi prince & security chief. (And apparently first in line for the Saudi throne.)

The plot failed. He turned his brother into a bottle rocket, firing him through the ceiling while inflicting only minor injuries to the target.

I’m assuming that the next family dinner with his parents was real quiet.

Meanwhile back at the TSA, apparently cooler heads prevailed. We’re not all being endoscoped for body cavity bombs. Yet.

Gumnos (profile) says:


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Transportation Security Administration announces its recent partnership with the Roman Catholic Church. Beginning in time for the Christmas travel season, the Vatican will supply additional staff to perform pat-down searches and monitor the full-body scanners.

A small but vocal minority of fliers have expressed concern regarding the program. TSA spokesman Dick Tickle dismisses the opposition as an aggrieved minority, stating that the financial savings and increased security benefit taxpayers and travellers alike.

“My co-workers and I are uncomfortable with the intimate nature of the pat-down searches required for those who opt out of the full-body scannings,” notes TSA agent Willie G. Roper. “The priests don’t seem to object, the people trust them, and they reportedly bring years of experience with them.”

Father John Geoghan eagerly looks forward to helping secure America’s transportation network. “I’ve seen the images produced by the backscatter/millimeter-wave systems, and there’s no hiding anything.”

Given the expected success of the new program, Tickle hints that the agency plans to extend its subcontracting relationships, starting with state correctional institutions. “A number of parolees and work-release prisoners have a difficult time finding jobs because of their record. In some cases, their names will appear on the sex-offender registry for the rest of their life. We offer them hope at reintegrating into society while making travel safer.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Natural progression of reactive protection

Shoe bomber, now we take off our shoes so they can be scanned
Panty bomber, now we get groped

I’m just waiting to see what countermeasure they implement for the Ass Bomber. The reaction to the first snuke should be interesting too.

Most important, how would the TSA react to a bomb triggered by their groping? Would the TSA self destruct from this Capitan Kirk style logic bomb?

Panty Bomber, must pat down!
Pat down bomber, must not pat down!
Panty Bomber, must pat down!
Pat down bomber, must not pat down!
Panty Bomber, must pat down!
Pat down bomber, must not pat down!
Does not compute!
Error, Error, Error #@$DF!@#

anonymous me says:

Before the TSA was instituted, I used to fly a few times a year. I’ve flown once since, and won’t do that again unless absolutely necessary. Which hasn’t happened yet and is becoming increasingly unlikely now that they turned the ick factor up a notch, redefining the word “necessary” for me. My sympathy to those who don’t have this option.

Personanongrata says:

Re: Re:

Before the TSA was instituted, I used to fly a few times a year. I’ve flown once since, and won’t do that again unless absolutely necessary. Which hasn’t happened yet and is becoming increasingly unlikely now that they turned the ick factor up a notch, redefining the word "necessary" for me. My sympathy to those who don’t have this option.

If the flying public simply refused to partake in TSA’s security theater charade and stopped flying for a week or two the airline industry would be squealing like suckling piglets ripped from their favorite feeding teat.

Of course a protest/boycott of this nature would require national coordination between tens of millions of persons (it can and has been done) who are willing take non-violent (you get to vote with your purse/pocket) action at rolling back some of the unconstitutional abuses of a criminal US government.

Personanongrata says:

TSA Gate Rape is for Your Safety

TSA Now Making Its Intrusive Searches Even More Gropey & Assaulty

How many terrorists has TSA and it’s gate rape security theater charade uncovered in screening over 15 billion passengers since it’s creation in November 2001?


But alas woe is not TSA as it’s propagandists claim that the mere presence of their gate raping minions at airport checkpoints spanning the globe have deterred thousands of terrorists willing to give their lives for their cause.

Dear Reader:

How do you boil frogs?

Slowly least they jump from the pot.

How do you condition a person to accept their impending serfdom?

Slowly with a heaping dollop of fear least they see through the tissue paper thin lies that encumber their liberties beneath the repressive yoke of a criminal government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hey Sharik (Michael Masnick) you Dog Brain

“For years we’ve pointed out the sheer insanity of the TSA’s security theater, which is intrusive, insulting and does little to actually make us any safer”

Spoken like a true socialist shitbag dog-brain, Michael Masnick. These are people, asshole, and for the most part, really good people who are serving the public. They don’t deserve ridicule from newly human, socialist dog-brains like you, Sharik. Learn some respect for your betters. Bad Boy! Why not come to the Great Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we will spell it out for you in clear and simple terms. Respect your government, respect your fellow citizens, and resist your dog-nature to support other disgusting dogs, like the terrorists that these good people are protecting you from. Your “promoted” post from another socialist dog-brain idiot about “zero” is just as pointless and disgusting. Zero means we kept those dog-brained terrorist idiots out, you socialist shitbag.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hey Dog Brain (Michael Malice) Respect your Betters

Spoken like a true socialist shitbag, Sharik. These are people, asshole, and for the most part, really good people who are serving the public and the public good. They don’t deserve ridicule from newly human, asshole sniffing socialist shitbags like you, Sharik. Learn some respect for your betters. Bad Boy! Respect your government (but you didn’t vote, did you?), respect your fellow citizens, and don’t use your public platform to promote other dogs, like those who would harm America.

Anonymous Coward says:

The alternative is no security at all. Just walk to ypur gate and have a nice day. At that point, its very likely that the percentage of armed people on your flight will be the same or higher than the general population.

Can you imagine those seat kicking or noisy kid arguments getting settled with a gun instead of harsh words?

Once you accept that there needs to be security, then the question is only how much. Since some people are willing to hide weapons and contraband in, umm, personal places, everyone ends up getting searched. Sucks but yhe alternatived are worse.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: "Pouring gasoline on the fire isn't putting it out, as such there's only one option: Pour even MORE gasoline on it!"

Which of course explains why before the TSA started groping and assaulting everyone the airlines were essentially ‘Mad Max: Open War In The Skies’, with people gunning down and stabbing the crap out of other passengers. Where it was a rare flight indeed that didn’t end up with several body-bags being needed by the time the plane touched down, and there was always at least one ambulance waiting for the injured.

There are more options than ‘Sexual Assault For Everyone(Especially Attractive People)’ and ‘No Security At All’. If something isn’t working, as is clearly the case with the TSA, the proper response it to take a step back, investigate to see if and how severe the problem actually is, and work out an evidence-based, tentative solution based around addressing the problem. Not to just double-down on the same failed method.

My_Name_Here says:

Re: Re: "Pouring gasoline on the fire isn't putting it out, as such there's only one option: Pour even MORE gasoline on it!"

Proving something in absence in very hard to do. Does the lack of hijackings, shootings, and stabbings in planes, while there are plenty of verbal altercations, fist fights, and the like show anything? That the chance of being shot or stabbed in an airplane (or anywhere in the secured area of an airport) is exponentially smaller than on the street outside of those same airports would appear to indicate something.

Before gate security hijackings of planes was such a regular occurrence that it was almost not newsworthy. One plane a week on average, hundreds of people taken hostage each month, and yet now that is a thing of the past (except in the most corrupt of nations in the world). Gee, I wonder why?

Love it or hate it, airport security does work. Don’t fall for the crap shoveled here and other places that it does nothing or is only theater. The proof is in the stats. People aren’t getting hijacked, they aren’t getting shot, stabbed, or killed on planes at anywhere near the level that occurs in the rest of the US. The proof is right there, you just have to notice it.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: "Pouring gasoline on the fire isn't putting it out, as such there's only one option: Pour even MORE gasoline on it!"

Extremists can’t reason, TOG. Although the AC you’re responding to is welcome to surprise and delight me by proving me wrong about being an extremist.

AC, we shouldn’t be stuck between one extreme “solution” and another. Why can’t we cherry-pick the best aspects of both?

More comprehensive pat-downs might be required in some cases (get a warrant!) but we don’t all need them all the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

For those who have

mothers, grand-mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, grand-daughters, there is a solution for this specific flying problem.

Simply issue each with a poison ring that can be activated in such a situation. Teach how to use to inject said poison into gropey person and allow gropey person to suffer consequences of TSA authorised action. I suggest that there are other alternative means of delivery available as well. After enough of these gropey people have been disposed of, problem should disappear.

Alternatively, make examples of all family members of said gropey people and ensure that gropey people understand consequences of gropey people’s actions.

Now for those who would object to these kinds of ideas by saying that gropey peoples families are innocent and should not be targeted, consider that the gropey people won’t take notice until directly affected.

Those in charge of the TSA (and other associated organisations) do not consider that they can be affected adversely by any actions that they deem fit to be undertaken. Hence, they never consider that such reactions could be thought up by their victims or by their victims’ associated and extended families and friends.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: For those who have

Leaving aside the possible legal consequences of that suggested course of action, the problem isn’t actually the TSA “gropey people” themselves; it’s the system which mandates that such people be present, and engage in the groping, regardless of whether or not they actually want to be “gropey”.

The thing to target here is the rules, and (if necessary) the laws which give rise to them, not the people who apply them and carry them out – even if some of those people seem as if they might be inclined to do such things even without the protection of those rules.

If you don’t like these problems, lobby Congress – and the airline industry, and anyone else you think may be able to affect things – to abolish the TSA as security theater and go back to something more like the metal-detectors-and-passive-explosives-sensors model of airport security we had before 9/11, as being a better solution to the cost/benefit problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: For those who have

If you follow orders to sexually assault people as part of your job then you are the problem. All they have to do is say NO to the specific rules that require that they sexually assault people as part of their daily duties.

I am used to the metal-detectors-and-passive-explosives-sensors which are still in use in my country.

So back to the suggestion of dire consequences for those gropey people …

The Wanderer (profile) says:

And get fired. And replaced by other people, who won’t say no.

For so long as we still have the TSA, which is worse: to have the TSA staffed by people who think the groping is a bad thing and don’t want to do it, or to have the TSA staffed by people who see nothing wrong with the groping or outright want to do it?

The former type of people are more likely to exercise appropriate restraint, and use good judgment about when the groping (and/or even worse measures) is and is not necessary.

If the former type of people refuse to do it and either quit or get fired, we will be left with nothing but the latter type of people in the job. I am not at all convinced that that is an improvement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Inbound Tourism plummets

There were news articles last week stating that inbound USA tourism is declining in the wake of the new anti-terrorist travel laws that President Trump put in place. With these new TSA regulations & civil asset confiscation adding to the unpleasantness of traveling to the USA, the USA may become the most insular & safe place on the planet outside of North Korea, well, apart from our homegrown loonies with guns.

Well played USA, President Kim may wish to emulate some of the successful laws & regulations himself as one can’t be too careful there days.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Inbound Tourism plummets

He’s right; I keep seeing desperate ads on the order of “Visit the USA!” while seeing stories like this every day. Nobody wants to go to a country where their mere appearance and dress is likely to result in hassle when they’re on their way to Disneyland with their families. I don’t fancy being felt up by a perve who’s “Just doin’ mah job, ma’am.”

This year I’m going to Edinburgh. On the train.

John85851 (profile) says:

Most people are sheep

The problem is that most people are sheep and will do what they’re told.

Most people tend to fly a few times a year. What this means is that the typical traveller won’t protest being fondled once or twice if the alternative is to miss the flight and not make it home on time.

Then the frequent fliers can get something like PreCheck to avoid the groping, which means they have nothing to complain about.

This makes a large-scale protest very difficult.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Sheep

Once again it’s time to trot out Rumsfeld’s Law:

You build a society with the people you have, not the people you wish you had.

There is no need to deride people as sheep because they respect authority overmuch, or are too busy focusing on their own survival rather than the good of the commonwealth. It’s especially a problem now that it’s common policy to overwork and underpay our common laborers.

In fact, the TSA is not a problem for the poorest 40% of Americans, who really cannot even afford to fly.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Sheep

“In fact, the TSA is not a problem for the poorest 40% of Americans, who really cannot even afford to fly.”

Not directly, but here lies one of the problems. As problems with the TSA become more widespread and it becomes more well known that flying will be difficult, many will choose not to fly, or indeed choose not to visit the US. Prices will probably go up as a result, further reducing the number of casual fliers. Areas that depend on tourism will notice these problems, with employment and other services suffering.

Those 40%, however, will probably not connect the dots, and instead revert to blaming minorities, immigrants, “liberals” or whatever they’re being told the handy scapegoat of the time is. Just as they’re incorrectly blaming them now for the effects of income inequality and outsourcing.

The problem isn’t getting people to protest, the problem is getting them to notice the correct targets.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Sheep may be the wrong metaphor...

This is something I’ve observed as well. I think when scarcity gets too great we start looking for scapegoats to blame our woes on, ultimately to cull them from society.

Given a surplus of food (say an unattended flour silo) mice and rats will multiply to consume the food supply, but once the food source is exhausted, they’ll turn on each other and fight viciously. The ones that survive will live on cannibalizing the dead.

Our scarcity is artificial. Most of our wealth is hoarded by a tiny percentage. Our housing is plentiful but we have a lot of homeless, and we have a lot of people going hungry even through we also have a surplus of food (much of which gets dumped). And I fear it’s pushing us towards that starving-rats place.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...