Another day, another ridiculous story about the TSA "making us safer." This one was submitted by plenty of folks, but Guy Thomas
gets credit for being first. It involves a breast cancer patient, Lori Dorn, who recently had a bilateral mastectomy, and has tissue expanders installed. She has a card that explains the details of this, and why it can set off airport security.
Of course, she did set off an alarm at JFK... and then the TSA both refused to let her show the card explaining the details, but also required her to be physically groped by the TSA -- with them loudly threatening her that she wouldn't fly otherwise. They also kept her out of sight from her luggage:
I told her that I was not comfortable with having my breasts touched and that I had a card in my wallet that explains the type of expanders, serial numbers and my doctorís information (pictured) and asked to retrieve it. This request was denied. Instead, she called over a female supervisor who told me the exam had to take place. I was again told that I could not retrieve the card and needed to submit to a physical exam in order to be cleared. She then said, ďAnd if we donít clear you, you donít flyĒ loud enough for other passengers to hear. And they did. And they stared at the bald woman being yelled at by a TSA Supervisor.
To my further dismay, my belongings, including my computer, were completely out of sight. I had no choice but to allow an agent to touch my breasts in front of other passengers.
As Dorn explains, "I have been through emotional and physical hell this past year due to breast cancer. The way I was treated by these TSA agents added a shitload of insult to injury and caused me a great deal of humiliation." In a separate interview with the NY Times, she notes that her breasts still hurt, and she was worried about the pain
of the patdown, and that she was never offered the option of a patdown in a private area (as the TSA insists they grant). That article also contains a typical PR-laden response from the TSA:
We strive to treat every passenger with dignity and respect. In this case, that may not have happened. During the screening process, if advanced imaging technology detects an anomaly that cannot be cleared, secondary screening is required to ensure the passenger does not have threat items, such as explosives concealed under clothing.
All passengers may request private secondary screening. While an initial review indicates that proper screening procedures were followed, we regret that this passenger did not have a positive experience.
Which, of course, brings to mind a simple question: does anyone actually have a positive experience
dealing with the TSA patdowns?