The Inevitable: Drunk Man Arrested For Impersonating Groping TSA Agent At Airport

from the had-to-happen dept

In all of the discussion of the TSA, their nudie scanners, and their insane groping as part of security theater, there tends to be a lot of hand-wringing over the slide of our civil liberties and the conditioning of citizens to accept these kinds of intrusions. The problem with making these kinds of slippery-slope and feature-creep arguments has always been how similar they are to insane conspiracy theories and they're typically met with as much derision by the general public. Sometimes, however, you get the unfortunate payoffs to these warnings.

That appears to be exactly what we have in a story about a drunk jackass in San Francisco posing as a TSA agent at the airport and luring women into secluded areas to grope them.

A man suspected of being drunk posed as a security screener at San Francisco International Airport long enough to direct a couple of women into a private booth for pat downs before real security staffers caught on to him, authorities said Wednesday. The 53-year-old San Francisco man was arrested on suspicion of public drunkenness after creating a stir at the A-side security checkpoint of the International Terminal about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Sgt. Wesley Matsuura of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
Here's how insane this is: airport security has so conditioned people to having their privates tweaked that the women in this story likely still don't know that they were violated by someone posing as an agent, and all of this happened amidst the security apparatus the TSA has set up to begin with. It's like a double trump card. Security sucks to point that two women were molested in their midst before anyone caught on and it was only allowed to happen by the victims because they've been conditioned to expect exactly this sort of thing.

Look, sorry, but sometimes the damned slope is indeed slippery and sometimes we get to see the dangers of trading liberty for safety right in front of us. By all accounts, this molester's scheme wasn't even difficult to pull off.
Two other airport law enforcement sources tell us the incident started when the man entered the security area wearing khaki pants, a blue polo shirt and blue rubber gloves - an outfit that might have been mistaken for those worn by screeners with the private Covenant security firm. The man, apparently without saying much, steered a woman into one of the private screening booths used to pat down selected passengers, our sources say. What happened inside isn't known, because the woman soon disappeared to catch a flight.

A few minutes later, the man directed a second woman toward the booth, our sources say. This time, however, he caught the attention of real screeners, who figured something was wrong because male screeners are prohibited from taking women into the booth for a pat-down without a female screener also being present.
Only then was he detained and charged with...public drunkenness. And nothing else. Why? Well, because the women he violated got on their planes thinking he was an agent and made their way to their destinations. If that doesn't demonstrate the danger in all this, nothing will.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    kenichi tanaka (profile), Jul 17th, 2014 @ 11:21am

    I actually believe the stupid morons in this country for all of these crap laws that put the NSA, FBI, DOJ and the TSA in power. That's right, I called everyone a moron.

    Why?

    Because it's those morons who agreed with congress to pass the Patriot Act and every other law that congress passed to give our government unprecedented power. By the way, what happens when you give government too much power? They are unwilling to relinquish control of that power.

    Like I said, MORONS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Jul 17th, 2014 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    Giving too much money and power to the government is like giving liquor and car keys to teenage boys.

    Will they be unhappy if you try to take them away?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 17th, 2014 @ 11:26am

    Only then was he detained and charged with...public drunkenness.

    Is this even a ilegal in the first place? (Honest question)

    And well, this speaks volumes to how secure we really are. Even if you consider we managed to stop planes from raining down from the skies due to mass terrorism attacks this should be shameful to law enforcement to say the best. Now, considering that we've seen supposed "terror" plots either stopped by the passengers or by anybody other than law enforcement themselves it's sheer ridiculousness.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    enone, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 11:28am

    Something Wrong

    You know when something was wrong when he said STA rather then TSA and had slurred speech.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Applesauce, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 11:42am

    TSA was designed as obedience training for the masses.

    And it's working as designed. Another proven success.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 11:46am

    Re:

    Yes, public drunkenness is illegal in the US, but only if you're belligerent enough to cause problems. There are not check points set up on sidewalks to catch pedestrians with a buzz, but if you happen to be drunk while groping random women, that is a problem.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re:

    To be clear, this is not a technical definition. I'm just saying, if you're not being a dick (i.e., if you're not disturbing the peace), then law enforcement doesn't care if you're drunk in public.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    drkkgt (profile), Jul 17th, 2014 @ 11:57am

    Wait aren't we missing a big chunk here

    He steered a person into the TSA private screening booth and no one questioned him in the first place? How did he get around to it? Of course the TSA is going to take over the investigation. The shirt color and slacks things works at Best Buy; it should not work at a security checkpoint, even if it is only designed to deter lowest common denominator problems.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:00pm

    Are we sure it wasnt a real agent?

    We all know TSA workers are perverts and drunks. Maybe this guy was in upper management.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    Drunks just as effective

    0 Terrorists caught by TSA
    0 Terrorists caught by drunk TSA imposter

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:06pm

    Express Lane Thru the TSA

    Could someone with a shoe bomb or the like just have a friend dress like a TSA agent, guide them into a booth, then wave them thru? If the women made it to their flights, so could any terrorist couldnt they?

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:07pm

    Violating policy

    This time, however, he caught the attention of real screeners, who figured something was wrong because male screeners are prohibited from taking women into the booth for a pat-down without a female screener
    Well, it's good to know that what he did was against policy. So often, TSA declares that they have reviewed the evidence available and that everyone acted according to policy (i.e. "they were just following orders"), so everything is fine.

    Alternately, we could take this as an indication that while policy will (eventually!) catch male perverts groping female passengers, we now know that female perverts groping female passengers (and presumably males groping males) will be within policy. It is unclear from the quoted bit if a female pervert groping a male passenger would be in violation of policy.

     

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  13.  
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    DB (profile), Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:14pm

    I used to fly quite a bit.

    If every drunken person at the airport was arrested, the holding area would be full. Mostly with nervous flyers and claustrophobes that appreciate a little detachment from the flying experience.

    The TSA has taken over the investigation. I'm certainly they really, really don't want a charge of sexual assault until they can differentiate what happened with what commonly occurs during a 'screening'.

    They similarly don't want an 'under color of authority' charge, because that would open the question of what authority the screeners operate under. They aren't officers. They aren't certified. What are they?

    My guess is that the TSA will assess an administrative penalty, probably a single instance of the $10K maximum, for disrupting the screening process. This is notoriously difficult to challenge or appeal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:18pm

    Let's be very clear on one thing - neither one of those women blew up an airplane. Somehow, the act of groping is enough. Who does the groping is immaterial.

    ...I...I don't know if I'm being satirical...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Drunks just as effective

    But, the real question is: how many real TSA agents are also drunk?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Phoenix84 (profile), Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:27pm

    This is both disturbing and hilarious at the same time.
    Which is sad.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:27pm

    Re:

    Again, you assume that we all agreed to this. We didn't.

    I display my civil disobedience every time I fly by REFUSING to go through the body scanners, and insisting on a public patdown. I refuse to allow them to molest me in private, I want everyone to see how humiliating and embarrassing it is to have some guy run his hands up and down my body and stick his fingers in my waistline.

    Each time someone asks me afterward: "What did you do to deserve that?" I explain that I'd rather have the patdown than a privacy-violating body scanning machine any day.

    I write to my rep often letting him know how I feel.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:28pm

    What's all the fuss about?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Violating policy

    Having gotten a patdown nearly every time I fly, they are supposed to call over either a male assistant, or a female assistant depending on the passenger receiving the patdown.

    I have never had a patdown from a female, and my wife has never had a patdown from a male.

    Even stranger is that these two women allowed for a "private screening" - I have never seen someone opt for the private screening (I certainly haven't), and it would be strange if someone ever insisted I have one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Wait aren't we missing a big chunk here

    He steered a person into the TSA private screening booth and no one questioned him in the first place? How did he get around to it?


    TSA: Q & A - Standard Operating Procedures


    Q-1: Who watches the watchers?

    A-1: No one.


    Q-2: Who questions our authority?

    A-2: See A-1.


    Q-3: Who gropes the gropers?

    A-3: See A-1.


    Q-#: Who (anything to do with our power to violate you, and be declared immune from such violations ourselves)?

    A-#: See A-1. The answer is always A-1.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Violating policy

    Maybe they didn't realize they had a choice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 12:55pm

    Think I'll open a kiosk outside of all major airlines selling TSA uniforms . Twarting Sexual Abuses TSA protesting the tsa by shear numbers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Violating policy

    This time, however, he caught the attention of real screeners, who figured something was wrong because male screeners are prohibited from taking women into the booth for a pat-down without a female screener

    What is more worrying, the screeners did not recognize a fake screener instantly. If security personnel do not know on sight other security personnel, they are not offering any security, Oh.......

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jul 17th, 2014 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Drunks just as effective

    drunk with power ? ? ?
    all of them...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 1:39pm

    New TSA Moto

    Saving lives one grope at a time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Violating policy

    ...the screeners did not recognize a fake screener instantly. If security personnel do not know on sight other security personnel...

    There are a number of establishments that do not allow certain items of identification to be taken off premise, such as ID badges, nametags, and even uniforms. Even keys in some cases cannot be taken home. Employees must check in to a certain office and procure said items when reporting for duty. When going off duty they must turn in same items before leaving. If TSA doesn't have something similar in place they should. This way a fake screener could be spotted instantly because they would not be displaying the required item(s).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Something Wrong

    No, you know something is wrong when someone claiming to be with the TSA says "please" or "thanks for your cooperation."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re:

    Whereas it's perfectly legal to work for the TSA, but only if you're belligerent enough to cause problems.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jul 17th, 2014 @ 4:08pm

    Re:

    Yes yes, questioning authority is bad, and it's always the victim's fault, never the fault of those in power. And of course the government would never do something without fully informing the public about it first and allowing them to decide beforehand if they felt it was acceptable or not, so obviously if they do something bad, it's the public's fault for not stopping them.

    Do you ever get muscle sprains from bending over backward to blame the public for the actions of the government/police/politicians, or have you limbered up your muscles enough over the years so that it no longer bothers you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 5:49pm

    The biggest part of this whole story that everyone is missing is that the TSA is admitting that the two women got onto their planes without being properly screened. The TSA just admitted that they are completely useless because a drunk non-employee can direct passengers through the screening area without them being "properly" molested by real TSA agents.

    Security Theater just had the curtain drop (again).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 7:58pm

    It's not surprising these women couldn't tell the difference between a drunk wannabe TSA groper and the real thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 9:18pm

    Re:

    Because it's those morons who agreed with congress to pass the Patriot Act and every other law that congress passed to give our government unprecedented power.

    Yeah, like any of us were actually consulted before that bill was rammed through and became law. Portions of it keep coming up for renewal and people keep telling their representatives to deny it, but they keep approving it anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 9:22pm

    Re: Re: Violating policy

    I have never had a patdown from a female, and my wife has never had a patdown from a male.

    I wonder what would happen if a passenger such as yourself claimed to be gay and requested a patdown by an agent of the opposite sex on the grounds that being patted down by a same-sex agent might be considered sexually confusing to you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Mark Noo, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 10:37pm

    God Bless America

    A drunk and lecherous man fits right in with our governments security professionals. You can't even tell the difference between them. Nice.

    I think we should issue the TSA guns. They can handle the responsibility.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 10:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Violating policy

    They'd probably give me "Helga"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2014 @ 2:39am

    Maybe we should have fast lanes. Pay a little more, bypass TheSexualAssaulters, get directly onto plane?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    sacredjunk (profile), Jul 18th, 2014 @ 4:17am

    Re:

    I've never been to an American airport, but is it possible that they were screened at another point of time by actual TSA reps?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    Bt Garner (profile), Jul 18th, 2014 @ 4:52am

    For heaven's sake, I cannot believe that we are missing the real story here.

    Two, yes TWO persons were allowed to board an aircraft without proper TSA screening! Why aren't we concerned about that, I mean if it's such a big issue.. .oh wait.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2014 @ 8:11am

    Re:

    Since we don't have testimony from the women or the drunk man we don't know what happened inside the screening room. There could have been no groping at all. Personally I don't find that likely, but since there is a lack of evidence it can't be conclusively stated yet. There's also the possibility that the women were traumatized by the experience and did not report it, similar to how rape is underreported.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2014 @ 9:26am

    My guess is that they won't file for sexual harassment charges against this guy.
    Just doing that could seriously backfire, because that then puts in a public forum (and up for debate) what the TSA is doing.
    They're not licensed medical professionals, they're not law enforcement, and most of them don't even have college degrees. Yet for some reason it's perfectly legal for them to grope people?

    Trying to pin SH on this gentlemen would be like throwing rocks while living in a glass house.
    It could ultimately be a good thing for us citizens though, because we could then get an official ruling from a judge about the infringement of our Rights. Or so I'd like to think.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    Frau Blücher (profile), Jul 18th, 2014 @ 10:07am

    And I just though the government just really cared. How sad.

    As the one woman involved, I really am embarrased. I thought it was curious that he cupped my womanhood so gently and held me after. It was so encouraging that now I thought to my self... "Frau Blücher, finally the govenrment cares about not only your safety from evil terrorists, but wants you to feel loved as well!"

    It was such a hearwarming experience that I actually got in line again to be "re-screened", I even changed my blouse so that nice young gentelman would not recognize me and I might get held again by the loving federal agent.

    Finally after we "finished" the second time, I thought I detected something akin to The Reinheitsgebot on his breath and just imagined that those nice TSA agents are just so well trained not to let their love shine through and are required to act like the Geheime Staatspolizei, you provincials usually call them "The Gestapo", that finally with a hearty breakfast of small beer in him to warm not just his belly but also his heart, that I too finally came and came to love the TSA as much as they love all of us.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2014 @ 3:20pm

    Re: New TSA Moto

    "Saving lives one grope at a time"

    I would so buy that line on a shirt. Especially if it looked a bit like a real TSA shirt. Someone please make that happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 19th, 2014 @ 2:38pm

    Re:

    Because it's those morons who agreed with congress to pass the Patriot Act and every other law that congress passed to give our government unprecedented power.

    You're including yourself in that group, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2014 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Re:

    My experience at multiple airports is that there's an initial maze-like rope-and-post line that everyone gets cattle-herded through (unless you're special/pre-screened and get to go through the express line) and then there are anywhere from 3 to 8 (or more depending on the size of the airport) different screening lines with different technologies/screening methods in use. The only people I've seen get screened by more than one person are people who got flagged for thorough screening and they knew they were flagged for it and were passed from one screener to the next during this process, where the screeners communicated to each other as to which passengers were to get extra screening.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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