Have you ever experienced a pat down by a TSA agent while flying somewhere? I don’t fly often, but I’ve had pat downs twice. One was minor but the other was enough to inflict pain and discomfort of my genitals. The TSA agent ran his hand up into my groin quite rapidly and it felt like someone had hit me in family jewels. I told him that was awfully forceful and painful and the guy just gave me a go to hell kind of look and never said a word.
Millions of other passengers have experienced the same and worse. Mark Hyman of Behind the Headlines, used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain over 200 pages of complaints from passengers who felt violated, groped and molested at the hands of TSA agents. One complaint was from a woman who had a metal implant in hip and who has to fly frequently on her job. Part of her complaint read:
1. Is a TSA agent allowed to spread my labia in her inspection IF AND ONLY IF the ONLY reason I am subjected to such a molestation in the first place is because I have had metal implants put into my hips?
2. Why, when an x-ray screening machine is available, must I be subjected to the molestation? Why can’t the TSA agent be required to use the machine if it is present?
3. Why is a TSA agent allowed to put so much pressure on my breasts that she leaves bruises? Is this standard procedure?
4. When I ask the TSA agent to touch her own body where she intends to touch mine – so I can get a true and honest understanding of her techniques – why is she allowed to refuse providing such explicit information? It would go a long way toward relieving my anxiety and fear about being man-handled (no matter that she is the same gender, it feels as if a MAN were molesting me!)
A dear friend of mine and former colleague was in a horrible accident years ago. For all intent and purpose, he should have died, but he didn’t. He has undergone dozens and dozens of surgeries over the years and he too has metal implants in several locations in his body. I recall him saying once after 911, that he was taken to a private room and forced to strip completely naked. While naked, they examined him quite thoroughly. This man is a modest and humble person and found the experience quite embarrassing and humiliating.
Yet, TSA agents are allowed to continue to use these pat down procedures which are spelled out in their Screening Management: Standard Operating Procedures manual in spite of all of the hundreds of complaints they continue to receive.
But let three suspected terrorists complain about being patted down and a federal judge rules that it must stop. Three detainees at Guantanamo Bay filed a lawsuit against Barack Obama, claiming that they are being violated every time they are searched when they leave or return to their cells.
Saeed Mohammed Saleh Hatim, Fadhel Hussein Saleh Hentif and Abdurrahman Abdallah Ali Mahmoud Al Shubati filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. They complained that new search guidelines issued in May was disrespectful of their religious and cultural sensitivities. According to the new procedures (pages 6,7 of the lawsuit):
“The new search protocol, however, adds several additional elements: First, the guard gathers and crushes the fabric of the detainee’s pants pockets to detect any objects in the pockets. Second, the guard will search the detainee’s groin area ‘by placing the guard’s hand as a wedge between the [detainee’s] scrotum and thigh . . . and using [a] flat hand to press against the groin to detect anything foreign attached to the body.’ Third, the guard uses a flat hand to frisk the detainee’s buttocks to ensure no contraband is hidden there. Fourth, ‘a hand-held ‘wand’ metal detector . . . is passed over the [detainee’s] body.’ The wand search includes the detainee’s groin and buttocks area, and guards hold the wand about one to two inches from the detainee’s body while conducting the wand search.”
The suit went on to complain that because of the new search procedures, detainees felt discouraged from meeting with their attorneys or representatives of the courts. Chief Judge Royce C. Lambert agree with the detainees and ruled that the new search procedures in fact did interfere with their access to legal counsel [because it was such a personal affront to them and their religious beliefs].
So 3 suspected terrorists are not allowed to be patted down in the same manner as millions of American passengers because they find it degrading and insulting to their religion. Yet, the government and courts do not afford the same rights of privacy and religious dignity to American citizens. Hyman expresses the injustice best in his short video message. I suggest you click here and listen, it only takes a minute and half.
It’s time we Americans start standing up for our rights, our freedoms and our religious beliefs. Our country was founded to protect American citizens first, not terrorists! Pass this on to your Senator and Representative in Washington and demand that they take action to protect you first, terrorists last!