The TSA security process is in violation of the law of the land, specifically the Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Let’s be honest, when I “opt” for a pat-down over a blast of cancer-inducing radiation, it is not a choice—it is a preference for the lesser of two fixed evils. A pat- down is a clear violation of my “person;” there is no probable cause warranting random government agents to feel me up for weapons.
The pat-down system also violates my right to be secure in my “papers and effects.” Every time I get a pat-down, my personal property is subject to theft. The TSA pat-down process does nothing to prevent an unconscionable person (going through the scanner) from taking advantage of the fact that I’m helplessly standing behind waiting for a pat-down—unable to monitor my luggage.
Because, here is what normally happens: I inform the TSA agent, “I’m opting out.” The agent then calls for a “female assist” and asks me to step aside. I wait (occasionally up to 10 minutes) for a pat-down. Meanwhile my luggage—including my purse, iPhone, MacBook Pro and other valuables—travel the conveyer belt and idle on the other side of the X-ray machine where anyone could easily walk off with them.
On a recent flight out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, a female TSA agent (who was openly annoyed at the prospect of doing her job and giving me a pat-down while oddly assuming that I yearned for her to touch me) said: “Well, if you ask for one, we have to give you one. So, are you just doing this for the free massage we give you?” I wanted to respond: “No way, pervert.” But, since I wanted to make my flight, I replied: “No. I just don’t want the radiation.”
3,778 service calls were made between May of 2010 and May of 2011 to address mechanical issues in backscatter X-ray machines, according to a TSA report.