According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch last year, TSA employees have carried out alleged sexual assaults at airports across the country. To make matters worse, in one case a supervisor allegedly laughed at a passenger for issuing an official complaint about excessive groping. Chicago's O'Hare seems to have the most problems.
The details (bolding is mine):
April 7, 2013, at Denver International Airport:
At approximately 14:10 hours on the South Checkpoint, near lane 4 a passenger complained that he sustained an injury resulting from the aggressive actions of the the [sic] TSO [Transportation Security Officer] conducting a pat down search…The passenger stated during the pat-down search he was struck very hard in the groin area, which caused him pain to his left testical [sic].
October 19, 2013, “TSA Contact Center Record,” Los Angeles Airport:
She [TSA agent] then placed full palms squarely on my breasts and then moved around my breasts again. She then placed both palms against my breasts and I was shocked, humiliated, alarmed and assaulted and said ‘Stop! What are you doing? That’s not ok.’… I reported this to TSA Supervisor … She got the manager [redacted] and he said he would look at the video and TSA would send me a letter but it would not tell me the resolution and that I did not have a right to view the video… I will not be sexually assaulted at the airport. As a taxpayer, I pay for the TSA.”
July 5, 2013, “TSA Contact Center Record,” O’Hare Airport:
The female TSO then proceeded to roughly feel of [sic] her breast including her nipples. The TSO didn’t go under her arms or along her sides. She indicated that she did not receive a proper pat down. The search was limited to her breast… Two other individuals came over to where the supervisor and gentleman were and they began laughing. The caller indicated that the incident was not the business of the other two officers and not a show for them. The caller indicated that even the Supervisor, along with the others, began to roar with laughter.
July 6, 2013, “TSA Contact Center Record,” O’Hare Airport:
Caller indicates that her mother feels as though she was singled out because she was a breast cancer survivor and the caller feels as though this is extremely discriminatory. Caller indicates that the breast is an extremely intimate place that should not be rubbed in the manner that it was. Caller expressed that her mother feels extremely violated and the caller feels that being violated in this manner is on the same level as rape. Caller has indicated that her mother will never travel again because of the pat down that she received.
July 29, 2013, “To/From Memo,” O’Hare Airport:
The person began to tell me how TSO [redacted] stuck his hands down his pants and grabbed the top of his penis and placed his fingers in his butt crack… The person was sure that he was violated and wanted to talk to a supervisor…. He said he is going to file a police report with Chicago Police Department and file a lawsuit against TSA and Officer [redacted] and walked away.”
Shorter TSA: Sorry our agent may have sexually assaulted you, but we'll be sure to send you a letter in the mail to let you know what the final result of their actions will be. Unbelievable.
Earlier this year a former TSA agent who worked at O'Hare published a piece in POLITICO Magazine detailing egregious behavior by TSA agents and naked body scanners. The name of the piece was, "Dear America, I saw you naked." In the piece the agent admits to laughing at naked body images and wrote that it is part of a culture at the agency to do so.
Most of my co-workers found humor in the Image Operator room on a cruder level. Just as the long-suffering American public waiting on those security lines suspected, jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my TSA colleagues: Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display. Piercings of every kind were visible. Women who’d had mastectomies were easy to discern—their chests showed up on our screens as dull, pixelated regions. Hernias appeared as bulging, blistery growths in the crotch area. Passengers were often caught off-guard by the X-Ray scan and so materialized on-screen in ridiculous, blurred poses—mouths agape, à la Edvard Munch. One of us in the I.O. room would occasionally identify a passenger as female, only to have the officers out on the checkpoint floor radio back that it was actually a man. All the old, crass stereotypes about race and genitalia size thrived on our secure government radio channels.
Oh and by the way, the naked body scanners don't work to prevent terrorism.
We knew the full-body scanners didn’t work before they were even installed. Not long after the Underwear Bomber incident, all TSA officers at O’Hare were informed that training for the Rapiscan Systems full-body scanners would soon begin. The machines cost about $150,000 a pop.
Our instructor was a balding middle-aged man who shrugged his shoulders after everything he said, as though in apology. At the conclusion of our crash course, one of the officers in our class asked him to tell us, off the record, what he really thought about the machines.
“They’re shit,” he said, shrugging. He said we wouldn’t be able to distinguish plastic explosives from body fat and that guns were practically invisible if they were turned sideways in a pocket.
In April, it was revealed at Denver airport two TSA agents teamed up, one female and one gay male, to manipulate pat-down responsibilities when male passengers were deemed attractive.
Two Transportation Security Administration agents at Denver International Airport have been fired for allegedly conspiring to grope male passengers in an elaborate plot that involved hand signals and the manipulation of the settings on a full-body scanner so that more thorough pat-downs could be conducted on men found attractive.
One agent, a man, would allegedly signal to a female coworker when a male passenger he found attractive was coming through the scanner, according to The Denver Post, which cited a police report.
The female agent would then allegedly press a button on the touchscreen that would change the gender of the passenger to female, thus triggering an alert for an anomaly detected in the passenger's crotch. That would lead to a physical pat-down of the groin, conducted by the male TSA agent.
This is completely out of control. When will more people be fired for this? Or will the supervisors just keep laughing?