My first TSA pat down. EEU! YUCK!
Before I provide my rant concerning the TSA, I feel compelled to provide the following disclaimer.
If you’ve checked out my LinkedIn profile, you know I did some contract work for American Systems Inc., namely providing leadership development services to aspiring TSA employees. However, it’s important not to confuse leadership development services with agency policy development.
Although I have the highest respect for the men and women servicing the TSA, I do feel the agency needs a different direction concerning airport screening and security policy, as evidenced by my true story.
I recently took a trip to Knoxville, TN for my Mom’s 94th birthday bash. A fantastic time I might add. I fly out of Daytona International Airport. I’m not sure why the international reference, since the airport feels more like a smaller regional airport. No traffic at the curb and security lines very short.
Prior to my trip, I checked the TSA web site and made sure I employed the 3-1-1 baggage policy for my one and only carry-on bag. Since I’m a Delta million miler, I’m no stranger to air travel. I checked in on-line, passed the initial security check and began to ready for the scanning process. I removed my shoes, belt and smartphone and dumped them into a bin. I then removed my 1 qt. plastic bag filled with liquids and also placed it into the bin; lastly my jacket. Check, check, and double check.
I pushed my bins into the bin scanner and jumped into the Millimeter Wave Unit (full body scanner). The one that makes you raise your hands while a device circles your body bouncing harmless electromagnetic waves off your body to create a generic image for all passengers. Hands up, three seconds and I was off and running.
Not so fast, Mr. Million Miler.
Apparently, in my check, check and double check I forgot to triple check. Oops, I left my wallet in my right back pocket.
TSA Agent, “Is that a wallet in your right back pocket?”
Me, “Yes Sir.”
TSA Agent, “Please take it out and hand it to me.”
Me. “Yes Sir.”
TSA Agent, “Please hold this (handing me wallet). I’m going to have to frisk your right leg.”
I didn’t respond, but I was thinking WTF. The agent ran both hands from the bottom of my right leg upwards tightly to the inside of my crotch, actually pinching my scrotum (more commonly referred to as ball sack) between my leg and his hand. EEEEWWW! I instantly developed long-term erectile dysfunction. Not all the Viagra in the world will cure me now.
As I was grossing out, the agent had to implement one more procedure.
TSA Agent, “Please hold out your hands.”
The agent swiped them with a cloth and told me to wait, as the patrons behind me in line patiently watched the show.
He walked over to a machine, entered the cloth, and then indicated I was OK to proceed to the gate.
After checking appropriate ID, not having my name on a do not fly list, having no threatening items in my carry-on, not showing any threat with a full body scanner, groping my leg and scrotum and insuring my hands had no threating residue; the agent finally surmised I wasn’t a threat.
I professionally nodded, winked, and gave him a thumbs up, as I limped into the concourse (probably the last type of “course” I’ll ever enter again). In retrospect, I guess I shouldn’t have winked, I mean he did do a little groping on my bod.
Now I know why Congressman John Mica is calling for “Most” Airports to Ditch the TSA in lieu of private security. Not only would it save billions of dollars, but it would reset the mandate for airport security. The policy badly needs a revamping.
I’m not sure why I was targeted for a pat down. But I did go through a scanner without showing signs of a threat. And the hand-wiping was definitely overkill.
Over-reaching and infringing on law abiding citizens isn’t helping to keep us safe, it only provides amusing fodder for fringe groups hell bent on smothering our basic right and love of FREEDOM.
Get a grip TSA (not literally), and use some common sense. Safety is one thing, but groping travelers, well, that’s just plain gross.