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The Official TSA Sucks/Body Scanner Thread

Old 10-19-10, 06:58 PM
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The Official TSA Sucks/Body Scanner Thread

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/roberts-m1.1.1.html

Pilot to TSA: 'No Groping Me and No Naked Photos'

October 15, 2010 – My name is Michael Roberts, and I am a pilot for ExpressJet Airlines, Inc., based in Houston (that is, I still am for the time being). This morning as I attempted to pass through the security line for my commute to work I was denied access to the secured area of the terminal building at Memphis International Airport. I have passed through the same line roughly once per week for the past four and a half years without incident. Today, however, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at this checkpoint were using one of the new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) systems that are currently being deployed at airports across the nation. These are the controversial devices featured by the media in recent months, albeit sparingly, which enable screeners to see beneath people’s clothing to an extremely graphic and intrusive level of detail (virtual strip searching). Travelers refusing this indignity may instead be physically frisked by a government security agent until the agent is satisfied to release them on their way in what is being touted as an "alternative option" to AIT. The following is a somewhat hastily drafted account of my experience this morning.

As I loaded my bags onto the X-ray scanner belt, an agent told me to remove my shoes and send them through as well, which I’ve not normally been required to do when passing through the standard metal detectors in uniform. When I questioned her, she said it was necessary to remove my shoes for the AIT scanner. I explained that I did not wish to participate in the AIT program, so she told me I could keep my shoes and directed me through the metal detector that had been roped off. She then called somewhat urgently to the agents on the other side: "We got an opt-out!" and also reported the "opt-out" into her handheld radio. On the other side I was stopped by another agent and informed that because I had "opted out" of AIT screening, I would have to go through secondary screening. I asked for clarification to be sure he was talking about frisking me, which he confirmed, and I declined. At this point he and another agent explained the TSA’s latest decree, saying I would not be permitted to pass without showing them my naked body, and how my refusal to do so had now given them cause to put their hands on me as I evidently posed a threat to air transportation security (this, of course, is my nutshell synopsis of the exchange). I asked whether they did in fact suspect I was concealing something after I had passed through the metal detector, or whether they believed that I had made any threats or given other indications of malicious designs to warrant treating me, a law-abiding fellow citizen, so rudely. None of that was relevant, I was told. They were just doing their job.


Eventually the airport police were summoned. Several officers showed up and we essentially repeated the conversation above. When it became clear that we had reached an impasse, one of the more sensible officers and I agreed that any further conversation would be pointless at this time. I then asked whether I was free to go. I was not. Another officer wanted to see my driver’s license. When I asked why, he said they needed information for their report on this "incident" – my name, address, phone number, etc. I recited my information for him, until he asked for my supervisor’s name and number at the airline. Why did he need that, I asked. For the report, he answered. I had already given him the primary phone number at my company’s headquarters. When I asked him what the Chief Pilot in Houston had to do with any of this, he either refused or was simply unable to provide a meaningful explanation. I chose not to divulge my supervisor’s name as I preferred to be the first to inform him of the situation myself. In any event, after a brief huddle with several other officers, my interrogator told me I was free to go.

As I approached the airport exit, however, I was stopped again by a man whom I believe to be the airport police chief, though I can’t say for sure. He said I still needed to speak with an investigator who was on his way over. I asked what sort of investigator. A TSA investigator, he said. As I was by this time looking eagerly forward to leaving the airport, I had little patience for the additional vexation. I’d been denied access to my workplace and had no other business keeping me there.

"Am I under arrest?" I asked.


"No, he just needs to ask you some more questions."

"But I was told I’m free to go. So… am I being detained now, or what?"

"We just need to hold you here so he can…"

"Hold me in what capacity?" I insisted.

"Detain you while we…"

Okay, so now they were detaining me as I was leaving the airport facility.

We stood there awkwardly, waiting for the investigator while he kept an eye on me. Being chatty by nature, I asked his opinion of what new procedures might be implemented if someday someone were to smuggle an explosive device in his or her rectum or a similar orifice. Ever since would-be terrorist Richard Reid set his shoes on fire, travelers have been required to remove their footwear in the security line. And the TSA has repeatedly attempted to justify these latest measures by citing Northwest flight 253, on which Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab scorched his genitalia. Where, then, would the evolution of these policies lead next?

"Do you want them to board your plane?" he asked.

"No, but I understand there are other, better ways to keep them off. Besides, at this point I’m more concerned with the greater threat to our rights and liberties as a free society."


"Yeah, I know," he said. And then, to my amazement, he continued, "But somebody’s already taken those away."

"Maybe they have," I conceded, watching the throng of passengers waiting their turn to get virtually naked for the federal security guards.

As a side note, I cannot refrain here from expressing my dismay and heartbreak over a civil servant’s personal resignation to the loss of civil liberty among the people by whom he is employed to protect and serve. If he no longer affirms the rights and freedom of his fellow citizens, one can only wonder exactly what he has in view as the purpose of his profession.

The TSA investigator arrived and asked for my account of the situation. I explained that the agents weren’t allowing me to pass through the checkpoint. He told me he had been advised that I was refusing security screening, to which I replied that I had willingly walked through the metal detector with no alarms, the same way I always do when commuting to work. He then briefed me on the recent screening policy changes and, apparently confused, asked whether they would be a problem for me. I stated that I did indeed have a problem with the infringement of my civil rights and liberty.

His reply: "That’s irrelevant."

It wasn’t irrelevant to me. We continued briefly in the conversation until I recognized that we were essentially repeating the same discussion I’d already had with the other officers and agents standing by. With that realization, I told him I did not wish to keep going around and around with them and asked whether he had anything else to say to me. Yes, he said he did, marching indignantly over to a table nearby with an air as though he were about to do something drastic.


"I need to get your information for my report," he demanded.

"The officer over there just took my information for his report. I’m sure you could just get it from him."

"No, I have to document everything separately and send it to TSOC. That’s the Transportation Security Operations Center where we report…"

"I’m familiar with TSOC," I assured him. "In fact, I’ve actually taught the TSA mandated security portion of our training program at the airline."

"Well, if you’re an instructor, then you should know better," he barked.

"Really? What do you mean I ‘should know better’? Are you scolding me? Have I done something wrong?"

"I’m not saying you’ve done something wrong. But you have to go through security screening if you want to enter the facility."

"Understood. I’ve been going through security screening right here in this line for five years and never blown up an airplane, broken any laws, made any threats, or had a government agent call my boss in Houston. And you guys have never tried to touch me or see me naked that whole time. But, if that’s what it’s come to now, I don’t want to enter the facility that badly."


Finishing up, he asked me to confirm that I had been offered secondary screening as an alternative "option" to ATS, and that I had refused it. I confirmed. Then he asked whether I’d "had words" with any of the agents. I asked what he meant by that and he said he wanted to know whether there had been "any exchange of words." I told him that yes, we spoke. He then turned to the crowd of officers and asked whether I had been abusive toward any of them when they wanted to create images of my naked body and touch me in an unwelcome manner. I didn’t hear what they said in reply, but he returned and finally told me I was free to leave the airport.

As it turned out, they did reach the chief pilot’s office in Houston before I was able to. Shortly after I got home, my boss called and said they had been contacted by the TSA. I suppose my employment status at this point can best be described as on hold.

It’s probably fairly obvious here that I am outraged. This took place today (now yesterday, when I wrote all this down), 15 October 2010. Anyone who reads this is welcome to contact me for confirmation of the details or any additional information I can provide. The dialog above is quoted according to my best recollection, without embellishment or significant alteration except for the sake of clarity. I would greatly appreciate any recommendations for legal counsel – preferably a firm with a libertarian bent and experience resisting this kind of tyrannical madness. This is not a left or right, red or blue state issue. The very bedrock of our way of life in this country is under attack from within. Please don’t let it be taken from us without a fight.

Malo Periculosam Libertatem Quam Quietum Servitium

Michael S. Roberts
3794 Douglass Ave.
Memphis, TN 38111
901.237.6308
[email protected]
Too much to bold. Here's hoping the guy gets to keep his job but I wouldn't bet on it. Sadly, nothing in this story is surprising except for the guy standing up for himself.
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Old 10-19-10, 07:08 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Does this mean I can say no to pilots and flight attendants now?

And no, I haven't had a flight attendant ask to see me naked.
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Old 10-19-10, 07:10 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

The speed at which the police state is encroaching into American lives is really surprising in the last 10 years. So much has happened in only the last 30 years that would have been considered some dystopian fantasy for most of this country's history.
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Old 10-19-10, 07:15 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

He's kind of a dumbass, sorry.
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Old 10-19-10, 07:16 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

The American people want a system that keeps us 100% safe from terrorists with 0% infringement on our liberties. Good luck with that.
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Old 10-19-10, 07:18 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

"There is no security."
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Old 10-19-10, 07:21 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Originally Posted by Rockmjd23 View Post
The TSA 'agents' are just happy they aren't working at Burger King anymore.
That's essentially my opinion of them.
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Old 10-19-10, 07:36 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Just remember: You can't professionalize unless you federalize.
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Old 10-19-10, 09:19 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
The American people want a system that keeps us 100% safe from terrorists with 0% infringement on our liberties. Good luck with that.
Seems like impeachment tackles both those problems.
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Old 10-19-10, 09:57 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

The pilot's full name and phone number AND email AND mailing address makes this sound pretty fake to me.
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Old 10-19-10, 10:14 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

He posted that on a message board specific to pilots, and looked like he had been a member there for a while and posted multiple followups, so I'd say it's probably legit.

He does have a point, it doesn't make much sense to screen the guys flying the plane. They don't need to bring a weapon, they'll just drive it into the ground if they want.
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Old 10-19-10, 10:49 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Here's why I disagree with you, Dave99, and why I think the guy is a bit of a dumbass.

There are three types of authentication; something you have, something you know and something you are. Strong authentication relies on at least two of those three types.

TSA basically enforces perimeter security of an airport terminal by doing two things. One, it attempts to prevent you from entering the terminal with dangerous objects. Two, it attempts to authenticate people passing through security using only "something you have" authentication. In other words, weak authentication. For most passengers, that "something you have" is a driver's license or passport and a boarding pass. For pilots, it is some sort of special ID. Getting past security with a fake ID and a phony boarding pass is probably fairly easy for someone who know's what they are doing. Getting past security with a fraudulent pilot ID and a stolen/phony pilot's uniform is undoubtedly substantially more difficult but still doable for someone with a little insider's knowledge.

As such, the critical part of the security equation is ensuring that everyone who passes through the security checkpoint is at least free of dangerous objects. For the rest, physical security measures inside of security perimeter take care of things. So it just makes sense for a pilot to be screened as thoroughly as a passenger.

Memphis is a metro area of about 1.3 million people and their airport, while hardly O'Hare, is nothing to sneeze at. It is doubtful then that very many of the screeners are so familiar with the guy that he is going to get special treatment at security.

As for the wisdom of the nudie-scanner things and TSA policy surrounding their use, I will not opine.
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Old 10-19-10, 11:23 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

If the rest of the perimeter were that secure, you might have a point. But it's not. A large amount of air cargo is not screened, ground workers, baggage handlers, caterers, the fuel guys etc are not screened. There are easier holes in the system than trying to impersonate a pilot is my point I guess.
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Old 10-19-10, 11:50 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Good for him. Though putting him in a camp in Wyoming might be the best solution. Him and all of his kind.
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Old 10-19-10, 11:51 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Originally Posted by Dave99 View Post
If the rest of the perimeter were that secure, you might have a point. But it's not. A large amount of air cargo is not screened, ground workers, baggage handlers, caterers, the fuel guys etc are not screened. There are easier holes in the system than trying to impersonate a pilot is my point I guess.
Do you have some special knowledge about how airport employees are screened at airports that differs from what I have seen? I have personal knowledge of the employee screening area at two U.S. airports, one being one of the largest airports in the country, and the screening procedures were, as far as I could discern, identical to that that airline passengers go through. I would find it remarkably difficult to believe your assertion that ground workers, etc. were not screened at any airport handling airline traffic.

Yes, it is pretty common knowledge that substantial amounts of air cargo are not screened. I think 60 Minutes did a segment on that issue within the past two years. However, I would suspect that the reason for that is predominantly logistical.
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Old 10-20-10, 12:21 AM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

I don't work in the airline industry, but as a non-commercial pilot, I'm aware of how easy it is at a lot of airports to just walk right onto the ramp, including those that handle significant commercial traffic.
Aiports are such vast expanses of wide open space, it seems like it would be remarkably easy to get a weapon to a ground worker, even if they had gone through screening. The very largest airports might have different procedures, but I believe most of the intermediate sized facilities don't screen all their ground workers.
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Old 10-20-10, 12:44 AM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Originally Posted by Rockmjd23 View Post
The TSA 'agents' are just happy they aren't working at Burger King anymore.
What a load of bullshit. I know a TSA agent and someday he's going to make it big and show all you losers! Until then, he's still sleeping on the top bunk...but you are all LOSERS because you make less money than he will make when he makes it big (but more money than he makes now).
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Old 10-20-10, 09:58 AM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
The American people want a system that keeps us 100% safe from terrorists with 0% infringement on our liberties. Good luck with that.
Don't be silly. We just want the non-white people to be screened, but only when the threat level is Orange or darker.

Seriously though, does anyone really believe the procedures we have added in the last 10 years are all that effective?
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Old 10-20-10, 10:07 AM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Originally Posted by orangecrush View Post
Seriously though, does anyone really believe the procedures we have added in the last 10 years are all that effective?
Number of hijackings caused by a terrorist wielding nail clippers: 0

Number of hijackings caused by a terrorist wielding breast milk: 0

Seems pretty effective to me.
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Old 10-20-10, 12:00 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

NPR mentioned this incident on Morning Edition this morning.
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Old 10-20-10, 12:06 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Originally Posted by jfoobar View Post
Memphis is a metro area of about 1.3 million people and their airport, while hardly O'Hare, is nothing to sneeze at. It is doubtful then that very many of the screeners are so familiar with the guy that he is going to get special treatment at security.
Disagree. The pilot no doubt passed through the same gates time after time (unless ExpressJet departures were moved from terminal to terminal week after week) and, as a result, passed by the same TSA screeners time after time. Even if they all didn't know him (unlikely IMO), some of them would. A guy in a pilot's uniform stands out more than Joe Passenger.
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Old 10-20-10, 12:13 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Originally Posted by orangecrush View Post
Seriously though, does anyone really believe the procedures we have added in the last 10 years are all that effective?
Yes. Some of the things added in the past 10 years have obviously made a difference. But this isn't one of them.
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Old 10-20-10, 12:18 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Originally Posted by LurkerDan View Post
NPR mentioned this incident on Morning Edition this morning.
Thanks for the clarification on what time of day "Morning Edition" normally airs.
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Old 10-20-10, 01:09 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

Real pilot (or at least someone with that name) with "moderate to high" merits to his name.

FAA Registry
Name Inquiry Results

MICHAEL STEPHEN ROBERTS

Address

Street 3794 DOUGLASS AVE
City MEMPHIS State TN
County SHELBY Zip Code 38111-6722
Country USA


Medical

Medical Class: First Medical Date: 11/2009



Certificates

1 of 2

1 2

DOI: 2/8/2009
Certificate: COMMERCIAL PILOT
Rating(s):
COMMERCIAL PILOT
AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE LAND
AIRPLANE MULTIENGINE LAND
INSTRUMENT AIRPLANE

Type Ratings

C/EMB-145

Limits

ENGLISH PROFICIENT.
EMB-145 SIC PRIVILEGES ONLY.
EMB-145 CIRC. APCH. - VMC ONLY.

https://amsrvs.registry.faa.gov/airm...y/Default.aspx
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Old 10-20-10, 04:34 PM
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Re: Pilot says no to TSA

I don't care who sees my dick. If I have an occasion to fly and they're using this device, I'm going to fluff up a huge boner before I go through. Give 'em something to brighten their day: "That's right, you work one of the shittiest jobs in America, while I, on the other hand, have enough money to travel for leisure...and my dick is bigger than yours too. Now why don't you get down on your knees and suck it. Oh, and while you're down there take your shoes off."

If people don't like the new security measures, don't fly. I've flown twice since 9/11. Both situations were unbearable. I don't fly anymore. In 2005 I got in a huge screaming match at a TSA guy in the Huston airport (what a toilet) coming back from Costa Rica, and felt threatened by a bagage handler in the customs area. The TSA yelling match is too long to go into here, but the baggage handler guy was just beyond stupid. I was wearing a USC shirt and this bagage handler points to me while I'm waiting to clear customs and says something like "You're going down today!" I reflexivly shot back at him with a racist (he was black) and violent retort. It took my wife to explain to me that he was refereing to the football game. I regret my behavior but I still think it was a particularly unproffesional thing to do in the customs line where everyone is already edgy.

I've flown one other time since then, and it just enrages me to be questioned, ordered to remove my shoes, etc. The TSA people are the lowest scum on earth and they know it, and they use their newly gained power to fuck with travelers. Every TSA line is class warfare primed to explode.

If you don't like security, don't fly. Or get used to people looking at your dick. You really shouldn't have a hang up about it anyway.

PS: My best friend is a co-pilot for express jet out of Houston. 1) he makes the same contention that ground crews, caterers, bagage handlers, fuel guys are subjected to only cursory security, 2) I'll ask him about this story and see if I can get the inside scoop.

Last edited by Mabuse; 10-20-10 at 04:40 PM.
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