When travelers go to the airport, they know what kind of security to expect: luggage searches, metal detectors and shoe inspections. It’s all part of our post 9-11 reality enforced by the Transportation Security Adminstration. But as CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports, thousands of travelers have complained that some of these screenings can become abusive and even x-rated. For arguing with a TSA agent, Robin Kassner wound up being slammed to the floor. She’s filed a lawsuit. “I kept begging them over and over again get off of me … and they wouldn’t stop,” Kassner said.

And it wasn’t enough for another woman to show TSA agents nipple rings that set off a metal detector. The agents forced her to take them out. Mandi Hamlin said, “I had to get pliers and pull it apart.” In Chicago, people like Robert Perry are subjected to exhaustive security checks. He was patted down, his wheel chair was examined and his hands were swabbed, all in public view in a see-through room at the security checkpoint. Perry, 71, is not alone. “It’s humiliation,” Perry said.

Perry was also taken to a see-through room by a TSA agent when his artificial knee set off the metal detector. “He yelled at me to get the belt off. ‘I told you to get the belt off.’ So I took the belt off. He ran his hands down over and pulled the pants down, they went down around my ankle,” Perry said. At that point, Perry was standing in his underwear in public view. He asked to see a supervisor. That made things worse. “She was yelling ‘I have power, I have power, I have power,” Perry said. The power to stop him from flying to Florida with his wife that day to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. “It makes you feel like you have no rights,” Perry said. Perry said he always alerts TSA agents about his metal knee and wonders why they can’t just check his leg.

Carlos Villarreal, former director of security for the Sears Tower, said proper training is crucial. “When you’re wanding somebody and you can identify which part of the body set of the alarm, that should be sufficient to clear a person,” Villarreal said. But all too often, it’s not enough for 16-year old Michael Angone. She frequently flies as a member of the Chicago Children’s Choir. “I’ve had to completely take my pants off and show them like my entire leg,” Angone said. As a baby, Angone was diagnosed with cancer. Her parents, both Chicago police officers, had to have her leg amputated. She said she always warns TSA security agents that her prosthetic leg will set off the metal detector, but many insist on doing an embarrassing full body pat-down. “I feel like I’m being felt up in public,” Angone said.

Her father Bob Angone wanted to know, “What’s the reason for all the feeling up, you know the groping at the back of the neck, the chest, underneath the bra, all the groping on her body, her buttocks?”

The gov has a database for everything these days. I find it hard to swallow that they don’t maintain a database for special needs fliers. With the incidents mentioned above, why would they have to give these people “the treatment” multiple times. It just doesn’t make sense.

  1. Uncle Patso says:

    In an incredibly stupid and offensive move, [Expletive Deleted] said:

    “Exactly. A couple of dead TSA agents will solve this problem.”

    Goddammit! STOP THAT!!!
    That’s the kind of thinking that got us in this mess in the first place!

    Meanwhile, Mister Mustard said:

    “If I never have to visit an airport again, I’ll die a happy man. I’d rather take a fucking freighter to Europe, or a train to the other coast, than subject myself to the pointless idiocy of the new “security” procedures.”

    Train travel is the way to go, but just try to find one outside the top 20 or so destinations. Thanks to millions of dollars in lobbying BY THE AIRLINES, train travel is a joke in this country. A sad, sad joke.


  2. JimD says:

    Time to do away with DHS/TSA !!! Have they captured any “Terrorists” after spending BILLIONS AND BILLIONS ??? How about a Cost/Benefit Analysis ???

  3. ECA says:

    THAT we are being PUSH to use TRAINS..Buses..Alternative travel??

  4. deowll says:

    This may sound like a wild idea but I no longer want to fly for pleasure.

    With the kind of equipment they have now they can see implants, artifical joints, etc. The feeling up stuff is crap.

  5. Saad says:

    Its really unfortunate that America is humiliating itself just to protect a small nation which is THE CAUSE of all the trouble in the World. Isreal.

    Keep it up.

  6. Nimby says:

    # 37 JimD said: How about a Cost/Benefit Analysis ???

    “An assessment of the Federal Air Marshal Service suggests that the annual cost is $180 million per life saved.” And ,much more of interest. http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2008/07/costbenefit_ana.html

    Last week I had the occasion to fly from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpor. I was saddened to see the security posters advising people to take not more than 100 ml of a liquid and how they all had to fit in a liter plastic bag.

    On the other hand, the security people are exceptionally polite and helpful. None of this crap of going through the metal detector numerous times removing more and more clothing each time. Things go beep and you get a quick, though thorough wanding with an apology and a smile. And you get to wear your shoes the whole time.

    Flying back from KL to Bangkok, I forgot to remove a half full bottle of water from my carry on. Hell didn’t open up under my feet but two guards politely told me I couldn’t bring it through. They offered to let me drink it – something you wouldn’t dare ask in the USA. They were so gentle I thought on of them would offer to pay me for the water!

    Airport security does not HAVE to be so traumatic.

  7. zebulon says:

    When I visited Cuba ( the real cuba, not Varadero), I was impressed by the signs everywhere warning the population about what should be done in case of an invasion by the americans. Cubans were at war with the US, and that’s why some liberties had to be taken away. Fear of the others is one of the best tools of dictatures. Now, it’s GWB who declared a war against… whom? And your liberties are removed one by one. Well, not only Ben Laden has won, but Bush also.
    Airport security will never be 100% proof. All these rude TSA are here so Bush can say “you see, sleep well, let me do what I want with your country, I’m taking care of you”.
    Most Americans don’t fly, anyway, so they don’t care about the rude TSA checks, the humiliation,… and they vote for more and more “protection”.
    When you see what you americans have to endure when traveling in the US, imagine what we foreigners feel when we have to fly to the US.
    ( And I have a european passport )

  8. Sea Lawyer says:

    #34, “I want some change I can believe in!!!”

    At least you got the slogan down.

  9. zebulon says:

    Of course I didn’t say the people in CUBA lost their rights because of the US!!
    But it’s the reason Fidel used to give to his people… “We have to protect ourselves from the americans who want to invade us…”

  10. Mr. Fusion says:

    #46, peehead,

    Remember he is a communist and the party that rules cuba is the communist party of cuba.

    And that is why America wants to invade Cuba.

    Do you ever think about what you are writing before posting it?

  11. Mr. Fusion says:

    I haven’t flown since the operation, but what will happen if they detect the metal in my ankle. Will the scars be enough for them or will I need to open it up and show them the rod and plate?

  12. bobbo says:

    Didn’t I just hear Putin making some threat to put missles into Cuba if the USA puts missles near their border?

    Same argument, Mr Potato head strikes again.

  13. Fial says:

    I’m not a fan of the TSA and their ridiculous policies either but you’re all a bunch of crybabies. And I find a majority of the stories you’ve shared much too far fetched to even begin to believe!

  14. JadedScreener says:

    Let me first start off by passing out tissues to all you whiners. And ECA, metal is not the only thing that shows up on X-ray. Plastic, cloth, paper, it all shows up, maybe not as clearly as metal but it shows up. Someone said something about how many terrorists have DHS/TSA stopped. More than you know. Sure, none at the airport but several terror plots have in fact been stopped before they got that far (ie: UK liquid explosives plot which was basically an updated Project Bojinka). Might want to get your facts straight before you begin your little rant. I do enjoy reading about so called strip searches. Quite entertaining. I suppose removal of shoes and jackets is now considered stripping? Can’t remember ever going out and stuffing a buck in a woman’s sock after she took off her shoes!

  15. ECA says:

    I think its polyethelene that isnt seen..its a soft plastic..They cant be seen.
    Plastics can only be seen in CORNERS where its thickest..

  16. Check your luggage and constitutional rights at the curb…Good thing these Uber-Patriots are Protecting The Homeland, right?

    Watching the tape it is clear she never presented any resistance. And certainly never acted in a menacing manner. But these alert ersatz police officials don’t need to wait for something to happen. Ever vigilant, these vigilantes are right there wherever crime is happening… even if they have to do it themselves.

    After they grab her and toss her into another passenger and to the floor, they slam her into the counter. Officer Michael Urbina hit her in the back of the head with his forearm. They cuff her. Notice the guards around her are never acting in anticipation of needing to do backup. Why? Because they know there is no threat. Look how calmly one guy picks up something from the floor he dropped. Notice the woman sitting down opposite the action? She is caught totally by surprise. That means there was no yelling, no altercation, nothing to signal the fact that a woman was going to be thrown into the chairs where she was sitting.

    So what was this suspect’s international port of call? Uh… she flew in from New York and was flying back there from Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. Obviously all that cross-border traffic made it easy to identify this threat to the American Way of Life, this evil-doer who Hates Our Freedom. So who is this Imminent Danger? She’s a marketing executive on a business trip. What does this scary woman do for a living that justifies the abuse? A quick Google shows her nefarious dealings:

    “I specialize in hip, edgy editorial from fashion to entertainment news to beauty. I stay abreast of the latest trends in cosmetics, skin care and hair care. In 2006, I was in the New York Post, Associated Press and Yahoo! News seven times. From smoldering eyes to shimmery lips, I cover the best beauty scoop. I can tell you whether the Chi or Tourmaline will give you more lustrous locks. I have tried out every lip-plumping lip gloss on the market and know which one can plump your precious pout.”

    ooooh….scary… during the Dr. Phil interview and you can just feel the terror coming out of the screen from this awesomely scary woman.

    The only silver lining in this brutal beating is that now it’s no longer just Muslims or Arabic looking people, but even blonde girls from Manhattan can have their brains bashed in by the airport rent-a-cops for no apparent reason. And the fact they are on camera offers them not even a moment’s hesitation. You would think she might sue them or something. Oh wait… she is suing for 10 Million dollars! Which raises another point about the ungodly amount of money being wasted to “protect” us from beauty marketing executives and other imminent threats to our security …. how much is being wasted on lawsuits and settlements from victims of this overzealous crew of jack-booted thugs?

  17. LaurenBacall says:

    does anybody know where I can find a nipple ring that won’t set off the metal detecter?? like it’s not made of metal or anything
    I’ve tried to look for silicone, but no luck
    I really don’t want to deal with it when I go on my flight next month.

  18. Ray from New York says:

    I have been reading some of the comments. Some seem content to defend this entire TSA farce and others see TSA it for what it is.
    I am a retired federal officer who work at an international airport in the Northeast. My cousin came from the west to escort his 90 year old disabled mother (my aunt) back out west to his residence, as she was now wheel chair bound and could not take care of herself any longer.
    I went with my cousin and my aunt, through the ticketing area and on to the passenger gates. I could do this because I was on duty, in full uniform and my duties and authority gave me access to every area in the airport without exception. In addition to seeing my aunt and cousin off, in this case, seeing my aunt off for, what would be the last time, I also wanted to facilitate my aunt’s screening by the morons working for the same agency I worked for. As we approached the screening point, I approached one of the screeners. I needed no introduction. She knew who I was and the scope of my authority. I told her that the man with the women in the wheel chair was my cousin and the women, my aunt, the wife of a retired air force general.
    Here I was, thirty some years as a federal law enforcement officer and former U.S. Sky Marshal
    ( only successful one) who traveled all over the world armed on aircrafts who had access to every place on the airport without restriction and who could pass through any screening point as often as I wished to carte blanch and that in itself would be enough to get my aunt through this TSA farce with the minimal amount of problem. Well, you would be wrong! I had to stand there and watch in embarrassment. First they had my aunt stand up so she could remove her coat. She cannot stand unassisted. Then they wanted her to walk through the metal detector. She could not walk unassisted. So what to do? They “placed” her into a plastic chair and two of these morons carried her through the metal detector.
    Keep in mind, I was not required to go through the screening area ever, since I was always armed. After this, we proceeded to the gate waiting area where I waited until my aunt and cousin boarded the aircraft.
    Do I need to write anything else? By the way, we wont even allow TSA personnel to come into our area and they do not have access authority to do so.

  19. Peaches N Cream says:

    TSA does not do strip searches. The lawyer didnt take the case because he knows that as well. And I do have piercings, just use the regular barbells or hoops, that lady must’ve had some heavy piercings, because me and my friends never have alarmed for body jewelry ever.

    I know they have to do a lot of things that we see as stupid but you have to remember that terrorists who are taking action all over the world utilize weapons from simple things, they try to smuggle in components of weapons and bombs in seemingly innocent and otherwise harmless looking places and/or people. Obviously anyone with half an ear tuned in to world events will notice terrorists will not hesitate to use armed or bomb-strapped women, children, and disabled people as a way to get close to as many targets as possible.

    All these procedures are not personally picked out by each and every worker you see there, it has been considered and put in effect after extensive intelligence briefs and or terrorist acts/foiled acts gleaned by the governments of the world. Ever heard of the saying “Dont hate the player, hate the game”?

    We even have potential terrorists born and raised in the US, there is no particular mold. It doesnt matter if you are a professional athlete, famous movie star, or even part of the federal family, no matter if you put in 2 months or 20 years, these people dedicate themselves to catching any potential threats that will board the plane, everyone will be screened, no matter how confused we are as to their procedures. No passengers get any freebies thru the metal detectors. People need to stop being so arrogant. Too bad the govt wont allow a certain airline to fly completely free of any security checks. I would love to see how many people would fly with that airline.

    I know the TSA agents do not like having to pat strangers down and rifle through their personal belongings any more than the passengers like it themselves. I work in an airport and see these people working hard on a daily basis.

    If you dont like having to board a plane knowing that security is tight, quit flying or quit crying. I feel safe flying nowdays more than ever

  20. Mike says:

    My family did quit flying so we wouldn’t have to deal with the power hungry morons at TSA and the airlines.

    High School drop outs who finally found themselves with some authority, and they abuse it. I hate TSA, they have ruined flying, and I don’t feel any safer.

    Most Americans would give up ALL of their freedoms for the appearance of safety, that is what you have done.


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