New TSA Pat-Down Techniques: ‘You’re Not Going to Like It’

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  11.01.10 | 12:50 PM ET

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg writes about an illuminating encounter he had with TSA agents last week. Goldberg had refused to enter the full-body imaging device at the security checkpoint at Baltimore-Washington International, opting instead for the manual pat-down. Here’s how the agents responded:

When I made this request, a number of TSA officers, to my surprise, began laughing. I asked why. One of them—the one who would eventually conduct my pat-down—said that the rules were changing shortly, and that I would soon understand why the back-scatter was preferable to the manual search. I asked him if the new guidelines included a cavity search. “No way. You think Congress would allow that?”

I answered, “If you’re a terrorist, you’re going to hide your weapons in your anus or your vagina.” He blushed when I said “vagina.”

“Yes, but starting tomorrow, we’re going to start searching your crotchal area”—this is the word he used, “crotchal”—and you’re not going to like it.”

“What am I not going to like?” I asked.

“We have to search up your thighs and between your legs until we meet resistance,” he explained.

“Resistance?” I asked.

“Your testicles,” he explained.

‘That’s funny,” I said, “because ‘The Resistance’ is the actual name I’ve given to my testicles.”

The agents go on to explain that the ramped-up pat-downs are actually intended to force embarrassed passengers into the scanners, rather than to up the chances of catching underwear contraband. Goldberg also has a follow-up post from his return flight.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

3 Comments for New TSA Pat-Down Techniques: ‘You’re Not Going to Like It’

Hotel Redondo Beach 11.01.10 | 3:47 PM ET

I got stuck in the naked machine, it was a terribly long process, but the TSA man threatened that it would be much worse if I was given the pat own.  at least with regular medal detectors you can leave things like wallets in your pants.

Chris 11.01.10 | 10:18 PM ET

ˇViva La Resistance!

Rwolf 11.20.10 | 1:55 PM ET

Could TSA Black Ball Americans Using All Forms Of Public Transportation?

A song titled, TSA Boots Are Going To Walk All Over You, might make a great sequel to Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Going To Walk All Over You.”

TSA’s mistreatment, humiliation and general abrasive handling of Americans at airports, may be a portent to Americans (next) getting a Boot in their face if they refuse to be stripped searched, molested or x-rayed before boarding—any form of public transportation; bus, train, cruse ship. It is obvious TSA intends to extend its reach beyond airports; that TSA will blackball Americans from using other forms of public transportation, including preventing Citizens from driving beyond highway checkpoints, for alleged security reasons. TSA appears headed toward shutting down Americans’ Right To Travel Freely in their own Country.

The Nazis used national emergency as a premise to repeatedly target, search and detain Germans boarding or taking trains considered political dissidents or morally unfit; Citizens were intentionally delayed by police/military so they would be late or miss work. As a result many Citizens lost there jobs and could not survive.

TSA’s physical searches of air passengers’ private body parts, is intimidating passengers to submit to x-rays scans. Continued Low Radiation Exposure is Accumulative and believed to cause Cancer. Americans need to draw a line in the sand; Boycott airlines: that would get TSA’s attention and stockholders of airlines. Meanwhile, not just pilots and flight attendants,  “ordinary air passengers” should also be afforded privacy when physically searched at public airports.

The government intends to invade your bedroom. The government purchased hundreds’ of X-Ray Vans that will travel our streets without warrants, x-ray scan, see Americans naked when walking, standing, riding their bike and may—retain your scan-photos.

Government/police will use x-ray vans to peer though Citizens’ homes and vehicles, exposing Americans and their families to radiation; government will view Citizens in their bedrooms. Americans need to ask Obama if independent studies were conducted to determine if Citizens could develop Cancer, if (repeatedly bombarded) by police X-ray scans. It is expected government/police with or without a warrant, will repeatedly X-ray scan a person of interest, in his or her home.

Obama’s X-Ray Vans can ALSO be used by the military or police to secure perimeters to control civil unrest and instances of revolt, to screen and stop Citizens carrying guns, cameras; any item.  Does Obama expect Americans to revolt?

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