Monday, 10 May 2010

The TSA’s Big Lie Exposed

Written by  Michael Tennant

Remember the Transportation Safety Administration’s repeated assurances that their full-body scanners at airports would not show the most intimate details of a person’s anatomy? Well, NBC reported that one of the TSA’s finest has just put the lie to that:

A TSA worker in Miami was arrested for aggravated battery after police say he attacked a colleague who’d made fun of his small genitalia after he walked through one of the new high-tech security scanners during a recent training session.

Rolando Negrin, 44, was busted for assault after things got ugly at Miami International Airport between Negrin and some of his fellow Transportation Security Administration workers on Tuesday.

Sources say Negrin stepped into the machine during the training session and became embarrassed and angry when a supervisor started cracking jokes about his manhood, made visible by the new machine.

This is not the first time a government-issue airport security guard has taken advantage of the opportunities afforded by these scanners for his own amusement. Back in March, according to Britain's Independent, a male worker at London’s Heathrow airport allegedly ogled the images of a female colleague as she passed through a full-body scanner and then made lewd comments to her.

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee was even more insensitive than the TSA, dismissing privacy concerns altogether: “Air passengers already tolerate a large invasion of their privacy and we do not feel that full body scanners add greatly to this situation. Privacy concerns should not prevent the deployment of scanners.”

The Miami incident also demonstrates the attitudes held by our so-called public servants in the TSA:

According to the police report, Negron [sic] confronted one of his co-workers in an employee parking lot, where he hit him with a police baton on the arm and back.

“[Negrin] then told victim to kneel down and say ‘your [sic] sorry,’” the report reads. “Victim stated he was in fear and complied with [Negrin].”

If government security workers will abuse their power to look at people’s naked bodies — a power they should not have in the first place — or beat and demand total submission from those who cross them, and will do this to their own colleagues, who at least can fight back since the government is on their side, how much more likely are they to treat civilians to similar or even worse abuses?

Michael Tennant is a software developer and freelance writer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Photo: AP Images