Ramirez begins by recounting a highly publicized incident at LAX airport involving actress Donna D’Errico — notorious for her role in Baywatch as well as her Playboy playmate status. While waiting in line at the security checkpoint on her way to Pittsburgh, D’Errico was asked to go through the naked-body scanners. When asked why she had been singled out, the TSA agent responded simply, “Because you caught my eye, and they didn’t.”
Clearly frustrated following the search, D’Errico questioned whether it was mere coincidence that she was selected to go through the naked body scanner at the airport. In her recounting of the story, she explained:
I’m not sure whether they had recognized me or not. If they did, they did not say anything. However, it is my belief that they pulled me aside because they thought I was attractive. After the search, I noticed that the male TSA agent who had pulled me out of line, was smiling and whispering with two other TSA agents and glancing at me. I was outraged.
According to Ramirez, such an inappropriate use of a federal security system is unsurprising, as he has found similar abuses in his past investigations of the United States Border Patrol as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In 2008, Ramirez compiled a 700-page report entitled, “Unjustifiable and Impeachable: an FOBP Report on DHS, DOJ, and the Courts,” wherein he put together a number of exhibits displaying sexual abuse at federal agencies, what Ramirez refers to as DHS’s “dirty little secret.”
For example, Ramirez’s report addresses “a well-known sex ring operating within U.S. Customs and Border Protection.” Citing a number of specific cases relevant to the sex ring, Ramirez reveals the types of behaviors that take place at the CBP that would otherwise be treated as criminal offenses — cases of sexual harassment and sexual abuse:
Despite the mounting evidence of misconduct at the CBP, however, disciplinary action is rarely if ever employed in any of the cases. In fact, most of those accused of sexual harassment or sexual charges, and those involved in the coverups — including including Ray Kelley, who now serves as Commissioner of the New York Police Department — are promoted to higher positions.
Without proper disciplinary action, some of the most undeserving federal agents are permitted to retire with full pay and benefits.
Ramirez notes that the naked-body scanners and the enhanced pat-down procedures are just some items in a pattern of negative behavior that is virtually “being condoned at the highest levels, and clearly there is no accountability” in any case.
He asserts that Congress should have foreseen issues of misconduct at the TSA, particularly once the scanners and enhanced pat-downs were implemented, based on what has been taking place at the Customs and Border Patrol and other federal agencies.
After all, Americans were misled to believe that the naked-body scanners did not store photos until Gizmodo released images of 100 people taken from a U.S. Marshal in a Florida Federal courthouse who had stored more than 35,000 images from a full-body scanner. Prior to the release of the images, the TSA insisted that it was impossible to make the images public.
Trust in federal agencies continues to be depleted as such inappropriate behavior continues to be accepted.
Ramirez concludes of the pattern of inappropriate behaviors at agencies such as the TSA and CBP:
Congress should have been doing something about this because here is a problem that happens. When you have a foreign Intel service that is looking at these compromised individuals [such as those officials involved in the sex rings], it’s very easy for foreign governments who have interests that are clearly not in our best interests to gain access and information about individuals running our agencies. So if we have compromises, it’s very easy to see why. Because [the comprised individuals] have set themselves up to be blackmailed and to be used for information.
Until somebody in Congress does something about this, how do we not know that the scanners at airports are not being used for that?