Friday, 03 June 2011

Woman Accuses TSA Agent of Molestation at Airport

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The public outcry against the privacy violations of Transportation Security Administration agents continues to be impassioned. This week, an unsettling video of a woman undergoing TSA screening at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport went viral, once against drawing attention to the various unconstitutional endeavors being undertaken at airports nationwide.

After experiencing a TSA enhanced pat-down, the woman begins to scream and lament, calling for the police and accusing the agent of “molesting” her. She demands the arrest of the agent: “I want a police officer now! Now! I want a police officer. She [the agent] just molested me!”

As the video progresses, the woman grows more intense and begs for someone to “help me.” She proceeds to tell the agent that what she is doing is illegal and yells, “You can’t do that!

The video reveals that the encounter goes on for approximately a minute and a half before another TSA agent ushers away the man recording the incident.

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The Blaze notes that this is not the first time a member of the TSA has been accused of “molestation.” In April, former Miss USA Susie Castillo accused an agent of molestation while going through security in Dallas. She posted a blog regarding the encounter with the agent at DFW airport:

Anyway, after “opting out [of the naked body scanner],” I proceeded to follow a very nice older female TSA employee to the “pat down” area. It was an inconvenience, but I thought, “No biggie. I just went through this at LAX for the first time and it wasn’t too bad, so let’s just get it over with.”

Well, this pat down was completely different. It was MUCH MORE invasive than my first one at LAX, just a week before. To say that I felt invaded is an understatement. What bothered me most was when she ran the back of her hands down my behind, felt around my breasts, and even came in contact with my vagina! Honestly, I was in shock, especially since the woman at LAX never actually touched me there. The TSA employee at DFW touched [my] private area 4 times, going up both legs from behind and from the front, each time touching me there. Was I at my gynecologist’s office? No! This was crazy! [Emphasis in original.]

According to Castillo, “I have never felt more violated in my life than I did that morning at DFW, and I’ve heard of others feeling the same way after these ‘pat downs.’”

Castillo went on to file a formal complaint with the TSA, which she posted on her blog. She also encouraged others to stand up to the privacy intrusions at the airport. “We as individuals have to speak up and protect our liberty,” she wrote.

Donna D’Errico, a former Baywatch actress who has posed for Playboy, made similar accusations against the TSA, contending that she was deliberately targeted to walk through the naked-body scanners as a result of her looks.

D’Errico explained:

It is my personal 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.

Though passengers are supposed to be provided a choice of going through the body scanner or undergoing an extensive pat-down by a TSA agent, D’Errico indicates she was not offered a choice.

The invasive procedures taking place at the airport have provoked ire from passengers, prompting violence in some cases.

Last November, passenger John A. Christina punched a TSA officer after passing through the naked-body scanner.

According to John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees — which hopes to represent the Transportation Security Administration — the American reaction to the TSA is a result of a lack of information available to the general public regarding the necessity for such stringent procedures:

This absence of information has resulted in a backlash against the character and professionalism of TSOs based on a few widely reported but largely ill-founded claims repeated over and over agan by the media. Like all Americans, TSOs deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. These men and women are as the first line of defense against those who seek to harm this country.