Another groped victim of TSA....

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by EA Fecto, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. EA Fecto

    EA Fecto Member

    I was traveling alone and in a wheelchair from Washington, DC to Portland, ME. I had to "walk" through the "radiation machine" twice....never heard of that but then, it has been almost 40 years since I have flown and had no idea what the TSA even was other than that they sometimes did patdowns. From what I read, I went through 3 of these patdowns in addition to twice through the radiation. 2 of them involved the groping and even slight penetration in the stories I've been reading. I am filing complaints although I doubt anything will come of it. I am an activist and the TSA was asking tons of questions as to why I was in Washington and what I had done, which hotel I stayed in, etc. Didn't know they could "interrogate", too. Can they legally do so? They said I was a 2-alarm...does anyone know what that means. I asked and kept asking but no one listened or responded. Could that have been the reason they thought they had "probable cause". My wheelchair became an object of real interest- they broke it in the process of removing parts so they could take samples of a supposed "explosive". Asked tons of medical questions. Has anybody made complaints and to who? Results?
  2. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    So sorry for what you went through with the TSA. But now you know and I'd bet that, being an activist, you will be spreading the word far and wide.

    When you make your complaints, please make sure to send copies to your congresspeople.
  3. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Terribly sorry to hear of your ordeal. We have a whole page of contacts here at TUG (Travel Underground) -- scroll down the page to see the list of places where you can make a complaint. Be warned, however, and you probably already know this, that your complaint will go nowhere. But at least you can do it for your own satisfaction and establish a paper trail:

    I am, though, a little confused about this:
    Can you tell us in more detail exactly what happened to you?
  4. EA Fecto

    EA Fecto Member

    I think that what I have explained is enough for my mind to wrap itself around right now. I have PTSD and trying to write out complaints, etc. are definately triggers. Yes, they asked me to walk through (and I am able to walk short distances unassisted) the "radiation" stations (what is the correct word) twice and not knowing any better, I did. I could see my image and the images of other people as they proceeded through the machine as well and yes, they are quite revealing. I thought the "public" wasn't able to view them. I had already gone through the machine (twice now) and a screen was right there in front of me. They kept focusing on my armpit and asked if I'd had any surgical implants there. I responded "no" and offered to show them the lack of a scar. I understand from other flyers that a pat down is just a quick "pat down" of your body where they go swiftly up and down the body. Since apparently they thought I was hiding explosives, the wand literally penetrated my vagina and anus and later, the patdown involved digital penetration (through the clothing) and the hand that had ("enhanced") moved around the waistband of my pants, now dipped lower and could almost reach my labia but not quite. In terms of legalities, the definition of sexual assault in Washington, DC calls that "rape" or "sexual assault" (any penetration through clothing or without clothing). OK must stop now.
  5. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    EA Fecto, welcome Underground!

    I wish you had found us under better circumstances.

    What happened to you is absolutely disgusting, and sadly it happens every day at airports across America. It's vile and barbaric.

    Sex organ groping, "accidental" penetrations, interrogations, forced strip searches, they're all there to make you safe. That's the claim. Regardless of the actions, proper procedure is always allegedly followed.

    That people who institute these policies can't understand what they are doing to their fellow citizens is confounding to me.
  6. EA Facto -- Welcome, and I'm sorry for what you endured. Your story makes me absolutely sick. I don't understand all the details of your story (it sounds like you were in a very confusing situation, hard to know what was going on). But I have a couple thoughts about what I read in your accounts.

    First of all -- you should never, for any reason, have been penetrated. That falls under the FBI's definition of rape. I don't care if it was an accident or not -- there was no reason for the clerk to be so aggressively handling your "sensitive areas". They're not supposed to do it, it is not part of procedure, in as much as they admit their procedures to the public. They do seem to have some "secret" mandates we occasionally hear about -- but even if this is part of a secret playbook, it goes beyond the scope of what they are legally allowed to do, which is administrative searches for weapons, explosives, and incendiary devices. Administrative searches are, by definition, "limited". TSA has been pushing these limits as far as they can, but I don't think anyone has accepted body cavities into the realm of "limited".

    This brings me to my other thought -- in an administrative search, you are under no obligation to answer their questions. They can search you and your belongings for dangerous items, but where you are going and what you are doing is absolutely none of their business. They're not smart enough to know what to do with your answers anyway. Sometimes people are searched more rigorously if they refuse to be interrogated, but it sounds as though you got as rigorous a search as they could do. If you ever fly again and you don't want to answer their questions, you don't have to, no matter what they tell you. I've read where people ask, in response to TSA questions, "Am I legally obligated to answer that question?" The answer is generally a reluctant "no." To the best of my knowledge, they can't keep you off the plane if you don't answer their questions (even if they try to tell you otherwise).

    Unfortunately, there's most likely no recourse for anything that happened to you, except perhaps the broken wheelchair, and even that might be a loss... others might know better how to seek compensation for that one, but in all the stories I've read, only a few get paid back for the damage clumsy clerks cause to their belongings, and the paperwork is often impossibly tricky.

    Finally, if you ever find yourself in one of these situations again and feel that you are being abused, you can ask for a supervisor. You also have the right to a witness, even if it's someone who just comes with you to the checkpoint, not any further. This doesn't always help -- sometimes the supervisor is an evil human being, and a witness won't necessarily prevent you from being abused -- but these are proactive step you can take to attempt to protect yourself.

    I hope you understand you're not alone in having been abused. Lisa Simeone and Fisher1949 have assembled massive lists of shocking stories. Our country is going through a very dark period.
  7. What a horror story. What happened to me was bad, but what happened to EA Fecto was worse. EA Fecto: Here's a big hug, saying, 'you're not alone.' Stay strong. And lets fight these bastards.
    phoebepontiac and barbell like this.

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