TSA Worker ‘Smacked Me In My Testicles’ For Refusing Body Scan
Illustrating once again how the TSA is handing out arbitrary punishments for people who exercise their right to opt out of radiation-firing body scanners, frequent flier Steven deForest described how he had his testicles “smacked” by a TSA screener for refusing to go through the scanner.
While traveling through Las Vegas, deForest chose to opt out of a naked body scanner and was told to wait in a glass holding box.
“A bulky young TSA agent came over to pat me down,” deForest told author Christopher Elliott. “He told me to turn around. He was using his command voice, barking orders. I told him that I wasn’t comfortable turning away from my luggage, which had already been screened, and wanted to keep it in my sight.”
The agent issued more orders — “Stay there, I didn’t tell you to move!” and “Empty your pockets!” — and deForest says the federal screener seemed irritated that he didn’t obey him without hesitation.
And that’s when deForest says he was punished. The agent knelt in front of him to conduct a pat-down.
“As he raised his hands he was looking at me,” he says. “Then he gave a quick flick and smacked me in one of my testicles.”
“I can’t over-emphasize the feeling of humiliation, rage, and frustration,” said deForest. “I believe I have a better idea of what a woman feels when she is groped, or worse. I was deliberately assaulted by someone who knew that he could get away with it.”
It seems as though Americans have a choice of punishment when they opt out of the body scanner – either have their genitals squeezed or allow TSA agents to steal their valuables and money.
Last week we reported on TSA screener John W. Irwin, who pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny after he stole $520 dollars from a man as a punishment for the man complaining about his invasive pat down.
The TSA had admitted that it punished travelers who opt out of the body scanner with more invasive pat downs.
As Consumer Traveler’s Charlie Leocha reported, “When meeting with privacy officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA…. I was told unofficially that there were two standards of pat-downs. One for the normal situation where passengers are going through metal detectors and a different pat-down for those who refuse to go through the whole-body scanners.”
“With this latest announcement, TSA admits that it has been clandestinely punishing passengers for refusing to go through the invasive whole-body scans with an even more intrusive aggressive pat-down and that soon those more invasive pat-down will creep from airport to airport,” adds Leocha.
During the height of the national op-out day backlash against the TSA in 2010, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg was told directly by a TSA agent that pat downs were made increasingly invasive not for any genuine security reason, but to make the experience so uncomfortable for the traveler that they would be forced to use the body scanner.
Even being seen to display a “bad attitude” in not instantly complying with the TSA’s obedience training can lead to trouble.
As we reported last month, a TSA screener admitted to a woman traveling through Houston Airport that she was prevented from boarding her flight for retaliatory reasons as punishment for a bad attitude rather than any genuine security threat, after the woman refused to allow TSA agents to test her drink for explosives.
Journalists who have been critical of the TSA have also been targeted for reprisals. CNN reporter Drew Griffin was also put on a TSA watch list immediately after he filed reports critical of the organization back in 2008.
The fact that TSA screeners now fondle and in some cases squeeze people’s genitalia is not only a form of punishment, but also a fairly routine part of the pat down process.
Hundreds of letters of complaint about the TSA’s invasive security procedures which were released last month under the Freedom of Information Act include numerous horror stories about TSA screeners directly touching people’s genitals during pat downs.
Back in May, Fox News host Geraldo Rivera described how he was “manually raped” by a TSA agent who touched his “junk”.
In November 2010, we reported the story of how radio host Owen JJ Stone was told by a TSA screener that his pat down would include the screener putting his hands down Stone’s pants. The TSA worker directly patted down his testicles, penis and backside while his hand was inside Stone’s pants.
Also in November 2010, blogger Erin Chase went public to reveal how she literally had her vagina groped by a TSA screener, who touched both her labia as well as her buttocks and breasts during a pat down.
Former Miss USA Susie Castillo also revealed how a TSA worker touched her vagina during a pat down at Dallas-Fort Worth airport in April 2011 after she refused to go through a body scanner.
Back in April, Republican Congressman Francisco Canseco complained about how a TSA worker grabbed his private parts.
“As he was moving up my leg, he moved his hand aggressively up to my crotch and he hurt me,” Canseco said. “The natural reaction is when someone goes for your crotch and it hurts, you’re going to pull back — and my right arm came down and moved away his hand briskly.”
When Canseco moved away the screener’s hand, the screener characterized the action as an “assault”.
Rape counselors have warned that women who have been sexually assaulted face treatment metered out by TSA screeners that can be “extremely re-traumatizing to someone who has already experienced an invasion of their privacy and their body.” An estimated one in six women in the United States have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape.