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Robert Longley

TSA Grants Passengers More Pat-Down Rights

By October 15, 2012

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In the latest phase of the evolution of post 9-11-01 airport security, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) has expanded its list of civil rights afforded to passengers subjected to physical pat-down screenings.

According to the TSA, passengers are required to get a pat-down search when they set off a metal detector or whole-body imaging scanner, or refuse to go through a metal detector or be screened by a whole-body imaging scanner.

Also See: Congress Probes Misconduct by TSA Screeners

In most cases, notes the TSA, you can completely avoid a pat-down search by removing everything - especially everything that even resembles metal -- from your pockets and clothing before you go through the metal detector. TSA also recommends not wearing clothing with a high metal content (like a chainmail vest?) and removing all heavy jewelry before going through the security checkpoint.

What Are Your Rights? If, heaven forbid, you are required to submit to what TSA says calls a "thorough" pat-down search, you have these rights and assurances:

  • The TSA says the pat-down search will be conducted by an officer of your gender. But, notes the TSA, you might have to wait for an officer of your gender to become available.
  • You have the right to request that the pat-down be conducted in a private location that cannot be seen by other passengers, airport employees or the general public.
  • The pat-down search must be witnessed by another TSA officer. In addition, you have the right to have the search witnessed by a travel companion or anyone else of your choice.
  • You have the right to request a chair if you need to sit down.
  • You should tell the TSA officer -- before the pat-down search begins - if you have any physical condition that makes it hard for you raise your arms or to remain in the position for undergoing a pat-down search. You should also tell the officer if you any areas of your body that are painful when touched.
  • Finally, the TSA officer should never ask you to remove or lift any article of clothing to reveal a sensitive part of your body.

If They Find Explosives: In addition to pat-down searches, the TSA now uses technology that tests passengers for traces of explosive material. If the TSA detects explosives or traces of explosives on you or your clothing, you will have to undergo "additional screening." Basically, you're going to be there a while.

Also See: TSA Defends Boarding Gate Drink Checks

What About Children? Responding criticism of its treatment of children in pat-down searches, the TSA now says it will work with parents to resolve any checkpoint alarms without the need for a pat-down. TSA urges parents to ensure that their children have removed all metal items from their pockets before they enter the security checkpoint. The TSA also now states that if a pat-down search is required, children may be given "modified" pat-down search. No description of the "modified" search was provided.

Also See: TSA's New ID, Boarding Pass Scanning System Draws Fire


October 15, 2012 at 7:41 am
(1) Susan Richart says:

What are you? Another TSA shill?

These “rights” are violated every single day by the TSA, especially if they believe they have found someone vulnerable, someone who won’t fight back.

Shame on you.

October 15, 2012 at 8:32 am
(2) thak says:

why don’t you tell them what happens if they test positive in one of these ETD swab tests? You know, the part where they are taken to the private room with no witnesses, and their genitals are massaged six times, three times up and down, and three times from side to side. That is the procedure, why are you so shy in describing it?

Because in this, the passenger *has* no rights. The ETD swab tests alarms on hand soap, fertilizer, hand lotion, and on any number of commonly used substances. Yet, not ONCE has the ETD swab test yielded explosives. Not once.

October 15, 2012 at 9:18 am
(3) H4zzmatt says:

The fact that you think that the “TSA Grants Rights” explains a lot about the current state of this country. A few more like you and we might as well just give up.

October 15, 2012 at 10:14 am
(4) True North says:

The USA airports are like Mexico— not safe for Canadians.
Go to Europe, it is a lot more fun and they dont grope your balls.

October 15, 2012 at 10:41 am
(5) usgovinfo says:

@Susan: A TSA shill? Heck I’m surprised I’m not on the “No Fly” list.

Congress Probes Misconduct by TSA Screeners


TSA’s New ID, Boarding Pass Scanning System Draws Criticism


TSA Defends Boarding Gate Drink Checks


TSA Now Conducting Random Behavioral Screening


GAO Pans TSA Behavioral Screening Program


Congressman Takes On Rogue TSA Airport Screeners


Among others.

Robert Longley

October 15, 2012 at 11:29 am
(6) LibertyFirst says:

I love to travel, and flew all over the world several times a year. That all came to an abrupt halt as soon as the groping and naked body scanners were put in place.

All this could have been stopped if people refused to fly. It pains me that I can no longer go to Europe or Asia, but I will NOT give up my constitutional rights.

People who continue to fly are the same lemmings that watch Dancing With the Stars with glazed over eyes, drink fluoridated water, and consume high fructose corn syrup and Gmo’s even though its killing them. There is no hope for this country, and it’s only going to get worse because the lemmings go on blindly.

October 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm
(7) panhead20 says:

“Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart.”
Justice Robert Jackson, chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials

I will not subject myself nor my family to needless radiation exposure nor TSA molestation. My family and I will not be flying until the TSA changes these procedures.

T – Terrorists
S – Searching
A – Americans

October 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm
(8) Jus' Me says:
October 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm
(9) Daisymae says:

TSA does not “grant” any rights. Our rights are God-given to all human beings and are defined for us in the Constitution of the United States.

What you are listing is not “rights”. It’s TSA rules and regulations which they routinely ignore. You have the right to a chair? Good luck with that one. You have the right to request a private room for your pat down? Ask Michele Dunaj how well that works. You have the right to have your pat down observed by a traveling companion? I, along with with numerous others, can tell you from personal experience that a traveling companion cannot get anywhere near a fragile disabled traveling companion who is being roughed up by these goons.

Here’s the most heinous part: if you request any of these rights, you will be punished by the screeners. They will retaliate against you.

So let’s not hear any more about TSA granting us “more rights.” All TSA does is violate our rights.

October 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm
(10) Fisher1949 says:

What an insulting piece of propaganda. None of this is true and there have been numerous instances in the last week to debunk these pandering lies entirely. This is blatant pandering to TSA and a disgrace to journalism.

Ask Breitbart Editor Dana Loesch, she was forced into a private pat down and was denied a witness, she posted the video of the TSA refusing her request for a witness on You Tube.

Last week breast cancer survivor, Marcia Deitrick, was molested by TSA in Kansas City last week and was refused a private pat down. A few days later a dying leukemia patient, Michelle Dunaj, was forced to lift her blouse and remove her bandages to expose a feeding tube in full view of other passengers even though she requested that she be taken to a private area. Steven deForest, opted out of the scanner in Las Vegas for undisclosed reasons and was smacked in the testicle by an irate TSA screener in retaliation.

Two weeks ago an ABC sting operation resulted in the arrest of TSA screener Andy Ramirez who stole the iPad from an Orlando checkpoint.

One week earlier, TSA screener at Ft. Lauderdale, Andrew Smeal, was arrested for child pornography. He had been hired by TSA a month before while he was under investigation by the FBI.

Former TSA screener, Pythias Brown, told ABC News that theft is rampant at TSA.

In the past eight months 36 TSA workers were fired or arrested and 66 more disciplined for misconduct. There were 101 TSA workers arrested in the last 24 months including 13 arrested for child sex crimes, over 28 for theft, 12 for smuggling contraband through security and one for murder.

TSA allows a known pedophile, Thomas Harkins to remain employed as a TSA Supervisor in Philadelphia five months after his past was exposed. What kind of agency turns a known child molester loose on our children?

Irresponsible media reporting like this that promotes TSA propaganda is disgraceful. It is slowing reform of this failed agency and making air travel less secure.

October 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm
(11) Anon says:

I’d suggest that anyone that is taken to a private room for screening take a witness. Even if it is a complete stranger.

FYI to women out there – if you wear any lotion or perfumes from Bath and Body Works or Victoria’s Secret you will test positive for explosives. I found out from first hand experience. If what the TSA did to me that day was done by a regular Joe, they’d be in jail for sexual assault. There comes a point when you can’t laugh or make light of their constant violations.

Why is it OK for the TSA Rights to violate our 4th Amendment rights involving search and seizure? TSA violates that every day!

March 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm
(12) Thor says:

You are right in that TSA agents have impunity to molest you when they get you into private screening. I was in the Atlanta airport yesterday and agent Garcia overstepped his bounds with my genitalia. When i asked to speak with a Supervisor, things got worse. TSA Supervisor Weber took over the public screening and things were going fine. Then, in an effort to punish me, I believe that he made up a story about the test for explosives being set off. Then he told me I would have to go through a private screening and “if I didn’t like the public screening, I was surely not going to like the private screening.” I am sure that he did this to make me uncomfortable and, in general, they do this because they do not want you to exercise your right to “opt out” of the radiation screening. He invites the very man in the room about whom I complained in the first place. Then the molestation began, hands all over my genitalia like a date rape. I am the first one to be concerned about security but the behavior of these TSA agents must be reigned in.

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