Sep 25 2012

“Flying While Handicapped”

Last week the TSA’s Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) held its second meeting since being reconstituted almost a year ago.

As in the past, the latest reincarnation of ASAC remains largely window-dressing, lacking authority, with no civil liberties or privacy experts or consumer advocates among its members, and with a track record of unconcern for transparency in its own operations.

But since the real TSA decision-makers remain walled off from public input or questioning in their “secure” fortress-offices, comments at ASAC meetings sometimes serve as the only available way for members of the public to let the TSA know what we think.

Wendy Thomson has a report on the latest ASAC meeting, the most interesting portion of which was undoubtedly her own testimony about flying while handicapped:

I have an artificial leg. I have joint replacements. I have metal plates. I am cyborg. I used to fly a lot – in my original comments you can tally the 21 airports I have used, many more than once, between 2001 and October 2010. Those dozens upon dozens of flights introduced me to being stripped down to my pantyhose while screeners were asking themselves whether they would require me to get totally naked, all while we were in a makeshift lean-to in Concourse A. I have had hands down my pants. I have had my breasts checked after the MMW screener called out “check her thigh.” I spent 2-1/2 hours in Dallas once insisting that TSA agents could check only what alarmed. Dressed in a similar fashion as I am today, I finally turned and left after the TSA insisted they needed to check my breasts because my right knee-to-ankle set off the metal detector.

I have been so groped and molested in so many ways that I am now properly traumatized. I was actually going to take my leg off at this point and set it up here on the dais, but I am hoping that such an extreme level of theatrics will not be required to garner your attention. I actually did that for several years: before I had these metal plates and joints I figured out that if I merely took this leg off and placed it on the conveyor belt I was not harassed. Leg on: breast and butt fondle, hand swabs, the whole nine yards. Leg off: none of the above. So now I’m thinking that I would need to take this leg off and hop on over to the AIT machine, stand there like a total criminal as the machine tried to figure out what to do when there is someone who doesn’t have two feet to spread their legs.

Spread their legs? Think about that phrase for a minute….

Read Ms. Thomson’s full statement here.