Thanksgiving Travel: Trump's Holiday Gift Is More Invasive Airport Security

Authored by James Bovard, op-ed via,

Federal groping-on-steroids is not making flying safer. TSA is a farce and a menace, and should be privatized...

On the campaign trail last year, Donald Trump derided the Transportation Security Administration as a “total disaster.” But his administration is making TSA more intrusive and abusive while its 42,000 screeners remain as incompetent as ever. 

New TSA screening guidelines will likely make Thanksgiving travel a disaster for legions of Americans  - and the worst is yet to come.

Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, TSA announced more "comprehensive" pat-down procedures which the Denver airport suggested might involve “more intimate contact than before.” TSA preemptively notified local police to expect potential complaints, and plenty of travelers are howling: 

*Jenna McFarlane, a 56-year old teacher and graphic designer, was traveling out of Charlotte, N.C., in April when a TSA agent repeatedly told her “to spread my legs wider” and proceeded to “touch my vagina four times with the side of her hand,” as she complained to TSA afterwards. She was selected for a vigorous patdown after an unreliable TSA test gave a false explosive alert for her carry-on baggage.


*Hollywood reporter and author Sharon Waxman complained this summer about an aggressive female TSA agent who “placed both hands around my legs and slowly - very slowly - rubbed up and down. The touching went all the way up to my groin. My private parts were touched by the edge of her hand, twice.” The TSA agent rested her hands on Waxman’s chest much longer than necessary to check for weapons. Waxman groused: “The TSA screening felt like nothing less than physical assault. If anyone other than a government officer had done anything of the kind, I would have reported it as a crime.”


*David Stavropolous complained that a TSA agent doing a search at Chicago O’Hare  airport jammed his hand into Stavropolous' groin so hard that it caused bleeding and will require surgery to correct, according to Chicago's NBC station and his lawsuit against TSA.

But there is a ray of hope: TSA’s screeners may soon lose the legal immunity that has shielded all their abuses. Federal judge James Cacheris okayed a lawsuit by Captain James Linlor, an airline pilot, who complained that a TSA agent at Washington Dulles International Airport “rammed his hands into (his) genitals ... and subsequently laughed.”

TSA asked the court to dismiss Linlor’s case because, instead of suing, he could have phoned in his complaint to the TSA Contact Center. TSA also insisted that its screener deserved legal immunity even if he did pummel Linlor’s private parts. The judge scoffed at the government’s inference that “a reasonable federal officer would be surprised to learn that gratuitously striking an individual in the groin while searching them violates the Fourth Amendment.” The case is proceeding.

Federal groping-on-steroids is not making flying safer. In June, KMSP-TV in Minneapolis reported that a TSA Headquarters Evaluation Team succeeded 95% of the time in smuggling weapons and mock bombs past airport screeners. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general notified Congress that TSA screeners and equipment had recently failed to detect mock threats "in the ballpark" of 80% of the time, ABC News reported this month. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., declared that TSA is “broken badly.”

TSA has never bothered examining whether its tactics actually protect the public. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in September that “TSA does not measure deterrence (impact) for any of its aviation security countermeasures.”  Instead, the agency imposes burden after burden upon American travelers based on hunches.

Other Trump policies could soon blight millions of Americans’ travel plans. Starting Jan. 22, TSA may reject drivers’ licenses from many states that fail to comply with the REAL ID Act of 2005 (formerly one of the Tea Party’s most hated edicts). Travelers without passports from New York, Michigan, Illinois and other states could be barred from flying domestically, according to information on a DHS website.

Previous TSA intrusion - even its strip-search scanners - are chump change compared to the agency’s next anti-privacy bombshell. The Electronic Frontier Foundation warned Nov. 9 that TSA plans to use facial recognition systems to track travelers through airports after extracting far more biometric data from them. Such a regime could also easily be deployed in public places throughout the nation. If that happens, the feds could quickly identify every person who shows up to #Resist.

If Donald Trump had to pass through a typical TSA gauntlet twice a week, the agency would not survive his Twitter onslaught. For 16 years, Washington bureaucrats and political appointees have promised to reform TSA so that it will cease being a farce and a menace. After too many failed fixes, it is time to follow the lead of Canada and European nations and privatize airport security.


nmewn chumbawamba Mon, 11/20/2017 - 21:58 Permalink

So lets see, frequent fliers are from (by and lrage) the big cities, Kalifornia, DC metro & the NE etc.I'll be driving and I'm armed. They should stay at home in their onesies in front of the fire, eating their arugula, sushi and seaweed while discussing "healthcare" with their friends-family over hot cocoa on Facebook or SnapChat ;-) No problem, fuck em I could care less at this point.

In reply to by chumbawamba

MozartIII D.T.Barnum Mon, 11/20/2017 - 20:30 Permalink

Shoot the gopers and the problem will go away! You will be stormed by more gropers, shoot them and your problems go away! Fucking gropers keep coming, now with helicopters. What, is groping a federaly mandated thing to steal more of my stuff....  I defended myself and shot the assulting party, now I am guilty of a crime for defending myself......  What was that probable cause thing about again?  When did I wave my rights to fly on a privatley owned plane?

In reply to by D.T.Barnum

Overfed Mon, 11/20/2017 - 20:18 Permalink

All congresscritters, federal judges, the president and his administration should all be forced to go through TSA screening like everybody else.

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Mon, 11/20/2017 - 20:33 Permalink

I refuse to fly commercial inside the USSA.

And to blame this on Trump is disingenuous! The TSA grew to gigantic proportions under Obama.

I can't believe people allow government employees to touch them, in public, in this manner.

Not only no, OH HELL NO.

FGopher Mon, 11/20/2017 - 20:34 Permalink

TSA is security theater created by politicians to remind Americans that the government has them by the balls all day, every day. Meanwhile, the male jihadi in a burka just got waved past the security checkpoint.

cherry picker Mon, 11/20/2017 - 20:40 Permalink

What they need to do is get the Hell's Angels high and drunk and send them on a plane somewhere.After that, the TSA may think twice about who they are groping and how.

moorewasthebestbond Mon, 11/20/2017 - 20:43 Permalink

My mom was a stewardess in the very early days of jet travel... back when passengers packed pistols and smoked camels. Since at least 9/11, she in a perpetual state of amazement how far we've fallen.

I am Groot Mon, 11/20/2017 - 20:47 Permalink

400+ thefts committed by the TSA, 0 terrorists caught since 9/11. They seem expertly focused on bullying cancer patients, feeling up old ladies with walkers, and busting colostomy bags of old men. The last time I was in an airport in Phili, I was almost cavity searched by the fucking douchebags. Government issued ID, and military ID meant nothing. But let the min wage TSA plantation pickers run guns and drugs though the airports all day long and nobody bats a fucking eye. My local Girl Scout troops would be better at stopping terrorists than these Jerry's Kids.

anonymike Mon, 11/20/2017 - 20:54 Permalink

Hey trumptards, On the campaign trail last year, Donald Trump derided the Transportation Security Administration as a “total disaster.” But his administration is making TSA more intrusive and abusiveTrump is every bit as much of a disappointment for his supporters as Obama was for his. The latter libtards were such incredible fools that only a small fraction rose up against him. Now I'm wondering how big of fools the trumptards are. Its futile to expect any kind of government solution, or solution for government, regardless which branch of the party is directing the pillaging of the people and perpetrating mass murder around the world. The only solution is helping along the self destruction of the evil monsters known as central governments, at all levels beyond the local community. Starve the beast, sow disrespect of it and break its illegitimate victimless laws whenever you can get away with it.If this is new to you, its really easy. Use cash as much as possible to help others evade theft/taxation. Invest in things the criminal gang writ large can't track or take a cut of. When you're sitting at a red light with nobody in sight, think to yourself "good doggy" then run the damn thing. Need some paint ball target practice? Approach traffic cameras from a safe angle or under concealment and do other motorists a favor. Do everything you can to talk or scare all fooled kids out of joining the military goons of the evil empire or law enforcement. Don't fly and starve the beast's fascist airline partners. If you have to fly, save up a good fart for that tsa pervert when they get too close and personal.We need legions of people doing these things and much more. Remember, we outnumber them more than 100 to 1.

Grandad Grumps Mon, 11/20/2017 - 21:10 Permalink

There has to be a way for the unhirable with no skills to get income... and they are training us to be compliant. I thinkthat what they do not realize is that like a repressed kid who goes to college may go overboard when they get their, repressing society through threat of force will have some unpreictable consequences.

.. Or maybe, that is what they are hoping for ... SNAP!

Dave from Oz Mon, 11/20/2017 - 21:26 Permalink

The doom of any society is when the elites manage to insulate themselves completly from the troubles of the middle classes. The commons don't revolt - revoution always forments among the educated middle who have free time. That's why totalitarianisms are always so keen to wipe them out. You can pat down as many proles as you want, as invasively as you like, but once you start doing it to the comfortably-off, especially to women, expect trouble. 

rejected Mon, 11/20/2017 - 21:46 Permalink

New TSA screening guidelines will likely make Thanksgiving travel a disaster for legions of Americans  - and the worst is yet to come. They deserve it!  All they had to do was stop flying for a short while,,, The TSA would not exist.  But Nooooo... not Stupidous Americanus.So if mumsy, popsy and kiddies get felt up, it's their doing. No sympathy from me no matter how 'invasive' it gets. Damn single digit  IQ slugs.Edit,,, And all the females accusing male of improper sexual contact 30 years afterwords allow these government veggies to do whatever they want.... LOL.