Travelers' 5 Most Demeaning TSA Horror Stories

As the TSA mulls how to screen passengers "less invasively" (never mind that they shouldn't have been invasive in the first place), and National Opt-Out Day approaches, several new stories have come out illustrating why the TSA's approach to airline safety is not just ineffective -- it's a violation of basic human dignity.

1. TSA agent feels around inside woman's underwear: An ABC News producer says that while traveling recently, a TSA agent stuck a hand inside her underwear. "The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around," she said. "It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist. It was embarrassing. It was demeaning. It was inappropriate."

2. Man has to board plane covered in urine: A retired teacher from Lansing, Michigan, had his urostomy bag torn open by TSA agents during an "enhanced pat-down." The man, a cancer survivor, had to walk through the airport and board a plane while soaked in his own urine.

3. Cancer survivor forced to remove prosthetic breast: A flight attendant going through security in Charlotte, North Carolina, was shocked and horrified when TSA agents forced her to expose and remove her prosthetic breast during a particularly aggressive pat-down.

4. Agents search half-naked 5-year-old child: A father in Utah removed his son's shirt when the boy was (understandably) too shy to be searched by TSA agents. The agency tried to force the man to delete video footage of the incident, but he refused.

5. Pants pulled off senior citizen on his anniversary:A 71-year-old man had his pants pulled down by a TSA agent in a public area so the agent could inspect his knee replacement. The man and his wife were threatened with missing their flight if he didn't comply. The couple were taking off on a trip for their 50th wedding anniversary.

One industrious American has taken it upon himself to make and sell special scanner-blocking underwear to keep TSA agents from seeing your genitals. But what we really need is a stop to the gropings and naked images that are part of the TSA's latest incarnation of security theater.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at November 22, 2010, 5:07am

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