Some TSA Agents Allegedly Targeting 'Sexy' Passengers for Extra Screenings

Gross news alert! A number of women airline passengers claim that TSA agents at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport have been singling out women they deem sexy or attractive to receive "random" extra security screenings.

The local CBS affiliate reports:

A Dallas woman says TSA agents repeatedly asked her to step back into a body scanning machine at DFW International Airport. “I feel like I was totally exposed,” said Ellen Terrell, who is a wife and mother. “They wanted a nice good look.”

When Ellen Terrell and her husband, Charlie, flew out of DFW Airport several months ago, Terrell says she was surprised by a question a female TSA agent asked her. “She says to me, ‘Do you play tennis?’ And I said, ‘Why?’ She said, ‘You just have such a cute figure.’”

Terrell says she walked into the body scanner which creates an image that a TSA agent in another room reviews. Terrell says she tried to leave, but the female agent stopped her. “She says, ‘Wait, we didn’t get it,’” recalls Terrell, who claims the TSA agent sent her back a second time and even a third. But that wasn’t good enough.

After the third time, Terrell says even the agent seemed frustrated with her co-workers in the other room. “She’s talking into her microphone and she says, ‘Guys, it is not blurry, I’m letting her go. Come on out.’”

CBS investigated a number of TSA complaints and found that Terrell's experience was not unusual. Here are some of the quotes the news organization dug up:

“I feel I was targeted by the TSA employee to go through the see-you-naked machine because I am a semi-attractive female.”

“The screener appeared to enjoy the process of picking someone rather than doing true random screening. I felt this was inappropriate. A woman behind me was also 'randomly selected.'”

“When I looked around, I saw that there were only women that were “told” to go through this machine. There were no men.”

Of course the TSA claims that it does not profile passengers, but how can the agency ensure that each and every one of its agents is a good apple? At DFW airport, the no-gender profiling policy certainly seems to have been ignored. And I don't think anyone would be shocked to find out that the practice is more widespread.

Read more at CBS DFW.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at February 16, 2012, 6:00am

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