Former TSA screener claims officers ‘laugh’ at passengers’ naked scans

Former TSA screener claims officers ‘laugh’ at passengers’ naked scans

It is an account by one former TSA employee and, hence, should probably be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. Nevertheless in light all the abuse the Transportation Security Administration has admitted to, the story is at least worth considering.

At a blog titled Taking Sense Away, the anonymous ex-screener maintains that his fellow officers would routinely yuck it up over the “nude” images of passengers who were required up until recently to submit to the full body scanners. A decision to scrap the invasive machines was made in September, and in most airports they are now a thing of the past.

But the alleged record of the staff’s behavior when glimpsing the images is very much a matter of the here and now. The former worker writes:

In the I.O. [image operator] room, I witnessed light sexual play among officers, a lot of e-cigarette vaping, and a whole lot of officers laughing and clowning in regard to some of your nude images, dear passengers. Things like this are what happens (at the very least) when you put people who are often fresh out of high school or a GED program (although there are actually a few TSA screeners with PhDs, which I guess is sad on so, so many levels) with minimal training and even less professionalism, into the position of being in charge of analyzing nude images of people in a hermetically sealed room.

The most ridiculous thing is that these I.O. rooms even exist, to begin with. The backscatter machines are useless, as I and many, many others have previously pointed out. They should never have been put into use to begin with; TSA officers should never have been viewing nude, radiation-rendered images of passengers in those private rooms, period. That’s why there are federal lawsuits pending against TSA (Ralph Nader, Bruce Schneier, et al) and why TSA is trying to backpedal and sweep the radiation scanners under the rug away from oversight committees and the public at large, as quickly as possible, right now. The entire thing was, as usual, a hare-brained, tax payer money-wasting, disaster of an idea.

In a subsequent post, the whistleblower confirms a long-held suspicion that TSA screeners are prone to punish passengers who display “an attitude” by subjecting them to pointless bag searches. The screener also notes that some of the agency’s policies, such as banning snow globes, are absurd. He writes:

The entire ban on snow globes was just another of the many intelligence-insulting rules that I was often forced to follow during my time at TSA. Imagine having to look, year after year, into the faces of innocent children and tell them and their parents that their Pretty-Princess-in-a-Blizzard snow globe has to go into the trash.

Some of the agency’s more troubling cases of lascivious behavior on the part of its agents are well-documented. They include the reportedly accidental exposure of a woman’s breasts during a vigorous pat-down and the requirement that a woman who one agent remarked had a “cute figure” pass through the nude body scanner three times.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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