Mom Arrested After Refusing TSA Nudie Scan For Daughter

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I’m writing this from sunny Venice, California, where my husband and I are staying with friends while my brother has (God bless him!) agreed to watch our kids.

As much as I’m glad to be away from home, we did have to fly from D.C. to California and airline travel is an increasingly unpleasant experience. That’s largely thanks to the TSA. When they’re not hiding passengers’ stolen iPads in their pants, they’re rooting around in yours. I remember I was flying through Baltimore last fall when TSA changed their, uh, “security procedures.” (I feel the scare quotes are necessary because the TSA has failed to catch a single terrorist, but they’ve missed plenty along the way!) After being gate raped for the first time, I called my husband from the airport upset and completely shocked by how invasive the new procedure was. My husband somehow had miraculously escaped the groping until our recent flight to California two days ago where he got lucky; not surprisingly, it was less traumatic for him — though hardly pleasant. Then again, he’s 6’5″ and I imagine TSA agents are little more wary of angering him than more vulnerable women.

In any event, this was all fresh in my mind when I read this story about a mother who was arrested getting angry and telling rubber-gloved federal agents that she didn’t want her young daughter “crotch-grabbed“:

The trouble started on Saturday after Andrea Fornella Abbott refused to go through the airports body scanning device, The Tennessean reported.

“(Abbott) told me in a very stern voice with quite a bit of attitude that they were not going through that X-ray,” security officer Sabrina Birge told police.

Birge said she told Abbott that the machine was “not an X-ray” and “10,000 times” safer than her cell phone.

“I still don’t want someone to see our bodies naked,” Abbott fumed, according to police.

Allegedly, the woman was swearing and generally uncivil, which is probably exaggeration from TSA agents but is never a good strategy to deploy around testy and powerful civil servants. But still, I feel this lady’s pain. I don’t want people molesting or looking at nudie-scan pics of me, and that goes double for my young daughters. And considering she was arrested for trying to video what was happening to her, this is just not a high point for TSA and freedom.

Also, be wary of TSA claims that their scanners are safer than cell-phones and not an X-ray. This has been a source of some controversy. Earlier this year, Wired reported that “The Transportation Security Administration is re-analyzing the radiation levels of X-ray body scanners installed in airports nationwide, after testing produced dramatically higher-than-expected results.”

The TSA claimed the results were merely a calculation error, but that doesn’t inspire confidence. And while strictly speaking, TSA scans may not be X-rays, they do involve radiation. My husband actually chose to have the Freedom Grope (TM) rather than subject the his sperm count to the radiation for this very reason. And kids are much more sensitive to radiation than adults. I’m not saying you should keep your kids from going through the airport scanner (although you should refuse on principle), but we should be honest about the risks involved.

And for the final outrage, I would note that the TSA recently became unionized. Aside from the fact that unionized government workers are too often nearly immune from enforcement of basic standards and ethics, if a TSA agent does molest your daughter that means his legal defense will now be paid for out of union dues that are taken directly from his taxpayer paid salary that you’re subsidizing. America, [expletive redacted] Yeah!