Ring Barers

TSA reveals T&A

The Transportation Security Administration warns that “incidents of female terrorists hiding explosives in sensitive areas are on the rise all over the world.” By “sensitive areas,” the TSA does not mean airplane cockpits or cargo holds; it means breasts and vaginas.

Still, that does not explain why TSA agents at the airport in Lubbock, Texas, forced Mandi Hamlin to remove her nipple rings on February 24, saying she could not board her flight to Dallas until she did so. The removal was a painful and embarrassing process that required the use of pliers and elicited snickers from the screeners.

It was also contrary to the policy described on the TSA’s website, which says passengers with body piercings may have to undergo “additional screening for a pat-down inspection” if their intimate jewelry sets off the walk-through metal detector. In Hamlin’s case it didn’t, and she says it never has. Instead she was selected for secondary examination at random, and the screener’s wand reacted to her nipple rings. Hamlin explained the situation and offered to show a female screener her breasts in private to verify that the nipple rings were not explosives or weapons. She was not permitted to do so.

Nor was Hamlin offered the choice implied by the TSA’s website, which says “you may ask to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to a pat-down search.” Hamlin says she would have preferred a pat-down but was never given the option.

An internal investigation nevertheless concluded that TSA personnel “properly followed procedures.” At the same time, the agency said, “TSA has reviewed the procedures themselves and agrees that they need to be changed.” From now on, it promised, “TSA will inform passengers that they have the option to resolve the alarm through a visual inspection of the article in lieu of removing the item in question.”

The TSA may also have to tweak its procedures for passengers with feeding tubes. In March a screener at the Orlando International Airport forced a teenaged traveler to unseal his backup feeding tube, contaminating it and putting his life at risk. After press inquiries, the TSA apologized and opened an investigation.

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  • Elemenope||

    Senior Editor Jacob Sullum wonders why TSA screeners are so worried about nipple rings.

    Is this really so hard to figure? TSA screeners are primarily drawn from the male members of the population too stupid to figure out how to find free porn online.

    This is the only way they ever get to see or touch a tit.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    TSA screeners are so worried about nipple rings.

    Cuz they want the girls to take their tops off?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    ....TSA does not mean airplane cockpits....

    No, they mean in the box office.

  • ||

    TSA = Thugs, Shitheads, and Assholes.

  • tarran||

    The TSA is the big reason why I generally refuse to fly.

    The TSA makes me feel unsafe:
    1) They disarm law abiding people.
    2) They permit a gang which has to date murdered one innocent and beat up a bunch of other innocents to carry weapons on the plane.
    3) If someone makes it though security with a weapon, they will have a massive advantage in firepower over the aircrew and other passengers
    4) TSA checkpoints are the perfect kill zone for a suicide bomber.

    If terrorist hijackings were the threat the TSA is pretending they were, then only a suicidal fool would fly on an aircraft they are "protecting".

    On the other hand, if they are not the threat that the TSA is pretending they are then only a masochist who likes rough role play would seek out being screened by the TSA.

    Hear that CEOs of the airlines? I am one of many guys with money to burn who won't spend it on your airlines. Enjoy your slides into bankruptcy!

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I came here this morning looking for Reason's take on Alex Kozinski the pornographer.

    Guess this will have to do.

    Or, maybe I skimmed too fast.

    Gotta go back to work now, cheers!

  • Elemenope||

    Hear that CEOs of the airlines? I am one of many guys with money to burn who won't spend it on your airlines. Enjoy your slides into bankruptcy!

    What do they care? Golden parachutes are the name of the game.

  • ||

    twc is correct, I have my nipples pierced, and I'm a man. I flew last week and they ran that little thingy over my body, asked what was under my shirt, i told them i had nipple rings, and they sent me on my way.

  • Elemenope||

    I came here this morning looking for Reason's take on Alex Kozinski the pornographer.

    It got batted around a little bit on some unrelated thread below.

  • Episiarch||

    Not TSA, but: I got randomly pulled for full screening (pawing through luggage, wanding, shoes off) in Charles de Gaulle in Paris by a screener. I never make a fuss about this stuff at the time, even if I hate it, as I know it will do me no good. Plus, I was on my way to Barcelona for vacation and was in a good mood, and they were holding my plane.

    You should have seen the look on the face of the screener when she was done--she seemed amazed I was completely polite and didn't throw a stereotyped American tantrum. I wanted to say to her "baby, you were great compared to the TSA."

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Tarran, I'm with you on avoiding a plane ride at all costs. I'll not make a dent, but it feels good anyway.

    Plus, those are excellent points, some of which hadn't occurred to me before.

    Out in Smell A (los angeles) AM Radio is owned by John & Ken (some of the Reason folks have been on the show). Those guys raged for weeks on end to get rid of the "Hamburger Flippers" that worked security and replace them with the TSA who would hire professionals.

    As you have mentioned the TSA clowns can't even flip hamburgers.

  • ed||

    TSA = Thugs, Shitheads, and Assholes.

    As opposed to elitist snobs on H&R?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Thanks Elemenope

  • ||

    Regular's comment proves that it's pretty random as to what will happen to you depending on which TSA employee you get. Just like calling the IRS with a question you can get ten different answers.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Me & Mrs TWC got tagged in Vegas once because she lost her driver license. Truthfully, it was a break for us because we got to go through a special area and didn't have to wait in the long line.

    The TSA guys were polite and it wasn't all that bad. [ducks a thrown brick]

    However, things may have gone differently for us had the TSA found the stickers I got from Drew Carey that said:

    I love being treated like a criminal by the TSA.

    Picture here.

    Fortunately they were zipped into a side pocket and the screener didn't look.

  • Gill||

    While at National airport, I got sent into a line behind a blind guy with a service dog. The TSA guy first wanted him to remove the collar from the dog, so that the dog could pass through the metal detector. The blind guy then proceeded to instruct the TSA guy how other airports give the dog a pat-down, then let him go through.
    Afterward the TSA guy told his TSA lackies how he almost punched the dog, because he had been bitten 8 times by dogs in the past. Good times!

  • Bingo||

    TWC: Do they sell that on a shirt at all?

  • Rhywun||

    it's pretty random as to what will happen to you depending on which TSA employee you get



    But your chances of getting "extra attention" surely go way up if you're an attractive woman. So it's not quite random.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Bingo, they might. Drew Carey had these printed up and was giving them away at a Reason event we attended in Las Vegas where he was a speaker.

    You could DL the picture and then have it put on a tee shirt I'm sure. Cafe Press will do it on a per item basis. I'm sure there's dozens of other places that will do it as well.

  • ||

    This article is kind of pointless now that TSA is implementing body scanners that can see through clothing and give them a good view of your private areas and get a good look at any piercings...
    oh but they blur your face so its all good.

    Link and here

  • ||

    Just what I was about to say, ChiTom.

    They're gonna make us strip naked soon. We'll be told to take off our shoes and everything else, and we'll receive them back once we arrive at our destination.

    I'll just paste the rant I left this morning at Radley's...

    Ok, so we have to pay through the nose for our tickets and pay for our baggage, and we're only allowed one carry-on but we can't have anything in it, and we're going to be asked to virtually strip before having to sit in uncomfortable, bored silence for the journey, during which we can pay $5 for mini coke and sorry we don't have any pretzels.

    That's it. I'm just never going to fly again. I spent the first 20 years of my life criss-crossing the oceans several times a year, perfectly safe, comfortable (except for the smoke), entertained, and in the presence of pleasant staff. Remember coming back to the US and the Immigration officer would say, "Welcome home"? Remember applauding the pilot for a smooth landing?

  • LarryA||

    The removal was a painful and embarrassing process that required the use of pliers and elicited snickers from the screeners.

    Thereby fulfilling its purpose.

    Last time I flew my cousin left her jackknife in her carryon. Luckily she didn't figure it out until after we landed and were out of the TSA's clutches.

    Whenever I fly I take along my concealed handgun. Checking it in seems to fulfill the TSA hassle requirement, so I've never suffered further indignities.

  • Episiarch||

    Checking it in seems to fulfill the TSA hassle requirement

    What's the procedure for that?

  • ||

    "By "sensitive areas," the TSA does not mean airplane cockpits or cargo holds; it means breasts and vaginas."

    This may just be the 11 year old boy in me... but, yeah, I lol-ed.

  • ||

    Checking it in seems to fulfill the TSA hassle requirement

    What's the procedure for that?


    I check long guns all the time. Separate, locked luggage, with no ammo in that piece of luggage. I also pull the bolt and keep it with the ammo. The check-in people make you open the case, and put in an orange card that says, yep, its a gun.

    For pistols, I dunno.

  • unthinking||

    Amerikkka is a MADHOUSE.

  • Nick_M||

    ...nipple...
    ...The TSA may also have to tweak its procedures...


    Haha.

  • LarryA||

    Checking it (concealed handgun) in seems to fulfill the TSA hassle requirement

    What's the procedure for that?


    1. Unload the gun, including the magazine. (Not in the airport. Somewhere discreet.)

    2. The gun needs to be in a locked, hard-sided container. Either a plastic gun box with a padlock or a locked hard-sided suitcase. You can have a small amount (under 11 pounds, which is quite a lot) of ammo with the gun, but it has to be in a manufacturer's box or similar container.

    3. Take your suitcase to the ticket counter. You can't leave it at the sidewalk check-in. Don't enter the security area metal detectors yet!

    4. Tell the ticket agent the bag contains a gun. He will hand you a tag to sign saying the gun is unloaded. Once you sign he'll place it on the gun or gun box inside the suitcase.

    5. You will be directed (or escorted, depending on airport layout) to the TSA screening area. The screeners will be expecting you.

    6. Instead of dumping your suitcase in the pile with the others, they'll handle it immediately. They may have you open everything, or just run the suitcase through the machine. If you don't have a gun box, you'll lock your suitcase.

    6. You get it back at the destination carousel, along with everyone else's.

    More info at the TSA site. Also check the policies on your airline's website.

  • Airline Pilot||

    Sure, the TSA has a well earned reputation for idiocy. I see it every day. However, Is the TSA really that bad when judged by the very low standard of being a federal agency?

    Check out this spoof:
    TSA Gangstaz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7AWw7t5zj0

  • nfl jerseys||

    krgf

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