Warning that "incidents of female terrorists hiding explosives in sensitive areas are on the rise all over the world," the Transportation Security Administration says "this scenario must be addressed at our nation's airports." 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, 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 the snickers of TSA screeners.
On its website, the TSA 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. But in Hamlin's case it didn't, and she says it never has. Instead she was selected for secondary examination at random (or by whatever mysterious criteria the TSA uses), and her nipple rings made the screener's wand beep. 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 she offered the choice the TSA advertises on its website:
You may be additionally screened because of hidden items such as body piercings, which alarmed the metal detector. If you are selected for additional screening, you may ask to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to a pat-down search.
Hamlin wanted the pat-down, but she was never given the option. "In response to her complaint," CNN reports, "TSA's customer service manager in Lubbock concluded the screening was handled properly." It's bad enough when the TSA adopts inconvenient, invasive, yet ineffective procedures that seem designed mainly to create the illusion of security. It's worse when passengers can't even count on it to follow its own stupid policies.
[via The Freedom Files]