TSA Graduates from Groping to Slut-Shaming

Even in the current season of alphabet-soup scandals (IRS, NSA, DOJ), The Transportation Security Adminstration (TSA) is arguably the most-reviled and least-respected of all government agencies. Here's more fuel on that fire.

Mark Frauenfelder, the editor in chief of Make magazine and one of the founders of BoingBoing, writes that a TSA screener at LAX took it upon himself to instruct his 15-year-old daughter on how to dress.

She is traveling with a group of high school students on a college tour and we were not with her when he verbally abused her.

Here's what happened, as my daughter described it in text messages to us: she was at the station where the TSA checks IDs. She said the officer was "glaring" at her and mumbling. She said, "Excuse me?" and he said, "You're only 15, COVER YOURSELF!" in a hostile tone. She said she was shaken up by his abusive manner.

I'm including the above photo of the outfit my daughter was wearing when the TSA officer shamed her. It doesn't matter what she was wearing, though, because it's none of his business to tell girls what they should or should not wear. His creepy thoughts are his own problem, and he shouldn't use his position of authority as an excuse to humiliate a girl and blame her for his sick attitude.

The incident happened yesterday morning.

My wife and I met with the TSA at LAX and they are opening an investigation. The supervising officer we met with, Officer Murphy, was apologetic, concerned, and professional. He cc'd me on his incident report to his manager and it looks like they are taking this seriously, which is good to know.

More, including updates as they happen, here.

As someone who flies basically every week, I've seen my share of unprofessional TSA behavior, but it usually involves workers hanging out, flirting or goofing with each other, and ignoring passengers (the low point came once at Reagan National Airport where a couple of workers were snapping the bra straps of each other through their uniforms). But I've never heard of an agent actively insulting what someone was wearing until this.

I can appreciate how difficult it must be to ensure professional behavior in an agency that employs over 65,000 people. Despite the relatively high wages offered by TSA, the agency has been reduced to advertising for workers on gas pumps and pizza boxes, according to a 2011 congressional report that concluded the TSA had not actually increased the safety of air travel. As with any franchise operation that tries to enforce and guarantee the same customer experience in any given branch location, that's why training and ongoing supervision is so important. Of course, with most franchises - McDonald's, say, or Starbucks - you can always walk out if you don't like the way you're being treated. There's no right of exit from TSA checkpoints, which only leaves voice and loyalty.

Watch "44 Ways to Say TSA" to learn what the initials TSA really stand for:

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  • Rich||

    The supervising officer we met with, Officer Murphy, was apologetic, concerned, and professional. He cc'd me on his incident report to his manager and it looks like they are taking this seriously

    Then surely Officer Murphy will shortly be informing you of Officer Coveryourself's termination.

  • Ted S.||

    The people who want the terrorists to win are the ones who continue to do things that have done nothing to make us safer.

  • Fluffy||

    The TSA, and the Obamacare "community health care adviser" hires, only make sense as make-work jobs programs.

    I don't think anyone really believes they're sensible. But they soak up otherwise unemployable people out of the labor pool, so SUCCESS!

  • grey||

    I was never convinced the TSA's purpose was to make 'us' safer. From day one it looked like a new government employment act. There was no reason, given the events of 9/11, that the airlines themselves (who I contract with for my travel needs) could not handle any safety upgrades. Customers were demandning higher safety, the airlines would have delivered real safety upgrades.

  • Inigo M.||

    No, no, no! If the increase in safety were entrusted to those nasty, evil, profit-seeking CORPORASHUNS, then you can be sure they would have done something insensitive such as profiling. Next thing you know, only males between the ages of 16 and maybe 40, traveling alone, regardless of their apparent ethnic origin, would be singled out for a bit of extra scrutiny. Teenage girls, babies, and grandmas would be passed right through as being extremely unlikely to be Islamist extremist bent on destruction. You can't have that! It's not FAIR to grope college-aged Mahmud unless you also grope Grandma Mildred.

  • Mr Whipple||

  • SIV||

    JB not CP

  • Mr Whipple||

    JB is OK as long as it is not HC.

  • ||

    If the TSA trying to cover up hot jailbait doesn't get this country aroused to action I don't know what will. Are we doomed to lie limp before authority forever?

  • Enough About Palin||

    She does look a bit slutty.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Really? Looks more like she just didn't give a crap to me.

    Whatever. "TSA" stands for neither "fashion police" or "lasciviousness control."

  • Les||

    Right? And she's not even wearing her headscarf!

  • Jordan||

    Fuck the TSA. Every time I opt out of the rape scanner, they punish me by making me wait while half their staff stands around and chats.

  • MJGreen||

    Yep. On my latest trip, they were alternating between rape scanner and metal detector. They went back to scanner before I got up front. They told me to wait and I said I don't want to use the scanner. They nodded and almost immediately started waving people through the metal detector. I tried to go ahead, and they stopped me. I had to wait for one of their lazy asses to come pat me down.

    This was after waiting in line for about 40 minutes, at least 15 of which was in the last stretch of the line as they tried to work the scanner.

  • sarcasmic||

    I would.

  • Les||

    Nobody cares. Very least of all, those with whom you would.

  • sarcasmic||

    When I want your opinion I'll take a shit. Thank you, please come again.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It's possible that I hate the term "slut-shaming" more than I hate the TSA.

  • Ted S.||

    I'd have guessed you're used to being shamed by now.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I don't give a shit about the act. I hate the term.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Freedom isn't enough. They also have to control what you think about that freedom.

  • Aloysious||

    Here's a response I would suggest that has worked for me in the past (have not; however, had a chance to use it on TSA goons): "Coming from you, that comment means absolutely nothing."

  • ||

  • sarcasmic||

    I want to marry her. Shit. I'm already married with children. Oh well.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Her?

  • ||

    Really? She's as obnoxious as shit with her speaking mannerisms and I agree with her completely on the subject. I think we should commission Megyn Kelly to recite her story instead. Even an extremely pregnant Megyn Kelly.

  • Brendan||

    This.

    What I've watched of her, I agree with her on principle, practice, and even like how she describes it, BUT her cadence and mannerisms make it impossible to watch more than about 5 minutes of her.

    I can sit through hours of videos if the speaker or content is balanced. I appreciate zany, whacky, loud than quiet, but in small doses. You can't bounce around the screen with your voice constantly rising and falling and make me do anything but click away.

  • Killazontherun||

    Eh, she's an absolute delight; I like everything about her.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    They hate us for our freedoms.

  • MOFO.||

    That someone made a snide comment about her clothing choices seems like small fry to me. Im not saying its right, mind you, but if your expecting me to get incensed that some politically connected hipster's daughter got slighted at the airport, not going to happen. Barely even rates a comment, let alone faux outrage.

  • NeonCat||

    And yet here you are.

  • Paul.||

    A TSA agent once got pissy with me because *in my best German accent* my paperwork wasn't in order... or something.

    I gave him a very neat stack of two boarding passes and two passports, one for me, one for my daughter. Not sure what he was pissed about, but he seemed confused by the two boarding passes on top of the two passports, asked me where something was (I don't remember which) and I simply stared at him and pointed to the neatly formed stack of documents in his hand.

    That seemed to satisfy him and after inspecting my stuff I was sent on my way.

    God I fucking hate the low IQ-havin' motherfuckers at the TSA.

  • Vjklander||

    Easy solution: Close down the TSA.

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