Mom Convicted of "Disorderly Conduct" for Refusing to Let TSA Pat Down Her Daughter


Last Tuesday, Andrea Abbott of Clarksville, Tennessee, was convicted of disorderly conduct for refusing to let Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers pat down her teenage daughter at Nashville International Airport in July 2011. Abbott faced a potential $50 fine and a 30-day imprisonment for her purported crime but instead received a year's probation and a warning from the presiding judge to stay clear of trouble in the future. Abbott's attorney remarked that her client was "disappointed in the verdict."

Assistant District Attorney Megan King argued that Abbott's behavior at the airport caused two security lanes to be temporarily closed turning a one minute security check into a 30 minute procedure. This action "prevented others from carrying out their lawful activities" therefore fulfilling part of the definition of disorderly conduct under state law. Commenting on the verdict, Abbott's defense attorney Brent Horst noted, "Since 9/11 we're losing a lot of freedom and we have to draw the line somewhere."

Consumer advocate Chris Elliott, writing in The Huffington Post, suggests that it has become

Difficult to find a court in the land that is willing to stand up to the TSA, even on something as small as allowing the public to comment on regulatory rulemaking. Back in September, a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the electronic Privacy Information Center's petition to enforce the court's own order on requiring public comments about the full-body scanners. To some, it looked as if the court told the TSA it had to follow the law and then said, "Oh, never mind"

 TSA violations and complaints are a regular occurrence in the news cycle:

  • In October 2012 the TSA at Sea Tac Airport was accused of humiliating a leukemia patient by publicly forcing her to lift up her shirt and check under her bandages after she was refused a private search.
  • In 2010 it was found out that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was lying about the safety of X-ray scanners as records dating back to 1998 found that machines could be giving up to 100 people cancer every year.
  • In 2010 the TSA also claimed that no children under 12 years old were receiving pat-downs despite video evidence to the contrary.
  • Last week it was revealed that the TSA were quietly removing X-ray body scanners and replacing them with machines deemed to be safer.
  • This week a former TSA officer is facing sentencing on bribery charges for accepting cash in exchange for allowing illegal prescription painkillers to pass through airports undetected.

Reason's TSA back catalogue highlights even more instances of abuses of power and violations of customers' dignity. 

Video: Reason TV on the absurdity of the TSA:

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  1. Difficult to find a court in the land that is willing to stand up to the TSA...

    Apparently judges don't fly. Or they don't mind the nut tug.

  2. Finally, "Pro-Choice" and "Family Values" people can come together to burn the government down!

  3. So asking the TSA to keep their dirty stinkin' paws off of your daughter's/granddaughter's chest is a criminal offense? In the United States? Are you sure this isn't some old Soviet news item?

    1. It's a national security matter. All other freedoms are suspended.

      1. Do you think someone unplugged the Constitution or something? Maybe this great hurricane of death is responsible?

        We used to be such a ballsy people once.

        1. How do you expect the government to obey the Constitution when you can't even read the damn thing? It's in Archaic Germanic, or some shit, and the handwriting is, like, way bad! DUH!

          1. http://www.twyman-whitney.com/.....nglish.pdf

            Google is hard, man...

            1. Ezra Klein doesn't use Google. Google isn't hip.

        2. the Constitution

          How quaint. Did you not know that airports have been declared constitution free zones?

        3. That old thing? It's like, centuries old n' stuff. Like, fer sure.

          1. Yeah, it's got the old bungee power cord, but it still should work, if someone would plug it in.

  4. If it weren't for the heroes of the Transportation Security Administration, the terrorist would have won! Bruce Willis would have rolled in with the Army and declared martial law! THE END WOULD HAVE BEEN NIGH.

  5. Another clear-cut case of hooliganism.

    1. Another clear-cut case of hooliganism.

      Sure, light the OM signal.

    2. That lady was on private property and deserves even worse. Personally, I'd shoot her in the face.

  6. I thought Chris Elliot was that 30 year old paper boy that still lived with his parents. He really was ahead of his time, wasn't he?

    1. He was the first to use the Star Trek "Fightin' Song" in comedy.

    2. No, he was a cabin boy.

  7. Totally OT but this is an emergency hot of the WSJ:
    Disney to buy George Lucas's film studio, including Star Wars franchise, for $4 billion. "Star Wars 7" is targeted for release in 2015.


      Wait, will Lucas be involved though the magic of Strings Attached?

      Oh, fuck.


    2. I'm guessing it probably won't be the Thrawn trilogy.

      1. Great War or Second Galactic Civil War, please.

        1. Either that...or SW: 7 is just a placeholder at it's set in the Old Republic. A Revan movie, done well, would drive the fan base crazy!

          1. Yeah, that's another option.

            The Great War was the Sith Empire's reappearance about 300 years after Revan vanished. That's probably the period I'd like to see explored most.

            But I'll happily take this, too:


            1. So the Great War when the MMO is set? Yeah that would be cool too.

              1. Yeah. If the MMO weren't a cartoonish piece of shit, I'd be playing it.

    3. What off earth do you need to make a 7th for? It's complete as is.

      1. "What off earth do you need to make a 7th 4th for? It's complete as is."

        I have made the necessary repairs in order to assist you.

    4. Am I the only one who wants to see .The Courtship of Princess Leia as a movie? Maybe the first 3 of the X-Wing series? Or they could do some of the later books, like the Black Fleet Crisis, and use the original cast members as an older Han, Leia, Luke and Lando?

    5. Can't wait for the Plinkett review.

  8. Is the TSA's job to search for prescription painkillers?

  9. A mother defends her child from what would qualify as sexual assault anywhere else while TSA workers are routinely arrested or fired for misconduct and they convict her?

    If there is any justice, these jurors will be victimized by TSA and understand what a horrific mistake they made in this verdict.

    Calling them pedophiles isn't berating them when it's a true statement.

    There have been thirteen TSA screeners arrested for child sex crimes in less than two years and overall 101 TSA workers were arrested in the last 24 months including 13 arrested for child sex crimes, over 28 for theft, 12 for smuggling contraband through security and one for murder.

    TSA retains a known pedophile, Thomas Harkins, as a Supervisor in Philadelphia airport. What kind of agency turns a known child molester loose on children?

  10. Maybe this festive holiday season we can contribute a number of Freedom Fluffers as decorations on the White Zone lamp posts. This is perhaps the only way we can get the attention of Thieves and Sexual Assaulters.

  11. Judge Joe P. Binkley Jr. and Assistant District Attorney Megan King do not care that they ignore the constitution in the execution of their duties. They should be removed from positions serving the public.

  12. This is also another example of wildcard charges such as "disorderly conduct" and "obstruction of justice" being pieces of shit that exist only for the purpose of making everybody a criminal. Dunphy is an assfucker.

  13. "In 2010 it was found out that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was lying about the safety of X-ray scanners as records dating back to 1998 found that machines could be giving up to 100 people cancer every year."

    I hate the TSA as much as the next guy, but the above quote is bullshit. The "records" and cancer estimates have nothing to do with any epidemiological data. A backscatter X-ray machine gives you a radiation dose of 0.1 microsieverts. This is the same radiation dose you would receieve from eating a single banana. People who live in Denver receive a much higher dose of radiation every year because of the city's elevation, yet people in Denver have substantially lower cancer rates.

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