Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Need A Male Assist

I'm flying out this morning and while going through security at the Spokane airport I found myself in a metal enclosure with yellow footprints to stand in. The TSA agent asked me to turn and face the wall.

Me: "Is this a backscatter machine?"

Agent: "Yes, it is."

Me: "Do I have to go through it?"

Agent: "No, you don't. Please step back out and go around over there."

I walked around to a metal detector entrance and had to wait a few moments as an agent called for a "male assist". Another agent walked up and asked, "What do I have?"

"An opt out."

The agent, very polite and professional, walked me to another area, asked me if I could see my stuff and keep an eye on it going through the x-ray machine and then gave me the "TSA speech" as he called it, explaining exactly how he was going to pat me down. So much like this little girl I received a nearly thorough massage while dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. He went over my cheap Timex watch as if it was the most suspicious thing he'd ever seen.

Agent: "Are you one of those jogging guys?"

Me: "Yes."

Agent: "Do you use this watch to see how fast you're going?"

Me: "No, I use it to see what time it is."

While getting the full once over with everyone staring at me wasn't all that unpleasant, it wasn't necessary either. But then that's just me.

Just playing my part in the farce known as security theater.

*** Update

It appears the purpose for rubbing your body all over is to pick up any sign of explosives with their gloves. The agent used one of those detector wipes on his gloves and then had a machine "read" it. Hey, they have the machine that goes "BING!"


Spokane Al said...

You can't be too careful when dealing with those jogging guys Hank.

Hank Greer said...

I know, Al. There's no telling what questioning I would have enduring had I been wearing a Garmin or a heart rate monitor. I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

Shan said...

I had a fairly thorough "going over" back in May '02. The guard wanded and patted my bare arms twice each. However, in that case, it was not long after 9/11, I was flying one way, no checked luggage and was clearly scared out of my mind (as I am any time I fly). If it hadn't been for a hot guy (now my husband) waiting to pick me up at the Phoenix airport so I could join him for the last leg of his move to California... I'd have just stayed home (something I seek to do any time flying is mentioned... I'm such a freaking chicken).

Anonymous said...

That video of the six year old being molested by a government agent is simply outrageous.

I hope the parents bring criminal charges against the TSA.

Hank Greer said...


There's no need to frisk six-year-olds like that. But what a relief the TSA says their officer was following standard operating procedure.

Sleep well, America.

EvilElf said...

I love the machine that goes BING! RIP Graham Chapman.

Anonymous said...

Here's another lullaby:

After ten years of Bush/Cheney and Obama/Holder, 60% of US teens believe torture is a good idea (per Red Cross poll).