Shouldn’t the TSA at Least Buy Us Dinner, First?

On November 19, 2001, The Transportation Security Administration was created as a part of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. Originally a part of the Department of Transportation, it was moved over to the Department of Homeland Security on March 25, 2003.

During the Obama Administration, the TSA has become infamous for intrusive pat-downs and revealing x-rays in airports across the nation.

Guess what?

According to

The Transportation Security Administration isn’t just in airports anymore. TSA teams are increasingly conducting searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and other mass transit locations around the country.

“We are not the Airport Security Administration,” said Ray Dineen, the air marshal in charge of the TSA office in Charlotte. “We take that transportation part seriously.”

The TSA’s 25 “viper” teams — for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response — have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year. Department of Homeland Security officials have asked Congress for funding to add 12 more teams next year.

According to budget documents, the department spent $110 million in fiscal 2011 for “surface transportation security,” including the TSA’s viper program, and is asking for an additional $24 million next year. That compares with more than $5 billion for aviation security.

TSA officials say they have no proof that the roving viper teams have foiled any terrorist plots or thwarted any major threat to public safety. But they argue that the random nature of the searches and the presence of armed officers serve as a deterrent and bolster public confidence.

“We have to keep them [terrorists] on edge,” said Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University in Washington. “We’re not going to have a permanent presence everywhere.”

U.S. officials note that digital files recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan after he was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in May included evidence that the Al Qaeda leader had considered an attack on U.S. railways in February 2010. Over the last decade, deadly bombings have hit subways or trains in Moscow; Mumbai, India; Madrid; and London.

This expansion, under “Big Sis” Janet Napolitano, comes of the heels of the latest allegations against the TSA:

Two more elderly women with medical conditions have come forward claiming they were strip-searched by Transportation Security Administration [TSA] agents at JFK Airport on Nov. 29, bringing to three the number of senior passengers who allege they were forced to remove their clothes at the New York airport last Tuesday.

Ruth Sherman, 88, told ABC News she was about to board a 3:30 p.m. Jet Blue flight to Florida after visiting her family for Thanksgiving when two female TSA officers ordered her into a private room. The great-grandmother of seven has worn a colostomy bag since undergoing cancer surgery two years ago. She claims the agents noticed the bulge from the bag and that prompted the additional screening.

According to Sherman, the TSA agents told her to enter the screening room and demanded to know what the bulge was. Sherman said she was embarrassed and annoyed that even after she explained what it was they asked her to drop her jogging pants and show them.

“They were just two ordinary people, not medical technicians, not doctors, not nurses, what do they know about this?,” said Sherman. “It was very degrading.”

Sherman said she travels frequently to New York and San Francisco to visit family and had never before been forced to remove her clothing. She said she’s made an appointment with her cancer surgeon in order to receive a traveling note that would exempt her from any further searches.

Linda Kallish, a 66-year-old diabetic, claims she too was strip-searched at JFK on Nov. 29. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Kallish, who was bound for Ft. Lauderdale via Jet Blue on a 1 p.m. flight, had a glucose monitor that checks her blood sugar every five minutes strapped to one leg and an insulin pump strapped to the other. A female TSA officer allegedly asked her into a private room after setting off the metal detector. Kallish says she was ordered to remove her pants in order to demonstrate both devices.

The women’s claims come just days after Lenore Zimmerman alleged she was strip searched while trying to catch the 1 p.m. Jet Blue flight to Ft. Lauderdale.

Zimmerman said security whisked her away without explanation after she asked to forgo the full-body scan, fearing it might interfere with the heart defibrillator she was wearing. She told ABC News that she was asked to pull down her slacks and underwear with no explanation or apology. She missed her 1 p.m. flight to Ft. Lauderdale.

TSA did not immediately respond to ABC News requests for comments about the incidents. A TSA blog said that “TSA does not include strip searches in its protocols,” and also said that Zimmerman was not strip searched. The TSA declined to answer a question from the Orlando Sentinel about whether there were instances when passengers were required to remove clothing.

Hey, nothing to worry about, according to the TSA’s website:

We are your neighbors, friends and relatives. We are 50,000 security officers, inspectors, directors, air marshals and managers who protect the nation’s transportation systems so you and your family can travel safely. We look for bombs at checkpoints in airports, we inspect rail cars, we patrol subways with our law enforcement partners, and we work to make all modes of transportation safe.

Uh huh.  Well, as far as I know, none of my neighbors ever strip-searched Grandma.

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2 Responses to Shouldn’t the TSA at Least Buy Us Dinner, First?

  1. josephine says:

    I guess I should consider myself fortunate. I left the Atlanta airport on Monday to visit family in Houston. I am 61, with blonde hair silvering, green eyes, 5’8″. traveling alone. My family has been in America since 1642 (Mass.) After the Rev. one young adventurous man moved to SC. Thus we are all southern.
    I was selected as a potential terror threat to our country while checking into security in Atlanta.I think I was selected as I showed my boarding pass to the first check-in while making my way through the roped in area. You must all realize that I am a home body and very seldom venture out by myself. I have no husband to offer support in times of stress. I love most people I meet and I believe I am very approachable. I am sometimes scoffed at as I am a Christian and some say people can tell that even though I do not talk about my faith or wear crosses. I am english,french.dutch and scot decent. You can tell all of that. I am not haughty at all except when I write.
    I went through check in with my boarding pass, and made my way to the usual walk through I usually go through-I was directed by a very tall uniformed man to the radiated machine. I told him that there must be some mistake. He said, “no, that I had been selected”. This reminded me of the rounding up of my Jewish friend’s parents. The thoughts went through my mind that I had no power over my situation, that I was as passive as they were, and that I had thought I would fight this altercation if it ever happened to me.
    I believe any radiation from the gov’t to be dangerous. They obviously don’t care for or about the individual.
    They offered me a pat down and I thought of the other older women and what my children would do if I were to the subject of interrogation. (Just take a minute and think about the death panels, I can visualize them just ripping the oxygen off of those that require it to live.)
    I decided that just this once I would behave and go through the radiation.
    In the radiated chamber I had to stand in a difficult position, both physically and emotionally. My feet were too far apart. I was humiliated and tried not to think about the results being on the internet somewhere. If their intention is to humiliate,demean and subject us to dissatisfaction in our day, then they have a good start. However, they will never truly get me. No one can get my Spirit.
    After I left the radiation machine I was then asked if I had a knee replacement or elbow replacement, as these two little squares that denoted where a bomb was were highlighted. I have no replacements or additions anywhere except titanium in my mouth, a result of a car accident years ago. The radiation machine did not pick that up. It was all a crock started by the check in man in the beginning. He discriminated against me for my race and my heritage. I’m sure of this. I can still have my opinions. He obviously has not evolved in the last 50 years as I have. It’s funny as I am always glad to see success in others and I was a staunch supporter of Herman Cain. I think it’s time for everyone to admit that the race relations have fallen backward since Obama has taken office.
    The class warfare belongs in the medieval period of history. We have only economic classes, at least that is what my father always told me. The “elitists” have nothing on me, and in the south we do not consider Harvard to be a destination we would like to see our children go for.
    I am really fed up. I am outraged, and I’m hoping and praying that the 75% of the nation that is also fed up will join together and change our president in Nov.
    I have decided to buy a Ford and next time and for as long as I am able, I will drive to Texas.

    • Gene Hoyas says:

      Brace yourself, Josephine…it’s gonna get worse.

      But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? (Luke 23:28-31, KJV)