Another woman detained by TSA over false positive

I suppose we can say it till we’re blue in the face and it still won’t make a dent.

The so-called explosives trace detection machines, like the strip-search scanners, alarm on false positives all the time. All the time.

So this latest incident (that we know of — God only knows how many others there are) is no surprise, except to people who still don’t get it:

Just days after the Boston Marathon bombing, she was randomly chosen for a hand swab at an Ohio airport. TSA agents told her she tested positive for explosives, and what caused it is a common, everyday item.

“They said, ‘You’re testing for nitrates,'” Linda said.

She said she’s still rattled by the incident, and did not want to use her last name. She was at the airport in Columbus, Ohio, when it happened.

Linda went through the X-ray, then TSA workers randomly chose her for a hand swab, which detects traces of explosives. And she tested positive.

“I was shocked. I don’t know how that happened. The only thing that went through my mind was, ‘What did I do? What did I touch?’ because I had been at work all morning,” Linda said.

So what did the TSA do next?

TSA agents patted down Linda’s entire body in a private room and she was eventually cleared.

“I was probably in the little private room for 15 minutes, which was nerve-wracking,” Linda said.

Patted down her entire body. Patted down her entire body because of bogus “explosives residue” on her hands, which the TSA itself knows and has admitted is always a false positive. Patted her down in private, of course, because they can get a better grope that way.

And Linda was apparently fine with that, because “it’s for our own good.”

“You know, it’s for our own good. It didn’t bother me, it was just shocking,” Linda said.

I repeat what I’ve said before: one of the most pernicious effects of authoritarianism is that it engages its victims as complicit in their own abuse.

I wonder when Americans will wake up.

(Photo courtesy of News 9 Oklahoma)

  • Nancy

    I’ve considered going to a lawyer after my last pat down where they admitted that smokers and soap users are always false positives. They held me 30 min and I almost missed my flight. My husband was livid over the whole experience. They seem to target women for the false positive tests and I hope that is starting to see the pattern. Even the guard said I was barely positive and noticed that I had hand sanitizer; but against the government agenda of turning us into a nazi state, they went on with the search.

    • Nancy, I’m sorry this happened to you, just as it has happened and continues to happen to thousands of others.

      I’m curious — do you have to fly for work? This is just an informal survey. I’m interested in the reasons why people still fly in this country.

    • Susan Richart

      Nancy, although it must have been traumatic, would you be willing to explain to us exactly what was done to you in that private room? (I am presuming that your post-explosive test pat down was done in private.) Did your husband witness your pat down?

      I am also interested in your comment about hand sanitizer. I have read at advice at another site that one should always use hand sanitizer before going through a checkpoint because it will remove the glycerin left by soap. Another tip learned from the same site was not to use the soap in the bathrooms at the airports because that will cause a positive ETD.

      • Daisiemae

        Soap strategically placed in the bathrooms to cause a false positive? Hmmm…could the Bozos in Blue be setting up their next victims? Insuring a steady stream of victims for their pleasure?

        Although I do wonder. When I used to fly ( before the scanning and groping), the bathrooms were all down by the gates or on the other side of security. Maybe there were bathrooms somewhere before the checkpoint, but I never saw them. I was always focused on getting past security so I could relax.

        Regardless, using this patently useless test as an excuse to victimize innocent American citizens is heinous.

        • “Soap strategically placed in the bathrooms to cause a false positive? Hmmm…could the Bozos in Blue be setting up their next victims? Insuring a steady stream of victims for their pleasure?”

          Nah. That would take too much coordination. They’re too incompetent for that.

          • Daisiemae


  • Chris Bray

    The funny part is that even the TSA officers doing the theatrical performance know that it’s a theatrical performance. If you actually believe that you’ve just detected evidence of explosives on a person’s body in a security checkpoint, you don’t bring over a few more guys to walk her over to a private room and pat around on her body a bit more.

    She’s wired to explode! Quick — everybody, uh, diddle around.

    • Ah, but Chris, you’re talking logic, and don’t you know that logic is inimical to the TSA and its apologists?

      • Chris Bray

        And, sadly, to its victims.

    • Daisiemae

      Don’t you know that that type of explosion enhances the experience? That is every TSA screener’s dream.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Wow. This was just another run-of-the-mill TSA abuse story, until the end. Nothing the TSA does shocks me anymore. But an innocent American citizen, happily submitting to strangers touching every part of her body under the color of authority, knowing full well that she’d done nothing to deserve it? And thinking that’s OKAY? Thinking it was somehow making her SAFE? Did she think there was a possibility they might find something? Maybe she thought she she might have packed a bomb in her panties and forgotten about it, so it was a good thing the TSA searched her body for it?

    Wow. Just…wow.

  • 1amWendy

    Her reaction is much more disturbing than the TSA conduct. And that’s saying a lot.

  • Fisher1949

    She gets groped in a private room by an agency that can’t distinguish hand lotion from explosives and she thinks that they keep up safe? What a moron. With spineless citizens like her, America doesn’t need enemies.

    • Susan Richart

      She deserves to be assaulted in the private room every time she flies. Groped and groped and groped again until she gets it.