Another elderly woman abused by the TSA

In Portland, Oregon, at the same airport where John Brennan was arrested, the TSA has abused yet another elderly woman.

Harriette Charney, age 90, was “asked” to go into a private room with the blue shirts, where they then “asked” her to take off her blouse and her bra. She complied. According to her son Alan Charney as quoted in this report by KATU:

“They wanted her to take, I guess, take all of her clothes off from her waist up,” says Charney, “and so she took off that and took off her bra … and I’m like ‘what??!!”

It’s interesting, as always, when people such as Alan Charney don’t know that this sort of thing goes on all the time. Where has he been all these years? His mother joins a long list of similarly abused travelers.

The TSA, of course, denies it. Actually, this time, instead of outright denying it, as they usually do, they hedge their bets:

The TSA says it would be unusual for any screener to ask a passenger to completely remove their shirt instead of lifting it up, and is still looking into what happened during that search.

Yeah, you keep looking into that. Just like you’ve looked into the thousands of accounts of abuse that include your “unusual” strip-searches, and far worse.

And America, you keep living in denial. Life is so much more fun that way.

By the way, KATU got at least one aspect of this story wrong: the scanners in airports these days are millimeter wave, not backscatter. The backscatter scanners were junked two years ago. The current scanners are still garbage, but they’re not backscatter.

And since it seems to need to be said, again and again and again, never go into a private room with these people. They can’t force you to, despite their bullying. Make them do their little song-and-dance search in public, where other people can see, and where they sure as hell won’t “ask” you to take off your clothes. You need witnesses. This should be common sense. If you allow the TSA to take you into a private room. you’re asking for trouble.

  • Missskitttin

    Getting ready to write a letter/report about the abuse my daughter in law had to go through yesterday at her arrival from Spain to ATL/HArtsfield, and reading your column I am feeling disheartened because I realize that it happens ALL the time, that people have become used to their rights being trampled and that nothing is going to be done, get done, change, etc. Nevertheless I will write a letter with copies to every embassy, newspaper and agency that pertains to one of the parties involved. And Buzzfeed even. Crying is not the reaction a customs agent should seek to welcome to the country for a girl that just got her degree in Barcelona and travels here for leisure.

    • You’re talking about her treatment at the hands of CBP (Customs and Border Protection), not the TSA, right?

      Both agencies can be abusive, but CBP is much scarier because it has way, way, way more authority than the TSA. I always say, “yes, sir,” and “no, sir” to them and treat them with the utmost respect and caution. Even then, I realize they have the power to do whatever they want.

      What happened to your daughter-in-law? Please describe.

    • Annapolis2

      I am so sorry to hear about this. Your daughter did not deserve to be mistreated and I’m disgusted and embarrassed by the behavior of U.S. officials.