TSA goons steal woman’s shoes, bracelet at BWI

In the never-ending saga of TSA theft and stupidity — and did I say theft? — we have the latest episode (that we know of): at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the goons spied yet another tasty treat they wanted to sample. So they pretended that said items were dangerous and confiscated them — er, sorry, encouraged the passenger to give them up. (As we know, since they tell us all the time, especially at their main propaganda organ, they don’t confiscate anything.) From the story in the Baltimore Sun:

The shoes, which had stiletto heels in the shape of handgun barrels and also featured what looked like bullets, were in the woman’s carry-on luggage, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.

Readers of this blog will recall that in 2013 the TSA also stole a pair of Chanel shoes, a two-inch toy gun belonging to a sock monkey, and in 2014 several bottles of Jimmy Choo perfume.

These scary terroristy things could’ve harmed you and your fellow travelers! Aren’t you glad the TSA is Keeping You Safe?!

Regular readers will also recognize the name of Lisa Farbstein as yet another of the TSA’s many lying flacks.

“We want to remind travelers that they should not bring replica guns or ammunition to checkpoints,” Farbstein said in an email. “It will definitely slow them down, slow down their traveling companions who are waiting for them, and it will slow down the checkpoint lines for other travelers.”

Way to blame it on the passengers, Farbstein.

Here’s the comment I left at the Baltimore Sun article. Go on over and give it some love, and add comments of your own, before they remove it:

  • Lisa Simeone

This agency is full of molesters and morons. (Let’s see how long this comment is allowed to stand.) Everyone who defends this criminal agency deserves what he gets, and, paraphrasing Mencken, I hope he gets it good and hard.

They wanted to steal her shoes and bracelet; that’s why they stopped her. And if you don’t know the TSA steals from travelers all the time, you have your head somewhere other than where it should be. The TSA confiscated a 2-inch toy gun from a sock monkey:
http://tsanewsblog.com/12236/news/tsa-seizes-terroristy-sock-monkey-confiscates-gun/

And they stole another women’s shoes, again because they wanted them:
http://tsanewsblog.com/11216/news/tsa-outdoing-its-own-stupidity-at-every-turn/

They’ve also stolen several perfume bottles because they were supposedly shaped like — gasp! — a grenade. But yeah, it’s all for your safety. And to fight The Terrorists who are Hiding Around Every Corner!

(Photo courtesy of your tax dollars)

Cross-posted at ABombazine

UPDATE ALREADY: Not 10 minutes later, the Sun censored my comment. Surprise surprise!

Update on Sai’s TSA lawsuits

Our friend Sai sent me an update on his case this morning. If you’re not already familiar with his story, read this post to get caught up. Here’s Sai’s update in his own words:

The BDOs selected me because I was mute and wearing a satirical shirt; they screened me for 40 minutes looking almost exclusively at my prescription labels, notes, checkbook, books, etc; they ripped paper out of my hands (literally depriving me of speech) in admitted retaliation for my protesting the illegality of their search and refusing to answer questions.

(The admission can be found both in the BDOs’ notes and TSA’s formal response to my complaint & appeal.)

I’m probably never going to manage to get around to making an actual edited video, so I’ve put up what I have. That includes the video, BDOs’ notes, my notes, complaint, post-litigation response, appeal, & appeal response. At some point I’ll try to condense it there as well, but I don’t really have the energy to do so now and likely won’t for a while. :-/ Hopefully the complaint & appeal are pretty straightforward.

You can read in more detail about Sai’s lawsuit at his comprehensive site, also here, also here; and you can see his videos here.

Sai tests legality of TSA’s new scanner policy

TSA activist and friend of the blog Sai, about whom we’ve written many times (plug “Sai” into the search box to get caught up), has already done so much to try to fight the abuses of the Transportation Security Administration. And here he is doing more. This guy, like Jon Corbett, is indefatigable.

Because I’m a little late with this post, and because Edward Hasbrouck has already so thoroughly covered Sai’s latest case, I’m going to excerpt some of Ed’s reporting and direct you to his website where you can read the complete entry. Here’s how it starts:

The real test of whether the TSA is above the law isn’t whether TSA or DHS officials, flacks, or lobbyists claim that there are legal procedures which (hypothetically) permit judicial oversight of TSA actions. The real test is what happens when real people object to specific conduct by TSA staff and contractors, or private parties such as airlines acting at the behest of the TSA, and ask the courts to review and decide whether the TSA or its minions are breaking the law or violating the US Constitution.

Nobody has done more to test the real-world limits of TSA lawlessness than our friend Sai, who has been waging a one-person, pro se legal crusade against the TSA for its disregard of the Constitution and of a variety of Federal laws providing for transparency, fairness, and due process. Sai’s pending lawsuits against the TSA include one of the most important challenges anyone has made to the TSA’s claims of authority for secret lawmaking, as discussed below.

Remarkably, and unlike most of those aggrieved by TSA general disregard for the law as well as more specific misconduct, Sai has even had some success. But that limited success gives a sense of just how outrageous is the TSA’s disregard for the law, and how far it has to go before the courts will rein it in.

As I said, you can go over to Ed’s excellent site, called Papers Please, to get the full story. Warning that it’s white font on black background, which burns my retinas, but maybe you’ll find it easier to tolerate. (Apparently there’s a way on some computers to change the colors, so if you can do that, more power to you.)

Congratulations once again to Sai for his dogged and profound work in doing battle with this obnoxious agency. We wish him all good luck. You can also get detailed information directly from Sai here and help him out financially if you can. Here’s more detailed information from Sai about the current case.

Another breast milk debacle brought to you by the TSA

Regular readers will have noticed (in fact, some have emailed me) that the pace of new posts here at TSA News has dropped dramatically. For one thing, we have fewer writers than when we started. I think we’re all simply running out of steam. I know I am. We’ve been posting stories on the crimes and abuses of the TSA since this blog was founded in November of 2011, and I’ve been writing about said abuses since 2009.

In essence, we write the same stories over and over again; only the names change. And we present the same empirical evidence over and over again, yet nothing changes. The TSA continues its assault on our rights and bodies.

So I just don’t bother writing up every single story I come across anymore. What’s the point? One more account to add to the Master List of TSA Crimes and Abuses; that’s about it.

Anyway, here’s one of those stories that people send me, of a woman who was harassed over the transportation of her breast milk — again, just one of many similar stories. As I told Stacy Armato’s lawyer, Robert Mosier, in April of 2014, the settling of Armato’s lawsuit was nice, but it won’t make a difference: the TSA continues to bully, harass, and illegally detain women and force them to irradiate or dump their breast milk. All the lawsuits in the world aren’t going to change that.

As proof, I give you the following story from Amber Rose, in her own words. I have her permission to use her full name. She told me, “Other breastfeeding mothers (on our Facebook group) really want this story out there, too. A majority have experienced inconsistencies at every airport.”

I’ve edited it slightly for clarity. (PHF is the airport at Newport News, Virginia):

I had the following experience I would like to make public, if possible. I omitted the names of the employees.

I was traveling back home to PHF Saturday from ERI, November 14th, going through security at the Erie Airport at approximately 1635. I specifically asked the Officer stationed before the conveyer belt to not screen or x-ray my breast milk. I also stressed I did not want my breast milk tampered with in any way. Instead of respecting my wishes, he not only scanned each bag of breast milk through a Smiths Detection BLS scanner but also put it through the x-ray machine, exposing it all to radiation.

I had approximately 13 bags, each 150ml (5.072 ounces each) totaling approximately 66 ounces. My trip to Erie was only 36 hours in duration because I did not have enough breast milk to leave my child any longer; however, now that my breast milk has been exposed to raman spectroscopy and was irradiated, which can have an effect on the cell structure/protein of the milk, especially through the thin bags I had it in, I have to throw out ALL of this milk. In addition, before researching the effects of BLS & radiation on breast milk, I had given my daughter 10 ounces of this tainted milk. Lastly, the officer seems to have mishandled the milk, because although completely sealed ahead of time, I discovered that one of the bags was leaking after I left ERI.

I have called and informed the head supervisor at ERI of this incident and that I had specifically requested that my breast milk not be screened through a machine. I also informed him his employees should be trained in physical inspection. He informed me that there was closed-circuit video of this event.

Please note that when I arrived at PHF, around 2040, I approached 5 TSA employees on their phones near the Delta ticketing counter to ask them questions about the screening machine and its effects on liquids. Not only did all 5 employees continue to look and play on their phones the entire time I was talking, but no one knew the answers to my questions and knew nothing about how the machines worked. I found their attitude to be very disrespectful and almost entitled and superior rather than helpful. I highly encourage you to review these tapes as well in regard to the employees at this airport.

I will be seeking compensation for my breast milk per ounce (approximately $6-10/ounce) in addition to the time it will take me to bank up an additional 66 ounces. I will have to pump at least every 2 hours to signal demand on my body and take unpaid leave to do so during working hours.

Although the TSA made promises to better train their people in handling breast milk and to visually inspect breast milk after several incidents similar to this were discussed in the media, this obviously has not been done.

As I told Amber Rose, no way in hell will I be able to review the tapes; I’d be surprised if even she can. The TSA conveniently loses tapes or portions of tapes. Just ask Stacey Armato, Jon Corbett, Pete Alexion, Rita Riordan, so many others (there’s me running out of steam again). And I seriously doubt she’ll get any compensation. Her complaint, like millions of others, will end up in the circular file.

I also encouraged her to name and shame, but she didn’t want to. Wouldn’t matter anyway. Just as the supposed training TSA agents have received and continue to receive doesn’t matter. Robert Mosier and Stacey Armato, let’s just say you’re more sanguine than I am.

Another TSA agent charged with child porn

I get tired of having to write the same stories over and over again. Such as this one: yet another TSA agent caught with child porn.

We’ve written so many times about these kinds of crimes I’ve lost count. I try to keep track in the Master List of TSA Crimes and Abuses, but it’s impossible; no one person can do it all. Meanwhile, here’s the latest story:

A federal grand jury has returned a four-count indictment against as 27-year-old man from the North Houston area in relation to the sexual exploitation of a child, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Christopher Lynn Persky is charged with one count each of production, distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography.

. . . sent images of child erotica to an undercover agent using the chat feature on a known child pornography site. At that time, Persky allegedly provided his full name and further claimed to work for TSA, according to the criminal complaint. He is no longer employed by TSA.

Oh, well, that’s nice. He no longer works for the TSA. Wonder how many children he groped before he was caught?

But hey, that’s okay. It’s a small price to pay for security! After all, can’t be too careful, what with all those terroristy children roaming around! Thank god somebody’s groping them! It’s For Your Safety™ !

LaGuardia TSA agent arrested for sexual assault

UPDATE BELOW. A TSA agent at LaGuardia Airport in New York has been arrested for sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman. The only reason he was arrested was because he molested her in a bathroom. If he had followed standard operating procedure, he would’ve molested her at the checkpoint, where it’s usually done.  Continue reading LaGuardia TSA agent arrested for sexual assault

Another day, another passenger screwed by the TSA

Almost every day I receive emails from people telling me about their TSA experiences. They often wonder if they could have prevented the abuse meted out to them by dressing differently, talking differently, acting differently, flying out of a different airport, you name it. As I always tell them, no. You have no power over how the TSA treats you. The TSA has absolute power. Whether a TSA agent woke up on the wrong side of the bed one morning or is simply being sadistic, it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them.

Yesterday I received an email from a man who, with his 17-year-old son, was harassed in Buffalo. He thought it had something to do with the location, since he said he hadn’t been bothered in Reno. Again, no. He just happened to be the victim of TSA whim, which rules everything when you fly. Don’t look for logic, I told him; there is none. There isn’t meant to be.

What the TSA did to him and his son — which, I might add, was illegal, but as I’ve written hundreds of times, the TSA does illegal stuff all the time — what the TSA did was to compel obedience. It was power for the sake of exercising power. It was to put him in his place, to show him who’s in charge. And as long as people keep choosing to fly, they are putting themselves at the mercy of this power. They are tacitly agreeing that the TSA should be in charge.

Here is his email to me, in its entirety, with slight editing for punctuation:

I don’t fly much — I really have developed an aversion to flying.

I recently flew Southwest from Reno to Buffalo. TSA in Reno was fine — smiling, cordial, friendly.

My return from Buffalo, I found TSA to be the opposite — rude, unprofessional, bullying. I was fuming. I went through with my 17-year-old son. We had to go through a full-body imaging system. I have no objection.

Son gets pulled aside. I go through and wait for my carry-on to get scanned. Lots of TSA people milling about, yet it wasn’t that busy. TSA dude handling my carry-on asks if I’m with someone, and I tell him I’m with the young guy in the brown t-shirt (point toward him). TSA dude says they’re sending my carry-on back through scanner again. OK. Lots of confusion and TSA people bumping into each other. Someone comes back with my carry-on stuff — changed their mind about sending it through scanner, I guess. Then one of them says to me in a not very professional tone: “Why didn’t you tell us you were with someone ?” I suppose my tone in response was not what I’d characterize as submissive: “I did. I told you that I was with the kid in the brown shirt over there.” I’m confused. The TSA dude is holding my tray of carry-on and on top are two pairs of shoes. DUH!

So they carry my tray of carry-on over to a table I’m standing and someone with a metal detector goes through my stuff. Fine, no problem. Meanwhile, they take my kid to an open area and do a full-body pat-down. When this is finished my son comes back to where I’m standing in front of a table with my carry-on stuff in the tray. A second group of two TSA people come over and start again to rifle through my carry-on stuff.

The TSA agent starts asking my son questions:  what’s your business in Buffalo, what did you do here, who did you see here, and she keeps drilling down to information that is clearly none of her business. How many cousins do you have, etc. It’s clearly some sort of behavioral testing. She asks me for my ID. It’s in the tray with the rest of my carry-on stuff. I offer to pull it out for her, but she waves me away saying she’s going to do it herself.

She then proceeds to take out my money clip and goes through one by one every item, dollar, and card in my money clip — finds my driver’s license and then asks me if I’m the name on my driver’s license. They leave my carry-on stuff a mess in this tray that looks like it’s NEVER been cleaned — the bottom of it is filthy. That ends the interrogation and they just walk away. By then I’m steaming fucking mad as hell at our treatment and their unprofessional behavior. I don’t mind going through a serious, professional security check, but I DO mind being bullied, abused, and feeling like they aren’t doing a professional job but doing a half-assed job.

So, it appears that the quality of TSA professionalism varies greatly from airport to airport. Some are obviously a joke. So is there any web site I can look to research the quality of TSA professionalism by airport? I would have been better prepared to go through this bunch of bozos if I knew how rude Buffalo was going to be beforehand.

I suppose I volunteered to get extra special treatment because I wasn’t a submissive sheep in response to unnecessarily getting yelled at.

Well, just sharing my story and obviously venting. I don’t know if rudeness even qualifies as a TSA complaint, and I suspect that by complaining I’d probably get on some sort of suspect list. Really felt like I was in Stalin Russia or Hitler Germany!

As I told him, no, there’s no website where you can research the quality of TSA professionalism [sic] by airport. And even if there were, it would be meaningless. It’s not about professionalism. It’s about obedience training. They messed with him because they can. “Rude” is a wholly inadequate word for what they did to him and his son.

And “behavior detection”? Ha! We’ve written about this more times than I can count. TSA “behavior detection” is bullshit. It’s not only bullshit on its face, as anyone’s common sense can tell, it’s been proven, objectively, repeatedly, to be bullshit.

The TSA has no right to go through people’s money, wallets, personal documents. This, too, has been proven. But they do it anyway, over and over and over again.

Oh, and of course he can complain to his heart’s content; nothing will come of it. Neither will he be put on a “suspect list.” The TSA would like you believe they maintain such a list, but they don’t. They don’t have their shit together enough for that. They’re busy confiscating shampoo, water bottles, and mashed potatoes; how can they possibly spend time maintaining a list of people on whom they want to get revenge?

Besides, any victim will do. Whether they’re pissed off at you in particular, at a passenger from last week, or just at the world in general, if you drift into their crosshairs, tough luck. They’ll get their jollies one way or another.

(Cross-posted at ABombazine)

Give to TSA Watch

The fundraising drive at TSA Watch has been stuck at $6,921 for weeks. The TSA is sexually assaulting people at airports in this country every day. We and many other organizations have been documenting it for years. I don’t know what else people need to know in order to care.

Oh, wait a minute — for some people, getting robbed is more serious than getting sexually assaulted. Okay, fine. The TSA is robbing people at airports in this country every day.

Hold on — just remembered something else — for other people, being forced to miss their flight is the worst that can happen. Okay. The TSA is detaining people (don’t tell me they don’t have the right — we know that — doesn’t matter; they do it all the time) and forcing them to miss their flights.

The TSA also routinely censors comments on its blog, which is supposed to exist for the benefit of the public and for which we pay with our tax dollars.

The TSA is a criminal agency that bullies, harasses, robs, and assaults people every day. Do you care? Or are you content as long as it happens to Someone Else?

If you give a shit, then please support TSA Watch.

(Cross-posted at ABombazine)