Crossing the line……again

Oh dear. TSA is a never ending source of, “Seriously???” moments. In the last year, stories ranging from hilarious to horrifying have appeared, and now the agency famous for its comedy of errors has struck again.

According to CNN, a TSA agent found a, shall we say, “personal item” in the luggage of a traveler. On the “TSA has searched your bag” paper, he wrote the woman a special note: “Get your freak on girl.” OMG. I mean, O. M. G. Can you imagine? It’s hideously inappropriate, offensive, disgusting….. and yet mildly hilarious. While you gasp in horrified laughter, you wonder what kind of idiot could possibly think this would be acceptable. And did he think he wouldn’t get found out? Has he done this before, and just not been caught?

The officer in question is facing dismissal, of course. But when the woman who received the note tweeted the pic to her followers, she said she wanted to raise the issue of what this means in the grander sense of things.

“As much as this is a funny and titillating story, when I put the note on Twitter for what I thought was a relatively limited audience, I was hoping it would open up a bigger conversation about privacy rights (or lack thereof) in post-9/11 America. It unfortunately hasn’t done that, and instead has turned into a media circus,” she said.

I think she raises a valid point. While personally I have had never had a terrible interaction with the TSA (just mildly annoying ones), there are clearly several bad apples that are creating issues for everyone else. Most of the agents are probably doing the best they can, but there seem to be many systemic issues flowing from the top down.

So, Readers, what do you think this says about privacy rights these days? Or is the idea that we have any privacy the biggest joke of all?

(P.S.: Home Warrior had an awesome name suggestion for this post, which was hilarious, but I just couldn’t do it: “Not-so Good Vibrations”. Hah! He is on a roll. Remember “Snakes on a Plane?“)


  1. Day after day we are losing our rights which includes our privacy. In their defense, the government mentions 9/11 and continues giving TSA more authority and taxpayers money. It is unfortunate but something we have to deal with unless we the people have more power to oust our politicians and replace them.

  2. The many issues with the TSA can be classified in so many ways that little positive ever comes out of these incidents. But it seems to me that the real issue is one of professionalism – or lack of it.

    Everyone reasonable accepts that, for a peaceful society to prosper, there is a small trade-off between privacy and law and order. We do accept that, if a police officer asks us questions, we should answer them. If the IRS asks us questions we should answer them. In the same spirit, I accept that I need to go through a process which demonstrates that I’m not about to carry a bomb or a weapon onto an aeroplane and I very much hope that everyone has to go through that same process.

    But that does not give free rein to people to shout at me, to insult me or, in the case cited, to humiliate. And yet, every day at US airports, you see unprofessional TSA employees doing just that. I travel extensively around the world and in no other developed countries do I come across such extraordinary scenes. In Western Europe, where there’s arguably more of a terrorist problem than here, the staff are quiet, friendly and helpful. Yes, they do the checks, seemingly very efficiently, but they don’t have the attitude.

    So, I conclude that it’s a total lack of professionalism, and that the problem starts at the top and trickles down. Nothing less than a complete change of senior management, a complete change in the training regime and a significant change in the staff is required.

  3. I don’t particularly like defending the TSA, but I’ve been through US airports at least 50 times this year, with no issues whatsoever. Of course, I don’t bring stuff with me that will draw their attention, and I never get huffy and argue. Life is too short to get wound up over a bureaucrat doing their job. I’m *MUCH* more irritated by the travelers who get to the x-ray belt and only then start emptying their pockets, taking off their belts, wondering whether their watch needs to come off, etc.

    By the time I’m at the belt I drop my shoes into a bin, set my carry-on down and walk through the metal-detector/nudity scanner and pick my stuff up on the other side. It takes 2 minutes before getting into the security line to prep yourself and thus make the process fast and easy.

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