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Judicial Watch Obtains Documents Proving Systemic Sexual Abuse by TSA Workers at Airports Nationwide

Michael Krieger

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May 13, 2015

The following information should’t surprise you if you’re paying any attention, but it should make you angry. Very, very angry.

Abuse by TSA agents is a recurring theme. Yes, the people supposedly “protecting you from terrorists” are often just sexual predators in a cheap blue costume. It was less than a month ago that I published the following: TSA Agents Caught Gaming System so Male Screener Could Grope Attractive Passengers; No Criminal Charges Filed. Here’s an excerpt:

    A CBS4 investigation has learned that two Transportation Security Administration screeners at Denver International Airport have been fired after they were discovered manipulating passenger screening systems to allow a male TSA employee to fondle the genital areas of attractive male passengers.

    He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.”

In case you thought this might be a one-off, think again. Judicial Watch has obtained 58 pages of records via a Freedom of Information Act request detailing sexual abuse at several major U.S. airports.

From Judicial Watch:

    (Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it obtained 58 pages of records from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that detail alleged sexually-related assaults on passengers by TSA personnel at three major U.S. international airports. The documents describe incidents at Denver International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

    The documents were released in response to a July 11, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:14-cv-01179)). The lawsuit was filed after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to respond to a March 5, 2014, FOIA request seeking:

Any and all passenger complaint forms (referred to as “yellow cards”), “To From” memoranda and Incident Reports filed in 2013 at the following US airports: Dulles International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Miami International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport …

The TSA documents show that passengers strenuously objected to the alleged sexually-related assaults, repeatedly saying they were “shocked,” “violated,” and “humiliated.” In one incident, a passenger reported that TSA officers, and “even the Supervisor … began to roar with laughter at the alleged sexual assault.” In other incidents, a breast cancer survivor reported she felt as if she had been raped. And an elderly passenger with a colostomy bag said she felt violated after being informed by a TSA agent that she had to “touch her bag so I could then touch her hands.”

The incident reports from the official TSA documents include:

At approximately 14:10 hours on the South Checkpoint, near lane 4 a passenger complained that he sustained an injury resulting from the aggressive actions of the the [sic] TSO [Transportation Security Officer] conducting a pat down search…The passenger stated during the pat-down search he was struck very hard in the groin area, which caused him pain to his left testical [sic].

She [TSA agent] then placed full palms squarely on my breasts and then moved around my breasts again. She then placed both palms against my breasts and I was shocked, humiliated, alarmed and assaulted and said ‘Stop! What are you doing? That’s not ok.’… I reported this to TSA Supervisor … She got the manager [redacted] and he said he would look at the video and TSA would send me a letter but it would not tell me the resolution and that I did not have a right to view the video… I will not be sexually assaulted at the airport. As a taxpayer, I pay for the TSA.” 

The female TSO then proceeded to roughly feel of [sic] her breast including her nipples. The TSO didn’t go under her arms or along her sides. She indicated that she did not receive a proper pat down. The search was limited to her breast… Two other individuals came over to where the supervisor and gentleman were and they began laughing. The caller indicated that the incident was not the business of the other two officers and not a show for them. The caller indicated that even the Supervisor, along with the others, began to roar with laughter.

Caller indicates that her mother feels as though she was singled out because she was a breast cancer survivor and the caller feels as though this is extremely discriminatory. Caller indicates that the breast is an extremely intimate place that should not be rubbed in the manner that it was. Caller expressed that her mother feels extremely violated and the caller feels that being violated in this manner is on the same level as rape. Caller has indicated that her mother will never travel again because of the pat down that she received.

The person began to tell me how TSO [redacted] stuck his hands down his pants and grabbed the top of his penis and placed his fingers in his butt crack… The person was sure that he was violated and wanted to talk to a supervisor…. He said he is going to file a police report with Chicago Police Department and file a lawsuit against TSA and Officer [redacted] and walked away.”

“That we had to fight and sue in court to get the TSA to disclose these shocking complaints shows the TSA is more interested in a cover-up than in addressing the problem that its employees violate innocent travelers too often, sexually or otherwise,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “With more than 56,000 employees and a $7.7 billion budget, the TSA can’t be trusted to its job of securing air travel.  American simply trying to board a plane should not have to worry about being assaulted by federal employees working for TSA.”

Meanwhile, it appears the TSA isn’t even taking care of those useless naked-body scanners. We learn from Reason that:

I’ll admit to mixed feelings as I read an inspector general’s report from the Department of Homeland Security that points out the Transportation Security Administration’s failure to develop a plan for maintaining all of its expensive toys. 

The report notes that, last year, the TSA spent about $251 million to keep its advanced imaging technology imaging, its explosive detectors detecting, its bottled liquid scanners scanning, and so on. Actually, TSA has four maintenance contracts valued at a total of about $1.2 billion. That’s a lot of fiddling and banging on the sides with a hammer. So everything is spiffy, right?

Maybe. Or maybe not. The TSA doesn’t know.

TSA is not properly managing the maintenance of its airport screening equipment. The component has not issued adequate policies and procedures to airports for carrying out maintenance-related responsibilities. TSA also does not adequately oversee screening equipment maintenance. Therefore, TSA cannot be assured that routine preventive maintenance is performed or that equipment is repaired and ready for operational use.

Wait… The TSA spent a quarter of a billion dollars on maintenance contracts last year and isn’t really sure whether it got anything for its money? Apparently so. The report notes that “TSA relies on self-reported data provided by the maintenance contractors and does not validate the data to confirm that required preventive maintenance actions have been completed.”


It wouldn’t even matter if the contractors reported that they wiped a couple of machines with a dirty rag and then went for beers. That’s because “TSA’s maintenance contracts do not include performance measurements for preventive maintenance or penalties that TSA can enforce if contractors do not perform preventive maintenance as required.”

The appropriate response here is obvious. Get rid of the naked-body scanners at all U.S. airports immediately. Not only are they pure useless security theatre, but they make it far easier to pick out specific passengers to molest. At least with a metal detector either it beeps or it doesn’t. With the porno scanners, any TSA agent can just claim they saw something and go in for closer look, which often means a sexual assault.

Forget terrorists for a second, who’s going to protect us from the TSA?

For related articles, see:

TSA Agents Caught Gaming System so Male Screener Could Grope Attractive Passengers; No Criminal Charges Filed

TSA Air Marshal Arrested for Taking Photos Up Passengers’ Skirts

Keeping us Safe: TSA Tries to Pat Down a Three Year Old Girl in a Wheelchair

In Liberty,

Michael Krieger