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Monday
Apr252011

My TSA Pat Down Experience

“Those that would give up their liberty for security deserve neither and lose both.”
- Benjamin Franklin

Dear Friends,

To be quite honest, I almost didn't post this video and blog because I kept asking myself, "Am I just being a baby?" I’m also not one to stir up controversy. In fact, I do my best to live a very positive and healthy life. However, in the situation I’m about to describe, I felt truly violated and believe I should let my voice be heard. Ultimately, I hope others will do the same. Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” So, that’s what I’m doing by sharing this experience:

On my overnight, 11-hour flight back to Los Angeles last week after hosting the red carpet premiere for “Fast Five” in Rio De Janeiro, I connected in Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) where I had the misfortune of being selected to go through one of those full body scanners that emits radiation. Now, if you don’t fly very often, you might not worry about it. But I’m a frequent flyer and don’t wish to be irradiated more than I already am on flights (we get a pretty large dose of radiation while flying due to our proximity to the sun; the longer your flight, the more your radiation exposure) and in life in general (we’re exposed to radiation all day every day; it’s called “background radiation”). So I will always “opt out” of going through these body scanners, especially since the long-term effects of radiation are quite well documented: it mutates our cells, often in irreversible ways, and causes cancer. I’m all set with that!

Anyway, after “opting out,” I proceeded to follow a very nice older female TSA employee to the “pat down” area. It was an inconvenience, but I thought, “No biggie. I just went through this at LAX for the first time and it wasn’t too bad, so let’s just get it over with.”

Well, this pat down was completely different. It was MUCH MORE invasive than my first one at LAX, just a week before. To say that I felt invaded is an understatement. What bothered me most was when she ran the back of her hands down my behind, felt around my breasts, and even came in contact with my vagina! Honestly, I was in shock, especially since the woman at LAX never actually touched me there. The TSA employee at DFW touched my private area 4 times, going up both legs from behind and from the front, each time touching me there. Was I at my gynecologist’s office? No! This was crazy!

I felt completely helpless and violated during the entire process (in fact, I still do), so I became extremely upset. If I wanted to get back to Los Angeles, I had no choice but to be violated, whether by radiation or a stranger. I just kept thinking, “What have I done to deserve this treatment as an upstanding, law-abiding American citizen?” Am I a threat to US security? I was Miss USA, for Pete’s sake!

Besides, is this procedure really protecting us? I remember hearing about an Al Qaeda terrorist successfully evading security detection by placing a bomb in his rectum. All in an attempt to assassinate Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef. So what if that happened in the US? Would we then be subjected to random rectal exams in addition to x-rays and being groped by strangers? How far is this going to go? More specifically, how far will WE let this go? As they say, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. I think it’s time to stand up for our personal liberty.

As a frequent flyer, I knew getting a “pat down” was inevitable, but I never expected it to make me so upset.  When it was over, I grabbed my things, walked over to my husband who was waiting for me, and was completely overcome with emotion.

I have never felt more violated in my life than I did that morning at DFW, and I’ve heard of others feeling the same way after these “pat downs.” Just a couple weeks ago, a video of a six-year-old girl being patted down by TSA made headlines. Talk about unjust and unacceptable. So I decided to speak to a TSA supervisor about how I felt, and make a video about what happened to post on my blog.

This “pat down” is a total violation of our rights (we shouldn’t be searched this way without probable cause or a search warrant), therefore I will be filing a complaint via phone, online and also in writing with the TSA to complain each and every time for as long as the TSA is violating my rights. I’m 100% against it, and if you care about your freedom, you should be too. This is precisely the kind of unjust search and seizure our Constitution was created to protect us from.

In my conversation with the TSA supervisor, I expressed to her how physically violated I felt. She was kind and understanding, but was nonetheless in charge of a department that was violating the rights of countless Americans every day. At one point during our conversation, I told her, “the fact is, if someone wanted to harm us, they simply would.”

Guess what. She agreed! She even went so far as to say, “We’re not allowed to touch children like we do adults. If someone really wanted to hide something, they could use a child. I know. There’re definitely loop holes with this.” So apparently, not even TSA employees believe this unconstitutional invasion of privacy works!

Here’s the video I made right after going through the invasive, unjust, unconstitutional and ineffective “pat down.” Honestly, I don’t like that I’m putting myself out there like this, but I wanted you to know what happened, what I was feeling, and that I hope you, too, will speak up if and when this happens to you. We shouldn’t be giving up our liberties as Americans because of our fears. The government can’t keep us safe. No matter how much they promise us they can, it’s a false promise.

And here’s the TSA compliment/complaint card that I filled out and mailed to the DFW TSA. I’ll be filling one out each time I get “patted down” at an airport. Hopefully tears won’t be involved every time:

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Like I say in the video, we as individuals have to speak up and protect our liberty. If you feel like your Constitutional rights have been violated by the TSA, please follow my lead and contact your Congressional representatives. Let them know that if they want your vote they must stand up for our rights.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this so feel free to post a comment below.

Lots of love,

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Reader Comments (644)

I'm very sorry for your bad experience, but feel I need to mention something. Unless the TSA person inserted a finger inside you, what she touched was your VULVA, not your VAGINA.

It may seem to be nit-picky, but it's important to name the body parts correctly.

Again, I'm sorry for your (and others) bad experiences. I'm one too who chooses not to fly at this point in time.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Here's my blog post about your experience:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2011/04/27/meet_susie_cast.html

Meet Susie Castillo's Vagina: Susie Castillo's TSA Experience
The former Miss USA's experience, having her vagina touched four times, echoes mine...

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Alkon

Susie, I saw your youtube video about your experience at the airport. Sorry for your bad experience. I also travel alot and I am 56 yrs old, so I wear a thick posie incontinence pad when traveling. Its also serves as padding to protect your private areas aganist the tsa. I also wear a very padded bra and I wear a flexees girdle (looks like a one piece swim suit and it has hooks at crouch, the top scoops under your bra) because I dont want them feeling my bare skin. I was told by one tsa agent that if you have a girdle suit on they dont have to pull your pants out at the waist, they do that because they are not suppose to touch your skin. So it feels less invasive when they check my pants at the waist. I also ask them to change their gloves before patting me down and they have always done it without problems. I am a RN and I have never gone through the body scanner. I have been suprised at how they try to get you to go through without telling you about the radiation. I feel sorry for the people who are not informed, and I really do feel that it can increase your risk for cancer and contribute to problems with sterility, especially for frequent travelers.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Also, there is nothing to be ashamed of, they touched your vagina, i don't care if its called the 'vulva', you were illegally molested by a someone that is just a TSA member that could be this guy http://www.infowars.com/tsa-an-army-of-pervs-and-criminals/ . I am very sorry about your experience..... almost could sue for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, or for violating your 4 amendment right, the unlawful search and seizure, they have to have probable, not reasonable, cause to pat you down(searching you is what a 'pat down' is, it just doesn't sound as invasive)

My buddy Alex Jones and his crew of journalist did a article about your experience at INFOWARS.COM, Alex would probably really like to interview you and get the full story.

LINK: http://www.infowars.com/miss-america-sexually-molested-by-tsa/

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNewWorldOrphan9

Dear Susie

you just experienced what has been planned for all of us since ages. This naked body scanning, pat downs have nothing to do with security. It is a kind of humiliation to slowly get people accustomed to be handled by "authorities" as their property. In the eyes of the DIMs (Dominant Insane Minority) we are just their cattle - their equity...
That is why they all drive us into complete debt in order to make sure we will serve their system (NWO) as slaves. And it is planned to get rid of 90% of their cattle soon, just listen to Ted Turner (CNN-founder).
Be strong, try to become independant, self sufficient and try to get off the grid, off the system...

UNITEDWESTRIKE . COM

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWake News

Hi Susie,

First off, let me tell you how terribly sorry I am that you had to go through that horrible experience. I know that it is was a very traumatizing experience but you are being so very brave by telling everyone about your experience and bearing your emotions about the whole thing. Your rights were violated, your body was violated and you are doing the right thing by railing against the injustice in a rational manner.

Some good will come of this one day, I hope.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTommyMac

Hello,

The same thing happened to me, I am glad you spoke up many have been terrorized at the hands of the TSA and we need to dismantle this agency.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnaonymous

What nobody seems to realize here is that the terrorists have succeeded. They have forced our country to continually terrorize and abuse its own citizens as a result of their actions. Legalized sexual abuse! We all have to pay because the TSA wasn't doing their job pre-9/11. How many terrorists has the TSA actually caught with their enhanced security? None is my guess. How many people have been sexually assaulted, humiliated and demoralized all in the name of security? Bravo Susie for speaking out!! Stay true to yourself.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Hi i saw your video about the tsa and was immediatly disturb I thought to my self that could have been my wife or two daughters and was very digusted. I put my website up for you to look at to see if it may help you in your battle with the tsa or anyone else so that we as people have someone to turn too in that situation. please check it out.

Concerned for my next vacation
Scott Nelson

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterScott Nelson

Susie, I know "Ben" thinks he's giving you good advice, telling you to go for the full-body scan, but he's really wrong. You and others can always use Wikipedia as a starting point for research on this, at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_body_scanner -- and use the links they provide to investigate further. The people running the scanners have zero medical training, and are not x-ray technicians. The most recent audit of the scanners showed they were miscalibrated in most cases by a factor of 10x.

Radiation is bad for you, and its effects are cumulative over your lifetime. Yes, you have a slight increase in radiation exposure when you fly at 20,000 ft. and above, but that's not the same as stepping into a spot where the full force of the scan is directed specifically at you, all over your body. Physicists at CalTech have already stated that the backscatter scanners (AIT) concentrate their beams and effects on the subcutaneous layer of skin -- which is what increases the risk of skin cancer.

The terrorists the government talks about may attempt to blow up a plane, although right now based on the number of flights per year in the US and the number of passengers, your odds of being blown up are roughly equivalent to being struck twice by lightning in a year (so far-fetched, it's considered a statistical improbability). The radiation, however, in sufficient or wrong doses, does cause cancer, and will result statistically in some number of fatalities.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterM.L. Browne

All in all, I guess my suggestion is to go for the total body scan next time!
Hope this helps,
Ben

Ben is making the same mistake millions of Americans make: just because you go through the scanner doesn't mean you won't also be singled out for a grope. The two aren't mutually exclusive. Any "anomaly" supposedly detected by the stripsearch scanner -- ponytail holder in pocket, coins, whatever -- or just the whim of a TSA goon -- can get you yanked for a grope even after you've gone through the scanner. People need to realize this.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Simeone

I am so glad that someone was has a louder voice than mine can oppose this. I have traveled for business for over 16 years now. Last year I got to have the lovely enhanced pat down, while wearing a skirt nonetheless. I burst into tears as well. I have had hundreds of pat downs and I realize they are for our safety. However, when the very professional TSA lady went up my skirt and touched my vagina I was totally taken back as well. Apparently it's not as intrusive for ladies as for men. For ladies they touch us but don't penetrate. Men have their testicles literally rubbed, cupped, fondled and their penis stroked. I feel for you. I know it is embarrassing to begin crying in front of strangers. I never would have thought I'd come to that either. I still dodge the scanners when I can. But after the issue with the pat down if I have to go through it I do without complaint because absolutely NOTHING happened after airing my complaints on the nationwide news, complaining to my congressman and lodging a complaint with the TSA. Now I ensure I have a nice thick set of jeans on so it doesn't feel so horrible when I get groped.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

Susie, You are a patriot! Thank you for standing up against this nonsense!

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark P

Praise God somebody with a voice is standing up against this Tyranny. I will forward your blog and video to everyone I know.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Susie it was disgusting abuse what happened to you. I have been following this abuse for a year now.
I dont live in the states but I see the radiation scanners being covertly put in and TSA agents traveling around the world to spread there Nazi ideals to other countries. New Zealand and Australia are getting these machines and we I dont think will even have the right for opting out.
No way they should touched you like that, good on you for making a stand - the more people knew how bad these machines are damaging there health, they would not be going through them and certainly not put there children through them. Pat down fondle would not be tollerated by the masses.
Hopefully more brave people like you make a stand.
There is also a facebook page on this subject of body scanners and pat downs.
Best wishes Susie
Mike in NZ
We are truely in a Big Brother world.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Susie,

Thank you for speaking out! You're very courageous for coming forward and standing up to these government bullies. These people are no better than the Nazis at Nuremburg that tried to claim they were "just following orders." Immoral is immoral, It doesn't matter who "ordered" the immoral act.

You are absolutely right that this provides no real security. Even in countries with much higher threat of terrorism, like Israel, they don't grope their own people like the U.S. government insists on doing. That old lady at the airport that told you she'd rather be raped than blown up was an idiot. Don't pay any attention to her.

Also don't let the jerks that are posting criticisms bother you. Most of them are probably fakes on the government payroll, anyway. That includes the lying moron claiming to be the physicist. He should know that radiation exposure is cumulative -- if you fly frequently, you build up more exposure.

We the people are behind you 1,000%. Besides just contacting politicians, you might want to contact the media and try to get maximum exposure. Post the video on YouTube, and submit your story to news aggregators like digg and reddit to make it go viral. This insanity has to stop.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Jeffords

Susie, You are right to raise hell about the molesters at TSA. Not likely to change the policy no matter how many are molested, but making people aware of it is critical. You are helping everyone, even the willing fools who defend this official perversion policy. One other thing, please stop saying that a TSA person was "just doing their job" . There is no excuse for some of the things they are doing, and I am still waiting for the first one to quit on principle over this faux security procedure.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBillC

Thank you for posting this. I'm so sorry you went through this, but I'm grateful that you spoke up. You are very brave and very well spoken. This has got to stop and it only will if we stand up and MAKE them stop.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterApril

I just watched your video. It was difficult to stomach the fact that Miss USA would need to be sexually assaulted to travel on an airplane. Very Sad. You said it best when you mentioned that "none of this works anyway". Of course this is just security theater and not real security. You other point that whatever a terrorist tries next will cause an additional layer of security is something that is very sad but also very true. Good Luck. Sorry you had that experience.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohnW

Sorry for your experience. You better start enjoying this groping (I'm been sarcastic) because it is never gonna stop. Most people are bunch of sheep and do and trust what ever government tells them. Don't be upset with that old lady, she has not been touched like that for a long time, good for her, LOL, seriously, older people (unfortunately, due to diminishing mental capacity, I wish I will never get old and senile, LOL) are most gullible ones...
As Canadian living very close to the border, I am avoiding visiting US ever since 9/11. The treatment I get by custom officers at the border, TSA checking my junk, I am totally paranoid about being stopped driving my car and get electrocuted by Tazer or being slaughtered by a cop on a power trip. US is a police state already and all hope is lost.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcel

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