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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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References (24)

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Reader Comments (646)

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"Time grows so short for action through knowledge." Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn
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April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlidisset

Susie,
I never heard of you before reading your post that was sent to me by facebook.There are so many stories such as yours its unbelievable.Ive seen videos of them molesting 4 year old girls nuns,90 year old women and many others.You are not a baby but an American whom should be allowed to travel without giving up your rights as well as being molested by the tsa thugs.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterScott

Susie

I totally agree with you - we need to do some serious racial profiling. Certainly a Miss USA would not fit the profile. With profiling most travelers can bypass any screening and keep the airports moving and keep our rights intact. In fact we should have an airline that flies with no screening at all as option. That way if you want total freedom to assume the risk then we totally have none of our liberties taken away from us. I also agree with you about having total freedom from government imposed restrictions such as smoking in public space. I am glade you get it what is happening to our freedom. Keep up the fight for less government.

George

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergeorge bustamante

http://www.svo.aero/en/flight-safety/brief/

Feel the difference.

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRussian

We're behind you, Susie! Make some noise. Here's my noise (song) on the whole TSA thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LGE-gAFwvM

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Susie,
I saw your video and read your story. First I think it took courage to stand up to the TSA, I hope that you never have to go through that much intrusion again.
The news reports of this are everyday and I will join you in your petition. You video showed true emotion something all Americans should see. I want to leave you with the words of another great American
"Don't let the bastards get you down"~John Wayne.

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChad Roach

Hi Susie,

Sorry to hear about your experience with the TSA. You sure sound like you belong with us Ron Paul supporters. Ron Paul would END the TSA and most of these Government Alphabet Agencies.

If Ron Paul was President in 2001 there would not be any TSA nor even the attacks because the pilots would have been armed. Check him out at the site below. It is a Playlist of 20+ videos from his last campaign.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGqR4IsPiuw&playnext=1&list=PLBB2F78F9B754DDCA

If you do decide to join us be sure to share Ron Paul and his message with everybody you know. This time we are not going to take any prisoners and will NOT let the PSM (Propaganda Stream Media) attack him like they did last time. We are even working on starting our own Liberty Network for Radio and eventually TV.

To see just how energetic his supporters were in the last campaign watch this nearly 2 hour video that documents just the extremes his supporters went to to try to get a STATESMAN elected who truly would have made a CHANGE and not just mouthed the words.

For Liberty: How the Ron Paul Revolution Watered the Withered Tree of Liberty

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIcIkoOwp7s&feature=share

We can fix this country and restore it to the once great country it was but NOT by voting for the Republicans or Democrats that are for BIG GOVERNMENT but for the ONLY Republican, other than Gary Johnson, that is for a Constitutional Government which is way smaller than what we have today. That STATESMAN is Dr. Ronald Ernest Paul. His Presidential Exploratory Committee website is below and you can sign up to receive the latest updates.

http://www.RonPaul2012.com

Sorry for writing a novel but we are doing what we are doing for the good of Our Country for the Present as well as the Future Generations.

To be added as our friend on the social networks merely search for Freedom4America. We also have a Freedom4America FaceBook fan page since our personal page has 5,000+ friends. You can still request to be added to our personal FB personal page it just takes a while to approve you. On Twitter we are RIIOrg since somebody already had Freedom4America.

Liberty For All and All For Liberty,
Freedom4America

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFreedom4America

A GREAT AMERICAMHERO,says"“We are an Empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you are studying that reality – judiciously as you will – we will act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We are history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” Carl Rove

As long as we allow this type of trash to walk free we will always fail!

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNobodysaysBOO

We never complain about the loss of civil liberties until it happens to us. Unfortunately, it has now happened to you.

Susie, I agree with the above posters who pointed out that Ron Paul is the Congressman who introduced legislation to stop this abuse and who is the only Presidential contender who will put a stop to this nonsense.

If you truly care about this issue then I encourage you to take this information one step further and publicly endorse Ron Paul for 2012. You can use your unique position of celebrity to help end this violation of our civil liberties by helping the only candidate who even speaks about this topic.

Thank you for sharing your story.

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJ.A. Topfke

Susie - I'm sorry about what happened to you. Thank you for standing up and speaking out! These TSA procedures (both naked scanners and invasive pat downs) are an obvious violation of basic human rights and American values. The TSA policies have crossed the line. In any other context, they would be criminal. This is not a political issue, this is an American rights issue, and one that should unite us as citizens. I hope more people speak up to defend our rights. Thank you! Your bravery for speaking up has earned you a new family of fans.

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCB

Speaking out is the right thing to do.... thank you for standing up and being counted.... Beth

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Susie,
I saw your video posted on facebook by a friend. One of my sisters was actually strip-searched in Atlanta. This is all going way too far. Security is an illusion. If you give up enough security to be totally safe from our enemies then you're in mortal danger from our government. There really isn't a "balance." I say this as an Army and Iraq veteran. My ID card got me past more searches than I care to disclose but we've been having problems with soldiers doing crazy things since the day before the Iraq invasion.

I think we really need to evaluate what we're doing in this country. I enlisted when I was 19 to defend liberty. This is not liberty, it's fear. I hope you do manage to get something done about this. I doubt it will work since so many people seem to be terrified. That or they simply want the power to do these things. There is something to be said for the power of celebrity, though, and I hope you can make it work. I'm glad you're choosing not to be a victim and are trying to do something about this.

"...extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice...moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Maidment

Ben seems to think that our only two choices are giving some people cancer in the scanners or "thousands of deaths from terrorist attacks". Ben seems to think that airline passengers still live in a pre-9/11 world. We don't. Every time someone has tried something since then, the passengers and crew subdued the individual in question.

We can do better than treating every air traveler like a criminal. Let's obey the laws of this land. Let's go back to being the land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE.

Thanks, Susie, for making me proud to be an American!

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I just happened to see the video posted on you tube .
Whatever happened was undoubtedly an act of torture,disrespect and perversion.
I'm not a US citizen but still I've heard enough of TSA's annoying practices !
You've raised your voice against it and you've done a brave thing and I suggest you should expose this thing even more and make TSA look ugly^^ and that's when you can expect a change .
If not just forget it and slap the TSA person really hard the next time you see him/her doing to same thing !
Thats the way we make changes in our country ;)
Take care.

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNilesh M

I worked, until my retirement, in a medium-sized city in east central Iowa for an internationally known supplier of aircraft instruments and communications equipment. In my forty-plus years of employment there, I handled thousands of those instruments worth many millions of dollars. I have not flown since the implementation of those nazi-like intrusions, and will only do so if no other choices are available. I am aware of the consequences to my former employer should everyone adopt my attitude, but that is where I have drawn my line in the sand. You are absolutely right about someone boarding with explosives in their nether regions. Groping would not discover them.

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

1. You are beautiful, patriotic, talented, prominent and outspoken----perhaps you're the person to persuade Congress to face the question: "HOW HAVE THE ISRAELIS BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL IN SCREENING TERRORISTS OUT OF THEIR AIRPORTS, withOUT radiating or groping people???" Congress should REQUIRE that the TSA use the SUCCESSFUL ISRAELI methods ONLY! (I'll sign your online petition now).

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterM. Holasek

Our country needs to believe in liberty again!

Or we will lose it forever.

The reason why we have the TSA, Homeland Security, and the FBI violating our rights, is because it's nearly impossible for these agencies to keep us safe while at the same time we are invading, occupying, and killing people in other countries.

That's the real reason that people want to attack us. It's not because of our liberty or freedom, but the opposite, because we are using force on them and propping up dictators over them - most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian. Also, when we invade other countries and kill their people and family members, even unintentionally, that is what really motivates people to attack us.

We've got 900 military bases worldwide!

We should believe in liberty again and set a good example for the rest of the world. Then other people may or may not follow our lead, but at least they would not be motivated to attack us and we would not have to surrender our own liberty in a futile attempt to feel safe.

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Adams

I have said for a long time the government is backwards. They let many of the criminals go that planned 9/11 but pat down American Citizens. The government sends drunk drivers to rehab, but puts up videos to monitor American Citizens. They put child molesters in family neighborhoods, then put up cameras to monitor American Citizens. When are we going to punish criminals and leave honest hard working American Citizens alone. America is great because of the American People, not because big government does such a good job of molesting its citizens.

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterazdesertrat

Susie I am sorry that you had to go through this invasive search. I applaud you for speaking out. Keep talking we need to find a better way to screen people for flights. Again thank you for your stand. I will be talking to my Daughters about your stance. John Gabel

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn gabel

Hi Suzie
When I was in the ARMY MILITARY POLICE RESERVES I was sent to Birmingham Alabama for processing for a duty assignment in IRAQ ....At the air port in Uniform TSA officers choose Me and another soldier to sit down and remove our boots before getting a pat-down?? Crazy but true!
RJ

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRJ

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