TSA Enhanced Pat Downs : The Screeners Point Of View

22 Nov 2010

I left this out of the TSA porno-scanner round-up because I thought it deserved it was more significant than the others. Much of the discussion has centered around the humiliation of passengers, the trampling of the rights of U.S. citizens, the poor planning, communication and response of the TSA and the resulting public outrage. But prior to today I hadn’t read anything about the TSA screeners, who are often receive the brunt of the outrage.

A small survey was conducted asking 20 TSA Transportation Security Officers (TSO) about their thoughts and experiences as they relate to these new tools and procedures. The responses are unanimous in their disapproval of the new procedures, their extreme level of discomfort in performing the pat-downs and the embarassment they’re subjected to at the hands of justifiably enraged passengers.

“Molester, pervert, disgusting, an embarrassment, creep. These are all words I have heard today at work describing me, said in my presence as I patted passengers down. These comments are painful and demoralizing, one day is bad enough, but I have to come back tomorrow, the next day and the day after that to keep hearing these comments. If something doesn’t change in the next two weeks I don’t know how much longer I can withstand this taunting. I go home and I cry. I am serving my country, I should not have to go home and cry after a day of honorably serving my country.”

“I served a tour in Afghanistan followed by a tour in Iraq. I have been hardened by war and in the past week I am slowly being broken by the constant diatribe of hateful comments being lobbed at me. While many just see a uniform with gloves feeling them for concealed items I am a person, I am a person who has feelings. I am a person who has served this country. I am a person who wants to continue serving his country. The constant run of hateful comments while I perform my job will break me down faster and harder than anything I encountered while in combat in the Army.”

Speaking from recent air travel experience, it’s hard to be respectful when a strange man’s hands are down your pants, against your will. But I doubt he wanted his hands their either.