TSA screener insists that full-body screening is mandatory

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this guy seems to think he’s being clear about answering the question being asked, are you physically able to go through the scanner, but he is far from it. If he would have just said he is not able to (he told the first lady he can’t raise his arms but he somehow fails to tell this guy) then it would have been a non issue. He’s trying to trap this officer into doing something wrong, and the officer didn’t do anything wrong. He clearly asks, are you able to go through or are you refusing to go through, those are two separate things. The man then says, let’s put it this way, I refuse. Well, there ya go. Was this TSA officer somehow violating this guys rights? Not based on the answers he gave to the questions.

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Irradiating is good for you, didn’t you know?

@Ericb: There were two separate questions: am I able to, and am I willing to. I clearly said multiple times that I am neither able nor willing. (Does disability somehow rob me of the right to volition?)


FYI, they got rid of backscatter x-ray in favor of millimeter wave machines, which have not been proven (TTBOMK) either safe or unsafe.

They did that only because the backscatter (aka Rapiscan) machines didn’t support “ATR” (cartoon-figure view), though — not because of the x-rays. Entirely possible that they’ll come back at some point once the ATR software is installed on them.


The TSA screener seemed to be confused by the word ‘nor’ (I never said they are the brightest) and he was trying to clear it up by asking the questions separately. And when he asked the question ‘are you able’ the answer was ‘I’m refusing’. He took that as the final answer. I think both parties were wrong in this altercation and I doubt anything will come of it due to the lack of good communication by either side. TSA guy trying to do what he thought was right but getting frustrated when he feels his questions are not clearly being answered, and you, probably picking up on this, to try to mislead and get him in trouble. Had you just come right out and said ‘I am unable to go through the screener due to my disability’ it would have been over. You may think you were clear, but after watching the video I feel you were not.


I don’t think he was confused. He was intelligent enough to understand that there was a difference. I think it reflects black-and-white training, under which disabled people are incapable of volition, and seemingly able people can’t have a disability.

So the notion that someone might be neither able nor willing, and also not have obvious physical defect, just does not fit in the worldview he was trained to interrogate.

I intentionally said both. Even if I were able to go through, I am not willing, and if he was going to subject me to retaliation for that, I want it to be heard in court. He very clearly said that anyone capable of going through would be forced to do so.

I do not want to get out of AIT just because I have disabilities. I want it banned because it’s a violation of my constitutional rights. I am much more interested in making systemic change than making things easier for just myself in one situation.

It might help to read my manifesto on civil obedience to understand where I’m coming from philosophically.


Why didn’t you just say the magic words you “opt-out” that would have gotten you through a lot quicker and as someone who travels a lot you should’ve known that. It really seems like you were trying to cause an incident to have on file for your lawsuit. It doesn’t help that you were threatening that the court would hear about this, which normal officers wouldn’t know about and therefore seem like just a threat to get your way. The supervisor was wrong too in insisting that you have to go through the machine and he should’ve asked you if you were opting out, which would’ve helped the situation. He really should’ve called the manager instead of going on for as long as he did.

According to the TSA website: You MAY provide the officer with the TSA notification card or other medical documentation to describe your condition. It doesn’t say you have to and it is none of their business, but I think it would better help them understand your condition if you did something akin to that. I say that because I once saw someone trying to claim that six bottles of ranch dressing were medically necessary, but you have to admit that some people will lie to circumvent security measures anywhere. The only other thing I had a problem with was you telling him to get the FSD then asking for the DFSD which is laughable it’s the equivalent of going to a restaurant getting poor service and asking for the President or CEO of the company. I agree with Ericb though [quote=“Ericb, post:6, topic:71653”]
I think both parties were wrong in this altercation and I doubt anything will come of it due to the lack of good communication by either side. You may think you were clear, but after watching the video I feel you were not.
[/quote] Just out of curiosity you say you want to get rid of the ait, because of your constitutional rights, but do you feel the same way about having your belongings going through the x-ray?

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I don’t think that saying I’m neither able nor willing to go through AIT was at all unclear. The STSO clearly was not allowing opt-out.

I do not want to give any medical info to them. I’ve had multiple bad experiences with that. They’re not my doctor, and I’m not going to give them any slack when they want to pretend they are capable of medically evaluating so much as a hangnail. And in any case, it’s an unconstitutional invasion of my privacy that has zero relevance to helping them detect weapons or explosives.

As for ranch dressing: who gives a fuck? If they can tell it’s not an explosive, I say let 'em have it. If they can’t, then they’re fundamentally unable to do the one job they’re supposed to do, and should admit it’s a charade in the first place. And for all you know, maybe someone does need ranch dressing for something.

It’s simply none of our damn business what someone wants to bring with them (or why) unless it’s an actual weapon.

FWIW, I have in fact gotten an airport DFSD before (at least by phone). So it’s not as laughable as you may think. But sure, escalating to the TSM is reasonable, and I should have thought of that as the next step in the chain. Brainfart.

I have no objection to x-ray (or magnetometer), because
a) it actually works to detect weapons, with relatively low false positive / false negative rates (especially compared to AIT),
b) it does not strip search my body, and
c) it poses zero possible risk to my health (with some exceptions like medical devices, which I don’t have).

I do not object to TSA doing the one and only job they are allowed to do: search for weapons and explosives, with the minimal amount of intrusion necessary to do so.

But when they want to electronically strip search me, sexually assault me, or subject me to screening that is completely ineffective (which has been proven true of AIT — see the DHS OIG & GAO reports), then I have a problem.


If the TSA is asking about the purpose and contents of any medicine, I’d be curious to see if they are required to be HIPPA compliant to protect the health information of everyone questions. I really doubt they are compliant.

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They are not. In fact, they disclose medical information in their non-HIPAA-compliant situation reports. (Source: I got ones about me through FOIA litigation.)


Odd, I flew out of Seatac the day before on the 30th, and asked if it was mandatory and they said no, I could go through a very thorough pat down instead, which I did. They were professional and respectful if a bit annoyed, but did complete the patdown within 5 minutes and even read to me a card stating what they were going to do, and offered to do it in a private room.

What was interesting was the tsa employees talking about someone who was in to do training and they were talking about that day or the next for this training, so perhaps this is the outcome?

I am reminded every time I fly why I hate flying and generally choose other transportation more often now even though it takes much longer.


No. They are not a covered entity under HIPAA and it does not apply to them. “Covered entity” has a very specific meaning in a HIPAA context. See http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/covered-entities/index.html


Sometimes it’s hard to find the line between taking a stand for justice and being a dick to low-paid civil servants. Of course, if you’re a libertarian I suppose it’s the same either way.


An example of both:



What I found jarring was that several different screeners expressed surprise that he was travelling alone. He’s in a wheelchair, he’s not 6 years old.

I agree with the comment above: the problem isn’t that people are trying to smuggle ranch dressing, the problem is that ranch dressing is seen as a problem.


Many of us consider what the TSA does day in and day out as being quite dickish and not very deserving of much courtesy. I’m sure a job at McDonalds would be less demanding and stressful. I hear their standards and vetting process is better than the TSA’s

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At the AIT showdown it seemed like you were refusing screening period instead of being crystal clear by using their own lingo, granted the supervisor should’ve remained professional and clarified by asking if you wanted to opt-out, but instead you BOTH stuck to your guns and antagonized each other the whole way through.

You were antagonizing to begin with starting with the first person to come talk to you. When the tsa barker talks to you about your liquids you didn’t say they’re medically necessary which would tell them nothing of your condition, you just say “They are perfectly legal and you will screen them.” which in my opinion doesn’t tell them that you have a condition at all. You could see it took her a while to put two and two together and what your response meant. Same thing when the guy comes to talk to you about your shoes you said you prefer not to instead of unable to the meaning is similar, but is in fact two different things. Again saying unable to doesn’t tell them anything about your condition saying prefer not to makes it look like you can but won’t.

The medical information is understandable since you’ve had bad experiences with that. I was just suggesting it as a manner to ease screening before knowing all the facts on that.

We all know about the AIT being ineffective at screening people, but that’s our wonderful government trying to look like its doing something to keep people safe. I have a problem with claiming they are sexually assaulting you, because that would mean they are touching you in a non-consensual sexual manner, which would imply they are enjoying it. The truth is they don’t want to touch you as much as you don’t want them touching you. You could say you refuse to be touched, but then they would probably call local pd and they would end up touching you worse than TSA ever could, I know from experience.

I was extremely clear that I was not refusing screening in general. He acknowledged that multiple times. I volunteered to be patted down, ETD’d, etc. So no, I don’t think that was in any way an issue of clarity. He was mandating AIT, and I was refusing.

Re. liquids: a) there’s a piece of paper (visible on end in the video) with my liquids that says in giant letters “MEDICAL LIQUIDS”; and b) I have lost count of the number of times TSA grunts have told me I’m not allowed to have them. Including the STSO.

I have lost patience on this and am not interested in training them on the law. Nor am I interested in telling them what conditions I do or don’t have.

My boots are boots. They are possible to remove; it’s just a pain. You’re doing the same dichotomizing bullshit that they were. Disability is not binary; it’s levels of difficulty. Ones that I do not want to negotiate with some TSA grunt. Their policy is not, as the guy claims, to only pat down boots if it is “not possible” to take them off (short of it being welded on to my foot, it’s always possible); they do so on request. I explicitly requested.

I did not refuse to be touched, because people have lost court cases on that exact point. I specifically said they could pat me down. I consider it a sexual assault nevertheless.

To point out an underlying issue with this line of things: You seem to think that it’s my job to be sweet and explanatory to the people who are violating my rights, and blaming me for their breaking the law when I’m snippy. I think that it’s their job to obey the law to begin with, and when they deviate from that, they’re the ones who are starting with being extremely rude to me. I try to be very polite, but I am not going to cede an inch on civil rights.