Accuse Agency Of Enabling Voyeurism At Checkpoints
Many people worry about the TSA profiling passengers based on
skin color, religious clothing or national origin. Several women
who've been through checkpoints at Dallas-Fort Worth International
Airport say they were targeted for multiple screenings simply
because they were attractive.
KTVT in Dallas reports that TSA requires pat-downs of female
passengers to be done by female screeners, but the revealing
electronic backscatter images from full-body scans are viewed on
monitors in rooms which can be staffed by men. If the account of
Ellen Terrell is accurate, it seems clear there has been more going
on than legitimate security activities.
The station reports Ellen and her husband, Charlie, were
screened at DFW several months ago. Ellen recalls her interaction
with the female screener. "She says to me, 'Do you play tennis?'
And I said, 'Why?' She said, 'You just have such a cute
Terrell says that after the scan, the female agent told her it
didn't get the image, and sent her through a second time, and then
a third. Finally, she says, the screener spoke into her microphone
to say, "Guys, it is not blurry, I’m letting her go."
The Terrells call what's happening voyeurism. Texas State
Representative Lon Burnam says he's fielded multiple complaints,
adding, "I think it’s sexual harassment if you’re run
through there a third or fourth time."
KTVT reports it examined 500 complaints against the TSA and
found a number of similar allegations. Names have been redacted on
the records, but the complaints speak of TSA agents
unprofessionally "trolling" the lines, selecting only women for the
scans, and walking to the viewing room to see the scans of the
DFW now has newer body scanners which show only a generic
outline no matter who's being scanned. But the older machines are
still in use at 39 airports nationwide.
TSA responded to the KTVT report with a statement which reads,
in part, "TSA does not profile passengers. All of our millimeter
wave technology units including those in Dallas have been upgraded
with additional privacy enhancements that no longer display
passenger-specific images. Even prior to this upgrade, officers
reviewing the images were located in a separate room and would have
never seen the passenger being screened."
The agency adds it is not protocol to subject any passenger to
multiple scans, and encourages passengers to file complaints if it