Junk Science: TSA backlash.

Author:Balko, Radley
Position:Citings - Transportation Security Administration - Brief article

IN NOVEMBER passenger dissatisfaction with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) finally blossomed into a full-blown backlash. Sporadic examples of TSA abuses have filtered into the media since the agency was created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. But TSA's November announcement that it would be ramping up the installation of X-ray "backscatter" scanners capable of seeing passengers nude, coupled with more-invasive pat-downs for secondary screening, set off widespread protest.


On November 15, software engineer John Tyner recorded his TSA pat-down at San Diego International Airport, famously telling a TSA agent, "If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested." The agency then announced it was opening an investigation of Tyner and that he could face fines up to $11,000 for leaving the security area without permission. Tyner's video went viral, with "don't touch my junk" becoming a national catchphrase, and suddenly the nation's media was focused on TSA humiliation stories. Activists then called for National Opt-Out Day, a planned protest in which passengers would decline the X-ray machines in favor of the more time-consuming pat-downs on November 24, the...

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