TSA Screener: Yes, We Laughed at Your X-Rays

Former employee writes of the not-so-professional work in airports

By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 31, 2014 12:49 PM CST | Updated Feb 2, 2014 10:03 AM CST

(Newser) – A former TSA employee has written a first-person piece for Politico Magazine, that, in the words of Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, "confirms pretty much everything we suspected about the TSA." Some excerpts from the article by Jason Harrington, who had previously posted anonymously at the blog Taking Sense Away:

  • "I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly, and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security."
  • "Just as the long-suffering American public waiting on those security lines suspected, jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my TSA colleagues: Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display. Piercings of every kind were visible."

  • "Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group—a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an IED, and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security."
  • "We knew the full-body scanners didn’t work before they were even installed. Not long after the Underwear Bomber incident, all TSA officers at O’Hare were informed that training for the Rapiscan Systems full-body scanners would soon begin. The machines cost about $150,000 a pop."
  • "The only people who hated the body-scanners more than the public were TSA employees themselves. Many of my co-workers felt uncomfortable even standing next to the radiation-emitting machines we were forcing members of the public to stand inside."
Click for Harrington's full article. The Verge notes that Harrington is now tweeting additional stuff, like this: "One thing I left out of that Politico piece: HELL YES airport employees often drink those bottles of alcohol you surrender at the checkpoint."

A volunteer poses inside a full-body airport scanner.
A volunteer poses inside a full-body airport scanner.   (AP Photo / Paul Faith, PA)
This combination of undated file photos provided by the Transportation Security Administration show images from airport body scans.
This combination of undated file photos provided by the Transportation Security Administration show images from airport body scans.   (AP Photo/Transportation Security Administration, File)
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