They’re All Gonna Laugh At You: Former TSA Confession Reveals What They Really Think About Your Body Scan

February 1, 2014  |  

Anthony Behar/Sipa USA (Sipa via AP Images)

Airport security can be in intimidating to even the most frequent flyers.  I don’t know about you but checking my bag always makes me paranoid that my curling iron might be mistaken for a weapon of mass destruction.  If having your personal care items confiscated isn’t enough to stress over, here’s something else that might make your airport experience even more troubling: You don’t find your belly fat or breast implants nearly as amusing as the TSA agents do.

In his Politico magazine article, “Dear America, I Saw You Naked…”, former TSA screener Jason Edward Harrington confesses the crude crimes of TSA agents that are masked as “standard operating procedures”.  Harrington says he quickly discovered he was “working for an agency whose morale was among the lowest in U.S. government”.  Racial profiling, patting down breast cancer patients and jokes including “crass stereotypes about race and genitalia” after viewing passengers on body scans were all in a day’s work at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport where Harrington was once employed.

“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.”

It’s heartbreaking to hear that homemade jam is being confiscated from nanas visiting their grandkids, but I can’t help but feeling that on some level these practices are necessary to keep us safe.  As much as we like to complain about being forced to walk barefoot through a body scanner and packing our hand lotion in Ziploc bags, I try to remind myself that what seems like silly procedures were put in place to keep us safe.  No less than 13 years ago, America became the victim of a terrorist attack that may have been prevented if these procedures were a regular part of our boarding process.  Or would they have?

One of the most troubling things that Harrington reveals in his confession is that the body scanners are ineffective at best at detecting weapons and other dangerous items on passengers.  The $150,000 body pods allegedly aren’t able to distinguish a bomb from body fat implying that the tiny risk of cancer the radiation is exposing you to is doing a better job at entertaining TSA agents than protecting the American public.

If it’s any reassurance, Harrington reveals in the article that most TSA agents despise the body screening process as much as we do if not for the radiation that monitoring an x-ray scanner all day might expose them to, but for taking part in what are for the most part unnecessary practices that rob passengers of a dignified airport experience.  In the meantime, Jr.’s pamper may still have to be subjected to a pat down before boarding that flight to Disneyworld…all in the interest of public safety.

Click the link to read more of the infamous tale of a TSA agent: “Dear America, I Saw You Naked…”

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