Sexual Harassment At The TSA Checkpoint

Passengers are forced to go through screening at airport checkpoints. TSA even calls their screeners officers, and the procedure is conducted under color of law. So government screeners hitting on women at the checkpoint is beyond inappropriate. It’s a civil rights violation, since passengers are forced to acquiesce to it.

“When he came back, he was holding my ID and a yellow post it note,” she added. “He started writing down my personal information, including my home address and then he handed me a business card with his cell number and personal email. He then told me ‘I’m looking and maybe I’ll see you on your way back.’”

…Weisman claims the harassment didn’t stop there because after she walked through a body scanner, a second male TSA officer told her that she needed to go through it again and make sure that she pulled up her pants higher.

“At this point, there were tears coming out of my eyes and I was shaking,” she explained. “And he said, ‘it’s not like I asked you to take them off ,’ and then he started laughing.”

“When I came through the second time, the female agent who was supposed to do a pat down rolled her eyes and said, ‘you got flagged so they could look closer at your groin.”

Several women I’ve known have consistently been pulled aside for ‘extra screening’. Remember when Denver TSA colluded with each other so same-sex screeners could fondle passengers they thought were attractive?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Sorry, I don’t buy this. TSA, around the world, have same sex agents, search only their sex. Further, unless they think you have something illegal in your possession, body checks are done at the location, where you go through security. There are dozens of other agents, and dozens of hundreds of tourists, who are also being checked at that location.

    And to suggests this happens frequently, is not believable.

  2. It’s sexual MOLESTATION each time they grope someone without probable cause. Plain and simple. You do that outside the airport and you go to jail. Bunch of sickos. END THE TSA

  3. I’ve definitely had some super-inappropriate TSA experiences. One agent shortly post-9/11 went through my bag and held up every item of lingerie / underclothes “for inspection.” Years later, in a different sort of harassment, while I was about 6 months pregnant, an agent made a point of flagging me for additional screening because of my maternity pants, which he “had never seen before.” On the return flight from that same trip, an agent asked me a lot of questions about my pregnancy, including whether I knew who the father of my baby was and if I was sure. I wanted to punch the guy. But of course, I also wanted to make my flight, so in all these cases, I put up with the degradation in the name of just trying to get through and get where I was going. Alas!

  4. When? This year? Last month?

    Where? What airport?

    You’ve focus on the lurid stuff but seem uninterested in the rest of the “who when where what why and how”.

    C’mon Gary, these are basics.

  5. One saw a male TSA agent ask a large-breasted (but thin) woman to lift her top up. She very loudly stated (not yelling), “absolutely NOT!”. He let her go.

    Happened years ago at DCA.

    Later, I regretted not giving her my business card as a witness in case she wanted to file a complaint.

  6. My nephew is pulled for groping every time we travel, 4-6 times per year. I got so mad once I went back and yelled, He’s 16!

  7. With a hundred different sexual orientations these days, having a so called same sex agent scan or pat you down does not guarantee they are not getting their jollies. What a world we’ve created.

  8. David.

    I must be living in a shell.
    And, everyone I kny, are in the same shell. We each make over 35 individual trips, globally, average each year.

    Not one of us, has experienced any of these sexually oriented issues anywhere in the world.

    I don’t like TSA agents, at all. They open up, my carefully packed carry-on, and stuff everything back in. Most of their attitudes, suck! They are not like family, and are uncouth.

    However, they provide searches, out in the public, with usually, hundreds of people around where they are. When anyone comes through the xray unit, if they see something on the screen, they check it out.

    To suggest, they are feely, touchy, is insane. For you to even suggest, “having a so called same sex agent scan or pat you down does not guarantee they are not getting their jollies.”, Is how your mind thinks. It’s retarded mentality, to even go there. You are suggesting, your warped mind, deducts what’s in their minds. Amazing. You are, “THE” original psychic.

    And the woman who said, one asked her personal questions, and was writing it down, is bizarre and a fantasy!

    People going through security, herd everyone through, as quickly as possible.

    I am fortunate, that all my travels, around the world, have protected me, by not putting me on the routes, you and everyone else who have experienced these episodes. .

    What a lucky guy I am.

  9. It’s no secret that Gary has a serious beef with TSA that goes way beyond normal griping. I’ve asked for suggestions from Gary for viable alternatives but so far have had no response.

    That said, the TSA is severely lacking in oversight on a number of levels, starting with the ingrained culture of rampant sexism that pervades the agency. While successes are rightfully celebrated, failures are hidden. Success/failure rates are not publicized as they should be. People attempting to bring loaded firearms on planes are routinely allowed to continue flying despite having committed at least one felony. In short, oversight of the program as whole is exceedingly lax and the program badly needs substantial reform. Some will suggest abolishing the agency but until some realistic alternative is offered, all we can do is improve the one we have.

  10. They’re not on sickos they are thieves. Will take your stuff aside and help themselves to what they want out of there. Wonder how much they really do to actually protect.

  11. I’m not sure Gary has a serious beef with the TSA or that there is somehow no issues ever.
    But I sure do I have a joint replacement and each and every time now I go through I get pulled aside for groping I mean pat downs?
    I don’t appreciate having my inner thighs rubbed groin and buttocks touched by strangers repeatedly before each and every flight
    Though I explain that the issue is metal inside my body they argue that it’s my belt or jeans with metallic buttons.The fact is prior to surgery it was a non issue.Also after our government spend what I assume is billions of dollars on security we haven’t a clue between a gun,weapon belt buckle or jeans
    After a Muti week journey through Australian airports not once was I groped patted or sexually molested
    And I was welcome to bring a case of bottled water with me onboard in glass or plastic through security..All that said do other folks get groped and touched inappropriately by the same sex no doubt it can and will happen.On the other hand the vast majority of agents in the USA do a fairly professional job despite these continued harassments many of which are security theatre
    I feel especially sorry for elderly and handicapped they/we all deserve better and the tsa is somewhat failing

  12. I’m a middle aged man who was groped by a TSA Agent in Terminal 8 of JFK by a sexual deviant in a TSA uniform and badge. While giving me a “pat down” the Officer gave particular care to touching and rubbing my penis through my pants. If they’ll do it to me, I know that they will do it to anybody.

    I went directly to his Supervisor, and after waiting 20 minutes to speak to him was told that I must not travel much if I was surprised or bothered by this and to send my complaint to Washington DC and strongly implied that continuing the conversation would only occasion further scrutiny and cause me to miss by flight.

    Americans think a great deal of their Constitutional rights and supposed freedoms relative to the rest of the world, but as far as I’m concerned the existence of an unaccountable armed and uniformed goon squad of predators, deviants, and assorted mental defectives to which one must subject themselves for the “privilege” of traveling by air, and long after any logical basis for this system to exist has passed into history, is sufficient proof that they’re wrong.

  13. Dwondermeant, Make, etc al.

    Groped sexually assaulted? Man, you guys must be the sexiest people on earth. As much as I travel, I have never been sexually molested or groped anywhere in the world. I don’t know what hormones you gentlemen are exhibiting. However, maybe you should just stay home and take the bus. Because then you won’t be groped and sexually assaulted as you have been. I travel all over the world and I’ve never had either of those things happened to me. You must be going down to Tijuana, Guatemala or somewhere else where there’s no rules about. searching someone. consistent with your sexual hormones, I think it’s the location you go to, that is the problem. At the airports I go to, everyone is out in the open, and they do things in front of everybody else. You put your hands up and you’re there for everyone to see what’s being done to you. Also if I have a carry-on, they bring me over to where they want to look at it, and are there in front of me watching it before it’s opened. And so that I could see they don’t take anything. So again, all of your War Stories make no sense at all.

  14. @Robert You sound like you might be a TSA employee — maybe even a supervisor given that you can read and write a bit. But there is no reason or logic to your argument. You fail to appreciate that sexual harassment and abuse isn’t not only about sex, but rather about power, and power is the only reason people become TSA agents, other than simple desperation and lack of alternative suitable careers.

    This concept is a bit above your pay grade, but the mere fact that you’ve never experienced sexual harassment by the TSA does absolutely nothing to prove that it doesn’t happen to other people, precisely as they have reported. Had I not made that particular trip maybe I too would have avoided the clear reality of the existence of the TSA sexual harassment machine and its institutional coverup of that reality . . . but it would not the change reality of the lived experience of other people you for some reason deny.

  15. Mak.


    Your IQ is the same, as the number of fingers you have on your right hand. It’s okay, if you don’t know which hand is right. Both hands, have the same amount of fingers. But, only pick one.

    You are known as a “porch Puppy”. You can’t run with the big dogs. So you are relegated to the porch. It’s no wonder you experienced groping and sexual advances. Pedophiles can always spot, the weakest link. Those TSA see agents, can spot you before you get in line, to go through security, like a big lollipop . I bet, they fight over which TSA deviant, will get the honor, of perusing your entire body. Especially, around the crotch. You have a serious problem. Those TSA agents, can’t keep their grubby little paws off you.

    Hahahahahaha. Wush!


  16. I have been searched a lot, over 100 times. Not only by TSA but by police officers and other security at concerts. I have been groped twice. Once for making a wide turn. The officer made me get out of the car for a search. He grabbed my junk and said, “what’s this?” I replied that’s my dick head. He then ran the dog through my car, found nothing and let me go. The other was this past Wednesday at the Rockford, Illinois airport. I flew 6 times in the past month and every time I was asked to pull up my pants for the X-ray. This last time, I pulled up my pants at the same time they took the X-ray and because I moved, I was taken aside for a pat down. I thought ok no big deal. The TSA agent used the front of his hands with plenty of force and went over my junk. I still feel comfortable, this was not a typical pat down search, I have never had any TSA agent touch me the way this guy did. When it was over I told him that he should of least taken me out to dinner, his reply was well you shouldn’t have moved. Of course you aren’t going to cause a scene or make a fuss about it because they hold all the power and I just wanted to get out of there asap. Why couldn’t they just run me through the detector again? It was a horrible experience and definitely a groping situation. I now know how some women feel when they are touched inappropriately by a stranger. It’s a helpless feeling that lingers with you and leads to anxiety. To say that it never happen to me so it must not be true, is just plain ridiculous. Have some compassion for your fellow humans instead of calling them liars. Next time I think I might stick a cucumber down there to give them the show they are looking to find.

  17. Joe.

    Another, series of events, that are difficult to comprehend.

    In 2006, I had both hips replaced, and have taken hundreds of domestic and international trips, and because of the surgeries, I get patted down literally hundreds of times.

    Admittedly, I have never been to Rockford, I’ll airport, and don’t attend sporting events, and haven’t been pulled over in my car.

    I get searched, “everytime”, going through the security machine. And I can say, honestly, not one pervert has done anything, remotely close, to what you supposedly experienced, multiple times.

    It begs the question, “How or why, is this phenomenon, happening to you, and not me”?

    Maybe it’s the makeup you wear. Something else? Whatever it is, I am blessed, it has never happened to me.

  18. Happened to me as a 39 yo male at Indianapolis a few years back. Called back for second screening – IMO for absolutely no reason – and thought at the time it was inappropriate when I was rather forcefully targeted around the groin by a male TSA agent – it was actually a bit painful (absolutely no reason to check the area they did). I did question the “team” at the time and they said standard procedure. Didn’t want to make a scene as had a plane to catch. TBH didn’t really think about it again until Gary’s previous article and felt I was definitely targeted. Don’t consider myself good looking – although not ugly I suppose – possibly the agent had never groped an Aussie…

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