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TSA Threatens Opt Out Journalist With Arrest

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Blogger revealed screeners are wearing badges upside down to avoid identification

Steve Watson
Nov 20, 2012

The TSA has publicly slammed a journalist who opted out of an x-ray body scan and then reported that her genitals were groped by an agent who refused to provide her name and even wore her TSA badge UPSIDE DOWN to avoid being identified.

As we reported yesterday, talk radio host Amy Alkon related the recent incident at JFK airport, during which she was threatened with arrest by a TSA supervisor who also refused to identify himself.

After alleging that the TSA screener touched her labia, breasts and bare skin inside her clothing, Alkon noted on her blog that the supervisor also refused to provide a complaint form.

“It seems to me that when a government worker is doing a contested activity like groping my body for “security” purposes, sans probable cause, or engaging in any search of me as a citizen, I am entitled to that person’s full name and badge number.” Alkon wrote in an email to the TSA, demanding to know if the agent and the supervisor will be reprimanded.

Now, the TSA has responded on its own blog, claiming that Alkon’s post is”offensive to say the least.”

TSA blogger Bob Burns claims that the screener in question “by all accounts other than Ms. Alkon’s, did her job by the book.” Burns then accuses Alkon of being “somebody who makes a living by agitating situations and writing about them.”

Burns admits that the checkpoint supervisor threatened to call police on Alkon but states that he did so because “Ms. Alkon continued to make a scene.”

Before regurgitating his usual diatribe about how it’s great that we have the freedom to complain about TSA policies (despite the fact that screeners refused to provide her with an official complaint form), Burns then ironically suggests that the privacy of TSA screeners should be considered.

“After all, these individuals are doing the job the way they’ve been trained to do it. They show up to work daily with the intent of protecting our Nation’s transportation network.” he writes.

Is this the way the TSA deals with people who complain now? By taking to the internet and attempting to publicly smear them? Is it all good and well for a federal government agency to threaten reporters with arrest when they express disagreement with its policies?

Alkon has been a thorn in the side of the TSA for over a year now, following an incident in 2011, when she was threatened with a defamation suit by TSA’s lawyers after she alleged that an agent at LAX physically penetrated her vagina with her hand four times during an aggressive patdown.

Alkon described the incident as rape on her blog and publicly identified the TSA agent in question. Her attempts to file charges of sexual assault were eventually shot down.

The TSA has a history of threatening journalists who have reported negatively on experiences at the hands of the agency. CNN reporter Drew Griffin was put on a TSA watch list immediately after he filed reports critical of the organization back in 2008. Conservative radio host and Breitbart Editor Dana Loesch has alleged that she is targeted for punishment in the form of a rough invasive patdown almost every time she flies.

In August, independent Journalists documenting the level of security theatre surrounding the Republican National Convention in Tampa were threatened with being “detained for 72 hours” by Homeland Security agents, after they filmed TSA employees occupying a Greyhound bus station close to the security perimeter.

In March, two mainstream media reporters revealed that the TSA “strongly cautioned” them not to cover the story of an engineer revealing major flaws in the agency’s $1 billion dollar body scanner program.

As we have previsouly noted, there have been countless accounts of people who object to the TSA body scanner being punished by means of extremely rough pat downs, described by many victims as verging on sexual molestation.

The TSA has even previously admitted that it punished travelers who opt out of the body scanner with more invasive pat downs.

As Consumer Traveler’s Charlie Leocha has reported, “When meeting with privacy officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA…. I was told unofficially that there were two standards of pat-downs. One for the normal situation where passengers are going through metal detectors and a different pat-down for those who refuse to go through the whole-body scanners.”

“With this latest announcement, TSA admits that it has been clandestinely punishing passengers for refusing to go through the invasive whole-body scans with an even more intrusive aggressive pat-down and that soon those more invasive pat-down will creep from airport to airport,” adds Leocha.

It now appears from initial accounts during the first two days of the Infowars led Opt Out And Film campaign, that TSA may be responding by forcing travelers to go through body scanners, in spite of the fact that they have the right to opt out.

This echoes policy adopted during the height of the national op-out day backlash against the TSA in 2010, when the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg was told directly by a TSA agent that pat downs were made increasingly invasive not for any genuine security reason, but to make the experience so uncomfortable for the traveler that they would be forced to use the body scanner.

As part of the national Opt Out and Film week, we are urging all travelers to opt out of the body scanner and film their experience. Please email us your videos and stories.


Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.

This article was posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm


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