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Old Nov 17, 11, 10:46 am   #1
 
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Double Opt-Out at Dulles this morning, barred from my flight

I admit it, I must have done my homework badly. I was somehow under the impression that there was a scanner-free checkpoint at IAD, but when I arrived this morning every lane had the blue radiation boxes at the main checkpoint. It appeared that almost all were being sent to the Nude-o-scope. I ditched that and went instead to the small experts checkpoint on the arrivals level. One line of passengers fed into a single WTMD-or-blue-boxes setup. A male screener blocked my way through the metal detector and motioned instead to the blue boxes. I refused, saying, "Is that the machine that takes a naked picture of my body?" This man actually looked me right in the face and said, no, it doesn't take naked pictures. The TSA lies about what the scanners can do. I pointed out to him that the yellow X-ray radiation warning sticker was about one inch by one and a half inches and was placed in a spot where people entering the machine couldn't see it.

So, having refused the scanner, a woman came around and said, "Maam, I'm going to have to pat you down." I responded, "I do not consent, no, I do not consent to that," while backing away from her. Very soon I descended into emotional chaos and started sobbing loudly while testifying to everyone in the checkpoint about my prior sexual assault at the hands of TSA. They called over one police officer who talked to me as I was composing myself slightly, and sat crying in a chair near the checkpoint. They went one level up the chain to a TSM named Bryant Livingston, and I told him I was traumatized as a result of prior TSA experiences and that I refused to let someone take a naked image of me or to touch me. I asked to be allowed to go through the metal detector.

Another, higher up official at TSA, whose name I did not get but who reminded me of Daniels from the Wire, appeared and heard my story. Everyone was calm and collected except for me; I cried intermittently.

There was much conferring away from my earshot. They took my drivers license and boarding pass away to photocopy them. The woman who originally wanted to pat me down came to bargain, offering to let me go through the blue boxes, as she said, after she changed out all the personnel to make sure every person screening me was a woman. The fact that the person who obscenely violated my genitalia with a metal detector was also a woman seemed incidental to her, I guess.

Yet another woman, who called herself an auditor and didn't have a TSA uniform on, came to talk to me about my reasons for refusing. I told her, "This does not make me feel safe. All of this (motioning to the scanner and screeners) absolutely makes me feel terrified to come to the airport." Throughout this time, my husband was trying to pull rank as a physician and tell them that I had PTSD (which I certainly do) and that they should let me through the metal detector. In the end, no one was willing to let me through the metal detector after a double opt-out, so I left the checkpoint. They did not send anyone to escort me away.

I told Daniels as I was leaving that, "You are just a part of this system, but this is an evil system. This system sexually abuses people. What you are doing sincerely traumatizes a lot of innocent people. You are responsible for that. I think you should think about that, and I have no idea how you can live with yourself knowing." He just let me say my piece without much reacting.

I'm leaving Dulles now, having changed my ticket to fly out of Reagan this afternoon. Wish me luck getting through unmolested!
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Old Nov 17, 11, 10:53 am   #2
 
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Originally Posted by mybodyismyown View Post
I'm leaving Dulles now, having changed my ticket to fly out of Reagan this afternoon. Wish me luck getting through unmolested!
If flying out of Terminals B or C, I believe they have metal detectors that you may use. Just take a couple minutes and make sure you use a metal detector lane.

I flew out of DCA on Monday morning myself... wound up going through security twice, as I went to B first by mistake (my flight was actually out of C).

Good luck with going through security. Armed with this knowledge I will not be flying out of IAD anymore. (Actually looking for a small commercial airport in WV without the porn viewers that I can fly from... willing to drive 3-4 hours to do so if necessary.)
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Old Nov 17, 11, 1:48 pm   #3
 
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DCA differs from terminal to terminal, but IAD does not. Everyone goes through the main terminal screening. There is a central main screening area where every lane has nude-o-scopes (though often not in use) and the Dulles Diamond Lane which used to be designated for expert travelers but is mostly used for wheelchairs and groups now.

In practical terms, the latter (which may have been renamed by now) tends towards greater nude-o-scope use. (My experience is that it is nearly universal for women, and at least 50% for men.) They do, however, tend to be fairly superficial about the pat down if you opt out.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 1:59 pm   #4
 
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Originally Posted by mybodyismyown View Post
I admit it, I must have done my homework badly. I was somehow under the impression that there was a scanner-free checkpoint at IAD, but when I arrived this morning every lane had the blue radiation boxes at the main checkpoint. It appeared that almost all were being sent to the Nude-o-scope. I ditched that and went instead to the small experts checkpoint on the arrivals level. One line of passengers fed into a single WTMD-or-blue-boxes setup. A male screener blocked my way through the metal detector and motioned instead to the blue boxes. I refused, saying, "Is that the machine that takes a naked picture of my body?" This man actually looked me right in the face and said, no, it doesn't take naked pictures. The TSA lies about what the scanners can do. I pointed out to him that the yellow X-ray radiation warning sticker was about one inch by one and a half inches and was placed in a spot where people entering the machine couldn't see it.

So, having refused the scanner, a woman came around and said, "Maam, I'm going to have to pat you down." I responded, "I do not consent, no, I do not consent to that," while backing away from her. Very soon I descended into emotional chaos and started sobbing loudly while testifying to everyone in the checkpoint about my prior sexual assault at the hands of TSA. They called over one police officer who talked to me as I was composing myself slightly, and sat crying in a chair near the checkpoint. They went one level up the chain to a TSM named Bryant Livingston, and I told him I was traumatized as a result of prior TSA experiences and that I refused to let someone take a naked image of me or to touch me. I asked to be allowed to go through the metal detector.

Another, higher up official at TSA, whose name I did not get but who reminded me of Daniels from the Wire, appeared and heard my story. Everyone was calm and collected except for me; I cried intermittently.

There was much conferring away from my earshot. They took my drivers license and boarding pass away to photocopy them. The woman who originally wanted to pat me down came to bargain, offering to let me go through the blue boxes, as she said, after she changed out all the personnel to make sure every person screening me was a woman. The fact that the person who obscenely violated my genitalia with a metal detector was also a woman seemed incidental to her, I guess.

Yet another woman, who called herself an auditor and didn't have a TSA uniform on, came to talk to me about my reasons for refusing. I told her, "This does not make me feel safe. All of this (motioning to the scanner and screeners) absolutely makes me feel terrified to come to the airport." Throughout this time, my husband was trying to pull rank as a physician and tell them that I had PTSD (which I certainly do) and that they should let me through the metal detector. In the end, no one was willing to let me through the metal detector after a double opt-out, so I left the checkpoint. They did not send anyone to escort me away.

I told Daniels as I was leaving that, "You are just a part of this system, but this is an evil system. This system sexually abuses people. What you are doing sincerely traumatizes a lot of innocent people. You are responsible for that. I think you should think about that, and I have no idea how you can live with yourself knowing." He just let me say my piece without much reacting.

I'm leaving Dulles now, having changed my ticket to fly out of Reagan this afternoon. Wish me luck getting through unmolested!
I am sorry about your situation, but your choice when flying in the US is a pat-down or advanced imaging. Whether it is right, or fair, or moral is irrelevant, as if you are unable to use either alternative, you cannot fly. While you are not at fault for the TSAs actions, you cannot expect them to make a special exception for you, from the established rules to which all other passengers are subject.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 2:01 pm   #5
 
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Your experience sounds traumatic and awful, but I want to commend you for saying some very brave things. If the people you were dealing with are at all human, they will have trouble sleeping tonight, and that's a good thing.

Last edited by phoebepontiac; Nov 17, 11 at 2:27 pm.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 2:19 pm   #6
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Who took your DL and BP to photocopy it. The TSA?

Mike
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Old Nov 17, 11, 2:23 pm   #7
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Originally Posted by phoebepontiac View Post
If the people were dealt with are at all human, they will have trouble sleeping tonight, and that's a good thing.
If that were true, they wouldn't be working for the TSA in the first place.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 2:29 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by 14940674 View Post
I am sorry about your situation, but your choice when flying in the US is a pat-down or advanced imaging. Whether it is right, or fair, or moral is irrelevant, as if you are unable to use either alternative, you cannot fly. While you are not at fault for the TSAs actions, you cannot expect them to make a special exception for you, from the established rules to which all other passengers are subject.
I don't know, flight crews get a pass. Some politicians and dignitaries get a pass. Now perhaps military members will be getting a pass. Maybe people who have in the past been aggressively sexually penetrated while being screened at a checkpoint should get a pass, too.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 2:43 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by phoebepontiac View Post
I don't know, flight crews get a pass. Some politicians and dignitaries get a pass. Now perhaps military members will be getting a pass. Maybe people who have in the past been aggressively sexually penetrated while being screened at a checkpoint should get a pass, too.
That is a discussion worth having, but the key point here is that the OP knew the TSA requirement that, when selected for AIT, you either use it or opt-out, yet she attempted to garner an on-the-spot exception. She cannot expect that strategy to succeed.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 2:47 pm   #10
 
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That is a discussion worth having, but the key point here is that the OP knew the TSA requirement that, when selected for AIT, you either use it or opt-out, yet she attempted to garner an on-the-spot exception. She cannot expect that strategy to succeed.
I understand your point, but she also mistakenly thought she was going through a scanner-free checkpoint. If she had realized there were scanners there, she would have planned differently. I think, when a person in this situation potentially has hundreds or thousands of dollars in airfare on the line, I can understand why she'd ask to be let through.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 3:23 pm   #11
 
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That is a discussion worth having, but the key point here is that the OP knew the TSA requirement that, when selected for AIT, you either use it or opt-out, yet she attempted to garner an on-the-spot exception. She cannot expect that strategy to succeed.
The key point for me is that an innocent person was once again being sexually assaulted by a government employee for no other reason than a random search. Don't kid yourself, no one is safer. In fact, I believe we are less safe.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 3:24 pm   #12
 
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The key point for me is that an innocent person was once again being sexually assaulted by a government employee for no other reason than a random search. Don't kid yourself, no one is safer. In fact, I believe we are less safe.
I never said anyone was safer, nor did I condone the activities of the TSA. I simply was trying to explain that the OP has unreasonable expectations for flying in this day and age of the TSA.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 3:32 pm   #13
 
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I never said anyone was safer, nor did I condone the activities of the TSA. I simply was trying to explain that the OP has unreasonable expectations for flying in this day and age of the TSA.
and what exactly *are* our expectations? If she had gone through the scanner because she did not want to be sexually molested, she might still be subjected to this at the gate.

The point is, we have no expectations of any particular behavior on the part of these people. They could decide tomorrow to do something different and you'd be stuck.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 3:32 pm   #14
 
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Trying to transit any major airport and having even the least expectation of being able to double opt-out and still fly is setting yourself up for disappointment.

These things are going to be everywhere within the next 24-36 months (I think the original timeline was to have one at every checkpoint in the US by the end of 2014?) We are more than a 18 months into the process of raping the taxpayers' wallets to fund the rapes of their bodies and Constitutional rights, and the AIT scanners are so prevalent now that it is almost impossible to fly without having to encounter one.

If you encounter one, and don't wish to go through it, you will have to opt-out, and if you opt-out, you will either get a pat-down or you won't fly. It's just that simple.

At those checkpoints which don't have an AIT, or which have the AIT shut down or are only using it on a small percentage of the travelers who transit there, the possibility of being selected at random for more intense screening is always there, and more intense screening means either AIT or pat-down.

The TSA is like a Terminator - it can't be reasoned with, it can't be bargained with, it doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear - and it absolutely will not stop, EVER, until the Bill of Rights is dead.

No other choices exist - submit, or don't fly.

OP, I commend you on your willingness to allow them to deny you flight; in that situation, many people would have caved and taken either the AIT or the rubdown. But sooner or later, you're going to have to admit to yourself that even attempting to get through an airport today unmolested is like hitting on twenty - the odds are VERY long against you. Just trying it puts you in the position you were in today, where your prior traumatic experience reduces you to tears and ruins your day.

Perhaps someday the country will come to its senses and stop abusing the citizenry in this egregious manner, but until then, we have to get through life the best we can, and that means that you have to be prepared when you go to the airport and are confronted with two unacceptable choices, and not allow it to re-traumatize you.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 3:46 pm   #15
 
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Originally Posted by 14940674 View Post
I am sorry about your situation, but your choice when flying in the US is a pat-down or advanced imaging. Whether it is right, or fair, or moral is irrelevant, as if you are unable to use either alternative, you cannot fly. While you are not at fault for the TSAs actions, you cannot expect them to make a special exception for you, from the established rules to which all other passengers are subject.
Even leaving the right, fair, and moral aspects out of it... Those are not the only two options available.

Quote:
A male screener blocked my way through the metal detector and motioned instead to the blue boxes.
But, I suppose, in TSA fantasy land, because she wanted to go through the metal detector unmolested, she had to be hiding something and, thus, had to have her level of screening escalated.
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