Saturday, February 26, 2011

Alaska State Rep. Cisnna Gets TSA Stories by Email

Rep. Cissna in her office Friday afternoon
Alaska State Rep. Sharon Cissna's office recorded 92 e-mails for Monday regarding her refusal to be patted down at SEATAC.  There was an equal stack on Tuesday.  Maybe not a great many, but a lot for an Alaskan State Representative.

Rep. Cissna is now back in her office and we discussed the propriety of posting parts of some of the emails.  They were sent to her, she assumes, with the expectation of respect for people's privacy, but they were also sent with the hope that she would find a way to use what they have said to let people know that this is a problem - particularly the issue of people who have had some sort of surgery that now sets them up to be singled out for the 'pat-down.'  So with Rep. Cissna's permission, I have pulled out some representative comments that leave out anything that might identity the writer. 

"Thank you for standing up for your privacy rights and those of other women" - Daughter of a Breast Cancer Victim, Connecticut

"I would like to visit Alaska this year, but at this time I decline to fly. Please do what you can to push back against the TSA, and to beat back this obtrusive and unconstitutional procedure" Colorado

"How can any legislator in any state or any of our US Senators and Congressional members allow this stupidity to continue?" Fairbanks

"With two titanium knee joints, I am a 'victim' every time I fly, which has been four to eight times a month"

"Good for you standing up against the thugs at TSA!" Juneau

"It's not acceptable, it simply defies common human decency." Seattle

"I have two young children who should never be touched as these TSA people touch them!" Juneau

"I regret for you what must surely have been an embarrassing and upsetting incident; not to mention the publication of your personal health matters! But that is what we all face these days." North Carolina

"I was always told that the terrorists only won if they forced us to change the way we live and altered the freedoms Americans enjoy. What goes on today in US airports leads me to believe they won. By the way, I am a retired US Air Force Master Sergeant that was once cleared to work on Air Force One. Yep. I'm a real threat." Washington

"I'm am Oregon conservative and registered nurse who wants to thank you for standing up to TSA. . . However, you may not be aware that the scanning you underwent is dangereous to your health." Oregon

"If more of us refused and chose other forms of transportation, this rubbish would end. Thanks for standing up for your rights and dignity and by doing so, the rights and dignity not only of Alaskans but of all Americans." Arizona

"It's a very sad state of affairs we have reached when TSA has to subject a traveler to a pat down because the nude-o-scope reveals that the passenger had major surgery." New Jersey

"It is utterly obscene that so many elderly, disabled and medically challenged people are disproportionately subjected to repeated enhanced physical searches at the hands of this out of control and wasteful government agency. It is my fervent hope that there are more people like you who are willing to step up and say "enough is enough". Florida

"I am a retired law enforcement officer with both domestic and foreign experience. I find these procedures to be largely a waste of resources and time."

"For many of us who travel frequently this so-called "Security Theater" has finally gone too far. . . This should be a bipartisan issue on which we can agree as Americans that these latest search "procedures" have gone too far, from the X-Ray scanners to the euphemistically and inaccurately named "pat-downs," which in truth are groping and invasive searches to which my wife and I have already been subjeted a total of three times in 2011, including once each at SEATAC."

"Is there ANYTHING myself, friends, family, and colleagues can do to stop this disgusting intrusion into our personal privacy?"

"American women such as myself, and I am 60 years of age, need a spokeswoman to cut off the balls of the TSA and DHS. I'm not asking you to do it single-handedly, but your sisters across the country are going to stand with you if you decide to go viral on all the news media with the truth about the outrageous procedures which made you cancel your flight plans."

"I live in California and am almost embarrased to have my daughters fly in to visit us from Kansas. By simply declining the search you have taken a stand and I for one appreciate it." California

"My wife is now disabled and has had neck surgery. As a result, she has plates and screws in her neck. We are pretty sure that they would want to do an enhanced pat-down screening as a result of her medical situation. So. . .we have decided to not fly anymore. I just can't believe that our country has come to this. It is so degrading, humiliating, and really unnecessary. Bless you and take good care."

"I just made myself space out and pretend I was on another planet while having this woman poke in my crotch from front and back, run circles with her hands around both of my breasts, make me lift my blouse so she could put her hands inside my waistband. . . I traveled through several airports in Europe all through the month of October and not once did I have to endure this humiliating experience."

"[After having a bad experience with TSA, she writes] That next month, I showed up to fly, and stripped down to nothing but my speedo swimsuit at 6 am so they could get a better look. NEVER regretted my decision! I am a survivor of cancer and sexual abuse, and being touched sends me to the deep end."

"You should be ashamed of yourself and the way you represent the State of Alaska."

"I travel with a co-worker with a prosthetic leg, he experiences similar personal invasion and loathes the experience." Georgia

"When I (a chubby grandmother) have been pulled out for extra observation it burns me up. Like you, I have decided not to endure this anymore. If I never fly again, so be it." Kentucky

"My husband has an artificial hip, carries a card stating such, but every time he flies the TSA attendant says "I'm not interested in our card, please step over here for a more thorough search." He has to unbutton his slacks and turn the waist band out and the attendant runs his hands around his waist and down his groin on both sides, and down the insides of his legs. My husband is 71 yrs. old." Washington

"Our family is in [the prosthetic business]. . . Due to HIPPA regulations, we could lose our Medicare accreditation if we were to tell 'anyone' the private medical diagnosis of a client. So why is TSA allowed to "out" passengrs' medical conditions for all the world to hear and know about?"

"I have a leg amputation . . .I had a female TSA agent literally shove her hand agressively up between my legs. I am not a person who has a big personal space issue, but this went way beyond anything decent. If I had been outside the airport I could have had this woman arrested. I was so shaken that I asked the TSA suprvisor if this was standard procedure. I was given a very abrupt "yes" and sent on my way."

"Thanks for your willingness to stand up against the charade." Virginia

"Since Gov. Parnell is so keen on thumbing his nose at the federal government over the health care law perhaps you could introduce a resolution or bill urging him to do the same over the TSA:s invasive and probably unconstitutional procedures."

"I am a rape survivor and have PTSD and can't imagine what kind of state I might be in when groped by these thugs."

I think the emails speak for themselves.  I would add that I just flew out of Seattle last week.  While I almost always am conscientious about putting all the metal into my jacket pocket and putting and  almost never set off the alarm, this time my cell phone was in my shirt pocket and I didn't realize it until they told me to stand facing the blue wall.

This is obviously not a random sample of Americans, or even of her emails.  There was the one - in here - that clearly found Rep. Cissna at fault.  There was one other that wasn't clear. Here there are 19 positives and one negative.  The actual count was 90 to 1 (maybe 2).

The raw emotion in some of them says very clearly that we have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.   TSA  says, we haven't had any domestic terrorists because of our security.  I think it's more like the man in Central Park who scattered torn up newspaper around his bench.  When asked why he did that, he said, "To keep away the elephants."  "But there are no elephants here." the questioner pointed out."  And the man said, "See, it works." 

I'm not saying terrorism doesn't exist, or that the intelligence agencies shouldn't be vigilant, but I suspect that subjecting grandmothers to groping TSA inspectors isn't what is keeping the terrorists away.  And no one has been killed, to my knowledge, by a terrorist in the US since 9/11.  But 40, 000 a year (pushing the total close to 400,000 this year) have died in car crashes.  Many more have been injured and maimed.


  1. The problem with security theater, other than the ridiculous waste of time and abuses of passengers, is that it conveys the concept that through harsh measures we can totally protect ourselves from terrorism. Of course we can't, and one day there may well be another awful episode. But the politicians are scared to death of that happening -- because then whoever is on duty will be BLAMED!!! for something they could not have possibly prevented.

    If we got it into our heads that wearing aluminum foil hats would protect us from terrorism, then you can bet that TSA would require us to wear them, because they're afraid they would be blamed if a terrorist did something and we weren't wearing our hats.

    Meanwhile terrorists could slip a whole damn nuclear arsenal into the US on a cargo ship and we wouldn't notice until it went off. Or march an army over the Canadian border through the woods. We can never be 100% safe, and we don't really want to be 100% safe, else why do we permit people to text while driving or do parachute jumping?

  2. The Security Theater (like that term) is useless, absolutely useless. The planes are not secured. So you go through all that nonsense, only to enter a plane that could have a bomb. Think of the number of people and cargo that go on the plane. They aren't hand searched each time. So a
    "terrorist" gets a job at an airport. That gets a card to go through "card swipe" doors. After that.... You have cleaners, baggage handlers, food services workers, fueling staff all around the plane.

    I suggest women send their stories to all the women in Congress. Maybe we can get somewhere.

  3. BRAVO!! Rep. Cissna, thank you for your voice regarding your recent experience with TSA. You spoke for thousands of women and men who still believe in the Constitution and are appalled at the TSA tactics. I am a 76 year old woman living in Southern California. I remember when Americans stood up to risk and adversity with bravery. If TSA is allowed to continue in its present mode, the world our grandchildren will inhabit is unthinkable. This federal agency is doing a great deal of damage and must be reined in. Please stand strong. Again, thank you and Bravo!

  4. I have disliked flying ever since the security lines got longer, and it got more tedious to fly...perhaps since I had to start taking my shoes off every time I went through security. How ridiculous! Now, I can guarantee I will never get on another commercial plane as long as these disgusting TSA procedures are continued. Boats, trains, buses and cars are good enough for me.

  5. I think its going to get a lot worse. In fact TSA has only moved into one direction. Virtually each incident is worse than the last.

    At the current rate of decline, within a decade people will be enduring cavity searches. TSA will eventually be armed and the TSA abuse stories of today will eventually be stories of passengers being shot or tazzed.

    Think that is to extreme? Well 10 years ago, who could have imagined that people would be routinely irradiated, have their genitals groped, and be the subject of police brutality for refusing such?

    TSA and DHS is leading this country into fascism.

    We don't need terrorists. TSA/DHS is terrorizing America in a way that an Al Qaeda never could.

  6. And America wonders why its tourism industry is dying.

    America (Chicago) lost the 2016 Olympics as a direct result of DHS and CBP.
    Tourists are avoiding America by the millions as a direct result of DHS and TSA.

    It is time for America to wake up, stop giving in, grow a brain, become sane and kill DHS and TSA.


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