Although the TSA started their passenger hand swabbing program last February, my first experience with it was today at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.
Prior to boarding my JetBlue flight to Long Beach, an announcement was made by JetBlue personnel that passengers would be randomly selected for secondary hand baggage searches or to have their hands swabbed and checked for explosives.
Five TSA agents were standing around the gate with an Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) machine and those famous circular swabs that we have come to know and love over the last few years.
While I am against any government intrusion on my ability to freely move within the United States, I understand that most people disagree and I actually think this hand swabbing program is better than some of the other dubious terror-flighting tactics the TSA has implemented.
I avoided the check by waiting to board the plane until right after a passenger had been "randomly" selected for a search.
Every time I see the TSA "looking busy" like they were today, I can’t help but to shake my head in dismay. Nevertheless, at least this program seems to be random and is relatively non-obtrusive.
I have been an EOD tech for 22 years and all my clothes, bags are contaminated with explosives. When I was selected for ETD I gave the “agents” my letter from the DoD saying how I would come up positive for trace, the agents read it and said ” so what?” then threw my gov’t letter in the trash and did their tests (positive) and pulled all my bags and body armor out of the hold before letting me get on the plane. My bags were lost for three days!! So for three days I could not work and try to get your kit back at an airport like Kabul!!
My hands were swabbed in Phoenix. They asked if I had used hand cream that morning. I responded “yes.” that sent me to a body scan and pat down It was definitely not “showing dignity and respect” which is what I was told they were aiming for when I complained. It’s the worst violation of the 4th amendment I’ve seen in my 57 years. We need a broad based class action suit. Any attorney out there who’s like to carry this to the Supreme Court?
I sometimes post at a liberal blog. I get more and more complaints about the security theatre which diminishes our freedom without increase of security. Americans have lost their freaking brains; they are terrified of foreign terrorists and Americans working with these terrorists. They’re in more danger from drunk drivers, falling in the shower, and domestic criminals. Do you believe that a police state makes you safe? Who protects you from the state- the TSA?
I am a diamond on Delta yet still only randomly get TSA Pre Check. The last three times I have had Pre Check I have been “Randomly” swabbed. Although it is a minor inconvenience I question three in a row.
On the other side … it is only a minor convenience so I let it go.
I took my mother to airport, first they made me park in a parking lot down the street and take a shuttle bus to get back to airport, while my mother 80 years old and handicapped wondering where I could be, believing I am parking underneath in garage. As we go through security, the sign says 73 and older need not take off their shoes. As we go through the walk through goes off and they want her to take her shoes off. I told them she is 80 years old with a hip and knee replacement. The TSA still tell me she has to remove her shoes, her foot is swollen and shoes are hard to take off. As we go through they then tell me she has to be patted down. They then pat her down and of course their are all kinds of things coming out of my mouth. I could not believe the tsa woman told me I should have told the boy at the scanner that she was 80. Okay my mom looks great but, she looks older than 73. So then they asked if she had lotion on and that was affecting the pat down. I have never heard of that, she told the woman she had put lotion on at 7am. They said we have to pat down again, I was furious and my language showed it but, I could not help it, they called other TSA agents and told me to step aside, and needed to pat her down. She was sitting in a wheelchair telling them she had to go the bathroom. Already having one accident today. They told her she could not go until they were done. The other tsa agent who was in my face and did not want me talking. I know this is there job but this was an 80 year old woman asking to go to bathroom. If this was your mother what would you have done. They then started feeling her and the one woman was squeezing her boobs as if she had something to hide. I wanted to cry to see my mom going through this and just wanting to go the bathroom. When we finished the police wanted to know if I was calmed down, and at least it was a woman feeling her body parts.
It is truly disconcerting to be treated like a terrorist; paraded in front of the other passengers; and, escorted to a little room, all for using hand cream. The second ingredient in every hand cream I own is glycerin. They need to figure out another screening method — this one is not benign.
P.S. I am in my 60s, female, and live in South Florida where EVERYONE uses hand cream.
I am a 50 year old disabled woman. I have to go through all of these things too. But this hand wipe down is nonsense! I have reached my breaking point! Every time I fly I am “randomly” chosen for all of the tests… Not only do I have to remove my hat, remove my jacket, remove my shoes, taken to the side for a thorough pat down taken to the body scan and wanded. Now I am also “randomly selected” for the wipedown of my luggage and my hands and arms. Every time anyone has an incident I ask my husband if they looked anything like me?! I think people that look like the ones doing all the damage should be “randomly selected” usually those people are not checked nearly as much as the elderly and disabled! Our rights are slowly being nibbled away at but we are all too scared of being called racist or hurting someone’s feelings to even notice it!