Earlier this week, a female traveler found a TSA “notice of inspection” in her luggage reading “get your freak on girl.” The note was in response to a vibrator discovered in Jill Filipovic’s suitcase. Well, the agent who scrawled the note has been identified and removed from screening, the TSA announced on Wednesday.
At least the note didn’t contain a phone number. Or if it did, the article didn’t mention it…
UPDATE: yes, the traveler is in fact the blogger at Feministe. I’d say that TSA agent really picked the wrong person to harass!
AFTERTHOUGHT: the longer I think about this, the angrier it makes me. TSA puts everyone at a disadvantage just by the nature of its activity… I’d say a warrantless search would put anyone at a disadvantage, wouldn’t you? … and inserting a quasi-official note about the presence of a personal but in no way illegal item is just outside the pale. This is the kind of BS that makes me unwilling to fly any more. Can you imagine what it would be like when TSA had to deal with my boot?
- “Take it off.”
- “Sorry, I can’t walk at all if I take it off.”
- “Take it off or you don’t fly.”
- (Steve takes the boot off, and scoots on his butt to a point at which he is allowed to put it back on.)
No, I don’t think so. Better that I simply don’t fly.
UPDATE: no one could say it better than Jill at Feministe herself:
It’s easy to scape-goat one individual here, but the problem with the note is that it’s representative of the bigger privacy intrusions that the U.S. government, through the TSA and other sources, levels every day. The invasion is inherent to the TSA’s mission, regardless of whether a funny note is left behind — the note only serves to highlight the absurdity of all this security theater. As much as this is a funny and titillating story, when I put the note on Twitter for what I thought was a relatively limited audience I was hoping it would open up a bigger conversation about privacy rights (or lack thereof) in post-9/11 America. It unfortunately hasn’t done that, and instead has turned into a media circus. I would imagine that the TSA agent in question feels the same way I do at this point: I just want this story to go away. The note was inappropriate, the agent in question acted unprofessionally when s/he put in in my bag, there should be consequences and I’m glad the TSA takes these things seriously. But I get no satisfaction in hearing that someone may be in danger of losing their job over this. I would much prefer a look at why ‘security’ has been used to justify so many intrusions on our civil liberties, rather than fire a person who made a mistake.
Exactly so. This is a civil liberties issue, specifically, a privacy issue.