Groped by the TSA? #MeToo And FINALLY, We Can Sue Them

By Dagny Taggart

Last Friday, a US federal appeals court sided with the people – finally. The court ruled that travelers can sue the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers for “abusive conduct.”

This is great news for those of us who are absolutely fed up with the rampant invasive and humiliating screenings at the hands of TSA agents.

You know what? Let us call those “screenings” what they often are: Sexual assaults, under the guise of “security.”

Anyway, back to the story…

In a 9-4 decision, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said Transportation Security Administration screeners were “investigative or law enforcement officers” for purposes of searching passengers, waiving the government’s usual immunity from lawsuits.

Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro said the “intimate physical nature” of airport screenings brought them within the ambit of law enforcement, allowing travelers to pursue some civil claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act for intentional wrongdoing.

He downplayed concern that the decision would open the floodgates to litigation, saying that in 2015 fewer than 200 people, out of more than 700 million screened, filed complaints that might trigger the waiver. (source)

The judges rejected the government’s argument that airport screening is different from a search because airline passengers consent to it. They said it’s indeed a search – noting that screeners can search a passenger’s entire body, including sensitive areas.

The court’s decision reversed a July 2018 ruling by a three-judge 3rd Circuit panel.

This decision is a victory for people who have been assaulted by the TSA.

It is a win for people like Nadine Pellegrino, who with her husband sued the TSA for false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution over an incident that occurred in 2006 at Philadelphia International Airport, Reuters reports:

Pellegrino, then 57, had objected to the invasiveness of a random screening prior to her scheduled boarding of a US Airways flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and was accused of striking a TSA officer.

She was eventually jailed for about 18 hours and charged with assault, making terroristic threats and other crimes, which she denied. Pellegrino was acquitted at a March 2008 trial.

“If you think you are a victim of intentional misconduct by TSA agents, you can now have your day in court,” her lawyer Paul Thompson said in an interview. “Nadine never gave up, and it is a real tribute to her courage.” (source)

Here’s more on Pelligrino’s case, from Courthouse News Service:

After she was randomly selected for additional screening, Pellegrino says Transportation Security Administration officers at brought her bags to a private room because she requested discretion.

Once the search, concluded, however, Pellegrino allegedly informed the officers that she planned to report them to her supervisor for excessive conduct. She says they went through her cellphone, counted her coins and currency, smelled each and every one of her cosmetics, and otherwise damaged her property during the ham-fisted search.

It was while Pellegrino was cleaning up the mess of her belongings, she says, that the officers then accused her of striking them. Federal prosecutors in turn brought 10 criminal counts against Pellegrino, only to abandon the case when TSA could not provide any surveillance video of the incident. As for the officers’ testimony, one failed to appear in court and the other was unable to keep the story straight. (source)

Pellegrino and her husband asked the TSA for $951,200 in damages. When their claim was rejected, they sued the TSA and three TSA employees.

It is time to hold the government accountable for violating our rights.

Hopefully, the court’s decision stands. It’s about time we hold people and agencies accountable and responsible for their actions – even those in positions of “authority” like police and other government agents.

It is crucial to retaining the shreds of freedom that remain and perhaps gaining back some lost liberties.

“Go to any airport in this country and you’ll see how well our government is dealing with the terrible danger you’re in. TSA staffers are wanding 90-year-old ladies in wheelchairs, and burrowing through their suitcases. Toddlers are on the no-fly list. Lipsticks are confiscated. And it’s all done with the highest seriousness.

It’s a show of protection and it stirs the fear pot, giving us over and over an image of being in grave personal peril, needing Big Brother to make sure we’re safe.” – Ann Medlock, Home of the Brave

Here are some particularly disturbing examples of TSA “screenings” made under the guise of security.

You might be wondering what you can do about these invasive searches.

I share Daisy’s views on this issue (and pretty much everything liberty-related):

The TSA agents who pat you down and dehumanize you? Stop trying to justify their jobs. Stop trying to make it okay.  “These agents are only doing their jobs.” They should be ashamed of themselves for having these jobs. Heck, I’ve even heard people in line at the airport thank the TSA for patting them down. F*ck that. I will not be complicit in my own slavery.

Get out there and be the squeaky wheel.

If you see something wrong, don’t just ignore it. Say something about it, and keep saying something until it changes.  Whether this is some process that infringes on your privacy, a job requirement that impedes your health, or another injustice, pursue it relentlessly. Ask questions publically, write letters, and use social media to bring pressure to encourage a change.

If you’re currently taking the easy way through life, if you recognize yourself as a slave, STOP. You don’t have to continue like that.

According to the Declaration of Independence, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

That means that you don’t have to accept the unjust laws. That means you don’t have to quietly take it, muttering under your breath that it isn’t right, but not daring to raise your voice.  That means that “they” are only in control of you if you allow it. (source)

I almost became a #TSAMeToo statistic several years ago at an airport in Texas. I was sent through the body scanner and promptly told that “something” showed up in my er, zipper region (I was wearing jeans). A female agent wearing blue latex gloves appeared out of nowhere, presumably to whisk me away for an intimate “screening” but I suppose the look on my face suggested that was a bad idea (Daisy was nearby and said – and I quote – that I looked like I was going to “throat punch” someone). The female agent suggested that I “pull up my jeans a bit” (they were low-rise) and go through the scanner again to see if the “suspicious something” was still there. Of course, nothing showed up my second screening because…nothing was there to be seen.

I used to love flying. The TSA has nearly ruined it for me. If enough of us say NO to their invasive groping, poking, and proddings, maybe things will change. Perhaps this treatment continues because we allow it.

What do you think?

Do you think that the TSA violates our rights? Have you had a negative experience with the agency? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

About the Author

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

Dagny Taggart

About the Author

Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

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