TSA checking of breasts legit seems a bit over the top-no pun intended

A San Diego woman objected to her treatment by TSA screeners who wanted to feel her breasts. :eek:

Hey, I’m all for safety and preventing someone from smuggling weapons, explosives, and the like aboard aircraft. Just the same, there’s a point where a cursory evaluation becomes intrusive. Check what I’m carrying on. Do the metal detector, and wand me, too-it will go off because of surgical procedures. But put away the sigmoidoscope, and no, I ain’t gonna turn my head to the left and cough, either.

If a person fits a profile, I could see asking a female passenger to show a female inspector her breasts, lift them if large to indicate nothing is hidden, but that’s the limit. Breast feeling should be either medically necessary, or between consenting adults.

Is the TSA taking applications? :smiley:

Oink, oink!

OH brother! I think some one needs to get over themselves. This lady was being clearly up tight over the situation.

If I were this lady’s boyfriend I’d be pissed as hell if she made me drive for 15 hours because of this BS…

I’ve had my breasts “felt” for airport security purposes before, and it’s not the sort of procedure you seem to think, or at least it wasn’t for me. The inspector takes the back of her hand, not the front, and sort of quickly brushes it against the breasts, pressing a little to presumably make sure they feel breast-ish. In my case, I think the inspector put her hand on the outsides, underneath, and between, all very quickly and with very little interaction with the actual breast. She was just sort of verifying that those lumps under my shirt were breasts rather than explosives.

Unless the procedure was massively different at this airport, it sounds like a serious overreaction to me. Perhaps this woman has had bad experiences with people touching her breasts… but I’ve been groped repeatedly against my will and this was NOTHING like that.

Actually, I think it’s the TSA that made them drive fifteen hours. I don’t think she’s overreacting at all. I mean they ran the wand over her, they pattted her down and frisked her. She was wearing a form-fitting tank top (at least she says so). Why exactly would the TSA have to examine her breasts? Were they afraid her tits were molded out of C4? So how would she detonate her murderous boobies if the wand showed nothing?

If you ask me the TSA was trying to get some jollies, because judging by the picture at that linked article she doesn’t look half bad. Or was the TSA thinking “She definitely looks like someone who is about to blow up the plane with her killer mammaries!”? If you ask me, the U.S.A. has gone beyond safety concious and worried about terrorists, and has entered the realm of paranoid stupidity by now.

The way I’m interpreting it, given the article and my experiences with TSA boob-inspections, is that she wasn’t willing to go along with the part of the patdown that involved her chest. Unless I’m given some concrete reason to think otherwise, I’m not going to believe that anything excessive was asked of this woman.

And this is a good idea, exactly why? I’m sorry, but if your body is wrapped in explosives, it’s going to be obvious way before they pat down your jugs. Also, don’t you think someone who actually is wearing explosives will blow themselves and whoever is in the vicinity to Kingdom Come, long before they have their breasts examined, if they think they’re about to be found out? Do you think they’re actually going to wait for the TSA to calmly examine their tits and then let themselves be placed in custody? It just seems like a completely silly and useless thing to do, meant only to embarass the women being examined, and maybe excite the TSA agents doing the examining.

For the same reason that patting down arms, legs, back, and sides is a good idea. The same reasoning about why it’s necessary or not applies for any location. If they’re unnecessary, they shouldn’t be done to any part of the body. If they’re necessary, they shouldn’t skip parts. The upper chest is another area of the body that should be checked if you’re checking the rest. It just happens to contain these inconvenient and highly sexualized bits on women.

As part of a patdown, it really only takes a few seconds. This is a series of quick touches, not a grope. And the TSA matron really didn’t seem too excited during those few seconds, though I do have a pretty nice rack according to random guys on the street who yell things. She reminded me of my great aunt, actually.

Well, not everyone is quite as open about it as you are.

If she grew up in a conservative household, or came from a very religious background, I’m sure she would’ve been appalled at the request.
And she shouldn’t be penalized and barred from a flight because of that.

Different cultures and countries might be a little more closed minded about their bodies.
Many would consider it quite offensive.

This basic disconnect between a persons basic right to at least some privacy and dignity, and the fear currently rampant in the U.S. (Oh my God, her tits are going to kill us all!) is what scares me. What’s next: full cavity searches? Will women have to wear little pink stars to show that yes, these are indeed tits? How far will all of this go before someone yells: “STOP, that’s enough paranoia!”? How many documented cases are there of women blowing up airplanes with breasts molded from C4?

I just think having to examine a woman’s breasts is going overboard if you have already thoroughly scanned her and patted her down. This should be enough to determine if someone is wearing explosives or not. There is no reason whatsoever to pat a woman’s breasts down at this point.

Well, given that she seems to have flashed them in the process, (“so she tugged down her shirt to show them that she wasn’t hiding anything.”) I doubt that’s the issue she faced.

And forgive my apparent cultural ignorance, but I’m not aware of any group that would consider the brief touching of a woman’s clothed chest by the back of another woman’s gloved hand in a private area (note that they offered her that) to be offensive.

The wording of “I’m going to feel your breasts now” may have been a bit suboptimal, though, and the agent could definitely have demonstrated what would be done on another female agent when the woman first got upset. But really, I’ve had more intimite contact from people bumping into me in a crowd.

I think her flashing them was more out of desperation than anything.

As for the groups which would consider it offensive, I would say most under-developed countries. I grew up in South East Asia, so I can say with some certainty that it would considered a violation (even taboo) to allow such a thing. And in most Islamic countries, women are not allow to show any part of their body to anyone but their husbands. It goes against their religious laws.

Well, there’s this quote from the article, about a Russian bombing: “Authorities believe two women smuggled explosives onto the aircraft, possibly in “torso packs” underneath their clothing.”

I have D-cup breasts. Even with a tight shirt, there is a significant amount of gap between the fabric and my skin both immediately below the breasts and between them. If a patdown search is meant to make sure that something dangerous and not detected by metal detectors isn’t on someone, missing those areas makes the whole thing rather useless.

As a proof of concept, I just stuck a can’s worth of Smart Mass Thinking Putty to the parts of my chest mentioned. (Man, am I dedicated…) It was completely invisible even under the tight shirt I’m currently wearing, and there was plenty of room to spare. Probably could’ve fit another can down there, significantly more if I were wearing a looser shirt or were more well-endowed. Now, I don’t know exactly how much plastic explosive or whatever one would need for nefarious purposes, but if you refuse to continue the patdown into those areas because they’re BREASTS fergoshsakes, someone is probably going to take advantage of it EVENTUALLY.

But properly patting someone down doesn’t mean “skip a whole area of the body”. The breasts shouldn’t get extra scrutiny, both because of sensitivity to passengers’ feelings and because they’re not really more likely than the rest of the body to be a hiding place for whatever, but they should not be skipped either. If they’re included in the patdown, then yeah, I agree with you. I go to the gynecologist often enough, I don’t need supplementary breast exams whenever I fly.

The US is doing a lot worse things to invade people’s privacy than this. My outrage is going elsewhere, at least for the moment.

Hi! I’m sorry, we seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot.

  • smiles charmingly

My will to argue my point across just died when I read that sentence.

A thorough weapons check is important to insure safety for everyone else. This is a serious issue, Mycroft, not something to be joked about.

Yes, but misplaced desperation - I really do wonder what was going on here that she felt flashing everyone was a better course of action than three seconds of carefully nonsexual patting. (I’m presuming, given what’s in the article, that the TSA’s worries at that point were not that the woman had hidden something on her chest but that she was an unbalanced major loon.) I’m inclined to blame the TSA for not properly communicating what they would be doing, or not doing it early enough in the incident when the woman was still amenable to reason.

Ahh, like Afghanistan, you mean? Where even under the Taliban women could be examined by female doctors under very restricted circumstances and were not required to wear burqas in situations where only females or related males were present?

Granted, I’m not an expert on Sharia law and Islamic fundamentalism. If someone more learned than I comes in and tells me that being briefly touched through clothing in private by another woman is religiously or culturally forbidden… well, I’d be quite fascinated to learn it.

Yeah, that seems to happen a lot for some reason.

They said it was because the two Russian planes, last month were brought down by women with explosives wrapped around there bodies.
So, we go from crude explosive wraps, to customized, perfectly fitted, exploding tatas. She was wearing a close-fitting tank top.
As far as why she freaked so badly, she had a 3 month old baby! She was probably still nursing, and maybe had a bit of left over post-partum blues. I wonder, did the frisk the baby too?
It seems like, there was a little TSA ego involved. I wonder if “bully” needs to be underlined on the resume

A slightly off-topic point of curiosity, but did you happen to participate in any of the SDMB “photo” Threads? I hate to think I’d have missed you! :cool: :smiley: :wink:

Just to clarify, my opinion on all of this is based on a couple of assumptions.

One, that the procedure the woman wouldn’t allow was the sort of brief patting of the clothed breast with the back of the hand by a female, conducted as part of the patdown of the rest of the body, that I’ve gotten at the airport.

Two, that the woman was given the opportunity to submit to the breast portion of the patdown in a private room with only females present.

Three, that the flashing episode at the end of the exam was NOT the result of the woman calmly stating something like, “I’m not willing to allow anyone to touch my chest, but I can remove my shirt so that you know there’s nothing hidden there,” and hence that the TSA’s kicking her out of the airport at that point was because she was combative, unpredictable, and possibly dangerous because of it, not because they feared boobie explosives.

If the facts happen to be significantly different, my evaluation of this particular case will probably change.