I decided that after feeling the whoosh of the Full Body Scanner machine at the security checkpoint at airport terminals too many times before, and instructing my pregnant wife that she needed to opt out, I had to do it first. So on my trip to Blog House Toronto and TBEX, I decided that I would opt out. I also thought it would make for a good blog post.
“I’m opting out,” I told the TSA agent guarding the entrance of Terminal C at LaGuardia Airport.
“Male assist. Opt out,” he shouted in a mocking tone. He repeated the same call and had me face the conveyer belt where my bag went through.
Another TSA agent collected me and brought me to the end of the conveyor belt.
“What are you a rock star? With long hair like that, you look like a rock star.”
“Just haven’t had a haircut,” I told him.
“Man, I couldn’t grow my hair like that if I wanted to. We’ll wait here for your bags.”
A third agent ran my laptop and the items from my pocket a second time.
“Actually, we can just go ahead and start the pat down and that man can bring your stuff over to you. Is that cool?” said agent number two.
“I placed my wallet in the bin, so I’d like to wait,” I explained.
“Yeah, no, that’s cool. I wouldn’t leave my wallet with these guys either.”
After my laptop and personal effects ran through the machine a second time, I collected my belongings and moved over to a long silver table.
“Just stand on the rubber mat,” agent two said. “Here’s how it’s going to work. First I need you to remove everything from your pockets. Even lint.”
The only thing that I hadn’t removed from my pocket was my passport. So I threw it into the tray.
“I’m gonna pat you down everywhere. I’m gonna use the backside of my hand to touch your backside and groin.” He confirmed this by pointing to the back of his plastic, blue-gloved hand. “Let’s see what else. Oh yeah, then I’m gonna also tuck my hand into your…” He reached into my collar. “Whatcha call this thing?”
“Yeah, then I’m gonna reach into your collar. What else? What else?” He stopped to scratch his head. “Oh yeah, if anything hurts you when I’m touching you, let me know. Better yet, tell me beforehand. What else? Oh yeah, if you wanna do this in a private room, let me know.” Long pause. “I think that about covers it. You good.”
He commenced the pat down. The last time I had been touched by such gentle hands was during my massages in Southeast Asia. Afterward, he walked over to a machine to test the gloves for any reside, I believe.
“You good, man,” he said and wished me a lovely journey.
Anyone Catch the Security Breach When Opting Out of the Full Body Scanner?
While the story is evidence that a very nice man works at the TSA, I hope you caught on to the serious breach in security. When I opted out from going through the Full Body Scanner, I never walked through any metal detector. What was the breach?
Photo by Gyro