Debunking TSA Mistreatment Of A Dying Woman

On the 2nd of October Michelle Dunaj, a 34 year old terminal Leukemia patient passed through Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac) on her way to Hawaii for what she referred to as the “last trip of her life.”  Ms. Dunaj’s routine screening by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Sea-Tac has since become international news as she levied some serious allegations towards the TSA in regard to how she was screened.

 

The TSA, an agency not widely liked by travelers or politicians, is an easy target for the media to shred, and at times they deserve it. The allegations against the TSA by Ms. Dunaj’s, who is scheduled to enter hospice on the 17th of October, make excellent headlines and are an ideal story for putting the TSA in a negative spot light … but are Ms. Dunaj’s factual?

 

Ms. Dunaj claims that the TSA opened and contaminated liquid medications in an IV bag, required her to pull back bandages that cover her feeding tubes and other medical ports in place, and that she was denied a private screening.  The allegations against the TSA are severe and disturbing, however pieces of Ms. Dunaj’s story would require multiple TSA Transportation Security Officers (TSO) handling different aspects of the screening process to make massive errors all at once, which while possible is unlikely.

 

As anyone who reads Flying With Fish knows I challenge the TSA regularly, and not just on popular topics, however I also defend the agency when it is wronged, because the only way to be truly objective about the TSA is to make sure the information is accurate, even if unpopular.   Over the past day I have sought information regarding Ms. Dunaj’s screening at Sea-Tac and have discovered that her story may not be as it seems.

 

In searching for information I reached out to a TSA Supervisory Transportation Security Officer (STSO) at Sea-Tac, as luck would have it, this STSO was on shift at the time of Ms. Dunaj’s screening.   This STSO is one who is blunt and straightforward about the agency, never sugar coating the TSA, and who believes the agency needs significant change.

 

The TSA STSO says he recalls a passenger being screened with multiple medical tubes, and while they were not involved in the screening, they have first hand knowledge that two TSA TSOs handled the screening and an STSO was present at the pat down.

 

The STSO writes:

“The TSO checking the medications checked the bag by hand as per normal and ETD swabbed items in the bag, including the exterior of IV bags, before clearing the bag. 

 

The passenger was screened and patted down in the presence of an STSO on the secure side of the checkpoint following TSA’s pat down guidelines, whether you agree with pat down procedures or not, they were followed.   At no time was the passenger asked or required to remove bandages or lift bandages. I am sure many people see TSOs are idiots with no common sense, but as you know the vast [majority] of us do not act without thinking. Clearly asking someone to remove bandages could further impact a person’s health, not to mention we are not medical professionals with ability to assess what tubes go where and what they do. “

 

The STSO went on to discuss that other passengers who requested private screenings were allowed private screenings during the shift and that no reports were filed for the cleaning up of medical liquids, which would have been logged.  They also went onto state,  “I hope we release the security footage to clear the agency. We have enough real problems as is that could use some scrutiny.

 

While I have trusted this TSA STSO as a source in the past, I followed up with the TSA this morning to verify specifics from the detailed description I had received and was in contact with David Castelveter, the TSA’s Director of External Communications.  Mr. Castelveter stated the standard agency statement that the agency reviewed the security footage, that at no time was the medical liquid opened or bandages removed … which I expected, but what I needed was for the agency to confirm or deny the information I had received from the Sea-Tac STSO. After a brief discussion, Mr. Castelveter confirmed that the information I received from the Sea-Tac STSO regarding the multiple involved Officers was correct.

 

This information has not been reported on by CNN, The Associated Press or others. Why? I can’t tell you why, but it is pertinent information when determining if Ms. Dunaj’s screening was in fact improperly handled and worthy of national headlines.

 

The argument that Ms. Dunaj’s was denied a private screening can be debated in her own statement, “I asked them if they thought that was an appropriate location, and they told me that everything was fine.”

 

Asking a TSO or STSO is they thought the location of the pat down was appropriate is not the same as asking for a private screening. TSA TSOs pat passengers down all day, every day. The current ‘enhanced pat down’ can be invasive, and the agency’s protocol for enhanced pat downs can be debated, however Ms. Dunaj received a proper ‘enhanced down’ in the same location nearly every other passenger is patted down.

 

How Ms. Dunaj felt while being patted down is how many people feel. Many passengers feel as if they are being treated like criminals, and that everyone is watching them. Many passengers perceive the enhanced pat down as embarrassing … I can understand that, I have been subject to it … but that is not the same as the TSA requiring a passenger to lift their shirt, remove bandages and having their medically necessary liquid medications opened and contaminated.

 

I hate to debunk a dying woman’s story to the media … but there are multiple sides to every story. I sincerely hope the TSA releases the security footage of Ms. Dunaj being screened so this story can be put to rest and we can focus on the real and  important issues related to the agency.

 

Happy Flying!

 

@flyingwithfish

 

Comments

  1. How the fuck do you know what happened? After reading,seeing and experiencing the crap the TSA does I’ll just as soon believe the woman before I believe them. You didn’t “debunk” anything in this post. Change the title.

  2. Paul,

    You are free to track down first party witnesses and people who have reviewed the security footage. Interview them separately, ask specific details that has not been reporter at all in the media to match the stories and then come to your own conclusion.

    You may want to also search TSA on this blog for my extensive history of taking the agent to task aggressively.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  3. At best it’s a response from the TSA who may or may not be lying. I tend to believe they are, you tend to believe them (it seems). I’ll repeat, you didn’t “debunk” anything. You got the other side of the story and the title is misleading if not an outright lie.

  4. I dislike the TSA theater with a vengeance and always opt-out in principal, but well done on being objective.

    The key here, as has been said elsewhere before is that the TSA is so despised even the most extreme bad or dramatic or even made up story will carry and carry as gospel.

  5. Steve, my comment from earlier hasn’t posted. Don’t know if you’re moderating comments and are just swamped or if it ended up in your spam folder. Please check? Thanks.

  6. Did you contact Ms. Dunaj to hear her side of the story directly? If not, you are “debunking” nothing.

  7. Susan,

    Her side is well documented. What I did was go to two sources who do not know each other and who could not coordinate a story to get their versions.

    The STSO is not authorized to speak to the media or speak on these types of incidents, so he would never be in contact with a spokesman.

    That said, I am still pursuing if the footage will be released without a FOIA request. Security footage doesn’t add or delete things it only shows what happened.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  8. Trying again.

    First of all, CNN has reported it. So has HuffPo. Though don’t know what difference that makes, since Steve doesn’t believe the woman’s story. How does the fact that other sources are reporting the same story change anything?

    Second, I’m positing this next bit as a serious comment, not snark. I know, Steve, that you have been harassed — seriously harassed — as has Chris Elliott, by the TSA. For folks who don’t know, they can do a little research. We’re not talking a glancing touch or even a full-out physical assault (which assaults have been well documented), and either of which would be bad enough. We’re talking being threatened with prison. Therefore, I have to wonder if there isn’t a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome going on.

  9. So the STSO isn’t allowed to communicate with the media or speak about these type of incidents, but he gave you a statement…….

    Isn’t that just like the TSA, violating their own rules.

  10. Susan,

    I have been covering the TSA since Nov 19 2001. In that time I have made a lot of friends and sources. Search my blog for TSA and DHS before you judge my credibility.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  11. Lisa,

    Stockholm Syndrome? I went after the TSA and GAO in the pat week more than once.

    I am neither for or against the TSA, despite them sending two Federal Agents to my house three times in two days, obliterating my laptop; having been in my email without a warrant (I have proof and its been reported by 3rd parties) and having been detained by the agency.

    I want change in the agency and that comes from being neutral. When then screw up, I am on them. When they are wrongly accused, I defend them. The only way to know what is going on with the TSA is to cut away the BS.

    The HuffPo posted the AP story. CNN and AP stories are nearly identical. Neither one sought out sources in the TSA outside public affairs, no other media coverage details that it was more than TSO and specifically it was two TSOs and an STSO … TSA never released that.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  12. Not sure what issues others have with you seeking out primary sources to provide incremental information (albeit of a contradictory bent) to that that has been more broadly reported. Personally, I find the story to be an objective contribution to the marketplace of ideas, insofar as it enhances the quantum of information available for evaluating what occurred at Sea-Tac. One need not support the TSA and its procedures to be in favor of information dissemination and refutation of potentially inaccurately reported series of events.

    Much appreciated.

  13. This is a ridiculous presentation of the TSA’s point of view.

    It is like trying to be fair and corroborate the rapist’s story that a condom was used, while the victim says there was no condom. It never should have happened in the first place.

    What this story does confirm for sure is the following:

    – The TSA is more likely to search those with medical issues than those without medical issues.
    – Searches of those with medical issues invade their privacy, whether they are subjected to public notice or are forced to explain or show their medical issues in a private room to people other than their doctor or medical professional

    I might add you have made some other comments which should not be overlooked.

    “I sincerely hope the TSA releases the security footage…”
    As you may know, the TSA is inconsistent. They proactively released footage of the Nashville, TN incident where the mother was arrested for her vociferous disagreement on letting her teenage daughter go through a scanner or to be touched on her vulva, buttocks, and breasts. However, in Jon Corbett’s most recent FLL court case, in case papers the airport authorities said the TSA considers the video footage to be SSI, which of course would preclude release. In short….the TSA will violate its posture on release of videotape at security checkpoints if it, in fact, releases anything.

    “The current ‘enhanced pat down’ can be invasive, and the agency’s protocol for enhanced pat downs can be debated”
    Date rape can be debated too. Instead of “enhanced pat down”, it would be more transparent to call it “unwanted touching of penises, testicles, vulva, buttocks, and female breasts” since this is what it is. It amazes me that no one arrests the TSA clerks for their actions which are illegal in all 50 states.

    “Ms. Dunaj’s story would require multiple TSA Transportation Security Officers (TSO) handling different aspects of the screening process to make massive errors all at once, which while possible is unlikely”
    You know what else is unlikely? Suicidal airline passengers on US Domestic flights with working (yes, working, not failures…) non-metallic bombs. From 2002 through Nov, 2010…there were 5,607,977,980 passengers on 83,226,773 flights in the US. There were no passengers with working non-metallic bombs…the sole reason for scanners and criminal pat downs.

    In fact, since 1980, there were 34,487,566,845 GLOBAL passengers on 403,800,813 commercial global flights with only 1 possible working non-metallic bomb left by a passenger on a 1997 flight in Brazil (liquid bomb assumed, however contrary reports exist that show it was a powder-based bomb with batteries for ignition. Passenger not on plane, plane landed safely, 1 person dead).

    In short, passengers are not as big a threat as suicidal airline PILOTS, which have killed more people during this time period (Egypt Air Flight 990 is one example).

    I can appreciate that you may want to be fair, and I don’t disagree with your reported conversation with an STSO or with David Castelveter, a longtime spin-meister for US Air, the Air Transport Association of America, and general apologist for an industry which has no consideration for people like Michelle Dunaj.

  14. Steve, I agree that the bs has to be cut away for us to be credible. But as you know, the TSA lies. Routinely. When Lenore Zimmerman, Ruth Sherman, Linda Kallish, and Lena Reppert were strip-searched, the TSA never admitted it. It quasi-apologized to two of the women, saying only that in one case a back brace shouldn’t have been removed and in the other that a colostomy shouldn’t have been inspected.

    But they continued to deny that the women were strip-searched.

    I’m not going to list all the other instances of the TSA’s lying — including to Congress — as we have covered those instances at TSA News. The fact remains that the TSA lies with impunity. So why should we believe a TSA spokesperson? And why should Michelle Dinaj? What could she possibly have to gain?

  15. Jeff,

    I believe the TSA needs to be consistent, they are not. I believe the agency needs transparency, they have little. The agency needs accountability, they have almost none … that said … your arguments have little to do with this situation.

    We can debate policy, protocol legalities and effectiveness all day long. Search this blog, you’ll see I do it constantly and am not a champion of the agency.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  16. Lisa,

    It is not a TSA spokesperson I believe. My info , stated, came from a source I know and trust who has given me a lot of good info on things not in public before.

    The TSA PR person was able to confirm facts details not mentioned in any news stories. The agency can confirm , deny or say no comment, they confirmed this info.

    I hope the TSA releases the security footage. The footage when I was detailed by a TSA DFSD while I was in a public space with press credentials displayed was tagged SSI, which is BS as well.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  17. Fox News reported the TSA response denying the charges

    No independent witness has corroborated Ms Dunaj’s story

    At this point it is still “he said she said” until video is released, although currently I’m leaning towards the TSA version.

  18. Let’s get real. The TSA isn’t really that widely despised. The TSA continues to exist and further subjugate US persons because there is so little meaningful opposition to the expensive, ineffective dog and pony show that is the TSA at airports near and far.

  19. Ugh I hate the TSA too, but I can’t wait for footage to be released because as incompetent as they are, I don’t believe her story right now, especially if this turns into a lawsuit for pain and suffering.

  20. You pronounce yourself judge and jury of this woman’s story with no knowledge of what really happened? Are you deranged or simply someone who likes to abuse women?

    You have no idea what is true and what isn’t while TSA has a long and documented history of lying in these instances including those involving the strip searches of Lenore Zimmerman and Ruth Sherman and punching Congressman Canseco in the privates which was confirmed later on video.

    It is despicable to defend TSA, an agency that continues to employ a known pedophile, Thomas Harkins and has had three separate reports of failures, crimes and misconduct in the past week alone.

    You are unfit to breathe the same air as decent people and I hope you are placed in her situation someday so that you understand how hateful your statement are.

  21. Dear Unhappy 1K,

    I wonder if you would’ve believed Thomas Sawyer, whose urostomy bag was ruptured by TSA agents, not once, but twice. On two separate occasions within a few months.

    Or Stacy Armato, who was illegally detained, humiliated, and made to miss her flight because the TSA wouldn’t let her transport her breast milk through the checkpoint?

    Or Lynsie Murley, whose breasts were exposed by TSA agents whose colleagues then laughed and joked about it, one of them saying he was sorry he missed it and “I guess I’ll just have to watch the video”?

    Or the parents of Ryan Thomas, a 4-year-old who was made to crawl through the checkpoint without his leg braces while his parents begged the TSA agents to let them help him?

    Or Nadine Kay Hays, who was handcuffed, arrested, strip-searched in jail, and charged with battery because she dared to try to prevent the TSA from tossing out the apple sauce her 93-year-old mother needed to eat on the plane?

    Or the father of Dina Frank, a 7-year-old with cerebral palsy, who was hounded not only at the checkpoint, but at the gate afterwards, where the TSA came after her again, making her whole family go back to get RE-screened, causing them to miss their flight?

    Or Primo Meza, an elderly man in a wheelchair who was detained so long by the TSA that his oxygen machine batteries ran down, and when his daughter begged to be allowed to recharge them, the TSA refused, surrounding her and her father and threatening them? He also missed his flight.

    Or the mother of 4-year-old Isabella Brademeyer, who was molested at the checkpoint, separated from her family, and screamed at because she hugged her grandmother? Her mother was told the 4-year-old might be a terrorist and the TSA threatened to “shut the whole airport down” if the Brademeyers didn’t come to heel.

    Or Tim Rasmussen, afflicted with polio, who was pulled aside, his cane taken away, and told to sit on a chair that was pulled out from under him, causing hip and back injuries?

    Or any of the four elderly women whom I’ve already named up-thread who were strip-searched and then defamed by the TSA when they told their stories?

    Or Sommer Gentry, a math professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, who had a metal detector wand shoved up into her body? Do I have to spell out where it was shoved?

    Or any of the other thousands of people who’ve been bullied, harassed, robbed, and assaulted by the TSA? People whose accounts Bill Fisher, Chris Elliott, Amy Alkon, Daniel Rubin, I, and others have documented?

    But why believe any of these people? Clearly they’re all lying. They all just woke up on the wrong side of the bed one day and decided to make sh*t up. You know, because they wanted “a lawsuit for pain and suffering.”

    Oh, and as for security footage, talk to Jon Corbett about that. Or Stacey Armato. Funny how video footage suddenly goes missing when it’s convenient for the TSA. But I’m sure I’m making that up, too.

  22. Defending an abusive agency with a documented history of lying and abuse if despicable. You are unfit to sit in this woman’s shadow and are a disgrace to anyone with a sense of compassion.

    Suck up all you want, you are lower than dirt.

  23. Lisa,

    There are many times the TSA has wronged passengers. I have covered many of these instances. There are many things the TSA does wrong the public never sees or knows about, these are often internal issues on policy and procedure. I have been on the receiving end of the TSA’s over reach and extended my neck many times … and when things are wrong I go after the agency, call people out and am less than police.

    That said, when things don’t add up, and I find evidence through channels I believe to be credible, based on 11 years of covering the TSA … since its first day of existence … I go with those stories as well. When it comes to the TSA, I am neutral.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  24. I have flown 112,000 miles so far this year and it is only early October. I cannot help but be amused by the outrage of most of those posting here. On a weekly basis I encounter the good, the bad and the so so of the TSA. I am subjected to periodic pat downs and bag checks. My experience is that most TSA personnel are actually human beings trying to do their job as best they can under some not so very nice circumstances and frequently with rude passengers who think they are “special” and certainly better than those lowly agents. And most people don”t even pay attention to who is being patted down because they are in a hurry to get to their gate.
    Is it a perfect system – no but if you fly it is what it is. I don’t know how valid this lady’s story is but the story raises red flags for me..

  25. I’m no fan of the TSA, but how can anyone claim to be objective when such hatred spews just because someone has an opinion or thought that does not agree with your own. You people flaming FWF look in the mirror, or read your own posts. You are just as one sided as the other, but you justify it by being on the “right” side.

  26. Fish,

    I have been a reader for a while now (about a year) and I applaud you for your objective look at the story. I’m also amazed that you have stayed so calm in the comments when others are obviously quite blinded by their hate by the TSA. As you say, the agency needs to make big changes, but just because they mess up at times (some would say a lot) doesn’t mean they acted inappropriately in this instance. As both stories were presented to me (which the “big media” has so far failed to do) the TSA’s sounds much more plausible.

    Anyways, I look forward to reading your blog in the future, keep up the good work!

  27. Sue,

    “And most people don”t even pay attention to who is being patted down because they are in a hurry to get to their gate.”

    That’s right, smile and be obedient, like a good little sheeple. No matter what’s going on around you, no matter who’s being hauled aside and harassed, don’t bother noticing. “Just get me to my flight on time!”

  28. Maybe it didn’t happen exactly as the woman said, but I think what happened is closer to what she said than what the TSA said happened. What does this woman have to gain by lying? It’s near impossible to sue the TSA, so it isn’t for monetary gain. She doesn’t have long to live, so why spend that time dealing with the media and fighting with the government for a made up story? It doesn’t make sense unless she was truly wronged.

    If the TSA did follow proper procedure, then shouldn’t the procedures be changed. Nobody should feel this way going through security. I have a medical condition that doesn’t allow me to go through the scanners. Because of that, I get the enhanced patdown. I just don’t think having my penis and scrotum touched is acceptable just to get on a plane.

  29. Fish, I am a bit confused. Did your source, the STSO at Sea-Tac, witness this screening personally or is s/he relating what has been told to him/her by others?

    Also, if possible ask your source exactly what TSA means by “resistance” when telling a passenger they will feel up to their “resistance” during a pat down. I am interested in knowing if a standard TSA Pat Down requires the screener to make physical contact with a persons penis, scrotum, labia, anal region, or breasts. TSA seems disinclined to be honest with the public in this matter so any other claim of any kind made by TSA must be questioned.

    Thanks

  30. Ron,

    The STSO was in the checkpoint during the screening, but not involved in the screening. They claim they recall the passenger because of the tubes being attached to them.

    I reached out to this person to see if they knew anyone who was present or involved and they informed me that they happened to be on shift and at the checkpoint during the screening.

    I’ll ask if “resistance” has a defined specification.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  31. So the fact of the matter is your source did not witness the screening. He is relating second hand information and is no more valuable than the accounting provided by Ms. Dunaj.

    Thanks for making the “resistance” inquiry.

  32. “Cancer patient gets TSA escort on return trip
    A Michigan cancer patient who says she was humiliated during a recent Seattle airport security pat-down on her way to Hawaii got a Transportation Security Administration escort through security as she headed home.”

    Gosh, can’t imagine why. After all, we know how respectfully the TSA treats people without an escort.

  33. Thre is a big difference from being in the checkpoint area and actually being a witness to the screening.

    “The TSA STSO says he recalls a passenger being screened with multiple medical tubes, and while they were not involved in the screening, they have

    ******first hand knowledge that two TSA TSOs handled the screening and an STSO was present at the pat down.”******

    So your source says they have first hand knowledge that two TSO’s did the screening and a STSO (presumably another person but not your source) was present.

    I’m sorry but soley relying on this information is akin to asking Eric Holder what he knew and when he knew it about Fast and Furious and taking that accounting at face value.

    Did you attempt to interview Ms. Dunaj in an attempt to get both sides of the story?

  34. As for the “resistance” question, the TSA Privacy Officer (do I even need to say that this is a shocking oxymoron and self-contradictory title?) Peter Pietra confirmed to me when I met him that yes, the official instructions to a TSA screener are that they must put their hands directly on your genitalia in a patdown.

    So there’s your answer. I call forcing people to endure unwelcome sexual touching a sexual assault. The duties of a screener are to sexually assault innocent travelers. Anyone who works for this agency is a piece of human garbage and deserves jail time. I don’t care what the TSA says about their shocking abuse of this woman who has no reason to lie about her screening. You can tell these thugs are lying because their lips move.

  35. Thanks Sommer.

    I have long believed based on others accounting’s and my personal experience of TSA Pat Downs that the protocol requires direct contact with a persons genitals. Yet TSA refuses to so state. I don’t know how anyone can trust anything said by a TSA employee at any level when the whole basis of TSA screening practices is based on something that is much less than the truth.

    The public should have access to an exact description of exactly how a TSA screening will be conducted and if that includes getting fluffed by a TSA screener then that information should be crystal clear before agreeing to a screening.

    In my opinion TSA has no reason to expect the public to trust or respect their employees since the whole of TSA is based on lies including bluffing some people out of their computers without a valid search warrant.

  36. Wow.

    One question: if she is travelling from MI to HI, what is she doing going through security at SEATAC? Perhaps if she left the secured area (without an obvious reason, like an overnight stay) that required increased scrutiny? Though I guess the TSA wouldn’t know that anyway based on how they review docs.

    Also, how do you open and IV bag without leaving proof? Aren’t they sealed except for the access ports? Surely the TSA doesn’t keep hypodermics around to test IV fluids… though they may need to now that the terrorists know how to get a few pounds of combustible fluids onto a plane now.

  37. “though they may need to now that the terrorists know how to get a few pounds of combustible fluids onto a plane now.”

    You people watch too many cheesy action movies.

  38. I don’t watch any myself. TSA doesn’t want fluid on a plane for some reason. I assume that’s because some of them do bad things. Am I wrong? I would think a 1L bag of lighter fluid would present a bit of a problem at 30,000 feet. I’m not saying it would take a plane down, but we’ve all seen what lighter fluid does when ignited while sprayed. In a 9-foot wide cabin… you first, thank you very much.

    And who would you be blaming then?

  39. @Mikes: A little explanation on liquids. First, there is a difference between explosive and flammable (or combustible to use your word). The only potential recorded attack with a working liquid bomb was in 1997 on a flight in Brazil. A hole was blown in the fuselage of the Boeing (smaller than a 727…I recall 707 or 717) and one person died, while plane landed safely. In subsequent research, I have identified follow up articles from a Florida newspaper which said a Professor left a bomb in the passenger cabin, and the bomb used a powder and batteries for ignition.

    In 2006, there was a ‘plot’ to blow up planes using liquid bombs. Hence the ban. A good link on this is the discussion at Bruce Schneir’s blog.

    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2008/04/the_liquid_bomb.html

    My conclusion is an expert could possibly do this, but I don’t think anyone has concluded that the bombs could be directed enough to make a hole in the fuselage. Considering that we have had holes in a fuselage with planes landing, it is not a guarantee that they would crash. Regardless, if you do believe there is enough of a powerful liquid, then several people could take smaller amounts through security and then meet in the secure zone. It is easy enough to put liquids in contact lens bottles, shampoo bottles, etc….

    The other liquid plots in history were combustible bombs – essentially petrol – and the fires were put out. With today’s craft with fire-retardant materials, chances are you will survive a cabin fire.

    However, the BEST COMMENT in response to the blog is the following:

    “Everyone here keeps acting as if these people FAILED. They did not. The goal of a terrorist is to trigger a government reaction which causes the quality of life in the affected country(ies) to go down; thereby decreasing stability of the existing government, and increasing the likelihood of a political change which can be in the direction the terrorist wants.

    They succeeded.”

    The next time the TSA gropes genitals, finds an 8-ounce drink, or assaults dying people…..remember…a dead, rotting corpse at the bottom of the ocean is WINNING.

  40. @Jeff & Mikes
    a couple decades ago, Ramzi Yousef, who is now up in Florence ADX after being convicted of masterminding Project Bojinka and being a part of the 93 WTC bombings successfully detonated a liquid bomb on a plane.
    That plane being a Philippine Airlines 747, which landed despite major control issues. The explosives were in liquids containers and the detonator was in the shoes. Had Ramzi not been caught, it is not unlikely that thousands more would’ve died on similar attacks.
    Project Bojinka: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bojinka_plot
    PR434: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Airlines_Flight_434

  41. Kris Ziel, yes, people who stand up for themselves and for civil liberties are just “requesting to be sexually assaulted.”

    Wow, the level of intelligence on this board is so impressive!

  42. Remember the Constitution? If there is no reasonable suspicion you’ve committed or have conspired to, there is no reason you should be body-scanned, groped, or otherwise searched.

  43. Amy, Amy, don’t you know the Constitution is just a quaint old document? Millions of people around the country, including many of those posting here, are happy to tell you. Constitution schmonstitution!

  44. “…and while they were not involved in the screening…” So you got your information from people who were not even there. I wasn’t there either. But based on prior information about the inept TSA agents, I can assure you, Ms. Dunaj was abused by the thugs. My statement makes about as much sense as the writer of this article. We all know about the groping, bullying, stealing, and lying TSA employees. Why would we not believe a dying woman who has NOTHING to gain from telling her story? She is dying you fool.

  45. @Lisa – What are you trying to accomplish by being so hostile not just towards the TSA, but towards almost anyone here that has a different viewpoint from your own? You act as if anyone who thinks differently from you is wrong, ignorant, or a moron. If your goal is to change how the TSA operates, wouldn’t it make more sense to not mock and insult your potential backers (catch more flies with honey and all that).

    Personally I try to tune out the extremists such as yourself because I feel that if something were to happen that would put whatever they are against in a good light or make it better they still wouldn’t be happy or acknowledge that the change was good – they would be so blinded by their hate and so desperate to keep their followers that they don’t want to be seen as soft against their foe. To me you’re like the backcountry militia who says they love the USA but want to overthrow the government. Fish is just reporting another side of the story here, which none of the other major news outlets and your blog even bothered to look into.

    What if the tape is released and it turns out that everything that Fish reported here is right? Would you retract your story? Write a followup? My guess is that you would either: mention the video, point out how it still doesn’t prove anything (somehow) and then go on about how this doesn’t change anything and the TSA is still evil or conveniently ignore the release of the video.

    I believe that the TSA should change how they operate. There are too many people working for the TSA with too little oversight and too much authority. That being said, it’s quite obvious that security was too lax prior to 9/11 and I don’t think we can, nor will we go back to those days. I never opt out of the scanners nor have I ever received an enhanced pat down. Many times I am traveling for work and I just want my security experience to be as efficient and stress free (yeah right!) as possible. Besides, what good does opting out or complaining get me? I’m already at the security checkpoint so it’s not like complaining is going to change anything. Opting out only makes my wait longer. The time to try and change the TSA security procedures is not when you’re going through it. Instead of thinking everyone should “stand up for themselves and their civil liberties” by doing some sort of a protest at the checkpoint, maybe consider that I just want to get where I am going so I can complete the job my company is sending me to do. That doesn’t mean that I have to enjoy the security theatre experience, but it also means it is to no one’s benefit to make a scene.

    I know you might reply to this and say how wrong I am, maybe how I’m in cahoots with the TSA since that’s your M.O. I realize that the TSA isn’t perfect and there have been some instances where they have wronged people, I’m not denying it. But if you think flinging insults and accusations here will get people on your side, then good luck.

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