Air Traveler refuses TSA X-ray, groin groping – What happened next…

After he described, the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment.

“If you think the government is protecting you, ask yourself this: If the official at the end of the video thought I had an incendiary device, why would he want me to go *back* into a small area crowded with hundreds of people instead of leaving the airport as quickly as possible?”

John Tyner encounters the TSA at San Diego International Airport

[These events took place roughly between 5:30 and 6:30 AM, November 13th in Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport. I’m writing this approximately 2 1/2 hours after the events transpired, and they are correct to the best of my recollection. I will admit to being particularly fuzzy on the exact order of events when dealing with the agents after getting my ticket refunded; however, all of the events described did occur.

I had my phone recording audio and video of much of these events. It can be viewed below.

Please spread this story as far and wide as possible. I will make no claims to copyright or otherwise.]

This morning, I tried to fly out of San Diego International Airport but was refused by the TSA.

I had been somewhat prepared for this eventuality. I have been reading about the millimeter wave and backscatter x-ray machines and the possible harm to health as well as the vivid pictures they create of people’s naked bodies. Not wanting to go through them, I had done my  research on the TSA’s website prior to traveling to see if SAN had them. From all indications, they did not. When I arrived at the security line, I found that the TSA’s website was out of date. SAN does in fact utilize backscatter x-ray machines.

I made my way through the line toward the first line of “defense”: the TSA ID checker. This agent looked over my boarding pass, looked over my ID, looked at me and then back at my ID. After that, he waved me through. SAN is still operating metal detectors, so I walked over to one of the lines for them. After removing my shoes and making my way toward the metal detector, the person in front of me in line was pulled out to go through the backscatter machine. After asking what it was and being told, he opted out. This left the machine free, and before I could go through the metal detector, I was pulled out of line to go through the backscatter machine. When asked, I half-chuckled and said, “I don’t think so.” At this point, I was informed that I would be subject to a pat down, and I waited for another agent.

A male agent (it was a female who had directed me to the backscatter machine in the first place), came and waited for me to get my bags and then directed me over to the far corner of the area for screening. After setting my things on a table, he turned to me and began to explain that he was going to do a “standard” pat down. (I thought to myself, “great, not one of those gropings like I’ve been reading about”.) After he described, the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment…

… continue reading this story at Insert Title Here Blog (yes that’s the name of the blog)

Further Reading in chronological order as the story should be read…

November 13, 2010

TSA encounter at SAN

More about my TSA encounter at SAN

November 14, 2010: Motivation of my filming of my TSA encounter


Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Human Rights

21 responses to “Air Traveler refuses TSA X-ray, groin groping – What happened next…

  1. Roger Dill

    My wife and I went through the San Diego airport on 11/4/2010 to take a family friend who is legally blind and is 90 years old to Hawaii for possibly her last time. She was in a wheel chair and on the way there she nor my wife had any troubles. I was asked to go through the back scatter machine. This was my first time exposed to this so I asked if this is the machine that takes nude pictures and he replied yes. If I refused, he said he would have to do an enhanced pat down. Not liking either choice, I went for the machine to get through and catch up with my party. Yet… I felt humiliated and very angry that stayed with me the whole trip.

    On the way back from Hawaii, yesterday 11/13/2010, we went through security in Honolulu. The didn’t have the back scattering machine there and I went through the metal detector fine and waited for my wife as she assisted my elderly friend, Mary. Well, my wheelchair bound, legally blind (had the card around her neck stating so), frail old woman was chosen for an enhanced pat down.

    She was visibly angry as she had to deal with the degrading and humiliating touching of her breasts and feel the inside of her legs, and when they rolled down the top of her pants to see if she was hiding anything down there.

    This is totally wrong and we innately know it’s wrong. What harm could a blind, disabled, 90 year old woman present? It is molestation, plain and simple. My friend told me that she had been offered to go to a private screening area. She is a proud German woman and she told me she said ‘she didn’t want that as there is no telling what they would do in private and that she wanted to have witnesses.

    Is there no limit as to what they wish to push on the general populace? Humiliation upon humiliation? What’s next? Will they be performing cavity checks on everyone? Terrorists have been known to insert bombs in their rectums.

    Yes… I am very angry!
    This is going way too far.

  2. rasta man

    And America will tell you they are winning the war against terrorism!!1

  3. Green Monkey

    Talking about conflict of interest, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff who, while serving as Secretary, proclaimed that there was a need to have these machines for travel security and is vigorously pushing for the use of these very expensive backscatter x-ray, nudy & child porno picture machines in airports worldwide has a business relationship as a consultant with Rapiscan, the company that initially got the contract to install the machines in US airports and therefore is in a position to profit handsomely from their sale.

    You can bet they will tell us soon (if they haven’t done so already) that we need to get a few Rapiscans installed at GAI to meet the up to date security standards for flights to the USA .

    Ex US Secretary of Homeland Security under JW Bush and co-author of the controversial Patriot Act, Michael Chertoff was one of the first to shout from the rooftops his idea of the cure to the problem. He was under no doubt that what the world needed was full-body scanners at all international airports. He also claimed that if they [the US] had been in charge of security that day, the flight 253 incident would never have happened. Ha ha ha! US Customs officers WERE there, so why were they not interviewing passengers?

    Then there are Chertoff’s business interests to consider. The Chertoff Group had actually been contracted by Rapiscan to sell their products. And here was an advisor to the Secretary of Homeland security peddling his client’s wares shamelessly on CNN. Advisor to Janet Napolitano, he was telling her that the US needed body scanners and at the same time was receiving money directly from one of the principal manufacturers of scanners – Rapiscan.

  4. permres

    The solution is really very simple. Stop at home, dig the garden and relax!

    Of course some will have to keep travelling for work purposes, but just as I would expect to be paid danger money if I worked on an oil rig or down a mine, then I would be quite happy to be stripped searched, whatever, for a hansome salary.

  5. Jack Bowman

    Of course, there are other ways of looking at this. First, it will take only one case of a commercial aircraft being brought down by a successful underwear bomber for most people to welcome some crotch-fondling from the TSA.

    Second, it is plainly true that the theocratic whack-jobs who want to kill you have an obsession with commercial aviation. That being the case, I don’t want you on the same flight as me if you refuse a scan and a pat-down. I don’t care about your sensibilities—or, at least, I care much less about them than I care about my chances of survival if I have to try to suck in oxygen at 36,000 feet after the fuselage had disintegrated.

    Third, you have choices. If you don’t want to tip the waitress, don’t go out to eat in restaurants. And if you don’t want to be scanned, then get a taxi from LA to New York or row your own boat from Barbados to London. I don’t want you on my flight.

  6. racial profiling

    Every Day, world travelers are daily inconvenienced by unnecessary high tech security scans courtesy of Islam.

    The Israeli National Airline,
    El Al, has been effectively doing racial profiling for well over 50 years and is good at preventing hijackers and terrorists from taking over and downing their planes.

    Trust the US and Homeland Security now to be tied in with huge conflict of interest corporations who want to extend our safety to someones porn collection and pick our pockets at the same time.

    Porn kept the internet going for decades and can now be downloaded any second of the day anywhere in the world.

  7. permres

    Well said, Jack Bowman.

    No disrespect to the lady concerned, but I have to question why a 90 year old woman would want to travel to Hawaii? My wife said she might be just the sort of person who might have a bomb in her undies, so for a customs officer having a peep should be no real problem.

    It appears to me that some people have money to burn (or more money than sense). They spend it on expensive air-fares, and then complain when they get scrutinised at the same levels as the rest of us who want/need to travel.

    I am 68 years old, and I just sold my car. The television and the Internet is great, I can get all the experiences of travel, visiting countries, and visiting and communicating with friends and relatives (audio and video – Facebook and the like), just by stopping at home, and it is so much cheaper and less stressful.

    Of course some have to travel to help provide these services for me, and I have already commented on that.

  8. Recked

    why a 90 year old woman would want to travel to Hawaii? — This is the most retarded thing I have ever heard. How DARE an elderly woman want to travel and see the world before she dies. She is obviously insane and must be hiding a bomb in her depends.

  9. Green Monkey

    A TSA agent had just felt up my balls as I boarded a plane. I felt seriously f****** violated but I needed to board that red eye so I kept my mouth shut and got myself molested in the interest of ‘getting where I needed to be in a harsh economy’. I handed over my boarding card and got directed to my seat. I stuck my carry on luggage into the overhead compartment. I chit chatted with the random guy who sat next to me. Both of us were uneasy as we whipped out our laptops. After all, either of us could have a strip of semtex explosive instead of a lithium battery installed. Not that the TSA would know any better. And I realized…

    Airport security is theater.

    The necessary fiction of modern life.

    I then came to a sudden realization as I tested my flotation device, that if I were an actual terrorist boarding a flight in any American airport, why would I waste my time trying to fool the TSA and smuggle a ‘bomb’ on board a plane when I could cause far more havoc by simply taking the same bomb and walking to the busiest local shopping mall, tossing my bomb in a rubbish bin at the food court and walking slowly away.


    The ‘terrorists’ have just made every shopping facility in America a no go area. The greatest hit to a consumer economy ever! Why, if the terrorist threat is so real, are soft targets like shopping malls not blowing up every week? A true terrorist would simply bypass flying and blow up soft civilian targets. If Al Qaida are so prevalent, and the war on terror is real, then why are Al Qaida wasting their time smuggling bombs onto airplanes?

    I suspect what this guy is musing about is stage 2 of the Rapiscan rollout marketing program. Once all the airports are Rapiscan equipped, a terrorist sets off a bomb in a shopping centre and voila – a whole new market opens up for Mr. Chertoff’s machines.

  10. Green Monkey

    @Jack Bowman

    You said:

    Second, it is plainly true that the theocratic whack-jobs who want to kill you have an obsession with commercial aviation. That being the case, I don’t want you on the same flight as me if you refuse a scan and a pat-down. I don’t care about your sensibilities—or, at least, I care much less about them than I care about my chances of survival if I have to try to suck in oxygen at 36,000 feet after the fuselage had disintegrated.

    Unfortunately the terrorist seem to have a knack for somehow getting lucky and slipping through these enhanced screening procedures that are there to trip them up.

    Everyone must understand that ICTS is the worst airport security company ever to have existed…. FACT. They were running the show at Schiphol that day, just as they were at Boston’s Logan on 11th of September 2001, and as well when Richard Reid boarded his flight at Charles de Gaulle. This is the security company made up of crack Israeli ex Shin Bet agents, expert in counter-terrorism, that has the worst airport security track record in history. Prior to the 3 biggest air-terrorist acts in recent history this company actually managed to TURN OFF all procedures just at the moment when the terrorists were passing security. Mohamed Atta managed to breeze through the magnetic detectors with his boxcutters without so much as a beep. Richard Reid had already been identified as a potential threat, yet was allowed to board his flight. Abdulmutallab had all the markings of a suicide bomber and even his own father had reported him two weeks before, and the scanners just happened to be switched off that day. Either this company is really, really unlucky or its Israeli owners had a side-line more profitable than its airport security racket.

    Michael Chertoff did not consider this relevant. He only thought it appropriate to throw more money at airport security.

  11. Politically Tired

    I have no problem with a scanner, I don’t like it, but I don’t want to be blown apart either. If you don’t like it or being patted down thoroughly, don’t fly, I don’t see why my life should be endangered because of the selfishness of others.

  12. Green Monkey

    These new DNA destroying backscatter X-Ray machines that take your naked picture only show pictures of what’s between your skin and your clothes, not what is inside your body.

    Who’s our first volunteer for an anal probe before boarding? Theoretically it is possible to stuff a condom full of Semtex up your rear (or have someone do it for you so there are no traces of explosives on your hands to set off the explosive sniffer machines).

    In addition for the ladies, how does the idea of having the airport security staff probe you in that other place “down there” before boarding strike you?

    Prison smuggling:’s Top Ten best ways to get things into jail

    1. During a routine search on a maximum security prison in Ireland, officers were shocked to find a live budgie along with mobile phones, SIM cards and drugs. The budgie is thought to have been smuggled in by a woman concealing it internally in her body.

    6. One woman risked life and limb to smuggle in a grenade to a Columbia prison. Hiding the weapon in her vagina she made it in as guards were not allowed to inspect female visitors genitals. The grenade later exploded killing three people.

    Maybe a metal hand grenade would set off the metal detector, but what about a condom or baggie containing explosives?

    Step right up folks and drop your drawers; no need to be shy. You all want to be safe don’t you? Politically Tired and Jack Bowman please move to the front of the line.

  13. permres

    @ Recked.
    I have no intention of discouraging anyone who wants to travel. All I ask is that they accept the inconvenience forced upon us all by these lunatic terrorists.

    The blogs are raving on about power to the people, with compliments to these protesters in airports, and offering money to support their possible court proceedings.

    Some individuals placed in authority positions will always try to exploit their position for personal reasons. (I well remember a gay male in a clothes shop wanting to sell me a pair of trousers – I will not go into the details, and I didn’t punch him on the nose – I considered it all part of my education).

    Relax, folks, there are far more important issues around the planet than trying to complain that you have been groped or not.

  14. Politically Tired

    Green Monkey
    I said I don’t like the scanner, but would put up with it. I would hate to be internally examined, I assume for ‘internal searches’ they have to have medically trained people ? if not you’re going to have a lot of people accusing them of being sexual assault!! also two people must be present in the room for these examinations. If there is no other way or proving that someone they are suspicious of is not carrying anything ‘explosive’ it would have to be or would you prefer to lose the entire flight?

  15. Green Monkey

    @Politically Tired

    Apparently the standard operating procedure today is not to only look out for “suspicious” people for enhanced security checks and pat downs, but to play it really safe and assume that anyone could be a terrorist and carrying a bomb. Nuns, well dressed businessmen, grandmothers in wheel chairs, three year old infants in prams, honeymoon couples, it doesn’t matter, they all have to submit in the name of safety to have their private parts groped at and/or their nude picture taken by a backscatter X-Ray machine.

    I guess the thinking is that terrorists are so devious they will not look like a terrorist, but disguise themselves as nuns, businessmen, grandmothers, honeymoon couples etc. and therefore you can’t assume that just because someone doesn’t look suspicious or act abnormally he isn’t a terrorist.

    Since they don’t currently do body cavity searches they are leaving a gaping hole (no pun intended) in their present security procedures for a terrorist to get onto an aircraft with explosives. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so all the current state of the art nude picture machines and groping of testicles and breasts by the security agents are only half measures if they don’t also physically check for a bomb in the vagina or shoved up someone’s rear end.

    So if you want to be consistent and say that all these degrading (and some would say harmful thanks to the radiation from the backscatter X-Ray machines) new search procedures are necessary to catch the terrorists who might be traveling as nuns, grandmothers, businessmen, honeymoon couples etc., then they (we) should all have to submit to body cavity searches as well.

  16. Politically Tired

    Green Monkey
    I hear you, unfortunately today, anyone could be a terrorist.
    I read this article this morning regarding the scanners.

  17. BFP

    Hi Politically Tired,

    With respect, I have to disagree that “today anyone could be a terrorist”.

    For example, the Catholic nun shown in our other story having her crotch searched would be in a zero-risk category if her identity was confirmed after a suitable background check was performed.

    I read somewhere (and I’ll have to ask Robert about this as he’s the goto guy for aviation at BFP) that something like 30% of passenger miles are flown by 5% of travelers who are high mileage fliers. ie: If those 5% of high mileage travelers were properly identified and had an annual background check, the airport security could concern themselves with 30% fewer groin searches. The next 20% or 30% of passenger miles are taken by something like 10% of the passengers, so people who fly often compared with the rest of the population but not as much as the super fliers. Put a procedure in place to perform background checks on these people and give them frequent flier cards or whatever you want to call them. (Someone said “easy fly” cards or something like that.)

    As to your statement that “anyone” could be a terrorist, for example, let’s take Rihanna. She is probably one of the super fliers. Are you seriously saying that she is as much a risk as a new immigrant from Saudi Arabia or Somalia, or a recently converted American Muslim with a history of violence and mental troubles? Rihanna is ZERO RISK for being a Muslim Terrorist, and there are millions of other regular people who could also be considered zero risk for being Muslim terrorists.

    Eventually some Muslim terrorist will stuff a bomb up their backside and bring down an airliner. The human bomb up the backside has already happened in the Middle East so it is only a matter of time. Then the lesson will be learned: for reasons of political correctness and not wanting to profile the very people who are the threat, the leadership of the USA failed to adequately protect airline passengers and subjected millions to unnecessary violations of their privacy and dignity.

    I agree with Marcus. If I fly again it will be too soon. That’s a tough order when you live on a small island, but in 2011 hundreds of thousands (or more) in the USA, Canada and Europe are going to drive, take a train or take their vacations at home instead of flying.


  18. Politically Tired

    No I not suggesting anyone like Rihanna could be a terrorist I was referring to the ‘average man/woman’ that you see at an airport!
    Regarding the nun (must have been terribly degrading for her) & people like that, how long does it take to do a background search? are they doing this because its quicker to do a pat down than do a computer document search? carried papers don’t prove anything, or maybe we will all have to carry more documentation with watermarks/seals etc to prove who we are, I don’t know, I don’t like any of it I just want us to be safe. I haven’t flown in 6 years but am off to the UK next year to visit friends, it will be interesting to see the change in security checks.

  19. BFP

    Hi Politically Tired,

    When we say background search, we mean that it is pre-done and only once a year. A person applies for “easy fly” status and a month or so later their card arrives. Now every time they fly they are a known quantity.

  20. Politically Tired

    OK, sorry didn’t understand!! the more I read about this the more I dislike whats happening, have you read this article?

  21. I

    I am guessing people don’t realize what these TSA procedures are the beginnings of. Wht a perfect opportunity to take away US citizens rights in the name of anti-terrorism. Soon, those who don’t comply with whatever scheme the government comes up will be thrown in federal prison and named a terrorist…..try researching the verbage on some of these anti-terrorism documents and new laws. Eventually, it won’t matter if you protest or not. Your rights will be taken from you. Those same GPS units that you so happily use in your cars and phones………will be used to track you! Hmmm, this person did not comply with our request to relinquish their firearm……..GPS shows they are at point C…..lets go get em! Then you are tried as a terrorist. The Constitution will be re-written or replaced…….all in the name of anti-terrorism. Are the higher-ups in government actually working with these countries that will later make up OUR new government? Diseases that “somehow” came into one country from another country wiping out thousands (Haiti) ??? And no one is curious? Why, because its not happening to you………yet? Everyone better get your lives, homes, souls in order. Stand your ground in what you believe. And realize, no matter which side you choose there will be consequences for that choice. One day you will remember you read this.