Image via Lomesomerobot.com.
Breast cancer survivor Cathy Bossi went through a humiliating body search conducted by T.S.A. agents. Bossi was forced to remove for bra in front of agents.
She says two female Charlotte T.S.A. agents took her to a private room and began what she calls an aggressive pat down. She says they stopped when they got around to feeling her right breast… the one where she'd had surgery.
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"She put her full hand on my breast and said, 'What is this?'. And I said, 'It's my prosthesis because I've had breast cancer.' And she said, 'Well, you'll need to show me that'."
Cathy was asked to show her prosthetic breast, removing it from her bra.
"I did not take the name of the person at the time because it was just so horrific of an experience, I couldn't believe someone had done that to me. I'm a flight attendant. I was just trying to get to work."
The original goal of the T.S.A. screenings was to make flying safer from potential terrorist attacks. What we are seeing now is citizens being humiliated and having legally questionable searches conducted on their bodies. People have had enough of having to be accosted in airports.
John Mica is the ranking Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. A CBS News story reports that Mica is a longtime critic of the Transportation Security Administration. That is interesting considering that Mica's committee oversees TSA. Mica also crafted the legislation that created TSA. It is interesting that Mica is an opponent of something he helped create.
Mica is using the TSA controversy to privatize TSA. This would personally benefit Mica and his campaign contributors.
Companies that could gain business if airports heed Mica's call have helped fill his campaign coffers. In the past 13 years, Mica has received almost $81,000 in campaign donations from political action committees and executives connected to some of the private contractors already at 16 U.S. airports.
What is interesting is Mica has written no legislation requiring people traveling on private planes to go through screenings, no showing of ID and patdowns.
Mica was at the forefront of the legislative effort to create the Transportation Security Administration. He placed the risks associated with private air travel in the context of an entire spectrum of risk. In other words, he reminded me, the United States has more urgent vulnerabilities than spring flights aboard Cessnas.
"We're concerned," Mica told me, "but you can't protect yourself against every single small aircraft or every vehicle. So you look at the biggest risk, the terrorist plot that can do the most damage. They're not interested in taking out a few folks, as we've seen. They're interested in taking out thousands and doing a lot of psychological damage, which also affects our economic stability. Again, you just can't protect yourself against every eventuality."
Short version: Mica isn't going to require wealthy people go through intrusive patdowns or long waits. Mica's reasoning is "but you can't protect yourself against every single small aircraft or every vehicle." If Mica really feels that way then why even have screenings.