An ex-Transportation Security Administration employee is spilling secrets about the flight screening process he witnessed, and you aren’t going to like it.
Jason Harrington’s tell-all column in Politico will likely make you chuckle a little — then make you grit your teeth in anger. It’s called, “Dear America, I saw you naked — and yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.”
“I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show,” Harrington wrote. “Just as the long-suffering American public waiting on those security lines suspected, jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my TSA colleagues: Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display.”
Harrington is writing a book about his three years as an employee for the oft-ridiculed government agency, but his article confirms some of your worst assumptions about the preflight screening process, and just scratches the surface.
Harrington revealed a list of code words he said TSA officers used to identify passengers ripe for mocking or ogling. Here are just a few:
Code Red: Officer malespeak. Denotes an attractive female passenger wearing red.
Fanny Pack, Lane 2: Code for an attractive female passenger.
White Shirt: A TSA employee who still believes his or her job is a matter of national security.
Ziptop baggie: A magical thing that renders liquids safe for airplanes.
Harrington also describes a heartbreaking scene where he was forced to take a celebratory bottle of champagne away from Marines who just returned from a deployment.
“He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security,” he wrote.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has often taken TSA leadership to task on accusations of violations of privacy. In 2012, Paul encouraged people to join his campaign to shut down the agency completely.
“The American people shouldn’t be subjected to harassment, groping, and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane,” Paul said in a statement. “It’s time to END the TSA and get the government’s hands back to only stealing our wallets instead of groping toddlers and grandmothers.”
TheBlaze contacted Paul’s office for a reaction to Harrington’s article but did not receive an immediate response.
Read Harrington’s full article at Politico.
Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter.