Frustrated at “media circus” response overshadowing issue of government intrusion

Steve Watson
October 27, 2011

The woman who was subjected to a humiliating experience at the hands of the TSA when a screener left a note commenting on a sex toy in her luggage, says she is disappointed with the response the incident has received.

As we reported earlier this week, not satisfied with fumbling through Americans’ private possessions, one TSA screener saw fit write the words “GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL” on a TSA inspection note after finding a sex toy in blogger Jill Filipovic’s luggage.

TSA Agent Leaves Lewd Message In Fliers Luggage After Finding Sex Toy 241011feature3

Filipovic initially tweeted a picture of the note with the caption “Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not ok, but I also just died laughing in my hotel room,”

She later told ABC News that she found the note “offensive” and has decided to file a complaint with the TSA.

“I hope they do see the complaint, they’ll look into it and remind their staff that going through people’s personal belongings is a responsibility that should be treated with some modicum of professionalism,” Filipovic said.

The TSA announced yesterday that the offending worker has been removed from checking baggage, yet Filipovic, who is also a lawyer, says the TSA, along with the corporate media, is completely missing the point.

Writing on her blog, Filipovic states:

“It’s easy to scape-goat one individual here, but the problem with the note is that it’s representative of the bigger privacy intrusions that the U.S. government, through the TSA and other sources, levels every day,”

“The invasion is inherent to the TSA’s mission, regardless of whether a funny note is left behind — the note only serves to highlight the absurdity of all this security theater,” she continued.

“As much as this is a funny and titillating story, when I put the note on Twitter for what I thought was a relatively limited audience I was hoping it would open up a bigger conversation about privacy rights (or lack thereof) in post-9/11 America,” she added.

“It unfortunately hasn’t done that, and instead has turned into a media circus. I would imagine that the TSA agent in question feels the same way I do at this point: I just want this story to go away.”

In a further tweet Filipovic joked “Lesson learned: Don’t tweet anything you don’t want to appear on The View.”

While TSA agents are seemingly adept at identifying Americans’ intimate belongings, they fare less well when it comes to identifying potentially dangerous weapons and contraband.

As we also reported this week, The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, John Mica told reporters that recorded instances of pat downs and body scans failing to detect contraband are “off the charts.”

Referring to still classified security performance reports, Mica described the TSA’s record as “sort of like the record of the Marx Brothers”.

While the TSA says it has initiated “appropriate disciplinary action” in the case of Ms Filipovic, she reiterates that the wider picture cannot be overlooked.

“The note was inappropriate, the agent in question acted unprofessionally when s/he put in in my bag, there should be consequences and I’m glad the TSA takes these things seriously,” she writes.

“But I get no satisfaction in hearing that someone may be in danger of losing their job over this. I would much prefer a look at why ‘security’ has been used to justify so many intrusions on our civil liberties, rather than fire a person who made a mistake.”


Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, and He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.

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