TSA Tries to Force Wheelchair Passenger to Stand for Body Scanner

The TSA announcement on December 18th, 2015, that the body scanners would “sometimes” be mandatory was phrased like this:

While passengers may generally decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening, TSA may direct mandatory AIT screening for some passengers.

…which, as someone experienced in translating TSA-speak, I assumed to mean, “We will force you through the scanners whenever the hell we want, especially if we don’t like you on that day.”  But, there were then early rumors that by “some passengers” the TSA was referring only to those on the “selectee list” — an FBI-managed list, much like the no-fly list, that identifies passengers who may fly but only with additional screening.

Those early rumors have been thoroughly dispelled now that reports of actual travelers at the airports are coming in.  Last week, one of our readers reported that despite being PreCheck, she was forced towards the body scanners, only receiving a reprieve by informing them that she is pregnant.  And then, a couple days ago, the TSA attempted to make a passenger in a wheelchair, who was neither PreCheck nor selectee, stand for a scan:

“If you’re able to stand up, you will go through there [the body scanner], you cannot refuse screening.”

~~TSA Supervisory Transportation Security Officer Abdi, SEA Airport, 12/31/2015

Unfortunately, the passenger in the wheelchair is Sai, another civil rights advocate who litigates against the TSA, and Sai caught it all on video:

While, after summoning the highest ranking TSA official in the airport and going through lengthy waits and arguments, Sai eventually was allowed through with the “opt-out” procedure, it seems perfect clear that the TSA is caught in a lie once again: its intent was not that “passengers may generally” opt-out, but rather its intent was that as many be forced through these machines as possible.  To do so to someone who is partially disabled and has difficulty standing on his own for long periods of time is absolutely disgraceful, yet not surprising from this agency.

If you have post-Christmas opt-out stories, please share them with us.

Fighting the TSA in court is expensive!  Want to contribute to the fight against TSA assholery? PayPal or Bitcoin: 15ftA2938sp7Mnsi8U7wYVmEtd4BRbFnkT 🙂

11 thoughts on “TSA Tries to Force Wheelchair Passenger to Stand for Body Scanner

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  1. Lets hope congress (lol) will bring some much needed changes to the DHS, TSA in this new year. Time for groping hands to be kept OFF of us and forced AIT needs to be stopped ASAP!

  2. I’m glad my mother-in-law didn’t have to deal with that level of stupidity. Stand on her own–possible. Assume the AIT position–I would be very surprised if she didn’t fall. She wasn’t in a chair because of an inability to walk, but because of an inability to keep from falling.

  3. I think it’s even more disgraceful that they would force me to go through if I am able, and interrogate me so skeptically about my abilities. I’m neither willing *nor* able, and fuck them for trying to second guess me on either.

  4. DEA Hired TSA Informant to Confiscate Travelers’ Cash:

    “The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated this investigation upon the receipt of information from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport Security Screener had been registered as a paid Confidential Source (CS) for the DEA,” the summary states.

    “This investigation was initiated to determine whether it was appropriate for the DEA to register a TSA employee as a CS and pay the employee for providing information to the DEA that the employee obtained during the course of his official duties.”

    The DEA is reported to have offered the TSA agent a cut of any confiscated cash in exchange for his assistance, raising serious ethical questions about the agency’s practice.


  5. As a cancer survivor (lung and stomach) I choose not to go through the new X-ray machines. I have no problem going through the pat down, but the TSA agents treat me discourteously as though to punish me. They tell me to stand aside and I’ve waited 15 minutes for a female agent. After this happened several times I complained to one of the agents. She suggested I file a formal complaint because it wasn’t the first time she had heard these complaints. I was reluctant to do so out of fear of retaliation. This happens even though I have paid for TSA pre-check!

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