Another day, another example of the Transportation Security Administration's gross misconduct. As recent events spark a discussion amongst Americans concerning the cost of the massive security apparatus that was born in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, fewer federal institutions are as reviled as the TSA — and for good reason.
A 15-year-old girl was recently walking through the ID-check line at the Los Angeles International Airport when a TSA agent humiliated her. She was wearing a tank top, leggings, and a button-down shirt; the agent told her to cover up.
Mark Frauenfelder says that his daughter, Sarina, was at LAX with a group of high school students on a college tour. According to Sarina, the TSA agent was glaring at her and kept mumbling things. She confronted the officer and said "Excuse me?" He replied, in a hostile tone: "You're only 15, cover yourself!" Sarina was visibly shaken after the incident.
The offensive outfit in question?
"I'm furious," says Sarina. "He was so rude and hostile. He made me feel like a slut."
Her parents happened to be arriving in LAX from a separate trip on the same day and met with a TSA supervisor about the incident.
"I think that it is really dangerous for the TSA to do anything outside of their very narrow job description, which is to ensure the safety of passengers from violent attacks," said Mark. It was a "huge abuse of authority" for the TSA to tell "a girl that what she's wearing is something she should be ashamed of." The TSA has said that it is investigating the issue.
What the TSA agent in question did to Sarina Frauenfelder was indeed a huge abuse of authority, and only one in a long line of abuses that this agency has committed against U.S. citizens. The Transportation Security Administration is granted an inordinate amount of power over individuals as they travel across this country, and regardless of an agent's opinion on the fashion choices of a teenage girl, it is extremely inappropriate and unprofessional and abusive for a man in such a position of authority to publicly harass a passenger in such a way as this.
From harassing elderly passengers and children to stealing from luggage to inconveniencing people with disabilities to groping women, the TSA has proved to be far more abusive and dangerous to the rights of Americans than it is worth. It offers us nothing but security theater in exchange for agents who grope us, treat us like criminals, and condescend to men and women alike.
As the United States takes a hard look at the balance between privacy and security in this country, reformation or outright abolition of the Transportation Security Administration should be at the discussion's forefront. People like Sarina should not have to worry about being harassed when traveling. Stop this abuse.