Reporter decries “highly invasive groping and probing of my private areas”
Dec 3, 2012
A prominent journalist of over 20 years has written a scathing piece describing her treatment at the hands of the TSA last week, saying she feels “violated and raped”.
Karen Kaplan, the current Assistant Editor at the prominent science journal Nature, documented a run in with the TSA that occurred at Norfolk International Airport on November 25.
In the article written for The Day news website, Kaplan, a reporter with more than two decades of experience in the publishing industry, says she was subjected to “an arbitrary, unnecessary and appallingly invasive” TSA patdown, “…which more appropriately can be called a sexual assault.”
Kaplan describes how she did not trigger any alarms at the checkpoint, but was pulled aside by two TSA agents and selected for a patdown because she was wearing a long skirt.
“The search involved highly invasive groping and probing of my private areas.” Kaplan writes. “As part of the procedure, which took five to six minutes, the TSA agent reached into my skirt, exploring front to back.”
Kaplan notes that she asked for the patdown to be conducted in private, however it was only because she knew the guidelines and raised it as an issue that this request was granted by the TSA.
“I am horrified and disgusted by the experience – a clear example of absolute abuse of absolute power.” Kaplan states.
“I feel violated and raped. TSA agents who subject passengers to this odious, invasive and abusive “patdown” – a screamingly laughable euphemism if ever there was one – are operating under the same psychological principle that prompts prison guards to abuse and torture inmates – they do it because they can.”
“As a white American female over 40, a law-abiding citizen with nary so much as a traffic violation in my history, and an editor of an eminent international science journal, I hardly fit the profile of a terrorist,” Kaplan notes, describing the actions of the TSA as “pure and unadulterated security theater”.
“The TSA, a worthless and money-sucking artifact of the George W. Bush administration, must be disbanded, or, at least, stripped of the power it now holds to commit such assaults.” Kaplan concludes.
“They are wholly ineffective – not once since their implementation have they actually thwarted a potential act of terrorism – and they violate our personal, constitutional, civil and legal rights. They must end now.” she adds.
Kaplan joins a host of other reporters who have spoken out against TSA procedures.
Back in May, Fox News host Geraldo Rivera described how he was “manually raped” by a TSA agent who touched his “junk”.
In November 2010, we reported the story of how radio host Owen JJ Stone was told by a TSA screener that his pat down would include the screener putting his hands down Stone’s pants. The TSA worker directly patted down his testicles, penis and backside while his hand was inside Stone’s pants.
Also in November 2010, blogger Erin Chase went public to reveal how she literally had her vagina groped by a TSA screener, who touched both her labia as well as her buttocks and breasts during a pat down.
The TSA has a history of threatening journalists who have reported negatively on experiences at the hands of the agency. CNN reporter Drew Griffin was put on a TSA watch list immediately after he filed reports critical of the organization back in 2008. Conservative radio host and Breitbart Editor Dana Loesch has alleged that she is targeted for punishment in the form of a rough invasive patdown almost every time she flies.
In August, independent Journalists documenting the level of security theatre surrounding the Republican National Convention in Tampa were threatened with being “detained for 72 hours” by Homeland Security agents, after they filmed TSA employees occupying a Greyhound bus station close to the security perimeter.
In March, two mainstream media reporters revealed that the TSA “strongly cautioned” them not to cover the story of an engineer revealing major flaws in the agency’s $1 billion dollar body scanner program.
Columnist and talk radio host Amy Alkon related a recent incident at JFK airport, during which she was threatened with arrest by a TSA supervisor who also refused to identify himself. In 2011, the radio host was threatened with a defamation suit by TSA’s lawyers after she alleged that an agent at LAX physically penetrated her vagina with her hand four times during an aggressive patdown. Alkon described the incident as rape on her blog and identified the TSA agent in question. Her attempts to file charges of sexual assault were shot down.
Rape counselors have warned that people who have been sexually assaulted face treatment metered out by TSA screeners that can be “extremely re-traumatizing to someone who has already experienced an invasion of their privacy and their body.” Such incidents involving the TSA regularly occur, unsurprisingly, given that an estimated one in six women in the United States have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape.
Editor’s note: The picture in this article is for illustrative purposes only. It does not depict the actual incident referred to in this piece.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.