Fighting Back

Daedalus Shrugged: The Mounting Resistance to the TSA’s Grope Gauntlet

by William N. Grigg

The function of any “security” checkpoint, as Richard Ben Cramer observes in his valuable book How Israel Lost,“is to show who’s boss.”

“I know of one school headmaster, a dignified older man, who passed the same checkpoint every morning, and was made to undress — not once but often — and stand naked while his students passed by,” relates Cramer. “This was richly humorous — that old man was (formerly) so conscious of the honor of his position.”

The elderly man’s residual sense of dignity made him an irresistible target for the power-intoxicated armed bullies he confronted while traveling to and from work.

During one of his visits to Israel, Cramer asked a checkpoint guard (a recent arrival from Russia) why such humiliation was inflicted on elderly and obviously harmless people.

“Because [of] the bad attitude — you know?” replied the thug. “If they are acting like they are good, [then] we are the bad one. Then, you must show them control.”

You must show them control.

You must make them submit.

Or, as one TSA commissarina repeatedly bellowed when 71-year-old Robert Perry complained about his mistreatment at an airport checkpoint: “I have power! I have power!” That outburst was triggered when Perry — who, like the elderly Palestinian described above, had been forced to disrobe in public — plaintively asked to speak with the supervisor of the tax-devouring chair-moistener who had abused him.

Each time a TSA drone places hands on a captive, he is committing an act of criminal assault. This was proven, in principle, when a victim of TSA-inflicted sexual molestation retaliated in kind against her assailant.

In 2004, 62-year-old Appleton, Wisconsin resident Phyllis Dintenfass was singled out for “secondary screening” when something she wore set off the metal detector at the Outagamie County Regional Airport. Mrs. Dintenfass put up no resistance as TSA supervisor Anita Gostisha used an electronic “wand” to scan for metal objects. But she understandably rebelled when Gostisha used the back of her hands to check the area beneath Dintenfass’s breasts.

According to Dintenfass, her reaction was to mimic the unwanted and uninvited physical contact while exclaiming, “How would you like it if I did that to you?”

Gostisha’s version of the event is much more melodramatic. She claims that the middle-aged woman — described by all who knew her as mild and not prone to violence  — “slammed her against the wall.” Leaving aside the fact that this would be an entirely justified response to a sexual assault, Gostisha’s version was disputed by her victim and not corroborated by any other witnesses.

However, since Gostisha is a member of the Regime’s punitive caste, her person — unlike that of her victim — is sacred. Accordingly,  Dintenfass was arrested and charged with “assaulting” a federal official. She was found guilty of that purported crime andsentenced to a year of probation and 100 hours of “community service.”

Victorious federal prosecutor Tim Funnell insisted  that Mrs. Dintenfass “punished Anita Gostisha for doing her job.” U.S. Attorney Steven Bispukic piled on, protesting that TSA officers, who perform a “vital function,”are “entitled to protection from assault” — that is, they’re entitled to “protection” from the same treatment they inflict on their betters. It’s difficult to find a better illustration of the principle that government is simply a criminal syndicate that has achieved impunity.

At the time Mrs. Dintenfass was molested in Appleton, the treatment she endured was exceptional. As of October 29, it is the norm. The new pat-down procedures bear the ominous adjective “enhanced,” an overtaxed official euphemism last pressed into service to normalize torture. TSA functionaries are now instructed to use open hands and fingers “to go over one’s body, including the genital area and breasts,” explains a protest letter filed on behalf of a group of airline pilots disgusted with the expanded checkpoint ritual.

The TSA insists that “security” considerations prevent them from telling potential victims what to expect next time they’re sentenced to commercial air travel. Capt. Mike Cleary, head of the US Airways pilots union, was able to summarize the new molestation protocol on the basis of conversations he had with TSA personnel.

“Security” drones are now instructed “to run their hand up the inside of your leg until they meet resistance” — ideally in the form of a right cross, but I suspect the expected “resistance” would be anatomical in nature. “In addition,” continues Cleary’s description, “they are to use a circular pat-down routine from the small of the stomach, around through a person’s crotch, and up into the small of the back.”

Some comedian — most likely the perceptive and much-missed George Carlin — once speculated that football may be an elaborate ruse to justify the action of one man putting his hands between the legs of another. While that isn’t true of football, a similar principle might well be at work in the TSA’s new guidelines for airport molestation. After all, the fetid, Stygian talent pool from which the Homeland Security apparatus skims its population of peepers and gropers abounds in people of the sort who shouldn’t be permitted to place hands on others under any circumstances.

Exhibit A is a former TSA employee known as Robert Joe Harrison Jr. who was a TSA security screener in Ketchum, Idaho.

In April 2006, Harrison was arrested by the local police after he had brought home a 10-year-old boy whom he had enticed into his pickup truck. After they arrived at Harrison’s home, the adult put in a movie and left the room. The youngster quite sensibly bolted the premises, fled to his home and and described the incident to his mother, who called the police.

When police searched Harrison’s apartment, they found (in the words of an MSNBC report) found “four additional Social Security numbers and documents showing four other dates of birth.” The TSA hired Harrison (as I’ll call him for the sake of convenience) without even establishing his actual name and identity.

“Harrison” — who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jim Bonnick, a small-time con-man from the TV series “Magnum, PI” — was one of several suspected pederasts discovered within the span of a few weeks in 2006. It makes me wonder how many of the Department’s officials belong to the department’s “Aqualung Club.”

Harrison’s arrest — and the presence of other degenerates on the TSA’s payroll — shouldn’t lead people to make unfortunate generalizations about the agency, insisted Dough Melvin, Federal Security Director for Idaho.

“TSA is a large organization with a large workforce, [and] unfortunately we have an individual who does things that are truly inappropriate, things that are intolerable for TSA,” insisted Melvin, who assured the public that the agency had a “zero tolerance” policy for behavior of this type. He didn’t explain how a suspected pederast with five aliases and sets of personal ID could pass a federal background check. We simply had to take his word on the matter. After all, he was a clean-cut, respectable sort.

As it happens, less than a year after Harrison’s arrest, Mr. Melvin was forced to resign as a result of his own public sexual misconduct.

“The now former Director of the Transportation Security Administration in Boise was arrested last week at an Idaho Falls hotel,” reported Boise’s CBS affiliate KBCI on February 27, 2007. “Doug Melvin was busted after staff and hotel guests say they saw him walking around naked.”

The police report on the incident recorded that “Melvin entered the swimming area and removed his clothing before walking around, exposing himself…. Melvin was also reportedly masturbating while in front of the windows directly in view of the main elevator.”

Melvin — whose surname isone of God’s little practical jokes –is not the only significant Homeland Security figure who publicly indulged in the behavior made famous in Philip Roth’s most significant novel.

Frank Figueroa, the former head of a federal anti-molester initiative called “Operation Predator,” was arrested at an Orlando shopping mall on October 25, 2005. He was charged with exposing himself to a 16-year-old girl while, ah, manipulating himself.

Confronted by mall security as he tried to flee the scene, Figueroa whipped out something else he was unduly proud of: The badge identifying him as the special agent in charge of the Tampa office of the Department of Immigration and Customs enforcement – one of the main appendages, as it were, of the DHS.

Figueroa was a repeat offender: He was hired by the DHS and given specific responsibility to deal with child sexual predators despite a 1977 arrest on a charge of public sexual misconduct in Buffalo. Thanks to an incredibly generous deal struck with an inexplicably lenient judge, Figueroa was given a year’s probation and a withheld judgment — meaning that there is no record of his conviction.

It’s worthy of mention that Figueroa’s “punishment” for preying on an underage girl was less severe than that inflicted on Phyllis Dintenfass for reciprocating the supposedly innocuous behavior of the TSA agent who felt her up.

Today, as millions of productive people struggle to feed and shelter their families, Figueroa continues to receive a taxpayer-subsidized pension.

Given Figueroa’s area of responsibility in the federal hierarchy, and his private inclination toward the very behavior he was assigned to investigate, I find myself wondering if he had any personal or professional dealings with former Homeland Security honcho J. Brian Doyle.

The same week that “Robert J. Harrison” was arrested in Idaho, Doyle was arrested in Silver Spring, Maryland. For several weeks Doyle had been conversing by way of an internet a chatroom with someone he believed to be a cancer-stricken pre-adolescent girl. Eventually he tried to arrange a sexual liaison with his correspondent, unaware that he was being set up by a detective from the Polk County, Florida Sheriff’s Office.

At the time, Doyle was the second-highest ranking official in the Homeland Security Department’s propaganda directorate. He did nothing to disguise his identity while making overtures to what he believed was a potential victim; in fact, he even used his position at Homeland Security as a come-on.

“What has this nation come to if bragging about being a spokesman for a federal agency can supposedly help a guy get laid?” asked the redoubtable James Bovard after the Brian Doyle story broke. While there have been “gross abuses in some previous online porn stings,” Bovard notes, there is reason to believe that “Mr. Doyle could be on the other end of the wand for a long time.” Given Doyle’s behavior in an official capacity, it’s difficult to feel so much as a particle of sympathy for him. “After air marshals gunned down Rigoberto Alpizar outside of a plane in Miami [in] December [2005], Doylejustified the killing to the media: `He threatened that he had a bomb in his backpack,” Bovard recalls. “Other TSA spokesmen claimed that Alpizar had shouted that he had a bomb as he ran up and down the plane aisle. None of the passengers on the plane heard Alpizar say anything about a bomb.” None of this was true: Alpizar, who suffered from bipolar disorder, simply bolted from the plane in a moment of panic and was murdered by the TSA’s armed goons. Of course, as Bovard wryly comments, “false statements by federal spokesmen are a public service, not a federal crime.”

TSA personnel tend to be heavy-handed in conducting airport checkpoint molestations while being light-fingered in dealing with the personal effects of their victims. From its inception, the agency offered secure, well-compensated employment for people with criminal backgrounds. This shouldn’t be surprising; after all, we’re dealing with an element of what were called the “Security Organs” in the Soviet Union — the sword and shield of the Regime. In any society, the political police attracts people from the  mostdegenerate elements of society.

“This organization is rotten to the core,” observed Bolshevik official Serafina Gopner in a March 22, 1919 letter to Lenin complaining about the Cheka, the ancestor of the KGB. The Chekists were “common criminals and the dregs of society, men armed to the teeth…. They steal, loot, rape … practice extortion and blackmail, and will let anyone go in exchange for huge sums of money.”

“The Cheka are looting and arresting everyone indiscriminately,” reported a Bolshevik regional secretary in Yaroslavl on September 26th of the same year (in a letter cited — as was Gopner’s protest — in the authoritative Black Book of Communism). “Safe in the knowledge that they cannot be punished, they have transformed the Cheka headquarters into a huge brothel…. Drunkenness is rife. Cocaine is being used quite widely among the supervisors.”

In policy, practice, and the proclivities of much of its personnel, the TSA — like the department that spawned it — is distant but unmistakable kindred to the Cheka.  The growing rebellion against the agency’s new airport molestation protocols is among the most heartening developments in recent memory — assuming, of course, that it doesn’t evaporate in the immediate aftermath of the next false flag or blowback-induced terrorist incident.

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