A CNN commentator has shared a video that shows her bursting into tears during an aggressive TSA pat-down in which her dress was lifted up and her genitals were hit.
Angela Rye, 37, was surprised when she was randomly selected for additional screening in a nearly empty Detroit Metropolitan Airport last week.
Rye had already gone through the metal detector and full body scanner and had both TSA PreCheck and was a CLEAR traveler, which allows you to skip the security line.
But the full body scanner alerted to her right boot and three places near her genitals. The TSA officer then informed Rye that they would have to pat down the area.
‘I didn’t care about anything but one place on my body,’ Rye wrote in an op-ed about the incident for CNN.
‘I said in complete disbelief: “You know you aren’t patting down my vagina, right? Like that’s not happening.'”
But the TSA officer said she had to unless her supervisor said otherwise. The supervisor then said he would call his manager.
‘I repeated my protests: I have a Homeland Security background. This is a severe violation of my privacy and civil liberties,’ Rye wrote.
‘Please just let me get the scan again. I do not want my vagina patted.’
Rye said the TSA agent then began to insist that it was a ‘backhanded pat around the upper thigh’.
The manager then informed her that she would be escorted out of the airport, and miss her flight to New York, if she did not go through with it.
Rye said the manager grew increasingly frustrated with her when she asked if she could take a picture of the screen that showed ‘three overlaid yellow boxes between my legs’.
‘They won’t allow me because of security protocol. I say I have every intention to escalate this to the TSA administrator,’ she writes.
The manager called the police to have Rye escorted out of the airport, but she luckily got an officer who ‘understood my fear’, she wrote.
Rye asked the officer to record the pat-down, which she demanded be done in public.
‘I wouldn’t have felt safer or less violated in “private”‘, she later tweeted. ‘I didn’t want my vagina patted down in a back room anymore than in public.’
In the video, Rye can be heard talking to the officer as the pat-down begins.
‘I fly several times a week and this has never happened, so this is alarming,’ she tells him.
The officer points out that it may be Rye’s dress, a floor-length wraparound Diane Von Furstenberg gown she had been wearing at a speaking engagement.
‘Like I just, I’ve never,’ Rye begins, before suddenly pausing, clearly caught off-guard.
Rye later explained that the moment showed the first time the female TSA officer had gone up her dress.
‘Her hand sideways hits me right in the crack of my labia,’ Rye wrote. ‘Startled, I jump and feel a lump in my throat trying to hold back tears. What happened to the backhanded pat-down?’
The officer told her that he had just had his butt patted down two weeks ago by the TSA why flying into St Louis, calling it ‘standard’.
But when the TSA agent moves to the front and her ‘sideways hand hits in the middle of my genitals again’, Rye writes, she begins to cry.
‘I can no longer hold back the tears. The officer drops the phone to his waist. He tells me he is going to write up an incident report.’
‘The confidence he had about the similarity between this situation and his buttocks pat-down is gone. He acknowledges I’m up and asks for my driver’s license for his report. We share shame, but for different reasons.’
Rye later posted the video on her Twitter, where it has been re-tweeted more than 10,000 times.
The political commentator said she wanted to share such a humiliating moment because she wanted to use her small platform to give more people a voice.
‘I initially recorded the video so I could send it to TSA to raise questions about the process and challenge the agency on whether these incidents of violation truly prevent terrorist attacks,’ she wrote.
‘I began to think about friends of mine who are victims of sexual assault. I worried that if they were subjected to the same kind of search it could have disastrous emotional impact.’
Rye said she hopes the video will start a conversation about altering TSA practices and potentially investing in new equipment.
‘Of course, we want America to be safe and protected but we should not violate the emotional and physical safety of our nation’s citizens at the same time,’ she wrote.
‘Things don’t change unless we ask questions and demand answers. We do not have to do something because it’s always been done – that does not make it right.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail