TSA ‘freak on’ victim: Apology not enough

by Keith Laing, The Hill Newspaper

The airline passenger who was left a sexually tinged note by a Transportation Security Administration employee said this week that the reprimand of the employee was not enough.

The TSA said Tuesday that one of its employees at Newark, N.J.’s Liberty International Airport had been removed from baggage-handling duties after he left a note in New York blogger Jill Filipovic’s bag, which reportedly contained a sex toy, that stated “Get her freak on girl.” Filipovic, who is also a lawyer, tweeted a picture of the note, which was written on a TSA notice of inspection.

She said after the TSA’s announcement of its response to the incident that the problem was bigger than one airport security employee.

“It’s easy to scapegoat one individual here, but the problem with the note is that it’s representative of the bigger privacy intrusions that the U.S. government, through the TSA and other sources, levels every day,” she wrote on her blog late Tuesday evening.

“The invasion is inherent to the TSA’s mission, regardless of whether a funny note is left behind — the note only serves to highlight the absurdity of all this security theater.”

On its own blog Tuesday, the TSA called the note left for Filipovic “highly inappropriate and unprofessional, and TSA has zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”

“That individual was immediately removed from screening operations and appropriate disciplinary action has been initiated,” the agency wrote.

Filipovic said in her response to the TSA that she was disappointed in the attention the incident involving her bag has attracted.

“As much as this is a funny and titillating story, when I put the note on Twitter for what I thought was a relatively limited audience I was hoping it would open up a bigger conversation about privacy rights (or lack thereof) in post-9/11 America,” she wrote. “It unfortunately hasn’t done that, and instead has turned into a media circus. I would imagine that the TSA agent in question feels the same way I do at this point: I just want this story to go away.

“The note was inappropriate, the agent in question acted unprofessionally when s/he put [it] in my bag, there should be consequences and I’m glad the TSA takes these things seriously. But I get no satisfaction in hearing that someone may be in danger of losing their job over this. I would much prefer a look at why ‘security’ has been used to justify so many intrusions on our civil liberties, rather than fire a person who made a mistake.”



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