While I certainly do not condone this (the classic “man bites dog” story), it is easy to understand the level of frustration out there. It is interesting she was charged with “sexual assault.” That’s what I thought the TSA was doing to us!
A very significant part of the problem is that there is no logic or reasoning when you go into the security area — and it is very frustrating. Take yesterday…
When I travel, I take a small MacBook Air which is less than half of the size (by volume) of a standard laptop. It does not have an internal hard drive. According to the TSA’s web site,
Electronic items smaller than the standard sized laptop should not need to be removed from your bag or their cases. It’s that simple.
When going through security at Boston’s Logan Airport yesterday, the laptop was pulled out of my case (fine), swabbed for bomb chemicals (fine), put back through the X-ray again (fine). I do not dispute the TSA’s right to do those things and I had no problem up to that point.
Then, the security guard (who looked and talked like Puddy in “Seinfeld”) came up to me and gave me an unnecessarily harsh lecture about how you are supposed to take computer out. I respectfully told him the TSA web site says otherwise. He said I was wrong. I, respectfully, told him he needed to look it up: that small computers do not need to be taken out of the case. He then added, “We’ll we’re going to pull them out every time at Logan!”
OK — if it is essential to our national security that laptops be pulled out they should need to be taken out of the case everywhere and every time.
One really gets the impression they are individually making it up as they go along. As long as this type of arbitrary and, at times, disrespectful conduct toward the traveler continues, so will these unfortunate confrontations.