Alaska Rep Refuses TSA Airport Pat-Down, Takes Ferry Instead

Posted Feb 22nd 2011 12:00 PMUpdated Feb 22nd 2011 04:45 PM


alaska democrat tsa airport pat-down ferry

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An Anchorage state representative decided to take a long trip including a 12-hour ferry ride back to Alaska rather than submit to an "invasive" pat-down by TSA screeners at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Rep. Sharon Cissna, a Democrat, said she had no problem going through a full-body scan Sunday at airport security in Seattle, while trying to board a flight to Juneau. But then she was told she required further examination in the form of a pat-down because of scars from her mastectomy.

Cissna said she had experienced the "invasive, probing hands of a stranger" during a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport pat-down three months ago, and wasn't going to go through it again.

"Facing the agent I began to remember what my husband and I'd decided after the previous intensive physical search. That I never had to submit to that horror again!" she said in a statement sent out Monday. "It would be difficult, we agreed, but I had the choice to say no, this twisted policy did not have to be the price of flying to Juneau!"

The politician had been in Seattle for medical treatment. She was returning to Juneau to rejoin the 90-day legislative session.

Cissna sent her statement from Prince Rupert, British Columbia. She said her trip home, rather than a commercial flight, now involved driving, a small plane and the Alaska state ferry system.

In response to the incident, TSA spokesman Nicholas Kimball tells AOL Travel News, "We are sensitive to travelers' concerns, but security is not optional." He says the agency has contacted Rep. Cissna's office.

"We have reached out to Rep. Cissna's staff to explain that our responsibility is to keep the traveling public safe and discuss some of the policies in place to carry out this mission, including conducting pat downs to resolve alarms during screening," Kimball says.

He adds, "If a person is unwilling to complete the screening process, he/she will not be able to board his/her flight."

Other travelers have complained about being signaled out at TSA security for pat-downs for prosthetic devices and wheelchairs, among other things.

On its website, the TSA says its security officers "will need to see and touch your prosthetic device, cast or support brace as part of the screening process," but does not mention scars.

A woman answering a call to Cissna's capital office in Juneau said she was not sure when the representative would return. But there were reports Cissna planned to be back at the Legislature on Thursday.
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How many terrorists has TSA caught during its existence??? To probe and feel-up the public in the name of security is really quite insulting. The X-RAY machines that TSA has touted as being very thorough must NOT be THAT good. The come-back from TSA that the current security procedures are better that a burning pile of wreckage does not wash. Israel is a prime example of how to have tight airport security without the invasive hand probing now done by TSA.
I drive now vice enduring a demeaning airport feel-up just to board an over-crowded tin can to my destination or I ride Amtrak if possible. Has anyone bothered to investigate the relationship between the head of TSA and company that produces the Full Body Scanners? It is incredible that such a relationship would be allowed but, given the political climate today where politicians have very little respect for the voting public anyway, its not surprising.
Americans have become far too passive and our so-called leaders know it. When are we going to realize that WE are their employers!!!

April 10 2011 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Flying While Handicapped - the new Driving While Black. The TSA's rules and procedures are totally unacceptable and I refuse to submit to their sexual harassment - and that is just what it is. Their approach to people with medical assistive devices is idiotic - why my entire body needs to be assaulted for the mere reason that I have demonstrable medical metal between my ankle and knee is nothing short of stupid. Three Cheers for Rep. Cissna!!!

February 23 2011 at 6:25 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I applaud her for doing what's right instead of easy. She put herself out there for what she believes in!

It's not a choice between dignity and "blowing up". The evidence is overwhelming that these new proceedures are wasteful and useless.(GAO reports, guns slipping through AIT undected, Mica-R calling the screening useless based on classified information)

Some people truly think the proud men, women, and children of this country should be irradiated, photographed naked, and felt up so they can feel safe. Then you stay home! Stop ignorantly demanding the right of others be taken away so you feel safe.

February 23 2011 at 9:43 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

What has happened to America when having your genitals rubbed by a total stranger in public is acceptable conduct? TSA is terrorizing more Americans than Al Qaeda could ever hope to.

After four months of this insanity, at least one brave legislator from Alaska has had the courage to speak out against this criminal behavior by Government. I hope more follow her example and help to protect passengers from the abuses of TSA. Who will protect us from the screeners?

This is a failed agency desperately in need of a complete overhaul. They have failed every test where weapons were sent through checkpoints. Their screeners have robbed passengers of hundreds of thousands of dollar in cash and property. They have sexually assaulted thousands of passengers, continue to scan travelers with dangerous devices while refusing Congressional demands for safety records. How many abuses are necessary before Congress will act to defund this rogue agency?
After hundreds of millions of dollars for these dangerous strip search scanners, all they can find are beast prostheses and ostomy bags. Great job TSA, we are all now safe from leaking ostomy bags and latex breasts.

As the adage goes, if all you have is hammer every problem looks like a nail. This is definitely the case with TSA. Their ineptitude requires them to treat every traveler, including Members of Congress, as terrorists instead of applying some common sense and providing trusted traveler identification to those who pose no threat. No one in their right mind believes that an 80 year-old grandma from Iowa can be recruited by terrorists, except the imbeciles at TSA.

It is essential that we all contact our Congressmen and Senators and tell that enough is enough. That reaching into our pants at the airport is not acceptable and that we demand more accountability and respect from those who salary we pay.

February 23 2011 at 6:22 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I have been felt up and down every month for the past few years while flying. I guess they enjoy feeling up heavy women. It has made me feel like vomiting every time they do this. I use to be a Flight Attendant, and I doubt I would be one now if I were physically able, just for the same reason. It seems they are doing this for the pure enjoyment. Our government has gone too far when molesting the public and our children is ok as long as it is an agent of their choosing to do so. How repulsive. I will be so glad when I can quit flying after this year. How shameful, that our govt. endorses such actions. How about closing our borders to the low lifes from other Countries that are actually on those terrorist lists!!

February 23 2011 at 6:20 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I travel alot and to me most of the TSA agents look like high school drop out and Chester the Molester.

There is no reason for the pat down unless you are muslim.

February 23 2011 at 6:11 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
K.R. Boxberger

You go Lady! The intelligent, responsible people of this country are with you all the way. Yes, we all know that security is not optional, however, common sense is. Instead of singling out and probing the children and grandma's of the world, why don't you agents take the brave route and go after the very people who LIVE to KILL us. We know who they are. You know who they are. Everyone knows who they are, but, obviously the TSA doesn't . . . Or are they just afraid of these people? Either way, it's a sloppy, unprofessional and cowardly way to run a security force. It's time for the TSA agents themselves to stand up and say "Enough", "No more", "This is wrong". Maybe then we will be able to target the real enemy, and our skies will once again be safe.

February 23 2011 at 5:41 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

All Muslim males 13 to 45 in this isle please. Everybody else on the plane!

February 23 2011 at 4:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The lady's got that right! If it's not a licensed doctor, I don't want those knuckleheads touching any part of my body. The full body-scan should suffice for their needs. Besides, with all the corruption in that TSA group, who's to say one of them won't plant something on someone for some devious and sinister purpose while doing pat-downs? That is to say, if these TSA workers have been stealing from passengers, the chances are for them to commit some crime implicating a passenger is pretty high. I love my country--it's government I dislike and don't trust. The biggest crooks on the planet.

February 23 2011 at 4:31 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

seriously? IF you don't like the NEW pat down rules. Then don't fly! I am so over this now. It is not a right to fly. IF you dont like it, then dont fly. I wish we could have 2 planes for each travelor to chose from. one that is safe and the other that is not. so when the other that is not blows up, from all you ppl bitching, then hope it was worth it. but then again if you survive that will just give you something else to bitch about and sue the airlines for not making it safe. grow the hell up ppl. accept it for what it is OR better yet DONT FLY!

February 23 2011 at 4:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to ricky's comment
K.R. Boxberger

Seriously, if you don't understand the issue . . . DON'T TALK ABOUT IT!!! It's cowards like you Oshae, that give the bad guys the upper hand and allow them to commit horrible crimes against humanity. Hope you are proud of yourself. GET INFORMED, WILL YOU PLEASE!!!!!

February 23 2011 at 5:55 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Oshae, it's actually painful to read your ignorant, uniformed, cowardly post. At this point there is overwhelming evidence that the AIT/enhanced patdowns are a security failure. You are actually less safe but so uninformed I bet you want grandmas and children felt up while a real threat walks through AIT with a loaded gun.

February 23 2011 at 10:01 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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