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TSA Forces Cancer Survivor To Show Prostestic Breast

Steven Taylor already mentioned this but it bears more scrutiny:   Cathy Bossi, a U.S. Airways stewardess and cancer survivor, was forced to show her breast implants to TSA agents when her prosthetic implants triggered alarm during a pat-down.

MSNBC (“TSA forces cancer survivor to show prosthetic breast“)

Cathy Bossi, who works for U.S. Airways, said she received the pat-down after declining to do the full-body scan because of radiation concerns.

The TSA screener “put her full hand on my breast and said, ‘What is this?’ ” Bossi told the station. “And I said, ‘It’s my prosthesis because I’ve had breast cancer.’ And she said, ‘Well, you’ll need to show me that.’ ”

Bossi said she removed the prosthetic from her bra. She did not take the name of the agent, she said, “because it was just so horrific of an experience, I couldn’t believe someone had done that to me. I’m a flight attendant. I was just trying to get to work.”

For Americans who wear prosthetics — either because they are cancer survivors or have lost a limb — or who have undergone hip replacements or have a pacemaker, the humiliation of the TSA’s new security procedures — choosing between a body scan or body search — is even worse.

Musa Mayer has worn a breast prosthesis for 21 years since her mastectomy and is used to the alarms it sets off at airport security. But nothing prepared her for the “invasive and embarrassing” experience of being patted down, poked and examined recently while passing through airport security at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. “I asked the supervisor if she realized that there are 3 million women who have had breast cancer in the U.S., many of whom wear breast prostheses. Will each of us now have to undergo this humiliating, time-consuming routine every time we pass through one of these new body scanners?” she said in an e-mail to msnbc.com.

They recount several similar anecdotes.  Charlotte’s WBTV (“Cancer surviving flight attendant forced to remove prosthetic breast during pat-down“) notes that Bossi’s experience took place in August. They also point to yet another story about children being groped.

Melissa McEwan expresses the fear and outrage many Americans feel over these incidents:

You know, my father is currently in remission from a type of skin cancer with a genetic link. If I go through a back-scatter X-ray, could it trigger that gene in me? Maybe. So my options are: Risk increasing my chances of cancer, or risk having my PTSD triggered in public and having a panic attack just as I’m about to get on a flight.

Yeah. I’m so not flying anywhere for the foreseeable future.

I suppose al Qaeda could start implanting explosives in prosthetics.  Or in 6-year-olds.    But this is a whole lot of humiliation and loss of liberty to protect against a theoretical and small threat.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Andyman says:

    Market solution: let people opt out of all of it. When you’re booking beforehand, make sure you book a “non-secure” flight. Along with all your co-travelers, pilots, and crew, sign a waiver at the airport instead of going through security. Those of us who prefer to keep our dignity intact and are happy to take our chances with underwear bombers will be much better served.

    I have to travel a few times a year for work but I haven’t been subjected to the porno scanners yet. I’m hoping to summon a really, really impressive erection for the backscatter operator.

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  2. anjin-san says:

    This crescendo of outrage emanating largely from the right over the TSA issue is fascinating. So very many blog posts and Fox News commentaries.

    A very short while ago there was a narrowly averted bombing attempt against air carriers by Al Queda. And it was virtually ignored by the right. Why? No political advantage, nothing to bash Obama or by extension, the government with.

    And then there is the issue that the Homeland Security apparatus was created by a Republican administration, with overwhelming support from the right. Many Democrats, or America hating terrorist symphathisers, as the Glenn Becks of the world were referring to them as at the time, warned about the inevitable erosion of civil liberties that would ensue, but were shouted down.

    There is also the issue that many on the right deny that there is even such a thing as a right to privacy, but apparently it is other people they feel don’t have that right. Seems they themselves feel entitled to it…

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  3. James Joyner says:

    This crescendo of outrage emanating largely from the right over the TSA issue is fascinating. So very many blog posts and Fox News commentaries.

    This latest escalation seems to have created outrage on both sides of the blogosphere.

    And then there is the issue that the Homeland Security apparatus was created by a Republican administration, with overwhelming support from the right.

    Although not by the libertarian wing of the party. And I, for one, opposed it. Beyond that, this is a new development, ratcheting up the indignity rather substantially.

    There is also the issue that many on the right deny that there is even such a thing as a right to privacy, but apparently it is other people they feel don’t have that right.

    Nobody I know thinks there isn’t a right of privacy vis-a-vis government searches of one’s person. We have a 4th Amendment, after all. The issue in controversy is whether an unstated broader “right to privacy” — first enumerated in Griswold in 1962 — is sufficient to preclude the state from protecting human fetuses who haven’t reached viability.

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  4. [...] TSA Forces Cancer Survivor To Show Prostestic BreastCathy Bossi, a US Airways stewardess and cancer survivor, was forced to show … expresses the fear and outrage many Americans feel over these incidents: …www.outsidethebeltway.com/tsa-forces-cancer-survivor-to-sho… This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Australia's SunSmart iPhone App Aims to Fight Skin Cancer Colon Cancer Survival Rate | Health For Americans → [...]

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