Former Miss USA: I Was Molested By A TSA Agent In Dallas

Another case of TSA groping has hit the media.

Susie Castillo, who was Miss USA 2002, says she was touched and groped inappropriately by a female TSA agent while going through security in Dallas this week:

After “opting out,” [Castilo declined to go through the back-scatter radiation scanner] I proceeded to follow a very nice older female TSA employee to the “pat down” area. It was an inconvenience, but I thought, “No biggie. I just went through this at LAX for the first time and it wasn’t too bad, so let’s just get it over with.”

Well, this pat down was completely different. It was MUCH MORE invasive than my first one at LAX, just a week before. To say that I felt invaded is an understatement. What bothered me most was when she ran the back of her hands down my behind, felt around my breasts, and even came in contact with my vagina! Honestly, I was in shock, especially since the woman at LAX never actually touched me there. The TSA employee at DFW touched private area 4 times, going up both legs from behind and from the front, each time touching me there. Was I at my gynecologist’s office? No! This was crazy!

I felt completely helpless and violated during the entire process (in fact, I still do), so I became extremely upset. If I wanted to get back to Los Angeles, I had no choice but to be violated, whether by radiation or a stranger. I just kept thinking, “What have I done to deserve this treatment as an upstanding, law-abiding American citizen?” Am I a threat to US security? I was Miss USA, for Pete’s sake!

Castillo recorded this video right after the incident:

Susie’s Experience with the TSA Pat Down from on Vimeo.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard stories like this, and as with similar reports by people like Jesse Ventura and Wil Wheaton, NBC anchor Brian Williams, a former Playboy Playmate, and even the Indian Ambassador to the United States, the only reason this receives any media attention at all is because Castillo is a media personality. The truth of the matter is that stuff like this happens every day to average Americans and we don’t hear about it, or at least we don’t hear about it as often as we should.

Castilo raises what I think is a valid point:

In my conversation with the TSA supervisor, I expressed to her how physically violated I felt. She was kind and understanding, but was nonetheless in charge of a department that was violating the rights of countless Americans every day. At one point during our conversation, I told her, “the fact is, if someone wanted to harm us, they simply would.”

Guess what. She agreed! She even went so far as to say, “We’re not allowed to touch children like we do adults. If someone really wanted to hide something, they could use a child. I know. There’re definitely loop holes with this.” So apparently, not even TSA employees believe this unconstitutional invasion of privacy works!

We shouldn’t be giving up our liberties as Americans because of our fears. The government can’t keep us safe. No matter how much they promise us they can, it’s a false promise.

We’ve been dealing with this issue since November when the new back-scatter scanners started showing up in airports, but it’s really part of a an overall enhancement of security all around us that we’ve seen ever since the 9/11 attacks. As I observed back in November, though, it has little to do with actually making us safe:

What we have been encountering at the airport is more security theater than actual security. Prodded by a government led by politicians who have a strong motivation not to be blamed in the event of another terrorist attack for doing too little, airlines and airport authorities (many of which are quasi-government entities themselves) have implemented security procedures that seem designed primarily to make people think that they’re safe.

Quite honestly, I’m somewhat surprised that there hasn’t been more of a public backlash to the new intrusive security procedures. Everyone gets appropriately outraged when news like this is made public, of course, but it seems like there really isn’t much of a chance that it’s going to change any time soon. At some point, one has to wonder why anyone would voluntarily tand in long lines, take off their shoes, and subject themselves to groping by someone who most likely has their job because they couldn’t get into college or the police academy, but the sad truth of the matter is that there really isn’t much choice in the matter.

FILED UNDER: National Security, Policing, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. mantis says:

    Haven’t flown since they started doing this, and won’t. Called up United and told them to cancel my mileage plus account, and why. If you don’t put pressure on the airlines, this will never change.

  2. Paul L. says:
  3. RWB says:

    TSA is just another useless government stimulus program. It does not make us safer, but it does create tens of thousands of empty government jobs.

  4. Janis Gore says:

    I’ll be flying through DFW next week.

  5. Southern Hoosier says:

    Next time I fly, I’ll wear a keffiyeh, carry a Koran and have my wife wear a burqa.

    Fatwah Against Airport Pat Downs for Muslims

  6. jfoobar says:

    From Castillo:

    “What bothered me most was when she ran the back of her hands down my behind, felt around my breasts, and even came in contact with my vagina.”

    Whether or not these patdowns should be performed at all is obviously a contentious debate and I am not attempting to engage in that debate here.

    However, if you pretend for a moment that these patdowns are a legitimate security measure, why on earth wouldn’t she be touched in these places?? This is still substantially less invasive than a properly-performed police patdown, although admittedly police are looking for smaller objects (small knives, packets of narcotics, etc.). Anyplace that a small explosive device could be carried on the body would need to be physically felt by the screener, and that most definitely includes around, under and beneath the breasts as well as the crotch.

    Sounds to me like the LAX screening she had previously received was half-assed and now she finally got one that was appropriately performed.