Video: Beauty queen takes on ‘touchy’ issue with TSA

  1. Closed captioning of: Beauty queen takes on ‘touchy’ issue with TSA

    >>> we are back with the latest uproar over the tsa airport screening procedures. it comes from former miss usa susie castillo . she made an emotional video after receiving a pat-down at the dallas -ft. worth airport.

    >> here i am crying. never did i think this would make me cry. i'm crying because i'm just really, really upset that as an american i have to go through this. i do feel violated. i didn't think that i would when i opted out of the machine, but i completely feel violated. this woman touched my vagina four times because she went up my leg, up both legs from behind and then turned around and did it from the front.

    >> susie castillo is with us exclusively. good morning to you.

    >> good morning.

    >> that must bring back memories of the day.

    >> it does.

    >> you were at the dallas -ft. worth airport. you didn't want to go through the body scanner because you are concerned about radiation and other things.

    >> yes.

    >> you chose a pat-down. did the tsa agent say what she was going to do?

    >> yeah. they explain beforehand and as she was doing it she explained it. i was travel on work and when i was leaving l.a., i had a pat-down there that was completely different. these procedures are supposed to be textbook. so because of the huge discrepancy in both pat-downs, i chose to speak out.

    >> you asked to see a tsa supervisor and she told you something that surprised you.

    >> she did. yeah. she told me the reason the pat-downs were so different --

    >> between l.a. and dallas .

    >> was because tsa agents themselves are uncomfortable. she said a lot of them are uncomfortable touching people this way. they don't want to be touched that way themselves. i said, well, there is a huge loople hole in the system right now. if they are uncomfortable and aren't doing the pat-down as they are supposed to, as invasive as they are supposed to, you know, why are you putting us through this? why are you violating our 4th amendment rights? it's not correct. it's indecent.

    >> we contacted tsa and they released this statement. we reviewed this passenger's screening experience and found that the officer followed proper procedures. we cannot forget that terrorists will continue to try to manipulate societal norms to evade detection. we wish we lived in a world where security procedures at airports weren't necessary but that just isn't the case. i think a lot of people would agree.

    >> yeah.

    >> unfortunately we live in a dangerous time.

    >> i agree. i care about safety very deeply. i don't think we have to sacrifice our constitutional rights in the name of safety. there has to be a better way. since this happened to me i have been doing research and found that in other countries which seems to be more effective and less invasive is the use of metal detectors in conjunction with behavioral profiling, not racial profiling . there is a huge difference, of course, and dogs as well whiches what they use at the pentagon, at the white house .

    >> but they're not dealing with thousands of people in the airport every day.

    >> sure. but is it correct, right to touch little kids, grandmas, moms and sisters. even men. i have received well over 1,000 messages on twitter or facebook.

    >> have most been supportive?

    >> most have been supportive, absolutely.

    >> there is a bill in the texas state house that would make it a felony for a screener to touch a passenger inappropriately. do you want to press charges against the tsa? is that part of the plan?

    >> you know, i don't. why i'm here, why i chose to speak out on this issue is because it does violate our rights. i feel it's a slippery slope . you know, you hear of drug dealers and bombers, terrorists who are puttingaphernalia in their rectums. are rectal exams in our future? i hope not. that's the day i stop flying. already people who haven't experienced this, don't want to put their children through it have chosen not to fly. i have gotten messages from around the world from people saying they are not flying to the united states for that reason. they don't want to be violated this way. eventually it will hurt the tourism industry here.

    >> susie castillo , thank you very

msnbc.com
updated 4/28/2011 6:24:13 PM ET 2011-04-28T22:24:13

Just weeks after a video was released showing a TSA agent patting down a 6-year-old, another video has surfaced of a very upset former Miss USA after a pat-down at the Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport. In the video, Susie Castillo says a TSA agent touched her "vagina" four times during a pat-down.

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"I'm crying because I'm really upset that as an American, I have to go through this. I do feel violated. ... I completely feel violated," Castillo said in a video of the April 21 incident which was posted on her blog and on YouTube.

Castillo said the pat-down resulted after she deliberately stood in a security checkpoint line that lacked full-body scanners because she "didn't want to be radiated on" any more than she normally is from her frequent travel and from everyday life.

Transportation Security Administration agents can request a pat-down of passengers that set off metal detectors or who opt out of going through the full-body scanners, which have also been a polarizing issue for air travelers. The agency said that less than 3 percent of passengers require pat-downs as part of secondary screening.

Story: TSA to review frisking after kid gets pat-down

Castillo's complaint about TSA agents' actions is among the latest in a recent string: Parents complained after a TSA agent patted down a six-year-old in New Orleans; a man at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., airport said a security officer put their hands down his pants; and a father at a Tennessee airport became upset after a search was conducted on his 3-year-old daughter.

As a frequent air traveler, the former beauty queen said she knows that pat-downs are inevitable. Castillo, who had just flown back to the United States after being in Brazil, said she went through a pat-down at a checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport before she flew out of the country. But her experience at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport was different.

Story: Colo. lawyer sues over TSA airport screening

"To say that I felt invaded is an understatement," she wrote in her blog. "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."

Castillo, who was Miss USA 2003 and was a former MTV VJ, said she talked with a TSA supervisor and filed a complaint on a comment card, online and via email.

The TSA has reviewed Castillo's complaint and "found that the officer followed proper procedures."

Story: Senate tackles misuse of airport body-scan images

In a statement, Kristen Lee of the TSA's public affairs office said: "We welcome feedback and comments on the screening procedures from the traveling public as we are constantly evaluating and adapting our security measures, and are always seeking to strike the right balance between privacy and security while providing the security that the American people want and deserve."

In an update on her blog, Castillo wrote: "My work requires me to travel often, and I don't want to be degraded and driven to tears (or go through those dangerous body scanners) every time I fly. If I could, I would boycott airline travel altogether, but that would mean I wouldn't work."

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Explainer: Up in arms over pat-downs

  • Since the Transportation Security Administration initiated tighter airport security measures in late summer — including new X-ray body-scan machines that render subjects virtually naked and intimate pat-downs for those who decline to go through them — some airline passengers have taken offense at what they consider unreasonable invasions of privacy.

    Image: TSA screening
    Ted S. Warren  /  AP

    Click at left to review some of the most notorious confrontations between TSA screeners and unruly passengers.

  • Don't touch 'my junk'

    In one of the best-documented confrontations between a traveler and TSA employees, software engineer John Tyner told a screener at San Diego International Airport who was explaining the pat-down procedure, "If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested."

    Tyner, 31, who recorded the exchange using his cell phone camera, was on his way to go hunting in South Dakota when TSA agents asked him to go through an X-ray machine.

    "I don't think that the government has any business seeing me naked as a condition of traveling about the country," he replied.

    Tyner, of Oceanside, was informed that he could undergo a pat-down instead, but after hearing the procedure described, he made his now-famous "junk" comment.

    A TSA supervisor and police were called and Tyner was ultimately escorted out of the screening area and to a ticket counter, where his ticket was refunded.

    Tyner told the Los Angeles Times that his father-in-law, who went on without him, was initially upset that he had refused the body scan and missed the hunting trip. But by the time he had touched down in South Dakota, he had changed his mind.

    "He called me and said, 'You know, I'm really proud you took a stand on something you believe in,'" Tyner was quoted as saying.

  • Prosthetic breast examined

    A longtime Charlotte, N.C., flight attendant and cancer survivortold WBTV  that she was forced to show her prosthetic breast during a pat-down in August.

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

    Bossi said that when the TSA screener placed her hand on her prosthetic breast, she explained that she had undergone a mastectomy three years earlier. The screener responded, 'Well, you'll need to show me that,' and ordered her to pull the artificial breast out of her brassiere, Bossi said.

    "I did not take the name of the person at the time because it was just so horrific of an experience, I couldn't believe someone had done that to me," Bossi told the station. "I'm a flight attendant. I was just trying to get to work."

  • Pat-down busts urostomy bag

    Image: Thomas Sawyer
    Courtesy Thomas Sawyer
    Thomas Sawyer, 61, said he was left "humiliated" and covered in urine after undergoing a TSA pat-down.
    Thomas D. Sawyer, a retired special education teacher, was left soaked in his own urine after an aggressive pat-down by TSA officers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport burst his urostomy bag.

    Sawyer, 61, told msnbc.com that he was “absolutely humiliated, I couldn’t even speak,” after the incident on Nov. 7, as he was on his way to a wedding in Orlando, Fla.

    Sawyer is a bladder cancer survivor who now wears a urostomy bag, which collects his urine from a stoma, or opening, in his abdomen. “I have to wear special clothes and in order to mount the bag I have to seal a wafer to my stomach and then attach the bag, he said. “If the seal is broken, urine can leak all over my body and clothes.”

    That, Sawyer said, is exactly what happened during the pat-down.

    After passing through a security scanner, which apparently detected his urostomy bag, Sawyer was informed he needed to undergo a pat-down search. When he asked for a private search, two TSA screeners took him to a nearby office.

    Sawyer said he tried to inform them about his medical condition, but “they said they didn’t need to know about that.”

    Instead, one agent proceeded to run his flat hand down Sawyer’s chest, ignoring warnings not to press on the bag, Sawyer said.

    “But he ignored me,” he said. “Sure enough, the seal was broken and urine started dribbling down my shirt and my leg and into my pants.”

    The security officer finished the pat-down, tested the gloves for any trace of explosives and then, Sawyer said, “He told me I could go. They never apologized. They never offered to help. They acted like they hadn’t seen what happened. But I know they saw it because I had a wet mark.”

    The soaked Sawyer made his flight, but said he had to wait until after takeoff to clean up and change his clothes and urostomy bag.

    After his experience received widespread publicity, Sawyer said he received an apology in a phone call from TSA chief John Pistole.

  • 'Boxer rebellion' ends in arrest

    Samuel Wolanyk conducted a boxer rebellion of sorts on Nov. 19 when he stripped to his underwear at a security checkpoint at San Diego International Airport.

    Wolanyk, who was on his way to Barbados, shed his pants and shirt in a futile effort to avoid a pat-down after refusing a full-body scan.

    Unlike fellow traveler John Tyner, who was escorted to the airline counter to obtain a refund after warning TSA screeners not to “touch my junk,” Wolanyk was arrested for refusing to complete the security process.

    In a statement released by his attorney after the incident, Wolanyk said, "TSA needs to see that I'm not carrying any weapons, explosives, or other prohibited substances, I refuse to have images of my naked body viewed by perfect strangers, and having been felt up for the first time by TSA the week prior (I travel frequently) I was not willing to be molested again."

    Wolanyk's attorney said that TSA requested his client put his clothes on so he could be patted down properly but his client refused to put his clothes back on. He never refused a pat-down, according to his attorney.

  • Pat-down for shirtless boy

    A shirtless boy’s pat-down by TSA screeners at the Salt Lake City airport on Nov. 19 was captured on video by a college student waiting in a security line, triggering yet another outcry about what critics describe as over-the-top security measures.

    Utah Valley University student Luke Tait posted the video on YouTube, where it was viewed more than 765,000 times in three days.

    Tait said the boy appeared so shy he couldn't keep his arms raised for a pat-down, and the father apparently removed his son's shirt out of frustration to speed up the search.

    "I was shocked and realized something crazy was going on, so I took my BlackBerry off the conveyor belt and started recording," Tait told The Associated Press.

    "A couple of times the father raised the arms of the boy. That ended up not being enough, so the father got frustrated and tore his boy's shirt off," Tait said.

    That prompted a TSA officer to protest, "Sir, sir!"

    The TSA said in a blog posting that the boy was being searched because he sounded an alarm inside a metal detector. The boy's father removed his son's shirt to expedite the screening.

    "That's it. No complaints were filed and the father was standing by his son for the entire procedure," said the posting by "Blogger Bob" of the TSA Blog Team.

Interactive: Full-body scanners

Photos: Airport Body Searches

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