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Government Privacy The Courts Transportation United States

TSA Groper Files Suit Against Blogger 699

An anonymous reader writes "TSA employee Theldala Magee has filed a lawsuit against a blogger demanding $500k in damages for alleging a particularly invasive search involving multiple incursions of a finger into the passenger's vagina. The passenger, who likened the feeling to being raped, is being sued for defamation for supposedly sullying the otherwise good name of a checkpoint smurf."
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TSA Groper Files Suit Against Blogger

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:25PM (#37331306)

    No more bullshit welfare-to-work program for her.

  • USA (Score:1, Insightful)

    by otdyn ( 2456228 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:25PM (#37331312)
    I have traveled to many seemingly "worse" places on earth (Russia, China, Cambodia and other south east asian countries, Africa) and NOWHERE I have experienced stuff like that. USA needs to stop playing the security theater. It doesn't work and it's only absolutely stupid towards normal people. Fingering your vagina and ass, seriously? Stuff like this is why I don't even want to travel to US.

    That being said, there are many people who still travel. I guess it doesn't count much if I don't want to travel to US. Like for example here in Europe many students still want to spend an year in US university. I guess it's a little bit more relaxed there, as here government pays for the university classes and you actually have to study to stay there. In the US your parents pay it, so you can take it more relaxed, have fun and drink beer. A dream for many Europeans, who usually actually have to study, learn and work hard. And don't get me wrong - there's lots of innovation in the US, but generally (and in the internet) it feels like US people just don't know much. But innovation can be made more easy if you drink alcohol and take drugs - the ideas just come to your head. That's why I think US is the number one country in the world regarding innovation.

    I actually wanted to travel there to see the country myself, but if the welcoming basket is like this, just forget about it.
  • Gee no bias here. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:33PM (#37331388) Homepage Journal

    "supposedly sullying the otherwise good name of a checkpoint smurf.""
    Really? No wonder CmdTaco left.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:34PM (#37331404)
    If Theldala Magee didn't want to be known as a rapist, she shouldn't have raped that woman.
  • by Revotron ( 1115029 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:38PM (#37331474)
    I'm going to be modded into hell for this, but oh well, my excellent karma can take it.

    Wow, so this is it? This is the point where Slashdot isn't afraid to show its radical bias in blatant bold-faced type on the front page?

    You pepper the TSA agent with derogatory remarks ("Checkpoint smurf", "Groper") based on allegations filed in a lawsuit? Do any of you ever look at a murder trial and immediately go "Oh, hey, look at that MURDERER on trial. They're on trial, so they must have killed someone." This crowd froths at the mouth when anyone in government is accused of doing something wrong, but they're the first to stand up and yell "innocent until proven guilty" when someone they can relate to is in the spotlight for something. You're all pathetic. Absolutely, 100%, without a doubt pathetic.

    Now I understand why CmdrTaco left. I'd abandon my life's work, too, if this is what it turned in to.
  • by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:39PM (#37331498) Homepage Journal
    So suing the TSA over this is a "non-starter" and even writing about it gets you sued by the molesting thugs... Why do the people in the USA put up with something like this? I thought you were scared witless by terrorists, not authorities, but I guess I was wrong.
  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:40PM (#37331522) Homepage

    We're all in agreement that the TSA security measures are stupid, inefficient, unlikely to actually stop any actual threats, and invasive to our privacy. TSA policy resembles a large scale version of the Milgram experiments. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment [wikipedia.org]/

    This doesn't mean that TSA employees are not people to. They have lives, they have names. They have friends and families. Sure, TSA employees are often incompetent and stupid. The TSA could try to hire retired police and retired MPs but they seem to out of their way not to. But, the low level employees are not deciding policy. They have the same rights as everyone else not be defamed and libeled if they didn't actually do something. So when one of them exercises their legal rights mocking and insulting them is uncalled for. They are just doing their jobs. In the current economy there aren't many jobs out there and the TSA employees want to get paid and not starve like everyone else. You might be smart and well-educated and have a steady job. Good for you. Now meet everyone else.

    And since someone is going to probably twist "they are just doing their jobs" into some ridiculous example of Godwin's Law, let's be clear: this is not the same thing as the Nuremberg defense. "I was just doing my job and following orders" has a very different meaning when one is being told to murder people than when someone is being told to do something to someone who knew what they were getting into and elected to go flying anyways.

    Instead of insulting and labeling individual TSA people, try to fix the actual issues, a general culture of fear and a succession of US Presidents who have minimal respect for the Constitution.

    Of course if the TSA person did do what the blogger claimed (which wouldn't be that surprising) then the TSA person should be fired and does deserve to have their name plastered everywhere. But let's not rush to judgment ok?

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:45PM (#37331596)

    Probably because enough of us have been patted down by the TSA to know it's all-too-plausible.

  • by kat_skan ( 5219 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:46PM (#37331608)

    Nah. If you kill somebody you get the benefit of the doubt. Because really who here hasn't taken the passenger seat out of their car full of blood and homicide books?

  • by Xacid ( 560407 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:46PM (#37331612) Journal

    Pretty much my immediate thoughts. The claims by the blogger are pretty severe for this agent to just let slide if it's true. And if it's not - well hopefully we'll find out in the court of law. I get that we all don't like the TSA but at the end of the day they're all humans too. Eye for an eye isn't justice in my book - especially when you're just firing wildly into crowds of potentially innocent people.

    TSA or not - why should this person allow someone to make such statements if they were blatantly false?

  • by LanMan04 ( 790429 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:55PM (#37331756)

    "I was just doing my job and following orders" has a very different meaning when one is being told to murder people than when someone is being told to do something to someone who knew what they were getting into and elected to go flying anyways.

    Oh really? The woman who was groped knew a TSA agent would insert part of her hand into the woman's vagina multiple times? Somehow I doubt that.

    Also, to totally Godwin this discussion: Should Jews have publicly renounced/defamed their faith because they "knew what they were getting into" by continuing to be Jewish in the face of the Nazi takeover of Germany?

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:58PM (#37331822)

    Ultimately, if it reaches court, it's not going to go well for the TSA employee. There's just been too much publicity of coercive practices for her to claim that there was any meaningful consent. Beyond that, just having to give up the fee you paid for the tickets and accommodations is sufficient to question how consensual it really is when you don't get any of that money back if you refuse to be sexually assaulted.

    I'm sure that the defendant will have little to no trouble finding witnesses to support the claim of sexual assault if not rape. And tons to attest to the coercion at the check points.

    What's worse, is that the TSA agents aren't law enforcement and lack the legal authority to conduct the searches in the first place.

  • by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @04:04PM (#37331918) Homepage

    I've been patted down by the TSA. It was nothing like this. I'm not saying this woman is lying. Perhaps this particular agent was incompetent, anal retentive about being "sure", or really was a perv; I don't know. I do know that if the pat down is done right, it's annoying at worst. I'm not saying the situation is right in the first place, but I am saying that either the TSA employee was violating procedure or this woman is incredibly over sensitive. What she says happened should be impossible if the pat down was done properly.

  • by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @04:09PM (#37331986)
    Whoever modded the comment as a troll needs to relax and take the stick out of their arse The comment was meant to be funny and it was. In actuality, Theldala does not have a leg to stand on. She is a public employee and gives up certain protections against defamation. In any case, she would be hard pressed to demonstrate any actual damages. If the TSA were more than just blue suited security guards with two brain cells to rub together, they'd be screaming out against the x-ray body scanners. After all, they are the ones working at least 8 hours a day around radiation. Certainly that can't be healthy. Is protecting America worth dying a slow agonizing death from cancer for?
  • by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @04:15PM (#37332096)

    Probably because enough of us have been patted down by the TSA to know it's all-too-plausible.

    Those of us who have been patted down by the TSA know your opinion is silly. Were we annoyed, yes. Were we somewhat "insulted" since there is a presumption of guilt to some degree, yes. Would the TSA agent rather be checking your luggage rather than your body, yes. Is the TSA agent to blame for all of this, no. Would we prefer the gov't to be practical and realistic(*) rather than politically correct, yes. Is there the rare criminal working for the TSA, yes, just like every other industry and social group.

    (*) Probably profiling, but more behavioral than cultural. Plus something like customs where the officer chats and asks a few questions while checking your passport/visa, etc. IIRC one of the ticket agents noted one of the 9/11 hijackers acting weird when they were chatting at the ticket counter.

  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @04:17PM (#37332118) Homepage Journal

    Terrorist, authorities, what's the difference in the end?

    I've actually seen authorities.

  • Re:USA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZankerH ( 1401751 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @04:38PM (#37332442)

    threw out my shaving cream, and I was on my way

    See, that's just pure evil. If they really believed that was an explosive, would they let you board the plane after YOU TRIED TO SNEAK AN EXPLOSIVE ON BOARD? No, they'd ship your ass to Guantanamo bay or another "enhanced interrogation" facility in a place where your rights don't apply. Since they let you board the plane, they knew perfectly well you were harmless, and yet they decided to steal your stuff because they're evil, fascist thugs.

  • by mr1911 ( 1942298 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @04:47PM (#37332566)
    Mod parent up.

    I'm sure she is hiding behind the "doing what they told me to do" defense, which is no defense at all.

    Before the TSA, sexual predators could only dream of an occupation where they got to fondle people without repercussion. Thanks to our security theater, they get paid to do it!
  • by SleazyRidr ( 1563649 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @04:51PM (#37332654)

    It's not just that you don't get your money back, once you enter the checkpoint, you have continue all the way through or get hit with a massive fine. Totally not consensual...

  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @05:47PM (#37333394) Journal

    I rarely mod up ACs, but damnit, if I had the points, parent post would get one.

    Unless you're a gynecologist, and/or the act is consensual, that kind of behavior should damned sure be considered to be rape.

    If they were that damned worries about a woman stuffing something up in there, they have enough x-ray machinery to determine for certain.

  • by Cwix ( 1671282 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @07:10PM (#37334182)

    Its a shame that we had to figure out that you started your comment in the subject, because most of us move on if your post doesn't make sense right away. The first half of the sentence in the title does just that.

    If you don't like the "Re:" feel free to change the subject of your post. If you want us to care what you are saying then don't place part of the comment there.

    I'm guessing your the same type of person who doesn't follow naming conventions.

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