Passenger John Tyner calls TSA patdown sexual assault

A Playmobile play set that enables children to simulate the thrill of going through airport security.

John Tyner to TSA: “If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested.” (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Nick Richards/Flickr)

Airport security screening is more up close and personal than ever, and people like John Tyner have had enough. According to ABC News, the 31-year-old programmer was attempting to get on a flight at San Diego International Airport. Tyner objected to the full body scanner, then objected to a patdown on the inner thigh (a procedure he called “sexual molestation”). Ultimately, he was escorted out of the airport by TSA officials.

‘If you touch my junk, I’m going to have you arrested,’ said John Tyner

Passengers like John Tyner have decried the painfully slow process of airport security screening for some time. Now that TSA has authorized more aggressive patdown procedures with the front of the hand, both passengers and pilots are equating the practice to sexual molestation or sexual assault. John Tyner recorded his 30-minute ordeal with TSA security via a cell phone video camera, and now it’s a hit on YouTube.

Tyner’s candid ultimatum to TSA officials – “If you touch my junk, I’m going to have you arrested” – may have been delivered half tongue-in-cheek, but TSA officials took it quite seriously, as one might expect. John Tyner wasn’t going to readily submit to an invasive search. A clip from the video contains the following dialogue:

TSA Supervisor, in regards to the groin patdown: “If you’re not comfortable with that, we can escort you back out and you don’t have to fly today.”

John Tyner: “OK, I don’t understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying.”

TSA Supervisor: “This is not considered a sexual assault.”

John Tyner: “It would be if you were not the government. … I’d like only my wife and maybe my doctor to touch me there.”

Opt Out Day – clogging the system with patdowns

As a protest to Homeland Security and TSA’s policy of using either the Advanced Imaging Technology that strips people naked in a virtual sense or submitting to “enhanced” patdowns, Brian Sodegren and the online group Opt Out Day are encouraging Thanksgiving fliers to take a stand. Opt out of the quick scan option and produce the kind of patdown gridlock that will make the government take notice, suggests Sodegren.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is urging customers to “use some common sense,” but clearly the backlash of anger from pilots, flight attendants and passengers like John Tyner has rocked the (air) boat.


ABC News

John Tyner’s story

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