CNN Plays Cheerful Jackboot for TSA

[Trigger warning for sexual assault.]

The below clip aired on CNN this morning. Honestly, I don't think the TSA and the US security state could've gotten any better if they wrote the segment themselves. Discussing a viral video of a male passenger warning a male security agent about to give him an enhanced pat-down, "if you touch my junk, I'm going to have you arrested," the two anchors yuk it up about what a goofball the passenger is, noting that he was not allowed onto the flight and is "now facing a $10,000 fine and a possible civil suit," for asserting his desire and right to not be sexually assaulted. That's followed by a whaddaya-expect sort of exchange about how compliance is required and how that requirement is justified because "you've got to remember the Underwear Bomber."

Not a single hint of questioning the efficacy of the security measures. Not a passing thought of debating whether invasive screening is safe, appropriate, justifiable, or even good business. Just an argument for submission, disguised as a friendly conversation. On a national news program.

[Transcript below.]

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Things are getting very tense at airline security checkpoints across the country, and that would be an understatement. [laughs]

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: [laughs] Boy, are they ever.

COSTELLO: Yeah, get this: A confrontation between a California man and TSA officials in San Diego has gone viral this morning. [laughing] Thirty-one-year- old software engineer John Tyner was going on a hunting trip with his father-in-law on Saturday. He refused that full-body scan, and then he turned his cell phone video camera on, recording this exchange with security agents.


TSA: Come on over here.

PASSENGER: All right.

TSA: Do you have anything in your pockets?

PASSENGER: I don't think so. They had me take it all out.

TSA: No belt, no nothing?

PASSENGER: No, no belt, no nothing.

TSA: Do you have any external or internal implants that I need to be aware of?


TSA: We are going to be doing a standard pat down on you today, using my hands and going like this on your body.

PASSENGER: All right.

TSA: Also, we're going to be doing a groin check. That means I'm going to place my hand on your hip, my other hand on your inner thigh, slowly go up, and slide down.


TSA: We are going to do that two times in the front and two times in the back.

PASSENGER: All right.

TSA: And if you'd like a private screening, we can make that available for you also.

PASSENGER: We can do that out here, but if you touch my junk, I'm going to have you arrested.

TSA: Actually… [long pause] We are going to have a supervisor here because of your statement.


COSTELLO: Oof! Oof! Tyner, of course, never made it to that hunting trip. TSA agents didn't really like his response. Supervisors were called in, and he's now facing a $10,000 fine and a possible civil suit. I understand his pain, but you've got to remember the Underwear Bomber. And he refused to go through the big x-ray check [laughing] that shows you kind of naked.

ROBERTS: Yeah, he didn't want to go through the body scanner. So opted for the security check then didn't like that. So… There's a lot of controversy going on with these things.

COSTELLO: And once you go through security, you can't get a halfway security check.

ROBERTS: Yeah, you can't say, thanks, I'm going to leave without them threatening you, right?

COSTELLO: Yes. Without them threatening you— You're not getting on that plane. Unless they do the whole security check, you're not getting on. So he couldn't go halfway through. So he was out of there.

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