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My very first TSA third-date pat down

I travel a lot.  Today when I arrived at Denver airport it was my 23rd check-in there on Foursquare since January.  I ‘d like to think of myself as a fairly expert traveler.  I know what to keep in my carry-on and what to pack.  I pick shoes that slip off/on for security.  I do this all.the.time.  Today’s trip was a little different, but nothing big.

I have a new computer bag.  The last one was a checkpoint friendly bag, no need to take computer out, just open bag flat and it’s good.  New bag, more traditional.  I was worried I might forget to take the laptop out for security.  Little did I know it was my shirt that would cause the brouhaha.

My shirt has a built-in belt looking thingey.  It’s more an attempt at making my waist look smaller than it actually is (at least in my eyes) than it is a belt of any significance.  Apparently the belt-thing is made of metal.  Made of enough metal that I set off the detector at the first pass.  A quick quiz about contents of pockets and such, removing my watch and go back thru.  Set it off again.  The dreaded “female assist” call.

A female TSA officer comes over, makes sure there is someone available to keep an eye on my things on the conveyor then takes me aside for the pat-down.  I’m still not sure why it was a pat-down today instead of a wanding.  Maybe today was pat-down day in Denver.  Regardless, the agent explained to me in fairly graphic detail what she would be doing, front of hand here, back of hand here.  After the explanation she offered me a private screening area.  I declined.

All through the pat-down she kept apologizing.  That was nice, but she was just doing her job.  And she was doing it in the most professional way possible.

End of the day, I had to lift my blouse over the top of my jeans for her to check the waistband of my jeans.  That means that everyone that wanted to could see my muffin top that I was trying to hide with the belt-like thingey in the first place.  Lesson learned.


Kalib Steele


Jeff Pierce

Dear Julie,

Sorry to hear about your experience, now you probably know what the disabled feel like - every time.

Freedom To Travel USA ( is actively fighting the TSA's illegal strip search scanners and sexual assault pat downs. We have an information kit that provides details on WHY the TSA insisted on scanners and patdowns, how there is no threat which justifies them, and how we can return to reasonable airport security.

Specific to your experience, you should now be aware there are no "metal wands" used anymore. It's all about touching our genitals and female breasts, along with sticking their fingers down our pants.

I am unsure when this became acceptable in a free country, unless people feel willing to give up their basic rights and dignity over unmeasurably low threats; in short, that would mean the "terrorists" have absolutely won when people accept ridiculous fears and allow the government to intrude on our basic rights.

Perhaps you may review our website and agree - the choice is yours. As a frequent traveler as well, I know what kind of America I want for my kids.


Sorry to hear about this inexcusable abuse. Remember just because they call it their job doesn't make it right.

If you have a chance, once you're done seeing the terrific resources FTTUSA has to offer for fighting this disgusting agency, come on over to Travel Underground and share your story. We're something of a partner site to FTTUSA and I think you'll find a lot of like-minded people there who're on your side.

Also, if you haven't heard of them already, check out these two petitions - they need more love.

To force TSA to obey a court order regarding its scanners:

To keep TSA's grubby paws off of Amtrak:

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