Something has to be done to rein in the Transportation Security Administration in its outrageously abusive, intrusive and senselessly nondiscriminating actions at U.S. airports!

Under the Obama administration, the traveling atmosphere has become far worse than any I ever encountered when traveling behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet era! Specifically, I refer to your article, “TSA forces ill woman to remove diaper” (The Advocate, June 28), although the recent, videotaped “screening” of a young girl being subjected to inappropriate examination by a male agent is also germane.

As a physician, I have personal knowledge of a 74-year-old Caucasian patient, recently operated on for prostate cancer and wearing an incontinence pad, who was stopped at the Houston (Hobby) airport after scanning, then additionally subjected to a violation similar to the above (although he was not forced to remove his pad, as was that poor, 95-year-old woman).

Also, on an earlier occasion, about three months ago, my wife was groped in public at the Burbank, Calif., airport after being told her boots had failed to pass the X-ray scan. Upon inquiring, I was told by the TSA supervisor that her boots purportedly showed traces of nitroglycerin — which is clearly total balderdash, as, had that been the case, she would have been denied access to the plane. That the Burbank TSA agents were lying about the whole business was even more evident from the fact that, upon arrival at her destination airport, my wife requested a repeat scan of the boots, which then failed to show anything abnormal during three passes through the destination airport’s scanner!

Finally, my nephew, a minister, was groped after scanning at the Honolulu airport about a month ago, and, when mildly expressing his concern about the whole thing, was threatened with arrest, then hurt in the genitals by the TSA agent “twice ramming his hand up there, hard!”

Given the fact that numerous older people have to wear postsurgical, or other incontinence aids, such asinine, indiscriminate behavior by TSA screeners toward legitimate U.S. travelers should not be worse than that of the former Iron Curtain’s border guards! At our airports, we are now all considered guilty until proved innocent, despite the fact that we are supposedly constitutionally protected against unwarranted and personally abusive searches and seizures.

Granted that we must prevent a repetition of “9-11,” there has to be a better way than to consider everyone guilty until proved innocent! A rational, appropriately discriminating, profiling system would be in order to prevent such personal violations as described above! Finally, the TSA has, itself, acknowledged that these procedures would not have stopped the “Christmas underwear bomber.” So, why are our human and citizen rights being violated?

W. A. Krotoski, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.


Baton Rouge