Disappointingly, the official TSA blog has kept quiet about Morrissey's claims that his penis was fondled by a security screener at San Francisco airport - although they do report twelve people around the US trying to take bear mace through in their carry-ons. You've got to be one hell of a nervous flier to think you need to be prepared in case there's a bear on the plane, surely?
The TSA have denied that anyone groped Mozzer, though:
A TSA spokesperson said in a statement to Rolling Stone magazine Thursday that after reviewing closed-circuit TV footage of the encounter, the officer in question appeared to have “followed standard operating procedures in the screening of this individual.”That respect thing must be difficult when you're faced with someone who thinks it's okay to climb aboard with a can or two of bear incapacitant - or the dozens of yahoos who want to take their loaded guns to have with them as they fly.
"TSA takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and strives to treat every passenger with dignity and respect," TSA spokesperson Mike England said in the statement.
The appearance of Morrissey in this story shouldn't shift the focus away from the TSA, as this isn't the first time screeners have been accused of sexually assaulting travellers. It's not even the second time. Depressingly, allegations of sexual assault by screeners are incredibly common.
In fact, if you travel through Denver in 2014, you'd be lucky if it hasn't happened to you. It was quite the thing:
According to law enforcement reports obtained during the CBS4 investigation, a male TSA screener told a female colleague in 2014 that he “gropes” male passengers who come through the screening area at DIA.It took three months from the TSA in Denver being told about this before they did anything about it.
“He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.”
And that's just the top of the pile. Some allegations have been revealed following a FOI request, and they make pretty grim reading:
The female TSO then proceeded to roughly feel of [sic] her breast including her nipples. The TSO didn’t go under her arms or along her sides. She indicated that she did not receive a proper pat down. The search was limited to her breast… Two other individuals came over to where the supervisor and gentleman were and they began laughing. The caller indicated that the incident was not the business of the other two officers and not a show for them. The caller indicated that even the Supervisor, along with the others, began to roar with laughter.So when Morrissey says he was assaulted at the screening point, the only surprising part of that story is that Morrissey wants to leave San Francisco. Everything else is too grimly believable.