Story of RDU Passenger’s Opt out of Body Scan

Story of RDU Passenger’s Opt out of Body Scan

November, 22, 2010, by David

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Wednesday is National Opt Out Day or NOOD, a day where folks are supposed to stand up for their rights at airports across the country and opt out of the controversial xray scan. This grew from the fact that the TSA says publicly: “additionally, advanced imaging technology screening is optional to all passengers.” This guy is obviously familiar with that right and others, and is trying to flex them, but the TSA doesn’t sound like they are having it.  He refuses the scanner and then is treated to a real violation in the form of a nude pat down.  Sounds like prison to us, or, uh what we have seen of prison on TV.

For your refrence:
NOOD - National Opt Out Day
LEO - Law Enforcement Officer

I’ll miss the NOOD, so I chose to stand up for my rights today in RDU. Here’s the summary. I’m providing this in a separate thread not because the events of today were remarkable, but as a warning notice to all NOOD participants (skip to the end for that).

Things started pretty normal with an opt out. Intead of a secondary, they immediately insisted on a resolution frisk and started yelling REFUSAL. I was told I had to comply (without any mention of what the “or else” would be. The clerks were pleasant, but had to be reminded to change gloves.

Here’s where it got interesting. I asked if I could have a witness. I was told there was one (the other TSA guy in the room). I asked specifically, “Am I permitted to have my own witness. I was told no. After a standard groping, I exited the private room. At that point, The clerk demanded I provide my boarding pass and ID. I very politely asked why. Instead of answering, the clerk called a supervisor. When she arrived, the clerk said “He is refusing to comply.” Knowing where that was going, I immediately responded, that I was not refusing annoying, I simply asked a question. The supervisor said “We need the data for our records.” I again asked why. She asked if I wanted to fly today.

Here’s where it gets more interesting. I replied that didn’t answer my question. At this point, she summoned an LEO. Same story offered by the TSA (I wasn’t complying). I showed my ID at that point and repeated my question. They wrote down my name and rudely walked away. I walked up to the supervisor’s station to asked for a complaint form and asked for her name. She gave it. I asked for the name of the person that refused to allow me a witness. She said “I can’t give you that information, you will have to get it yourself.” I went to find the clerk that screened me, and got his name without issue. A few seconds later, another supervisor confronted me, saying that I do not need to get names of the officers. I asked for his name, and wouldn’t you know it, the LEO shows up again. I politely asked the LEO if he would stand by me while I asked my witness question again. He cautioned that “You are about to be escorted out of the airport.” I asked why and he said “I was pushing it and I have to escort you out if the TSA asks, there is nothing I can do.”

I asked both the supervisor’s and the clerk that screened me the witness question again. They said they do provide a witness and pointed at the other TSA clerk the did that. I asked if I had the right to have my own witness. They said it had to be the same sex. I asked specifically, “I asked for a witness and was told that in no uncertain terms that I could not have one.” the response was not surprising. “Sir, you are causing a disturbance, you either need to leave or you will be escorted out.” Not wanting to ruin the vacation of my witness, I left.

Here’s the warning, confirmed by TSA witness I had (while the screener was checking glove for explosives):

TSA will consider any non-compliance, including questions to be interfering with the process. Being escorted out of the airport (or worse) will be threatened early and often. They know NOOD is coming and are preparing to react like any good police state would with threats and intimidation.


What have been your experiences with TSA at RDU?  Have you been bothered by having to use the body scanners?

Read More

Politics, Other posts by David.


RDU AirportBody Scan


  • CtrlBurn
    11/22 04:10 PM

    It all comes down to money.  Stop flying, and tell the airlines that you refuse to fly while this screening process and belligerence continues.  Enough people boycotting air travel will hit the airlines hard enough that they’ll lean on lawmakers to get things changed.

  • JadedTLC
    11/22 04:23 PM

    Make sure to tweet @SouthwestAir about your concerns. We can make a difference.

  • chris@raleighing
    11/22 04:26 PM

    Where in his comments does it say he was given a “nude pat down”?  I don’t see it.  He says he was given the “standard groping” which is an expanded pat down.  While I don’t necessarily agree with the apparent rudeness he faced, I do think he was being especially difficult and taking out his issues with the TSA’s processes on the wrong people.  I find myself feeling more sorry for the folks who had to deal with him.

  • JK
    11/22 04:27 PM

    (*sigh*)  This is so depressing.  We’re all f*@?...

  • JK
    11/22 04:28 PM

    We’re all farked.

  • Kevin
    11/22 04:51 PM

    Also write to your local congressional representative.

  • Well played
    11/22 04:56 PM

    Wow…that guy really showed them, after he missed his flight for dicking around to fight the system.

  • Indeed
    11/22 05:18 PM

    Well played, indeed.

    They way to gain sympathy among people who are only doing their job:  assume that you are god’s gift to nudity and that everybody WANTS to see your junk, refuse the scan, and then act like an over-entitled prick.

    Yeah.  That’ll stop ‘em.

    Or, you know, you could just walk through and get on your flight and not make somebody’s day miserable.

  • Alex Howard
    11/22 06:16 PM

    There are concerns over the radiation exposure in the scanners. Regardless of whose science you agree with, there are some concerns. The guy wasn’t being a dick from his description, he was just asking for a witness and taking down names so he could report what people said and the rudeness he perceived he was receiving. The point of this is civil disobedience. I’m not traveling til Xmas and I for one am glad to hear about these accounts.

  • John
    11/22 06:38 PM

    20 angry primitive sand dwellers have a nation of 300 million absolutely crazy.. who is winning?? Lets stop burning their oil and get out of the region. We can still duck hunt the baddies if really needed. Other that that every nation has the responsibility to make sure it’s citizens are treated and served well - otherwise it’s the citizens’ responsibility to change the government or rulers. So they can take care of themselves there too!

  • Marky Mark
    11/22 08:08 PM

    This story should be re-titled “RDU passenger intentionally being a dick-head.”

  • TSA slowhand
    11/22 08:19 PM

    Shut up and get on the plane.  Nobody wants to see your dick.

  • haha
    11/22 08:31 PM

    sure are a lot of bootlickers here

  • rdugirl
    11/22 09:38 PM

    Blaine..was that you?

  • Curt
    11/22 11:23 PM

    I apprecieate the writer’s effort to show the harsh and rude tactics the goverment wants us to accept as normal. We really ARE screwed by our own goverment here, as well as the terrorists, who are getting exactly what they want. Glad I am not planning to fly anymore.

  • Brian
    11/23 01:59 AM

    Black guy who’s done nothing wrong gets patted down at a traffic stop, no one cares.  White guy who’s done nothing wrong gets patted down at airport, the world explodes.

    Got it.

  • Brian
    11/23 08:23 AM

    Personally I’d rather get scanned or patted down than die in a fiery plane crash from some idiot wanting to kill me.  It’s Civics 101.  We have to lose some rights to be safe.  I agree there should be limits, but this is not one of them.

  • haha
    11/23 08:58 AM

    hey brian how do those boots taste

  • Amy G H
    11/23 08:58 AM

    I refused the scanner at both RDU and the Indianapolis airport and was not forced to submit to a pat down.  Guess I don’t look like a terrorist.

    I think the body scanners are invasive and dangerous.  Quite frankly, TSA agents operating them should me even more concerned since they are in close contact with the machines for a longer period of time.

    When refusing, it’s important to remain polite.  We want the TSA agents to be on our side.  If both the agents AND the people refuse to put up with these invasive procedures, we will be in a better position to change the rules.  Also, when opting out of the scan, have your pat down out in the open so everyone can be a witness. It may be uncomfortable, but you will have witnesses and the TSA agent will be forced to share in your embarassment, hopefully driving home the point that this is wrong and unecessary.

  • JD
    11/23 11:29 AM

    Is it really Civics 101 that everyone must give up their individual rights and freedoms to be safe?
    Don’t we spend trillions on military, government police agencies, local police forces, international police forces, and, yes, even airport security to keep us safe?
    Hopefully a few guys never blow up an elevator or I’ll have to get a strip search, heavy doses of radiation, and show up 2 to 3 hours early to get into work every morning.

  • John
    11/23 11:29 AM

    “We want the TSA agents to be on our side.”

    The TSA agents will never be on “our side”.  They work for Big Brother.  They’ve agreed to violate our rights in exchange for a paycheck.  They are complicit.

    If you’re willing to give up your rights, then take a plane flight.  If you’re not, then don’t fly.  It’s pretty simple.  Personally, I’ve chosen not to fly anymore.

  • Brian #1
    11/23 11:30 AM

    This just in: there are multiple people in the world named Brian.

  • Synaesthesiac
    11/23 11:38 AM

    Wondering when terrorists will start attacking congested security clearance lines…

  • This weeks Four Loco...
    11/23 11:57 AM

    You’re only not flying bc you have no reason to fly.  When you do, you will.  If you say “no I won’t”, you’re an idiot.  People who have to fly will fly regardless.  Accept it.  Fight the system while you can, but one day you’ll cave.

  • Amy G H
    11/23 12:13 PM


    I don’t think you read my entire comment.  I am in no way defending these procedures, in fact I think they are criminal.  What I am saying is that we need to make the TSA agents feel just as uncomfortable as we do so we can effectively fight these new security measures.

  • tito
    11/23 12:39 PM

    the disagreement really boils down to the cost/benefit ratio of “the chance of being terrorized on a plane” vs “the amount of hassle in mitigating that chance”. we’ll never get a consensus on where that line lies, but it’s the same argument as “how far are we willing to go to stop crime?” - on the one hand most of us enjoy our 4th amendment rights, but we could certainly give up those rights, allow the police to search our homes, property, etc everyday and i’m sure they’d find illegal weapons, drugs, etc in some homes and thus crime would potentially drop. does the end justify the means in either case? i don’t have the answer, but an intelligent discussion of the merits of giving up freedom for potentially improving safety would be much preferable to opinions stated as fact, fear-mongering, and name-calling.

  • haha
    11/23 01:04 PM

    i’m all for avoiding name-calling but man you have to admit that lines like “This story should be re-titled “RDU passenger intentionally being a dick-head.” ” is just a straight up bootlickerism. all you jabronies who get angry when someone expects their rights to be afforded them because you may get to your gate 3 minutes later can suck it. i hope your thanksgiving is ruined because someone had the sack to stand up for themselves.

  • JT
    11/23 01:26 PM


    There’s talk about the health risks of the machines, but I can’t believe you won’t get more radiation on the flight. Here’s some data:
    A typical dental X-ray exposes the patient to about 2 millirems of radiation. According to one widely cited estimate, exposing each of 10,000 people to one rem (that is, 1,000 millirems) of radiation will likely lead to 8 excess cancer deaths. Using our assumption of linearity, that means that exposure to the 2 millirems of a typical dental X-ray would lead an individual to have an increased risk of dying from cancer of 16 hundred-thousandths of one percent. Given that very small risk, it is easy to see why most rational people would choose to undergo dental X-rays every few years to protect their teeth.
    More importantly for our purposes, assuming that the radiation in a backscatter X-ray is about a hundredth the dose of a dental X-ray, we find that a backscatter X-ray increases the odds of dying from cancer by about 16 ten millionths of one percent. That suggests that for every billion passengers screened with backscatter radiation, about 16 will die from cancer as a result.
    Given that there will be 600 million airplane passengers per year, that makes the machines deadlier than the terrorists.

  • Normal Carl
    11/23 02:24 PM

    Flying above the earth = heightend radiation exposure.
    C’mon ... didn’t you guys ever read Fantastic Four.

  • haha
    11/23 08:18 PM

    Funny how the Washington politcal rights are fighting aside the liberal left commoners to oppose this issue.

  • Tony Woodard
    11/23 09:14 PM

    REFUSAL is now my new safe word.

  • 150
    11/24 09:18 AM

    @haha:  My issue with that is that one person expecting “their rights afforded them” inconveniences everyone else.  Want to protest, fine, but not on the busiest flying day of the year.  Have some respect for others (and, I’d argue, yourself) and come back to reality.

  • Darwin
    11/24 09:53 AM

    Yeah this guy was being a jackass. I’m sorry but I think if I was working there, he would not be the only one stretching his legal rights to end the situation. It sounds like it would be fairly obvious fairly quickly that he had an agenda of being difficult, and what establishment caters to that?

    Also, while I completely understand the thoughts behind NOOD, and I agree that we shouldn’t ever forget that it is optional… does anyone else feel like having a national DAY for it is a pretty terrible idea? Seems kind of a great invitation to anyone who actually DOES want to sneak a bomb onto a plane. “We have a very effective new touch-free security device, but not on November 24th.” Hmm. :|

  • haha
    11/24 09:59 AM

    yes and this is why you’re all bootlickers. i’m sorry your life may be inconvenienced when a government agency goes beyond its boundaries, but i don’t give a crap. the tsa in this instance didn’t even follow their own policies and decided that someone who was exercising their rights UNDER THE TSA’S OWN POLICY was a troublmaker. that’s bs. and you all lick boots like i’ve never seen. you’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

  • haha
    11/24 10:20 AM

    @150 the reality is you lick boots

  • Cowboy boot eater
    11/24 10:42 AM

    haha…the realty is you go through life angry.  Mommy and daddy didnt pay you enough attention. Now thats funny. 


  • haha
    11/24 10:55 AM

    better to go through life angry than as a complacent bootlicker who cries when people expect their government not to trample on their rights. but really it’s very interesting to see internet psychoanalysis, please continue.

    to all you people worried about being inconvenienced when flying because someone doesn’t want to subject themselves to overreaching policies (or even expect the tsa to follow their own), i say the same thing back to you - you don’t need to fly. if the sight of someone standing up for themselves so hurts and angers you, drive to grandmas.

  • Marcus
    11/24 11:10 AM

    More to chew on:

    All this Opt-out is an astroturf campaign to boot the TSA and hire private contractors.  via WRAL: Airports Consider Congressman’s Call to Ditch TSA.

    Companies that could gain business if airports heed Mica’s call have helped fill his campaign coffers. In the past 13 years, Mica has received almost $81,000 in campaign donations from political action committees and executives connected to some of the private contractors already at 16 U.S. airports.

    Private contractors are not a cure-all for passengers aggrieved about taking off their shoes for security checks, passing through full-body scanners or getting hand-frisked. For example, contractors must follow all TSA-mandated security procedures, including hand patdowns when necessary.

  • Oakie
    11/24 01:02 PM

    That’s just great, congrats for being a total d!ck! If I’d been that agent, you better believe I’d have been just as much of a jerk, if not more. You go ahead and submit your “complaint form” from the comfort of your couch AT HOME - and best of luck getting somewhere with that!!

    What is the big deal with people?!?! This isn’t “mandatory” for all Americans to do - just those who choose to fly. No one’s making you fly. Here’s some rocket science for you - see if you can follow me on this one…Don’t like it? DON’T FLY!!! Drive your SUV, take a cab, the bus, a train, your scooter, walk for all I care - just stay the heck away from the airport if you’re too modest/insecure/bada$$ for your own good.

    Screeners see thousands of people each and every day - you think they give two craps about you?!?! You think with your muffin top or pea shooter that you are in any way memorable to them?!?! As far as I’m concerned, a TSA screener could stand me up on a podium in front of the entire airport and do whatever the heck he/she wanted just so long as everything is being done to prevent some nutjob from blowing my family to smithereens because of an explosive he has shoved up his hoo-hole.

    And for all the whiners moaning about their “civil rights” being violated - on top of “DON’T FLY” - your civil rights were violated on 9/11/01 - heck your rights were violated back on 2/23/93 if you wanna go back a little more. This is the brave new world we live in - can’t blame TSA or Obama or the gov’ment for that - try as you pathetically might…

    Nothing is ever right or good enough for you people - you better believe the MOMENT another terrorist attack happens - because of course it will - you’re going to be the ones shaking your tiny fists to the sky about how the government didn’t protect us or do enough. Is this a fail-safe? Of course not. Can/will somebody figure out how to “sneak” past it? Ummm…pretty sure. Is it something MORE than is being done currently? Duh!


  • haha
    11/24 02:09 PM


    just, wow

  • haha
    11/24 03:16 PM

    i’m not sure if you think this somehow contradicts anything i’ve said, but ok!

  • king bootlicker
    11/24 04:08 PM

    he might have been thinking of this…

    “all you jabronies who get angry when someone expects their rights to be afforded them because you may get to your gate 3 minutes later can suck it. i hope your thanksgiving is ruined because someone had the sack to stand up for themselves.”—-haha

  • Marcus
    11/24 04:10 PM

    who is the author?  His background and affilliations need to be known.  seems in sync with the “opt out” “grassroots” movement to get the TSA replaced with private contractors.  Just like the girl FLA that lied/exaggerated her story on libertarian talk radio shows, the guy who took his kids shirt off while someone filmed from behind etc. . . . and said the TSA removed the boys shirt.  all very suspicious

    seems like a hit job on the TSA in order to make way for a private contractor to take the job and the money and deliver us back to the pre-911 days of minimum wage workers being responsible for our safety.  Despite the removal of TSA agents, the TSA policies will be in place and attacking the pointy end of the stick will do nothing to deter the man holding the other end and jabbing it into your hole.

    Once again astro turfers get the common folk to direct their anger in the wrong direction.

    (not a support for the policies but definitely you need to be aware of the orchestrated attack that you’re getting behind)

  • Betsy
    11/25 02:41 PM

    Believe it or not, citizens have the right to be “difficult” (if by “difficult” you mean asking questions)  without being ordered around at random by officials wielding power.  Arbitrary exercise of official power is the core evil that our Constitution was designed to protect against.  What the TSA and LEO did to this passenger amounts to “I don’t like the way you look, so I’m going to use the force of law to bid you about”. 

    The screening process doesn’t even make us safe.  It does make us docile and provides a false sense of security.

  • ErnstStarvoBlofeld
    11/27 07:57 PM

    If you don’t like it, drive !  What a DH !!  Everyone wants to complain just to complain just to complain.  Get a life and get out of my way.  I have traveled the world and don’t see what he big deal is.  Get me through the line and the people who say they would “opt out” probably don’t fly and just sit at home on thier computers complaining to the world as pro complainers.  I have to be somewhere so move on buddy.  There is a post/column out in front of the airport and go argue and complain with it.

  • arthurb3
    11/29 11:07 AM

    Although I question the medical safety of this, I would rather be scanned then have a plane blow up with me in it. Some people are just never happy.

  • Patrick Henry
    11/30 10:08 PM

    Marcus, Brian and Indeed… you are the type of useful idiots the goverment is counting on to indoctrinate Americans to this type of abuse of power.  “Just give in, because it’s more of a hassle to resist, and you’ll make a scene”.  Haha is overplaying his bootlicker theme, but you all seem mighty willing to bend over for the man (literally in this case) because he has fooled you into thinking this will make you safer.  The reality is that the TSA is wasting tremendous time and resources in the name of political correctness… treating 85 year old grandmothers the same as they would a 25 year old Middle Eastern man.  Cry foul, but tell me when a grandma has been an airline security threat?  Political correctness trumps security @ TSA…

  • 150
    12/01 10:10 AM

    @Pat:  Just because someone is criticizing the inconsiderate doesn’t mean they were “fooled” and agree that the TSA is making things safer.  It also doesn’t mean that they just “bend over for the man”.  Sometimes, you have to step back and evaluate the situation.  Is it really a productive protest to be an inconsiderate holiday turkey?  No.
    As for your point about political correctness….give the terrorists credit for one thing, they aren’t stupid.  A grandmother hasn’t been an airline security threat yet, but when you ignore obvious holes, you’re inviting someone to fill it in.

  • haha
    12/01 07:49 PM

    @arthurb3 that is a badly misinformed false dichotomy to say the least.

  • Patrick Henry
    12/02 01:54 PM

    Our problem isn’t ignoring the obvious holes, it’s ignoring the obvious threat and treating everyone as though they are an equal threat.  Threating everyone equally may work in public schook, but it doesn’t work when attempting to secure a soft target.

    TSA/DHS is now supposedly making a list of dissenters to target as “extremists”.  If that doesn’t open your eyes to their ultimate goal of suppression and control, they you are already there…

  • 150
    12/02 02:43 PM

    @Patrick Henry:
    There’s the rub, though.  The obvious hole IS an obvious threat, and it’s an opening for an adaptable enemy.  It’s not a case of political correctness to make 85 year-old granny go through the screening, it’s a matter of closing those openings. 
    Again, I’m not saying that I think the TSA is making us safer, but if you advertise that 85 year-old grannies aren’t going to be viewed as potential threats, then you’re asking for that to be exploited. 
    More to addressing your idea of “ignoring the obvious threat”...if it’s obvious to you, it’s obvious to others, too.  For someone serious on doing harm, wouldn’t they simply avoid that? 
    Lastly, I have my doubts about that last part.  Not doubting the list, but doubting the suggested motivation.

  • nicefly
    12/07 02:17 PM

    I read your “Opt Out” article via my iPhone, so I thought this app would be appropriate to share. Thought you might find this app humorous.  It actually allows you to “opt out” via your iPhone.

    If you want to look at it search “Opt Out Body Scan” on itunes or the app store.

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