Beware terrorists bearing nipple rings!

It seems the TSA thinks terrorists wear nipple rings. That’s the only reason I can see for the following news item about a woman being forced by the TSA to remove her nipple rings before she could board her flight:

Hamlin said she was trying to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on Feb. 24 when she was scanned by a Transportation Security Administration agent after passing through a larger metal detector without problems.

The female TSA agent used a handheld detector that beeped when it passed in front of Hamlin’s chest, the Dallas-area resident said.

Hamlin said she told the woman that she was wearing nipple piercings. The female agent then called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the body piercings, Hamlin claimed.

Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked if she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was removed, she said.

She was taken behind a curtain and managed to remove one bar-shaped nipple piercing but had trouble with the second, a ring.

“Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove it without the help of pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her,” said Hamlin’s attorney, Gloria Allred, reading from a letter she sent Thursday to the director of the TSA’s Office of Civil Rights and Liberties. Allred is a well-known Los Angeles lawyer who often represents high-profile claims.

There is apparently no level of ridiculousness that the TSA won’t stoop to in its ongoing efforts to keep terrorists from blowing up your plane using nipple rings. The best part, however, is this quote from a TSA official:

People routinely pass through security wearing wedding rings without problems and it might take a larger bit of metal to trigger an alarm, Baird said.

“I’d be really curious to know what this woman had in her nipples,” he said. “Sometimes they have a chain between their nipples, or a chain between their nipples and their belly button. It would have to be made of heavy metal to be detected.”

I imagine a lot of people would be curious to know what this woman had in her nipples. Apparently the TSA is very curious as it seems making folks remove piercings is a common practice. I’m particularly curious to find out why the TSA thinks this is some how important to airline security.

Scratch that. I’m curious to find out why the TSA doesn’t think they should be discarded like an old pair of hole filled underwear.

17 thoughts on “Beware terrorists bearing nipple rings!

  1. I guess I’ll think twice about flying…there’s no way in Hell I’m removing my piercings. I’d never get them back in without help raspberry

  2. A few years back I was forced to pull my shirt up in front of everyone to prove it was nipple rings making a TSA agent’s wand go off. It was only slightly embarrassing. Sadly my man boobs are bigger then a lot of ladies.

  3. They make women take off their shirts without nipple rings.

    I have had TSA female security “guards” stick their hand down my shirt and check for contraband.

    I’m not sorry at all…the TSA is insane and corrupt.  This poor girl better get a huge win.

  4. Have any planes been blown up by women with nipple rings yet? See – the TSA strategy is working – don’t knock it.  LOL  LOL  LOL

  5. As ridiculous as this story sounds, put yourself in the position of the officer.

    Person sets off metal detector.

    “Its my belt/keys/whatever”

    Standard proceedure is to put the item in a tray and go through the arch again. 

    Now imagine the man with contraband- all you have to do is get your nipple pierced. Alarm goes off- terrorist has piecings and is let through, because ‘it must be the piercings’.

    What need to be done is a proceedure where a) the prtoblem is explained fully, and b) an authorised search proceedure that can take account of this.

  6. This is insane and completely rediculous
    if the wand did not go off in anyother places
    then y should it be an issue. as long as the rest is clear and they confirm that the piercing
    are there then What the hell let the lady go.

  7. I think they should of just let her show the piercings to the woman TSA officer. Taking them out makes no sense, but LH has a point about them needing to do their job.

  8. I guess I’m pretty lucky not to have done much flying these last few years.  That changed this month, when the people I work for decided to send me to Orlando for some training.

    What I saw was appalling, because it was obvious that TSA is both inept and an actual detriment to passenger safety.

    Leaving Orlando for the return flight, I witnessed the biggest cluster-fuck I have ever seen in a public place.  The Orlando airport was formerly one of the most efficient in existence at moving people through, but no more.  TSA has choked off the airport’s throughput, and even people arriving 2-1/2 hours before departure were having trouble making flights.

    Moreover, TSA was utterly unprepared to handle the volume of people.  There were no Tensa-barriers or ropes to form an orderly queue, and no other guidance of any kind was offered as to where the line should form.  Left to their own devices, the people did a reasonably good job of forming up four blurry lines—but there were only two entrances into the screening area.  I would guess that there were maybe 1500 people, and the lines stretched all the way across the central atrium and into an adjacent tunnel fed by a moving sidewalk.  As the line grew down the length of the tunnel, next to the sidewalk, somebody finally came along and shut it off.

    After 90 minutes, a TSA worker, who really should have had a bullhorn or something, walked up and down saying something about snowglobes.

    One of the four lines was moving three times faster than the others.  People were getting surly.  Maybe I was one of them. 

    And then it dawned on me: if somebody wanted to blow up a whole bunch of Americans, this was a great place to do it… immediately upstream of the security bottleneck, where the unscreened lot of us are packed together tightly.

  9. I’ve actually been pretty lucky with the TSA while flying (mostly from San Fransisco), but I have to say that I am seeing this police state mentality start to permeate many other areas of society.

    The incident that prompted me to comment (and finally de-lurk after many years reading SEB), was a recent family visit to New York City, where we decided to visit the Statue of Liberty.

    It was a wet midweek day and very few people were taking the short boat ride to the monument. My wife and kids had already passed through security and as I emptied the contents of my pockets into the plastic tray, the screener nearest to me started yelling “Officer! Officer!” at the top of his voice and several burly (and, I’m pretty sure, armed) guards rushed in my direction as if the place was under attack. I was then treated in a very rude and intimidating manner, separated from my family and refused access to the monument. The problem? …well it turns out that the small pocket knife I carry with me is a threat to national security. Who knew?

    This innocuous 2in tool has happily passed through security screening at several other monuments – including the Empire State Building – without causing so much as a batted eyelid, but it seems that nail files and bottle openers are a more serious threat to giant bronze statues than I imagined.

    Any appeal to logic or common sense would be pointless of course, but the problem is less the arbitrariness of the rule, but the manner in which it is applied. The implication is that they – the security people – are granting you the privilege of access, rather than the state, the airport, the landowner or whoever. You have no rights unless granted by them, and they wield the ultimate power in their little kingdom.

    It’s starting to remind me of those third world border crossings where you have to bribe the officials to get through.

    Under the pretext of “security”, and fueled by ungrounded fears, we are giving more and more power to little tyrants everywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s a TSA agent, a park ranger or a shopping mall guard. Because we are supposedly “at war” (which I vigorously refute, BTW) we are supposed to believe its perfectly OK to give away our personal rights, freedoms and liberties.

    Did I say “liberties”? Sadly the irony that it was the Statue of Liberty that I was prevented from visiting would have been lost on any of the security officers involved that day.

    (The happy ending of the story is that I persuaded them to break their “no refunds” rule, and I got my twelve bucks back!)

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