Fox News host to TSA: ‘Touch my junk’ and I’ll sue you
Monday, November 15th, 2010
Fox News host Shepard Smith on Monday reflected the frustration some travelers have been feeling about the TSA's intrusive new airport screening procedures.
During a Studio B segment, Smith declared he would launch a lawsuit against any TSA employee who attempted to "touch his junk" during a pat-down.
Smith said: “The fact of the matter is, since the attacks of 9/11, as we have been screened and re-screened, and lighters have been taken, and shoes have been taken off, belts have been put over there, hats have come off, they have found a grand total of zero parts or pieces of any bomb anywhere domestically in the United States since the attacks of 9/11. Who’s the fool who tries to get on a plane with a bomb? You touch my junk, and I’m going to file a lawsuit against you.”
Smith's declaration comes as public concerns grow over allegations of misconduct by TSA workers carrying out pat-downs, as well as concerns about potential health hazards from the x-ray machines, especially for frequent fliers or children.
The concerns are catching the attention of some lawmakers.
Two New Jersey state senators are drafting a resolution calling on the US Congress to put an end to the TSA's new screening procedures, which require either a full-body x-ray scan or a pat-down involving the touching of genitals.
State senators James Beach, a Democrat, and Michael Doherty, a Republican, plan to present the resolution in their state assembly.
It "comes in response to widespread concerns over privacy and radiation, as well as reports of inappropriate conduct by TSA agents during the screening process," Doherty announced on his Web site.
“Creating a pat-down procedure that is purposely invasive and time-consuming is no way to make passengers feel safer or more secure," Beach said in a statement. "In fact, it can do the opposite."
Doherty argued that “the pursuit of security should not force Americans to surrender their civil liberties or basic human dignity at a TSA checkpoint."
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano disputed those concerns in an editorial published Monday in USA Today.
Napolitano asked for "cooperation, patience and a commitment to vigilance" from air travelers.
"[X-ray] machines are safe, efficient, and protect passenger privacy," she wrote.
Meanwhile, TSA Administrator John Pistole told CNN that the agency may change the procedures to exempt pilots. Unions representing pilots and flight attendants' have been among the strongest critics of the new screening procedures.
"They’re a trusted group in so many different ways and so it makes sense to do some type of different type of screening which we will explore and I think have a way forward here in the near future,” he said.