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Blogger claims TSA agent found vibrator in her luggage, and left a note

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, October 24, 2011 13:56 EDT
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A note left by a TSA agent. Photo: Jill Filipovic
 
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A feminist blogger traveling to Dublin, Ireland recently made an unsettling discovery in her luggage: a U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent had searched the bag and found her vibrator, and apparently felt inspired enough to leave a handwritten note.

“GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL,” the alleged agent wrote.

It’s almost as if a scene from the film “Fight Club” decided to leap off the screen and ditch the politeness.

“My initial reaction was to laugh — I mean, ‘GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL’ is pretty funny,” blogger Jill Filipovic, founder of Feministe, told Raw Story. “But the more I think about it, the more disgusted I am.”

“It’s not a secret that TSA officials rifle through your belongings when you travel — and that’s bad enough — but the editorializing crosses (another) line,” she added in an email exchange. “I also imagine that whoever left the note assumed I’d be embarrassed about it, which makes the whole thing even worse — it’s not just a violation of privacy, it’s an attempt to humiliate a private citizen (luckily, I don’t find sexuality shameful, so it’s a little harder to humiliate me). But the fact that a TSA agent would leave a note like that is pretty offensive; it’s definitely inappropriate and unprofessional.”

Filipovic went on to say that she’ll reconsider how to transport such personal items in the future, if she does so at all. “[B]ut that’s a little like letting the terrorists win, isn’t it?”

She concluded that whoever left the note — assuming the individual was male — has “seriously impeded me ‘getting my freak on,’ since now I have to throw away that vibrator because I have no idea what he did with it while it was in his possession.”

Filipovic’s initial post to Feministe was titled, “Your tax dollars at work.”

The TSA’s security process has grown tremendously since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Gone are the days of quick security checkpoints and simple metal detectors, and in their place, invasive searches, a lengthy list of prohibited people and items items, and even machines that can see beneath people’s clothing, have become the new norms at virtually every U.S. airport.

But behind that security facade, a small army of human beings, prone to the same whims and behavior quirks that emerge in nearly every workforce, toil away on a daily basis. While many of them strive to be as professional as possible, incidents like this give the public good reason to second guess those charged with guarding their safety, especially considering the sensitive nature of items and images TSA agents can be privy to.

On the other hand, it’s also unclear whether a TSA agent truly was responsible, as baggage is handled by both the TSA and the airlines.

Reached for comment, an agency spokeswoman said, “TSA takes all allegations of inappropriate conduct seriously and is investigating this claim.”

Updated from an original version for clarity and to include a statement from the TSA.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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