ARLINGTON, VA - DECEMBER 30: Transportation Security Administration Security Officer Nyamsi Tchapleu looks at images created by a "backscatter" scanner during a demonstration at the Transportation Security Administration's Systems Integration Facility at Ronald Reagan National Airport December 30, 2009 in Arlington, Virginia. Backscatter technology uses low level x-rays to create a two-sided image. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Nyamsi Tchapleu
The invasion of the full body scanners has now violated the blogosphere.
A popular blogger and radio show host claims she was recently handcuffed, lectured on terrorism and yelled at for refusing to go through the intrusive security machines at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport earlier this week.
Meg McLain, who co-hosts a radio show on FreeTalkLive.com based in the Northeast, was the target of a random screening that went horribly wrong when she was trying to catch a flight out of the airport.
McLain said when she refused, a woman grabbed her by the arm and started pulling her out of line, when she snatched away and began asking questions.
That's when a dozen Broward Sheriff's deputies and six federal Transportation Security Administration officers were called to subdue McLain, who claims all she did was refuse going through the scanners.
"It was like an army coming at me," McLain said in a radio interview about the incident, which has been posted on YouTube.com. "I was just scared."
TSA would not confirm or deny handcuffing McLain but did release a statement Thursday challenging her allegations.
"When passengers report poor experiences at a check point, TSA wants to review the circumstances and both sides of the story. The full video of this passenger's approximately 20-minute interaction with TSA officers is posted online," the statement reads. "The video shows a vastly different account than the passenger's version of events. Our dedicated officers acted professionally and appropriately throughout this interaction."
But on http://blog.tsa.gov, two Youtube videos have been posted regarding the incident, or at least portions of it.
In one clip, McLain is locked in an animated conversation with a TSA employee after she is pulled out of line. She is appears to be crying as she sat in a chair, but there are no handcuffs. A TSA worker also hands her some tissues to wipe her face.
In a second video, McLain is surrounded by TSA officers and BSO deputies, but you cannot see what is happening.
According to McLain, several passengers in the line chanted, "Opt Out, Opt Out," when she questioned her "random" screening selection. Airport rules do allow passengers to opt out of body scans, but they must go through a thorough pat down by a TSA worker.
After McLain was pulled out of line, she was then handcuffed to a chair in view of the other airline passengers, who were going through security screening. As McLain sat crying in the seat, TSA workers went through her carry-on bags and then one TSA worker ripped up her airline ticket.
By the time McLain was cleared by a TSA official, she had missed her flight and then she was escorted out of the area by the large group of cops and TSA workers.
"They treated me like an insane person and they just didn't want to listen to me," McLain said.