Well, maybe it's not your worst flying fear — that probably involves a plane full of babies and fire balls — but it's pretty damn awful. And infuriating. And dehumanizing. I could go on but instead, I'll let an allegedly former TSA agent do it for me.
Specifically, we're talking about the TSA officers who view the nude scanner images and look for guns up your butthole, or taped between your breasts, or whatever. The former government employee writes:
Now, the I.O. Room (the image operator room, where your nude images are viewed at airports that still use the backscatter x-ray full body scanners), that, my friend, is a whole different story. In the image analysis room, no one is permitted to leave or enter without ample warning (part of TSA's promise to the public that officers "would never see the passenger whose nude image they just viewed," although I did occasionally witness this being violated, see Confession #1) and, like the private screening room, recording devices of any kind are prohibited. So in summation: what you have are one to two to three TSA officers locked in a room, viewing nude passenger images, with a guarantee that no one can barge in on them, and that no surveillance cameras can legally be present.
Just use your imagination on the stories among TSA officers of what has gone on in the I.O. room.
Personally, in the I.O. room, I witnessed light sexual play among officers, a lot of e-cigarette vaping, and a whole lot of officers laughing and clowning in regard to some of your nude images, dear passengers. Things like this are what happens (at the very least) when you put people who are often fresh out of high school or a GED program (although there are actually a few TSA screeners with PhDs, which I guess is sad on so, so many levels) with minimal training and even less professionalism, into the position of being in charge of analyzing nude images of people in a hermetically sealed room.
Please keep in mind, this former TSA officer is anonymous, and none of what she/he says is verified, so we can't be certain that these things are actually happening — but, for me, it's hard to imagine they're not. Just think about it — when you put people in an awkward position of power over others and then make the people they have control over extremely vulnerable, how could it not?
The fact that this leads to hooking up is not surprising, the rooms sounds perfect for it, and the making fun of part makes total sense, too. Perhaps the most bothersome is that we're being presented nude for so-called experts to find terrorists strapped to our tits, and it sounds like sometimes these folks are too busy doing other things to even pay attention.
Ugh, the whole thing is just a fucking mess. Thinking about it gives me the shivers and makes me want to only travel Greyhound and Amtrak for the rest of my days. Yes, Greyhound and Amtrak. Thanks, TSA!
Letter From a Passenger: "What Really Happens in the TSA Private Room?" [Taking Sense Away]