This Is What It’s Like to Be On TSA’s Dreaded SSSS List

Maarya Rabbani
  • http://nadiathestudent.blogspot.com Nadia

    If you have a problem, you should actually write TO the TSA and file a complaint.

    It does not surprise me when Muslim women wearing a headscarf go through these measures, but it is still disgusting. #ameriKKKa

  • Lemuel Rossiter

    I’m a white Christian guy of Irish descent, and I wore a little shamrock pin on my tie last Saint Paddy’s day. I got SSSS’d. That’s it, they clearly hate the Irish! They think I’m like Whitey Bulger. ;( #Bigotry #DarnedProtestants #Amerkkka

    • Joseph de Nicola

      No, they think you’re in the Provos.

    • Joseph de Nicola

      No, they think you’re in the Provos, and that you in the past supplied arms to the PLO.

  • James Sampson

    I’m sorry you had such idiots screening you, Maarya. I recently left my job as an officer for TSA because of the incompetence I dealt with on a daily basis from management and those they selected to promote. These are normally the ones that treat passengers like they treated you.

    I’m a Muslim. I always behaved more like the guy that tested your items, as these situations are just as uncomfortable for us as it can be for passengers. Making passengers laugh about dumb stuff was the only thing that got me by most days. So just know that what I’m about to tell you is in no way a defense of how the female officers acted, because nothing can. At the very least, you should have been offered a private screening to at least get rid of some of the discomfort.

    But just know that when I was still an officer, which was about two-three weeks before you put up this post, things had been changed for months to where quad S status is no longer randomly given. I can clearly see why you received the SSSS designation on your boarding pass: Istanbul. People with recent travel history that brings them to Turkey typically get selected for additional screening. In case you’re unaware of why, this is where those blasphemers that make up ISIS tell their hoodwinked followers to go in order to sneak into Syria and fight for them before they become ISIS janitors or parking meter maids instead.

    So yes, Chocolate Thunder was not lying when he said people of all races end up getting additional screening. And yes, I’ve most definitely done this procedure on white males, even a few in the US military. I won’t go into what else can account for being selected, as flight patterns are only a part of the equation, but just know that this is likely a significant part of why you, and many others, are chosen on a continuous basis. When someone exasperatingly says this happens to them all the time and they don’t know why, asking them if they’ve been to Turkey recently usually results in a light bulb turning on in their head as they say “yea…ohhhhhhhhhhhh…”

    I just had to respond here to share this information. I can’t speak for every single airport, but about every officer at the checkpoint, and the mystery airport I worked at in general, avoided bigoted comments about Muslims. And that’s not even because they were aware of my faith, as my undisclosed race is not one generally associated with Islam in mainstream understanding. This typically makes people think they can say whatever they want around me about Muslims, until I drop the “so this is what you think about me? Because I am a Muslim” to their disbelief. We were taught to respond to (typically) white, entitled passengers irate about being screened, and end up yelling at the officers “do I look like a terrorist to you??” by saying “I don’t know, sir/ma’am, I actually have no idea what a terrorist looks like. I just have a job to do.”

    Many of the ones I know adhere to this line of thinking. Of course, like in any organization, there are racists, bigots, and other types of morons that work there. Unfortunately, the ones at TSA are typically good at kissing ass and, consequently are the first chosen to be promoted. And these are the types that are inept at explaining why someone is going through additional screening, instead opting to stay silent or cause more grief. Communication has never been TSA’s strongest suit, using security theater as the blunt reasoning for unnecessary secrecy. In reality, they’re most likely just too ignorant of why they themselves are performing the screening procedures in different situations and it being a “secret” likely makes them feel better about themselves.

    I hope this helps you understand that it’s definitely not because you are Muslim. If I had figured out that this was why people are given SSSS, I would have quit way before I got tired of the morons in upper management. Just know that there are good officers out there, like TSO Chocolate Thunder, and not everyone thinks they are part of some super counter terrorism police unit. If you encounter these overzealous types all the time, it’s likely because they were the only ones standing around not doing anything at the time and they are annoyed that they have to actually do some work.
    Yea this response went way too long.

  • k2348

    I am a caucasian woman, blonde, blue eyes, US citizen, 68 years old, a grandmother. I have a hip replacement which means I must go through the body scanner every time I travel, even though I am a Know Traveler with Global Entry and TSA precheck. I have had TSA pre check for years. It was actually free and given to flyers at the program’s inception. I make many trips each year and have elite status with American Airlines (including being a million miler). Nonetheless, I have gotten the SSSS screening twice in the past year. Additionally, I have also had last-minute, secondary screening at the gate while passengers and colleagues were boarding the plane, passing by me as my luggage was searched and I was swabbed and patted down. I do not know the selection criteria, the randomness, the reasons for being picked. I am clearly not Muslim. Just a frequent traveler subject to all the things every other traveler might experience.

    While I was not delighted with the Quad S screening, it is a proactive measure that might possibly deter some violence from occurring. We live in an unsafe world.