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Cissna vs. the TSA

Maia Nolan-Partnow

Who among us hasn't had one moment in an airport security line at which you wanted to say "Screw you guys, I'm taking a boat"? For me, it was a TSA agent in Portland who insisted I remove my lightweight yoga hoodie because it had a zipper and was therefore "a jacket." As I argued with him about whether or not he could force me to disrobe, a couple wearing zipperless windbreakers (so, you know, actual jackets) waltzed through the scanner next to me. And that was before full body scanners.

I don't need to tell you that the difference between most people who get frustrated with the TSA and Rep. Sharon Cissna is that Cissna actually got out of the line and got on the boat, which has made her a folk hero to various groups of people, including members of the American Civil Liberties Union and tea partiers, two groups you wouldn't imagine have much in common apart from their shared stated missions of upholding the protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Cissna's been all over the news lately, including here on Alaska Dispatch -- Travel Guru Scott McMurren spoke with Cissna last week when she returned to Juneau; he's also got a column about why he feels Cissna's experience is evidence TSA practices need to be examined -- when we're making people feel traumatized and victimized, are we really making them safe?

If you're looking for more response from Cissna herself, Anchorage blogger Steve Aufrecht (who's been hanging out in Juneau) has raw video from her arrival at the ferry terminal, as well as a video interview with Cissna about whether TSA agents in Seattle realized they were dealing with an elected official:

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Perhaps most interesting, though, Aufrecht has a sampling of the e-mails Cissna received last week after her last-minute itinerary adjustment made the news. They're mostly supportive, although not 100 percent so -- there are some people out there who support the TSA and its policies.

I'm guessing those people have never had a yoga hoodie treated like a security threat.

Contact Maia Nolan at maia(at)alaskadispatch.com.

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