Does Anyone Think Diana Ross is a Terrorist?

Diana Ross let loose on the TSA as she departed New Orleans on Delta Sunday morning after performing at the Jazz and Heritage Festival.

It turns out that the singer of Touch Me in the Morning doesn’t like it when that actually happens.

Ms. Ross was no fan of intrusive airport security even in the pre-9/11 era. In 1999 she was arrested for “allegedly assaulting a female security officer who tried to body-search her while she waited to board the Concorde to New York. (HT: Mats)

A routine body search turned into an angry confrontation when Ross accused the security officer of touching her breast during the check. An eyewitness said the flamboyant singer reacted by touching the officer’s breast, exclaiming “How do you like it?”

Ross then stormed off to the VIP lounge, telling reporters: “I’m absolutely furious. Do you know when they search you, they actually touch your breast? It’s disgraceful. They wouldn’t touch a man’s penis, would they?”

It was a mere two years later that what Diana Ross thought was unthinkable for airport security became de rigueur (patting down ‘until they meet resistance’). They’ve argued, however, that it’s not sexual assault because it’s the government doing it.

Diana Ross recovered from the ordeal of course. Expressing herself on twitter clearly helped.

According to the TSA “the officers involved with Ms. Ross’s screening correctly followed all protocols.” However my question is this: does anyone think Diana Ross might be a terrorist? And if not, why is this necessary? The TSA has conceded there are no active threats against civil aviation or airports. Yet tens of thousands of employees and billions of dollars each year are used to pat down Diana Ross and the rest of us.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Just a word of caution that the ‘It turns out that the singer of Touch Me in the Morning doesn’t like it when that actually happens’ is unnecessary and comes off as out of tune misogynistic.

  2. Do you think celebrities are supposed to get special treatment from the TSA? Leftists don’t want any kind of profiling (despite the vast majority of terrorists fitting a very tightly defined profile), yet when 80 year old grannies get randomly screened because they aren’t allowed to profile, or god forbid a celebrity, that’s newsworthy? Make up your mind, libbies. You can’t have it both ways.

  3. When it comes to the TSA
    Please Don’t “Touch Me in the Morning”
    “Ain’t no pat down High enough Ain’t no pat down low enough to keep them from her”
    Kidding aside

    The TSA sucks why she didn’t have a VIP escort through the airport boggles my mind when a city
    has a legendary Superstar visiting and performing is simply shocking to me
    BA has it right at LHR in First Class
    .While the NOLA airport is disappointing in almost all regards
    Someone high up the chain of command even the Mayor should have seen her through

  4. @ Gary — She is awesome. You should check out her show in Las Vegas! It is kinda short for the price, but she seems genuinely sweet.

  5. In my opinion there should be no exceptions. Exceptions are where problems happen.

    I said nothing and cooperated fully when a 6 year old autistic child in my family got SSSS. I immediately offered to explain and help get the job done. In this case the child was carrying nothing wrong, but next time, in another situation, who knows?

  6. Please name on terrorist attack committed by a 75 year old black woman. For that matter name one terrorist act committed by a 75 year old white, latino, asian or even muslim woman. There should be exceptions and focus should go where the risk actually exists – what ever that may be today – if any.

  7. James, the problem is that if TSA starts giving 75-year-olds a pass, then terrorists will start planting bombs on them.

    Plus, what about 74-year-olds? 73-year olds? Where do you draw the line and why?

  8. @Jack I have a simple line. No pat downs without probable cause. It never made sense to me that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply at airports “because we said so.”

  9. “Touch Me in the Morning” — probably not the best choice here…

    Then again, maybe it was an evening flight.

  10. The groin and breast contact done by the TSA is unnecessary. ETD can be done to detect explosives even without screeners doing groin and breast contact.

    And to detect guns and knives on person can be done with metal detector devices. The “pat downs” involving the grouping of groins and mammaries are not the only way to try to effectively interdict weapons and explosives, but they are a choice of the TSA to be intrusive in this manner.

  11. Does this airport have the same modern imaging system that the big airports use? That plus an explosives detector should pretty much reveal any threats on person.
    I worry more about all the maintenance trucks driving onto the tarmac or the kitchen utensils used by restaurants on the secure side of the TSA checkpoint.
    And moose droppings, apparently inert?, that slip through as okay.

  12. I don’t think I look like a terrorist either. The TSA should drop the security theater and just profile people. We are tired of the water on water, taking our shoes off, being physically touched etc.

  13. Profiling, racist or otherwise, won’t be an effective means of preventing terrorist attacks aimed at aviation. There is a clear history of even very notorious terrorist groups recruiting people for terrorist plots in order to exploit the blind spots created by profiling.

    To stop the kind of idiocy that the TSA did to Diana Ross, only two things are needed — neither of which requires groping people’s groins or breasts or engaging in questionable profiling: explosives trace detection and metal detectors.

    While the TSA uses ETD as an excuse to engage in making sexual contact on some passengers, there are ways for ETD to be done that don’t involve the TSA getting so ridiculously close and personal to passengers at US airports as the TSA does at times.

    And for those out there who think that no one gets their jollies from sexual contact with random, rather elderly women, I can only note that you don’t need to be part of the NSA to figure out that there are probably people searching for grandmother porn and even lesbian grandmother porn and some of them may even be TSA employees.

  14. Some things defy logic and this is one of them. I’ve seen them treating 80 or so year old couples like this and it makes no sense. And as everyone knows who Diana Ross is, every single reasonable person should know she isn’t gonna have a bomb on her. When logic goes out the window, this is what happens.

  15. If you or I can get a pat-down, then Diana Ross and all other celebrities HAVE to be patted down. If she gets a pass because “no one thinks Diana Ross is a terrorist”, then we have an official two-classed system where the rest of us get man-handled, but the beautiful people don’t.

    We all get it, or no one gets it.

  16. I felt violated by security in frankfurt airport. You can use the wand on me or i go through the scanners but there is no reason for some german guy to be grabbing my balls. I go into extremely secure facilities for work and have never experienced the intrusion that i deal with in frankfurt.

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