TSA Thug Thedala Magee Threatens Suit

Have you ever noticed that when the mainstream media produce stories about TSA agents humiliating the elderly, abusing children, and otherwise behaving badly, they hide the identity of the agents? Why do they do that? These are public employees, paid with public funds, in positions requiring them to deal with the public. When they violate the public trust, they should be personally accountable like any other bureaucrats.

Deference to the sensibilities of TSA goons is contrary to the spirit of the times. Americans don't want wrongdoers' identities protected, even—if not especially—when the wrongdoers are government employees.
When Amy Alkon of the Advice Goddess blog was assaulted by a TSA agent at LAX, she wrote about it, and she named the agent: Thedala Magee:

Nearing the end of this violation, I sobbed even louder as the woman, FOUR TIMES, stuck the side of her gloved hand INTO my vagina, through my pants. Between my labia. She really got up there. Four times. Back right and left, and front right and left. In my vagina. Between my labia. I was shocked — utterly unprepared for how she got the side of her hand up there. It was government-sanctioned sexual assault.

TSA thug Thedala Magee got herself a lawyer, Vicki Roberts (", Esq."); in July Roberts sent Alkon a demand letter: take down the post, apologize, and pay Thedala Magee half a million dollars. (First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza's response is a thing of beauty; read it!)

Why does Roberts figure Alkon owes Thedala Magee five hundred grand?

These outbursts in public and writings on the internet have subject my client to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, and have injured her in her reputation and her occupation. Furthermore, as a result of your actions, my client has suffered and continues to suffer damages including but not limited to severe emotional distress, fear, difficulties performing her duties, and other problems as a proximate result of your tortuous actions.

(I think Roberts means "tortious," but I could be wrong: maybe she needs Alkon to use simpler sentences. And smaller words.)

Conspicuous in Roberts's pathetic attempt at extorting money from Alkon is the absence of any challenge to the facts on which Alkon based her blog posts. Roberts does not deny that her client committed the conduct that Alkon described as "sexual assault." Nor does she deny that Thedala Magee had sexual intent when she committed that conduct. Instead of denying any element of the sexual assault that Alkon says her client committed, Roberts claims that "[a]t all times [Thedala Magee] followed proper procedure." Maybe so. "Proper procedure" and "sexual assault" are not necessarily antonymous.

 It's not Alkon's words, but Magee's job that has subjected Thedala Magee to contempt, ridicule, and obloquy. And rightly so.

That assaultive conduct is "proper procedure" does not (do you need me to tell you this?) make it right. But TSA agents are protected by sovereign immunity from civil suit; they are protected by craven state politicians from criminal prosecution. Because they are insulated from the other sorts of sanctions that civilized society applies to conduct of which it disapproves, when they step out of bounds—even when stepping out of bounds is "proper procedure"—they should be subjected to public vilification.

Abusing and humiliating travelers is a crappy job. From society's point of view, that's a feature, not a bug: in a perfect world, the job would be so crappy that nobody would agree to do it. The more unpleasant the job becomes—because of the contempt, ridicule, and obloquy of the public—the fewer people will be willing to do it, and the closer we will be to that perfect world.

More: Popehat, Crime and Federalism, TechDirt, Feral Genius, Kashmir Hill,


46 responses to “TSA Thug Thedala Magee Threatens Suit”

    • Sunlight is a wonderful corrective for governmental thuggery. The TSA thug Thedala Magee needs to be put under the public’s scrutiny and given an opportunity to give a justification for sexually assaulting a fellow citizen under color of “law.”

      How best to do this? Easy:

      • (Pushed the post button too soon.)

        Government thugs need to have their pictures posted, as well as well as their home addresses, home phones, and email addresses put up on the internet.

        After all, we know all about Amy Alkon now, but we don’t know anything about this TSA thug Thedala Magee. With her contact information available, people of good will can contact her and try to persuade her that what she is doing is simply not right.

        Mind you, I’m not suggesting that anyone harass the thug; that would only make her into a worse brownshirt. She just needs some person-to-person dialogue so she’ll understand she’s not advancing any public good by feeling up passengers in our airports.

        Am I wrong about this approach? Nothing else seems to be working.

        • I think Ms. Magee is finding out that tangling with someone like Amy Alkon or Marc Randazza, who aren’t going to take this kind of extortion sh*t lying down, was a monumental mistake.

          • I suspect that other TSA screeners are paying attention as well.

            The first thing any traveler should do in an encounter with a screener is ask her name, then repeat it back to make sure the traveler has it right.

          • I was unclear in that comment. Of course screeners retaliate against people who opt out or otherwise don’t submit. I assume that anyone who takes the screener’s name is going to be retaliated against for something; cutting the screener out from the mob by getting her name may reduce the chances of retaliation. “Don’t ask their names because they might retaliate” would be like “don’t look them in the eye.” (Notice that the screener in the Smitherman case said, “Yes, we are,” not “Yes, I am.” If he had first ascertained the screener’s name, the screener might have been more reluctant to retaliate. Probably a good blog post.)

            When a screener retaliates, give me the name of the screener, and she’ll find herself running to Ms. Roberts for comfort.

  1. So glad this is finally getting out there. The legal proceedings have been going on for some time — Amy told me about them months ago but asked me not to tell anyone, so I didn’t. I don’t know how Techdirt got wind of it, but however they did, I think it’ll be good for Amy in the long run.

    Thedala Magee made a monumental blunder. She’s obviously tangling with the wrong people — Alkon and Randazza. Trying to shake down a passenger for money — after you’ve abused her, no less — takes a special kind of person. And now Magee’s name is all over the web, worldwide. Poetic justice.

    Perhaps the many cowardly wankers in the media will now finally wake up, as well. But I’m not holding my breath.

  2. I agree Mr. Randazza’s response is wonderful. But he hasn’t gotten the message yet about one (not two) spaces after the period.

  3. In a case like this it helps to actually look at the law regarding rape. Since this happened at LAX the governing law would be the California Penal Code:

    261. (a) Rape is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person not the spouse of the perpetrator, under any of the following circumstances:

    (7) Where the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by threatening to use the authority of a public official to incarcerate, arrest, or deport the victim or another, and the victim has a reasonable belief that the perpetrator is a public official. As used in this paragraph, “public official” means a person employed by a governmental agency who has the authority, as part of that position, to incarcerate, arrest, or deport another. The perpetrator does not actually have to be a public official.

    However, what is the definition of sexual intercourse? Did Agent Magee’s actions actually meet the standard? Once again, let us read the Penal Code:

    263. The essential guilt of rape consists in the outrage to the person and feelings of the victim of the rape. Any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime.

    Given that even part of Agent Magee’s hand was inside Ms Alkon’s vulva, the answer is obvious.

    Who is suing who for “severe emotional distress, fear, difficulty in performing her duties, and other problems”? If you were a juror on this wouldn’t you be begging Ms. Alkon to countersue?

    • The law regarding rape is of limited use: if what Thedala Magee did was, legally, rape, then Ms. Alkon was justified in calling it “rape.” But if what Thedala Magee did was not, legally, rape, then Ms. Alkon was still justified in calling it “rape.”

  4. And yet: very few stand against TSA’s prisoner-training exercises*. If even ten percent, even ONE percent raised a fuss the system would collapse.

    What the hell happened to Americans, that they bow so readily to tyranny? How were they brainwashed so completely in one decade?

    * have no doubt, TSA’s purpose is not “safety”, it is a psy-op to train Americans in the new reality of living in a prison.

    • Michael, I have been saying this till I’m blue in the face. I have written it so many times I can’t keep track. I wrote about it often at a group blog to which I used to belong, but which I abandoned because I got tired of being shouted down by the we-have-no-civil-liberties-problems-in-this-country-you-must-be-crazy naysayers.

      Yes, if even one percent of people stood up for themselves and refused to buckle under to these thugs, we’d see some change. But again, most people don’t have the courage of their purported convictions. Americans talk a good game about “democracy” and “freedom” and “values,” but when push comes to shove, they can’t be bothered.

      • I remember–we’ve had this thread before.

        It will take a certain critical mass–much less than one percent–but enough to get more viral YouTubes and some MSM coverage of a few well-spoken, calm but forceful people refusing the searches. Some will be arrested, most will be denied boarding.

        But the sheeple have to see it to incorporate that possibility of resistance into their mental choice-space.

        This is true of all resistance; car searches, bag searches in subways, even trivial little things like refusing to give your social security number.

        Re-awaken that spirit of “no, I will not comply”. Start small. Frown at a mailman.

        Speaking of which–Marc Randazza’s blog has a brilliant strategy for ending the TSA that even wimps can employ:
        Time for a Revolt Against the TSA

    • Can you imagine Thomas Jefferson or George Washington taking their boots off to get through TSA security? I can imagine a TSA agent in the ER having said boot surgically removed from his backside.

  5. When I read Randazza’s letter to Vicki Roberts, I had to know what kind of atty has an email address of “[email protected]” and would take the TSA person’s case, then demand $500k, instead of showing her the door. So, I ran a search and found out Vicki Roberts is a “Celebrity Lawyer” and a “Premier Legal Strategist and Consultant.” Here are some results of the web results:

    http://www.RestMyCase.com — seems to do everything under the sun — a real jack of all trades — check out the legal services tab at http://www.restmycase.com/legalservices.html

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2007/09/prweb553967.htm — a press release she issued about herself;

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2399449/ — one of her imdb pages; and

    http://www.metnews.com/lamc-open.html — an article about her apparently unsuccessful run for a muni court judgeship.

    There was a lot more, of course.

  6. It’s crucial that as many people as possible RECORD their TSA encounters.
    Hundreds upon hundreds of YouTubes, complete with the screener’s name, will blow a chilly draft of accountability on these thugs.

    I love Angela’s idea; getting the thug’s name, looking them in the eye, and forcing them out of their mob role and into a personal encounter is powerful stuff.

    I’m a big fan of Marc Randazza’s plan to shun them in their lives outside TSA, too.

    I wonder–is there a publicly available list of these thugs? They’re gov employees, FOIA request anyone?

  7. We have lots of accounts on TUG (Travel Underground) of people who’ve successfully recorded their encounters, and of people who’ve been bullied, harassed, intimidated, and prevented from recording their encounters. It’s all a crapshoot.

      • Good question. I don’t know. I didn’t join TUG until a few months ago, and it had already been up and running for a while with thousands of comments. I do know some members still have pending lawsuits and complaints against the TSA (the latter, of course, have all been ignored).

        The groper of Andrea Abbott’s daughter has been named publicly. I think at least one of Yukari Miyamae’s assailants has also been named, can’t remember now. There’s so much info to keep track of.

        By the way, I’ve updated my Master List of TSA Abuses and Crimes, but the TUGmeister hasn’t had a chance to upload it yet. He’s got a full-time job plus does activism on several fronts. So I don’t know when it’s going to show up on-line.

  8. It’s a real shame that the links go into scribd instead of reaching viewable instances of the documents. I find that scribd is sort of like a roach motel for documents: they check in OK, but they don’t check out.

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