What Makes TSA Agent Thedala Magee So Special?

There’s a nagging question about what Thedala Magee did before she got a job with the TSA, where the power of the government to touch Americans at will emboldened her.  Did she hold some inconsequential, nasty, unimportant job, living a life of quiet desperation waiting for the chance to assert herself and let others know that she was a force to be recognized?

Without knowing more about Magee, one can only speculate, but her demand of the Advice Goddess, Amy Alkon, for the  payment of $500,000 for the emotional hurt caused by being named as the person who put her hand in Amy’s vagina four times at LAX suggests that whatever puny life she led before remains her burden.  Why else would she be so deeply hurt by the revelation?

Amy  first told the story of her treatment while the fury of “raped” by Magee was fresh in her mind.  There was no thought of concealing the name of the person whose hand penetrated her vagina.  Of course, not even the most fragile government sycophant would have imagined that a lawyer, whose aspiration is to be a  Hollywood ingenue despite her wrinkles, would seize the cause of Magee for lack of real work to do and send Alkon the nastygram.

The story is told hereAnd hereAnd hereAnd hereAnd here. And here. And here.  No doubt it will be told many more times today as well.

If Thedala Magee was stung by Amy Alkon’s using her name in describing what happened to her, she will be devastated by the attention she will receive now.  By compounding her touching with the shocking, if laughable, attempt to grab money, Magee will forever be known as the TSA agent who tried to rape twice, once by touching Amy Alkon’s vagina four times at LAX, and again by her lawyer’s demand for a half million dollars for her hurt feelings.

Will the government come to Thedala Magee’s aid, to compensate for her lawyer’s horribly bad judgment in turning her client into an object of perpetual ridicule on the internet?  The TSA’s routine response to allegations of improper sexual touching is that the agents are just doing their job, following procedure.  Which raises the question, is it the TSA’s procedure to have agents insert a hand in a woman’s vagina during a routine enhanced pat down?

I can’t imagine anyone at the TSA will take the position that its agents should insert their hands, or fingers, or penises, or tongues, into the vaginas, anuses, breasts or mouths of airline travelers.  I can imagine that there will be vague excuses to explain that these things don’t actually happen, and that their agents merely come near those parts of bodies over which Registries are made. The concern that TSA agents not be in fear of touching too closely, or sickly, presents a problem for both the TSA and those touched.

But when a person, regardless of whether they wear a uniform or think the government will cover their naughty conduct, violates the body of a person, there are no vague words that make it acceptable.  Not even a TSA agent is entitled to be a sexual predator under cover of the government.  This might all have been forgotten had Vicki Roberts, the Hollywood ingenue, not had too much time and too little prescience on her hands.  Her ill-advised demand has opened the door to a vast array of scrutiny.

What makes Thedala Magee special is that she has reminded the rest of us that the government is still empowering twisted nobodies to take liberties with the bodies of others in an exertion of their petty power.  Magee’s demand has given us reason to challenge the government’s ongoing violation of the body politic, and the bodies of human beings.  And no government agent has the authority to insert her hand into a woman’s vagina.

Marc John Randazza  has responded to Magee’s lawyer’s demand, with a letter that is meant to speak to all of us.  What happened to Amy Alkon happens to every person who believes their government should not put power in the hands of the puny, who then put their hands into our bodies, well beyond any authority the government can or does exert.

And that we have this opportunity to tell Thedala Magee, and every TSA agent who thinks their uniform makes them omnipotent or allows them to engage in the sexual assault or rape of an American, is very special indeed.  Thedala Magee is special, but not for the reasons she or Vicki Roberts thought she would be.



27 thoughts on “What Makes TSA Agent Thedala Magee So Special?

  1. Victor Medina

    You might have posted on this subject once, but I’m also shocked how often parents let it happen to their kids. Thankfully, I haven’t flown with my kids through an airport that does pat-downs of kids. If I had, there’s a strong likelihood I’d have been arrested for pummeling the TSA agent who tried (and the operative word would be “tried”) to put his/her hands on my kids. And then, I’d happily drive across these united states (or to the closest airport that didn’t use the enhanced pat down) for my travel needs.

    I might be willing to be groped to get to my next destination, but I’d have failed as a parent if I let it happen to my kid.

    Victor

  2. SHG

    I too am deeply disturbed by parents who allow their children to be touched just to “get along.”  And yes, there’s a post specifically on that point around here somewhere.

  3. Eric L. Mayer

    I’ve compared the two lawyers in this battle, and I’m afraid Mr. Randazza is severely outmatched. I know this from comparing each lawyer’s website.

    Filmography:
    Roberts: 1
    Randazza: 0

    Memorial to Dead Dog on office website:
    Roberts: 1
    Randazza: 0

    Owned a Dog With First, Middle, and Last Names:
    Roberts: 1
    Randazza: 0

    Gallery:
    Roberts: Two pictures with links for more pictures
    Randazza: 1 cruddy picture

    Member of the Schildkraut family acting dynasty:
    Roberts: 1
    Randazza: I suspect was relegated to backstage crew for his kindergarten production of “Thanksgiving feast”

    Officiated over the wedding of Annie and David Carradine at the house of Michael Madsen:
    Roberts: 1
    Randazza: To my knowledge, not on the guest list. In fact, I suspect he wasn’t even invited to be on the cleanup crew.

    So, I think it’s clear who wins this battle.

  4. SHG

    Thankfully, indeed. 

    And glad that you haven’t found out about his days south of the border as a masked wrestler.

  5. William Chuang

    You come off as slightly unhinged. I would be offended if I were accused of “rape” or “sexual assault” because of a pat down. I guess rape just doesn’t shock cool dudes like you anymore. And I guess we should dilute rape to include pat downs and digital penetration just so we can have ridiculous facile blog posts by self-righteous juveniles about the matter.

  6. SHG

    Yeah, there’s a bunch of us unhinged lawyers around today.  So you’re all for digital penetrations so we have ridiculous facile blog posts by self-righteous juveniles?  Hopefully, someone will satisfy your desire.

  7. Ken

    Not to sound like an old man or anything, but the quality of trolling has really declined since the usenet.

    Ah, the early 1990s. Those were the days.

  8. Frank Lee

    Three cheers for this hero, Amy Alcon! She has pointed out a way, maybe the ONLY way, to put an end to this state-sanctioned sexual assault: Get the name of the offender and publicly report it, the same way we would for any other sex criminal. I hope every other victim of TSA sexual assault does the same. The name THEDALA MAGEE of Los Angeles will live in infamy. And when the Revolution comes, I hope she gets what she has coming.

  9. SHG

    My business card says “Armadillo Breeder, Bring a little pleasure into their lives.”

    But I eat defamation for lunch.  Preferably, barbecued.

  10. James

    Ah yes… the glorious ‘Revolution’ where brigades of angry ‘True Americans(tm)’ ride in like so much cavalry on their tricked-out Rascal scooters.

    “Into the breach, dear comrades… I think I can see an Arby’s on the other side”

  11. Geo. McCalip

    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?

  12. SHG

    Given that Amy is the target of the demand letter, and has not taken action, either civil or criminal, as yet, against Magee, the relevance of her use of “rape” to describe Magee’s conduct would be different than that required to be proved to convict Magree of the crime of rape. 

    That said, your point is very well taken, and it would appear that Thedala Magee did, based upon Amy’s clear allegations, commit the crime of rape under the laws of California.  Not a good place to be to demand money from the rape victim.

  13. Geo. McCalip

    This came up in a conversation with a friend who noted that Magee taking money for this would possibly qualify her as a prostitute. I added that it would also possibly qualify her attorney for prosecution under Penal Code 266h(a) as a pimp.

  14. Fisher1949

    I trust that Amy Alkon will be victorious and hope that she counter sues her assailant. I will gladly contribute to her legal fund and appreciate that she exposed these abusive thugs for the criminals that they are. She has demonstrated that the Constitutional rights that so many have died protecting are still cherished and will be defended against an onslaught of government abuses.

    TSA attracts misfits that delight in abusing their piece of authority by harassing. molesting and humiliating the people they are supposed to be protecting.

    In the wake of 9/11 Congress gave DHS carte blanche to do whatever they want to the American people. The result is that the department has assaulted their own citizens and carried out crimes against humanity and the Constitution.

    This has culminated in TSA digitally strip searching and reaching into the pants of children with impunity. It is no wonder TSA complaints are up 40% over last year. The TSA is an opportunistic misfit not content with simply molesting innocent passengers but seeking additional compensation for her crimes. This is unacceptable and those responsible must be held accountable.

  15. John Burgess

    I’m not leaping to the defense of TSA, but I find it a little over the top to state that it ‘attracts misfits that delight in abusing’ their authority. Most of the TSA inspectors are people who need a job and will take what job is available. That does not make them morally culpable unless we’re at the point where working for the government is now moral error.

    That they do as they’re told–‘just following orders’–does smack of the more than unsavory, but it also reflects how working for any boss works. People will decide to take the path of least resistance when the option is losing a job. Nor do they necessarily have any knowledge beyond grade school Civics class of constitutional law. If the DOJ and various courts tell them what they’re doing is both legal and constitutionally correct, who are they to argue?

    Should their personal moral compasses be telling them that by doing their jobs they are in violation of civil rights, of other laws? Maybe, but I’d look for simpler answers–like keeping any job right now–before I declared them morally bankrupt.

  16. Peter E. Brownback III

    Mr. Greenfield,

    I realize that I am opening myself to abuse, but the tenor of your post and some of the comments above are so diametrically opposed to other posts – for example, the one immediately below this one, Picking the Wrong Black Men – that I was surprised.

    I guess I should realize that:
    1. All alleged criminals (or tortfeasors) are guilty upon accusation.

    2. All alleged victims are poster children for truth, beauty, and the American Way.

    3. All (no exceptions) TSA agents are criminals.

    4. All advice columnists are angels.

    Yep, here I thought that as a DC you would be interested in getting some corroborating facts from someone other than the alleged victim. Nope, Amy Alkon (the Advice Goddess – you’ve got to be joking) says it happened and so it did.

    I’ve suffered thru my own share of TSA horror stories, but that would not make me believe that any one particular story was true or false. Our distaste for the TSA – which really should be translated into a distaste for the Executive and Legislative Branches of our government – does not make any one “victim’s” story more likely, nor any one “violator’s” story less likely.

  17. SHG

    While I agree that the rhetoric gets overheated (and overbroad), the dividing line strikes me to be where a hand penetrates a vagina, and that even people will limited civics education can distinguish inside from outside.

  18. SHG

    Not at all.  Amy Alkon, who is a syndicated newspaper columnist under the name “the Advice Goddess,” isn’t pursuing Magee’s prosecution for a crime, but fending off Magee’s demand for a half million dollars.  The burden shifts. 

    Had Magee been prosecuted, and there being no evidence other than Amy’s word against Magee’s (noting that Magee’s lawyer did not deny Amy’s allegation that Magee’s hand penetrated her vagina four times), the issue would be one of credibility.  Not every crime has disinterested witnesses or corroboration.  My general beef is that police witness are invariably accepted to the exclusion of contrary testimony by civilian witnesses.  In other words, nobody’s word trumps the cops’.  It is not that cops are invariably wrong or liars, but that there is no way that a defendant’s testimony can prevail in a swearing contest, resulting in a foregone conclusion.

    So we have Amy’s undisputed allegations, combined with her being the target of Magee’s demand for money for defamation which, under the loosest interpretation of defamation law, would still allow for Amy to characterize what happened as “rape” even if it failed to meet the technical criminal defintion. I don’t see any inconsistency here at all.

  19. Zahir Ebrahim

    Thank you for writing about it, and the link to Marc Randazza’s response letter. I can’t open that PDF however.

    FYI, here is a letter I wrote to Amy with the following observation:

    ‘The Airport intrusive patdowns cannot be understood in isolation from the two parallel contexts of “imperial mobilization” and “police state” which cradle that act. The pat-downs are merely obedience training for the American public.’

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