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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) – and in particular the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – is facing criticism after one of its agents referred to a female passenger as having a “cute” figure.

The agent who made the comment was a woman, although that doesn’t make it any better … and the treatment that married Texas mom Ellen Terrell received from several male agents was far less dignified.

After receiving this “compliment” on her body, Terrell was forced to go through a radiation-emitting full-body scanner three times before she was finally allowed to pass through – with several male agents basically enjoying a peep show on your dime.

Ellen Terrell

“Guys, (the image) is not blurry, I’m letting her go,” a female TSA agent finally radioed to her colleagues after the third scan.

The incident – which occurred in Dallas, Texas – is the latest in a long line of alleged abuses by TSA personnel.

“I think it’s sexual harassment if you’re run through there a third or fourth time,” Texas Rep. Lon Burnam told CBS 11. “And this is not the first time I have heard about it.”

The invasive nature of TSA screenings (and the even more invasive pat-downs that follow if you refuse to be screened) received national attention last month when U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) – son of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul – was detained after refusing a pat-down at an airport in Nashville, Tennessee.

Paul’s father responded angrily to his son’s treatment.

“The police state in this country is growing out of control,” he said. “One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe.”

TSA regulations require that female passengers be “patted-down” by female agents, but there is no regulation in place to prohibit male agents from viewing images taken from the the full body scans.

What do those scans look like?

Here’s one  …

(Click to enlarge)

“Whether it ‘peeps’ on your goodies or straight up cops a feel, government is going to get its jollies one way or the other,” we predicted two years ago.

Oh … and you’re paying through the nose for this particular peep show/ grope fest. Created in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Department of Homeland Security now employs more than 200,000 federal employees and has an annual budget approaching $100 billion.

Remember that the next time your junk gets groped …