Friday, October 16, 2009

Response to "TSA Agents Took My Son"

A blog post has been circulating today from a woman who wrote a very emotional story about being separated from her child while traveling through a TSA check point. Two things went through my mind after reading her post.

  1. As a father of two small children, I empathized with her about the alleged circumstances.
  2. As a TSA employee and former TSO, I felt it could not be true -- especially since our policy is that TSA will not ask parents to do anything that would distance them from their children during the screening process.
TSA works daily to achieve the balance of effective security and passenger convenience. We diligently review claims of improper conduct. But when inaccurate passenger accounts are made either via media outlets or on the blogs, TSA works to resolve them and present both sides of the story. In this case, TSA has made the decision to post the CCTV video of the incident online to allow for transparency.



After watching the video footage, you'll see the video clearly shows that this individual was never separated from her baby by TSA. You'll also see that a lot of the other claims are also unfounded.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team


***Update - 10/18/09 - 7:00 PM***

On Friday, TSA posted the video footage pertaining to the portion of the process where the individual said that TSA removed her child from her presence. There are 9 camera angles of the incident which were placed into sequence to show the time frame in question. For full transparency, TSA is posting the entirety of the footage from each camera of the entire time the passenger was within camera range at the checkpoint.

Part 1 - Entering Checkpoint

Part 2 - Loading Items on X-ray

Part 3 - Waiting to be Screened (Different Angle)

Part 4 - Waiting to be Screened

Part 5 - Walking to Screening Area

Part 6 - Security Screening

Part 7 - Security Screening (Different Angle)

Part 8 - Exiting Checkpoint

Part 9 - Exiting Checkpoint (Different Angle)

Also, TSA's Atlanta Federal Security Director and the TSA blog team reached out to the individual on behalf of TSA on more than one occasion regarding the incident and have not heard back.

The individual has also acknowledged on her blog that this is her in our CCTV footage.

Thanks ~ Blogger Bob

462 comments:

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AJ Pafford said...

This is in response to Mike Foster:

(1) You are correct that at this point prudent travelers should expect substantial potential delays associated with TSA screening. But we can expect that, and plan for it, without accepting it. So when the opportunity comes to address TSA's practices in a public forum such as this, I (and hopefully others) will take every opportunity to point out that TSA's "standard operating procedure" appears to be rife with inefficiency and/or unnecessary intrusiveness, and things need to change.

(2) I have no idea if the video was edited, but I am not a conspiracy theorist, and I have no doubts about things like the moon landing. The point here is that either the video was edited, or the blogger is either (a) a bald-faced liar or (b) completely delusional. I think its fair to ask TSA to at least address the issue of whether this video has been edited. If they say it hasn't, then that may end the matter, but if they admit that it has, or if the blogger can corroborate her claims about the phone calls, then the TSA may have some explaining to do, and at a minimum it should promptly post the full footage.

Again, I commend the TSA for maintaining an open forum like this, and I hope they will address the questions that have been raised.

Anonymous said...

I think you should be ashamed of yourself for lying and altering a video. Why would this mother lie? You are horrible people.

Karl said...

Just because someone carries Xanax, or even takes it, doesn't mean they're full of crap. THAT statement requires scrutiny.

I'm not for or against the woman. But ignorance only begets ignorance.

alSeen said...

"I don't care who you are, but if you post a pic or video of my minor child, I'd be seeing you in Federal Court. And I'd win."

No, you wouldn't.

It has been established in plenty of court cases that you have no expectation of privacy when in a public place. That includes airports.

I could film you walking down the street and use it in a national advertising campaign without any repercussions.

sarahntastic said...

funniest part is the commenter who called the holding cell a "penalty box."

RB said...

SugerMan said...
A) The only people who spend extra time going through security screenings are ones who do something to deserve it. Either they look completely flustered and nervous or are rude or have previous violations. There are mistakes made(of course) but I travel quite a bit and because I am prepared and calm it has never taken me more than 30 seconds to get through the actual process.

......................

So a person who is rude should get a more intense screening?

That would be a retaliatory screening and a civil rights violation.

Chris said...

I think this was just an attempt by a lonley and attention starved woman to get some sympathy and some traffic for her blog. I highly doubt that she thought the story would get as big as it did. She has now concocted some strange defense in an attempt to vindicate herself and disabled the comment function on her blog. I posted about this on my blog but I posted again today and corrected my previous post. The TSA did nothing wrong and acted in a courteous and professional manner at all times. What she did was wrong, plain and simple.

Sheila said...

Firstly, I never read this girls blog. I was alerted to this story by someone else who RTed THIS side.

I dont care what anyone says...Being put in an isolation booth for any amount of time for someone who may be claustrophobic is cruel...To wand her and blur it for the public on this blog BUT at the SAME TIME allow others in that area to see, is just CRUEL.

Some of the comments posted claim that those on Xanax cant be taken seriously...well, I ask, Do you know anyone on Xanax?

I could care less what this person originally wrote-and I aint gonna try to even find it at this point...but I specifically do not fly because I do not even want to subject ANYONE in my family to TSAs repulsive behavior. Ive heard horror stories from grandmothers in my area-that ARE true...and that is enough for me!

TSA can kiss my patootie. Nothing more than a bunch of power hungry jerks as far as Im concerned.

And if/when I get a knock at the door from the govt....Ill know who tried to discredit me.

Chris said...

After reading through all of these comments, I'm a little confused. I really can't get over the amount of people who are defending this woman. She lied through her teeth, it's obvious it's her and she admitted it was her on her blog today. I'm no fan of government agencies but I have to say what's right is right and the TSA were totally in the right here. They did their job professionally. This woman is way, way out in left field.

Anonymous said...

On her blog, she acknowledges that it's her and her kid in this video, but also says that the video is edited and omits several events described in her account.

Not giving either side any presumption, it's plain that the video is not continuous and not from one camera. We do not see how she gets from the line to the box and then to the seat by the table.

It is possible that footage is missing. It is possible that the timecodes are in error or have been tampered with. It is possible that she is exaggerating or fabricating events.

From the available evidence, and without any presumption or prejudice, we the public cannot wholly affirm or dismiss either version of this story.

What does stand out is the oddly long time involved in the part of the security processing that we can see in the video. While few of us can claim any expertise in security, many of us find it dismaying how long this takes, especially considering that no one seems to believe there is any real threat in evidence.

The apparent indifference and casual behaviour of security staff would not inspire confidence in most of us.

RB said...

alSeen said...
In response to RB

=====================
1. Who is safeguarding the ladies belongings while she was being detained in the box?
=====================

That's why the walls of that holding area are clear. so that you can keep an eye on your possessions. They can't give you the items till after they screen you because you could put something in them.
,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.
Anyone inside the plastic enlcosure has no way to protect their property if someone decides to pick it up.

This practice is unexcusable. If a person is detained, and that is exactly what happens when someone is locked in a cage, their property should be picked up by a TSA employee and safeguarded until the person can take custody.
,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,..,.,.,.,.

========================
2. Why did the screeing take so long?
========================

It didn't take that long. This is a busy airport. They have specific people that do the secondary screening. They do not have one per line because that would be a waste of money. A 10 minute wait is not excessive. If that makes you late for your flight, you didn't prepare.
.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,,.,.,
I disagree, 10 minutes is simply to long. She was held in detention for quite some time without anyone giving her direction or other information.
.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.

I'm not TSA, but I do work for an airline. My favorite response to situations like this is "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part"
,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.
How kind of you!
,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,

October 17, 2009 2:30 PM

RB said...

FYI...The Glass Case is so you can see your property being stolen while waiting to be checked.

Anonymous said...

It is possible that footage is missing. It is possible that the timecodes are in error or have been tampered with.

--------------

But the camera doesn't break from the time she enters the wanding area to the time she gathers her stuff and leaves. This is when she supposedly makes her two phone calls and when her son is taken from her. It is after "we were escorted to a chair that was opposite from where my belongings were," in her very words from her blog. There is no other time when she is escorted to a chair.

There is no tampering. The footage doesn't break. It's just her, being wanded, with her son in the stroller next to her the entire time. From the time she is "escorted to her chair" to the time she gathers everything and leaves.

Flat busted.

RB said...

Question for TSA.

Why is it so darn important to screen people who are flying when TSA allows all of the airport workers to enter the secure area with anything they want without 100% screening?

What TSA calls the sterile area is anything but sterile and any kind of contraband, weapon or other item can easily be introduced.

This story went viral and was believable because TSA has earned a certain reputation and has done nothing to clean up its act.

Airport security is a joke.

What about the 322 suitcases that were loaded onto aircraft in Puerto Rico by drug runners without TSA being aware?

How about the gun runners working out of Miami shipping guns out of country without TSA being aware?

Where are the videos for those cases?

This whole event regardless of truth is still a net loss for TSA because the public is willing to believe that TSA is corrupt and unwilling to change.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"There's ~20 second discrepancy after 11:04:11 when the camera views change. What happens in those 20 seconds? It may seem silly, but a lot can happen in 20 seconds."


Being a TSO I understand exactly what happened during those 20 seconds. The TSOs gathered her property and escorted her to the screening area.

Anonymous said...

I want to see a video of RB being screened!

Maybe Trollkiller too!

That would be entertainment to watch!

:D

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"I think you should be ashamed of yourself for lying and altering a video. Why would this mother lie? You are horrible people."


Why would she lie? Why wouldn't she? People lie, all people. TSA employees do, but so to do passengers.

Why would she lie.... well, revenge for being upset at being screened, when she clearly left a money belt (maybe) around her ankle (thats why she didn't get a second walk through the WTMD - many people tell the TSO at the WTMD they will alarm if they have a metal implant or something like that on them).

But there are other reason why she might like. Did you read her blog? Shes actually a good writer. Maybe shes trying to make a living off of it, huh? Some people are now starting to "sell" their blogs, being turned into TV shows and movies - they make millions.

What was the name of that lying author of the fabricated book, "A Million Little Pieces"? He said he was telling the truth too, yet he was lying.

Face it, even if you hate TSA, many who encounter TSA DO LIE about their encounters to make it worse. And, yes, I do understand, many do not.

This woman just happens to be a lier.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"I know you guys are union, but do you really think over 10 minutes is an acceptable time period to make a passenger wait? Obviously this woman is a minion of Satan for making up her story, but if that's her then you made her wait about 8 minutes too long. How about you step up your game?"


-----------------------

I'm union? When did this happen!?

Actually, many if not most of us are not union.

Where did you get over 10 minutes? It was less than 10 minutes.

She knew she had something around her ankle, it set off the hand- held metal detector, so it was what set off the walk-through. Why didn't see take it off before she went through? She was screened because she knowningly left something on her that would alarm.

Dan said...

I applaud the TSA for posting this video and response to the allegations. In the TSA's blog, they simply reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring our safety and posted the video so that we could draw our own conclusions. The TSA never said a word of ill will against the blogger. They didn't have to. The video was evidence in itself.

I can't imagine how difficult it must be to enforce security protocols in such a public setting, but I commend the TSA for doing their best, both at the airport and on this blog. Thank you for setting the record straight and for the continued transparency that this blog provides.

Anonymous said...

I has been my experience with the TSA that they do not follow the rules. If you ask to see the rules about what can be brought on the plane all you get is "I say you can't so you can't."

I don't know whether her story was true or not but all I'm saying is what the rules say are irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the video. Perhaps, though, the TSA needs to question why so many people were ready to jump on the mother's bandwagon, as well as to address the issues with your screening process, which many have already highlighted: putting someone in a clear box in view of everyone, the drawnout screening where your agent appeared to go over the same areas again and again in plain view of others, who was in charge of the woman's bags during the time she was in "the box". It should be considered a learning experience for both sides, and since the TSA deals with more of us than this mother, it seems they have the bigger lesson to learn.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous who posted on October 17, 2009 10:52 PM:

But one thing is confirmed. She exagerrated about TSA abducting her son.

The Right Site said...

Whatever happens, the missing footage needs to be released. I don't believe altered/edited footage. Ever.

Further, The box, a woman and child, dehumanizing,frustrating.

TSA using ancient techniques. Just letting her go through again for the clip and finally for the brace would have taken far less time and resulted in no black eye for the TSA.

The TSA gets a black eye regardless of right or wrong because they are so incredibly inefficient.

Crude tactics. Go to Israel, ask for some help with your SOP.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the video from 10:55(when the video starts) to 11:01.

Anonymous said...

The traveling public should get what they want. No security at all. Doesn't matter what TSA does the public will scrutinize it any ways.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous posted: "I am a little put back by someone who keeps emergency medicine in their jean pocket."

Why? Just because you're one of the blessed normal people? Anyone who suffers from anxiety or any other sort of disease/condition keeps a small pill box of medication in their pocket/purse. You don't leave home without it, nor would I want someone with an anxiety problem to be without their medication at the ready. They're no fun to be around.

I read her story yesterday, also linked from Fark.com, and while I found the situation somewhat believable given to what I've personally witnessed with airport security, her reaction to it seemed over-the-top. I am not a mother myself, so maybe that had something to do with it.

The video seems edited to me as well which raises doubts that portions of her blog that are truthful are being edited from view by the TSA. Also, since when do the TSA release CCTV video to a blog and not a formal and credible news source? That also seems dubious to me.

I stopped flying in 2004 when I got sick to death of the hassles and inconveniences from TSA. When I get treated like a criminal at our local airport (EVV) for questioning their Mickey Mouse authority, enough is enough.

The whole TSA thing is a joke. It's an illusion of security, its not actual security. If someone were determined to get something onto a plane, they will. Just as the TSA screeners that showed me how to pass a handful of pocket change and metal objects through a metal detector at Cinncinnati airport.

~ Rassayana

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the blog that led to this.
TSA, you putting this video up? Leaves you open to a major lawsuit. And you know what? You deserve it.
The idiocy that is shown throughout this video astounds me.
The workers deliberately took their time, even knowing there was a child under the age of 5 present.
Common sense, decency and effiency are lacking. If this woman was seriously regarded as a threat, she would not have been kept in a public are. Seeing as I work in the industry? I guaran-damn-tee you they were using her as an example to everyone else.
The fact that you have heavily edited that tape? Astounds me when you are supposedly trying to prove your innocence. In this day and age? VERY few airports have block clocks on their video records. The norm is transparent clocks. Why? Because if an incident DOES occur? They don't want to risk seeing something important being blocked out by that clock.
You blur out the woman being scanned? Great, it's a privacy issue. That baby? Is completely visible in every shot it's in. The child's face is completely visible.
I seriously hope something comes of this. And NOT benifiting you, because this just shows how complacent you've become in your "holier than thou because we're in control of your time and ease of acces to certain areas" approach.

Rasputin said...

She's already admitted on her own site that she is the woman in the video. Still no mea culpa, though.

Kim said...

The only edited part of the video appears to be the part where she is waiting in line to enter the metal detector. It is clearly not edited for content after that, based on the time stamp. She does not even have access to her belongings (being that they are behind the stroller) and is not out of sight of a TSA employee the entire time, and therefore could not have made a "secret phone call" she keeps eluding to. Furthermore, from the time she got put in the box to the time she walked away with her child, she had him in her arms or her line of sight.

What frightens me more is that this woman seems so very delusional. She is convinced that this situation really happened to her. And while no one is perfect, I seriously don't think there is a big conspiracy to edit CCTV videos so that people won't think badly of the TSA. I think this woman needs to get some more help for her anxiety and other issues than she is already getting.

Sandra said...

From a retired Assistant Chief of Police, Deirdre Walker, on the website Homeland Security Watch:

"I believe what we have here is the beginning of the end of complacency." (The author is speaking of the public beginning to rebel against the TSA.) "It is now apparent to me that in the haste to ensure compliance with procedures that are inconsistent if not inarticulable, TSA has hastened the likelihood of failure. If we do not insist that TSA work to create articulable policies that make sense, procedures that are explicit and consistent and training that supports both, then we are complicit in what will inevitably be an ultimate compromise of TSA.

That compromise may come in the form of terrorist attack, or it may come in the form of a collapse of public support. Either or both are inevitable. Either or both are preventable."

TSM/West said...

I'm glad that TSA decided to post this. It just re-enforces what I've been saying. People (RB) who hate TSA no matter what will always blame TSA even when it is proven they are not at fault. To see all of those who still beleive that TSA is at fault in this situation just discredits any complaint they have. It's clear that TSA did not do what this woman said. She lied and yet you still blame TSA.

Motordawg said...

Just what exactly was hidden and discovered, up the left pant leg of this woman?

That should have warranted a full search of the woman and baby..she is lucky. I wonder if anything was hidden in the babies diaper, which did not appear to be checked throughly.

Why did the woman attempt to conceal something?

I have read the ladies comments on her blog and the issue she is raising about TSA is completely false.

She is diverting her covert attempt at sneaking something by TSA, by claiming false actions by the TSA.

TSA used great patience in my opinion, but, did not fully search the woman and baby due to her attempt to conceal something, which they discovered.

She and the baby, due to her attempt at concealing something, should have received a full, complete, private body search.

Who's to blame here..MOM!

Motordawg said...

Just what exactly was hidden and discovered, up the woman's left pant leg? That should have warranted a full search of the woman and baby. I wonder if anything was hidden in the babies diaper, which did not appear to be checked?

Why did the woman attempt to conceal something?

I have read the ladies comments on her blog and the issue she is raising about TSA, is in my opinion an attempt to seek attention and divert away from HER covert action of attempting to conceal something.

TSA used great patience in my opinion. And, did not fully search the woman and baby due to her attempt to conceal something, which they discovered.

The issue thrown up by this lady is an attempt to divert attention away from her attempt to conceal something while going through the scanner. She and the baby, due to her attempt at concealing something, should have received a full, complete, private body search.

Who's to blame here..MOM!

Ursula said...

The discrepancies between Nic's blog and this TSA video are very interesting, even if one takes into account an anxiety attack and normal human propensity to misremember things.

However, before the TSO's pat themselves on the back for not being nasty kidnappers, I would just like to point out that the attitudes of the TSO's I have encountered are completely ridiculous. Passengers are treated like unruly children or cattle, and the disrespect with which we are regarded is palpable. This is not the only way for such agents to behave. Take, for example, the Japanese equivalent of TSO's. A year ago I went to Japan on my honeymoon, flying from Newark to Tokyo. The agents at Narita were respectful, made sure passengers were united with their belongings quickly and made sure no one made off with said belongings in between.

Sure there is a cultural difference in general, but the way TSOs in the US act is simply disgraceful, and the contrast of the Tokyo agents brings this into sharp relief.

Anonymous said...

I was very upset when i read nic's story, i also watched the video i'm alittle annoyed at the fact that there are ppl out there who is judging her on her character as you guys can clearly see the video was edited they used different camera handle so clearly it was edited so who knows what they might have taken out i didn't see where in the video she made the phone calls and i do believe she did because if i was alone with my baby at the airport and was taken through all that ordeal i would have call someone my hubby or mom too that way they know whats going on and i wouldn't really be alone.

As for the fact that all they had to do is have her remove the pacifier and maybe all this wouldn't have happen. having a mother with a heavy baby stand in a glass box not only embarrassing and humilitating her but no one could have given her a chair i would be mad and annoyed and yes knowing i might missed my flight a few f bombs would have been blurted out too.I believe she was over exaggerating but all and all i don't entirely believe the video!!!!

Julia said...

I remain respectfully sceptical of TSA's story. Your job here is to put out her fire. This video is your means. It is edited. There is no way to identify the woman. And there is no sound to prove The TSA folks were in anyway compasionate, patient, respectful or kind to this woman. I just don't buy it.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating bit of propaganda. There is no actual evidence here that this video has anything to do with the story being discussed.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate having a rebuttal to the initial blog and the diversity of the comments here. However, I agree with the comments regarding the convenience of posting video footage (edited) in situations where it might be beneficial to the TSA but not in those situations where it might not. That's not really how I would define transparency.

Specifically RE Superman:

A) "The only people who spend extra time going through security screenings are ones who do something to deserve it." Really? God forbid someone be nervous and flustered whilst flying with small children. And I know plenty of people who were doing nothing wrong yet were detained in security because they "fit a profile." Is it wrong nowadays to be of Middle Eastern decent? African? To be a woman traveling alone because everyone knows if we're alone we have nothing to live for and, therefore, are probably all suicide bombers. This is a ridiculous argument.

B) "I really do not think having to wait through a security screening line & process is a tough prices to pay to make sure no one is bringing anything dangerous on board." I brought a full dissection kit through security once in a carry on. It was left in my backpack after an A&P class and I forgot to take it out, yet I get 15 gauge bamboo knitting needles confiscated and a visit to the Box. Also, seemingly ordinary people flip there shit all over the place. It does not justify the routine violation of human rights of the masses.

C) "Think about how much these people get paid and compare that to how much responsibility gets placed on their shoulders." I think the majority of us do and I am grateful for the services the TSA provides. I am sure its a difficult job with minimal reward. But many of us work difficult jobs with minimal reward, yet it doesn't give the rest of us the right to work less efficiently or to treat people without respect. If I was as asshole to everyone who treated my like trash in my place of business, I would lose my job, my income with it, and be limited in my ability to find subsequent employment. And I make significantly #30K annually.

Did this person exaggerate? Probably - she seemed a little melodramatic in her blog post (although I can understand how that can happen when you feel threatened as a parent). Do you really think that give TSA agents a get out of jail free card for treating her and her child poorly?

Anonymous said...

more importantly, can the TSA please release the names and contact information for the three girls who walk past the woman in question from 11:02:35 to 11:02:55?

I think their account of the events are necessary in this case.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"There is no excuse, NONE, for not having a place to sit in the cage."

There is no excuse for the cage, period. And given that TSA cannot touch citizens, they have no power whatsoever to make anyone go into it. Refuse, and demand they call law enforcement if they threaten you for your refusal.

Devedander said...

I am sorry to all those questioning the video... I think you are grasping at straws.

I dislike the hoops I have to jump through for the TSA when I fly, but there is a huge gap between being annoying and desserving to be accused of kidnapping.

First the video cuts. Yes there are cuts, but they are completely reasonable. Key areas of operation are shown in detail and TSA does not allow photos of the whole security area (so that people can't study it's working as a whole).

Second what could be missing. According to Nics own story the issues didn't start until the metal detector. The missing 5 minutes before she puts her stuff on the converyor are inconsequential, this is not when things supposed went down and it if you get through the line to the conveyor in under 5 minutes directly you are extremely lucky. So this gap is totally reasonable and even if something was left out, Nics original story does not contain major issues before the metal detector.

Third the "cage". That is not a cage... it is a hallway with a door at one end. The back end is completely open and it only goes about neck or head high... the walls are even clear. We must live in a very cush, protected society to consider that a cage. It would be unpleasant to be in I am sure but hardly terrible, especially considering it's a security holding booth... what would you have them made out of? Tissue knee high tissue paper?

As for the fact that a mother with a baby was forced to go in there... a person who failed the security check was forced to go in there, just like all other people who fail security checks probably are. Should people carrying babies be allowed into a velvet roped area or something? The booth was not in any way horrible to spend a minute and a half in and accomodates an adult and child just fine. If you make exceptions for people with babies, those attempting to thwart security would just carry babies with them.

Forth the cell call. According to
Nics story the cell call occurs after the metal detector (being seperated from stuff) and before getting her stuff back. If she DID have a cell phone, THAT would well have set off the metal detector (ruining her whole rant about how she is sure it's her babies pacifier setting it off), and the security pat down would have revealed it. There is no evidence at the end that a cell phone was found.

Lastly baby separation. There is no gap during which the baby seperation as described by Nic occured. All evidence points to the baby being in her control most of the time and when it wasn't it was within feet of her. Her own story puts the return of the baby as immediately preceding leaving for her next flight, so the missing gap before the pat down does not fit with when they could have taken her baby ignoring that it was too short to fit her story.

Now Nic says despite having no contact with TSA, she and her family are handling it with the TSA and wants everyone to move on... this makes no sense, considering how dramatic she was earlier that she is turning 180 degrees now other than she was caught in a lie and wants it to quietly go away.

This all ignores the twitter posts where she is talking about selling the story to publishers (how fitting for a distraught mother to think of financial gain at a time like that) and the factors that say she did not have a solid grasp of reality at the time (anxiety attack - person who carries emergency zanax?)

Kidnapping is a very serious accusation and falsely accusing of it deserves far more than negative feedback from the internet. Like balloon boy this sort of thing should not go unchecked.

Even more worrisomme, we have a mother who can be triggered by such small events as this to go into an anxiety hallucination and collapse in the bathroom being sole care giver for a child alone on a regular basis? This is VERY worrisome...

Lynn said...

@Anonymous:

Prove that its the same woman from the blog. Really prove it. Government PII rules make me seriously question this video.

Thanks for your comment. In her most recently blog post, Nic confirms that the video is of her.

Lynn
TSA Blog Team

Devedander said...

Oh and one more thing, those who are now changing the whole point to how inneficient the TSA is?

I absolutely agree, the TSA could shape up in almost every experience I have had with them, but 15 minutes start to finish for a security check is only annoyingly long, not ridiculous especially considering all they have to cover (TSA covers all airports as well as other public transit and has to do it on a budget - and if that budget were to go up, who do you think would be first to gripe about the cost of travel?). I am sorry but as much as I dislike going through TSA, they are only inneficient at worst, nothing terrible.

I have waited almost as long for a burger at McDonalds and they weren't processing the load TSA does at a busy airport.

It's easy to look at any isolated incident and say "that person could have jumped and done better" but if you have ever worked in a sutaiton like this, as a waiter, as a food service person, anything like that where you serve the public you quickly realize that there is ALWAYS something you could jump to to do better and NO it's not reasonable to expect peopel to run at 200% all the time.

I am not saying TSA doesn't have a lot of room to improve, but I am saying two things:

When it comes to security screenings, holding booths and 15 minutes in an airport are not unreasonable (it takes me 30 minutes to check a bag... that involves putting a tag on it and putting it on a belt).

More importantly, this is not about TSA ineficiency, this is about accusing an agency of kidnapping. If you can't keep your concerns focused on that, then obviously it doens't deserve concern and I am not surprised as this whole thing just wreaks of a fabrication and a cry wolf.

Changing the subject to inneficiencies in a story about kidnapping is as pointless as taking a man to trial for rape, then when the evidence falls apart continuing to berate him for smoking in a non smoking section and swearing in the presence of a minor. If you have to drop that far to keep your negative drive going, that should say something.

Kat said...

All this video proves is that TSA is not protecting you from anyone. It exists to justify itself and allow its poorly-trained, power-tripping employees to cage and paw helpless people.

Thanks for that hot tip but everyone knew this already.

April said...

This whole incident has "DRAMA QUEEN" written all over it.

She over-reacted. And by her own admission, she was freaking out and uncooperative. She's clearly a very volatile person so I don't blame the TSA one bit for taking some extra time to handle her cautiously. If I was on that flight, I'd be THANKFUL if the TSA had delayed her. Flying is stressful enough as it is without some Xanax-popping drama queen to deal with.

As far as whether or not its actually her, it is. Matching up the video with the pictures on her blog shows this. Plus, she doesn't deny that its her.

And as far as the video being edited, this footage is obviously pasted together from different cameras rather than one camera following her all the way through. The missing time is most likely due to switching from one camera to the next. And with just a few seconds here and there missing, it still doesn't match up to her claims.

The video shows her putting her son in the stroller. The video shows her son sitting there just a few feet away at all times.

The bottom line is that she exaggerated, lied, falsely accused and probably never expected that it would a) be disputed with video evidence and b) that it would get this out of control. And her reactions after the fact - blacking out her site, removing comments, deleting Twitter posts - says a lot about the validity of her claims.

She's an attention whore and she's already gotten more attention than she deserves. Now its time to bring her back to reality and hold her accountable.

Eric Jones said...

While I sympathize with the TSA for the fact that this woman so obviously exaggerated the severity and circumstances of her predicament, and while I commend them for speedily supplying evidence to thwart her claims, I feel that it cannot be ignored that "Nic" probably wouldn't have had such a hysterical reaction to the screening process she went through if:

1) The process itself had not taken as long as it did, and

2) The TSA did not already have a well-documented and rightful reputation as an inefficient, invasive, officious and bureaucratic agency.

Did this woman lie? Absolutely. Was she stupid for doing so? One-hundred percent. Is the TSA completely innocent of all wrongdoing here? Not even close.

Watch the video. Observe the time it takes for her to be acknowledged by any of the agents after she enters the 'plastic box'. Does this seem remotely reasonable? Keep in mind the fact that she has been told by the agents to enter the box in the first place. Once she's inside, they get around to addressing her at their own, casual pace. Also keep in mind that this is an airport. People passing through airport security are nearly always in a hurry, and people's schedules must be adhered to there. But the TSA agents are clearly uninterested in anything resembling being respectful of this reality.

Now, notice how long it takes for this woman to be screened (for the second time). Does that seem reasonable? Does it not occur to anyone else here that TSA agents are not particularly well-known for speedily attending to passengers who are angry with their treatment? I fly a few times a year, and I don't think I've ever once seen a TSA agent attempting to defuse an 'angry passenger' situation by attending to them speedily or gently. Usually, it's more of a belligerent, dismissive attitude that essentially says "hey, I'm just doing my job". I'm sorry, but I think that while "Nic" certainly lied about what happened to she and her son, I believe 100% that her reaction to being detained was exacerbated by the TSA's abysmal reputation.

I feel I should point out that I myself have never had any major run-ins with the TSA, but every time I fly (all over the country, and occasionally overseas), I absolutely marvel at the TSA's rampant inefficiency and the utter disregard for expediency, not to mention its complete lack of comprehensive safety considerations.

Airport security is obviously extremely important, but the truth is, anyone who is inclined to sneak a weapon onto a plane can do so. I'm a law-abiding citizen, and I can think of a hundred ways to do it myself, despite the fact that I have no desire or need to ruminate on it. Imagine how many ways someone who does have that desire can conjure up.

TSA screening is a pointless waste that only serves to put on a show to make people feel protected.

Rebecca said...

All I'm thinking is that something provoked her. Someone did something to make her lash out so viciously. There are as many sides to a story as there are people, and then there is the whole truth. Which is almost never disclosed.

Opus said...

While her representation of the incident does not appear to match reality, I feel the need to defend her panic, at least a little.

By her revised account, her incoming fight had been delayed so she was running late due to no fault of her own. That would make me a little panicked already.

There is the issue of what happened with her carry-ons during the time she was in The Box.

And The Box itself. The few times I have been secondarily searched, I have been taken aside immediately to a concealed area and wanded.

To those who say that only "those who deserve it" are secondarily searched, I would like to know what I've done to deserve it! I know someone who accidentally took a loaded pistol across the country in his coat pocket.

She had to go to gate B25, I believe it was. That's a heckuva long way to run pushing a stroller. It's a long way to go even if you aren't carrying anything. Some airlines require that you be at the gate a certain amount of time before boarding or you lose your seat, even if you're checked in. Just because the flight is scheduled to leave at a certain time doesn't mean that you have until said time to arrive at the gate. Boarding is usually closed some time prior to the departure time.

I realize that TSA doesn't care if someone misses their flight. However, I also know that they sometimes go through the line and pull people whose flight times are near and rush them through ahead of others.

A person traveling alone with a small child should not be kept waiting in The Box for as long as she was. I would have been upset, too.

Devedander said...

@Sheila: It's a security holding booth. How exactly do you expect people them to hold people for secuirty purposes? Put some tape in a box on the floor and say stand in that box? It's called security for a reason, they must secure you. As such it's a very open booth. It's not a box as it only has 2 walls and one door, not a roof and it's not even closed at the end opposite the door.

Is Nic even claustrophobic? Even if she is, how is it cruel? There has to be some standard of operation and the booth does a pretty good job of being as open as possible and still doing it's job... again it has no ceiling, only one end is sealed and it's clear walls... it's bigger and airier than a bathroom stall.

I am sorry but that kind of comment about cruelty reflects a very one sided and illogical method of thinking. I hate to say it but people in society today are getting too carried away with the discomforts of living. It seems if everything is not as comfortable and receiving as a hotel lobby it's cruel or needs to be improved. But the second someone gets a gun or knife out I know who is first to complain.

Secondly I do know people who have anxiety problems and who have taken zanax for it. I have witnessed anxiety attacks... the people, for lack of better term, become temporarily insane. Things that don't matter become huge. Simply walking around the corner from an elevator can make an anxiety attack sufferer think there is no exit to the building anymore.

Sorry Sheila, you are making emotionally based, but illogical statements here and come off as very bourgeois. Not everything can be idealy accomodating to everyone all the time, just because someone may suffer a mental or health disorder does not make treating them normally cruel. Is it cruel that bus stops being in the open probably frighten agoraphobes? Is it cruel that stoplights may frighten those who have a neuropothay causing fear of red lights?

This is the real world, it's not always pretty. The only fair judgement is, considering the circumstances, is it reasonable?

kellymae81 said...

Well, its been a while since I've been on here and WOW, it still amazes me the stories someone will come up with to deface the TSA. Now, I'm not saying we are perfect and there are plenty of things that happen that shouldn't, but this woman really outdid herself on this one!!! What a story teller. The couple of things that I can say about this is the screening process should not have taken as long as it did, but there could have been reason for it that are unknown. For one, this woman apparently seems out of her mind and unstable and her behavior could have flagged a more in depth screening. Two, she mentioned in her "story" that her flight was in 45 minutes so she probably was flustered already and getting rude with TSA for her own faults. We can't speed up security b/c you are late, sorry. So there could be many factors for what happened and in no way shape or form did TSA take her son out of her sight.

keith schilling said...

Great video. I could tell the stories simply did not collaborate correctly. Thanks for clearing it up!

RB said...

TSM/West said...
I'm glad that TSA decided to post this. It just re-enforces what I've been saying. People (RB) who hate TSA no matter what will always blame TSA even when it is proven they are not at fault. To see all of those who still beleive that TSA is at fault in this situation just discredits any complaint they have. It's clear that TSA did not do what this woman said. She lied and yet you still blame TSA.

October 18, 2009 9:48 AM
.........................
West in two recent posts you have made statements about things you say I have stated that are just not true.

Your conduct is unacceptable, disparaging and I feel borders on a violation of my rights.

I would suggest you back off. I have no problem making an issue out of what your posting.

You say that I hate the TSA. Please provide evidence that I have ever stated such. I don't like the way TSA operates and I think changes need to be made to improve your agency. I have encountered people who work for TSA that in my opinion are not fit to be in public service. Those things do not equal what your accuse me of saying.

You also stated that I want no screening. Again please back up that claim. I have said that screening just travelers is pointless when TSA allows every airport worker access to the sterile area without benefit of 100% screening.

You may disagree with my position but it is a fact that airport workers are not screened each and every time they enter the secure area. It is a fact that this violates any reasonable security practice.

You have said that your agency does not have the authority to do that kind of screening. I disagree, TSA has the ability to create any rule they like without oversight. That is one topic that was recently discussed by a congressional committee.

TSA certainly has not backed away from using STRIP SEARCH MACHINES on children and young teens even when the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill restricting the use of these invasive devices to secondary screening only. This bill is now waiting action from the Senate.

TSA has refused to publish images from these machines in the exact size and quality that TSA operators see and continues to not advise travelers that the machines are voluntary.

Signage is to small, hiden or placed in areas that make them useless.

Then when a knowing person refuses to be virtually STRIP SEARCH the traveler is given the most invasive "ENCHANCED PATDOWN" that TSA uses in violation of stated policy as found on the TSA web pages even when no alarm is noted.

No West, you continue your disparaging comments, I have the time, ability and inclination to act on your actions.

avoiceofmyown said...

Okay I found your video linked to from another blog also linking in individuals blog. I read her post 1st and I must say that she has no credability as a bogger and, and I almost think that she used this incident to get traffic to her blog perhaps? Whatever her reasons may be only she knows. I couldn't even watch the video in one go, I had to break it up. Too bad there wasnt audio to go along with it.

Bob said...

***Update - 10/18/09 - 7:00 PM***

Please go to main page to read update to original post. We posted all videos on YouTube.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

***Update - 10/18/09 - 7:00 PM***

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this video,it certainly is good to see the other side of this.

I find it interesting that "Nic" talked about selling her story right after this incident. How upset could she have been?

Anonymous said...

I personally didn't see anything wrong with her in the box. She could have had a weapon. If she was a man it wouldn't have been questioned. I feel bad TSA has and is being made the bad guy. Though they aren't my favorite, they're there for a reason. You may not see a woman with a child a threat, but not everyone is good. People have perished thinking that way in other countries. I find it odd that even after video proof, people still thought it to be doctored in TSA's favor. It's sad how money & attention hungry people are. Having traveled with children and having been momentarily detained for the need of further inspection of child items I too was upset. Upset momentarily as I know there are extra measures being taken.

Anonymous said...

@Amanda:
So mothers should get special treatment? Why? Because you did what every other living thing on the planet does? Why is it ok to make me wait but not you?

Anonymous said...

To the people that scream the 4th amendment do you not have a clue that flying on airplanes is not a constitutional right? Its a private business model last I checked. Yes, there is a government agency that is in charge of security, but last time I looked you purchasing a ticket from a corporation (the airlines), going to the airport (not your property in any way), and being screened is not in violation of your rights. That's like saying it violates your rights if you purchase a concert ticket, and pass through metal detectors, or going into a club and them having women open their purses, etc. They are not actually required to let you fly, just like a private business can kick you out for being unruly. Somewhere along the lines Americans feel that EVERYTHING you do every day has something to do with the constitution. Just like you can kick someone out of your house you don't want there, so can the airport and airlines, period.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that this video was posted to set the record straight. There are many TSO's out there, myself included, who are very proud of what we do and go to great lengths to make sure our passengers that we see everyday are treated respectfully and professionally. And stories such as hers, especially when there is obviously a lot of fabrication in the story, gets at all of us. I wish more people understood that all we want to do is make sure that they get to their destinations safely.

Barb said...

Crazy story. I have a couple of reactions. First, my high functioning autistic, wheelchair using son was separated from me by TSA during screening last year. Wheelchair users go through a different screening process. They took him to do screening through a half door and would not let me get to him until I went through the regular line. He was scared and I was upset. It was at the MCO airport. Granted, I could see him at all times but he could not see me which was the problem. He was 10 but as I mentioned, autistic and TSA would not give me the chance to explain.
Second: reading her story she clearly had a panic attack and probably doesn't really remember the details of the event. Using her blog to blast the TSA before reviewing the reality of the situation was probably not the smartest move. I think she is realizing that now.

Anonymous said...

While the TSA is just like any other government organization (lack of any customer service, full of "I don't care" attitudes, and screaming of ineptness and inefficiency), even I'll defend you this time: I think looking at the CCTV footage of the woman shows that it isn't quite as bad as she makes it out to be. Thank you for the transparency.

Of course, for every 1 incident where the traveller is proven to be wrong, there are 20+ events in which the TSA's power-tripping employees abuse the flying public with no recourse.

TSOG said...

I couldn't help but notice some of the many morals of this story:

1. Learn to admit when you're wrong

2. Don't swear at Federal Officers (Nic is lucky the police didn't get involved if she was actually throwing the F-bomb at TSOs0. Swearing at people usually doesn't help you out. It's verbal violence - interesting, Nic has a blog post about the movie "Where The Wild Things Are." The movie's main moral message to children (and adults) is one of anti-violence, to treat people better. It starts with you.

3. Some people just can't be pleased - ever. "It felt like hours… days even." just shows the extreme level of impatience here. 9 minutes through a federal checkpoint and additional screening with a child is a good time.

4. In two years with TSA, I've seen a few passengers get upset - sometimes reasonably so. I would be the first to admit that things don't always go the way they should - but as someone else already said - this is security with a focus on customer service (because we're dealing with so many people); it's impossible to please everyone and we aren't all perfect robots.

5. It's important to know the difference between a true traumatic experience and a relatively common, yet stressful, travelling experience at a familiar airport. My opinion: 9/11was a traumatic experience, hijackings are traumatic experiences, bad car accidents are traumatic experiences, actually losing a child is a traumatic experience, having someone die in your arms is a traumatic experience. I won't go on. It seems like a very big difference to me.

6. Try a smile on when entering a checkpoint. You'd be surprised to find that it might make a huge difference in your experience. As TSOs, we see thousands of faces every day. It might sound simplistic - but it works.

7. I wish some of the thousands of families that we've helped get through our stressful security checkpoints would speak out on this blog.

8. Be prepared for travel. Eat before you come so you don't have low blood sugar, inspect your own bags, do your best to be on time, if you have children, make sure they are prepared, if you need assistance getting your bags/strollers/carseats into the x-ray machine, you can ask for help; many of us are more than happy to do that. If you need to take Xanex to relax, take it before you get to the checkpoint.

I hope this helps someone.

Toni-Lynn said...

WOW, I had not heard about this until just now. About to catch up. Thanks for posting!

Homegrown {& the Bug} said...

While I don't feel the need to chime in on the scandal involving Nic and the TSA (that's been beaten to death already) I too, like other commenters, can't help but marvel at the speed with which this video and the official rebuttal were posted.
As someone mentioned, where is the video of Chaffetz? The he said/she said situation doesn't seem much different to me and yet, TSA is reviewing that video and waiting to post it for the masses? It seems to me that in posting this video, TSA seemed to think it would clear their name and yet, TSA is not so quick to post the video of the Chaffetz incident.

And again, I want to echo other comments - is this policy of transparency going to extend to incidents where TSA is accused of something and was obviously in the wrong? I highly doubt it.

Mr Right said...

Great management of the situation and posting the full videos for all the nutjob conspiracy theorists that think the magical baby snatching occurred outside of the edited clip.

She was mad she had to get searched so she thought she would lie and get those TSA people in trouble.

I think crazy manic mommies that act like she did deserve to be searched. She clearly was acting erratic and deserved the special attention.

TSA blog: Great Social Media Presence and forward thinking to deal with this. Transparent and effective. I think you are doing a great job and those same people would not be complaining if she turned out to have a bomb etc.

Craig West said...

good job posting the video. i think that the possess took a bit long, but if that's the time it takes. people have to deal with it. that's why they say to be there 2 hours before your flight. since the blogger that posted this takes down all the comments calling her names and other stuff on her site i will say it here "cry on your blog all you want no one reads your blog, its like another balloon kid."

Chris said...

It's been my experience that nobody really appreciates authority. Especially when that authority has the face of inconvenience. Americans are so worried about getting everything done quickly and getting what we want right away that we've totally lost sight of what is important. The way people have turned on TSA over the word of an obviously troubled blogger is unbelievable. Even when presented with irrefutable evidence, people refuse to believe she is lying. Americans need to SLOW DOWN and RELAX. What we don't realize are that the terrorists are playing us like a fiddle. They've studied our culture and our psychology and that's why they are so effective. They really haven't done anything to us in the form of terror since 9/11, yet we are still terrorized. They also banked on our selfish and arrogant nature and know that we won't stand for our freedoms being infringed upon in the name of safety and security. That will be our downfall, and don't think they don't know it. I love this country and I fought for it in Iraq, but we need to wake up and do it quick. If we don't support agencies like the TSA, we are leaving ourselves open to more, and potentially much worse, attacks. Do you have any idea of how many attacks the TSA have thwarted? Do any of you want to even think about what could happen if they weren't there? Sure, a determined individual might get something on a plane, but it's a huge comfort to me to know that the TSA and other agencies are doing all they can to prevent it. I'm sorry, there here for our own good, and we better start figuring that out, and quick. Wake up America!

kgirl said...

As a blogger that read, sympathized wtih and retweeted the original story, my apologies to the TSA.

Brandon said...

I think the fact that so many of us, myself included, were ready to believe this speaks volumes about the TSA's reputation. There have been legitimate issues with the TSA and TSA agents and at first glance this story seemed like the logical progression of the invasive and unthinking actions some TSA agents have already committed. It is a shame the woman misrepresened what happened. It is also a shame that the TSA has done things that make such a story believable.

Mrs. Newlywed said...

I fly out of Atlanta on a very regular basis. I've been held for setting the alarm off, and the wait is long. However, that is because there are SO many people going through security at once. Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world. You are bound to have long wait times.

The Atlanta TSA is some of the best with which I have ever dealt. I live in Atlanta, and I have to say they are way efficient for the amount of people they have to push through security everyday.

If you don't fly in and out of ATL often I am sure it looks like it is a long wait. It isn't.

Anonymous said...

What is the source of the video that was posted? Is this TSA's cameras, the Airport's or Local Law Enforcements?

TSORon said...

I read the original story on Friday when it first hit Flyertalk, and was seriously concerned about the validity of much of the story. It just didn’t add up. Glad to see that the video of the incident has been posted. As to NIC’s claim that the video has been edited, obviously it has not. Watch the crowd around the checkpoint and not her and you will see no breaks in the action.

As expected, the TSA haters have chimed in right on time, attempting to deflect the conversation from the vindication of TSA to other things. Congratulations RB, to bad it didn’t work.

RB said...

TSORon said...
I read the original story on Friday when it first hit Flyertalk, and was seriously concerned about the validity of much of the story. It just didn’t add up. Glad to see that the video of the incident has been posted. As to NIC’s claim that the video has been edited, obviously it has not. Watch the crowd around the checkpoint and not her and you will see no breaks in the action.

As expected, the TSA haters have chimed in right on time, attempting to deflect the conversation from the vindication of TSA to other things. Congratulations RB, to bad it didn’t work.

October 19, 2009 2:49 PM

...............
TSORon, if you had bothered to read anything I posted on this story you would have seen that I never gave an opinion about the truth of the ladies account of events.

In case you missed it I maintain that the story got so big as quickly as it did because you and your TSA brethren have earned a certain reputation and have done little to change public opinion.

As far as your comment goes I really don't expect much from you and you met my expectations.

Fightin' Mad Mary said...

thanks for this post, the video and your follow up too. I have always had a positive experience with any TSA agent I have come across.

Anonymous said...

There is one line in Mrs. White’s account of the incident that really says it all:

“I had an emergency Xanax in my jeans pocket. I always carry an emergency Xanax in my pocket. The result of severe anxiety”.

As soon as I read that line I was asking myself, what is a 28 year old woman doing with Xanax in her purse? This is a mood-altering prescription drug. After watching the video, it became obvious to me that the harrowing account of Mrs. White’s ordeal actually played out in her head and not in reality.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is the first time that I have seen this post. I read the girls story about her son being taken from her after I watched the video. All I really take from her is that she is a compulsive liar. There were so many parts of her story that were no where near being true. What a pathetic attemp to get some publicity! I am so glad that this video was pulled and put up for the public to view. Her words in her story were so intense, one might really think that it really took place. But when you watch the video you realize that the lady was dilusional. Ha, I hope she feels real good about her self now that it is out that she is a liar.

Oh and FYI, a metal pacifier clip will probably not make a walk through metal detector alarm. Now a knee brace on the other hand..... Stupid people!!!

Anonymous said...

Criminey, she was put in a plastic box, for a minute and a half. What a tragedy!!! Give me a break. That's nothing.

Are people this clueless? If they're going to have to search this woman more thoroughly, they have to put her somewhere temporarily, that is secure, until they can get a gender-appropriate agent to conduct the search. So, poor thing sits in a box for a minute and a half. Wow, big deal. What should they have done? Given her access to her belongings, which have already passed security at that point, so that she would be able to hide something and sneak it onto the plane? She could've dropped a knife into someone else's luggage. Or if she's as unbalanced as she seems to be, if she was carrying a weapon, she could've run off while they were finding someone to search her.

Common sense. Just because a person doesn't 'seem' dangerous, doesn't mean they aren't. Yes she was minorly inconvenienced, for the safety and well-being of everyone else in the terminal. Boo hoo. Build a bride and get over it.

Anonymous said...

TSOG - 10/19/09 @ 8:56

"7. I wish some of the thousands of families that we've helped get through our stressful security checkpoints would speak out on this blog."

****

My husband and I traveled with our 9 month old daughter in May and the TSO agent who screened us was very kind. We had to bring liquids (formula) through security along with some apple sauce for the wait before the flight left, so we knew we would be going through extra screening. He was very patient while we gathered our things, put our shoes back on and even engaged with my daughter, making her smile and giggle during the wait, which wasn't more than 2 or 3 minutes. When we walked away, he wished us a nice vacation with grandma before going about his business. It was a nice experience.

Anonymous said...

How come when the video supports the TSA, you post it publicly, but when members of the public make FOIA or Privacy Act requests for checkpoint video, you claim it doesn't exist? What is the proper procedure for members of the public to follow to get the videos of other incidents comparable to those you have released about this one?

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "No West, you continue your disparaging comments, I have the time, ability and inclination to act on your actions."

You are talking about TSM/West right? (that IS a different person after all)

2nd thing - I am now back from vacation.......yay. no more fishing on the pier.... No more walking on the beach and eating fresh seafood daily....yay. (sigh)


Now that we have cleared that up, I can not believe the fact that I get accused of drinking the koolaid after reading some of the posts here. The video has been presented, the TSA did what they were supposed to in this situation. Yes it may have taken longer than some people may expect, but I do not know what was happening in the checkpoint at the time, I don't know what the staffing was at the time, so I can't make a comment about that.

I will say, that this is pretty cut and dried from the videos posted. She came in, was placed into the waiting area for additional screening. Some of you may raise Cain about this, but this is procedure at a lot of airports, it segregates the persons needing to be screened from those that do not. It also insures that the person does not interact with cleared passengers (verbally is not a problem, but physical contact is) or their items that have been cleared. When a TSO is able to come collect the person and their items, then they move to the screening area, this is not insulting, it is not shameful, it is a simple step to prevent an uncleared passenger from interacting with cleared passengers.

After a TSO was able to gather her and her belongings, she was taken to the screening area, the child was screened, she was screened, and she was allowed to gather her things and go.

One problem with this was the fact that she had what may have been a brace or something on her knee or leg - that could have had metal in it, and it would have been different in appearance (and feel during a pat down) on the leg than a regular leg. Something many are not considering is that the WTMD TSO may have noticed something out of the ordinary and referred her because of it. She may have refused to remove the brace or pad or the pin holding the pacifier. The good thing - we have seen the video of the event, the bad thing - we don't have audio so we can actually tell what is being said (come to think of it, this may be a good thing too...). I think that it is a good thing that this was addressed head on, info was released in a timely fashion and it is fact based info, not opinion.


West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I'm almost falling off my chair laughing as I watch this video and compare it with the original author's account. And she has the nerve to post on her blog that she stands by her account, even though the thread is now closed from further comments regarding her story, as well as her character. On the up side, I bet this "Myth Buster" moment keeps her from launching a giant Jiffy Pop balloon and then running down the street, screaming frantically, "My son's in that balloon! My son's in that balloon!!" Kind of funny, but at the same time, very sad that so many people would take her at her word and bring so much discredit upon the thousands of employees of TSA who are trying to do a good job under the continual gaze of so many distrusting people.

Anonymous said...

Many peopls ask TSA to explain why so many people were ready to jump on the bandwagon and bash on TSA some more. The answer: Because America has this engrained culture of "the customer is always right", and many seem to believe completely proper and empowered to let loose 4-letter tirades upon the slightest perceived deficiency in how they're being treated. We also have a culture of championing David against Goliath. If this woman was so "traumatized" at ATL security, I DARE her to go through security at London Heathrow. LOL

Jan said...

I've been following the story about the woman. I feel that, although TSA could have handled this situation more wisely and expediently, that the aggrieved traveler with the baby grossly exaggerated her story, as your video proves. My feeling is that she was probably impatient and irritated, under stress because she was traveling with a toddler and probably didn't leave herself enough time. Plus, perhaps she is somewhat unbalanced as an individual.

I've been generally impressed at how airport security has sped up the irritating process that became so elaborate after 911. My advise to travelers is to leave yourself plenty of time, have your documents ready, and above all be business-like and courteous to the security personnel. They have a tedious job that is probably less paid than most of the people who can afford to travel.

Sam Howard said...

Anonymous, who is not authorized to speak for TSA asserted in response to my comment:

RE Other videos

Most checkpoint videos are owned by the state airport authorities, not TSA. For all those enterprising citizen journalists out there, you can always request the videos under the state open records statutes.


Sorry, pal. If this were true, and, if you knew anything about FOIA, you would know that the TSA could easily respond to checkpoint video requests by stating that they held none of the records requested. The TSA has NEVER responded to any checkpoint video FOIA in this manner.

Try again.

Anonymous said...

So on my trip to French Polynesia during the first week of October I was subjected to the plastic box at DFW and LAX...I have a fiberglass boot from breaking a toe. Note I did not set off any alarms but since I had the boot on they had to screen it for explosives....then at DFW they had to look through my carryon that didn't alarm the person at the x-ray machine but since they had to check my boot for explosive they had to check my bag. In Los Angeles they couldn't figure out my container of sugar was sugar and next time I should declare my sugar...I will try to remember. Of course boarding the flight from French Polynesia back to the US not only was I able to leave my shoe on but my boot didn't get secondary screening.

Anonymous said...

Wow. TSA must really be in damage control mode.

While the original story may have been exaggerated, I've never seen this sight post this many posts this quickly. Not only that pro-TSA people have gotten away with saying things that normally would have hit the delete-o-meter.

Also gotta wonder where all the new pro-TSA people mysteriously appeared from. How many of them work for TSA?

All I gotta ask is this: I find it interesting that TSA can quickly address something when it feels like it's in the right. Why was the Congressmen Chaffetz incident at SLC ignored for so long, and why was Deseret News's FOIA request denied on the grounds that they weren't a news organization?

Maybe TSA feels it can pick on a mentally ill woman yet must hide from a Congressman? Is this all a smokescreen to deflect from Congressman Chaffetz's incident at SLC

desiree said...

clearly this woman is out of her mind...

not to mention, 8 minutes to clear security when you have alarmed is nothing!

According to her blog she was asked to step back out and remove metal and walk back through so apparently she didn't have just one pass.

Also, I'm not sure what else you all expect her to be contained with besides this so called plastic box? What do you want, a ball pit? Where do you suggest they put them?

Furthermore, which country is so civilized that their security is not like this? I know several where it is much more intimidating (ie: Tel Aviv)

All in all people just want another reason to hate TSA but you sure would hate them more if someone took down a plane.

RB said...

TSM/West said...
I'm glad that TSA decided to post this. It just re-enforces what I've been saying. People (RB) who hate TSA no matter what will always blame TSA even when it is proven they are not at fault. To see all of those who still beleive that TSA is at fault in this situation just discredits any complaint they have. It's clear that TSA did not do what this woman said. She lied and yet you still blame TSA.

October 18, 2009 9:48 AM
....................
Blog Team West, sorry I did confuse you with TSM/West. My mistake and apology.

By the way, what the heck is a TSM?

Sorry to hear that your vacation had to come to and end.

So where is the multi camera videos of the Congressman Chafftez incident?

Anonymous said...

I don't care who you are, but if you post a pic or video of my minor child, I'd be seeing you in Federal Court. And I'd win.

But its not going to happen so get over yourself. Are you one of those Beauty Pagent parents? just wondering ^.^

Anonymous said...

Chris @ "Do you have any idea of how many attacks the TSA have thwarted?"

Yes.

With TSA's 50% performance against the red team, TSA has thwarted about as many attacks as have gotten through. Zero.

WendyLou said...

If the TSA can post this video, why won't the TSA post the video of Representative Jason Chaffetz' incident at the Salt Lake City Airport because of "security concerns." However here you posted all NINE cameras, no security concerns noted.

This leads me to believe his version is correct, that the TSA bullied him. The TSA released these videos to rebut an incorrect story. Release the videos of Rep. Chaffetz to clear the story up.

Anonymous said...

@ Amanda:

Security screening of a mother and her child (who either set off the metal detector or need additional screening for some other reason) at one of the nation's busiest airports will take at least a few minutes, if not longer depending on passenger volume in the checkpoint.

You have no idea about the specifics that day, such as how long the lines were, staffing levels at the time (to include male to female TSO ratio), and other things that may have been going on at the checkpoint or airport that day that could have resulted in delays to the screening process. You can demand a speedy process all you like, but there are never any guarantees in regards to time, which is why passengers are told to leave ample time between check-in and boarding time for the security process.

The safety of passengers, crew members, airport employees and anyone else within the airport and within the sterile areas will always come before any demands for a quicker process. Now you know.

Anonymous said...

@ RB:

You're very quick to point your finger directly at TSA concerning airport employee screening and use "airport security" along with mention of the agency, as if that is all that they do. First off, they do far more than just airport security, as they oversee security measures and counter-terrorism measures for various forms of transportation. Second, most airports have private security companies that are responsible for areas outside of the checkpoints. TSA is far from the only entity involved in airport security.

Allowing airport employees to bypass security checkpoints via doors requiring access cards and other methods is not up to the TSA at all; each individual airport creates their own regulations and rules. TSA works with management at each individual airport as best they can, but in the end, each airport will implement whatever rules they deem acceptable.

It can be a very complex and confusing thing to understand, especially if you aren't involved in it or know little about it. Just thought I would clear some things up for you so you're better informed.

Anonymous said...

Here is Nic's blog in which she CONFIRMS that is her in the video:

http://www.mybottlesup.com/my-apologies/#comments

Bob said...

For all of those who continue to ask why we haven't posted the Chaffetz video, we have.

We posted a video and 4 other videos showing the different camera angles here: http://bit.ly/4dg0fb

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I read Chris' comment about supporting TSA, and although it was lengthy, it was, by far, the best comment I've seen on this page.

A few people who frequent this blog want others to believe that TSA's authority and existence as a whole is some kind of evil conspiracy to thieve people of their individual rights, and I couldn't agree less. They're simply using this blog to market their political/personal beliefs to others, as this is the perfect place to do so.

Whatever you believe, hold onto it tight, be confident in it, and don't let others persuade you to abandon it. Being able to do that is one of the beauties of our democracy. On a side note, I have met far more people who support the agency and our work than not.

Anonymous said...

Desiree, you could not have put it any more bluntly, but you're 100% right. If someone takes down a plane or planes again in this country, I would put all my money and worldly possessions on a bet that many would be after TSA for it, without even examining the incident for the facts.

For TSA, at least when it comes to those who dislike the agency, it's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" type of situation. This should be made clear: hate the agency all you want, say the worst things you can possibly think of about it, but it isn't going anywhere.

CP said...

Do I believe she over dramatized her account of this occurance for literary effect? Absolutely. Many bloggers do. Especially the popular ones.

However, be that as it may, that was her interpretation of events having stemmed from what she deemed to be a traumatic experience. She is writing what her recollections were. Very often when a person feels helpless in a situation, they tend to make it grander in their mind. It takes on an ominous life of its own.

I don't condone or condemn Nic's account of the incident because neither she nor the TSA has made a compelling case on either side.

Somewhere between the two accounts lies the truth.

I would prefer not to pass judgment at this time because there is simply not enough credible information from either party.

Incidentally, my husband flies out of Atlanta all the time. He always gets profiled because his name is of Syrian descent and he has that "terrorist" look to him, if you will. He understands that TSA has a job to do and he always arrives early to the airport because he knows to expect to be singled out.

Actually, he kind of enjoys it. He gets to skip ahead of the long security lines.

Devedander said...

To those who wonder where all the pro TSA posters have come from, I have to ask:

1: How many pro TSA posts really are there? Most of what I read are only "TSA is exhonerated on this count" nothing pro, just that this is not a strike against them.

2: Why aren't there MORE pro TSA posts? I mean on any given day, millions of people get through security reasonably quickly and without uncessary process.

3: Wouldn't you expect more pro comments when the number of comments is exponentially higher than normal? Along with the negative comments come pro comments especially in light of the fact that this section opened after the exhonerating videos went up.

And as for why did the TSA respond so fast to this case?

Look what happens when they don't respond fast... they are presumed guilty and then ridiculed for taking so long to respond.

And this particular case is pretty noteable. If I ran a restaraunt and a politician accused a waiter of giving him bad service, I would put it on my list to check into.

If another patron claimed my waiter urinated in their food and then raped their daughter, myself and my entire staff would be all over it until we found out what happened and either fired someone or provided evidence it didn't happen.

If you were responsible for PR for an organization like this and a viral claim of kidnapping came up about your organization, would you get your butt in gear? I would think so...

Anonymous said...

At least it's good to see the TSA blogging and interacting with the public.

The screening process isn't perfect, but communicating in both directions might help fix it over time.

Randy said...

It's disconcerting that you will post this video, yet you refuse to disclose what action has been taken against TSA employees accused of misconduct.

Quite selective in confidentiality and privacy issue!

omars said...

I'm not normally a fan of TSA, but the folks criticizing TSA for a making the woman wait a WHOLE MINUTE AND A HALF seem to be grasping for something to complain about. I mean c'mon. Time how long you stand in line anywhere else, and get a grip.

As for the woman herself, we Americans as a society tolerate vast amounts of irrational behavior, totally
over-the-top attitudes from parents. Occasionally there are moments like this where it's obvious to everyone, that yes, the parent is being a total freak.

Moms and Dads: being a parent doesn't automatically make you special. People may be nicer than usual to you and your precious bundle of drool, but try to keep in your head that the same rules apply to you as to everyone else. If you can't handle it, keep your kid and preferably yourself at home...please.

JamericanSpice said...

Two very different stories. And here I am a mother was all hot and ready to bat.

It is good when both sides of a story is exposed and everyone can choose what to believe and why.

Trollkiller said...

Bob said...

For all of those who continue to ask why we haven't posted the Chaffetz video, we have.

We posted a video and 4 other videos showing the different camera angles here: http://bit.ly/4dg0fb

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team


Come on now Blogger Bob, instead of posting the Chaffetz videos to the equivalent of the back page of the TSA site, why don't you guys post it to the front page of the blog?

If it is good enough for an obviously unstable woman, it is good enough for Chaffetz.

BTW Twitting everyone that commented on her tweets with a link back to here was brilliant.

I must ask, with all the other important topics that this blog covers, why was this non issue treated with 24 hour over the weekend comment approvals?

Is the TSA finally giving your project the respect it deserves?

Manny said...

I agree with all of the previous comments that the woman's allegations are completely unfounded. I agree with the comments that the TSOs handled the situation in the best manner possible. I agree with the comments that the length of time was not unreasonable. Nothing in the video indicates that the TSOs were confrontational or abusive towards the passenger.

Having said that, the challenge TSOs need to face is dealing with a passenger who is clearly upset with the process without being patronizing or condescending. These are the little things that may make a difference between a bad experience and not-so-bad experience (I'm not sure there's such a thing as a "good experience" being screened at any checkpoint). We don't know the mindset of the passenger. We don't know if she's on her way to a funeral or has just left one; we don't know if she just found out she's getting a divorce or if she's the one who is going to break the news to her husband; there are many things we don't know about the passenger that may create additional stress that is only worsened whenever he or she has to undergo additional screening. While there isn't anything TSOs can really do to make things better, there are things TSOs can do to not make it any worse. Telling the passenger that she'll be screened as soon as a female officer is available or as soon as the screening area is available acknowledges to the passenger that the TSOs are aware that she's waiting to be screened. It gives her recognition as a person and that the TSOs are going to process her as soon as possible; that she's not just another "body" on the floor. This may or may not make a difference in her experience at the checkpoint. However, generally speaking, acknowledging passengers as people tends to soften the blow.

There will always be someone who will find a reason to object or act disagreeable no matter how that person is treated. TSOs need to be like the maitre' d at a restaurant who is able to respond with class no matter how unclassy the customer.

Hard to tell from the video whether or not this occurred because there is no audio. From the body language, it appears that the TSOs acted professionally and treated the passenger with courtesy and respect.

I have ten years experience as a screener with TSA and private security companies. I have over 30 years experience as an individual trained to observe, assess and respond to human behavior. It all boils down to the Golden Rule: treat them like you want to be treated. Things generally work out better that way.

Anonymous said...

I wasn´t going to comment on what seemed to be an overstrung young woman´s rant, but having seen the video, I have many concerns:

1. Why was this woman held for a total of 2 minutes in a plastic cage, in full view of people walking around her. I would certainly feel highly uncomfortable if that was done to me.

2. The body language of the officer that talks to her before the "wanding" seems to indicate she was being talked to in a demeaning manner. It also appears she was told to do stupid movements (feet out while seating then standing with arms in various positions), with no reason. Looks like a power trip to me.

3. Why the blurred box during the "wanding"? This was done in full view of everyone there, and there should be no reason why it shouldn´t be seen.

4. Why the repeated wanding schemes? Why take so long?

5. Why did they have her pull up her trousers between the wanding series?

Maybe what happened wasn´t exactly what the woman described, but I don´t think anyone should be treated the way she was in order to board an airplane, an I say that without having been able to see half of what happened (because of the blur box) and without knowing what was said to her.

Anonymous said...

Looks to me like a disgruntled passenger was rude, and they took their time with her because of it. I'm not picking sides, I'm just going by body language.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
@ RB:

You're very quick to point your finger directly at TSA concerning airport employee screening and use "airport security" along with mention of the agency, as if that is all that they do. First off, they do far more than just airport security, as they oversee security measures and counter-terrorism measures for various forms of transportation. Second, most airports have private security companies that are responsible for areas outside of the checkpoints. TSA is far from the only entity involved in airport security.

Allowing airport employees to bypass security checkpoints via doors requiring access cards and other methods is not up to the TSA at all; each individual airport creates their own regulations and rules. TSA works with management at each individual airport as best they can, but in the end, each airport will implement whatever rules they deem acceptable.

It can be a very complex and confusing thing to understand, especially if you aren't involved in it or know little about it. Just thought I would clear some things up for you so you're better informed.

October 19, 2009 11:03 PM

.............
Anon, who are you and what expertise do you claim to have to tell me or anyone else how airport security works?

I maintain that the legislation that created TSA and establishes their rule making ability gives them the means to require screening of everyone if they so choose.

Not requiring screening of everyone and everything makes TSA's efforts a mostly wasted drill.

Edward Hasbrouck said...

A commenter said, "Sorry, pal. If this were true, and, if you knew anything about FOIA, you would know that the TSA could easily respond to checkpoint video requests by stating that they held none of the records requested. The TSA has NEVER responded to any checkpoint video FOIA in this manner."

Yes, the TSA *has* said that. For example, here are responses to my FOIA requests that specifically asked for screening videos. The TSA neither produced the videos nor claimed that they were exempt:

http://www.hasbrouck.org/blog/archives/001089.html

http://www.hasbrouck.org/blog/archives/001167.html

Menawhile, the airport authority in that case claimed that they were subject to neither the Federal nor state FOIA laws.

The videos were never released by either the TSA or the airport, despite my FOIA requests to both.

So I second the previous commenter's question: What's the FOIA policy on screening videos, and what's the proper procedure to insure that a FOIA request for those videos gets to the proper people in time, before the videos might be deleted?

Ranger11 said...

I read her reply to the video, and you can clearly see that her son was screened by the TSA male officer, while she was holding him. Her son was never taken away. Never. Then she puts her son in his stroller and she is screened. Please tell me why this is so terrible. The time stamp shows that she took 7 minutes to get through the walkthrough and then she was placed in holding for about a minute and a half. She and her son were seated, the process was explained and the male TSA officer quickly checks her son. The she places her son in the stroller and she is screened. The actual screening process is from 11:02, when she is placed in holding until 11:09 when she is gathering her belongings and leaving the checkpoint. The parts blurred out are when she is being patted down. There are no discrepancies in the tape or time stamp. She is clearly finished with the process at 11:09. Six minutes of her time was spent in line, not being screened. Her total screening time was at most seven minutes. She and her son leave the checkpoint at 11:10.
You have to really work hard to find flaw with the TSA process in this case. I know that some have and will, but they are the ones who will no matter what. On her own post, she has stated that she is moving on, and it is between TSA and her now. It is obvious, that she made a false accusation and she was called on it. Those of you, who won’t believe what you can clearly see, just have a problem with TSA. That is your right. I served my country to ensure you could complain all you like. The facts are just that, facts. She, at the very least, exaggerated with a great deal of liberty about her experience. I feel sorry for her. She appears to be seeking attention, and that is what she got, then, when asked to respond to the video, she had to shut down in order to concoct a scenario to explain all the inaccuracies in her story. She could not. I have, on many occasions, been embarrassed to be associated with DHS due to issues just like this that seem to come up. In this case, I applaud the HQ personnel and the TSA officers at ATL for doing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

If she would have taken her leg brace (that had metal in it) off before she walked through the metal detector - the whole thing would have been avoided.

The officer standing at the door more than likely asked her if she had anything metal on her, and she said no. Hence why she was put into the holding box.

And if you watch the video, everyone around her are males. She has to be screened by another female, which they probably had to pull from another lane, which is why it took so long.

What she did was wrong, end of story. I would go into hiding too if my lie got put on blast via survellience camera.

Anonymous said...

Bob, was that in response to the fact that Congressman Chaffetz went on the news to discuss it?

Why did TSA largely ignore that for weeks?

Jeeprs said...

Yes, it's edited! You're right! But did you watch every camera angle posted on youtube or did you just watch the edited video posted? Because they know people aren't going to sit around and wait for something to happen, they posted all the camera angles starting well before the woman and child come into view. 11:04:12-41 isn't missing. It's video #5 and honestly, not much happens except where you can see the other woman helping her move her belongings after she leaves the box.

While I don't agree with the holding box (just process them and be done), her time in security really wasn't that long. There are some inconsistencies from airport to airport, but the reality is, about 75% of what she said happened, didn't.

No one took her son.
She didn't make any phone calls.
I don't see a laptop bag.
I don't see a panicked mother screaming for her son.

TSM, Been here... said...

Quoted:
" Tomas said...
All I can really add to my earlier comment to this post, Blogger Bob, is that your plastic cage doesn't even begin to meet ADA requirements.

If I ever end up in the plastic box for some reason after the TSA has taken my cane from me (which the do to run it through x-ray), if there is no place to sit, I will be forced to simply collapse on the floor and let you folks figure out how to get me up and on my way.

There is no excuse, NONE, for not having a place to sit in the cage.

Tomas

October 17, 2009 7:18 PM"
---------------------
1st - if a "person needing assistance" (such as someone in a wheelchair or with a cane) comes through, they are usually met by a TSO and helped to a secondary area where they can be screened, not "have my can taken away so I can lay on the floor".

2nd - And I can't believe non of the TSA personnel have mentioned this is :"EVERYONE CAN REQUEST A PRIVATE SCREENING!!!"

This woman, if she was so concerned about being screened in public, could have simply requested a private screening. So can anyone else. So as "embarrassing" as it was, all she had to do was say: "I would like a private screening."

3rd - as far as "The box". As others have mentioned; How else do you separate the screened persons from those who have alarmed until they can be screened? The box is clear, has an open end, and allows people to see their belongings.

The woman was in there a whole 1.5 minutes - WOW!

As far as why there are no chairs in there:
1 - people are not in there all that long
2 - In order to put chairs in, the "box" would have to be widened. That would result in making already narrow checkpoints even more constricted as the space taken up by the box would now encroach into the space where people have to collect their belongings off the xray belts.

In many airports the TSA checkpoints had to be shoe horned into existing architecture and many are already cramped.
So, should we impinge on everyone who has to come through the CP by having seating in the box or should we just inconvenience a few people as they wait to get wanded for a minute or two?

People who, by the way, wouldn't be in there waiting to begin with if they had followed directions and removed all their metal.

Anonymous said...

How come you don't post videos of the instances in which TSA agents do something wrong? We all know it happens often, how about owning up? Post some videos of your screeners stealing stuff, being rude, and acting like bullies? Where are THOSE videos, since this one was so quick to go up?

Anonymous said...

"Smile going through a checkpoint"

What. The.......? What kind of lunacy is this in which we have to plaster a cheesy grin on our faces so some uneducated fake cop won't bully us?

I really really hope the president reads this blog and I REALLY hope he takes on TSA right after health care.

Anonymous said...

The TSA is a worthless waste of taxpayer money. There are just too many stories coming out about TSA mistreatment of the citizenry. There needs to be a great deal of public oversight so that abuses are limited or totally eliminated.

Anonymous said...

Well, you got the goods on the lady that made up a story. I'm sure her time in the box appropriate punishment.

I curious whether TSA will continue electronic strip searches of children now that the British are considering the acts pornography violations?

Anonymous said...

This story has about run its course so a couple of Blog questions.

Based on this current thread the blog team has relaxed standards of some words that have been banned before. Will this continue?

The link for blog archives is gone.
Can the link be restored?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

The lady was having a panic attack - she says so in her blog

Can't expect people in panic to recall accurately.

She should have realized that, and not have gone public so hastily. That's no help to anyone, herself included.

klbarrus said...

I'm glad the TSA posted this video. For all the people screaming about accountability, well that works in both directions also - just because some woman can rant on her blog doesn't mean she's entirely (or even reasonably) honest about her experience.

All you conspiracy theorists - read her apology entry and the elliot.org post which gave her "perspective". She admitted to cursing out TSA personnel when their inspection was essentially by-the-book. She's lucky they didn't detain her further.

Petersen Palace said...

I still think that it is totally inappropriate that our privacy as travelers is so violated! This woman was wanded and touched way more than was necessary. As a TSA worker wouldn't that make you mad if someone spent that much time "making sure you were not a threat?" I love to fly but I despise the airport.

TSO Tom said...

As a TSO this story is very distrubing indeed. The thought that someone would intentionally make up a story of being separated from her child just leaves me baffled. On any given day, we see dozens of families traveling through our checkpoint at PHL. Some of them are traveling with just a child or children, and all the necessary equipment to get where they have to go. It is discouraging as a TSO to think someone would make up such a story. But it is relieving that the video footage is available to "clear us" if you will, because we all have seen footage on the internet that incriminates one of us as well. So thank you Bob for posting this video footage, and shame on this woman for making up such a story!

John said...

- How do we know this is the same woman? We don't.

- It is amazing how accustomed we have become to suffering humiliating and degradation at the hands of our government. This woman is an American MOTHER, and she's forced to stand in an isolated plastic box, get searched like a criminal, and treated like dirt by gov. workers. It's a shame.

All this for what? The TSA lets 32% of smuggled weapons through. That's from government surveys.

It's time to stop this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

The fact that she is a mother travelling with a child does not absolve her from following routine security procedures or entitle her to be dealt with more quickly than anyone else.
It seems to me that she was annoyed that she wasn't able to rant at the staff and bully them into letting her go, so she totally overreacted.
Even she said that when she spoke to her mother second time around, she had no recollection of calling her husband at all. Maybe because it never happened.
I don't believe her and I'm glad that she has been shown up by the CCTV footage. Some people seem to think that being a parent entitles them to do whatever they want, and behave as badly as they like and get away with it. I'm glad that her poor behaviour backfired.

Susan said...

Interesting. I read the initial story on Nic's site and then saw this footage. Having been stopped on a few occasions, there is one thing I have to say - the TSA needs to do a better job of having female screeners available to do the screening. I have had to wait for longer than Nic at the Boston airport because all the female agents were on break and they had to call someone to come out. Come on.... is the female travel population that small? I get to the airport in plenty of time, but I do not like my laptop, camera, cash, credit cards and other personal items sitting out where anyone can walk off with them. I was at the DFW airport in September and there was a passenger whose laptop disappeared while he was going through additional screening. He was very upset, to put it mildly. I don't know what the outcome was, but it's seeing stuff like that that makes you wish the TSA could come up with more efficient processes.

Anonymous said...

I will say this...I don't know anything about the video or the lady, but I know a lot about people when they are in an airport & an airplane. I am a flight attendant & have seen many a person act out. After their episode which made them look ridiculous, they start to slander the airline and those who work for the airline...or in this case airport. They are embarrassed and make up stories to cover up their behavior. You can see in most of the video, by watching her body language, she was angry...with that comes verbal abuse. It could even be possible the TSA did not rush to help her or move quickly, because she was yelling at them. I know I don't reward bad behavior & when someone is yelling at me I will not give them my best service...treat others as you would like to be treated.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
You're deciding to post the video for transparency...why not post all videos then? Live stream if that's the case.

GREAT IDEA!!! Then terrorists wont even need to come to the airport to serveillance the checkpoints. They can plot in the convenience of their own caves!! You have no concept of security do you?

leon camara - singapore said...

Thankfully there is video footage evidence to support TSA. Sometimes there's too much protection for the man in the street, that we forget institutions need that same level of fair trial. This will certainly serve to deter future cases of false reporting...

Anonymous said...

Dear Sheep,

How do you know that is her video?

Anonymous said...

TSA is a joke. Regardless of whether or not her story is true, the fact still remains that employees of TSA have an inflated sense of power and authority. I have been treated horribly by TSA agents who want to put their dirty hands all over my perseonal things for the sake of "security." Get over yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Did Ballon Boy bypass TSA screening before his make believe flight?

Anonymous said...

OK, we all can easily tell that this woman's story is totally different from the actual events that took place. This is just someone who had a lot of things going on as she stepped towards to secure area and was not able to remove the items she needed before she walked through the metal detectors, TSA has a job, and I believe almost all of them do that job correctly. We passengers sit and complain about the things we have to go through in order to get on our flights, but at the end of the day it's to our own benefit!! If TSA didn't care than they would of not gone back to look into this woman's complaint and find a video to see what really happened. A lot of you keep talking about a "plastic box, or plastic holding cell" in which the woman and her child had to stand and wait in, use common sense, that is only there to make sure the passenger(s) who made the machine alarm are in a area where they can be watched and kept to the side until cleared, would it make sense to let them alarm and walk freely to their items?? The only thing I can feel sorry for after watching that video is the total amount of time it took her to clear security, now that was unacceptable on TSA's part, it should not take someone that long to be cleared!

Adam said...

Although they are mostly just doing their jobs, this reinforces the problem I have with some TSA actions. Why is a mother and baby considered a threat to be screened? I don't know if it's policy but each time I've traveled with my family and select the "family" security line, they have a brand new trainee working and it takes forever. I sometimes think they are trying to make it so miserable (on kids and those innocent ones around them as well) that kids will never want to fly again. I see something silly every time I travel. They do extra screening for scantily dressed attractive girls, elderly people who can barely move and moms with kids. I'm appalled at how often they take walkers away from people and make people get up out of wheelchairs when they physically can't. Profiling is a negative word these days but there is a reason why every bad guy looks the same and logically that is what should be used. I never see what looks like a suspicious guy getting extra screening. Make yourself look suspicious and you won't be bothered.

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "Blog Team West, sorry I did confuse you with TSM/West. My mistake and apology.

By the way, what the heck is a TSM?

Sorry to hear that your vacation had to come to and end.

So where is the multi camera videos of the Congressman Chafftez incident?"

No problem! A TSM is a Transportation Security Manager (one of the localized Haed Shed members - they are above the Supervisor position and different responsibilities, you can find the job description and requirements on USAJobs.gov).

They have posted videos of the Congressman Chaffetz at the following address : http://bit.ly/4dg0fb

I hate that my vacation had to end aas well, but I do get to go back to the beach in November for another week, so if I catch some fish then, I will be sure to eat it for you guys!

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

It has been my experience the older i have gotten people are so different The things people do out of emotion can happen in a split second. people can be perplexing.Even know the video did not match the story I am sure she has suffered embarrassment beyond belief.My question is Do we blog and blog until she is in the ground? As a wise person says he without sin cast the first stone.

Anonymous said...

Ummm there's a pretty critical period of time MISSING from this video. Is this the spot where the TSA officers did indeed take her child away from her visibility?? Must be something they want to remain hidden, otherwise it would be there (in the interests of FULL disclosure and all) .... (and yes it is only twenty seconds missing, but if that's when they took her child, then that's still 20 seconds too long ....

TSM/West said...

RB said
You say that I hate the TSA. Please provide evidence that I have ever stated such. I don't like the way TSA operates and I think changes need to be made to improve your agency. I have encountered people who work for TSA that in my opinion are not fit to be in public service. Those things do not equal what your accuse me of saying.

-----------------------------------
Well I'll just make one comment. You continually call tsa employees pedophiles because you don't like a certain piece of screening equipment. Now I'm not sure, but I think I can reasonably say you don't know a pedophile TSO. But yet you continually insult people you don't know so either it's hate or maybe you could come up with a better term for why you would ever be that demeaning to people you don't know.
By the way I have all of the time in the world also.
You can disagree with every policy TSA has but when you attack people you don't know then it's either hate toward them or the agency. Either way you can no longer be objective IMO.

RB said...

No problem! A TSM is a Transportation Security Manager (one of the localized Haed Shed members - they are above the Supervisor position and different responsibilities, you can find the job description and requirements on USAJobs.gov).

They have posted videos of the Congressman Chaffetz at the following address : http://bit.ly/4dg0fb

I hate that my vacation had to end aas well, but I do get to go back to the beach in November for another week, so if I catch some fish then, I will be sure to eat it for you guys!

West
TSA Blog Team

October 21, 2009 12:12 PM

.......................
Thanks saw the videos. Wasn't really able to tell what if anything happened on either side of the question.

Seems a person in TSA management (TSM) would restrain themselves from coming on the TSA Blog and accusing a citizen of saying things that are just not true. Would this be proper conduct for a TSA manager? It would not be anywhere I have ever worked. Perhaps someone needs to review your hiring standards for managers.

Ah, those vacations. Never long enough.

RB said...

TSM/West said...

So your a TSA manager.

Figures!

Anonymous said...

Her response is now posted on her blog... she says they have edited out the part of the video where they take her son. I'm sorry, but I don't buy it... nothing in the video resembles her story.
___________________________________

I don't buy it because TSA agents are not allowed to pick up a child, let alone walk away with one. Would never happen. The TSO should know better and if they didn't one of his co workers would have stopped him. There is no way that they walked off with her child!

RB said...

TSM/West said...
RB said
You say that I hate the TSA. Please provide evidence that I have ever stated such. I don't like the way TSA operates and I think changes need to be made to improve your agency. I have encountered people who work for TSA that in my opinion are not fit to be in public service. Those things do not equal what your accuse me of saying.

-----------------------------------
Well I'll just make one comment. You continually call tsa employees pedophiles because you don't like a certain piece of screening equipment
.......................

Here is one story.

Tenacious police work by a St. Lucie County undercover officer resulted in the arrest of a 48-year-old Homeland Security Agency employee from Massachusetts who is charged with several counts of child pornography.

Richard D. McLaughlin of Everett, Mass., was arrested at his home earlier last month. He is housed in an administrative segregation unit at the St. Lucie County jail in lieu of $340,000 bail.

McLaughlin, who works for the Transportation Security Agency at Logan Airport in Boston, was first spotted by the detective using an AOL account in January.

...............................

Also the use of STRIP SEARCH MACHINES is a disgusting practice and doubly so when used on children.

I will do everything in my power to make the use of these machines illegal and if used on a child to have the machine operator charged with any violation of the law possible. They clearly image the naked body and this is unacceptable unless a person of age agrees to this form of screening.

TSA has done everything possible to hide/obstruct/not disclose exactly what these devices do.

Starting with the PIO that required a brochure to be given to a person in order to gain consent. Never happened and TSA was in direct violation of that PIO. Today people are herded into the machine without consent being obtained and if someone does refuse they are treated to the "Emhanced Patdown" in direct violation of TSA guidelines as provided on the TSA website.

When TSA complies with the rules they they have created will be the day I start backing off.




Tenacious police work by a St. Lucie County undercover officer resulted in the arrest of a 48-year-old Homeland Security Agency employee from Massachusetts who is charged with several counts of child pornography.

Richard D. McLaughlin of Everett, Mass., was arrested at his home earlier last month. He is housed in an administrative segregation unit at the St. Lucie County jail in lieu of $340,000 bail.

McLaughlin, who works for the Transportation Security Agency at Logan Airport in Boston, was first spotted by the detective using an AOL account in January.

Anonymous said...

That woman needs to get a grip. She clearly has anger issues and TSA did nothing wrong. I don't think she even had to wait that long in the glass box. Her response is overly dramatic and if you read her website, its obvious that she is an overprotective mother with panic issues.

Anonymous said...

Based on this then TSA would be willing to release videos of other incidents dealing with airline passengers when the passenger has a legitimate issue?

Sure, right! (sarcasm)

eze

Jim Huggins said...

"TSM, Been here" writes:

I can't believe non of the TSA personnel have mentioned this is :"EVERYONE CAN REQUEST A PRIVATE SCREENING!!!"

And how does the average passenger, who isn't spending every waking moment of the day on this blog, supposed to be aware that they can ask for a private screening?

How else do you separate the screened persons from those who have alarmed until they can be screened? The box is clear, has an open end, and allows people to see their belongings.

Furthermore, it allows the passenger to see someone stealing their belongings and running away with them ... because, after all, they're IN THE BOX and can't do anything to defend their belongings from the thief.

You want a better way to keep the passengers separated? Don't let them walk through the WTMD. Have them stand aside beside the WTMD until they can be personally screened. Everyone outside the WTMD hasn't been screened yet, so there's no security danger. (Yes, you'll need to gather up their belongings so that they're not stolen. But you have that problem already with the current system.)

Anonymous said...

John said...
- How do we know this is the same woman? We don't.

Because she admitted it in her blog. http://www.mybottlesup.com/my-apologies/#comments

Try and keep up John...

Anonymous said...

My comment doesn't concern the mother, as I feel her blog is a separate concern. What bothers me is that TSA's security system is so inept that this should occur in the first place.

Honestly, should it take that long for someone to get through security? And if she sets off the buzzer, should she be dealt with right away? Watching the video, it looks like security staff moved intentionally slower than necessary. And if the mother mentioned the baby's pacifier as the culprit, wouldn't it make more sense to run that through right away in order to solve the problem as efficiently as possible?

Not only did TSA hold up this mother, who was struggling with a young child and stroller, they also held up other passengers who may have needed the attention.

Have you TSA people flown by yourself with a toddler in tow? Try it some time.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Also for those that believe pieces of the film are cut out, come on. I had to fast forward through almost every clip because they overlapped on top of eachother from the different angles.

holymonk said...

My niece told me what TSA really means and perhaps this video shows it:

T S A = Thousands Standing Around (doing nothing)

Anonymous said...

On her blog-site, she states that she is:"...proudly rejecting one bottle & embracing another since 2008..."
After watching this video & comparing it to her outlandish comments, I'd say she is still clearly embracing said "bottle" followed by a Xanax chaser...

Anonymous said...

Even if the identity of the woman and child is correct. The CCTV video proves nothing. The TSA just shows what the TSA wants us to see. Second, the TSA should be ashamed that it took over 8 minutes to screen the woman and her child.

Womyn2me said...

Thanks Blogger bob... as a frequent flyer (twice a week for 7 years) I have always thought the the vast majority of these people whining and carrying on about the oppressive tsa are either not really travelers or just idiots... now I see some of them are also mentally ill 28 year old inadequate parents who lie and not even that very creatively.

Anonymous said...

it's great that the TSA had this video to prove their side of the story, so that the truth about this incident could be known.

I trust that in cases where the TSA is in the wrong, similar video evidence will also be quickly forthcoming, from nine angles.

Dunstan said...

Anonymous said...

"That woman needs to get a grip. She clearly has anger issues and TSA did nothing wrong. I don't think she even had to wait that long in the glass box. Her response is overly dramatic and if you read her website, its obvious that she is an overprotective mother with panic issues."

The panic disorder is the core of the issue. "Get a grip" is a rather insensitive attitude to an involuntary reaction to a stressful situation. This goes way beyond the scope of TSA training, there has been repeated incidents that show how little they know or care about people with disabilities. For TSA, this was "business as usual", for Nicole, it triggered a nightmare panic attack. Perhaps TSA management should review their core mission. Who was the "terrorist" in this incident?

Mike626 said...

Kudos for posting both the edited video and the raw footage in its entirety of the 9 camera angles. This is precisely the sort of transparency that is required in these circumstances.

Anonymous said...

he he he that what we call it penalty box.......

Anonymous said...

Someone asked if it was the same woman in the video to the woman telling the story. Here is your answer...She agreed on her blog that it is her in that video. Why don't u people read the comments and facts before u spout out things u know nothing about.

Amanda said...

Thanks for posting the video. This woman's overreaction was so stupid anyway. Even if it was true that they took the kid away for a few minutes to search them individually, there was no need to be that way about it. Someone who's so panicky and flighty that they have to carry Xanax around and would lay a baby down unattended in an airport bathroom to pass out is not responsible enough to be traveling with a young child.

GSOLTSO said...

Jim sez - "And how does the average passenger, who isn't spending every waking moment of the day on this blog, supposed to be aware that they can ask for a private screening?"

The only response I have to this is that the TSOs are supposed to offer them to any passenger being screened (I know! I know! In a crowded busy checkpoint this is probably not going to happen every time). The screening process listing on the TSA page has the following quote listed "Your screening may include a hand-wanding procedure and pat-down inspection. You may request a private area for your personal screening. The private area will either be a separate room or an area out of the view of the general public."

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/customer/customer_service_procedures.shtm


I wish I could get this information out to MORE people than just the blogosphere or the internet surfers. We have signage at the checkpoints that indicate you have the right to request a private screening, but sometimes it can get lost in all the other signs on the way into the checkpoint.

West
TSA Blog Team

Jim Huggins said...

West writes:

The only response I have to this is that the TSOs are supposed to offer them to any passenger being screened (I know! I know! In a crowded busy checkpoint this is probably not going to happen every time).

I'm curious ... what constitutes an "offer"?

I'm hardly a frequent flyer ... maybe 3-4 trips a year on average. But I can't recall a situation where a TSO verbally offered me a private screening. Granted, I rarely undergo a secondary screening, and I don't have any situations that would make a private screening a desired option. But I don't recall ever hearing the offer.

Is it just that TSOs are supposed to give a private screening to anyone who asks (or knows to ask) for one ... or are TSOs supposed to proactively offer private screenings?

Brent Cooper said...

You have to admit Bob, she was left in the box, waiting for two minutes. Then, that was the longest pat down, wanding I have ever seen. Towards then end of that, her baby seems to get aggitated.

From your video, the mother's body language gives her away as being upset, most likley even rude. Your TSA agent's body languge certainly betrays a lack of urgency. WHich is is last thing I expect. Not that I expect to get an expedited pat down and wanding, but if there is a binky knife, don't you want to get it discovered and eliminate the threat as quickly as possible?

ProudVet said...

As a veteran, military spouse, and former TSA officer, I am appalled and downright disgusted at Nic's false allegations.

I had planned to point out several differences with Nic's blog and the video, but we all have eyes and we can see them for ourselves. I'm not going to waste my time trying to point out the obvious.

However, many people seem to overlooking the ace bandage on her knee. Did Nic tell the person at the walk through metal detector that she was wearing an ace bandage on her knee? If so, that's why she had to be screened further. The officers have procedures to follow and from watching the video, it appears to me that they followed them.

Airport security is not the most pleasant experience in our lives. Unfortunately, it's the reality.

I just had to comment because I am so disgusted by Nic's behavior. How dare you use that kind of language with someone who is trying to protect you and your child. I hope that your husband, who is serving to protect you and your child too, is never treated the way you treated these individuals.

I will say a prayer for you tonight, Nic. I will, also, pray that your son is never treated with such disrespect....

TSM/West said...

To RB
Your story about McLaughlin was good, but you still proved my point that you personnally do not know a singal TSO pedophile. TSA has over 100,000 current and former employees and we all know that pedophiles will do everything in their power not to get caught. So when they fill out their application they tend to omit that part of their life. In McLaughlins case he was caught and I might add that he was caught doing something that had nothing to do with TSA. Face it every profession from the clergy to politicians has bad people, but we don't say that all politicians hand out in airport bathrooms looking for dates.

Believe it or not I am on your side. We need to find and get rid of all of the bad apples not only in TSA but in every career field. I also believe that there are a lot of things that TSA needs to change, thats why I read this blog. I listen to what most people are saying and then I look at my airport to see if we have that problem. If we do I change it because as a TSM I have the ability to change certain things not all. When I read what you and others have to say I use the proper channels to voice those concerns and together maybe we can get some things changed. All I ask in return is for the TSO's who do work hard every day to be treated fairly, because for every one bad TSO there are at least 100 good ones and with everyones help hopefuly we can get rid of the bad ones.

GSOLTSO said...

Jim sez - "I'm curious ... what constitutes an "offer"?

I'm hardly a frequent flyer ... maybe 3-4 trips a year on average. But I can't recall a situation where a TSO verbally offered me a private screening. Granted, I rarely undergo a secondary screening, and I don't have any situations that would make a private screening a desired option. But I don't recall ever hearing the offer.

Is it just that TSOs are supposed to give a private screening to anyone who asks (or knows to ask) for one ... or are TSOs supposed to proactively offer private screenings?"

I have always been instructed to offer a private screening any time a HHMD or Pat Down is being used to clear the passenger - essentially I ask the passenger if they would like a private screening or if they are comfortable enough to do the screening in the public search area. It is supposed to be a proactive situation (but again, I can say that sometimes in a rush or busy checkpoint, the TSO may forget to offer - I have done so myself before). ANYONE that requests a private screening is to be taken to the private screening area and cleared there. I have done many screenings in the private area for whatever reason the passenger had (it does not matter why the passenger wants the private screening), with no problem at all.


West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

@Amanda

Passing out in the restroom should have started an EMT call from anyone in the area. Was she not aware of this?

Fabrication of that story (if they really dig deep) can be disputed by going through the call logs.

I do feel sorry for her husband (Navy pilot?). Did she ever think about how her actions may affect his career?

Bob said...

TSM/West said... I also believe that there are a lot of things that TSA needs to change, thats why I read this blog. I listen to what most people are saying and then I look at my airport to see if we have that problem. October 23, 2009 10:49 AM
-----------------------------
TSM West, thanks so much for saying that. I think many get the wrong impression that I'm the only one reading their comments. You are one of the MANY TSA employees who read the blog use its information.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

TSM West, thanks so much for saying that. I think many get the wrong impression that I'm the only one reading their comments. You are one of the MANY TSA employees who read the blog use its information.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

October 23, 2009 2:31 PM

..............
Does anyone at the DHS/TSA executive level read the blog?

Can't tell it from whats happening in the airports if they do!

RB said...

TSM/West said...
To RB
Your story about McLaughlin was good, but you still proved my point that you personnally do not know a singal TSO pedophile.
........................
West, your right, as far as I know I do not know personally any pedophiles, TSA employees or other line of work.

The point though is that the STRIP SEARCH MACHINES create a naked image of a persons body.

This is simply not acceptable for the screening of a minor. Not yesterday, not today or tomorrow.

The second major problem with STRIP SEARCH SCREENING is the automatic "ENHANCED PATDOWN" of anyone who prefers to not be screened in this manner. Consider two screening lanes at the same airport and same screening area. One has a WTMD and one WBI. A person in the WTMD who passes and does not alarm is unlikely to get a patdown. However, if a person in the next lane over refuses the WBI they get the most invasive patdwon that TSA uses. This is clearly done to make people accept a distasteful means of screening. This is not voluntary when actions like this are employed.

It is an issue that I will continue speaking out against until either TSA makes a public announcement that this form of screening will be eliminated or restricted to adults or changes made to the image output.


Now I agree that most TSA employees are probably fine people. Sadly several I have come into contact with seemed opposite of fine people. I have to base my opinion on personal experience. TSA has a problem and to fix it TSA will have to clean up its act and stop blaming those who fly.

Transparency in disciplinary matters would be a first step instead of hiding actions behind false claims of privacy protection.

I'm willing to work with you but not if your unwilling to meet me halfway!

TSM/West said...

To RB
Unfortunately the airport I work at doesn't have the WBI so I'm not in a position to comment on the images. I promise this though, when I travel on business for TSA I will make it an effort to view the process of these machines when ever I can and I will post my true feelings.
I have no problem with you calling them strip search machines at this point because as I said I haven't seen them yet.
You and I and everyone else on this blog want the same thing and thats positive results with minimal invasiveness. I have been in the Law Enforcement and Security Business since 1977 and I take my job very seriously. I have also been in the customer sevice industry and believe there is a way of giving both.
I appoligize for any bad experience you may have had with TSA employees. If it happened at my airport I could only ask that you or any other passenger ask for a TSM. We will listen and listen to both sides of the story. If the TSO is out of line I can promise that they will recieve some type of corrective action. The severity of the incident will warrent what happens. No one gets a free pass. We take all complaints seriously.
As far as meeting you half way, I'll meet you all the way. Your concerns are mine also. My family and friends fly all the time, so if we are doing something that puts their lives in jeapordy, I want to know about it and do what I can to change it.
Continue to publicly speak out about the issues that you feel strong about, we are listening.

Bob
There are a lot more TSM, AFSDs and FSDs that read this blog than you think. Like I said to RB, we hear vthe concerns and are trying to address them. Keep up your work with keeping the traveling public informed and we'll do our part.

RB said...

TSM WEst said in part...."As far as meeting you half way, I'll meet you all the way. Your concerns are mine also. My family and friends fly all the time, so if we are doing something that puts their lives in jeapordy, I want to know about it and do what I can to change it.
Continue to publicly speak out about the issues that you feel strong about, we are listening."
........................

TSA fails to secure the sterile area of all airports by not screening those people who work at the airport.

That is definitely putting all travelers at risk.

Yet TSA has made a concerted effort to harass people at the gate with additional screening and ID checks which do near zero to improve safety.

Why won't TSA do what is required to secure the airports by screening airport workers?

If you have been in any kind of security work like claim then you know that what is being done at airports today does not meet even the most basic of security prevention concepts.

I say the lack of screening of airport workers equals criminal neglect by TSA Administrators and Managers and if something does happen I feel that every TSA manager from the airport level and up should be held, charged and prosecuted for allowing those actions to happen. If this lack of screening results in a loss of an airplane, crew and passengers then mass murder charges would be appropriate.

OBTW, I have communicated with the FSD and staff at two airports. In both cases I felt I was blown off. My concerns were not addressed in either case. One even said we have to accept a higher level of screening when I complained of a possible attempted theft by a TSA employee at the terminal checkpoint.

I don't think those actions would endear anyone to TSA.

I have NO CONFIDENCE in TSA Management to do the right thing and actually protect those who fly. TSA is more about protecting careers and not rocking the boat so these people can either advance or retire without a problem.

The public is last on the list of concerns for TSA Management.

Perhaps you are different but you are working for a corrupt organization!

RB said...

TSM/West said...
To RB
Unfortunately the airport I work at doesn't have the WBI so I'm not in a position to comment on the images. I promise this though, when I travel on business for TSA I will make it an effort to view the process of these machines when ever I can and I will post my true feelings.
....................
TSM West, if TSA would post the WBI images in the actual size and resolution then you, I, and everyone else would know exactly what these images look like.

Don't you wonder why TSA is hiding this information, especially if the images are so tame as was claimed by Nico so many months ago?

Bob said...

It appears her blog was booted from the original hosting network, Blogher. Possibly for vioaltion of community guidelines? Possibly for posting libelous, defamatory, knowingly false, or mirespresenting another person? The orignal post and follow up post are still out there. I wonder who the new hosting network is? I wonder if they have community guidelines?

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for her husband... I hope he wasn't planning for a career as a Naval officer.

It also worries me that she is responsible for a child. If she really believes her story as she wrote it (and presuming there is not a giant TSA conspiracy), she should probably seek some professional help and stop turning to alcohol for stress relief.

Anonymous said...

"You folks put a mother and child into a cage. Some folks think this is routine and normal. Nice."

Um... that kind of thinking would make a mother and baby be the perfect 'front.' You can not assume that ANYONE is entirely safe.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
"You folks put a mother and child into a cage. Some folks think this is routine and normal. Nice."

Um... that kind of thinking would make a mother and baby be the perfect 'front.' You can not assume that ANYONE is entirely safe.

October 24, 2009 11:34 PM
.....
Unless of course the person works for an airline, airport, airport vendor or such.

These people must be considered entirely safe since they do not receive 100% screening like the mother and baby did.

Security, TSA style!

Anonymous said...

So is some edited footage supposed to clarify everything? I think both parties behaved badly. But i really do not trust edited footage, sorry. Also a plastic box? I am a human and I guess i would not have been flying that day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for defending us Bob. As for the comments about the "lady's" wait time, unfortunately, we cant't just pop out of the floor immediately when a person needs secondary screening. Sometimes people just need to wait for a TSO to finish the task at hand. The "lady" confirmed that it was her in the video. As an employee of an agency that is hated so much, I've had to accept that PEOPLE LIE WHEN THEY ARE NOT GETTING THEIR WAY.We work hard to keep the skies safe over your house and the homes of everyone you know and love. Our mantra is NOT ON MY WATCH. The screening process is necessary. Get over it. Would you rather be on a plane that had even one person onboard that was not screened? We can't take anything for granted and we can't take anyone's word for anything because PEOPLE LIE.

Anonymous said...

West,

Could you please explain to me why you consider the ability to request private screening so important?

I can´t think of anything an unknown person (such as a TSO) could do to me that would be better in a private area than in public. I am always going to make sure that whatever you guys choose to do to me is witnessed by as many people as possible. No private screening for me, ever!

In fact, that is what bothers me most about WBI - the need you see to hide these images both from the person being screened and everyone else walking through. If there was nothing intrusive about the images, that would not be needed.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Thanks for defending us Bob. As for the comments about the "lady's" wait time, unfortunately, we cant't just pop out of the floor immediately when a person needs secondary screening. Sometimes people just need to wait for a TSO to finish the task at hand. The "lady" confirmed that it was her in the video. As an employee of an agency that is hated so much, I've had to accept that PEOPLE LIE WHEN THEY ARE NOT GETTING THEIR WAY.We work hard to keep the skies safe over your house and the homes of everyone you know and love. Our mantra is NOT ON MY WATCH. The screening process is necessary. Get over it. Would you rather be on a plane that had even one person onboard that was not screened? We can't take anything for granted and we can't take anyone's word for anything because PEOPLE LIE.

October 26, 2009 6:56 AM
........................

When observed purely as a math equation the skies over our houses are essentially as safe with or without TSA.

If somewhere near 2 million people fly on an average day and nothing has happened since 9/11/2001 what is the rate of terror incidents?

Add in the rest of the world and all aviation based terror events.

Seems like a very expensive operation that does not justify the expense.

There is risk in life.

Some people get sick and die, others are murdered, many, many more than died on 9/11 are killed in automobile crahses.

Why are we not spending as much money to prevent these kinds of deaths as on commercial aviation?

TSA is a waste of money.

TSORon said...

Another Anonymous Poster Said….
When observed purely as a math equation the skies over our houses are essentially as safe with or without TSA.

If somewhere near 2 million people fly on an average day and nothing has happened since 9/11/2001 what is the rate of terror incidents?

Add in the rest of the world and all aviation based terror events.

Seems like a very expensive operation that does not justify the expense.

There is risk in life.

Some people get sick and die, others are murdered, many, many more than died on 9/11 are killed in automobile crahses.

Why are we not spending as much money to prevent these kinds of deaths as on commercial aviation?

TSA is a waste of money.
-------------------------
Anon, what makes you think that nothing has happened since 9/11/2001? The fact is, there has been a global upsurge in terrorism since that date. Please see the link below for more information. TSA is far from a waste of money, or anything else.

TSORon said...

Bob, please add the following link to my previous post. I forgot to add it.

TSORon

http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/

ProudVet said...

***When observed purely as a math equation the skies over our houses are essentially as safe with or without TSA.

If somewhere near 2 million people fly on an average day and nothing has happened since 9/11/2001 what is the rate of terror incidents?

Add in the rest of the world and all aviation based terror events.

Seems like a very expensive operation that does not justify the expense.

There is risk in life.

Some people get sick and die, others are murdered, many, many more than died on 9/11 are killed in automobile crahses.

Why are we not spending as much money to prevent these kinds of deaths as on commercial aviation?

TSA is a waste of money.****

************************************

Oh absolutely. Let's just get rid of airport security all together. Let's let whoever fly unchecked.

Because I'm absolutely positive that TSA hasn't stopped any threats to our country. I mean, I'm sure that TSA publicizes everything they detect and have stopped. Why not? The traveling public should be made aware of every threat that is out there right? I mean, I'm sure that the airline industry would not suffer at all if everybody knew everything that happens.

We should make everything public. Especially, for the international travel community. Our economy is simply thriving right now. It wouldn't have a negative impact on our booming economy if people from abroad stopped coming here and spending their money.

Finally, I'm absolutely, positively certain that no one from another country has ever muttered a word about how our airport security is so much lighter than theirs. Come on now, dealing with TSA is much more difficult and intimidating than going though an airport in Israel.

Yeah, TSA is a waste of money......

Isabelita said...

Can the mother take legal actions against TSA if there were no videos? Also, will she win?

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes:

Our mantra is NOT ON MY WATCH. The screening process is necessary. Get over it.

We understand that the screening process is necessary. Whether current TSA screening processes are the best way to accomplish that goal, however, is another question entirely.

And the problem with a "not on my watch" mentality is that it can lead to an irrational clinging to The Rules, when sometimes situations arise that simply don't fit The Rules. When everyone says "well, I could let this through, but just to be safe I won't", we all suffer a loss of personal freedom. Maybe it's worth it in some situations. Maybe not. Again, a point on which reasonable people can disagree.

Would you rather be on a plane that had even one person onboard that was not screened?

But that already happens right now. Maintenance workers board aircraft all the time without being screened. Flight crews board aircraft all the time undergoing a less stringent screening than the rest of us (notably, they're exempted from the 100ml-1-1 restrictions on liquids).

If everyone who entered the sterile area was always screened, following the exact same rules, you'd have an argument. But there are plenty of ways to get into the sterile area without screening right now ... and a savvy terrorist will attack using those holes rather than trying to figure out a way to smuggle an explosive through a TSA checkpoint.

Anonymous said...

This woman definetley has issues. How many Xanax had she taken prior to going through security? If she had removed her leg brace she would not have alarmed. Her child never left her sight and her fabricated story is ridiculous and totally fiction. How sad that she chooses to blog lies to get attention. Go drink a few more bottles and have a few more Xanax! I feel sorry for your son and husband!

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "West,

Could you please explain to me why you consider the ability to request private screening so important?

I can´t think of anything an unknown person (such as a TSO) could do to me that would be better in a private area than in public. I am always going to make sure that whatever you guys choose to do to me is witnessed by as many people as possible. No private screening for me, ever!

In fact, that is what bothers me most about WBI - the need you see to hide these images both from the person being screened and everyone else walking through. If there was nothing intrusive about the images, that would not be needed."

I was responding to a comment by a previous poster asking about the private screening rules.

As for why someone may request one - there are many reasons:
1) The person is embarrassed to be screened in public
2) They have something that can not be cleared without removing or unbuttoning a piece of clothing **
3) They have some other reason unknown to the TSO, but important to them.

** This can include anything that alarms during the HHMD such as:
a money belt with metal in it that has to be cleared

A brace or wrap that has metal in it that has to be cleared

Some people have religious reasons for not wanting to be screened in ANY way in the public eye

Medical equipment that alarms and has to be cleared.

Again, anything that alarms and the person does not want cleared in public.
Even if the person just doesn't want to be screened in public for ANY reason - the private screening option is there for them.

The WBI imagery is supposed to be displayed at each WBI machine or in the approach area to the machines. If there is not signage with the imagery, contact TSA to notify them. There is no hiding the images, they are clearly posted here on previous posts.

West
TSA Blog Team

Isaac Newton said...

An anonymous TSA person wrote:
Thanks for defending us Bob. ... The screening process is necessary. Get over it. Would you rather be on a plane that had even one person onboard that was not screened?

Increasingly, people flying out of Dallas have just that choice. In early October, DFW screeners let a guy board a flight to Tokyo with a loaded gun.
http://www.gadling.com/2009/10/07/tsa-misses-another-forgotten-loaded-gun/

and this week, DFW missed two hunting knives in the bag of a guy flying to Denver.

http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=125785&catid=339

It should be noted that both flights landed safely, despite TSA's dismal failure at their core responsibility.

Who knows how many other flights have had "even one person onboard that was not screened"?

TSA is a waste of money AND ineffective.

Anonymous said...

It's comedy almost that the TSA would have any credibility when it comes to this process. Knowing how difficult it is to travel alone with a child is bad enough but to watch how LOOONNNGGG it took them to complete this so called through security check is amazing. Government workers are a BIG FAT JOKE to me. And the TSA should be ashamed of themselves.

Anonymous said...

Just a simple question. When a TSA employee is accused of doing something wrong all the public hears is how nothing can be said because of privacy concerns of the employee.

Why didn't the TSA handle this matter in the same manner, dealing directly with the lady and protecting her privacy?

Seems a very big TSA double standard when it is someone not in your employ.

Bechego said...

As a frequent traveller, I am glad for the efforts the TSA takes to ensure YOURS and MY security. I have been individually screened before, and, while some TSA agents could learn a thing or two about friendliness, they are professional and committed to their work. We live in a world where someone with a child might hide a weapon, if not for herself, for someone else. It pays to be careful, for my safety, for your safety. "Common sense" was suggested for TSA agents by a previous blogger. The exact same can be said for the traveller. Do not jeopardize my safety because a mother does not have the "common sense" to remove all metal from her body and her baby's body. I travel with my wife and kids often and we talk, BEFORE we get to the airport, how were are going to get through security in the most efficient way. That includes taking all metal off of ourselves and the babies. There are rules. Learn the rules and use them to make your life easier. If TSA allows some to bend or break the rules, YOU and I are less safe. It is not worth it to you or me. I pay that extra TSA security fee in my airline tickets so that they do their job. Thank you TSA.

Ranger11 said...

The last comment that I will make on this is; In this case, the lady greatly exaggerated her story. I understand the reasons that many people were quick to jump on the bandwagon and take her side. I was disgusted when I first saw this story as well. My expertise in this arena stems from my work as a TSA supervisor, (for over 5 years). I’m now a Regulatory Inspector and see things from a much different perspective. I no longer deal with the measures that TSA uses to enforce the regulations; I deal directly with, and enforce the regulations themselves. So from purely a standpoint of the laws that apply at the airports as to what must be done in order to get a passenger through the checkpoint, no regulations were violated. From the standpoint of a former supervisor who used to run a checkpoint, I see that customer service could have been stepped up in this case. Clearly the lady in the video was agitated. In a case like that, it is imperative that TSA be on their highest level of customer service and engages the passengers so that they understand what is about to happen and why it is happening.
I hope that when on this blog that everyone understands that the officers are only doing their jobs as they have been trained. In this case, and others, they get blamed when they have done nothing but what they are required to do. I too understand that they have their moments, they are human. I think by and large, they are hard working people trying to do their very best to keep all of us safe, and, they believe in what they are doing. I commend the TSA at ATL for getting to the bottom of this so quickly and taking action to ensure that the officers on duty did not separate the child from the mother. Likewise, I would like to commend the bloggers for getting into this and answering the questions that they have and for always doing their part to give the TSA perspective on these issues. It’s obviously not easy, I comment when I can, but I have limited time and only get on here on my lunch or from home. Keep it up guys. I’ll be in and out when I can.

Tully said...

This type of behavior and complaints are what we have to deal with on a daily basis. Every airport across the country has that one passenger that just can't be satisfied no matter what you say or do. At the same time it is unfortunate that TSA has that one officer that has no people skills and gives credence to the complaints.

I'm glad to see this person's fictional story busted publicly because you can bet TSA was being lambasted until it was shown.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't the TSA handle this matter in the same manner, dealing directly with the lady and protecting her privacy?

Hang on a sec. You must have forgotten that SHE posted her version of this incident on her BLOG PAGE first. Thats a pretty important factor that you left out.

Kicksgirl said...

I have traveled outside the US many times and I must just have one of those faces, when returning I without fail get randomly selected for additional screening. I'm starting to get paranoid because I always set off the metal detectors (maybe I have a nail in my chest I don't know about)
And honestly the whole process after traveling for 14 hours is a real pain in the backside.
BUT, I have NEVER been treated disrespectfully by a TSA agent. I've had to stand in that box more than once, yeah it's not fun, people stare at you, I have taken to staring back and telling them I can't find the door.
I don't think the TSA agents are having a good laugh over delaying people, people being rude to them or even really WANT to do this. It's a job, it's the law. Someone has to do it until the laws are changed and I don't see that happening.
TSA personnel have to put up with a lot of rude people.
And honestly, if this woman arrived at the gate in the middle of a panic attack and obviously distraught, I don't know ANY airline that would have let her on the plane. People have been removed from a plane for far less.

Anonymous said...

"The WBI imagery is supposed to be displayed at each WBI machine or in the approach area to the machines. If there is not signage with the imagery, contact TSA to notify them. There is no hiding the images, they are clearly posted here on previous posts."

What about the images of the person being screened at that very moment? Why are you hiding that??

Jim Huggins said...

Ranger11 writes:

I hope that when on this blog that everyone understands that the officers are only doing their jobs as they have been trained.

Ahh, the "I was just following orders" defense. Yeah, that works pretty well. [sigh]

TSORon said...

An Anonymous poster asked:
What about the images of the person being screened at that very moment? Why are you hiding that??
--------------------------
Because its none of your business. Nor anyone elses.

Anonymous said...

OMG Ron!! That may be the worst response you have ever given us. And that really says something...

It is absolutely our business when we are the ones you are using to generate these images!!

You don´t allow the person being screened to see the images generated of themselves, or even to see who is seeing these images. That is disgusting, and proves you know there is something to hide in these images.

RB said...

West, the question about the WBI imagery is: Are the images that are suppose to be displayed large enough for a person to understand just what it is that TSA is wanting them to do.

I think that is a fair question.

I should hope that TSA thinks that is a fair question but sadly even on this blog the images shown have never been the same size and resolution that the WBI Operator sees.

Now why would TSA hide that information from the very people they want to screen?

The logical answer is that TSA is afraid that showing actual images would have a negative impact of the magical 98% acceptance rate.

ProudVet said...

I agree. That was not the proper answer. However, it amazes me that people can't understand why TSA would blur the video. Come on, it's common sense.

I'm sure TSA performs screening functions a certain way and they don't want people to see exactly how they do it. Well, they don't want the people who mean to bring us harm to see how they do it.

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