Monday, February 22, 2010

Four Year Old Boy In Philly Told To Remove Leg Braces

You may have heard about the story of the four year old in Philly who was told to remove his leg braces.

The account goes back to March 2009, but when PHL Federal Security Director (FSD) Robert Ellis learned about it last week, he called the father of the boy immediately. There was no formal report of the incident on file with details, but regardless, Mr. Ellis apologized for any inconvenience the boy and his family may have had to go through.

At TSA, we have a few ways to report any problems you have as soon as it occurs. First, ask for a supervisor immediately. This way, TSA management can look into resolving the issue and any personnel can be identified and retrained as needed. If you choose not to report the incident at the airport, or you feel your incident didn’t receive the attention it should have, you have other options:

Got Feedback – Allows you to contact the Customer Support Manager for the airport you traveled through via e-mail.

TSA Contact Center – You can reach the Contact Center via e-mail, mail or phone. You can find Contact Center info here.

When it comes to screening passengers with disabilities, our officers receive Passengers with Disabilities (PWD) training upon being hired and are required to take annual PWD courses.

From Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions:

In order to achieve that goal, TSA has established a program for screening of persons with disabilities and their associated equipment, mobility aids, and devices. Our program covers all categories of disabilities (mobility, hearing, visual, and hidden). As part of that program, we established a coalition of over 70 disability-related groups and organizations to help us understand the concerns of persons with disabilities and medical conditions. These groups have assisted TSA with integrating the unique needs of persons with disabilities into our airport operations.

Note: In order to keep the flying public safe, our procedures require individuals to undergo thorough screening and there are some rare instances when leg braces may need to be removed. However, this would happen while the passenger was seated and not before they walked through the metal detector.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

99 comments:

Jerome Howard said...

"The account goes back to March 2009, but when PHL Federal Security Director (FSD) Robert Ellis learned about it last week, he called the father of the boy immediately. There was no formal report of the incident on file with details, but regardless, Mr. Ellis apologized for any inconvenience the boy and his family may have had to go through."

Is this post supposed to make this incident go away?

I have some follow-up questions:

1. Why did it take 11 months for the FSD to find out about this travesty?"

2. "Inconvenience?" How about "completely irresponsible behavior by screeners working for me and the public humiliation it caused for you and your family."

3. "may have had to go through?" So, without a written report, it may not have ever happened?

I'm impressed -- Ellis called anyway without receiving a formal report. Wow -- he really put his career on the line with this bold action.

Provide a list of the handicapped advocacy groups who "help" you so we may contact them for their side of the story, including the degree to which their recommendations are accepted. When was the last time this group was asked for input? Do you permit them to receive and review SSI procedures?

What disciplinary action was taken against the screeners and supervisors?

Groovymarlin said...

According to the original account by the boy's father, he immediately notified a TSA supervisor, and his concerns were met with indifference and disdain. So once again, "rogue" TSA employees, including a supervisor, make up their own rules and disregard established TSA policies and procedures. Do you guys get it yet? This is why people hate the TSA and flying in general. Why can't you get your people in line? It sure seems like the "rogues" outnumber the employees who give a damn.

Anonymous said...

Why have the screeners involved not been fired and arrested for child abuse and practicing medicine without a license, Bob?

Does this give you a glimmer of the reasons America hates TSA?

Anonymous said...

Bob, what good are these redress measures when a citizen is confronted with a rogue TSO who doesn't know or doesn't care about the rules they are supposed to be following? Will it take someone assaulting a TSO and being acquitted for you people to wake up and realize how completely you've failed?

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you link to the original story in this blog?

MarkVII said...

Once again we see the results of taking a purely reactive approach to problems instead of a proactive one. Also, it's up to the passenger to report the problem to the TSA, instead of the TSA preventing these sorts of incidents.

I've noticed some interesting posts just recently about TSA personnel and the "rules" they enforce when traveling with children. For example, a mom was required to dump out her childrens' water bottles. This was supposedly because the 3-1-1 exemption for water for children only applies to kids under the age of four. (Really? Show that to me on the TSA web site. I can't find it.)

I'm going to repeat the suggestion I've offered before -- use secret shoppers as a proactive measure and stop expecting the passengers to be the TSA's quality control department.

Passenger feedback is important, but it should be the last line of defense against ignorant TSA personnel, not the first.

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

RB said...

I thought TSA screeners were highly trained government employees.

Why is it that TSA employees fail so often?

By available reports the checkpoint manager knew of this incident but apparently did not report to more senior people in the chain of command.

Was this supervisor provided corrective training after the FSD learned of the abuse this child received at the hands of TSA?

Mike E said...

TSA employees can't follow their own rules. This has been shown over and over again, and this blog often has posts that deal with TSA employees not following their own rules.

The TSA cannot enforce their own rules for their own employees. This is a fact and is indisputable.

At the same time, don't worry about pictures being taken of the nude-o-scope screen. It's against the rules!

Bob Thomas said...

I am the father of the little boy, Ryan, who was forced to remove his supportive leg braces and walk through the metal detector at PHL airport.

First of all, Mr. Ellis did NOT call me and offer an apology. It was during my phone conversation with the Supervisor of Customer Service that Mr. Ellis entered into the conversation. And that was only at the very end on speaker phone! Isn't that right, Bob?

Secondly, the incident WAS reported to a supervisor. It was his responsibility to file a written report over this incident -not me, my wife or my disabled son.

Upon our return from Florida I did attempt to find out who I could contact to file a complaint about our humiliating experience but I never received any call back or correspondence from the airport manager.

I have never questioned the need for airport security. Bottom line is that the TSA failed miserably in dealing with this situation. They blatantly violated their own written screening directives in addressing individuals who are classified as "Special Needs".

It is becoming more apparent that PHL has serious screening issues and inept, unqualified, untrained agents. Perhaps it's time to clean house beginning with the the airport director. After all, he is ultimately responsible for the actions of his employees.

Parkylondon said...

Gee. Makes you so proud to be an American eh? Well done TSA. I can't add much more to what has already been said except to say that the TSA is doing more harm than good. It's an embarrassment to America and although it will never go away it must have a root and branch reform.

I wish the TSA would go away but in this recessionary times there are too many jobs involved for the TSA to be closed and all the people laid off. Doing so would be politically sensitive and thus a non-starter.

You guys really need to get your "stuff" together and soon.

FAIL

Anonymous said...

Great - so just to summarize, the TSA is really successful in planting white powder into passenger's bags, sexually assaulting passengers, harassing disabled people and put little children on the "no-fly" list.

All while people still crash airplanes into buildings.

Wouldn't you agree that you are going after the wrong guys?

Anonymous said...

I've only just discovered this blog while checking out the TSA website.

But, after looking at some of the incidents in prior articles, I think a recent concern over the actions of local TSA agents may, in fact, not be over the top after all.

This past Christmas day, a friend and their 3-4 year old daughter were passing through the security section of ILM.

The security personnel there actually pulled the little girl out of line and had a female security officer pat the child down.

The reason? The girl was wearing a hooded sweatshirt (as a shirt, and therefore could not be removed as a coat) which, in the CLAIMED opinion of the security personnel "looked suspicious".

A 3-4 year old child wearing a hooded sweatshirt looks suspicious? Puhleaze!

Frankly, I'm more suspicious about the ones doing this pat down.

TSA and its agents have been given significant authority to do whatever they please. Even the idea of raising concerns is met with veiled and implied threats of having individuals subjected to additional retaliation by TSA officials and the agency.

This is why many don't report concerns. Even on the website, it states that passengers should be careful of what they say as it could lead to trouble. And raising concerns could easily lead to additional abuse of authority by TSA agents. This is not unheard of. Nor is the idea of TSA agents abusing their positions for deviant behavior beyond the realm of possibility.

Oddly enough, in the aforementioned situation, the father easily passed through security with two cigarette lighters. Apparently, the TSA agents were more interested in feeling up a 3-4 year old girl. And since one TSA agent was helping another in this act, there is the high probability that they were passing these children off to each other, depending on the gender of the child.

They say the price of safety is freedom sometimes. But just how much are we really willing to give up? Some would even go as far as to say if you don't want your children to be treated in that manner, don't fly. But what is that, in fact, saying about how we feel about allowing such deviants as those TSA security officers to continue their sick activities?

Whether it's humiliating a disabled child, or subjecting a child to physical and/or sexual abuse, or even mental abuse as we can't really be sure how this type of treatment will affect children of such young ages, are we really ready to give TSA and its agents EVERY leeway and authority that they can possibly use and abuse?

Who really watches the watchers in this type of situation?

M said...

This story is hard to evaluate. It happened almost a year a ago, we are getting only one side of the story as told by upset father, to a self described biased “columnist”. Kind of tough to say all of the facts are being reported.. with that being said, I will offer a few things. Screening anyone with a disability is always more of a challenge, and children with disabilities even more so. I think one of the ways to improve future performance is better video / audio capture. If a person has a complaint it would be ideal to be able to go back and see/ hear the actual event rather than relying on people’s memories.

MarkVII said...

The exemptions apply to infants and toddlers. If I am not mistaken the story you are referring to the kids were 10 and 11. The link is the tsa.gov page it talks about this.
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/formula.shtm

Anonymous said...

"This story is hard to evaluate."

No, it isn't. Yet another incompetent TSO abused yet another innocent person.

TSO from PHL said...

Groovymarlin said...
According to the original account by the boy's father, he immediately notified a TSA supervisor, and his concerns were met with indifference and disdain. So once again, "rogue" TSA employees, including a supervisor, make up their own rules and disregard established TSA policies and procedures. Do you guys get it yet? This is why people hate the TSA and flying in general. Why can't you get your people in line? It sure seems like the "rogues" outnumber the employees who give a damn.

February 22, 2010 1:41 PM
***********************************
"Rogues" wow, that's quite a word there groovy. First of all, this is the first I'm hearing about this incident, and I work at Philadelphia. Secondly, since I have no idea what terminal it happened on, I can't really speak on it, but I have worked on several terminals and have never found a seasoned TSA employee who would require the removal of leg braces. To the contrary, I have found passengers who insist on removing "support items" so as not to alarm the metal detector, because they don't want to deal with additional screening. You see, there are two sides to every story, and although as I said I can't speak on this incident, I'm guessing that one of two things happened, either the boy's family asked if the braces should be removed, and the TSA officer said something along the lines of, "if you want to do that, fine" or the TSA officer was somehow not quite certain what should happen, so asked if the braces could be removed. REAL simple solution, "my son can not remove his braces, and I'd like to speak to a supervisor", almost all of the supervisors I have worked with are very professional, and know the rules, they do not "make up their own rules", but if the supervisor gives guff, "I'd like to speak to a manager". If the manager gives guff there is someone hire than he/she, and so forth, but most importantly, DON'T take the braces off, then come back later to file a complaint. What really ticks me off, is people who come through security, all happy and jolly on the checkpoint, then go home and say oh they were horrible, they were rude, they were blah blah blah. I try to be nice to everybody, because this is the job I chose to work, because I thought I could do something that would make a difference, but the complaints on this blog and the name calling is horrible! You people are NEVER satisfied no matter what! No I won't quit my job, because the people I deal with are pleasant, and most thank me for my service, but some of the people on this blog really need to grow up! I would like to extend an apology to the family of this boy, for the incorrect information and the way this situation was handled. In the future, please know that the braces are NOT REQUIRED to be removed, and if the TSO tells you otherwise, insist on seeing someone higher up.

HappyToHelp said...

Anonymous said...
"The reason? The girl was wearing a hooded sweatshirt (as a shirt, and therefore could not be removed as a coat) which, in the CLAIMED opinion of the security personnel "looked suspicious"."

While I cannot comment on your friend’s trip, as I was not there, you may be directed to additional screening if your clothing (religious or otherwise) is loose fitting or large enough to hide prohibited items. There is no age limit or age requirement, and all passengers are subject to additional screening of their persons and assessable property for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries.

Helpful links:
TSA Travel Assistant: Dress the Part
Religious and Cultural Needs: Loose Fitting Garments

Anonymous said...
“Oddly enough, in the aforementioned situation, the father easily passed through security with two cigarette lighters.”

Common lighters have been allowed through the checkpoint since August 4, 2007.

You can read all about it here (New Policies for Lighters, Electronics, and Breast Milk).

Anonymous said...
“TSA and its agents have been given significant authority to do whatever they please.”

I will let my supervisor know that I can do whatever I please. Thank you Anon :) (j/k of course)

Happy travels,

Tim
TSA Blog Team

TSO Jacob said...

Anon, Expecting disciplinary action is one thing, but the comments about child abuse and practicing medicine without a license upends your whole argument with irrational rhetoric.

Anon, There is absolutely no reason anyone would have a justification for assaulting a TSO in this case. The fact is if such an assault had happened the individual would have been CONVITED of the assault.

Mark VII, from the tsa.gov site: “When traveling with your infant or toddler, in the absence of suspicious activity or items, greater than 3 ounces of baby formula, breast milk, or juice are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary, if you perform the following: 1: Separate these items from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your quart-size and zip-top bag. 2: Declare you have the items to one of our Security Officers at the security checkpoint. 3: Present these items for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray. These items are subject to additional screening.” Since when is an infant or toddler older than 4 years old? It may not be explicit but it does take common sense to figure out. I like the concept of your secret shoppers idea, I hope TSA pays attention.

Anon, TSA did not “plant” powder; the individual in that case was trying to be funny, failed miserably, and no longer works for TSA. What supposed sexual assault took place? TSA does not harass disabled people, we only ensure they are not carrying anything dangerous. You may be foolish enough to believe a disabled person can’t be a threat, but, fortunately TSA knows that even a guy in a wheelchair has the ability to flip a switch on a bomb. No children are on the no-fly list, a child’s name may be similar to someone on the list, but with the new standards the situation can be remedied. The person who flew into the IRS building was not flying a commercial aircraft with 250 plus people onboard and they did not have enough fuel capacity to drop the building, which means TSA is stopping the right individuals.

Anon, Cigarette lighters are not prohibited items therefore the “dad” in your story should not have been stopped. It sounds like the 4 year old was wearing a baggy sweatshirt and TSA needed to make sure that no adult had tried to hide a dangerous item under it. I have conducted this type of search and knows it takes a whole 10 seconds and the parents are always told what needs to be done, and why, and is present for the search. I am sure you realize that a person hell-bent on a suicide attack would kill a child if it served their purpose.

adelaide dancing said...

lol why don't people just use their common sense? a kid with leg braces - clearly he's not wearing them just for fun!

GSOLTSO said...

If this incident happened the way it has been printed, there is no excuse for this.

TSOs should never have a child remove their braces unless something is not able to be cleared (and as mentioned in the original post, that would occur after the WTMD and would be during the screening process where the child would be able to sit down).

I would like to make a suggestion to this family (and any other person traveling by air) to please notify the agency as soon as possible if any other problems happen for them in the future. As an agency, we can't address situations we do not know about.

Many will point out that the situation should never have happened in the first place, if it happened the way it has been printed, I agree. However, when something happens then we need to have the information on the incident in order to address it.

To answer Jerome Howard #1, the FSD probably had no idea that the incident occurred. Once he was notified of the incident, he contacted them directly and apologized for any inconvienience they may have had.


To respond to Jerome Howard #3, to be honest, no. If the FSD or senior management do not know of a problem or situation, how could you expect them to contact the family and communicate with them about something they have not been notified of?

I do not want the folks reading here to take this as a bashing of this family (or any other person that has not reported an incident). As a matter of fact, I want to thank the family for coming forward with the information, and I want to thank the press for putting it where we could see it. Any person or family that reports an incident of this nature deserve nothing but communication and followup in the case of inappropriate procedures.

I merely post this in the hopes that other passengers that have similar experiences or have had them, will let us know about them. We can communicate much better with the public if they let us know what is happening. The links provided on this post are a way to let us have feedback to help address shortcomings, and to acknowledge things that we do well (these links can be used to let us know when someone does an exceptional job as well!).

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Great - so just to summarize, the TSA is really successful in planting white powder into passenger's bags, sexually assaulting passengers, harassing disabled people and put little children on the "no-fly" list.

All while people still crash airplanes into buildings.

Wouldn't you agree that you are going after the wrong guys?"

The individual that is responsible for the white powder incident is no longer with the agency.

We do not have a policy of harrassing folks with disabilities. As mentioned in the original post, we worked with over 70 organizations to formulate screening procedures that offered us the best chance to help these folks as needed, and to clear them with respect and courtesy.

There are no children on the no-fly lists, there are people that are listed for articulable reasons, and other people that just happen to have the same name. People with the same name can file for redress at the links in this previous Blog Post here:

http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2010/01/there-are-no-children-on-no-fly-or.html

The gentleman that flew his plane into the building in Texas, took the plane from a small general aviation airport (Georgetown Municipal if I am not mistaken), so small it has self serve pumps in front of the terminal (this is actually fairly common as I understand it for small airports).

TSA does not have a screening checkpoint at this airport (and there are many other small airports similar to this one that have no TSA checkpoints). I do not see where TSA would have been able to prevent this person from using his plane in this manner.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "The security personnel there actually pulled the little girl out of line and had a female security officer pat the child down.

The reason? The girl was wearing a hooded sweatshirt (as a shirt, and therefore could not be removed as a coat) which, in the CLAIMED opinion of the security personnel "looked suspicious".

A 3-4 year old child wearing a hooded sweatshirt looks suspicious? Puhleaze!"

Anyone wearing bulky clothing is subject to a pat down, to ascertain whether they have something concealed under the bulky items.

A 3-4 year old is 99% of the time, not going to be a threat (although my mother would disagree if the 3-4 year old had been me...). That being said, there are people that will use children to transport illegal items, and even in some cases dangerous items. For this reason, the children need to be cleared as well.

Anon also sez - "Oddly enough, in the aforementioned situation, the father easily passed through security with two cigarette lighters."

Cigarette lighters are allowed on flights and have been for a couple of years.

And finally Anon sez - "Apparently, the TSA agents were more interested in feeling up a 3-4 year old girl. And since one TSA agent was helping another in this act, there is the high probability that they were passing these children off to each other, depending on the gender of the child"

Wow, just wow. The TSO performed a pat down on the child, and you degenerated this dicussion to "they were passing these children off to each other"? What was described was a typical procedure to screen folks with bulky clothing, nothing more.

West
TSA Blog Team

Tomas said...

All I can say is "Well, It's Philadelphia, what do you expect?"

That is the only airport where I (a handicapped person) has ever had any problems with multiple TSA folks being ___holes.

That was the LAST time I flew to or through PHL.

My personal opinion is to just fire the lot of 'em and start over.

Be sure to start at the top, the lack of proper management and supervision at PHL is obvious to even the most casual observer.

(I'm usually much more charitable than that, but with the TSOs at PHL there is just no excuse.)

Isaac Newton said...

Sorry, Bob, but after a while all your stories start to sound the same.

"We never, ever, EVER [abuse a disabled kid/hide drugs as a joke/hire a felon/hire a sex offender/put kids on the no fly list/steal from passengers/leak our SOP/whatever], except this one little ol' time."

Expecting passengers to fix the problem by pointing out that this is idiotically wrong is just shifting the blame.

TSA needs to implement real penalties for these abuses to send the message that it will not be tolerated. "May be sent for remedial training" is not a real penalty.

TSA needs to do real training of staff and implement a secret shopper program to report continuously on the performance of screeners.

And based on reports of redundant screening at gates and elsewhere in the so-called sterile area, TSA needs to reduce the workforce by getting rid of the lowest 20% or more.

MarkVII said...

Hi M --

Interesting point on "children" vs. "infants and toddlers". I was looking at this page http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/index.shtm, which is headlined as "Traveling with Kids."

This page says "Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces (100ml) and are not required to be in the zip-top bag." The mention it makes of infants and toddlers is the statement "You should only carry on the liquids and gels needed for you and your infant/toddler’s immediate comfort."

I can see how a parent wouldn't pick up on the distinction, and IMO, the page doesn't effectively make a distinction between "kids" and "infants and toddlers".

The page you linked to does explicitly refer to infants and toddlers, but a parent may not necessarily view all the varied pages.

The rules need to be crystal clear, and I'd say these pages need some work. A traveler shouldn't have to assemble a jigsaw puzzle in order to know the rules.

Anonymous said...

Good job, TSA! You have acknowledged but not responded to one more true story about your employees' utterly illegal/deeply stupid behavior.

It must be very difficult for you, Bob, to be in the position to have to engage in such doublespeak. I cannot wait for your first/last interview with Stewart or Colbert.

It will not be long before carefully measured acts of nonviolent protest will be disrupting TSA checkpoints all over the nation. Americans are talkative, resourceful people who do not appreciate the special brand of willful idiocy for which the TSA is universally known.

Anonymous said...

I read the comments you people leave and it make me said to be an American. I see why other countries are laughing at us. If you think you can do better than what the screeners are doing to keep us safe stop talking about it and do something talk is cheap

Anonymous said...

Bob, your agency is broken. When will incidents like this one become a once a decade rarity?

The redress program - how long does it take to get your name off of the list if you are a child?

Sandra said...

Thank you, Mr. Thomas, for your post. It is always good to hear first hand from those who are treated with such utter disrespect by the TSA.

Thank you, also, for pointing out that the entire incident did NOT transpire in the manner in which the TSA would like the rest of the world to believe it happened.

Anonymous said...

Bob Thomas said...
I am the father of the little boy, Ryan, who was forced to remove his supportive leg braces and walk through the metal detector at PHL airport.

...............
Bob, seems your accounting of events has been questioned.

So what exactly is TSA doing to prevent a repeat of something like this from happening again?

Bob said...

Andy,

I've been working on a post for a couple of days addressing some of the questions posted here. It ahould go live later today.

Thanks,

Bob

Anonymous said...

Annoymous said:

I read the comments you people leave and it make me said to be an American. I see why other countries are laughing at us. If you think you can do better than what the screeners are doing to keep us safe stop talking about it and do something talk is cheap.


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

The screeners are there to keep WEAPONS, EXPLOSIVES, AND INCENDIARY DEVICES off of the aircraft. No more and no less. They don't do a good job at even doing that.

When screeners do things like what they did to that four-year old child they violate their own SOP and open themselves up to personal liability. When their management attempts to hide this from higher-ups, those managers need to find some other sort of work.

Anonymous said...

Annonymous said:

Bob Thomas said...
I am the father of the little boy, Ryan, who was forced to remove his supportive leg braces and walk through the metal detector at PHL airport.

...............
Bob, seems your accounting of events has been questioned.

So what exactly is TSA doing to prevent a repeat of something like this from happening again?


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

TSA damage control sometimes runs full force if they can put into doubt the veracity of the complainer.

IMHO this is nothing but TSA circling the wagons.

Sandra said...

TSO from PHL wrote:

""Rogues" wow, that's quite a word there groovy. First of all, this is the first I'm hearing about this incident, and I work at Philadelphia. Secondly, since I have no idea what terminal it happened on, I can't really speak on it, but I have worked on several terminals and have never found a seasoned TSA employee who would require the removal of leg braces."

Those few sentences sum up what is, in fact, wrong with the TSA at PHL. All screeners should have been informed of this incident and reminded that they are not to force disabled people to remove braces, get out of wheelchairs, etc., etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

West, why bother notifying TSA if anything like this happens in the future? Given TSA's unresponsive attitude/total contempt towards the traveling public and TSA's circle the wagons mentality with bad press, why should anyone trust anything that any TSA manager has to say?

We view TSA managers good at covering up for the general incompetance found at checkpoints and little else. Your agency worked hard to lose the trust of the American people in such a short time. It will take decades to regain that trust.

Anonymous said...

I wish people would stop whining about security, Americans are more worried about customer service than anything else, being inconvienced because they are running late for their flight or having a bad day are the main reasons why people complain! We're lucky it's not like other countries carrying guns in your face going through security. So people should stop crying, we don't have it that bad.

Phil said...

Bob Thomas wrote:

"I am the father of the little boy, Ryan, who was forced to remove his supportive leg braces and walk through the metal detector at PHL airport.

"First of all, Mr. Ellis did NOT call me and offer an apology. It was during my phone conversation with the Supervisor of Customer Service that Mr. Ellis entered into the conversation. And that was only at the very end on speaker phone! Isn't that right, Bob?

"Secondly, the incident WAS reported to a supervisor. It was his responsibility to file a written report over this incident -not me, my wife or my disabled son.

"Upon our return from Florida I did attempt to find out who I could contact to file a complaint about our humiliating experience but I never received any call back or correspondence from the airport manager.

"I have never questioned the need for airport security. Bottom line is that the TSA failed miserably in dealing with this situation. They blatantly violated their own written screening directives in addressing individuals who are classified as "Special Needs".

"It is becoming more apparent that PHL has serious screening issues and inept, unqualified, untrained agents. Perhaps it's time to clean house beginning with the the airport director. After all, he is ultimately responsible for the actions of his employees."


Bob, can you reconcile this information with that which you previously provided?

--
Phil
Showing ID only affects honest people.
What if the people with the power to secretly put your name on a "no-fly" list didn't like the reason for which you want to fly?

Phil said...

Bob at TSA wrote:

"Andy,

"I've been working on a post for a couple of days addressing some of the questions posted here. It ahould go live later today."


Bob, there are no comments here signed "Andy".

--
Phil
Showing ID only affects honest people.
What if the people with the power to secretly put your name on a "no-fly" list didn't like the reason for which you want to fly?

Anonymous said...

Annonymous said:

I wish people would stop whining about security, Americans are more worried about customer service than anything else, being inconvienced because they are running late for their flight or having a bad day are the main reasons why people complain! We're lucky it's not like other countries carrying guns in your face going through security. So people should stop crying, we don't have it that bad.


Whining? I've been through four different countries lately and had no guns in my face. In fact I find US security to be much more threatening to life, liberty, and the persute of happiness than any other country'd airport security.

Anonymous said...

The father cannot prove that this happened.

TSA cannot prove that it did not happen.

I have to commend TSA for even commenting on this since they did not have to. The usual gov protocol would be to not discuss it and delete all comments mentioning it.

No matter how hard it is for some of you to understand, this blog and this post is a good thing. It shows the govt. is changing for the better.

Anonymous said...

No matter how hard it is for some of you to understand, this blog and this post is a good thing. It shows the govt. is changing for the better.

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

Just how's it changing for the better?

Anonymous said...

"The father cannot prove that this happened.

TSA cannot prove that it did not happen."


Please. If TSA could dispute ANY of the account, it would have released its videotapes of the incident. Just as TSA's refusal to release the Britney Spears LAX tapes shows that the "ice policy" is CYA fiction, TSA's behavior here strongly indicates that TSA abused this child just as his father said they did.

RB said...

I would like to make a suggestion to this family (and any other person traveling by air) to please notify the agency as soon as possible if any other problems happen for them in the future. As an agency, we can't address situations we do not know about.

Many will point out that the situation should never have happened in the first place, if it happened the way it has been printed, I agree. However, when something happens then we need to have the information on the incident in order to address it.

To answer Jerome Howard #1, the FSD probably had no idea that the incident occurred. Once he was notified of the incident, he contacted them directly and apologized for any inconvienience they may have had.


To respond to Jerome Howard #3, to be honest, no. If the FSD or senior management do not know of a problem or situation, how could you expect them to contact the family and communicate with them about something they have not been notified of?

I do not want the folks reading here to take this as a bashing of this family (or any other person that has not reported an incident). As a matter of fact, I want to thank the family for coming forward with the information, and I want to thank the press for putting it where we could see it. Any person or family that reports an incident of this nature deserve nothing but communication and followup in the case of inappropriate procedures.

I merely post this in the hopes that other passengers that have similar experiences or have had them, will let us know about them. We can communicate much better with the public if they let us know what is happening. The links provided on this post are a way to let us have feedback to help address shortcomings, and to acknowledge things that we do well (these links can be used to let us know when someone does an exceptional job as well!).

West
TSA Blog Team

February 22, 2010 6:46 PM
.............................

Bob Thomas said...
I am the father of the little boy, Ryan, who was forced to remove his supportive leg braces and walk through the metal detector at PHL airport.

First of all, Mr. Ellis did NOT call me and offer an apology. It was during my phone conversation with the Supervisor of Customer Service that Mr. Ellis entered into the conversation. And that was only at the very end on speaker phone! Isn't that right, Bob?

Secondly, the incident WAS reported to a supervisor. It was his responsibility to file a written report over this incident -not me, my wife or my disabled son.

Upon our return from Florida I did attempt to find out who I could contact to file a complaint about our humiliating experience but I never received any call back or correspondence from the airport manager.

.......................
So the father did notify your agency. Nothing was done or apparently forwarded to higher mangement.

Seems the checkpoint supervisor/manager should be held accountable for failing to notify superiors.

Probably won't happen since TSA deflects accountability in most cases.

TSA=Failure

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
Anon sez - "The security personnel there actually pulled the little girl out of line and had a female security officer pat the child down.

The reason? The girl was wearing a hooded sweatshirt (as a shirt, and therefore could not be removed as a coat) which, in the CLAIMED opinion of the security personnel "looked suspicious".

A 3-4 year old child wearing a hooded sweatshirt looks suspicious? Puhleaze!"

Anyone wearing bulky clothing is subject to a pat down, to ascertain whether they have something concealed under the bulky items.

A 3-4 year old is 99% of the time, not going to be a threat (although my mother would disagree if the 3-4 year old had been me...). That being said, there are people that will use children to transport illegal items, and even in some cases dangerous items. For this reason, the children need to be cleared as well.

Anon also sez - "Oddly enough, in the aforementioned situation, the father easily passed through security with two cigarette lighters."

Cigarette lighters are allowed on flights and have been for a couple of years.

And finally Anon sez - "Apparently, the TSA agents were more interested in feeling up a 3-4 year old girl. And since one TSA agent was helping another in this act, there is the high probability that they were passing these children off to each other, depending on the gender of the child"

Wow, just wow. The TSO performed a pat down on the child, and you degenerated this dicussion to "they were passing these children off to each other"? What was described was a typical procedure to screen folks with bulky clothing, nothing more.

West
TSA Blog Team

February 22, 2010 7:31 PM
..................
Yes TSA has to pat down a 3 to 4 year old child yet refuses to require screening of its on employees, all other airport workers and some number of groups of privilaged people who bypass screening completely.

Yeah, good security plan!

RB said...

Wow, just wow. The TSO performed a pat down on the child, and you degenerated this dicussion to "they were passing these children off to each other"? What was described was a typical procedure to screen folks with bulky clothing, nothing more.

West
TSA Blog Team

February 22, 2010 7:31 PM
................
Well TSA does want to look at the nude images of children and adults using its WBI Porno Machines!

Anonymous said...

With all of these crazy abuses by TSA, its only a matter of time before some one attacks them at a checkpoint or airport like the guy attacked the IRS.It seems like the whole agency is broken and need to be fixed quick before we see something that we all really dont want to see.

Groovymarlin said...

To the hard-working TSOs who follow procedures, adhere to policies, and consistently do the right thing: thank you, and I am so sorry that your work is maligned because of the "bad apples" or "rogue employees" or whatever you want to call the minority of TSA employees who consistently do it wrong. I think that you should be as upset as the flying public by these incidents. Maybe you could bring some peer pressure to bear on the "bad apples" to clean up their act?

kimm said...

If I'm ever forced to remove my brace in the name of "safety", I can say that my entire family would be on the backs of TSA.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, if son was so "abused" why did he wait 11 months to say anything to TSA? And why, when asked, could Thomas not name the "airport manager" he allegedly called to report this. Why hasn't Thomas called that person out by name for not responding to his call? No, instead he insults the one man who got on the phone with him to discuss what happened and offered an apology. So what if the apology came over speaker phone...it's still an apology and it was offered as soon as the FSD was informed of what happened. Certainly , the supervisor and TSO involved should be taken to task about this, but given PHL has hundreds of officers, how would they go about identifying them again since Thomas didn't complain for 11 months? This was a he said, he said situation and the TSA couldn't prove it didn't happen so they called Thomas and apologized. You people are completely unreasonable.

TSO from PHL said...

Tomas said:
All I can say is "Well, It's Philadelphia, what do you expect?"
***********************************
Thanks Tomas, again, guilty by association right? This is the kind of childish name calling that ticks me off. Lets set the record straight, one "mistake" or "screw up" or whatever it is that this incident was, does not make everyone who works at TSA or in Philadelphia guilty by association. I've worked with hundreds of Passengers with disabilities, from people in wheel chairs, to braces, to prosthetic limbs, and I've always treated them with respect and within the boundaries of their limitations. I've never made someone remove something they could not remove, but please keep in mind, that I MUST clear that person to the same level that I clear any other person coming through my checkpoint, I must be thourough no matter what.
***********************************
Groovy, I thank you for your words about weeding out the bad apples, or getting them to clean up their acts, and for recognizing that there are TSA employees at PHL who do follow the rules, and do have the best interest of the passengers in mind.

TSO from PHL said...

Sandra said...
TSO from PHL wrote:

""Rogues" wow, that's quite a word there groovy. First of all, this is the first I'm hearing about this incident, and I work at Philadelphia. Secondly, since I have no idea what terminal it happened on, I can't really speak on it, but I have worked on several terminals and have never found a seasoned TSA employee who would require the removal of leg braces."

Those few sentences sum up what is, in fact, wrong with the TSA at PHL. All screeners should have been informed of this incident and reminded that they are not to force disabled people to remove braces, get out of wheelchairs, etc., etc., etc.
***********************************
Sandra, I have to agree with you on this. All too often, TSOs are NOT informed of incidents like this. Management really needs to step up the internal information, and put it out there to us that situations like this are NOT part of procedures, and unless there is an anamoly of some sort, or the item is uanble to be cleared otherwise, this should NOT happen!

To_Protect_and_Serve said...

TSOJacob

Im sorry but are so far off base on your "facts"

It shows you really dont have a LE background because you dont know the difference between assault and battery. assault is the act of placing a person in fear of harm without physically touching them (something TSA does on a regular basis ala DYWTFT,etc) and battery is the physical act of touching someone. In my jurisdiction if you commit assault and battery the victim has the right to defend themselves. The victim also wont be charged with any crime because its considered self defense

Are you sure about the practicing medicine without a license because in talking to some of the medics (since i dont fly anymore due to the non-sense that is TSA) TSA does practice medicine without a license fairly often. this braces incident is just 1 amongst many reports that show up on google.

Then its obvious you dont have a LE background because that incident at the same airport you claim to work at. That screeners actions most certainly was a plant, and I dont see it as a joke at all. We as LEO cant do that if we do that that case will get tossed out in a hurry there is a high risk that we would be the one in jail.

just wondering what would you call that inciddent. if you say joke your the one in for a suprise considering that ladies father is a lawyer I think this one will come to the surface again and TSA gonna end up in court over the actions of one of there employees (it doesnt matter he was fired, he was at the time of the incident).

No children on the NFL, but names. Geez you havent drank the koolaid you have fallen in the vat. Im sorry but there are kids on the list, mikey is a perfect example of this. The redress program yeah that doesnt seem to work because mikeys family (father and son) havent heard a thing. If TSA wanted to remove this egg from there face would make it so that the airline can delete it from there end, not have to go through yet another red tape process that there hasnt been a single report of REDRESS being done. Then having read the reports it only seems the way to get off the list is to be a congress critter or a act of congress.

To_Protect_and_Serve said...

West - Thats a nice ideal but what options does a passenger have when the No,1,2,3 stripers dont follow the "rules"(speaking of rules where that list) or make up the rules(ala LAX Nexus) or refuse to get the security manager, AFSD, FSD. TSA needs to publish its rules referring to the website or "we do things differently here" doesnt work as it just makes you look rogue in the public's eye.

Please drop the semantics of the NFL as it just makes you look bad. TSA needs to either fix the problem or drop the list completely. Everytime a incident show up just proves TSA doesnt have its act together and TSA employees dont have any common sense.

BTW you are aware that a DL is not a ID but rather a permit to operate a motor vehicle.

Then please tell me why you even check IDs since you dont compare them against any list or service. Then how long is this ID training class and your "basic" screener training? was it 12-18-24 months like the police academy including the Criminal Justice degrees? Then dragnetting for fakes (amongst other things) isnt part of your job as your not LEO. Turning someone over to LE may get the person charged but it will be thrown out in court as a 4th amendment violation.

Then you you say its in your "mandate" but I haven't seen it in a USC or CFR the only one i see is regarding the operator of the aircraft not TSA.

---------------------------------
Anonymous said...

The father cannot prove that this happened.

TSA cannot prove that it did not happen.

I have to commend TSA for even commenting on this since they did not have to. The usual gov protocol would be to not discuss it and delete all comments mentioning it.

No matter how hard it is for some of you to understand, this blog and this post is a good thing. It shows the govt. is changing for the better.


umm I dont know about you but i would take the word of a sworn law enforcement officer any day of the week over any TSA employee especially considering this agencys history along with the number of incidents that keep popping up.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe you could bring some peer pressure to bear on the "bad apples" to clean up their act?"

That would totally work if the number of bad apples is low. However, in the TSO powder planting incident for instance the whole checkpoint personnel know about it and even the supervisors didn't do anything about the reports.

To still believe the bad-apple theory is very very hard in case of the TSA.

Anonymous said...

That would totally work if the number of bad apples is low. However, in the TSO powder planting incident for instance the whole checkpoint personnel know about it and even the supervisors didn't do anything about the reports.

To still believe the bad-apple theory is very very hard in case of the TSA.


It should be the one good apple in a barrel of bad apples.

Anonymous said...

**Anonymous Said --- umm I dont know about you but i would take the word of a sworn law enforcement officer any day of the week over any TSA employee**

Oh yeah... Just like the Secret Service Officer with the sippy-cup, right?

http://tinyurl.com/ykq72tw

I respect the cops as much as I rspect the screeners. They both have jobs to do. They both have good officers. They both have bad officers.

To_Protect_and_Serve said...

Anonymous said... @ February 23, 2010 3:42 PM

I still contend theres more video then what TSA decided to show. It is amazing that video that even remotely supports TSA (or can be spun that way IE EWR lover dump) is found but yet when it doesnt never sees the light of day. Im still of the opinion that the lover guy isnt the problem but the TSO who is guilty of dereliction of duty and abandoning there post so they can make a personal phone call.

yeah well considering the whole liquid stupidity is based on junk science with no basis in reality nor is backed by science groups or well known scientist. TSA claims "experts" but doesnt reveal them, but uses "just trust us" sorry it doesnt pass the reality or sniff test.

Then even in the trial a robot had to do the mixing because of the fumes and how unstable the the compound was which means it wouldnt have survived the trip to the airport let alone undetected because of the smell.

Anony do you have a degree in science say chemistry, well I do in addition to CJ degree.

HappyToHelp said...

To_Protect_and_Serve said...
“Then you you say its in your "mandate" but I haven't seen it in a USC or CFR the only one i see is regarding the operator of the aircraft not TSA.”

When created, TSA was given a number of responsibilities. One of its most significant duties was to “enter into memoranda of understanding with Federal agencies or other entities to share or otherwise cross-check as necessary data on individuals identified on Federal agency databases who may pose a risk to transportation or national security."

49 U.S.C. § 114(h)(1)

Under the law that created TSA, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, the TSA administrator is responsible for overseeing aviation security (P.L. 107-71) and has the authority to establish security procedures at airports (49 C.F.R. § 1540.107). Passengers who fail to comply with security procedures may be prohibited from entering the secure area of airports to catch their flight (49 C.F.R. § 1540.105(a)(2). Additionally, in Gilmore v. Gonzalez, 435 F.3d 1125 (9th Cir. 2006) the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiff’s constitutional challenges to a passenger identification policy.

This initiative is simply a way for us to better enforce the no-fly list and ensure the safety of the traveling public. No secret motives, no hidden agendas, just a security enhancement aimed at people trying to game the system.


Tim
TSA Blog Team

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes:

Yeah, if son was so "abused" why did he wait 11 months to say anything to TSA? And why, when asked, could Thomas not name the "airport manager" he allegedly called to report this.

Duhhh ... who do you think we has reporting it to when he called, RIGHT AFTER THE INCIDENT??? Regis Philbin, maybe?

And as for his memory of the manager's name ... can you tell me the details of every phone call you had on March 19, 2009?

I thought so.

The guy tried to register a complaint, and got stonewalled. It's only when, many months later, word of his incident got passed to a newspaper columnist that the story went viral, and suddenly he received the apology he deserved. How is any of this his fault?

TSO from PHL said...

Bob Thomas said...
I am the father of the little boy, Ryan, who was forced to remove his supportive leg braces and walk through the metal detector at PHL airport.

First of all, Mr. Ellis did NOT call me and offer an apology. It was during my phone conversation with the Supervisor of Customer Service that Mr. Ellis entered into the conversation. And that was only at the very end on speaker phone! Isn't that right, Bob?

Secondly, the incident WAS reported to a supervisor. It was his responsibility to file a written report over this incident -not me, my wife or my disabled son.

Upon our return from Florida I did attempt to find out who I could contact to file a complaint about our humiliating experience but I never received any call back or correspondence from the airport manager.

I have never questioned the need for airport security. Bottom line is that the TSA failed miserably in dealing with this situation. They blatantly violated their own written screening directives in addressing individuals who are classified as "Special Needs".

It is becoming more apparent that PHL has serious screening issues and inept, unqualified, untrained agents. Perhaps it's time to clean house beginning with the the airport director. After all, he is ultimately responsible for the actions of his employees.

February 22, 2010 2:52 PM
***********************************
Mr. Thomas, can you tell us what airline you were flying, and what terminal you left from? What time of the day was it? Did you submit the requested information to the supervisor when you reported the incident? Likely he/she would have asked for your name, and other information, and probably have given you a form to fill out. These are all part of steps that must be taken to file a complaint with the supervisor. I apologize for your family's experience at PHL and I assure you, it is not the norm in our procedures.

Tomas said...

Tomas said:

All I can say is "Well, It's Philadelphia, what do you expect?"

TSO from PHL replied:

Thanks Tomas, again, guilty by association right? This is the kind of childish name calling that ticks me off. Lets set the record straight, one "mistake" or "screw up" or whatever it is that this incident was, does not make everyone who works at TSA or in Philadelphia guilty by association.

________________

You appear to have ignored the remainder of my post that referred to my prior personal experience with more than one TSO at PHL and their poor handling of me as a handicapped person. (I did not repeat any details - they've been posted here before.)

PHL is the ONLY place I have been treated poorly by TSA folks (Continental flights), and a larger than usual number of "problems" appear to mention PHL.

Perhaps it is more of an inability to communicate in a civilized and intelligent manner by some of the TSOs at PHL, but whatever it is, the problem begins at the management levels there or it would not continue to exist.

So, here we have it, passing through multiple airports with actually very good handling by assorted TSA folks, EXCEPT for PHL where three separate TSOs failed at their jobs with me (and this is not counting not catching the pocket knife I had forgotten I had in my pocket until I emptied it into the grey tray, and allowing me to carry onto the plane).

No, PHL is on my list not just for the incident in this post by Blogger Bob. I have my own reasons and experience. It is why I won't be back to PHL.

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "West, why bother notifying TSA if anything like this happens in the future? Given TSA's unresponsive attitude/total contempt towards the traveling public and TSA's circle the wagons mentality with bad press, why should anyone trust anything that any TSA manager has to say?

We view TSA managers good at covering up for the general incompetance found at checkpoints and little else. Your agency worked hard to lose the trust of the American people in such a short time. It will take decades to regain that trust."

The only way we as an agency can begin to address issues that arise, is to know about them. I can't fix what I don't know is broken on my car, the same with the agency. If problems arise, they have to be brought to the attention of the management in order to be addressed properly. That is the point that I keep making on here, the more data we have on things that happen, the better we can pinpoint corrective or punitive actions properly.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "So the father did notify your agency. Nothing was done or apparently forwarded to higher mangement.

Seems the checkpoint supervisor/manager should be held accountable for failing to notify superiors.

Probably won't happen since TSA deflects accountability in most cases.

TSA=Failure"

I also pointed out that there are steps to take after not getting a satisfactory response from the first report.

I will say again, when you do not get a satisfacatory response with the initial complaint, visit Got Feedback. If you still do not get a satisfactory response, you can move to the general contact info for TSA at:

https://contact.tsa.dhs.gov/DynaForm.aspx?FormID=10

If that does not yield a satisfactory response, the person can move to the DHS feedback phone lines here:

Operator Number: 202-282-8000
Comment Line: 202-282-8495

or you can post at TRIP online at :

http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1169676919316.shtm

Finally if that does not give you a satisfactory response, you can mail a letter to Secretary Napolitano at :

Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

I hope that some of you take advantage of all these links to help us address issues more effectively in the future.

West
TSA Blog Team

TSO Jacob said...

Anon said… “Will it take someone assaulting a TSO and being acquitted for you people to wake up and realize how completely you've failed?”

TSO Jacob said… “Anon, There is absolutely no reason anyone would have a justification for assaulting a TSO in this case. The fact is if such an assault had happened the individual would have been CONVITED of the assault.”

To Protect and Serve said… “In my jurisdiction if you commit assault and battery the victim has the right to defend themselves. The victim also wont be charged with any crime because its considered self defense.”

----

No judge in their right mind is going to accept a self defense claim when some passenger commits assault and/or battery just because a TSO informed them they would need additional screening. If a TSO walks up to you and kicks you in the shin you DO have the right to defend yourself. If a TSO walks up to you and tells you that you need additional screening you DO NOT have the right to attack the TSO. You can state that you will not comply with the instructions and ask to speak to someone who has more authority (i.e. the supervisor) but you do not have the right to assault the TSO and you will be convicted if you do.

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "Well TSA does want to look at the nude images of children and adults using its WBI Porno Machines!"

Actually, TSA wants to use effective tools to screen passengers and their belongings to prevent dangerous items from getting on planes. I have never seen a piece of equipment we use that has the nomenclature "porno machine". If you are referring to the WBIs, they are able to detect non metallic (and metallic as well) items under the passengers clothing. It is not perfect, but it is another tool that the agency can use to prevent dangerous items from getting on airplanes.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

GroovyMarlin sez - "To the hard-working TSOs who follow procedures, adhere to policies, and consistently do the right thing: thank you, and I am so sorry that your work is maligned because of the "bad apples" or "rogue employees" or whatever you want to call the minority of TSA employees who consistently do it wrong. I think that you should be as upset as the flying public by these incidents. Maybe you could bring some peer pressure to bear on the "bad apples" to clean up their act?"

We appreciate the kind words Groovy, the vast majority of our workforce do just what you indicate. Most of us exert peer pressure (and even report fellow employees) when we see things that are wrong.

I hate that most of the press we get is for the "Bad Apples" and not for the many great things we do as a workforce. Most of the TSA offices do charity work and community projects throughout the year. We do not seek to promote this because most of us do it because it is simply the right thing to do. Hopefully we will see less bad press (for the right reasons) and more good press because there is not enough bad press to put out!

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

To protect and Serve sez - "West - Thats a nice ideal but what options does a passenger have when the No,1,2,3 stripers dont follow the "rules"(speaking of rules where that list) or make up the rules(ala LAX Nexus) or refuse to get the security manager, AFSD, FSD. TSA needs to publish its rules referring to the website or "we do things differently here" doesnt work as it just makes you look rogue in the public's eye."

If the 1,2,3 stripeers refuse to follow the regulations, then the passenger needs to note the time, checkpoint, and all names involved they can recall and file the information on Got Feedback. I agree that if all these folks refuse to get a manager, they should be taken to task and treated accordingly. I actually agree that we need to do a better job of posting passenger rules, and the prohibited items lists. We do things differently here should not be the case, we all have the same SOP to follow, and it should be pretty much the same everywhere. The only time I use the WDIDH phrase is when I am comparing how lucky we are to work at a smaller airport and have the ability to take more time than the TSOs at, say, LAX or DCA. If these situations occur, and they are not reported until someone in management takes some action, then we are not going to be able to effect meaningful change.

TPAS also sez - "Please drop the semantics of the NFL as it just makes you look bad. TSA needs to either fix the problem or drop the list completely. Everytime a incident show up just proves TSA doesnt have its act together and TSA employees dont have any common sense."

You can say semantics all you want to. There is a redress program, and it is used effectively all the time. It doesn't make me look bad to give the contact information for the redress POC, just informed.

The ID check is simply to ascertain that you are the person on the boarding pass.

And finally, TPAS sez - "umm I dont know about you but i would take the word of a sworn law enforcement officer any day of the week over any TSA employee especially considering this agencys history along with the number of incidents that keep popping up."

Then I have to say that you don't know the vast majority of people that work for TSA. This is actually a sad statement, and a bit off-putting. TSOs take an oath as well, a large percentage of the folks wearing this uniform and working at static positions in the agency have been LEOs, FAMs, are former military, and there are even some former FBI agents in the mix. I have known LEOs that were bad apples. To identify one group as being more trustworthy than another based solely on the fact that one carries a gun, or has been a LEO (which includes me BTW), is a sworn officer (which would include TSOs BTW), or is wearing funny looking clown feet (which has included me before) is a fairly naive thing to do. I take the word of people I trust only. All others I will take their word at face value (until there is a reason to doubt) unless the SOP says to do it different. If we follow the SOP, there should not be a reason to have to rely on someones word for anything.

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
Anon sez - "West, why bother notifying TSA if anything like this happens in the future? Given TSA's unresponsive attitude/total contempt towards the traveling public and TSA's circle the wagons mentality with bad press, why should anyone trust anything that any TSA manager has to say?

We view TSA managers good at covering up for the general incompetance found at checkpoints and little else. Your agency worked hard to lose the trust of the American people in such a short time. It will take decades to regain that trust."

The only way we as an agency can begin to address issues that arise, is to know about them. I can't fix what I don't know is broken on my car, the same with the agency. If problems arise, they have to be brought to the attention of the management in order to be addressed properly. That is the point that I keep making on here, the more data we have on things that happen, the better we can pinpoint corrective or punitive actions properly.

West
TSA Blog Team

February 25, 2010 1:28 PM
..............
When higher TSA management finds out that local TSA staff did not respond or blew off a citizen then strong and immediate corrective measures should be taken by TSA to discipline those who did not do their jobs. And that would include firing the FSD at airports like FLL that cover up for potential thieves.

That would show the public that TSA takes responsibility for poor performance.

Fixing TSA problems is a TSA function, not the publics.

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
RB sez - "Well TSA does want to look at the nude images of children and adults using its WBI Porno Machines!"

Actually, TSA wants to use effective tools to screen passengers and their belongings to prevent dangerous items from getting on planes. I have never seen a piece of equipment we use that has the nomenclature "porno machine". If you are referring to the WBIs, they are able to detect non metallic (and metallic as well) items under the passengers clothing. It is not perfect, but it is another tool that the agency can use to prevent dangerous items from getting on airplanes.

West
TSA Blog Team

February 25, 2010 7:05 PM
................
TSA is moving rapidly forward with installations of WBI machines across the country.

They do show very detailed images as evidenced by numerous reports.

Using these machines to strip search children qualifies in my book as creating and viewing child porn.

I will support legal action against any TSA employee who views children with one of these machines.

Anonymous said...

I heard this story before!....But I cant remember when...

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "When higher TSA management finds out that local TSA staff did not respond or blew off a citizen then strong and immediate corrective measures should be taken by TSA to discipline those who did not do their jobs. And that would include firing the FSD at airports like FLL that cover up for potential thieves.

That would show the public that TSA takes responsibility for poor performance.

Fixing TSA problems is a TSA function, not the publics."

I agree that issues should be addressed by the agency when they are discovered.

I also agree that it is TSAs responsibility to make the needed adjustments and follow up on them.

I happen to think that passengers filing comments (positive or negative) are an effective tool that the agency can use to direct resources to areas that need them. This does not mean it is the passengers job to fix TSA, merely that they can help the agency by informing them when things like this occur.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "TSA is moving rapidly forward with installations of WBI machines across the country.

They do show very detailed images as evidenced by numerous reports.

Using these machines to strip search children qualifies in my book as creating and viewing child porn.

I will support legal action against any TSA employee who views children with one of these machines."

Any passenger has the right to refuse screening by the WBI, and undergo alternate screening.

If the parents of a child do not want their child to go through, then they can also undergo alternate screening.

When a child goes through the machine, the operator is simply clearing the child for possible threats.

The images shown are not as detailed as some would have you believe. Some of the machines show a fairly detailed image, but as shown on this blog and in the other information I have seen posted it is not the same as "porno" pictures. I would argue that by definition these images do not even come close to the word porno.

Porno is listed as images or films or drawings with no artistic or literary value other than to stimulate sexual desire.

This doesn't match because it is not imagery with this singular reason in mind. The imagery is created with the purpose of making certain that a person doesn't have dangerous or illegal items on them, not stimulation of sexual desire.

Now you can try to make the case that some people out there will be stimulated by these images ( I am certain there are a few), but there are also some people out there that are stimulated by images of socks ( there are a few of them as well). These images are created for a specific use, nothing more.

The reference to porno is a sensationalistic attempt to influence peoples opinions by using inflammatory terms (this is an effective tactic, but it is just not true).

The agency is using these machines for screening purposes, and the passengers always have the ability to choose alternate types of screening.

West
TSA Blog Team

To_Protect_and_Serve said...

TSO Jacob

Let me simplify it to you since all of the legalese is probably a little much. you dont have to touch someone to make it a crime, just placing them in fear of harm is assault and touching the person is battery. the severity of the charges is dependent on the situation.

then if you jump back over to FlyerTalk on the gate search still thread post 771 in the travel and safety forum where one of your fellow employees did a sneak attack. In that case if the person who had this done to them put the offender on the ground and restrained them until LE arrived. Despite what you think in that a judge would not even certify the charges. meanwhile the attempted snatcher is going to have the book thrown at them by the local DA. Charges are likely to include Battery (or unlawful contact/touch - wording is depending on local code) attempted theft coercion/force with the severity depending on the value of the contents of the bag. There are others but its dependent on local codes/laws on the books.

Personally I'm surprised this person didn't lay out and restrain the offender as I most certainly would have done that probably on instinct and been calling for LE to take control of this person and to file a criminal complaint.

But then it also begs the question. If you did you job at the checkpoint why do you have to do a gate check. Is this because you cant do your job (if its a dragnet your asking for a legal challenge in court that your not likely to win) or i this to prop up your budget request to congress.

If its the latter then i would say you need to make sure all checkpoint lines are open first as there are plenty of reports that not all checkpoint lines are open (with wait time in excess of 10 mins) but yet flights are being checked again and being delayed. If its to prop up your budget request then its time to cut the fat (TSAs budget) and get rid of the excess.

West Im sorry TSA employees aren't officers more or less government employees is about as high as i would place them due to history and pattern of behavior.

Then yeah there are bad apples in every type of job but the StN ratio is alot higher with TSA based on the amount of news reports that are constantly coming out and the severity of the crimes being committed, and im not talking about the verbal assault of DYWTFT that is so commonly reported.

Anonymous said...

I think that it would be fun to have everyone who posts here, man up and say what business you work at. Go ahead, lets put down all of those business' that do so well about customer service. I want to hear from these people, who say that TSA is so bad, and that everyone at TSA use to be hamburger flippers, who could not get a decent job, where do you work? Are you saying that no one in your profession as not done something that brings any negative attention toward that profession? I dont know about you, but have you read the news lately? Cops, teacher, lawyers, professors, doctors, bankers, real estate, car companies, etc, etc. Go ahead tell me your line of work, man up. You want to paint everyone who works for TSA in the same light, put the light on your profession first. I dont live in a glass house, do you? Yes I work for TSA, I am just as upset about individuals who do not represent me, or who I work for now; yes we have bad apples, but everyone does. Now everyone is going to say, if you are so proud of what you do, then do not hide behind an anonymous name, be proud tell me who you are. Great does telling you my name make a difference to what I say, does it make anything that I have said different, I dont think so but if you need to know it is Danny, I have been with TSA since 2002, i have been a TSO, LTSO, an instuctor, and have been in baggage and checkpoint screening, I do dither of those now, but you see me at the checkpoint, I am a BDO. You can ask all of the questions that you want, I will answer them, but only if you do the same here as I have done. I want your name and profession, I will ask you questions and you answer them so that all of us understand them, and I will do the same. Deal???

Anonymous said...

"...There is a redress program, and it is used effectively all the time."

Do you have any stats to back this up?

How many redress applications have there been? What is the average time for redress to occur?

TSO from PHL said...

Tomas said:
Perhaps it is more of an inability to communicate in a civilized and intelligent manner by some of the TSOs at PHL, but whatever it is, the problem begins at the management levels there or it would not continue to exist.
***********************************
Tomas, I do not work on the terminal that serves Continental, so I can not speak of the actions of TSOs on that checkpoint. Perhaps you should contact HQ about your experiences, giving names of the TSOs involved for resolution.

Jodi Albertini said...

Are you kidding me? Of course the TSA is designed to serve a purpose. But, whomever is monitoring each security check point must have some sort of social guage in order to interpret what is appropriate and what is clearly inappropriated! No wonder the father disputed, the braces were clearly visible and provided a perfect explanation for the discrepencies in the screening process. What about those who have metal plates in their skull or spine? Or those with a pacemaker? It is obvious that some hard nosed action was taken in this given situation, and plausible common sense was clearly not applied!

Blackhawk WarrioR68 said...

Under these circumstances I'm going to assume that every comment on this page is hear say because that's how it looks to me! Look i've seen a lot in my day and age, but when it comes to the men and women who extend their time to protect and serve us, I do have to extend my gratitude to them! Maybe a mistake was here, and the officer could have been a newer employee or something. I believe that as time progresses most TSO's become more experienced and know how to handle situation's on their on feet! I have to express gratitude to Robert Ellis for his going out his way to extend an apology to the family and to express remorse on his behalf! i think TSA is shaping up to be a prominently agency, BUT like all federal agencies is still growing and learning from it's mistakes!

Anonymous said...

Let me clear everything up right now this is for the common PAX and the TSA employees
TSA is a government agency made up by YOUR president George Bush he made this agency because of the attacks of 9/11 this situation with the removal of the braces should not have happened but,there are a number of reasons this mishap happened. This employee could've been new or didn't know the little boy had braces on because of his shoes, you must understand they are all people just like you and me. They have a right to make mistakes too, you also have to understand that they are under pressure all day and sometimes things may slip. Many people complain about the wrong they do but you never give TSA credit for the right they do it's just like a water filter some people get caught that you know nothing about and all the clear people go....think about it has it been any airline terriost attacks lately???? ok then stop complaining and let the people do their jobs!!

RB said...

anaon said in part ....."Let me clear everything up right now this is for the common PAX and the TSA employees TSA is a government agency made up by YOUR president George Bush he made this agency....."
...............
Congress pass the bill creating TSA and the President at the time signed that bill into law.

Dr. Richardson said...

Where is the world going I don't know. Next time I might be asked to remove my tooth braces, after all it's metal right. Poor kid.

TSO from PHL said...

Anonymous said...
I think that it would be fun to have everyone who posts here, man up and say what business you work at. Go ahead, lets put down all of those business' that do so well about customer service. I want to hear from these people, who say that TSA is so bad, and that everyone at TSA use to be hamburger flippers, who could not get a decent job, where do you work? Are you saying that no one in your profession as not done something that brings any negative attention toward that profession? I dont know about you, but have you read the news lately? Cops, teacher, lawyers, professors, doctors, bankers, real estate, car companies, etc, etc. Go ahead tell me your line of work, man up. You want to paint everyone who works for TSA in the same light, put the light on your profession first. I dont live in a glass house, do you? Yes I work for TSA, I am just as upset about individuals who do not represent me, or who I work for now; yes we have bad apples, but everyone does. Now everyone is going to say, if you are so proud of what you do, then do not hide behind an anonymous name, be proud tell me who you are. Great does telling you my name make a difference to what I say, does it make anything that I have said different, I dont think so but if you need to know it is Danny, I have been with TSA since 2002, i have been a TSO, LTSO, an instuctor, and have been in baggage and checkpoint screening, I do dither of those now, but you see me at the checkpoint, I am a BDO. You can ask all of the questions that you want, I will answer them, but only if you do the same here as I have done. I want your name and profession, I will ask you questions and you answer them so that all of us understand them, and I will do the same. Deal???

February 27, 2010 2:54 PM
***********************************
NEVER going to happen Danny, and I'll tell you why. Because all of those anons that complain and moan and gripe about how bad a job we do, they have internet muscle, but they have no grapefruits to man up and tell us who they work for and what they do. It's painfully obvious to me that their mission in life is simply to be critical of our agency and our government. They have no legitimate purpose, but to complain, so they hide behind an anon posting, calling us losers, and perverts, when in reality it is their own twisted sense of insecurity that causes them to ridecule us.

Anonymous said...

"...so they hide behind an anon posting,"

you mean like "TSO from Phil"?

Anonymous said...

And we want a Goverment agency like TSA controling Healthcare?

AngryMiller said...

anonymous spewed:

NEVER going to happen Danny, and I'll tell you why. Because all of those anons that complain and moan and gripe about how bad a job we do, they have internet muscle, but they have no grapefruits to man up and tell us who they work for and what they do. It's painfully obvious to me that their mission in life is simply to be critical of our agency and our government. They have no legitimate purpose, but to complain, so they hide behind an anon posting, calling us losers, and perverts, when in reality it is their own twisted sense of insecurity that causes them to ridecule us.

Hmmm, tell me what airport you work at and some contact information so I can look you up if I'm ever at your airport and we'll sit down and talk about attitudes traveler vs TSA.

Anonymous said...

Passengers are truly funny especially the ones who have never seen a plane blow with just a little explosive,like you would find in a brace.So how about this we don't screen anyone with a brace because the public will get upset and let Joe Terrorist get on the plane with his brace filled with explosives and lets see how many people come back and say"Oh TsA should have done more"really?Wake up people we are the good guys trying to save your life.Start youtubing and see what a little explosive can do.

Anonymous said...

"So how about this we don't screen anyone with a brace because the public will get upset"

How about this: You learn to do your job properly and without abusing handicapped children?

Bob, is this the caliber of person we're supposed to trust to grope and take naked pictures of our children?

Anonymous said...

RB said...

"I will support legal action against any TSA employee who views children with one of these machines."

And you will probably lose. The government is not going to do something to cost them lots of money in court cases that is just silly. It is rare for policy created by the government to not be vetted by legal sources before used. That said... goodluck winning.

Anonymous said...

Anon said...
"And we want a Goverment agency like TSA controling Healthcare?"

It is funny that people point at the TSA when in fact all government is pretty much run the same. Government is government.

Anonymous said...

WOW, so this is TRUE and you react with a list of ways we can "give feedback" and "contact TSA"?????

Totally inadequate response. You are a disgusting agency.

Anonymous said...

I'm so totally sure that the family and the child are satisfied with Mr. Ellis's "apology".

RB said...

Anonymous said...
RB said...

"I will support legal action against any TSA employee who views children with one of these machines."

And you will probably lose. The government is not going to do something to cost them lots of money in court cases that is just silly. It is rare for policy created by the government to not be vetted by legal sources before used. That said... goodluck winning.

March 4, 2010 9:32 PM
.........
Seeing that TSA lawyers rely on Google for a legal opinion makes my chances better than fair.

Also, I'm not talking about legal action against the government, just TSA employees as individuals.

GSOLTSO said...

TPAS sez - "West Im sorry TSA employees aren't officers more or less government employees is about as high as i would place them due to history and pattern of behavior.

Then yeah there are bad apples in every type of job but the StN ratio is alot higher with TSA based on the amount of news reports that are constantly coming out and the severity of the crimes being committed, and im not talking about the verbal assault of DYWTFT that is so commonly reported."

TSOs are officers because that is the defined job name, and they take an oath to serve. Just because they do not fit your personal definition of "officer" does not mean you get to rename the genre. Most of the people that wear the TSO uniform feel just as strongly about their responsibilities, and take just as much pride in their position, as you do in yours (and rightly so).

There are bad apples everywhere, it is impossible to get away from them. One problem this agency has is almost every single incident that happens with a negative impact (theft, improper screening, bringing a gun to work, what have you) gets national attention. A LEO in podunk gets local press, and in some cases state wide press and once in awhile national press.

I agree that DYWTFT is a terrible phrase and I personally do not ever want to see it used. It is a counterproductive phrase and doesn't accomplish much of anything but bad press and an even worse taste in the mouth of the person hearing it.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Anon said...
"And we want a Goverment agency like TSA controling Healthcare?"

It is funny that people point at the TSA when in fact all government is pretty much run the same. Government is government.
Thats the point Govt. can't do anything right. The dems talk about waste,fraud and abuse--why arn't we doing anything to prevent or do we need a law. I worked for TSA and you never have anyone take off a brace. The managers and supervisors as well as the officer should be fired

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
"There are bad apples everywhere, it is impossible to get away from them. One problem this agency has is almost every single incident that happens with a negative impact (theft, improper screening, bringing a gun to work, what have you) gets national attention. A LEO in podunk gets local press, and in some cases state wide press and once in awhile national press."


A cop in Podunk is a local matter.
TSA is a Federal agency, and as such deserves national scrutiny. It should be held to a very high standard of accountability and any TSO who cannot do their job in a professional manner should ultimately be terminated. Your job would be easier if the jokers in TSA were gone. Quit making excuses, West- the jerks don't deserve your defense, and the traveling public doesn't deserve to be abused by them.

Earl Pitts said...

@Anon: "And you will probably lose. The government is not going to do something to cost them lots of money in court cases that is just silly. It is rare for policy created by the government to not be vetted by legal sources before used. That said... goodluck winning."

Yeah, just like the cash as contraband rule that was vetted by Francine the Googling Lawyer that had to be eliminated due to constitutional issues in the Bierfeldt suit. Or TSA's exceeding the scope of it's search in the Fofana case that got his evidence tossed.

Just because something is vetted by a lawyer doesn't mean that a judge will ultimately buy the argument. The lawyer review is "do we think this is legal, and would we have a good argument to tell a judge if challenged?"

There have been many successful suits against the government (fed, state, local) for actions that were vetted by lawyers beforehand yet found to be legal.

Earl

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "A cop in Podunk is a local matter.
TSA is a Federal agency, and as such deserves national scrutiny. It should be held to a very high standard of accountability and any TSO who cannot do their job in a professional manner should ultimately be terminated. Your job would be easier if the jokers in TSA were gone. Quit making excuses, West- the jerks don't deserve your defense, and the traveling public doesn't deserve to be abused by them."

I agree the local LEO is a local issue, I was merely pointing out that there is more press on TSA because we are a federal organization. I agree 100% that we have to be held to a higher standard. The reason I made the point about LEos was the individual I responded to implied he would trust LEOs simply because they were LEOs, and I disagree with that thought process.

As for not being able to do the job professsionally, I am with you in many ways. If the TSO proves to be unprofessional, or incapable of doing the job in a professional manner, I ultimately think they should be terminated as well. Yes, my job would be much easier if the "bad apples" or "unprofessional" TSOs were not here.

I do not make excuses, I do not defend jerks, and passengers should never be abused - period.

West
TSA Blog Team

REG said...

To: GSOLTSO, you said "I do not make excuses, I do not defend jerks, and passengers should never be abused - period."

Are you saying if one of your fellow "officers" was not doing things correctly or by SOP and I questioned it, you would stand up for me at the checkpoint?

Anonymous said...

TSO Jacob
A response to YOU!

TSA does NOT dispute the parents account nor the news account, regarding the toddler who was FORCED to remove his leg braces, or be deined the right to travel.

The TSA is nothing more than "Security Theater" put on by a bunch of Tyrranical Goons...

free premium proxies said...

Do you guys get it yet? This is why people hate the TSA and flying in general. Why can't you get your people in line? It sure seems like the "rogues" outnumber the employees who give a damn.