Monday, October 3, 2011

Cancer Patient Screening At JFK: Treating Passengers with Dignity and Respect

We do our best to treat passengers with the dignity and respect they deserve, but in Lori Dorn’s case, it looks like we missed our mark. We sincerely regret and apologize for the experience Mrs. Dorn had at JFK. The Federal Security Director for JFK has personally reached out to learn more about what happened so he can help ensure that she and others will have better travel experiences in the future. While security is our primary mission, he apologized to Mrs. Dorn for not delivering the customer respect he wants all passengers flying through JFK to experience and offered to meet her the next time she flies through this airport.
 
I want to take this opportunity to clarify a few things about the screening process.

Medical cards, whether from a physician or TSA, do not exempt you from screening. They're a great way for passengers to discreetly let us know about a medical situation or disability they have. This is very helpful for the passenger and our officers because it lets us know how to better screen the passenger. Passengers may present these cards at the checkpoint to our officers. In this case, our officers should have allowed the passenger to present her card and been more empathetic to her situation while completing the screening process. Passengers who would like to create their own card can go here.
Private screening can be requested by any passenger for any reason and in situations such as this one, our officers should offer it.
If advanced imaging technology detects an anomaly that cannot be cleared, secondary screening is required to ensure the passenger does not have threat items, such as explosives concealed under clothing. We sincerely regret any instance such as this one when a passenger does not have a positive experience.

TSA has just rolled out an in-service technical training course focused on screening prosthetics. This curriculum focuses on all types of prosthetics and the requirements of the standard operating procedures related to the screening of Persons with Disabilities and Medical Conditions. It is a four part curriculum with one of the modules focusing on different scenarios and the decision making (critical thinking) process and the outcomes of the decision made by the officer. The training should be complete nationwide in a little over a year.
 
TSA works with numerous groups including breast cancer organizations to continuously refine and enhance our procedures to improve the passenger experience while also ensuring the safety of the traveling public.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team 


If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

106 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whether in public or in private, it's still a violation of our rights. In fact, when a crime is being committed by anyone (including those with fake badges), I prefer to have witnesses

Anonymous said...

Translation: We screwed up (again!) and better apologize long and hard.

Of course, you're giving the screeners involved additional training. What I want to know is why they haven't already gotten this training to begin with.

This isn't a few days or weeks after 9/11/01. It's TEN YEARS LATER. Surely, in those 10 years (3652+ days, 87648+ hours!), you've been able to put together a training course for screeners??


Evidently not.

TSA- your tax money at work.

Scott Beale said...

Thank you. TSA and the Federal Security Director for JFK handled this really well and were really response to our concerns. Hopefully this will help prevent a simliar situation from happening again in the future.

Anonymous said...

It's nice that you've decided to do some critical thinking training. Too bad no thinking, critial or otherwise, was involved with the decision to purchase expensive, untested, dangerous strip-search scanners that do nothing but generate false positives on private, harmless medical devices.

We told you this would happen, we explained how math and probability work, and still you went ahead with guns, and radiation, blazing, because you're too stupid or scared or something to admit the truth.

Shame on you. Shame on each and every last one of you.

You can't claim to care about dignity and privacy while you're groping and abusing people for having breast prosthetics and ostomy bags and adult diapers and pressure garments. You're disgusting, and you're a disgrace, and you're a terrorist victory.

Shame on you.

Lori Dorn said...

Thank you very much. I really appreciate the TSA taking the time to investigate my concerns.

Erica said...

I sincerely hope the insenstive officers are reprimanded.

Drew Olanoff said...

Thank you very much for apologizing and for dedicating yourselves to becoming more sensitive to situations out of peoples control.

Honestly, I am very impressed by the speed in which you responded. Please please don't let it happen to anyone else.

Nick said...

That's quite an odd use of the word "customer."

Anonymous said...

This is truly cold comfort if the "agents" don't apply the training. I was an international road warrior and in comparison to airports overseas the TSA is a joke. The attitudes and searches I've been subjected to first hand and witnessed are a joke. The "training" these "agents" go through truly seem to be a joke. Time and again suggestions have been made to bring in consultants from Israel. Their security are former mosad, military, etc. They make US TSA look like mall cops. Stop with the nonsense. Another suggestion is the secret shopper model. You need people under cover testing the TSA and reporting back on actions.

Tom Foolery said...

Glad to hear you're making changes to prevent this sort of thing from happening. Presumably, you track the number of complaints that each airport receives, and can show month-over-month reductions thanks to your efforts?

Anonymous said...

Extra training for screeners and a lot of compassion for those who need special care during extra screening. We realize safety is your job but a bit of TLC goes far for passengers.

Tryn said...

From http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/editorial_1374.shtm:

"Security Officer will offer you a private screening once it becomes known that you have a metal implant or implanted medical device."

There should have been no need to request it according to your own regulations.

Anonymous said...

Missed the mark is a minimalization. The agents caused her physical pain and emotional duress. In another setting their actions would closely resemble assault.

Anonymous said...

TSA agents must view passengers as fellow humans, not as objects to be screened. To that end, I would like the initial TSA agent, and the supervising TSA agent who escalated matters, to apologise to Ms. Dorn. Themselves, not via an agency overriding statement. That is how we teach children... consequences for poor behavior, and saying you are sorry. Oh, and happy Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Another full year for training... seriously? With all the unemployed these days, I think we can find people better suited to and capable of the job.

Anonymous said...

How many times have law-abiding taxpaying Americans heard excuses and regrets from the TSA? This disgraceful incident is not a training opportunity; it's not an opportunity to tweak bureaucratic human resource policies. Core values of dignity and respect must be hired; these values can not be taught. If the TSA intends to establish any sort of credibility with American taxpayers, it will quit sugar coating repeated inexcusable behaviors and take decisive and visible corrective action.

Russell said...

Bob, with all due respect, anytime you post about a situation where the TSA "misses the mark" stop after issuing the apology. Everything after that seems like you're trying to justify the actions which you're apologizing for.

Anonymous said...

Your entire organization should be disbanded. You do nothing besides inconvenience, humiliate and IRRADIATE the people wanting to travel. This is not progress, you have not foiled enough....excuse me, ANY terrorist plots to justify any money being invested in your department. Hey hasn't there been stories of people slipping GUNS past your "security"? In the eloquent words of Bob (office space), "what would you say it is.... you do here?"

Dan S. said...

So, Bob, what about the allegation that she (like so many others) was physically and visually separated from her belongings, during the course of her mistreatment, despite requests that the TSOs comply with TSA policies and allow the passenger to maintain sight of their belongings at all times during 'additional' screenings?

RandomlySelectedInmate said...

This is not a simple "oops" moment. You can't just casually say, "Sorry, ma'am. It appears we missed our mark for civility and compassion." I recently flew and after respectfully declining the scanners was treated like some sort of criminal.
Why would I have to wait 20 minutes for a pat down?
Why, during this wait time, would the TSA agent adjacent to me feel the need to berate me and dismiss my well documented and justified aversion to the scanners?
Why would the "pat down agent" refuse me access to my belongings that have already cleared the scanners for no other reason than to secure them so people don't wander off.

I wasn't able to see them and there were surely no friendly TSA agents watching my belongings. The agent spoke to me like I was mentally-ill and completely guilty of some unknown offense. I did wrestle an apology out of him following his visit to second base, but why did he treat me that way to begin with. Am I not a person? Am I not deserving of some better treatment? Respect those that pass through your gates and you may see the same returned in kind.

The Bad Yogi said...

What I particularly like is the almost-sincere tone: "It looks like we missed our mark." No, Bob, it doesn't LOOK like it, you did. Condescension is completely out of place.
And congratulations on not mentioning the attitude of the screener: the loud voice demanding instant compliance, or else. Obviously, there's no way the screener could have said, "I'm very sorry miss, but you can't proceed without a physical pat down" in a QUIET voice, intended just for the passenger, because that wouldn't have intimidated the other passengers.
And yes, your screeners ROUTINELY attempt to intimidate us: yelling, conflicting rules, and incomprehensible announcements, questions met with fury rather than answers, no attempts to explain the situation result in intimidation.

Nadav said...

It's good to see you found a way to balance between the need for security and the need for dignity.

However, as cruel as it may sound, I hope this method filters out the people who don't really need it. If people will start to take advantage of this system, it'll be useless, and we'll hear more stories of mistreated people. Notes from the doctor can be forged, and everyone knows how to pretend to be sick. We all did this as kids.

Nadav

Anonymous said...

As long as you keep using machines that produce images, instead of detecting trace chemicals, you will continue to detect "anomalies" with everyone who has a physical difference.

Stop whole body scans.

Anonymous said...

"The Federal Security Director for JFK has personally reached out to learn more about what happened so he can help ensure that she and others will have better travel experiences in the future."

A lot of good that will do. Thomas Sawyer got a apology the first time he was publicly humiliated by TSA. Nothing the second time.

The fact of the matter is that the TSA employees do what they pretty much want to do. When there's bad publicity, TSA management just circles the wagons and defends itself with all kinds of excuse. Bureaucracies don't change.

Anonymous said...

"Private screening can be requested by any passenger for any reason and in situations such as this one, our officers should offer it."

This is the errant policy. When intimate discussions become a necessary part of the screening process, our policy should MANDATE privacy, not just offer it. Also, whenever a passenger is removed from the immediate screening flow, ALL their belongings must go with them (to the private screening area for processing). Since I have a prosthetic hip, I am ALWAYS selected for secondary screening. I have personally experienced the separation from my property and can tell you it is unsettling and leaves a queasy feeling to know my belongings are exposed to uncontrolled access out of my sight while I am detained.

The bottom line is this: Never continue a private discussion in public and always keep the personal property secured within the passengers view. This would go a long way in reducing the perception of "Draconian behavior".

Hans said...

It's good to see you've moved beyond the "we've reviewed the situation and determined we followed procedure" response we usually get. So what about her belongings being out of sight? That's not procedure is it?

You (all of the TSA) should be ashamed of the treatment this woman received. Ms. Dorn is lucky to be alive. She didn't make a ruckus, she asked some questions and was taunted that she would miss her flight, a common (in my repeated experience) coercive technique used by TSA agents to get passengers to comply or not exercise their rights. "Dignity and respect they deserve", hardly. More like rude and dismissive.

Most likely Marc said...

A NOT Anonymous former "customer" said...

I fail to understand how the pat-down "ensured" anything.

Does the TSA offer training on what C4 feels like?

Anonymous said...

Blogger Tryn said...

From http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/editorial_1374.shtm:

"Security Officer will offer you a private screening once it becomes known that you have a metal implant or implanted medical device."

There should have been no need to request it according to your own regulations.


You're so cute thinking the TSA follows it's own rules.

Louisville KY said...

At least an apology was issued. Hopefully they will work to correct these types of issues in the future.

Anonymous said...

Again we see the uselessness of the TSA! There should be no need to apologize in this situation. An apology does not make the situation better!

Anonymous said...

Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, apologies are useless. We have far too much reliance on apologies and too little on legitimate response.

Apologies take the place of legitimate response. Apologize for the infraction of law, rule, good taste or human kindness and continue operating the same as ever. Paint over it with some farcical assignment of "retraining" and hope the masses will be appeased.

As far as I'm concerned, I want no apologies from, and no 'retraining' of, TSA; what I want is to have an immediate reorientation of their policy to follow the Constitution AS WRITTEN and not as some unlected dingbat in a black robe redefined it when tripping on his own sense of power.

There are no exceptions in the 4thAM for terrorism or panicky people scared of their own shadows. You wanna inspect anyone? find Probable Cause and get a warrant.

Sommer Gentry said...

Seriously, TSA? Just stop. No one believes in your fake security theater anyway. We'll let you keep your jobs and your fake badges and your worthless equipment. You can have my security fee. Just stop hurting people. Not a day goes by that you don't damage someone else: you are inflicting pain and sexual humiliation and needless medical risk on innocent people. Just stop HURTING PEOPLE. You know, you can't not know, that all this make-believe has nothing to do with safety and that no one can shield us from these vanishingly small risks. You know that you're tormenting rape survivors, humiliating transgendered people, training little children to be easy prey for sexual predators, and you know it's all for nothing. What could be wrong with you TSA leaders and employees that you're willing to damage people, to inflict serious pain on another human being, just so you can pretend that your "procedures" aren't a worthless lie?

Anonymous said...

Yeah... another fake apology. I notice she still would have had to undergo the search. They just would have somehow been 'sensitive' about it. Whatever.

I long for the day when you get defunded.

Anonymous said...

ADA-based lawsuit in 3... 2... 1

Anonymous said...

What a surprise - the response to yet another case of screener misconduct is "more training".

You know what they say about doing the same think over and over and expecting the results to be different.

Your entire organization is very broken. Another training class isn't going to fix it.

Anonymous said...

You know what; this time and this situation at this airport was investigated and thankfully apologized to her.... However, there are numerous other airports and personnel that will never get the message. Being a person will an artificial hip, and carrying a medical car, this mean nothing. I will be scanned and patted down until the end of time.

Anonymous said...

No one is going to be reprimanded by the TSA; that could affect the Federal pension of the officer since reprimands could lead to being fired, though that is a VERY difficult process in the Federal civil service. And the TSA is ALL about pensions, which is why TSA officers are now part of a union, The American Federation of Government Employees or the National Treasury Employees Union.

We don't hear much about this, but when security-related airport and airline ticket fees go up, you can bet the money is going to the union leaders.

Tressa Robbins said...

We found out very quickly when my husband had his knees replaced (with titanium) that the medical cards the surgeon gives you is worthless. On more than one occasion, we've tried to show it only to be waved at in dismissal (sometimes with eye rolling or looks of disdain) and pulled out of line for individual screening. We do understand the reasoning but are left to feel like we are a pain in the a** because they have to do their job! In addition, we are left standing there, feeling like we're in the way and a second class citizen, waiting on an "available" person to do the screening. Bottom line? The system needs to be revised.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
"Private screening can be requested by any passenger for any reason and in situations such as this one, our officers should offer it."

This is the errant policy. When intimate discussions become a necessary part of the screening process, our policy should MANDATE privacy, not just offer it.
............

The problem is that an Administrative Search is a public search, not a private search.

No search by TSA should be done in a manner where the search is not public.

Rvaya said...

I do find this quite disturbing. Issues like this should never have to happen, at least not this many years after the TSA have become what they are today.
I do hope some compensation will be given to Lori but to me a small blog post published on a blogger account of all things for the official TSA is a sad attempt to satisfy this issue.

Anonymous said...

At WHAT point does the TSA get it "right"? It's all to easy to ask for forgiveness after the fact.

We the people of the United States would like to see accountability for your mistakes.

It's the least you can since you are in violators of the 4th Amendment.

Anonymous said...

Oh.

ANOTHER "we did a handicapped person wrong" post.

With ANOTHER assurance of 'we will do better".

Just put this into rotation with the "we actually found something" posts and the "it wasn't our fault" posts.

Anonymous said...

Please hurry and build your Canadian wall--- we want to keep you out of our beautiful and free country.

how you can treat your own citizens like that, -- its right out Germany 1935

Anonymous said...

The TSA makes me ashamed to be American.

Anonymous said...

"Private screening can be requested by any passenger for any reason and in situations such as this one, our officers should offer it."

I would NEVER want to request a private screening with the TSA. As rude, and as touchy feely, and terrible as they are.... I can't imagine having to inconvenience one of them by asking for a private pat down, and what a pain it would be, and what would happen in that private pat down- as previous examples have shown with people who got called in for private screenings, and had security recordings 'magically disappear' when they've been abused, had reports of mistreating -but somehow all the evidence disappears?

Yeah. No thanks.
I'd rather not be molested at all in the first place, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

All of this, every last element of every TSA employee's arrogance and ignorance comes from the top down.

The TSA is a continual train wreck and the ongoing band-aid fixes do little or nothing to change the overall mindset.

The director should be fired and someone with some real-world experience, wisdom and most of all common sense needs to step in and radically update and upgrade the entire program, from the top down.

Sandra said...

Hans wrote:

"So what about her belongings being out of sight?"

According to an alleged screener who posts at FlyerTalk:

"I have pointed out before that our "procedures" no longer require the TSOs to ensure that the passenger is able to see their property."

IF this is true, it is very important that all travelers are forewarned, because the TSA website still says that it is the passenger's responsibility to keep their belongings in their sight at all times.

I have made a screen shot of this post, Bob.

Anonymous said...

What is a violation to your rights? Would you rather TSA ease the security process so that it is easy to get in with things that could cause another 9/11 attack? Funny when people say TSA is a waste of tax money, as if the workers aren't paying taxes themselves. Get over it. You wouldn't fly if those folks with the fake badges weren't at the airports doing what they do. True, maybe some don't do all of what they should, but look at every industry. This world is full of people like that. Police officers included. If you don't like the rules, take a train. Enjoy your rights on there, where all the recent terrorist attacks are taking place.

Dawn said...

Here is what I would like to see you address. You admit that the officers did not handle the situation properly, and other commenters have noted that your own written policies were not followed. So what are the options for a passenger such as this? Could she have asked for a supervisor? Did she have any recourse other than submitting to whatever the officers asked?

Although your officers were in the wrong, it seems like the passenger's only option was to do as she was told or not fly. Why should these be the only choices when some overzealous or poorly trained officers are insisting on something that is wrong? There has to be some kind of alternative.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Private screening can be requested by any passenger for any reason and in situations such as this one, our officers should offer it."

This is the errant policy. When intimate discussions become a necessary part of the screening process, our policy should MANDATE privacy, not just offer it.


Curious - typo or slip? "our policy should MANDATE [it]."?

Regardless, the TSA can not mandate that anyone submit to a private screening for multiple reasons, including the Aukai ruling on which they rely, in my opinion. They can then only request, suggest, [coerce?,] etc. that a private screening occur.

To mandate a private screening is to then infer that you are now in the custody of a federal agent / agency, you are being detained / no longer free to leave, and the Aukai ruling may [and, in my opinion, should] no longer apply.


On a personal aspect, you can still choose to request a private screening, I however, will not. Nor do I intend to participate in one just to traverse through the checkpoint at an airport. If the government (TSA) feels they have justifiable reasoning to suspect me of attempting to carry any WEI through the checkpoint that requires a 'private' screening, they can stipulate their case to a judge who can issue a warrant stating what can be searched and for what is being searched.

And lest I forget: No terrorist attacks since Discovery Health became Twist TV in Canada! So thank those wonderful neighbors to the north for helping to keep us safe!

Mr. Gel-pack said...

Maybe it is more like "We'd like it to look like we missed our mark," but since you are pretending you are doing the impossible, these sorts of errors are inevitable.


Using the "very helpful cards" may be one of those policies that look good on paper paper, but when folks try to use them, they don't work.

What sort of guarantee that Lori Dorn or some other card-carrying breast cancer survivor won't get rudely felt up in the future can you make? Less than a 1 in 100 chance for the next year? Is the guarantee on your primary mission any better? How many red team targets do you not detect?

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest complaints I have about situations like this, is TSA employees rigid attitudes, and lack of care regarding my personal belongings. Why do TSA employees let my carry-on luggage, which has all of the essentials that I can not do without while traveling sit in an unmonitored area. The FIRST thing they should do is escort you to your bags, and then move the luggage to a secure area where it can be seen by the traveler at all times. These days I have to remove all essential items from my person. It is extremely unnerving to not have knowledge of where my essential belongings are.

Anonymous said...

i flew six times this past summer out of Logan - the new screening technology there showed my breast prosthetic and identified me for a pat down - the first time I was patted down, I was too embarrassed to even react. The second time, I asked the tsa agent if it was my prosthetic (she confirmed) that was of concern. The other 4 times, I removed my prosthetic while in screening line and placed it in my purse. Of course, my purse was scanned repeatedly - but I no longer had to deal with the pat down.

Anonymous said...

At my job, you learn the policy and you follow the policy. If you're not sure what to do, you treat the customer as respectfully as possible while you consult your supervisor. If you don't follow the policy, you get fired. Immediately.

Why aren't TSA agents held to this standard? I'm dealing with cell phones and you're dealing with people's safety and dignity. Your stakes are infinitely higher and so the responsibility of the screeners should be higher as well.

Stan said...

I want to know how the TSO and supervisor will be punished, if at all. People who act as callously and inappropriately as this officer did have no place working for TSA and deserve to be terminated immediately. If indeed the officer was not adequately trained initially, as TSA has claimed, then the supervisor who allowed a poorly trained officer to screen passengers should be terminated. There needs to be accountability beyond a token "Gee, I'm sorry"
TSA's policy of blaming the victim in 99% of these case has created an environment where officers feel than can do anything with impunity.

Anonymous said...

Everyone of you is a frank national disgrace and you make me ashamed to be an American!

8675309 said...

The cards are a waste of time. The fact that anybody can go online and "print your own" reinforces the fact that they are worthless. Even if they were "prescription only", I'm sure my email inbox would be spammed by the same folks who are trying to get me to buy their viagra online, offering to sell me an Rx to get out of some part of the screening process. If such a magic card ever existed, it would be just as sought after by every normal person who doesn't want to be groped as it would be by terrorists wishing to do us harm.

Anonymous said...

Not even Police are allowed to do this so why does the TSA think they have the right when there hasn't even been an arrest! They do it because the American sheeple allow them to get away with it!

George said...

First, congratulations on responding to this fiasco by admitting that the TSOs "missed the mark," rather than insisting that the officers acted properly and blaming the passenger. I hope this glimmer of candor portends some much-needed change.

However, an apology from a local official does not address the root cause of the problem. It provides no assurance that "incidents" like this, which happen all too frequently, will not happen again.

Furthermore, saying that the TSOs who handled Lori Dorn "missed the mark" is sugar-coating that seems intended to somehow justify their inexcusable conduct. Actually, they failed to know and apply TSA procedures properly, and also failed to treat her with the professional respect that is supposedly required. That's obvious, even without knowing the secret details of the secret procedures they failed to follow. But based on the number of those "incidents," it's clear that TSA leadership tolerates, condones, and even excuses these failures.

You're rolling out new training? TSOs are already "highly trained professionals." But they act with frustrating inconsistency and fail repeatedly, despite all their training. More training will not correct the systemic institutional failings, consistently ignored by TSA leadership, that cause the problems.

While it's good to see the TSA finally admitting to its mistakes, that's not enough. Who were the TSOs who failed Lori Dorn, and how were they disciplined for their failures? Of course you won't tell us, as TSOs enjoy an absolute privacy shield even when they fail. So they most likely got a slap on the wrist (if that), before going back to patting down passengers.

Until the TSA commits to holding TSOs accountable for doing their job correctly (including treating passengers with professional respect), these "incidents" are will continue to occur regularly. And too many innocent travelers will have good reason to fear the TSA more than terrorists.

Anonymous said...

What's really terrifying is that TSA employees actually think that they're protecting us and that what they're doing is right. It's absolutely disgraceful. Who needs the 4th Amendment when you have the TSA? In fact, with the TSA you *DON'T* have a 4th Amendment!

Anonymous said...

I was molested and harassed at LFT when I flew back due to my father's cancer. What prompted this? I simply inquired whether the screeners wanted my shoes in the bin or on the rollers. You TSA people are out of control!!!

Anonymous said...

Power corrupts. When you put lots of people in a position of power some will abuse it.

As long as the TSA does a poor job of policing it's employees there will continue to be many events like this.

No amount of training will fix that.

CS said...

It is going to take A YEAR to train TSA personnel on how to deal with prosthetic devices?

Anonymous said...

Time tells if what you are doing in your life is worthwhile. After world war two, a lot of folks said they were simply "doing what they were told". If you work for the TSA, we will look you at some point in the future in the same way.

Anonymous said...

You people are savages. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

I try to remember when going through airport security that the men and women wearing the TSA uniform have families, personal lives, hopes, and goals like the rest of us. But I have to confess, when I hear that people are shamed--even after offering an explanation--by those same agents, I'm quickly reminded not to have much sympathy for people who choose to work in an agency whose policy it is to publicly humiliate the elderly, infirm, and crippled.

As another poster said, shame on you all.

Anonymous said...

Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm.

Anonymous said...

Are you censoring again, Bob? What was wrong with my post of yesterday? Was it the use of the word "thug?" Can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I'll try again:

Anyone who goes into a private room with a person from the TSA (is that more acceptable to you?) needs their head examined. You are just asking to be more thoroughly violated than you would have been at the checkpoint.

Another screen shot made.

Emma_Zunz said...

Wow, it stinks to be a cancer patient! This is what happened to me 4 years ago... I was post status bilateral mastectomy with sentinal node biopsy and 10 of my axiallary lymph noded were removed from my right arm. I sometimes have a flare up of my lymphedema and it is difficulat to extend or raise my right arm. For some reason I was picked for the random "feel up" and it was done by this enormous and militant female TSA officer. She curtly and rudley told me I would not fly when I explained that I could not raise my arm fully and told me the only way that she would alllow me to fly was to strip search me in another area. I cried as I painfully extended my arm up. It was so very painful! She was not in any way compassionate or kind. I offered to show her my scarred chest wall but she refused and said it was not neccesary. She then dismissed me and left me in tears of pain and humiliation to gather my things. I should have reported it but I suppose I just did not want to have to deal with more TSA Personnnel.

Anonymous said...

Dear TSA - please look up the Stanford Prison Experiment, familiarize yourself with it, and ensure all agents understand what happened ant the underlying concepts. If an employee isn't able to understand underlying concepts, there are plenty of people out-of-work who are able.

MarkVII said...

Another glaring example of why I say the TSA "doesn't get it".

This story has all the usual elements of these PR nightmares -- a passenger whose situation is anything out of the ordinary, separating the passenger from their belongings, screeners ignore anything the passenger says, the DYWTFT mentality, and a lack of ordinary civility and humanity.

TSA responds with "training". (Funny, we passengers don't get a do-over.)

Indeed -- who is watching the watchers?

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Anonymous said...

I have yet to have a remotely positive expierence from anyone with TSA since the scanners and patdown thing started. All i have witnessed is excuses for TSA agents to be cocky, rude, and push their athority around on the travelor. I wish there was some way to monitor their behavior as it is happening. It seems they get to humiliate travelors publicly, but appologize quietly when noone is paying attention.

Anonymous said...

Another apology for doing something poorly. Really makes you feel good, doesn't it. An agency that is supposed to be doing an important job constantly apologizing for doing that job wrong. Lovely. It really instills a certain level of trust.

Earl Pitts said...

@Scott Beale "Thank you. TSA and the Federal Security Director for JFK handled this really well and were really response to our concerns. Hopefully this will help prevent a simliar situation from happening again in the future."

Don't hold your breath. We already saw how well TSA trained it's people after TSA screwed up Tom Sawyer's urostomy bag a SECOND time even after Pistole apologized and promised better training.

Earl

Anonymous said...

how many of these instances until you people quit treating the american people as the enemy when the tsa itself is more of a threat to us than anyone else. you are truly a power hungry self righteous government program that has gotten out of hand and too big, you will be defunded by the next congress and will eventually be disbanded because the affronts to the people you SERVE will not stand, nor will the affronts to the constitution. you do remember who your employers are don't you?

kimm said...

It would be nice if people wearing braces (leg, ankle, etc) were not treated like criminals.

I HAVE to fly and I'm tired of having to choose to being wearing my brace into the airport and treated like I'm going to blow something up with it (and for the record...there is NO WAY anything can be hidden in it or on it)or skip the TSA humiliation and litterally drag my leg through "security".

I don't care how much "training" screeners have, it is still humiliating. This country needs to STOP the PC.

I say again, the terrorists won a long time ago.

Gayle Martin said...

You say you missed the mark.

GEE, DO YOU THINK???

Why don't you quit playing games and admit that people with medical conditions are not welcome to fly? Every time I turn around here's another story about another cancer survivor, or disability, being treated like garbage by the TSA.

A MEDICAL DISABILITY IS NOT A CRIME!

This is why I NO LONGER FLY!

Anonymous said...

I'll assume that "the current threat environment" genuinely requires "intimate" pat downs as a routine screening measure, conducted on large numbers of passengers. That means TSOs will be patting down many passengers who have medical or psychological problems or concerns. Some of those concerns will be visible, others not. And some passengers may have considerable difficulty revealing them to officers of an agency that is widely despised and distrusted, in front of a crowd of strangers, in a stressful environment.

If the TSA are going to demand that we routinely submit to this level of intrusion, they need to take responsibility for ensuring that all TSOs who do pat downs are properly trained, and then certified and held accountable for consistently doing this intrusive procedure properly. "Doing it properly" means accommodating "special needs," and treating everyone they pat down with the proper professional respect, dignity, and sensitivity to what may be a painful or humiliating situation. That has to be part of the job. This is one case where the TSA's trademark inconsistency (and arrogance) cannot be tolerated!

But TSA leadership are failing in that responsibility. They let TSOs who clearly are incapable of doing the job properly pat down passengers. When an "incident" occurs that is embarrassing enough to require spin control, they'll defend the TSO. If they can't get away with that, they'll issue an "apology."

But the "incidents" continue to happen, which can only mean that TSA leadership continues to tolerate incompetent TSOs. That's the real problem, and it won't be solved by issuing "apologies" every time something inexcusable happens. They need to fix their training, evaluation, and discipline processes to ensure that TSOs consistently do their job properly, which includes respect for passengers. That also includes holding TSOs fully accountable when they don't do their job properly, just as at any other organization.

Anonymous said...

Bob, shame on you and your entire organization.

I sincerely hope that nothing like this situation ever happens to your wife or one of your two daughters at a TSA checkpoint, but I suspect that your attitude might change if it does.

Happy Breast Cancer Awareness Month to everyone at TSA.

Screen shot made.

Anonymous said...

If you read the TSA literature the only thing they claim to try and protect is the airplane. They could care less about passenger dignity, safety, and comfort. If they did care about honest hard working people they would walk out on their job that uses tax payer money to protect and purchase the assets of the 1%.

Why were scanning machines overly and obviously too graphic when first released? So that they could be replaced by new machines that pay lip service to more "dignity, safety, and comfort" while gouging your pocket book. Look no further than the CEO of OSI Systems, one of the scanner makers, Deepak Chopra made a government subsidized $4,101,135.00 in 2010. I doubt you have a business where the government uses tax payer money to guarantee the purchase of your product, pay the staff to run it, and funds to upgrade it.

It's the 99% that has the best track record in plane protection: pilots behind a locked door, trained stewards on the plane, air marshals, and passengers that aren't beleaguered and downtrodden who have the insight to stop an attempt at terror when they see it. I'm looking forward to the day when enough of these people finally put a stop to the TSA.

MarkVII said...

As I have suggested many, many times -- use secret shoppers to proactively evaluate the checkpoint experience, and stop using the passengers as your QA department. If the TSA policed its own ranks, the screeners who need some coaching and training would be identified and dealt with, and there wouldn't be nearly as many as these sorts of incidents. (Mr. Gel Pack, the amputee mom, the gent with the urostomy, and the list goes on)

Anonymous said...

Passengers are meant to get dignity and respect? Too bad that TSO's don't know the meaning of the word "dignity" and the only respect at the checkpoint is that which the TSO's demand they be given.

This is just another TSA fail. It's long past time to remove the TSA. Let Japan, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and those other places with sensible, intelligent, useful airport security replace the bumbling mess of TSA.

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked there is an apology here. I am curious as to why it will take a year to train the screeners when these new scans/gropes ahve been in place for almost a year already.

My best experience with the TSA occurred about a year ago when I had a cast on my arm. I got sent through the metal detector and had my cast swabbed for the explosive detection machine. The results came back clean and I was on my way. It was quick and less objectionable than the scanner/patdowns that the TSA seem to favor. Why can't more screenings be like that? There would be a lot less complaints if people aren't getting groped as often. Plus the real danger is explosives, which this would detect. You could even swab my potentially dangerous water bottle instead of making me throw it into a normal trashcan next to the checkpoint.

-mb said...

Reading the account of Dorn's treatment finished you off for me, once and for all.

I promise, right now and in front of the world, that I will NEVER vote for any politician who has ever used his or her vote to subsidize the TSA, its expansion, or even its existence.

The whole agency, and its approach to "security" is a complete disgrace to the citizens of this country, and a colossal, inexcusable waste of taxpayer dollars at a time when one out of ten are out of work.

Apology NOT accepted.

And I wish Ms. Dorn would file criminal charges against John Pistole, Janet Napolitano, the TSA supervisor, and the TSO who all participated in perpetrating this outrage on her. Let God take care of forgiveness... and let the courts take care of the citizens.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"My best experience with the TSA occurred about a year ago when I had a cast on my arm. I got sent through the metal detector and had my cast swabbed for the explosive detection machine. The results came back clean and I was on my way. It was quick and less objectionable than the scanner/patdowns that the TSA seem to favor. Why can't more screenings be like that? There would be a lot less complaints if people aren't getting groped as often. Plus the real danger is explosives, which this would detect. You could even swab my potentially dangerous water bottle instead of making me throw it into a normal trashcan next to the checkpoint."

i agree everyones bottle of water should be checked so we can take them. of course that will slow the line because they will ALL need to be checked. so now we will complain that the lines arent moving fast enough, but ive got my water so i should be happy. well the people without water are in the same line as you and now they are standing in line next to you and they really want to know why the lines are now so much longer after twater is allowed. i see it as a give and take, the lines move faster because less checks are being done, if one of us forgets a water it is simply removed and your one your way, there isnt time and $$$ wasted on a machine that will only make the majority of the people in line angrier because they didnt plan on waits being longer. so now they miss their flight all because of a bottle of water. crazy isnt it

George said...

It's an interesting coincidence that in the liturgy for the just-concluded Jewish High Holy Days, the Hebrew word usually translated as "sin" actually means "missing the mark." It refers to not meeting high standards of conduct, believed to have been set by God. Repentance, the theme of the Holy Days, includes apologizing for individual failures. But more important is soul-searching introspection, leading to plans for better compliance the high standards and not "missing the mark" in the future.

This might be the time for some introspection by the TSA, about the much-needed repair of its very low standing with the public it claims to serve. To begin with, the TSA have high standards for the conduct of employees that, amazingly, are not secret. Blogger Bob frequently informs us that TSOs, as highly-trained professionals, are required to treat passengers with respect and sensitivity. Unfortunately, the posts that reiterate these standards are responses to cases where TSOs "miss the mark." The sheer quantity of those posts suggests the TSA has a systemic problem with TSOs failing to meet their agency's standards, and that leadership also "miss the mark" by not correcting the problem.

It's a problem they definitely need to correct, since it makes the public despise, distrust, and fear the TSA. Although leaders with a law enforcement or "security" mindset may not consider that a problem, it can only complicate screening and impair the success of the TSA's mission. Screening is surely easier and more effective when passengers respect and trust the TSA and TSOs, and willingly cooperate with whatever might be necessary. Any new behavioral screening will certainly be more practical and effective if the crowd of innocent passengers aren't exuding nervousness because they fear an ordeal with a TSO who "misses the mark."

Getting the imperious TSA to repent may well take Divine intervention. But that might be worth praying for, since nothing else seems to work.

Chris Boyce said...

NOTHING you people do is dignified or respectful.

Are you hoping that this "apology" will reduce the lawsuit judgment?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ms. Dorn for accepting our apology. As an instructor for TSA I would like to assure you that all of our officers have gone through many training sessions about the screening of persons with disabilities, and to read your story breaks my heart because these few officers who didn't exercise a vital part of the TSA Pledge to Travelers should be held accountable and disciplined accordingly. These officers lack of sensitivity continues to tarnish the image and reputatation of the good officers.

Anonymous said...

So you screw up, and promise to fix it with more training while saying that it won't happen again. Until it does happen again.

Once again the TSA provides even more reasons why it should be disbanded.

Anonymous said...

"These officers lack of sensitivity continues to tarnish the image and reputatation of the good officers."

There ARE no "good" TSA screeners.

TrackerNeil said...

I suppose I should be thankful that the TSA has offered an apology, but in all honesty it doesn't do much good. Does the apology undo the humiliation of having a bag or urine dumped on you? Does the apology guarantee it won't happen again?

We need to rethink the rationale for the TSA's activities, instead of just giving them carte blanche to invade our privacy and then offer useless apologies.

Eric Nay said...

Look it up:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The TSA is violating this EVERY SINGLE DAY!

JJ said...

I think the TSA and the Federal Security Director for JFK did a great job. I hope this will help prevent a any further situations.

Anonymous said...

There is no reason for any of this. Civilized countries, many of them with much longer histories of terror attacks, handle airport security with much less invasion of civil rights.

I no longer fly with my children. If I did I would have to subject them to either being sexually assaulted or having high resolution naked pictures taken of them. Either of which would land anyone except a TSA agent in jail.

Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

And AGAIN another episode of TSA wrongdoing egregious enough to attract a LOT of negative publicity and shine a light on the way American citizens are being treated by a government entity that is supposed to be keeping us "safe" from terrorists, while subjecting us to a multitude of useless aggravations or deliberate humiliations when we do not meekly comply with its demands.

This TSA "apology" is completely self-serving and blatently insincere--there have been plenty chances for the TSA to demonstrate corrected behavior, yet it seems as though no progress has been made since the first of these "shocking abuses at the hands of the TSA" stories started making the news years ago. Our rights and their responsibilities remain shrouded in secrecy, and as long as we the American public are not presented with concise guidelines we can all either agree to abide by or contest (if they are revealed to be as draconian as they seem), we are left at the mercy of such vague reassurances but with no real recourse for the future when the next TSA outrage gets you-tubed or blogged about.

This organization has had 10 years to evolve into something better, but since there are no repercussions suffered by either the individual "agents" or the agency itself, there is absolutely no incentive for real behavior changes agreed upon or at least understood by both parties to be put in place.

Instead, the TSA grows larger and more powerful. All evidence indicates the TSA will continue its overreaching assault on the American public despite this latest mealy-mouthed assertion to "do better."

And for all the TSA apologists who have remarked that if our delicate sensibilities cannot handle being groped (in the interest of national safety, of course) then we did not have to FLY, we were more than welcome to stop complaining about the TSA and get busy driving ourselves wherever we needed to go…well everyone should see (finally) where this argument leads.

This agency's all-too-evident mission-creep will see to it that every one of us will have a chance to stand in Lori's shoes (rather, stocking feet)--they have already moved their operations to train stations, bus stations, and highways.

Anonymous said...

I'm very glad that Lori Dorn is feeling positive about the apology. I'm not, myself, because I don't seen anywhere that it says anything will be done differently in the future.

It does not say that she and people like her will not have to undergo the pat down. (Of course they will.)

It does not say that she or others will be allowed to keep their property in sight.

It does not say that she will be able to have a private pat down. Only, at best, that she can request a private pat-down. There's no reason to believe that a TSA agent callous enough to ignore the TSA's alleged policy -- that the agent is supposed to offer it in the first place -- will suddenly develop consideration when the passenger asks for it.

Her story is also entirely unsurprising to me. I was travelling with a friend a month earlier, through a different airport. My friend, a double-mastectomy survivor had had her implants removed because of nerve damage. Also because of nerve damage, was exceptionally touch sensitive. Same as for Lori, my friend was publicly examined, no offer of private examination. My friend mentioned the nerve-damaged areas, which, of course, were pressed on at least as firmly as any other area. Oh, and she had asked before the pat-down whether it had to be done in public. She was just told to go stand over there (in public) and wait for her pat down.

In brief, no consideration of any kind was given to her and her medical condition, nor did the agent even follow the alleged TSA policies. When the policy is violated so routinely, it cannot really be the policy.

Same airport, same time, different agent, decided that my carry-on had something suspicious. While I had my back turned, putting my shoes on, he walked off with the bag -- no word to me that he was doing so, no word why, and he took it out of my sight. If that bag of dirt (I had about 1 pound of dirt -- geologically interesting to me) had to be checked out, fine. But it could have been checked out in line with the alleged TSA policy that passengers get to be present when their stuff is searched. Same gate, as I was finishing getting my stuff together, a different gate agent walked off with a bin of mine that still had things in it, not for inspection, just to get the bins out of the way. It really isn't that difficult to look at bins to see if they still have stuff in them.

In all at least 5 different TSA gate personnel, including a supervisor, did things to my friend or my property which were against what TSA says are its policies.

It boggles the mind that it is a matter for a year of training to teach TSA agents that "Not all women like having their breasts patted in public." Though, clearly, the agents at JFK and the airport of my friend's airport experience do need such training.

RB said...

TrackerNeil said...
I suppose I should be thankful that the TSA has offered an apology, but in all honesty it doesn't do much good. Does the apology undo the humiliation of having a bag or urine dumped on you? Does the apology guarantee it won't happen again?

We need to rethink the rationale for the TSA's activities, instead of just giving them carte blanche to invade our privacy and then offer useless apologies.

October 15, 2011 1:05 AM
....................
Disagree, we need to rethink the reason we have a TSA at all.

TSA is very badly managed, TSA does a poor job, TSA wastes way to much money, TSA is overstaffed in a major way, and lastly and most importantly, why should government be involved in providing security for a private business?

TSA was a bad idea, even worse in practice, and should be disbanded yesterday!

Anonymous said...

Shame on you. Shame on all of you. You are all a disgrace to the ideals upon which this nation was founded, and you make me ashamed to be a citizen of this country.

The TSA is a "make-work" agency based on theatrics and empty ritual, devoid of human decency and respect for citizens' rights and Constitutional protections. There's a karmic debt waiting for each and every one of you. I hope you reap the rewards of your disgusting actions while I'm still around to enjoy watching you suffer for what you've done.

Anonymous said...

FAIL. As usual.

How many TSA horror stories are the American public going to have to hear about before they realize that the TSA refuses to pull themselves together and follow the law?

It's been a year since the scanners. If you couldn't figure it out in a year, you don't deserve to be employed.

Anonymous said...

This seems to be all you do is apologize but yet this stuff happens again and again. On top of that you are harassing and scaring small children and excusing it with your under educated TSA officers behavior who are taking their positions to their heads and think they are playing God. Typical! Get some real people to be TSA agents and not people with just a high school diploma but someone with a masters degree. FBI agents have to have college degrees why not these assholes! I just wonder how many TSA agents were bullies growing up because that is what they are and WHAT YOU ARE!!!

Anonymous said...

The TSA is why I no longer fly, period.

Anonymous said...

So - when does the TSA apologize for this one?

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/25/tsa-subjects-7-year-old-with-ceberal-palsy-to-aggressive-pat-down-family-misses/%20?intcmp=obinsite

Security theatre. Pure security theatre.

Downtrodden said...

Still undecided on the whole thing. How much privacy do we need to give up to be safe? Is any amount of privacy given up worth any amount of 'security'? It's so hard to quantify.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that walks into an airport under the current circumstances then complains is part of the problem. STOP FLYING and the TSA problem will be resolved. KEEP FLYING and the TSA problem will continue. If you are still flying you ARE part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

It's takes bravery to be free and clearly the TSA and its supporters have none.



The USA is for the brave and free, everyone too scared to be free, go somewhere else please.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing but contempt for the TSA, and this does nothing but affirm my beliefs. I never lose sight of any of my bags when I'm going through, as I do not trust you people for a single moment.

Lisa said...

I've never have add problems checking in to fly and I think it is pretty cool of TSA apologizing and admitting that they made a mistake.

new heliopolis said...

thanks a lot