Friday, July 20, 2012

Screening of Passengers with Feeding Tubes


You may have been following the story about the person who is claiming Transportation Security Officers (TSO) at Dallas Love Field (DAL) “strip searched” her and inappropriately handled her feeding tube in order to obtain an explosives trace sample.

TSA does not conduct strip searches. Since the traveler did not let TSOs know that she was wearing a medical device, an alarm went off, requiring a resolution. Our investigation concluded that proper procedures were followed: The passenger, in a private room with a supervisor as a witness, patted down the area around her feeding tube, as required by our standard operating procedures. At no time did an Officer touch the feeding tube area. The TSO then swabbed the passenger’s hands and tested the swab for explosives. Contrary to what is being reported, the individual was not asked or required to remove her clothing at any time.

TSA takes all complaints seriously. We are sensitive to the concerns of all passengers and encourage travelers to provide feedback to TSA. If a passenger has a problem at a checkpoint, or is displeased with their checkpoint experience, we strongly recommend that they call a supervisor immediately or file a complaint with our contact center as soon as possible after the experience. TSA Contact Center, 1-866-289-9673 or TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov

TSA works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly. Any passengers with disabilities who have questions or concerns prior to travel can contact the TSA Cares Helpline: 1-855-787-2227. The line is open 8 AM -11 PM M-F and 9 AM – 8 PM weekends and holidays. After hours, travelers can find information about traveling with disabilities and medical needs on TSA’s website


If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.

86 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you saying the passenger lied about this incident? I also read that her medically necessary food was confiscated and thrown in the trash. It was then retrieved from the trash, tested out of her sight, and then returned to her. Was that made up too?

Something doesn't seem right with this story. Maybe it didn't go as far as the passenger said, but it seems like things weren't done properly. If everything was done properly, then maybe procedures need to be changed.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that anytime someone makes a complaint against TSA you always make a statement that basically says TSA followed proper procedures and that the person making the complaint did not tell the truth. Since the only witnesses to this incident were 2 TSA agents and the female traveler you expect us to take the word of these 2 TSA agents over this lady. What does this lady have to gain by making a false statement? I would answer "nothing". Now what does the TSA and especially the 2 TSA agents have to gain by making a false statement? I would answer "everything". Do you expect us to believe the 2 TSA agents would admit they handled the situation incorrectly? I would answer "hell no". I wouldn't trust a TSA agent as far as I could throw a 747. That lack of trust comes from years of traveling and witnessing the rude, arrogant behavior of TSA agents at most airport I traveled through.

Anonymous said...

Why should a person's private medical status be of any concern to TSA? Why is your defacto position that she or her husband should have volunteered this information? What are the guidelines for "volunteering" personal medical information to TSA screeners? Are your TSA screeners trained to identify what are/are not valid medical conditions or devices? If not, why is it of any business to TSA?

Anonymous said...

What business is it of TSA's what passengers' private medical history? Does doctor/patient priveledge end not apply to TSA? What medical information should passengers be submitting to TSA? Are your safety inspectors trained to identify what are/are not valid medical conditions and equipment? If not, why should passengers provide any such information to TSA?

Anonymous said...

Who conducts internal TSA investigations? What are their qualifications? What burden of evidence do they use to determine the truth? Did they interview the passengers in question? Why are you publicly saying that the passengers in question are lying about their experience, without volunteering this information regarding internal TSA investigations? Will the formal investigation report be made public? If not, why not? Can you please provide the best TSA rep to conduct regarding FOIA requests for said investigation documents?

SSSS for Some Reason said...

You're not trying, Blogger Bob.

Passenger makes claim against TSA, TSA reviews the situation, decides the TSA did nothing wrong, and then publishes story claiming it is a misunderstanding of the procedures on the part of the passenger.

It has reached the point where your 'standard response' to any situation has become a joke. There are people who are betting on how long it takes you to trot out what has become your standard answer to these kinds of stories.

Try harder. Or don't. The more predictable you become with situations like this, the quicker We the People can have your organization de-funded.

Anonymous said...

As a person with a family member who has had to deal with a catheter it is important to note that some people do not always fully disclose all medical conditions either through embarrassment or because they do not understand the implications of not fully explaining what accomodations they need. Further there are many doctors who provide their patients with misleading or incomplete information concerning traveling with such appliances or conditions even going to far as to lead them to believe that the doctor can give them a free pass on screening. By the time the situation has escalated emotions sometime short circuit the process on both sides. The BEST thing a person can do is communicate their special situation fully and calmly. Mistakes can be made but security officers aren't mind readers and educating them on your condition benefits yopu and other passengers. Also ASK questions before you jump to conclusions about what is going to happen.

Anonymous said...

The TSA has a job to do -- PROTECT US!! Crazy things are happening in the world right now. If I had a feeding tube, I would disclose that BECAUSE I TRUST the PEOPLE TRYING TO PROTECT ME!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is how the TSA investigates incidences like this.

"Did anybody do something that if they admit it, will get them fired? No?, OK, the passenger must have lied"

Anonymous said...

Let us know when a passenger tells the truth, OK???

Laura Monteros said...

I have noticed as well that any complaints about egregious behavior by TSA agents is explained away by saying they followed procedures and did not do whatever they are accused of.

That might be true in this case, and I am aware that some people like the attention that complaining gets them or they want to file a lawsuit.

However, it cannot be true in every case, and probably not in most cases. Why not just be honest? Why not fire bad TSA employees?

When I fly, I use Bob Hope Airport, where people are usually polite, but even I--a little old lady--have been threatened by a TSA employee. Hello, that person works for ME and should treat me as respectfully as he would his supervisor.

I would really like to know the requirements for TSA screeners, the testing and training they go through, and the level of intelligence of the average screener.

Anonymous said...

You say the passenger is lying. I say the TSOs are lying. The TSA has a long track record of lying and the TSOs involved stand to gain more by lying than the passenger. You make me ashamed of the government of my country.

Sandra said...

So you are saying, yet again, that a passenger is lying about what transpired at a checkpoint.

You'll recall that back in November the TSA also said that none of the grannies has been stripped, but then admitted that had happened.

Is there video of the private pat down? No? So you just asked the screeners what happened and you believed what they told you?

I believe Mr. and Mrs. Deaton; I do not believe the TSA.

Screen shot

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is the lady alarmed and the alarm must be resolved. It doesn't matter what type of medical device it is. And yes, people tend to "stretch" the truth (or "lie" if you prefer) ALL THE TIME. They all want to make a news worthy story in hopes of some legal battle that will net them financial gain. How many times have you heard on the 5 o'clock news a passenger's story of how pleased they were with TSA during their travels.....Never. Even though the vast overwhelming majority of the people in this country applaud the TSA. Look people, if you don't like flying safe and having to follow rules and regulations TAKE ANOTHER METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION OR MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY THAT HAS LITTLE TO NO AIRPORT SCREENING (ie. Yemen, Pakistan, Iran). Get over it!!

Dan Irvin said...

so anonymous, so what should happen if the alarm goes off and with shoe and underware bomb materials get on board, who is to blame then. As a passenger, I could care less about medicine id, but I certainly want to know if the liquid/chemical or whatever is a threat to the rest of us. concerned passenger

Dan Irvin said...

As a concerned passenger to anonymous, what should happen when the alarm goes off. And when dudes with shoes and underware that have explosives get on, who is to blame. Us passengers just want to be safe. Terrorist have us at each other's throat. New undetectable ieds are being worked on every day.ck out al Asiri. New ones may be inside the body, so what then.

amoses said...

If something is to happen, like someone like this innocent lady gets on a plane and blows it up, then the question would be why didn't they checked her properly?
Now, I am not saying the agents are innocent, but where do you draw the line? The point is not to place blame but to figure what can be done in the future to eliminate this issue.

Anonymous said...

Yet again Bob sets us straight on the latest passenger who made up a whopper of a story, apparently for the sole purpose of besmirching the TSA's reputation. There should no longer be any doubt that TSA employees always act properly. And in particular, they always show the utmost sensitivity and courtesy to passengers with disabilities or medical problems. That's what TSA policy says, and each and every highly professional TSA employee scrupulously adheres to every TSA policy.

Bob shouldn't have to spend his time continually reminding us of the high standards of impeccable competence, conduct, and courteous respect that TSA employees consistently uphold with each and every interaction they have with passengers. But for some completely inexplicable reason, numerous passengers continue to come forward with outrageous and utterly implausible claims about their experiences with TSA screening. The TSA's high standards of accountability and transparency require them to conduct an extensive impartial investigation of all such claims, even when they're obviously bogus. And Bob has to take the time to give us the truth about the claims, report the results of the investigation, and expose the passengers involved as liars.

You would think that people would know better than to spread malicious lies about the TSA. They should know that the resulting investigation not only wastes incalculable amounts of the TSA's limited resources, but it harms national security. Yet the parade of malicious falsehood continues unabated, with lies about TSA employees failing to meet their agency's standards proliferating faster than Bob can debunk them.

I wonder what is behind the smear campaign that seems to produce new false claims every day. Is it a disinformation tactic perpetrated by Al-Qaeda? Something clearly must be done to stop the continuing slander. Maybe it's time for Congress to act. They might, for example, amend the Patriot Act to make spreading lies about TSA conduct a federal offense. Until they do that, the best defense is for Bob to continue exposing the lies as they happen and shining the light of Truth on them, each and every day.

Anonymous said...

I am not seeing how this is in compliance with the Supreme Court's decision that airline screening be limited to the administrative goal of preventing dangerous weapons from entering the aircraft.

Please explain the obvious disparity.

Aubrey M. said...

Mr/Mrs Anonymous,
FYI this individual could be lying like a rug and so could the agents, they always say there are three sides to a story.
The issue here should not be to place blame at anyone but to figure out how to move forward in such way that would acceptable to everyone involve.
If you are thinking I am an agent, the answer is no. Like you, I have witnessed some agents in action and are disgusted by them but we cannot blame everyone that works for TSA for what a few may or may not do.

@SkyWayManAz said...

@SkyWayManAz "TSA does not conduct strip searches." Except that they have. Anyone remember what Bob's response was on December 4, 2011 to allegations women were strip searched at JFK?

"You may have heard in the news about an elderly woman who is stating she was strip searched at New York's JFK airport by TSA officers. TSA contacted the passenger to apologize that she feels she had an unpleasant screening experience; however, TSA does not include strip searches in its protocols and a strip search did not occur in this case."

After a week TSA would only acknowledge that the screeners did not follow proper procedure still insisting there was no strip search. Clearly TSA has a different definition of what constitutes a strip search then law enforcement.

"TSA declined to answer a question from the Orlando Sentinel about whether there were instances when passengers were required to remove clothing. Law enforcement officials confirmed to ABC News that the women were strip searched by TSA agents.”

All of us who travel frequently know there is a big disconnect between what TSA says on their page, what Bob posts here and reality. For example it is policy my belongings should never be out of my sight during screening, except that they are. My body will alarm in two places in the body scanner. I can go through the metal detector just fine but TSA has never once given me that option when I was directed to the body scanner. Whether they are safe or not I need a pat down anyway. (Your employees not being allowed to wear dosimeter badges due to TSA insisting the radiation is too low to require them speaks volumes. What you don’t know can’t hurt you mentality.) I am routinely separated from my items every time this happens for several minutes until a screener can be located to give me the pat down.

According to TSA policies and what Bob has stated here many times that doesn't happen. Thankfully I've never had anything stolen...yet. I am required to put my belongings on the bag screener belt and wait several minutes until that screener is located. If I refuse to put my bags on the belt I often get yelled at. My belongings are out of sight at the other end the whole time. If I speak up to ask they be put where I can see them I’m either ignored, dismissed with a raised finger or spoken to harshly that I need to remain where I am. Since the camera doesn’t record audio it is my word vs. TSA on what verbal interaction really occurred. Much like in this post where Bob says the passenger failed to inform them of her feeding tube.

Whenever I get a pat down I've always been offered to be taken to a private room. I decline every time. It can be humiliating in public like that but there are way more witnesses. It would be harder to deny what happened if there is no tape of inappropriate action. On my last pat down the screener told me to smile because I was on camera, except that there never is a camera when things go wrong lately. If you go to a separate room there isn’t going to be one. TSA is really boxing itself into a corner here this way because it opens Pandora’s Box to any accusation a passenger could make against them. Clearly the passenger and her companion have a different version of events then TSA so TSA policy, blame the victim. We’ve heard that song and dance so many times. Like my example above on policy vs. reality who are we to believe, TSA or our lying eyes?

Anonymous said...

I believe the passenger - NOT THE TSA! Organizations who "police" themselves are NOT to be trusted. If the TSA didn't get the memo - many Americans DO NOT TRUST YOU.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that the TSA violated this passenger's rights under the ADA. Why are you lying about it?

This is just another incident like the ladies at JFK who complained that the TSA violated their rights; the TSA made very similar comments about "proper procedures" being followed but finally admitted that, no, proper procedures were not followed and apologized to the passengers.

If you don't want to be thought of as liars, TSA, stop lying.

Anonymous said...

OK, Bob, show us the video. You do have video, right?

Mike Toreno said...

Bob, unlike you, the passenger doesn't have a known history of lying.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob said:

Our officers are aware that screening operations are constantly under video surveillance.

So why not post the video? You have done so in the past to prove a passenger is lying.

kimmm said...

"TSA spokesman Luis Casanova would not comment on what chemicals were on the swabs but did say that touching the device is not supposed to happen."

Hmm....when my skin was BURNED from your "safe swab", and I not only contacted this blog but TSA asking what was on the thing, I recieved NO response. The next time I unfortunatly had to fly, I asked a TSA agent what the hell was on those swabs. I was told absolutely nothing, just plain gauze which I knew was BS as I am not allergic to gauze nor have I even been burned from it.

When will you be honest about the risks you are putting passingers at with your "safety measures"?

Well, now I know why my complaints were ignored. I was being lied to. Surprize...surprize....

Sandra said...

"patted down the area around her feeding tube, as required by our standard operating procedures. At no time did an Officer touch the feeding tube area."

Which is it, Bob, did the screener touch the feeding tube area or not?

You can't have it both ways.

Screen shot

RB said...

Bob was the article posted your original work?

What seems to be missing at TSA is the realization that policy is often not properly carried out by TSA employees.

Please provide us with a description of the investigation method TSA claims was conducted. Who, when, and where. Parties questioned, documentation reviewed, and qualifications of the person/persons who conducted the investigation.

The clear implication is that TSA once again accuses the traveler of being dishonest.

TSA, why is it that TSA employees are never wrong?


THIS CAPTCHA IS CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

So what most of you are saying, is that we should just trust everyone with what they say except TSA. I don't think so! I think all these things should be investigated. Sometimes these people are telling lies!! Sometimes TSA might be at fault. But you cant just come back every single time with OH! so you think she is lying! Yes, She could be. Or maybe not! Let it be looked into before you Blame it on someone. Most of the time you can tell when there is a hater for TSA. Its always the same stuff! Day in and Day out!

Anonymous said...

I think maybe before you go saying that TSA lied about something, maybe you should get to know some of the people that work for TSA.

Anonymous said...

Umm, There are cameras. Did you forget about that in figuring out who is telling the truth. Some have been show.

Anonymous said...

Passenger makes claim against TSA investigation? TSA did nothing wrong, and publishes story. It has also reached the point to where your comments are a joke. Everyone knows that your going to have that standard answer too. Try Harder or Don't.

Anonymous said...

Ummmmm how would you know a passenger does not have a known history of lying????

Anonymous said...

Yet again Bob sets us straight on the latest passenger who made up a whopper of a story, apparently for the sole purpose of besmirching the TSA's reputation. There should no longer be any doubt that TSA employees always act properly.

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

Do you ever travel? If so, you must not encounter the same TSA workforce I, and others, encounter. If the TSA were a private business, they would be bankrupt due to unacceptable cusomter service and incompetent performance. When a former TSA Administrator states the agency is an internal mess, something needs to change.

Anonymous said...

So since they made her pat down her own feeding tube, that makes it better? How was she able to sterilize her hands? I hope not by pulling a glove out of that nasty box of blue gloves your people think is sterile.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Burns, if no TSO was ever caught sleeping on the job, despite sleeping on the job not being the policy; if no TSO was ever caught taking bribes, despite taking bribes not being the policy; if no TSO was ever caught stealing passengers' items, despite stealing items not being the policy, then I might believe you. But TSOs have been caught stealing, taking bribes and stealing passengers' items.

Therefore, you have lost all credibility.

Have a good weekend, spending your paycheck from the most reviled of government agencies.

Anonymous said...

The problem here is the use of full body scanners. A feeding tube would have never triggered a metal detector. It shows up on the scan, and madness ensues. These machines are useless, invasive, slow and ridden of false positives. All this for, this week, to catch a tube of toothpaste!

Anonymous said...

TSA does not conduct strip searches.

They just put you in a machine that can see through your clothes, virtually stripping you, instead of literally.

the traveler did not let TSOs know that she was wearing a medical device,

The TSA screeners are not doctors, and are not entitled to medical information regarding passengers. HIPAA and all that.

Since the traveler did not let TSOs know that she was wearing a medical device, an alarm went off, requiring a resolution.

Are you saying that, if she had told them ahead of time that she had a medical device,

1) the alarm would not not have gone off??
or
2) the alarm would not have required "resolution"??

'1' implies the alarms are controlled by the screeners. '2' implies a terrorist can simply lie about having a medical device, and waltz through the checkpoint no matter what alarms happen.

Or is the actual truth that the alarm would still have gone off, and would still have needed resolution? Meaning that informing the screeners doesn't matter. In which case, why are you blaming the passenger for not doing something that wouldn't matter?

Our investigation concluded that proper procedures were followed

Big surprise.

The passenger, in a private room with a supervisor as a witness

Funny, all the stories I've read say the search took place " behind a screen and not in a private room". Are you calling her a liar??

The passenger... patted down the area around her feeding tube, as required by our standard operating procedures.

So, you're making passengers search themselves now??? I can't see how that might cause any problems. /sarcasm

At no time did an Officer touch the feeding tube area. The TSO then swabbed the passenger’s hands and tested the swab for explosives.

""They had physically stripped her and saw the tube coming out of her stomach, and they decided that they needed to check it for explosives, so they had to physically handle the tube," John Deaton said.

Besides handling the tube, agents swabbed it for bomb-making material, Melinda Deaton said.
"

- are you calling them liars??

If a passenger has a problem at a checkpoint, or is displeased with their checkpoint experience, we strongly recommend that they call a supervisor immediately

...according to you, there was one present already, who allowed what happened to happen.

Oh, and you completely ignored the whole 'threw her food in the trash, then fished it out and took it out of sight for 'screening'' issue.

In any case, let's see the video, Bob. Or is this video "missing", too?

Anonymous said...

"...Look people, if you don't like flying safe and having to follow rules and regulations TAKE ANOTHER METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION OR MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY THAT HAS LITTLE TO NO AIRPORT SCREENING (ie. Yemen, Pakistan, Iran). Get over it!!"

Incorrect sir (madam?)

If you can't handle living in this country where Citizens have Rights that shall not be violated by the Government then it is *you* that should consider moving to another country.

And your argument is invalid anyway, the discussion is not an either-or proposition. Many of us are requesting we return to Pre-Sept 11 style security check points. Those checkpoints were court tested to comply with the 1, 2, 4, 5, and 10th Amendments.

Anonymous said...

I think we should require all passengers to go through the metal detector and body scanner, endure a full body patdown, and have their bodys and luggage swabbed for explosives. That is the only way we can be sure a passenger isn't a terrorist. I would rather have that than another 9/11, shoe bomber, or underwear bomber incident. If all of those screening methods are not being used, how can we be sure there are no terrorists on board? How can we be truly safe if all passengers aren't screened more thoroughly. There should be no exceptions for age, medical conditions, politicians, military status, etc. if we want to be completely safe.

TSORon said...

Laura Monteros said...
[[I have noticed as well that any complaints about egregious behavior by TSA agents is explained away by saying they followed procedures and did not do whatever they are accused of.

That might be true in this case, and I am aware that some people like the attention that complaining gets them or they want to file a lawsuit.

However, it cannot be true in every case, and probably not in most cases. Why not just be honest? Why not fire bad TSA employees?

When I fly, I use Bob Hope Airport, where people are usually polite, but even I--a little old lady--have been threatened by a TSA employee. Hello, that person works for ME and should treat me as respectfully as he would his supervisor.]]

For the most part you are correct Laura. Sometimes it is the fault of the TSA, and in such cases the TSA takes the actions it deems most appropriate. Many TSO’s have been fired for their actions, some have even gone to jail. That is no more and no less than any other government agency, large corporation, or even most small corporations.

Earlier someone asked why this person would have a reason to lie, and you have pointed out 2. There are more, but those 2 are enough.

As for how you are treated, yes many TSO’s could do better. But we don’t work for you, we work for the government, a government which you and other citizens have elected into office. The respect you deserve is no more and no less than any other passenger, which should be pretty high. You are not a supervisor, have not gone through the process needed to reach that level of authority. But as with any other human, we TSO’s react to the situation given to us. Sometimes it’s not an appropriate reaction, but most times it is. Still, we can do better. Always room for improvement.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the TSA is being truthful here. This woman said she has flown multiple times with this device. She said she only received a patdown of the area over here clothes and it sounds like that was done in public. This incident says she was taken to a private room. She said that required removal of clothing and the screeners touched the feeding tube. I don't see any reason for this woman to lie. She has gone through security multiple times without issuse. It sounds like something much more invasive happened this time.

What happened with her food? According to the victim, her food was confiscated and thrown in the trash. It was then retrieved, tested, and returned to the victim. Is that standard procedure?

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that the passenger exaggerated? Sure.

But the TSA has misbehaved and out and out lied so often that many, many, many of us no longer trust you.

I wouldn't trust a thing one of you swore to in court.

Isn't that sad? But you reap what you sow. And you're known by those whom you choose to associate with.

Anonymous said...

Are you calling Ms Deaton a liar? If that is the case why don't you just come right out and say that? Do you have any suggestions as to why Ms Deaton would falsify such a story? The Lady doesn't appear to be some activist or someone with a grudge against TSA. She even said all of her previous trips through this same airport were problem free. It would appear to me that 2 members of your elite work force screwed up and are lying to cover their butts. Since there isn't any video in the private area where this took place all we have is the word of Ms Deaton against the word of 2 TSA employees. My money is on Ms Deaton since she obviously doesn't have anything to gain my lying but on the other hand your 2 TSA employees have their jobs at stake. Oh wait, TSA employees don't get fired for abusing travelers they get to go for additional training. Bottom line, as I see it this is just another case where TSA employees showed their utter disrespect and arrogance toward the flying public. I haven't flown in years because of past experiences with your elite work force and since i now have a medical implant I doubt I will ever allow myself to be put in a position where one of your employees can treat me like something on the bottom of their shoe.

George Hague, II, Ph.D. said...

I find it shameful that anyone paid to represent a government agency would so willfully lie. While I know the TSA job is not an easy one, if those in leadership positions with this agency lack integrity lower level employees at the agency will follow their lead.

Anonymous said...

I normally give the TSA the benefit of the doubt. In my experience, the majority of TSOs are honest, hard-working people who believe in what they're doing. They know the rules and procedures, and apply them with professional courtesy and even common sense. And it seems most likely that they have been thoroughly trained to apply the same courtesy, respect, and sensitivity to disabled people and those with special needs.

But the TSO's job is difficult, demanding, and high-pressure work. And it becomes even more difficult when they are screening passengers who may lack respect, trust, and appreciation for them and for their agency (a situation for which, unfortunately, the TSA itself bears much of the blame). With millions of passengers screened each week under those difficult conditions, I find it impossible to believe that there aren't at least a few cases where TSO conduct falls just a tiny bit short of the high professional standards the TSA expects of them each and every time.

What is therefore puzzling to me is that every time an incident embarrassing enough to require response from Bob occurs, he reports that the TSA's investigation determined that either the incident did not occur or that the TSO acted properly.

As I said, I normally give the TSA the benefit of the doubt. Screening to protect aviation from clever and determined terrorists is inherently inconvenient and intrusive, and many passengers resent it. But it strains credibility when every blog post about a reported incident denies the passenger's claim, and/or insists that the TSA employee acted properly.

Could the TSA have a policy of responding only to false claims of TSA misconduct, while ignoring those in which the TSA actually was at fault? Whether or not that's the case, when responses to reported incidents always exonerate the TSA they cease to be credible, even to people like me who truly appreciate the difficult work TSA employees do. It seems the TSA would like us to believe that their agency and all their employees are incapable of error. But that's not credible, if only because that has never been true of any organization.

But maybe I've missed something here. Could Bob, West, or one of the other TSA people provide a few examples of incidents where TSA investigation actually found that TSA employees were not acting properly? Providing a few of those examples would do much to help the TSA's credibility, especially if they describe specific actions the TSA took to prevent recurrence.

Aubrey M said...

Seems You DO NOT trust anyone. Need to start working on yourself.

Anonymous said...

"If something is to happen, like someone like this innocent lady gets on a plane and blows it up, then the question would be why didn't they checked her properly? "

Are you suggesting that the screener had reason to inspect her feeding tube because the screener thought there was an explosive device? The screener should have called for assistance if he/she thought that was the case; screeners are not qualified to analyze explosive devices.

"Now, I am not saying the agents are innocent, but where do you draw the line? The point is not to place blame but to figure what can be done in the future to eliminate this issue."

No, the issue is to hold a screener accountable for violating the passenger's rights and TSA policy. Compliance with the rules should be a given but given the exremely poor leadership of the TSA, compliance seems an elusive goal.

Anonymous said...

"As a passenger, I could care less about medicine id, but I certainly want to know if the liquid/chemical or whatever is a threat to the rest of us. concerned passenger"

Your desire to know something does not justify a screener from violating passengers' rights.

Anonymous said...

"That might be true in this case, and I am aware that some people like the attention that complaining gets them or they want to file a lawsuit."

You truly think this passenger had a feeding tube installed so that she could be mistreated by a screener and could file a lawsuit?

Occam's razor.

Sandra said...

TSORon wrote in response to a comment:

"But we don’t work for you, we work for the government, a government which you and other citizens have elected into office."

Our government works for us and all its employees work for us, the citizens.

Yet again you are WRONG.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

TSORon said... "...But we don’t work for you, we work for the government, a government which you and other citizens have elected into office."


Close, but not quite.

You *report* to those nice folks we elected. You *work for* We the People.

I know, it is a subtle difference and easy to miss.

We the People did not elect to have your agency created, the politicians we elected made that decision. If We the People don't like what the politicians did then it becomes We the People's responsibility to elect new Politicians to correct what was wrong.

You, as an Agency, report to those Politicians that We the People elected. The funding for your Agency, currently 8 billion a year and growing, is derived from the Tax-Payer, making We the People in effect shareholders in your Agency. You don't report to us, we are not your boss. You do, however, owe us as shareholders the highest level of professionalism and respect because without us you wouldn't be an agency. If you as an Agency continue to do a poor job, if your performance falls below a level that We the People find acceptable then We the People will begin to exercise our indirect ability to have your Agency shut down. We will have new politicians elected who will then have authority over your Agency.

In short you *do* work for us because We the People are the ones who ultimately allow you to exist as an Agency. Something you might want to keep in mind in all your future interactions with the public.

PS... people who work in Agencies that are funded by tax payer money and claiming you 'don't work' for the common tax-paying citizen does nothing but upset the common citizen. Upset common citizens tend to gather other upset common citizens and when enough get together Politicians start to pay attention.

Anonymous said...

So TSORon says "We don't work for you we work for the Government". WOW, just another example of TSA arrogrance. Ron, this is a Government of the people, by the people, and for people. Please explain how you can work for the Government and not for the people. We the people pay taxes which in turn pay your salary. TSA serves the people of this country not the Government. Are you supposed to be protecting the Government or the flying public, the people who fly? I guess you feel you have no responsibility to the people of this country just the Government. You attitude exemplifies the attitude of most TSA employees I have had the misfortune of dealing with. I'm certain once TSA and its employees accept the fact that they work for the citizens of this country they might start to show some courtesy and respect for those who fly. It's comments like "we don't work for the people" that causes so much of the hate and distrust leveled at the TSA.

Mike Toreno said...

"But the TSO's job is difficult, demanding, and high-pressure work."

No it isn't. The document checkers, for example, don't do anything but sit and scribble on a boarding pass. They mostly don't know what a NEXUS card is, and the supervisors mostly don't either. So you have an organization that has people whose only job involves being familiar with a list of about 20 documents, and the don't even have to be familiar with the documents on that list.

That's not "difficult, demanding, and high-pressure work". The failures of the screeners are caused by their personal deficiencies, not by the supposed difficulty of the work.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said...
But we don’t work for you, we work for the government

The "government of the people, by the people, for the people"? That government?

Face it, you DO work for us. And thus, you owe us at least a little respect.

Anonymous said...

your very terrible at this bob.

not only does your story have more holes in it then an army gun range as others have pointed out but it also sounds amazingly cliche.

kimmm said...

"...Anonymous said...
I think we should require all passengers to go through the metal detector and body scanner, endure a full body patdown, and have their bodys and luggage swabbed for explosives. That is the only way we can be sure a passenger isn't a terrorist. I would rather have that than another 9/11, shoe bomber, or underwear bomber incident. If all of those screening methods are not being used, how can we be sure there are no terrorists on board? How can we be truly safe if all passengers aren't screened more thoroughly. There should be no exceptions for age, medical conditions, politicians, military status, etc. if we want to be completely safe...."

Annonymous, you must be terrified in your daily life and remain behind locked doors. I really feel sorry for you. I could not have a happy life of being afraid of my own shadow.......

Anonymous said...

...."TSORon said...
As for how you are treated, yes many TSO’s could do better. But we don’t work for you, we work for the government, a government which you and other citizens have elected into office. The respect you deserve is no more and no less than any other passenger, which should be pretty high. You are not a supervisor, have not gone through the process needed to reach that level of authority. But as with any other human, we TSO’s react to the situation given to us. Sometimes it’s not an appropriate reaction, but most times it is. Still, we can do better. Always room for improvement...."

Pretty arrogant stament...eh TSO Ron? typical TSA

Anonymous said...

What happened with her food? The passenger said she had her food taken and thrown in the trash. It was then returned to her after being tested somehow. What is the story about that? Is that standard procedure?

This woman also said she has travelled with this tube multiple times and didn't have issues. Why was the tube an issue this time? Are you saying this woman lied about what happened? If not, is her account of this the standard screening procedure?

Anonymous said...

I guess my post concerning TSORon's comments were not IAW with the blog's rules since they were evidently deleted. I still say TSORon's comment that TSOs don't work for the people is representative of the attitude of most TSA employees I have come in contact with. Basically, just pure arrogance.

Anonymous said...

@TSORon: Sometimes it is the fault of the TSA, and in such cases the TSA takes the actions it deems most appropriate. Many TSO’s have been fired for their actions, some have even gone to jail. That is no more and no less than any other government agency, large corporation, or even most small corporations.

Now that you've said that, when has the TSA ever found itself or its employees at fault when a passenger reports misconduct? I don't ever remember seeing a post from Bob that reports finding the TSA at fault. In all such posts I've seen, including this one, the TSO is always found to have been acting properly. Or else the incident did not happen.

Can you provide any examples where TSA investigation determined that passenger wasn't lying, that the claimed misconduct actually occurred and the officer acted improperly, and that the officers were penalized for their misconduct? I don't remember ever seeing anything like that. If you could provide some examples, it would be a useful first step toward establishing that the TSA has some credibility.

But as with any other human, we TSO's react to the situation given to us. Sometimes it's not an appropriate reaction, but most times it is. Still, we can do better. Always room for improvement...."

Again, when has a TSO ever been held accountable for an inappropriate reaction to a passenger?

From what I've been able to tell, the TSA only cares about maintaining a facade of infallibility. Whenever there's a report of inappropriate conduct serious enough to require response, it's a purely defensive action to maintain that facade. The standard approach seems to be "deny the report, and imply that the passenger is lying."

When the incident can't be denied, the approach is "defend or excuse the TSO's conduct, and whenever possible blame the passenger for whatever went wrong." If something can't be denied, defended, or excused, then you ignore it entirely. That seems to be how you're handling the two drug smuggling bribery cases at LAX, which raise serious questions about the TSA's integrity and ability to do its mission.

Posts like these, and additional comments from TSA employees defending them, only show the contempt for the public that pervades the entire agency. That's why the TSA has earned its reputatation as an agency that has no credibility and deserves no respect.

21 jump street said...

But the TSO's job is difficult, demanding, and high-pressure work."

No it isn't. The document checkers, for example, don't do anything but sit and scribble on a boarding pass. They mostly don't know what a NEXUS card is, and the supervisors mostly don't either. So you have an organization that has people whose only job involves being familiar with a list of about 20 documents, and the don't even have to be familiar with the documents on that list.

That's not "difficult, demanding, and high-pressure work". The failures of the screeners are caused by their personal deficiencies, not by the supposed difficulty of the work.

July 22, 2012 12:23 PM

--------------------------------
What happen? you couldn't make the TSO grade? your simple stupid remark alone tells me all I'll ever need to know about your character and your attitude..

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

"The TSA has a job to do -- PROTECT US!! Crazy things are happening in the world right now. If I had a feeding tube, I would disclose that BECAUSE I TRUST the PEOPLE TRYING TO PROTECT ME!!!!"

Except the TSA adds nothing to security, yet millions of people every day voluntarily give up their rights for the illusion they provide instead. I would argue that this illusion makes us less safe, not more, so therefore I do not trust TSA to do anything other than waste taxpayer money.

Another Anonymous said...

"Look people, if you don't like flying safe and having to follow rules and regulations TAKE ANOTHER METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION OR MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY THAT HAS LITTLE TO NO AIRPORT SCREENING (ie. Yemen, Pakistan, Iran)."

A) Sometimes flying is the only feasible method of transportation, and, last I checked, we still have a right to travel within our own borders. The TSA impedes this right.

B) You're assuming that the only options are TSA or no screening. Or you're misrepresenting the opposing position to claim we want no screening. I have yet to see anyone arguing against screening at all. What I'd like is pre-9/11 levels of screening. It's not that those levels were inadequate. It's that box-cutters were allowed, and passengers and flight crews were taught to comply with terrorist demands. Also, the terrorists on 9/11 had easy access to the cockpit. That access is no longer available as easily, and passengers are going to fight back.

TSORon said...
"But we don’t work for you, we work for the government,"

No. You report to the government. The government works for We, The People. Therefore, you work for us.

Also, curious as to why you stepped away from our little debate awhile back? I'll save my snark for your reply ;)

Kevin Pickford, M.D., PhD. said...

After reading the TSA blog for the past few months I have observed the following detail. Readers of the blog do not take comments seriously if the individual writing does not have the veracity to post an actual name, regardless of its accuracy. Anonymous does not lend to credibility.

kellymae81 said...

I had a situation with a passenger once, while working at the checkpoint and just thought I'd share it. It was a patdown situation, in which she later accused me of something that was not true. She had alarmed our machine and was sent to me for a patdown to resolve the alarms. I started by giving my advisements to her on the procedure before I started. We MUST give advisements bc not all people are aware of our procedures. I stated I would be patting her down, using the BACK of my hands in sensitive areas. I also proceeded to tell her that private screening was available...this is where she cut me off and said 'lets just get on with it' so I started. She was already irritated before I even began. When I used the back of my hands to screen the buttock area, I could tell she was uncomfortable. So I asked her if everything was ok and she said 'fine, lets just get on with it' so I continued. Once I got to the front and explained I was going to use the back of my hands to screen underneath the chest area, I could tell she was even more irritated. So I again asked, is everthing was ok? She said, 'I just didnt realize it required all this and Im embarrassed. My friend is watching me.' So I told her that is why I tried to explain in the beginning about the private screening and had she not cut me off and listened and accepted the private screening, she could have avoided her embarrassment. I dont think she liked having that pointed out to her (I find out later) I finish the patdown to just get her finished up and sent her on her way. I was polite to her the entire procedure, despite her irritation with the process. I find out later that she is at the gates crying, having the airlines call my manager, telling them that I "reached up and grabbed her". This is an example of a disgruntled passenger twisting what happened bc she was embarrassed #1 bc of the patdown, and #2 bc I think she realized she couldve avoided it had she 'listened' that private screening was available but instead of being humbled after I pointed that out, she retaliated. I in NO WAY grabbed her, I was respectful! And my manager knew it was a false accusation after he found out the TSO in question was me. Not tooting my horn, its just known that I'm a very respectful and friendly TSO as are 90% of the TSOs I personally work with. I'm not going to sit here and say every single one of us are. THAT would be lying. So just remember that passengers DO say things out of context and then everyone tends to go along with it bc everyone hates TSA. Unless you were there, you have no right to bash either side. Just remember there are two sides to every story.

The Tri State Flyer said...

Good job TSA Officers,you make our travels safe and on time. The sting of 9/11 will always be out there and always with us. We miss and love you very much, Joshua.

you people need to nut up and shut up! you've lost nothing? we lost a love one.

RB said...

kellymae81 said...
I had a situation with a passenger once, while working at the checkpoint and just thought I'd share it.

July 24, 2012 11:43 AM

.............
The problem that you TSA screeners fail to understand is that we passengers don't like being treated like common criminals who are being put in jail.

The current TSA screening procedures are excessive and unacceptable.

You TSA screeners are being treated poorly by the public because of the disgusting things you do to the public.

Your getting push back for a very good reason and this will continue until TSA realizes that TSA procedures are faulty.

Don't like it, then get a honest job.

RB said...

Just wondering if this TSA employees still infests an airport and wears a TSA uniform.

We all know that TSA employees always follow policy.


TSO NY said the following;

"that may be true, but without a prescription it doesn't go."

"It's all well to know the rules, but when you're on the checkpoint sometimes the rules get "changed" to suit the situation."

"TSA states that if those bottles are not labeled, they aren't allowed to go."

Anonymous said...

To Kellymae
Your "story" is what I call a perfect example of how the traveling public is preceived by TSA. That being, TSA is always right and we the people are always wrong. I would never and I mean never go into a private room with a TSO unless I was forced or if I were given the opportunity to video everything that went on in that room. It would be stupid to go into any room with two TSOs since I feel that would leave me open for abuse of all kinds. One TSO watching another TSO is the same as the fox watching the hen house. Was the woman who made the claim against you interviewed? I would guess no since your supervisor "knows" what an outstanding person you are. You must sleep well knowing that everything you do when performing you TSA duties is above reproach and is "never" questioned by your supervisors. I would be suspect of anyone who knows nothing he/she does will be questioned. I don't know you and you may be a temple of ethics but I know the typical TSOs I have had the misfortune to deal with are rude and so arrogant and in my opinion couldn't care less if the flying public feels they were treated badly. And if they are as "trusted" by their supervisor as you, then I'm sure they have absolutely no worries of any adverse actions for any abusive they may inflict on the traveling public.

Anonymous said...

kellymae81, thank you for providing a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain of secrecy that the TSA draws around itself.

This is an example of a disgruntled passenger twisting what happened bc she was embarrassed #1 bc of the patdown, and #2 bc I think she realized she couldve avoided it had she 'listened' that private screening was available but instead of being humbled after I pointed that out, she retaliated.

I'll begin by assuming that you did the patdown correctly according to procedures. I'll also take you at your word that you were "respectful" and "polite."

That suggests there's a problem with the patdown procedure. Even when executed correctly, it can make some passengers at feel like they were being "grabbed" or "violated." You're clearly aware of how "irritated" and "embarrassed" it makes passengers.

It's impossible to know what her history was, and that's no business of the TSA anyway. But as you note, she seems to have been acutely embarrassed and/or humiliated by the procedure. She probably really did just want to get it overwith rather than taking more time to go to a private room. It's even possible that she suffered some sort of sexual abuse in the past that was revisited in her mind only when she got to the gate.

This is something that the people at Headquarters who designed the patdown and made it a standard security measure seem not have considered. When you make a routine practice of touching "sensitive areas," it's bound to create problems for some passengers even when the TSO does it correctly and courteously. So in this case, the passenger may have been responding to the patdown itself, not to any failure on your part in conducting it.

The wording of your comment ("passenger twisting what happened," "instead of being humbled after I pointed that out, she retaliated") suggests that the TSA's answer to this problem is that when an adverse reaction occurs, it's the passenger's fault. That's entirely consistent with the way Bob responds to incidents like these. And that's a serious failure of management.

And my manager knew it was a false accusation after he found out the TSO in question was me.

So is this how the TSA conducts investigations? They just dismiss the complaint because they know the employee could not have possibly done anything wrong? If so, it explains much.

Not tooting my horn, its just known that I'm a very respectful and friendly TSO as are 90% of the TSOs I personally work with. I'm not going to sit here and say every single one of us are.

Are you saying that 10% of TSOs are not "very respectful and friendly"? While that's a minority, it's still a large number. It's still enough to give the TSA a horrible reputation. And it means the TSA tolerates a large number of employees who fail to meet "professional" standards.

That said, what are you personally doing to correct that 10%? They're the main reason that, as you say "everyone hates TSA"? Your job would surely be a lot easier and less stressful if people trusted and respected the TSA rather than hating your agency. You have good reason to work for improving the dismal reputation your agency has earned. And since your bosses apparently have no interest in hearing what the public thinks, you're in a unique position to improve things. So what are you doing to improve the TSA's reputation?

Just remember there are two sides to every story.

And the TSA is only interested in hearing in one side. If even a "very respectful and friendly TSO" can publicly state her belief that a passenger should be "humbled" after being blamed for not listening, there seems to be no hope for the TSA.

Anonymous said...

The major problem for disabled individuals and their caregivers/families is that each experience is indeed different, and at some airports, the TSA agents simply do not listen to you as you explain the medical issue.

Just yesterday, my disabled father (gastrostomy & paralyzed arms) had few issues going through security at PDX (after going through scans, there was a patdown). However, his caregiver who carries his liquid nutrition was given quite a hassle, despite the fact that she declared the medical liquids in advance, offered the paperwork (totally ignored), and explained what they were for. The first TSA agent told her to open the cans of nutrition(!!!) which she refused (because you need to use them immediately upon opening). And so because of this, she got pulled aside for swabbing, pat downs, and lengthier interviewing. They barely made the flight.

If agents were truly consistently trained on these matters, and the designated medical line were actually treated as such, there wouldn't be such difficulties. As things currently stand, each and every time flying for my disabled father feels like a risk that he may lose the cost of the flight, much less half the day in the airport.

Anonymous said...

A lot of legitimate questions have been asked following this blog post. Why no official responses? Instead TSORon takes over another thread with inflammatory comments.

@kellymae81 - did it cross your mind that the passenger might have been sexually assaulted in the past and hearing you describe how you were going to touch her followed by you actually do it was more than she could handle? Put yourself in her shoes and read what you wrote. If that were in your past, would you be eager to get groped in a private room? Grow up and realize it isn't all about you and that your agency's procedures leave a lot of people embarrassed and in tears.

Mike Toreno said...

21 Jump Street:

Seriously? I point out that you and your colleagues have an easy job and don't even know how to do it, and this "tells you everything about my character and attitude that you need to know"? What does it tell you about my attitude? That I don't like to pay the salaries of lazy people? That I fly a lot, and therefore am fed up with the slovenliness and laziness of the screening clerks that infest the airports? What?

RB said...

TSA claims to respect people with disabilities.

I gues at TSA respect is like evidenced in this account:

TSA harasses two disabled children in Philadelphia

Anonymous said...

"...New undetectable ieds are being worked on every day.ck out al Asiri. New ones may be inside the body, so what then..."

Body cavity searches, of course. Anything for safety!

Anonymous said...

A TSA supervisor is considered to be an appropriate witness for a passenger? Ridiculous. Did TSA tell her she could pick a witness for herself? If not, TSA violated her even more egregiously.

Sandra said...

That a screener should suggest that a passenger should feel "humbled" after being subjected to that screener's comments and actions, is mind boggling.

It just proves once again the arrogance possessed by the TSA and its individual employees.

Anonymous said...

It appears my last comment was censored. I didn't think I wrote anything inappropriate, unless you consider anatomically correct names of body parts inappropriate. I'll try again.

This is regarding Kellymae81's comments. I don't object to being screened by the TSAm but I do object to their methods. I do object to the more aggressive patdowns that I have received in the last several months. I don't care if you use the back of your hand to touch sensitive areas. You are still touching sensitive areas. I don't feel that having my genitals touched should be a prerequisite to getting on an airplane. I have to opt out of the scanners for medical reasons. I could go through them, but my insulin pump manufacturer told me not to because of risk of damage to my pump. Because I have to opt out, I sometimes receive invasive patdowns that include multiple touching of my "resistance". That "resistance" are my genitals. I don't think the police are able to touch me in that way without placing me under arrest first. I just don't think that touching of genitals with any part of the hand should be required to board a plane.

Anonymous said...

kellymae81 gives us a great example of what's wrong with TSA screening. She also shows that the TSA are incapable of recognizing that it's wrong.

First, kellymae81 was clearly aware of how uncomfortable this passenger was. But TSOs are apparently trained to disregard that discomfort, except for offering the option of removal to a private room (which may actually compound the embarrassment and trauma of the patdown by causing commotion and delay).

Second, her response to what happened after the passenger was found crying at the gate demonstrates the arrogance that apparently permeates the TSA from the top down. The passenger was clearly traumatized by the patdown. She told the airline employees that she was crying because of it.

But kellymae81 took that as a personal affront. After defending her "respectful and friendly" conduct, she proceeds to attack the passenger. The passenger failed to listen when she offered to remove her to a private room. And worse, when kellymae81 responded to the passenger's increasing discomfort by reminding her of her failure to listen, the passenger was not "humbled!"

Fortunately, this "retaliation" caused kellymae81 no inconvenience. The TSA's investigation of the incident ended as soon as it began, when her manager concluded the accusation must be false because he "knows" kellymae81 could not have done anything wrong. That apparently constitutes an adequate investigation of passenger claims.

kellymae81's arrogant comment clearly contradicts her claim that she's "a very respectful and friendly TSO." But I don't think the real problem is with kellymae81 and her "respectful and friendly" colleagues.

If the TSA insists on "intimate" patdowns of passengers as a routine screening measure, it's bound to upset and traumatize some passengers even when it's done strictly by the book. The patdown is, after all, designed to be invasive to passengers' bodily integrity. The TSA has apparently decided that this invasion of passengers' bodies is a necessary response to the "threat environment."

I therefore suspect that many reports of TSO misconduct are a matter of perception. Yes, there are some instances of true misconduct, such as the urostomy bag incident that required the personal apology of John Pistole. But it may be that even when the TSO conducts the patdown correctly, the passenger feels violated and traumatized. The patdown may have been correctly done with a gentle pass of the back of the hand. But the passenger may still perceive that as "reaching up and grabbing." (And I'm not even considering the cases where the TSO really did grope the passenger with unnecessary roughness.)

The perception of being "grabbed" or "violated" is an inherent problem with the routine deployment of patdowns that are invasive by design. But as with all problems with TSA procedures, the agency chooses to deny its existence, and to blame the passenger when the problem causes difficulty. kellymae's comment seems to reflect this institutional approach. The arrogance and contempt she shows is that of the agency she repesents.

Finally, should I need a patdown, I will definitely refuse the offer of a private screening. The presence of hundreds of witnesses may provide my only protection from a TSO who decides to go beyond the procedures. If that happens in a private room, it becomes a matter of my word against the TSO's. And as Bob constantly reminds us, the TSA's procedure for resolving passenger complaints begins and ends with the presumption that the passenger is lying.

Anonymous said...

kellymae81's comments truly infuriated me. Although she boasts of being a "very respectful and friendly TSO," her comments bristle with arrogance and contempt.

Here a patdown procedure traumatized a passenger. But as far as kellymae81 is concerned, the only problem was that the passenger blamed her for the trauma. kellymae81 first informs us of her sterling reputation, and tells us that she did everything correctly. Then she goes into explicit detail about what this passenger did wrong: She didn't listen. She wasn't "humbled" when admonished for not listening. And after being subjected to a screening procedure that even John Pistole admits is invasive and uncomfortable, she got distraught. And finally, when airline employees found her crying at the gate, she had colossal gall to complain about the patdown!

One might assume this merely represents a TSO who is, perhaps, a little less "respectful and friendly" than she believes herself to be. But it exactly mirrors what Bob repeatedly posts in response to high-profile passenger complaints: TSA employees always behave impeccably. And when things go wrong, it's always because the passenger behaved inappropriately.

What makes me angriest is the word "humble." I find it completely unacceptable for any officer of the United States government to believe they have any authority to "humble" a citizen. But if the use of that word reflects the TSA's institutional mindset and what TSOs are taught, it explains a lot.

I'm not accusing kelliemae81 of this, but some TSOs may indeed believe they have license to make a patdown unnecessarily painful or humiliating when they decide a passenger needs to be "humbled." Because the procedure for patdowns is secret, a passenger has no way of knowing if and when a TSO crosses the line between "resolving the alarm" and "humbling the passenger." The TSO also knows that any complaints will be immediately dismissed by a supervisor who "knows" that this "good TSO" could not possibly have done what the passenger claimed.

So what's to stop a TSO from "humbling" a passenger who "deserves it" (perhaps by exercising the supposed right to opt out of body scanning?) by adding some extra humiliation and discomfort to the patdown? Nobody will ever know (or care) that the TSO did something officially prohibited.

This combination of secrecy and lack of accountability invites abuse. So I must conclude that abuse occurs regularly, despite Bob's insistence that it's not possible. kelliemae81's comment gives me even more reason to believe the passenger's account of an incident rather than the TSA's boilerplate denial.

It's notable that kellymae81 recognized that this passenger was unusually uncomfortable with the patdown. She responded as she was trained to do, by offering removal to a private room. She seems to have recognized that this response would not help. But she just continued to do the patdown, and even reprimanded the passenger for "not listening."

kellymae81 probably did everything by the book. But she apparently could not consider the possibility that something is wrong with a procedure that can cause a passenger to break down in tears at the gate. And she would neither know nor care about any of this if the traumatized passenger hadn't accused her of "grabbing."

Maybe kellymae81 really did "grab" the passenger. Or maybe she gave the passenger the correct gentle pass of the back of her hand. Whatever actually happened, this passenger felt violated and traumatized. That's a problem. But the TSA's standard response is to ignore the problem and blame the passenger. That's one reason that, as kellymae81 admits, "everyone hates TSA."

Anonymous said...

For few reason :; 1)it will be a handout to the bad apples to learn our methods and could work for them to beat the system.2)everything is pretty much not just recorded but also monitored by mgmt and beyond.and 3)the option for a private room as the words is self explanatory it means to protect people privacy and yes we are very respecful and kind and personally im proud of my dedication along with my coworkers to make sure YOU can fly safe

Sunshine All Day Long said...

I believe this woman, not the TSA. You know why? I've been through Love more times than I can count. I bet I've dealt with the same people she dealt with. There are a couple of people there that are wonderful, but most of them are pretty low-life. Last time I was at Love, the TSA agents examined my items outside my view. I also complained because a male TSA agent offered to give me a pat down. When I complained, they said they were going to teach me a lesson and the female TSA agent called her supervisor over. The screening area was empty except for me and about 6 agents and they harassed and mocked me and made fun of me until finally a bunch more passengers showed up and they didn't have time to bother me anymore. During all they also lost my sweater. I found it torn and thrown down on the ground just a few feet from their podium. When I filed a complaint I gave them the flight number, the gate number, the airport, the date, the time, the town I flew from and the town I flew to, and the names of the TSA agents involved. TSA says they can't figure out which airport I'm talking about and closed the complaint as invalid. This happened on July 7 when I was traveling for Grandmother's 100th birthday party. This blog rarely posts my comments, so I doubt you will post this too. But, it doesn't change the truth. Pretending we aren't here won't make us go away. It just makes us angrier.

Anonymous said...

Nuremberg principle
Principle IV states: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him".

This principle could be paraphrased as follows: "It is not an acceptable excuse to say 'I was just following my superior's orders'".

www.vvaw.org said...

"All comments must be approved by the blog author." Kinda prooves my point, doesn't it "bob"....

Anonymous said...

Ahh yes, the wolf saying it's protecting the sheep. Seems legit.