Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wounded Warrior Screened at Phoenix Was Not Asked and Did Not Remove Prosthetic Legs


There have been many reports about a U.S. Marine Wounded Warrior who was recently screened at Phoenix (PHX). Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misreporting.

After reviewing TSA video (CCTV), interviewing and receiving written statements from all Officers involved, we found that the Marine was not asked and did not remove his prosthetic legs. The screening was done by the book and lasted a total of 8 minutes from beginning to end.  By chance, the screening was conducted by two TSA Officers who were prior military. One was in the U.S. Air Force for 18 years, and the other was in the U.S. Marine Corps for 13 years.

Nevertheless, we strive to ensure that all veterans and individuals with medical concerns are treated with dignity and respect. 25 percent of TSA employees are prior military. Some are even still serving in the reserves and guard. I’m a veteran as well. We have the greatest respect for our men and women serving in the military and strive to screen them with the dignity they deserve.

Through our Wounded Warrior Screening program, we strive to make the overall experience for wounded service members as simple and trouble-free as possible. In the coming days, we will expand the Wounded Warriors Screening program to offer TSA Pre✓™, or expedited screening, to this group of veterans.

TSA Officers at Phoenix (PHX) alone have screened and assisted 164 Wounded Warriors over the past year.

We value the continued commitment of our veterans and active duty military employees to TSA’s mission, and to ensuring the safety of all Americans.  See some of TSA’s proud servicemen and women here. 

Bob Burns 

TSA Blog Team 

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

64 comments:

Ryan Kalani said...

Very glad to hear the truth on this. It is too bad that irresponsible reporting necessitated your setting the record straight. You are doing good work and I, for one, appreciate it.

George Fredlund said...

I guess that the kind of person tha makes up stories about alleged mistreatment of people is the same kind of person that trolls stories obout airplane crashes and then malines the pilots and victims of the tragedys.

Thanks to the TSA for doing a great job.

Anonymous said...

Let's see the video Bob. Personally I would believe TSA if they told me pigs couldn't fly. No doubt this is just another case of the rude, arrogant attitudes I have experienced each and every time I have to navigate the TSA BS.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, who proofs these blog postings to make sure they're in AP Style?!!

Jason Li said...

Marine, not soldier.

Jason Li said...

I think Wounded Warriors that are amputees on a wheelchair should only have their hands sampled since they don't pose much of a risk to security, based on TSA's Risk Based Security initiative.

Anonymous said...

Then release the video footage.

Susan Richart said...

Did you interview either the Marine involved or anyone traveling with him or did you just rely the on the word of your own people? Did the video cover the entire screening or just portions of it?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your service, Bob!

Anonymous said...

I am pleased to see that our heros are being treated with respect!! God bless each and every one of our armed forces heros....

Anonymous said...


As usual TSA lies to cover its abuse and incompetence. Do they really expect anyone to believe a TSA spokesman in DC that video that they control and only they have seen disputes the claims by several wounded warriors and local eyewitnesses?

This is the same agency that terrorized a 3 year old in St. Louis earlier this month after doing the same thing to a six year old girl in December at D/FW airport.

They also lied about molesting a six year old girl in New Orleans until the video showed up on YouTube.
TSA denied strip searching Ruth Sherman and Lenore Zimmerman at JFK in November but later retracted the statement and apologized.

There have been 106 TSA screeners arrested in the last 27 months including 15 arrested for child sex crimes, 30 for theft, 12 for smuggling and one for murder.

Personally, I’ll take the word of the honorable Marines over that of a corrupt agency staffed by criminals and misfits.

RB said...

Post the video!

Susan Richart said...

Explain this photograph, Bob:

http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/20130319marine-ordered-to-remove-artificial-legs-at-sky-habor-checkpoint.html?nclick_check=1

Then look at the victims FB page, and then look at this page:

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Marine-Embarrassed-by-TSA-san-diego-phoenix-199073921.html

They all seem to be the same person.

screenshot

Ed Smith said...

This serves to prove two things: First, the media in the US is ready to report things without verifying the facts. Secondly, that no matter how much evidence the TSA shows the public, some people are going to spew their non factual ideology and views regardless of what the evidence shows.

To the nay-sayers out there, all the terrorist attacks against aviation that have happened after 9/11 have originated from Europe. NONE from the US (even Richard Reed which originated in France). I do not think that the terrorist lack the desire to attack the homeland, from within the homeland. However, the whole Homeland Security apparatus have made it so difficult for them to do so, that they choose the most economical and easiest way to succeed: Start your attack from places that do not take their homeland security seriously.

I am sorry haters, but the system is working, they are preventing terrorist attacks. That was the promise to the American people, the promise has been kept. Let us not forget!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, right. When I was in the military, the worst verbal abuse and harassment I ever got for my military service was not from Leftist Radicals, but from TSA personnel. Mistreatment from your personnel was such, that our CO would warn us at our Liberty-briefings to be careful when interacting with the TSA at airports.

No sense in complaining to the TSA when we would get harassed, you'd either get a 'rubber-stamp' apology letter, or a TSA HRO-type would contact you and claim that you were 'threatening' them in your complaint e-mail (even though that wasn't true)...and in the end, NOTHING would be done about what you were complaining about in the first place.

It angers me, and others that I served with that here we are protecting American's freedoms, while TSA is just as busy taking those freedoms away from law-abiding American citizens. The day TSA gets abolished will be a fantastic day for freedom loving Americans everywhere!

Anonymous said...

Amazing! TSA does their job correctly and not one single comment. Had this been a report of alleged abuse or misconduct, the comments blog would be full. This being said. Most of the flying public blow most screenings out of proportion because they feel THEY should NOT have to be screened. Shamefull!

Anonymous said...

http://www.azfamily.com/news/Surveillance-video-released-in-wounded-Marine-TSA-inicident-199267711.html

«Perez showed video of the incident to a 3TV crew.

He says no footage is available showing the area in which the Marine claims to have taken his prosthetic legs off.

"We did our own fact finding and spoke to the officers who were there. Not one said he was asked to take his prosthetics off," Perez told 3TV.»

So according to this article, there is *not* footage of the alleged misconduct.

Anonymous said...

Once again another example of a Congressman trying to make a media splash without having all of the facts. Rather than doing his due dilligence and investigating the claim, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA, just wanted to get publicity by bashing TSA. Congratulations Rep. Hunter, you got your 15 minutes. Hope you are happy. Maybe next time there will be some discreet inquiries as to what actually happened before the usual vilifying of Veterans who work for TSA doing their jobs in the media. But then again maybe not. And by the way you can issue your apology to TSA anytime you want, we're waiting.

Anonymous said...

Post the video for all to see and to dispel all rumors.

Anonymous said...

Some portion of the marine's encounter with the TSA has obviously been excluded from the TSA version of the Sky Harbor incident. Clearly, a disabled veteran felt compelled to contact a United States Representative after the TSA encounter. Sadly, both veterans and private citizens do not have ANY confidence in local TSA authotify to resolve inproper practices and procedures, especially aggressive procedures.

If ANY AGGRESSIVE inspection was carried out on the veteran as reported, all TSA personnel involved should be fired with no severance and with no discussion.

Unknown said...

I have a hard time believing that this didn't happen. Why you ask? Because my husband is an amputee and I have yet to take single flight with him where he hasn't been pulled out of line, fondled, swabbed, made to remove his leg, and treated like a potential terrorist simply on the basis of being disabled. We endure it, however, because we have no choice in the matter. Of course, none of these ridiculous procedures will make us any safer, but it sure makes the sheeple FEEL safer so that's all that really matters, right?

Anonymous said...

PHX the same airport that had the Stacey armato incident breast milk incident. This airport has a long history of abusing travelers. It's a symptom of a larger systemic problem and the "culture" of TSA. No more training simply end this error and massive waste of money on security theater.

TSA is incapable of telling the truth as proven so many times. Bob sorry your "attempt" at saying x & y are veterans to excuse your violations of the law does not / isn't acceptable.

TSA tactics 101 surround, intimidate, assault, lie and destroy the evidence.

TSA Delinda Est

Screen capture for OIG

Anonymous said...

A Marine would not lie.
Clearly this person was (not) treated with the diginity and respect he EARNED as a veteran.

Why didn't eyewitnesses of this incident get involved and express their outrage? - Because we all don't want to make waves, right?

"Wounded Warrior Screening Program” - What's so special about it? Active military does not have to remove footgear. Why would this veteran have to remove his legs and be asked to get out of his tërrør-chair / wheelchair?
Eight minutes is a really long time for somebody who should have been expedited through the screening point. Risk analysis and priorities are a little mixed-up.

There is much more than 'alleged' mistreatment of people by the TSA. Just look at the numerous reports and proven cases. TSA employees have been caught stealing from travellers they screen and have crossed civil rights lines with abusive treatment of passengers. Inappropriate handling, groping (hands on) minors, including traumatizing small children, abuse of dying travellers on feeding tubes, required the removal of prosthetic (legs, breast - etc). Why?

TSA does not give their employees enough training where it counts to improve their performance. Cold callous indifference.

Time and time again there is an apparent lack of situational awareness and true respect for citizens.

Opting-out.

Anonymous said...

Where is the video?

And 8 minutes is way too long.

Anonymous said...

If what the TSA is saying is true, why don't you post the video to prove it? Since the screening was done in public, there can't be anything in there that would be secret.

It seems strange that a Marine would make up a story like this. What benefit would there be for him to lie like this? That's why I think it's important to show the video.

Susan Richart said...

http://www.azfamily.com/news/Surveillance-video-released-in-wounded-Marine-TSA-inicident-199267711.html

Look at the person in the wheelchair in this video and then look at this:

http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/20130319marine-ordered-to-remove-artificial-legs-at-sky-habor-checkpoint.html

Same person, only in the second link he is wearing only one prosthesis.

On another subject, Bob, you were once again quick as a fox to get your buddies to post "huzzahs to the TSA." It's so darned transparent that it's laughable.

screen shot taken

SSSS for some reason said...

Ed Smith said..."I am sorry haters, but the system is working, they are preventing terrorist attacks. That was the promise to the American people, the promise has been kept. Let us not forget!!"

Where did you buy your Magic Tiger Rock? Nothing happening is not proof of something else working. My flashlight-suppressor is not necessarily preventing your flashlight from working, it could just be your batteries are dead.

Then to the TSA... you have this spiffy blog. You have camera's freaking everywhere in the airport. You can't post even a single frame of the video as proof of having said video?

And if the Marine is simply telling tall-tales why did he feel the need to take his tall-tale to his elected officials?

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no reason to believe TSA on is matter. The video has not been released and I have seen exactly the type of callous, illogical, ridiculous behavior exhibited by TSA agents in person dozens of times.

RB said...

Ed Smith said...
This serves to prove two things: First, the media in the US is ready to report things without verifying the facts. Secondly, that no matter how much evidence the TSA shows the public, some people are going to spew their non factual ideology and views regardless of what the evidence shows.

.......................
Exactly what evidence has TSA shown to the public in this incident?

I haven't seen anything other than unsubstantiated claims by TSA that the events as detailed in the Congressmans letter did not happen.

TSA has shown nor proven nothing.

Bottom line is that TSA has lied before about such incidents and there is plenty of reason to believe that TSA is lying in this case.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a Marine who wants attention, what is the code for telling the truth in the Marines and another low level politician who needs to be in the news for some reason. I don't believe either t the Marine or the politician....

Anonymous said...

Ed said: "Secondly, that no matter how much evidence the TSA shows the public, some people are going to spew their non factual ideology and views regardless of what the evidence shows."

Um, what evidence has TSA actually shown the public? TSA, please post the video.

Anonymous said...

Bob, I'm not sure what happened, but it sounds like footage from the exact location where the Marine alleges his prosthetics were removed doesn't exist (or was "lost"). This means the video review is meaningless. They might as well have looked at a webcam from the local zoo.

So the only thing you are reying on is the statements of screeners who don't want to be reprimanded. Do you believe they would tell you the truth if they screwed up? Do you unquestioningly trust your screeners to speak against their own interest?

Why didn't the TSA talk to the Marine or any witnesses? Why do you think your press telease is at all believable to anyone but TSA employees & apologists?

I do not believe every bad story about the TSA, but when the TSA puts out these double-talk, vague statements, I cannot give you very much reasonable doubt.

Anonymous said...

Bob, why does these other news outlets allowed to keep reporting the wrong information? Mr. Pistol needs to address that issue, because I know for a fact that Wounded Warriors are one of TSA's top priorities.

Susan Richart said...

It has been brought to my attention, that in the second picture, the person is holding his right leg way up and away from the wheelchair. I do tend to agree with this, but I would ask why he is holding his leg in such an obviously uncomfortable position? Is he pulling his leg up so that the screener can more easily get his gloved hand into the passenger's crotch? Is he pulling it up to make screening of the left leg "easier?" If so, why? Or does he have his leg up there in preparation for removing the prothesis or putting it back on?

Whatever the answer, there is no reason for anyone to have to put themselves in such an obviously uncomfortable position in order to satisfy the TSA.

screen shot

Anonymous said...

No one is going to believe TSA on this and there are plenty of reasons why.

You might want to drive after seeing these 7 TSA airport humiliations

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Ed Smith said...
To the nay-sayers out there, all the terrorist attacks against aviation that have happened after 9/11 have originated from Europe. NONE from the US

Ever since I got my magic tiger-repealing rock, I haven't seen a tiger near me. Must mean it's working, right?

Jacob Garrard said...

Let's see the video. Considering the verified heinous mistreatment that passengers have suffered at the hands of the TSA in the past, I'm more inclined to believe the Marines.

Anonymous said...

...and of course, even IF he wasn't asked/required to remove his prosthetics, (which is far from proven, mind you!), that doesn't answer other issues:

"Gaal was directed to two screening stations, ordered to remove his prosthetic legs and at one point stand up for a second inspection. Other TSA agents sat and watched as he tried to stand painfully and as his wheelchair was checked for explosives, Hunter wrote Monday."

Why was he bounced around from station to station??

Why were other screeners gawking at a disabled man as he attempted to stand, instead of doing their jobs (or, god forbid, helping him)??

Why was a crippled man ordered to stand to begin with??

Anonymous said...

Release the video.
And not the edited version.
I have seen the TSA have injured Marines take off prosthetics 15-16 times in 6 years of traveling with them.
The FACT is even if this ONE time does not show it, YOU do not follow your own policy.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

"Most of the flying public blow most screenings out of proportion because they feel THEY should NOT have to be screened."

Umm... When did ANY of us say we don't want screened? We just want a Constitutionally-allowed administrative search. This is NOT what the TSA does.

Manuela said...

Please do show us the UNEDITED video. I understand security but sometimes common sense goes long ways. This is not the first time TSA made the news for humiliating someone during their screenings, children, seniors, injured and ill... I think that you could have just issued an apology instead of posting a straight unsupported statement (some people might call it a LIE). Looking forward to watch your video.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob,
A Marine is NOT a soldier.

Anonymous said...

Any chance the TSA is willing to release the statements from its agents as well as the CCTV footage of the encounter?

I mean if the story was misreported the best way to clear the air is to be as transparent as possible.

Anonymous said...

I am sad.

That I live in a country that does this to their citizens.

And subjects them to warrentless searches that violate the Constitution.

So very sad.

Anonymous said...

@Ed Smith:

Similarly, since I placed my tiger-repellant rock on my desk, I have not been attacked by tigers. All tiger attacks have been perperated by tigers outside of the area of my desk. Ergo, this rock is working to repel tigers.

Anonymous said...

As far as I'm concerned, until you release the video to us, then you are not telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

Why would we believe this post when the pictures say otherwise, when your history says otherwise, and when we know you are capable of showing video when the claim actually isn´t true?

Wintermute said...

Bob said...

"...and receiving written statements from all Officers involved, we found that the soldier was not asked and did not remove his prosthetic legs."

So, you're relying on statements from the people accused of wrongdoing that they didn't do anything wrong? I hope you realize how monumentally idiotic that sounds...

Mike Wallette said...

So TSA has reviewed the incident and found they did nothing wrong?

Again.

Somehow, I am not surprised.

Ed Smith said...

To SSSS for some reason, and the other individuals criticizing my rationale about the lack of attack against aviation in the US:

Sirs, if you follow the news, you see that there have been attempts to attack the infrastructure of the U.S. Not one, not two, not three but several attempts. If you keep reading my post, you see that there have been attempts to attack our aviation, but they do not start in the U.S. I wonder why. What is there that is serving as a deterrence for this criminals to either start their attacks against aviation from overseas, or those domestic terrorist choosing to attack the national reserve bank, the sears towers, the NYC subway, the railroads, the oil pipelines, but not aviation in the U.S.?

I fly all over the world, and I can tell you confidently is the TSA. We have a workforce that takes their job very seriously. The vast majority that are there are veterans, extending their service to protect American and their freedom of movement in a safe fashion.

I am sorry that it is offensive to some citizens when they are asked to take their shoes off, or that the TSA has to swab your hands, but that is the necessary evil (George Washington) needed to protect us.

I am confident, that the majority of Americans are OK with TSA's measures. The problem is that we have a small minority, that are very loud. but at the end of the day, they are just small shouts not validated by reason.

Anonymous said...

SO, you are calling a fellow vet a liar?

Where is the honor in that?

Anonymous said...

"If you keep reading my post, you see that there have been attempts to attack our aviation, but they do not start in the U.S. I wonder why."

Because suicide terrorism is extremely rare, and difficult to recruit people to do, and it's easier to recruit those people outside the US than inside the US.

"What is there that is serving as a deterrence for this criminals to either start their attacks against aviation from overseas,"

See above.

"or those domestic terrorist choosing to attack the national reserve bank, the sears towers, the NYC subway, the railroads, the oil pipelines, but not aviation in the U.S.?"

Those things have not exactly been destroyed by terrorists, now, have they?

"I fly all over the world, and I can tell you confidently is the TSA."

Really? You fly all over the world and think TSA is better than other countries' faster, better, more professional airport screenings? Do you fly exclusively in North Korea?

"We have a workforce that takes their job very seriously."

We don't. We really, really don't.

"The vast majority that are there are veterans, extending their service to protect American and their freedom of movement in a safe fashion."

The "vast majority" are neither veterans nor protecting anyone from anything.

"I am sorry that it is offensive to some citizens when they are asked to take their shoes off, or that the TSA has to swab your hands, but that is the necessary evil (George Washington) needed to protect us."

It's not a question of offense, it's the fact that these things do nothing to make anyone safer. No other country has TSA's shoe fetish, yet we've never seen a plane brought down by a shoe bomb. That's not because TSA is protecting us, it's because shoes are a really, really bad delivery mechanism for explosives.

"I am confident, that the majority of Americans are OK with TSA's measures. The problem is that we have a small minority, that are very loud. but at the end of the day, they are just small shouts not validated by reason."

Your entire post is not validated by reason. TSA is not finding terrorists because there are very, very, very few terrorists to find. On any given day, the number flying domestically is almost certainly zero.

Wintermute said...

Ed Smith said...

"Sirs, if you follow the news, you see that there have been attempts to attack the infrastructure of the U.S. Not one, not two, not three but several attempts"

What attempts are you specifically referring to? Three specific ones are easily debunked (and have been) if you are referring to the shoe or underwear bomber or the liquid explosive plot. Other than those three, please specify the "several" others so they can be debunked as well.

Troy Fuhriman said...

Thank you for linking to this blog from elsewhere, TSA Team. With all due respect, TSA, I know that you are doing your job. While you may be satisfied that TSA did this search "by the book," I suggest that your book needs some re-writing. One thing that should be clearly placed on every page of that book is something called the Fourth Amendment. It requires probable cause before engaging in a search or seizure of the type done here. I am still trying to figure out how TSA thinks the Fourth Amendment gets discarded the moment someone steps into an airport. If you consider the Fourth Amendment and the rights of Americans for just one moment, the actions of the TSA in this instance and thousands of others like it every day are un-American. As an American living abroad, nothing feels worse than knowing I get treated worse in airports in "my" country than I do in any other country I've traveled to (including such human rights champions as Vietnam and China).

Anonymous said...

So where's the video? Why won't you post the video?

Anonymous said...

These blogs make me sick. The nay-sayers are constantly quoting the Fourth Amendment and how TSA violates it by its very existence. If you actually knew the law and were not just blowing smoke, you would realize that TSA is not enforcing laws but regulations and therefore not bound by the Fourth Amendment and probable cause. TSA is a regulatory authority enforcing regulations that your lawmakers have put into effect by conducting ADMINISTRATIVE SEARCHES. TSA does not look for items that violate city, county, state or federal laws, they look for items that would allow someone to take over a plane and use it as a weapon against the government or populace.
Flying is not a right!!! Just like driving, it is a privilege and certain rules are put into place in the attempt to keep the populace safer!!
If you want to abolish TSA and Homeland Security, then take it up with your elected officials. Every incident of abuse, misconduct or other is perpetrated by an individual not TSA as a whole. Just because something is done wrong or out-of-line or against policy does not make TSA corrupt or every government worker incompetent, it is an isolated incident. If a TSA worker is proven to have done something wrong, then insist and demand proper discipline for the person involved. Do not continue to spout wrong doing and corruption by a system that you do not know or understand from all sides.
Just like workers in other professions, TSA has its good and bad, understood and misunderstood people and rules. I for one do not agree with every rule or regulation but they are attempting to do their job according to the rules that elected and appointed officials have put into place.
CHANGE THE RULES AND CHANGE THE OUTCOME!!!

@SkyWayManAz said...

Once again TSA is more interested in handling the fallout on this incident by being confrontational with the public instead of serving them. Was TSA falsely maligned or not? TSA's response boils down to ‘we did no wrong and we don't have to prove it’. I'd be a lot more inclined to believe TSA if the video was posted. Bob you always used to gleefully and promptly post them whenever TSA was unfairly maligned. Honestly I'd have done the same in your shoes. Then again I'd have done it with the good, the bad and the ugly so the bad apples in your organization would know they'd be exposed.

Naturally TSA should stand up and protect their screeners who do their jobs properly. Those who don’t should know the organization will walk away from them. My employer wouldn’t stand behind me if I treated a customer unprofessionally. They’d throw me under the bus if I opened my mouth to a customer the way I’ve been spoken to at numerous checkpoints. TSA seems to only do this to screeners who steal; even then it is usually because someone else caught them.

I'd tell you to reconsider the policy on not releasing videos but you know what don't bother. More and more of the traveling public film you now. They do this because your attitude in handling these cases pretty much dares them to. The victim will be blamed unless they have their own video on their side. It seems heartless that in some cases a parent turns their camera phone video on first before comforting their child. Unfortunately we all know why they do.

Anonymous said...

SkyWayManAz

I agree with you. The TSA should post the videos. However, posting the video does not prove guilt or innocence. Several have quoted that in past videos, even when the Officer has done nothing wrong the situation was handled poorly because of indifference, lack of knowledge or lack of proper training. Understand that video is not always available in its entirety and perceptions of wrong doing differ from different perspectives. Pictures and videos taken out of context can prove nothing.

It’s a bad thing that any government agency is judged by its worst employees. The ones that make the biased news reports are presented for ratings not truth. Every employee of the TSA is human, makes mistakes, has good and bad days, and sometimes lacks good judgment, proper training and a proper, professional vocabulary.

Just as in any other business, the actions of a single employee, on a single day, with a single customer do not represent the entire workforce, employee or industry. Whether good or bad, the TSA was put into place by the lawmakers as a deterrent, to prevent further attacks using aviation as a weapon against the populace. The TSA is not popular because the enemy does not play fair and wear a uniform or sign to identify themselves, so everyone is suspect, until proven otherwise.

The TSA has a fetish over liquids and shoes and underwear because bombs have been hidden in electronics, shoes and underwear and made from liquids, powders and solids. While these methods have been tried in the past and found to be ineffective, you and everyone else must understand that crashing or destroying a plane is no longer required to achieve the desired effect as the ultimate goal is to destroy our economy, therefor our existence. In a single day, they almost succeeded, as we are still attempting to recover from the attacks of September 11, 2001 more than a decade later. The government cannot figure out a proper budget or effective bailout strategy, unemployment is still at an all-time high, production is down, prices are up and the populace is hiding from the problems hoping to survive and keep their little corner intact.

Your statement, “Naturally TSA should stand up and protect their screeners who do their jobs properly. Those who don’t should know the organization will walk away from them. My employer wouldn’t stand behind me if I treated a customer unprofessionally. They’d throw me under the bus if I opened my mouth to a customer the way I’ve been spoken to at numerous checkpoints.” is true. The TSA has lawyers that do just that. Protect and defend when required and discipline when needed. Usually, these decisions are not left up to the local leadership and most often take months and years to finally take effect and therefore not reported to the media. The front line employees do not seem to change in attitude or effectiveness, from airport to airport because of the very nature of the job. Although not every passenger is the problem, all are treated with the same indifference, disrespect and contempt, undeserving or not dues to the abuses suffered over days, weeks, months and years from the traveling public. As an insider, I can tell you, there are those working to change this culture but the change will not happen overnight.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

Some big rant about administrative searches (which the TSA exceeds by far), but included "Flying is not a right!!!" I just wanted to point out that anonymous is mistaken. Flying IS a right, codified in law and upheld by the courts.

@SkyWayManAz said...

Anonymous said:

"Although not every passenger is the problem, all are treated with the same indifference, disrespect and contempt, undeserving or not due[s] to the abuses suffered over days, weeks, months and years from the traveling public. As an insider, I can tell you, there are those working to change this culture but the change will not happen overnight."

I appreciate the response and have some sympathy for how as an insider you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I don’t work full time in the industry but grew up with it. My father was an executive with a major carrier. When I was in high school they had an aircraft bombed over Greece ejecting a row of seats out of the aircraft. Thankfully it was able to land and save most but not all of the passengers. I flew in that same aircraft a few years later and you could tell inside where it was patched. Believe me I get the concerns. I’m not locked in my basement worried the black helicopters are going to get me.

At best I have to believe the screener in this incident was poorly trained. We’ve seen post after post after post on this blog for years about how travelers in wheelchairs were made to walk thru screening anyway. Often in extreme pain and/or against their doctor’s orders. The response on here and to the media is that travelers are NEVER told they must do this but they are given the option of walking and standing.

Anyone familiar with being directed to AIT at the checkpoint and comparing this with TSA policy that states AIT is optional can see that this could be dishonest. You have to know it is your right to request alternative screening. Nowhere is this posted and nowhere does the screener volunteer this. I have yet to be told by a screener directing me to the AIT that it is optional. I doubt anyone else has either.

When I opt out that is where I usually encounter rude behavior from screeners. Frequently I am dealt with in a confrontational manner like a trouble maker. A few times multiple screeners ganged up on me trying to intimidate me into using AIT anyway. If I complain I’m told they were making sure I was informed of all of my options. Really? It took that many people to explain something that simple when one of them could have given me a pat down instead? Yes you’re right video doesn’t always tell the tale. I’m sure the video without audio backs up that little fiction enough in my example above to make it plausible.

Forgive me if that sounds exactly like what happened here. Oh he was never told he had no choice but to submit to X, Y & Z. Right because he was given other options instead or was that all that was said leading him to believe he had to comply or miss his flight? That’s the wiggle room that TSA spokesmen on here drive through anytime someone has been treated so unprofessionally by screeners. When I first heard of this incident I thought that is exactly how they are going to respond. He had other options available to him (unspoken and not posted) but he choose not to take them. In other words blame the victim. Unfortunately my reaction to seeing the photo of him in the AIT, where he could barely stand, was he should have told the screener he was unable to walk period. Possibly not true in his case and a Marine should not be dishonest but like I said too many cases where screeners tell people to do that even when they say they shouldn’t stand.

Long story short I get the enormous pressures involved on all sides. The rudeness, the indifference, the lack of accountability, even to Congress, the courts and their own employees, it needs to stop. TSA will never be respected by the public as long as it continues to be at war with them.

Anonymous said...

LIE LIE LIE!!!!!! I SAW THIS HAPPEN!!!!!!! Your staff should be arrested for filing false reports!!!!!!!!!

John Anthony said...

Great Post ...

sandheya said...

We have the greatest respect for our men and women serving in the military and strive to screen them with the dignity they deserve. thanks for this informative blog.

Anonymous said...

I am a 63 year old Vietnam veteran and an amputee,I recently traveled from US to my native country Puerto Rico and even having TSA exp I was told to take my shoe off causing me to limp my way to the pat down area where I had to stand barefooted til they finished the pat down,I am not against the security measures of tsa but for me as a wounded veteran it was quite depressing to be forced to take my shoe off and limp barefooted on a prosthesis in public.I do very little traveling to avoid these embarrassing moments
wish this could some how be avoided