Wednesday, August 24, 2016

TSA Myth Busters: Was a Nine-Year-Old Child with a Pacemaker Prevented from Flying Home?



Myth stamp imageThere have been some reports that a nine-year-old child with a pacemaker was prevented from flying home because TSA thought his pacemaker was a bomb. Long story short, nobody thought his pacemaker was a bomb, and the boy and his mother made their scheduled flight home on time.



We conducted a thorough review to see what happened. Here’s what we learned:



Last Saturday, a mother and her nine-year old son presented themselves for screening at a Phoenix TSA checkpoint. The mother made our officers aware that her son had a pacemaker.



Our officers screen thousands of people with pacemakers daily. We use alternate screening procedures that allow the passenger to bypass the metal detector. When somebody is permitted to bypass a metal detector, it isn’t just a free pass.  They still must undergo alternate screening so we can ensure they’re not in possession of any prohibited items.



As with all passengers with pacemakers, her son was permitted to bypass the metal detector and enter the checkpoint. Our manager explained to the family the screening that needed to occur and subsequently the boy’s mother consented to the appropriate screening.



After screening, the mother and her son were escorted to their gate by American Airlines personnel, where they boarded and completed their scheduled flight.



Our screening procedures are in place to keep the flying public safe, while accommodating the diverse needs of millions of passengers a day. If you or a loved one has a disability or medical condition, please feel free to contact our TSA Cares Helpline prior to traveling. TSA Cares is a helpline that provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process. Please call 72 hours prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.



Travelers requiring special accommodations or who are concerned about the security screening process at the airport may also ask a TSA officer or supervisor for a passenger support specialist who can provide on-the-spot assistance.

Bob Burns - TSA Social Media 

93 comments:

Tom said...

Good job...but it's never easy!
Tom

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those passengers with an implanted cardiac device who has used alternate screening procedures -- first pat-downs at the advice of my cardiologist and then the newer scanners that are safe for cardiac devices.

I'm writing to express my appreciation to the hundred or so TSA personnel who have given me pat-downs over the years -- every procedure was conducted with professionalism and with respect.

RB said...

The mother certainly does not tell the same story as TSA. So who should the public believe, a group who has been dishonest multiple times over the years or a person with no known history of lying?

Anonymous said...

Someone is not telling the truth about this incident. The TSA account is much, much different than the mothers.

Anonymous said...

So you are claiming that the child is lying about he was treated? All those officers pictured were fake?

Susan Richart said...

Did you write this, Bob? Paragraph 4 is totally out of place and irrelevant to what comes before and after it.

Further, if screening of these two was unremarkable as the you seem to indicate, why were they escorted to their flight by AA personnel? Why did the screening take over an hour? Why was the intimidation squad sent to surround these two passengers? Do they teach the intimidation squad tactic at the "training academy" or are these people lookie-loos who have left their stations to come see what is taking place?

Methinks you've left out a good part of this incident, Bob, in your desperation to make your screeners look good.

screen shot/DHS IG statement

Mike Black said...

I have needed the assistance of the PSS (passenger support specialist) a few times because I have 3 children with autism. It can be very stressful for a child with autism to go though the "normal" screening protocols. With help from the PSS, we were able to make a smooth transition though the TSA checkpoint(s). They were a huge help. We were able to go through a separate line/screener where we were the only ones going through it. If you are not sure if you might need assistance or not, it is a lot better to ask for help and not need it, than need it after the fact. If you think you might need assistance at a checkpoint with a PSS, it's always best to set it up at least 1 or 2 days before traveling. It doesn't matter where you flight out of, the main call center will really the info and message to the TSA supervisor at the airport. It was nice because one of the times we let them know approx. what time we would be coming through the checkpoint, so they already had the TSA supervisor and a PSS waiting for us before the checkpoint and had a dedicated screening line for us.

This is the website: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-support
This is the call center number for PSS: (855) 787-2227

Anonymous said...

So, you're saying they weren't delayed an hour for additional screening, as was reported?

Anonymous said...

So, you're saying he was t delayed by TSA for an hour, as was reported?

Anonymous said...

How did he get away unassaulted? Shouldn't you have thrown him to the ground just for the practice?

Linda Carter said...

been using TSA Cares for years now and it works... as when i go through TSA security i usually end up doing some teaching to TSA for how to deal with respiratory issues and mobility issues at the same time and what type of life support equipment i use daily and when traveling. would love to have others contact me as to how to go through with respiratory equipment that is not listed on the TSA website under disability.

would like to see it updated as to what is not listed should be listed.

please feel free to contact me for more information on respiratory disaster planning and traveling with respiratory needs.

Ms Linda

RB said...

http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Boy-Pacemaker-Denied-Alternate-Security-Screening-42273610

Entirely different story here.

How many 9 year old boys, with pacemakers, who have flights originating in the United States has TSA found to be terrorist? I'm bet the number is less than ONE.

It would seem that TSA would really try to not do things that make the rounds of online news sites and blogs. Each new story just further undermines TSA's already poor reputation and lowers the public's trust in an already troubled agency.

I think something did happen with this kid and TSA's demonstrated inability to accommodate people with special needs is once again on full display.


John Wagner said...

Perhaps you did not get the truthful word from those involved. If you go to the lady's Facebook page (I'm sure you have her name), you will see a picture of all the supervisors standing around staring at her. She also says she has THREE rescheduled boarding passes to prove she did not make her scheduled flight. Please investigate further. She also says she has names and contact information from other passengers who witnessed the entire affair.

SSSS for Some Reason said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Laura Monteros said...

I'm glad the boy and his mother got through OK, but really--he is 9 years old, and probably had a letter confirming he has a pacemaker. My mom had to carry one for her knee replacement. Why would he need an alternate screening?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim Maurer said...

The mother has documentation and photos that show that they did not make the flight. Is TSA saying that she is lying? Is there any video from the screening area? Or is it not usable, as usually happens in a case like this?

Anonymous said...

I've read different accounts of this story and I have some questions. It sounded like the boy alarmed the explosive residue test. Instead of patting down the boy, your workers patted down the mother and searched their bags. The mother objected to the patdown and that's where things escalated. In the end, they made their flight and nothing was found. Is that correct?

If the boy alarmed the explosive test, why wasn't he patted down and why was a travelling companion patted down instead? Is it because you don't want the bad optics of patting down a child? If he really was carrying a bomb, he would have got on the plane without the patdown.

If the boy alarmed the explosive test, but nothing was found, that is yet another false positive for this test. Has this test ever found anything harmful? It seems like it easily alarms on too many harmless items. It seems like a flawed test that shouldn't be used until it can be improved. I get this swab test fairly often when I fly. I've never set off the alarm but I always am concerned that I will. Passengers shouldn't have to worry about causing a false alarm because they used the wrong soap or lotion or walked across a piece of grass.

Adrian said...

I assume you'll also be posting a summary of the "thorough review" the TSA is certainly conducting on their role in the stampede at JFK Airport. When might we expect that?

Ron4Cebu said...

I think that the TSA does a great job considering working with the public is a " Mission in Patience "
I work with the public in Private Security , DAILY , just doing my job to keep people and their property safe makes me a " TARGET " for undeserved abuse.

Don't Believe This said...

Read the real story, read what the mother and child said about the incident, don't believe this glossed-over version the TSA have posted here:

http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/195256514-story

Anonymous said...

By Bob's own logic, as stated in his comments made on this blog, there is no reason to believe any of this. In the Hannah Cohen case, Bob said multiple times that unless someone was physically in Memphis, they had no way to know what really happened:

July 1: "where [sic] you there? do you know what he did or didn't do? Me either"
July 1: "again, where [sic] you there? Me either"
July 1: "that is your assumption having not been there"
July 7: "...you GUESS because like everyone else here, you were not there"
July 7: "so you saw the video? You heard the audio? or where you there?"

The pacemaker incident happened in Phoenix. Bob is "...currently assigned TSA headquarters [sic]," which is in Arlington, Virginia. He does not say he was in Phoenix. Therefore, he does not know what happened in Phoenix. All he has is a report made by someone else. He won't allow reports made by others in the Hannah Cohen case, so why should a report made by others be allowed in the pacemaker case? Just because it's a TSA report? Well, it's not like the TSA isn't an interested party with a legal stake, or an entrenched bureaucracy trying to protect its interests.

(Please don't say that the "where [sic] you there" comments were made by bob-2, aka West. That would be lame, since both represent the TSA blog. Not to mention that bob-2 is in Greensboro, not Phoenix.)

Anonymous said...

Her post on Facebook never said she didn't make it home. She claims she was harassed and treated poorly by the TSA. Big difference.

Bear Blogger said...

I think it is very important that you continue the Myth Buster reports. Social media includes a great deal that is not true, and people do not always check stories before forwarding emails either.

Anonymous said...

This is a VERY carefully worded statement, and does not actually contradict anything the woman says.

For instance, there's this line: "Our manager explained to the family the screening that needed to occur and subsequently the boy’s mother consented to the appropriate screening."

"Subsequently" could be an hour later or three hours later. The consent to the "appropriate screening" may not have referred to the same screening she had previously had explained to her.

If she had to re-schedule her flight three times, she would have "made her scheduled flight" but not her ORIGINALLY scheduled flight.

There's no mention in here - and therefore no denial - of how many TSA agents were involved, whether police were involved, and whether the local DHS head became involved. In the law, there's a principle of evidence that refers to a failure to deny something one would normally be expected to deny. That's called an "implied admission" and I wonder whether that's what we are looking at here.

RB said...

Laura Monteros said...
I'm glad the boy and his mother got through OK, but really--he is 9 years old, and probably had a letter confirming he has a pacemaker. My mom had to carry one for her knee replacement. Why would he need an alternate screening?

August 24, 2016 at 11:30 PM

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

You don't think that large scar down his sternum is good enough proof?

RB said...

How about some hard proof that things happened like TSA says it did, Bob?

Me thinks TSA is trying to cover up another Traveler Abuse Story.

This is what the mother says:

“We were told immediately by the TSA that he was not allowed to be screened alternatively and instead would need an exemption,” said Ali.

An exemption the family never requested and held them up for more than an hour.

“[I was] shocked beyond belief. In walks the head of the Department of Homeland Security for the entire airport, followed by other supervisors, and managers with ten other people from TSA,” said Ali.

“And four police officers,” Chille chimed, completing his mother’s sentence.

“With everything, guns, Tasers, all that,” said Chille.


“One of the TSA agents told me they’d prevented terrorist attacks using nine-year-old boys with pacemakers and children before, so I laughed and said, ‘Oh when?’ At that point, the TSA agent became very quiet and said, ‘Oh we’re not at liberty to discuss this,’ ” recounted Ali.

“At that point the TSA agent said he wouldn’t be flying today,” Ali said.


In a statement to FOX 9, TSA Spokesman Nico Melendez wrote, “TSA is committed to ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and courtesy. TSA is reviewing Saturday’s incident and working to contact the family,” Melendez concluded.

“TSA has not contacted me. No one has apologized. No one has reached out,” said Ali.


Read the whole story here:

http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/195256514-story

Sure would be nice if TSA found a tiny bit of integrity to display once in a while.

RB said...

Folks, if you think TSA is being honest in this story of theirs then I suggest you read this article for the real truth.

Witnesses to the travelers story. Where is any proof from TSA other than I told you so?

18 Government Agents Used Terrorism as an Excuse to Terrorize This 9-Year-Old With Pacemaker

Bob, you should be ashamed to post stuff like you do.

Dwayne Thornberry said...

I don't believe you.

Rebecca Hanley said...

Exactly.

Ali Bergstrom said...

Thank you so much, everyone on here, who is demanding the TSA to do better. This happened TO ME and my NINE YEAR OLD SON. There is video footage of the horrendous incident, there are witnesses, and there is the VOW of my beautiful, wise, empathetic son to MAKE SURE that this never again happens to another heart kid. Do you REALLY think the public and myself are going to let this go? My son felt de-humanized and bullied. Your childish and insulting "myth busting" blog post just makes this bullying and harassment WORSE. Why not have basic decency and REACH OUT TO ME and APOLOGIZE for your disgusting behavior and the subsequent support of this abusive treatment by every higher up at the TSA?

Fix the TSA said...

West, please post links to any and all public statements by the TSA about this case.

You say you won't comment about TSA abuse cases in the news, but then this blog does a PR emergency statement denying anything happened and blaming the passenger if it did.

That is a comment.

You have also stated that you will provide links to public statements about such cases when requested.

I am requesting such links.

Fix the TSA said...

A mother should not have to call a government agency and reveal private medical information about her minor child to travel by plane in America.

RB said...

Ali Bergstrom said...
Thank you so much, everyone on here, who is demanding the TSA to do better. This happened TO ME and my NINE YEAR OLD SON. There is video footage of the horrendous incident, there are witnesses, and there is the VOW of my beautiful, wise, empathetic son to MAKE SURE that this never again happens to another heart kid. Do you REALLY think the public and myself are going to let this go? My son felt de-humanized and bullied. Your childish and insulting "myth busting" blog post just makes this bullying and harassment WORSE. Why not have basic decency and REACH OUT TO ME and APOLOGIZE for your disgusting behavior and the subsequent support of this abusive treatment by every higher up at the TSA?

August 26, 2016 at 4:11 AM

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

I would be curious to know what you think about TSA's Blog Teams characterization of this incident? When federal employees work so hard to twist the truth, or flat out lie, should they be allowed to continue drawing a paycheck that taxpayers are funding?

And the story I read states that the Federal Security Director for that airport was there when this incident was happening. Should that person be allowed to continue in any role of TSA with such a poor ability to manage just one persons screening?

Wintermute said...

Is the irony of these "myth buster" posts lost on everyone else, given how Adam Savage had, at one point, demonstrated the theatre that TSA is?

These posts are nothing more that propaganda. They are carefully crafted to be technically true even though they are complete twisting of what actually happened. The TSA is a master of doublespeak.

RB said...

Wintermute said...
Is the irony of these "myth buster" posts lost on everyone else, given how Adam Savage had, at one point, demonstrated the theatre that TSA is?

These posts are nothing more that propaganda. They are carefully crafted to be technically true even though they are complete twisting of what actually happened. The TSA is a master of doublespeak.

August 26, 2016 at 10:43 AM

..........

What's really shameful is that TSA doesn't put in the effort to be a masters of passenger security screenings.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as a false alarm, there are many substances in every day households that can be used to make a bomb, that's why
people are patted down. And yes many people have a hard time with TSA patting down kids, but if the kid had explosives on him the mother probably touched him at some point and would have had positive results also

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Guarantee the child wasn't prevented to fly because he had a pace maker...sorry everyone but thinks aren't as black and white as they appear...everyone has to go through screening regardless if they have dr note or not. If the child alarmed for explosive substances more screening required. And it's not false alarm if he does not in fact have explosives on him. Unless you know how to make bombs, please refrain from giving an opinion on how the equipment works.

irag34 said...

I'll believe the group who releases the video for evidence. That lying, two timing, back stabbing, attention seeking co-worker you hate flies too... but yeah, let's grab pitch forks... rolls eyes.

irag34 said...

I would imagine the reason it took so long is probably because they had to get approval to apply whatever alternative screening on a 9 year old instead of whatever nefarious reasons you are thinking.

irag34 said...

What documentation does an airline gives you that says you missed the flight?

irag34 said...

I think you are an attention seeker.

irag34 said...

The fact that you made up you're mind about the truth being twisted already tells me what I need to know.

irag34 said...

Allelujiah!these Internet explosive experts are really annoying.

GSOLTSO said...

Fix sez - "West, please post links to any and all public statements by the TSA about this case."

http://blog.tsa.gov/2016/08/tsa-myth-busters-was-nine-year-old.html

The only other posted comment by the organization I can find was this blurb from Nico some time right after the news stories first hit - "“The TSA is committed to ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and courtesy,” agency spokesman Nico Melendez said in a statement. “The TSA is reviewing Saturday’s incident and working to contact the family.”"

West
TSA Blog Team

Wintermute said...

No one claimed he was prevented from fying.

Fix the TSA said...

West, thank-you for providing those links.

Chip and Andy said...

Anonymous said "... And it's not false alarm if he does not in fact have explosives on him."

That is, in fact, the very definition of a False Alarm.

And it will be interesting to see your response since you can no longer post as anonymous around here.

Unknown said...

Sorry, Bob, but this type of nothing-to-see-folks-move-along "investigation" report does TSA more harm than good. It gives the impression that the mother and boy had a problem, the TSA personnel on the spot lied about it, and then you took their lies hook, line, and sinker. If the mother and son had some obscure reason to lie, a good investigation should have brought it to light. If the TSA personnel told the truth, there should be some corroboration from airline personnel or other passengers.

GSOLTSO said...

Wintermute sez - "No one claimed he was prevented from fying."


Some of the news stories disagree with you -

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2016/08/24/family-claims-9-year-old-boy-with-pacemaker-multiple-heart-defects-hassled-by-tsa.html

"After Chille asked one of the agents what was happening, one reportedly announced that the boy would not be able to fly that day."

https://www.rt.com/usa/357084-chille-bergstrom-tsa-pacemaker/

"Hero TSA agents prevent 9-year-old with pacemaker from flying"
"An hour later, they learned that Chille would not be flying on Saturday."

Not all, but some of the reports early on indicated that they did not get to fly because of the screening, and this is not the case.

Fix sez - "West, thank-you for providing those links. "

You are quite welcome.

West
TSA Blog Team

Wintermute said...

West, your quotes are more half- truths. Even if they were told they wouldn't be flying doesn't mean they didn't eventually fly that day, so I stand by my claim that no one said they DIDN'T fly. All those quotes claim is that they were TOLD they wouldn't. It's the old "do you want to fly today?" tactic.

Anders Nelson said...

I think you work for the TSA.

RB said...

"I have to hand it to the terrorists, disguising themselves as TSA personnel, was very clever indeed. Now they are scaring the hell out of innocent people."

A comment from a person at another site who commented on TSA's treatment of this 9 year old.

I think he nailed the problem dead on!

RB said...

In December, 2010 TSA claimed proper procedures where followed after TSA took Stacey Amato hostage and held her for an extended time. TSA settled that lawsuit before the case went to trial with $75,000 of our tax dollars. Same airport as the 9 year old by the way. So how much will this travesty cost taxpayers? And why aren't TSA employees held accountable for their actions.

Boldly said...

By Bob's own logic, as stated in his comments made on this blog, there is no reason to believe any of this. In the Hannah Cohen case, Bob said multiple times that unless someone was physically in Memphis, they had no way to know what really happened:

July 1: "where [sic] you there? do you know what he did or didn't do? Me either"
July 1: "again, where [sic] you there? Me either"
July 1: "that is your assumption having not been there"
July 7: "...you GUESS because like everyone else here, you were not there"
July 7: "so you saw the video? You heard the audio? or where you there?"

The pacemaker incident happened in Phoenix. Bob is "...currently assigned TSA headquarters [sic]," which is in Arlington, Virginia. He does not say he was in Phoenix. Therefore, he does not know what happened in Phoenix. All he has is a report made by someone else. He won't allow reports made by others in the Hannah Cohen case, so why should a report made by others be allowed in the pacemaker case? Just because it's a TSA report? Well, it's not like the TSA isn't an interested party with a legal stake, or an entrenched bureaucracy trying to protect its interests.

(Please don't say that the "where [sic] you there" comments were made by bob-2, aka West. That would be lame, since both represent the TSA blog. Not to mention that bob-2 is in Greensboro, not Phoenix.)

I'm not going to say what my opinion is on the 9 yr old boy issue. But you would think by now you guys would learn. Just because a mother says it, does not make it true. Everyone here was so quick to blame TSA for the Hannah Cohen issue when none of the facts were out yet. As it turns out, video supported TSA's claims and they clearly had nothing to do with it. Maybe you like the feel of egg on your face...

Dr. Hapgood said...

It's been a while since I visited this blog. But when I saw the report of this incident, I couldn't help wondering whether Blogger Bob was still around. And if he was, how he would of spin away the latest of a great many embarrassing TSA failures.

Sure enough, he handled it with the standard formula: He reports that "a thorough review" reached the invariable conclusion that the officers acted appropriately and followed procedures correctly. Then he provides the minimum amount of detail necessary to reach the "myth busting" conclusion that this was just another crackpot passenger fabricating a story to besmirch the impeccable competence and professionalism of TSA employees. Then it concludes with a paean to the TSA's steadfast commitment to keep passengers safe while providing careful and courteous treatment for passengers with special needs.

Not very creative. (And why would the mother and son require "American Airlines personnel" to escort them to the gate if there weren't more problems with screening than Bob finds appropriate to disclose?) But I suppose by now neither Bob nor the TSA feel any need to do more than dismiss adverse publicity about TSA failures incidents as lies, and then put in a good word for the TSA. I also suspect neither Bob nor the TSA care any more about whether the TSA has any credibility. When they have the sole authority to grant or deny the privilege of flying, they don't need credibility.

Boldly said...

Anonymous said "... And it's not false alarm if he does not in fact have explosives on him."

That is, in fact, the very definition of a False Alarm.

And it will be interesting to see your response since you can no longer post as anonymous around here.

No, it really isn't. A false alarm is when an alarm sounds and there is no reason. If the machine alarms at the airport, there is a reason. It is in the very name of the machine (hint) You should learn what the machines are testing for and how they work. Then you wouldn't sound so ignorant. Sadly, so many people post here without having a clue what they are talking about. Wouldn't it be great if the machines actually could tell if someone had an explosive device on them? That just simply is not their purpose or within their capabilities. Research my friend...

Dr. Hapgood said...

The truth is surely somewhere between Ali Bergstrom's emotional social media account of the incident and the contradictory "myth-busting" proffered here. Given the TSA's longstanding inability to admit even the possibility that their officers might be less than competent or knowledgeable, or act in any way improperly, I would give Bergstrom's account more credibility than Bob's.

Even without knowing what really happened, one thing is clear: Any passenger with a disability, a medical problem, or other "special needs" who must fly needs extensive contingency plans in the event of a TSA disaster. The well-known inconsistency of competence, knowledge, training, and attitude among TSA officers creates significant risk for these passengers.

Most of us have little to fear from the TSA, beyond the intentionally intrusive hassles that define "security." Even the most inept "bad apple" officer can probably handle routine screening of ordinary passengers without creating an "incident" that requires "myth-busting."

But passengers with special needs, who require exceptional screening beyond the routine procedures, challenge the knowledge, competence, training, professionalism, and human decency of the officers who screen them. Most officers probably meet that challenge very well, which is why "incidents" are fortunately uncommon. Some officers unfortunately fail to meet that challenge, which appears to have happened here.

The bigger problem, which creates such animosity towards the TSA, is the way the agency deals with these failures. Rather than seeking to correct the cause and prevent future failure, they ignore it and allow it to continue. And if the victim of a TSA failure publicizes it enough to be embarrassing, they deny it, justify it, and/or blame the passenger, as Bob has done here so many times.

One would think that in the age of social media, the TSA would want to admit its failure, apologize to those who suffered from it, and publicize what they're doing to correct the root cause and prevent future failures. If anything, communicating a desire to correct problems and improve should enhance "security" and the TSA's effectiveness. It should be obvious that officers' jobs would be easier, and their procedures more effective, if the public trusted, supported, and were eager to cooperate with the TSA. Believe it or not, the TSA and the public do share the same goal of safe aviation!

But somehow that's not what the TSA do. They seem to believe that their assiduous efforts to earn the distrust, disgust, and ridicule of a significant portion of the public somehow enhances "security." It makes no sense, particularly given the agency's much-publicized dismal performance in independent tests. The TSA seem to be a textbook example of what happens when a bureaucracy is exempt from from meaningful oversight.

GSOLTSO said...

Wintermute sez - "West, your quotes are more half- truths."

Actually the headline for one of them was "Hero TSA agents prevent 9-year-old with pacemaker from flying".

The direct comment in the article with the above mentioned headline was "An hour later, they learned that Chille would not be flying on Saturday"

The passengers made a later flight, but there were some articles that claimed the passengers were prevented from flying, and that is incorrect.

Anders sez - "I think you work for the TSA."

I do, but I doubt that the person posting above under the Ali Bergstrom handle does.

West
TSA Blog Team

Linda Carter said...

I agree with what Dr. Hapgood said... but one thing that persons with disabilities or access and functional needs is that they need to understand that they need to plan ahead and if you need help doing so it is there. also i been flying with many medical issues, power chair - mobility, respiratory - ventalor and POC and other equipment is that is required to go with me for these devices and so on and almost never had an issue due to my pre planning and knowing how to and making contact with TSA Cares at lease 96 to 72 hours before my flight. i have a supervisor waiting for me every time to make sure that i get through and at the same time i have been training new TSA staff who have never seen or observed a person with my issues.

On my last flight with Delta from Pittsburg, Delta was notified ahead of time of my arrival and TSA Cares notified, and i had a phone phone call from the TSA at PIT confirming my arrival.

On the day of my flight i arrived at the Delta counter i always check with with the counter manager or supervisor due to my medical issues, they sent a person to notified TSA that i was checking in and would be there very shortly.

When i arrived at the TSA check point, they were waiting and they had some new staff first timers working with travelers with disability needs as mine, and they had 5 people there to assist me through the process, took a very short period of time. during the TSA process i was teaching the new staff what to look for and how to check the medical equipment i was traveling with. When we were done i was on my way with NO repeat NO issues, and was given a thank you for helping educate the new staff.

TSA check points are not a problem if you pre plan. The supervisor told me when i asked her others pre plan like i do and she told me that shes never seen a person so well organized and with a pre planning done. She wished all other travelers would do the same.

It takes education and helping others learn how to.

if anyone wants more information, please feel free to contact me.

Ms Linda Carter

Wintermute said...

Actually, it was TSA's fault MPD was there in the first place. If they had handled the screening better, the PD wouldn't have had to have been called.

Wintermute said...

The Administrative Search cut-out does not allow searching for "anomolies," but actual WEI, so either it's a false alarm of TSA is exceeding their what the Constitution allows for.

Wintermute said...

OK, West, to be clear, TSA's victims never claimed this. Your half-truth makes it appear otherwise.

Chip and Andy said...

"..Wouldn't it be great if the machines actually could tell if someone had an explosive device on them? That just simply is not their purpose or within their capabilities."

If that is beyond the machines capability then why have the machines?

Boldly said...

I would be curious to know what you think about TSA's Blog Teams characterization of this incident? When federal employees work so hard to twist the truth, or flat out lie, should they be allowed to continue drawing a paycheck that taxpayers are funding?

And the story I read states that the Federal Security Director for that airport was there when this incident was happening. Should that person be allowed to continue in any role of TSA with such a poor ability to manage just one persons screening?

Do you really know what happened? Or as usual, people here are going to pass judgment on TSA without knowing any of the facts just as many of you did with the Memphis incident? That as you know was proven to be a falsehood and an exaggeration based on video evidence. Is it just possible that once again an over protective mother is exaggerating reality? A 9 yr old felt "de-humanized." That is not terminology used by a 9 yr old. Lots of prejudice going on around here.

Fix the TSA said...

Boldy, you are correct. When the naked pic scanner sees cloth folds, sweat, jewelry, prosthetic devices as a reason to sound an alarm, it is a false positive.

Wintermute said...

How do you know the terminology used by this specific 9 year old? Were YOU there? TSA is not blameless in the Memphis incident, either. Had they not caused the situation to escalate to begin with, MPD would not have been there. So, once again, we have you blaming the victim when YOU weren't there, either.

GSOLTSO said...

Wintermute sez - "OK, West, to be clear, TSA's victims never claimed this. Your half-truth makes it appear otherwise."

After Wintermute stated - "No one claimed he was prevented from fying(sic)"

I was merely disagreeing with your statement, and providing facts to support - how is that a half truth? I dispelled the misstatement that "no one claimed he was prevented from flying".

Especially since it was also quoted by RB earlier in the thread - "“At that point the TSA agent said he wouldn’t be flying today,” Ali said."


This situation was unfortunate, publishing untruths about it, make it even more unfortunate - whether the untruth is purposeful or a mistake.


Linda Carter sez - "On my last flight with Delta from Pittsburg, Delta was notified ahead of time of my arrival and TSA Cares notified, and i had a phone phone call from the TSA at PIT confirming my arrival. "

Linda, thank you for the kind words about our TSA Cares program. You are one of many that have had good experiences and use the program to their benefit. I am glad that we have been able to assist you and get things done for you in the past - and hopefully in the future as well! We have some military guys (Wounded Warriors) that come through GSO on a frequent basis, and they use the program as requested and they have almost universally had the same experience you indicate here.

For those that have indicated that people with special needs shouldn't have to call TSA to transit the checkpoints - they do not have to. This is a service we offer that gives us the ability to coordinate ahead of time with passengers with special needs, to insure that they are able to get through with as little challenge as possible. If I (or my coworkers) know that someone with special needs is enroute at a certain time, we can meet them ahead of the checkpoint, nail down the specific types of help they may need, and then communicate it more efficiently - thus helping the passenger through as quickly and smoothly as possible. If you do not wish to use the service, that is entirely up to you, but if I ever find myself or a family member in need of this service, I am truly happy that it is available. I hope that we keep this program and expand it in the future, it has turned out to be one of the best programs we have instituted as an organization.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Mike Black sez - "They were a huge help."

Mike, I am glad that you also have had good experiences with our TSA Cares program. I am happy that we are able to offer this to you and your family. I hope to see you in the future and hope the program is able to continue helping you in the future!

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Bob said multiple times that unless someone was physically in Memphis, they had no way to know what really happened"

I have not seen Bob post anything in the comments section here, I think you may confusing someone else with Bob...

West
TSA Blog Team

Wintermute said...

You're being pedantic, intentionally dense, or I was not clear enough in my original statement, hence the "to be clear" part of my most recent. So, to be clear, NO ONE ACTUALLY INVOLVED IN THE INCIDENT made such a claim. Done playing word games now?

Wintermute said...

Also, I have no doubt Ali was told that at one point; it's the old "do you want to fly today?" Just because someone is told that doesn't mean they didn't still fly.

Wintermute said...

Me thinks someone is calling Boldy "Bob" as an insult to one, the other, or both. Or they're convinced both are the same person.

Doober said...

Boldy wrote:

"A 9 yr old felt "de-humanized." That is not terminology used by a 9 yr old."

Boldy, have you seen any video of the 9-year old boy who had a hand transplant? He is more erudite than you will ever be. Going through years of physical issues, especially when those issues are life-threatening, makes a child grow up very fast.

May I ask: have you seen the video of the Cohen incident taken at the checkpoint?

screenshot/DHS IG statement

Boldly said...

"..Wouldn't it be great if the machines actually could tell if someone had an explosive device on them? That just simply is not their purpose or within their capabilities."

If that is beyond the machines capability then why have the machines?

How could a machine that is detecting residue on your hands on your property possibly tell if you have an IED? Does nobody here really try to understand the equipment or do they all just choose to complain about it? Never mind, I know the answer...

Boldly said...

Boldy, you are correct. When the naked pic scanner sees cloth folds, sweat, jewelry, prosthetic devices as a reason to sound an alarm, it is a false positive

no, it isn't. It is alarming on something. It is up to the officer to find out what.

Boldly said...

How do you know the terminology used by this specific 9 year old? Were YOU there? TSA is not blameless in the Memphis incident, either. Had they not caused the situation to escalate to begin with, MPD would not have been there. So, once again, we have you blaming the victim when YOU weren't there, either.

of course I wasn't. That's why I am not assigning blame to TSA until the facts come out. You should try it. Blaming TSA for the Memphis story is much like blaming the gun in a shootout. I guess by your "logic" we should blame the mother than. Had she not booked a flight for that day she never would have been at the airport. How far back should w go to assign blame? Or does it always stop with TSA?

Boldly said...

Boldy, have you seen any video of the 9-year old boy who had a hand transplant? He is more erudite than you will ever be. Going through years of physical issues, especially when those issues are life-threatening, makes a child grow up very fast. I have not, nor have you. So I wont pass judgment on TSA until I do.

May I ask: have you seen the video of the Cohen incident taken at the checkpoint? yes, have you?

RB said...

Some are suggesting to use TSA Cares. I am firmly in the group who says that TSA Cares is an admittance by TSA that TSA screeners are not properly trained or have the intelligence to deal with people with disabilities.

In the case of the 9 year old boy, he was an experienced traveler. He knew the TSA procedures for his situation. It was TSA who failed to follow their screening procedures.

A person with a pacemaker is not eligible for the WTMD. That leaves the Whole Body Imager or a Pat Down. But TSA screeners on that day didn't avail themselves of either option.

The question that has to be asked is why? Why didn't the TSA screeners screen the boy using the WBI or by pat down? Why didn't the TSA screeners know how to screen the boy? Adding a layer such as TSA Cares just covers up for the screeners that cannot do there jobs. Then we get down to the issue of the FSD or other suits being present and the questions really start. Why didn't a management person intervene?

TSA Cares should be disbanded and TSA screeners should be required to screen as SOP states.

If a screener doesn't know or cannot follow SOP then they should be removed from screening tasks leading up to removal from federal service if they cannot demonstrate competency after a period of remedial training. Any remedial training would be required to be entered in the employee personnel files. Any such remedial training would also prohibit any pay increase, advancement, or reassignment for a period of 5 years.

The public has every right to expect TSA employees to do their jobs correctly, and abusing travelers is not part of that job.

Created delays or other such tactics currently used by TSA screeners to impede a persons entrance to the secure portions of airports should required immediate suspension from duties with an investigation to determine fitness to continue in federal service. If supervisors and other employees cover up, or ignore, such acts then their employment should be terminated.

While these steps may seem harsh the end result would pay off for all concerned, TS and the public. After some adjustment requiring a high level of performance TSA would end up a better organization with better employees which would benefit the public.

RB said...

Boldly said...
....................
I would be curious to know what you think about TSA's Blog Teams characterization of this incident? When federal employees work so hard to twist the truth, or flat out lie, should they be allowed to continue drawing a paycheck that taxpayers are funding?

And the story I read states that the Federal Security Director for that airport was there when this incident was happening. Should that person be allowed to continue in any role of TSA with such a poor ability to manage just one persons screening?
.........................
Do you really know what happened? Or as usual, people here are going to pass judgment on TSA without knowing any of the facts just as many of you did with the Memphis incident? That as you know was proven to be a falsehood and an exaggeration based on video evidence. Is it just possible that once again an over protective mother is exaggerating reality? A 9 yr old felt "de-humanized." That is not terminology used by a 9 yr old. Lots of prejudice going on around here.

September 1, 2016 at 2:10 PM

I know that TSA's article, supposedly written by Blogger Bob, is 180 out from what the news reported.

I know that TSA and the TSA Blog Team has a history of twisting the truth and flat out lying. An example, saying that the Backscatter Whole Body Scanner images where suitable for viewing by young school children when a high level TSA employee stated those images were extremely revealing as one example. I know that TSA has used the phrase "Procedures where followed" when the exact opposite was the real truth. I know that TSA has cost taxpayers large sums of tax revenue in court settlements to keep cases from going to jury trail.

TSA has no grounds to stand on when claiming to be an honest organization. Perhaps a period of rebuilding a reputation can build some trust but TSA is the party that has to take the first step. I haven't seen TSA do anything but go backwards.

Bye the way, it is BOLDY not boldly. There is nothing boldly about your posts.

Dr. Hapgood said...

@Linda Carter, I'm glad you've had good experiences with "TSA Cares." As I noted, TSA employees usually do their job adequately, and passengers get to their flight with only the "necessary" intrusive hassles that the TSA defines as "security." But occasionally a TSA employee doesn't do the job properly, and a passenger has a problem that attracts publicity. Rather than admitting to the problem, apologizing, and committing to correct the cause of what went wrong, the TSA prefer to handle these situations by blaming the passenger and presenting a story supporting the official pretense that their agency and its employees are infallible.

The fact is that TSA officers are inconsistent in their implementation of secret guidelines, as well as in their competence, knowledge, and "professional" demeanor. There's nothing secret or SSI about that, as it's openly visible to anyone who flies. Since even Bob can't deny or spin away what is so visible and obvious, the TSA have instead transformed this failing into a "layer" of security. The inconsistency is officially an "element of unpredictability" in screening that "keeps terrorists off balance." They conveniently ignore the fact that it much more often needlessly keeps innocent passengers off balance, sometimes to the point of falling.

An unfortunate consequence of the inconsistency is that anyone whose life or health depends on TSA officers knowing how to handle "exceptional" screening and doing their job properly faces a real risk. While it's likely that the officers will know what to do, and will treat such passengers with professional competence and respect (particularly if pre-arranged through "TSA Cares"), it's distinctly possible that the officer who screens them at that moment is lacking in competence and respect.

As long as the TSA consistently demonstrate their tolerance of "bad apples" by resolutely standing behind them when things go wrong, that risk will remain. It's an unnecessary risk that should be unacceptable. But if the answer to "Do you want to fly today?" is "yes," we're stuck with rolling the dice. Unfortunately, there's no real recourse if the dice come up snake-eyes.

Dr. Hapgood said...

As I was listening to the latest report about a police shooting, I couldn't help thinking about some unfortunate parallels with the TSA.

Yes, I realize there's no direct comparison. When a police officer shoots someone, that person dies. When a TSA officer falls short of the expected standard of performance, a passenger is inconvenienced, humiliated, or angered. The passenger may miss their flight (and need to be escorted by airline personnel to a later flight), or may suffer minor health consequences (e.g., a colostomy bag dislodged during an inept pat-down or secondary screening). The consequences of botched TSA screening are in no way comparable to a police shooting. (I won't address the consequences of the the TSA's 95% failure rate in independent screening tests. That's another matter entirely.)

Unfortunately, the response to such "incidents" is uncannily similar. In both cases, the officer's superiors immediately circle the wagons to protect the officer and the agency. They both conduct a "thorough investigation" whose only purpose seems to be constructing a narrative that justifies what "thorough investigations" invariably conclude: The officer acted properly. The criminal or passenger did something (or failed to do something) that made the officer's proper and appropriate action necessary. And any witnesses who claim otherwise are lying.

Police are increasingly facing challenges to this standard response to shootings, and to the credibility of departments "thoroughly investigating" themselves. Ubiquitous video has led to questions about the veracity of "investigation" results. As a result, some departments are instituting transparency requirements (body cameras, video records of interrogations) that provide a measure of accountability. Even police chiefs are starting to recognize that earning the trust, respect, and cooperation of the citizens they "protect and serve" will lead to safer streets (and less risk to officers) than acting like an occupying army fighting an endless war on broken windows.

What, then, will it take for the TSA to realize that passengers aren't mere enemies in the Global War on Terror, but share the TSA's goal of safe aviation? What will it take for TSA leaders to realize that their apparent longstanding policy of working hard to earn the distrust and disdain of many passengers doesn't enhance security; and that instead working to earn passengers' trust, respect, and cooperation will make screening easier and more effective?

What will it take for the TSA to respond to failures of its officers by acknowledging the problem, apologizing, and committing to improve, rather than invariably insulting our intelligence by blaming passengers for the failures and branding them liars? All organizations have failures. Acknowledging them when necessary and fixing the problems will only improve effectiveness. Proudly highlighting a commitment to improvement indicates strength, not weakness. So much about the TSA makes no sense.

Fix the TSA said...

Give it up, Boldy. You've lost the Cohen argument. I think you've only made one critical comment about the TSA that I've seen. You cling to your willful ignorance like a security blanket. The TSA called the police on Hannah Cohen. Do you deny that? Do you understand "directly responsible"?

The rest is straw man arguments.

Doober said...

Boldy, who does not seem to know how to quote or attribute, wrote above, copying and pasting:

"Boldy, have you seen any video of the 9-year old boy who had a hand transplant? He is more erudite than you will ever be. Going through years of physical issues, especially when those issues are life-threatening, makes a child grow up very fast. I have not, nor have you. So I wont pass judgment on TSA until I do."

Here's just one video for you, Boldy:

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/zion-harvey-year-after-double-hand-transplant-9-year-old-n636646


screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Doober said...

Dr. Hapgood, thank you for your most insightful comments about the TSA. My only critique is that you call TSA screeners "officers" which they are only in the minds of the TSA. Designating screeners as "officers", as well as putting them in faux LEO uniforms, was part of TSA's plan to attempt to deceive the traveling public into believing that screeners have far more power than they actually do.

In fact, putting screeners in faux LEO uniforms has probably led to a good number of the incidents we have seen.

I would add to your suggestions above about how the TSA could resolve some of its issues with the traveling public would be to put their screeners in khaki pants and polo shirts.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Wintermute said...

It stops with the TSA's mishandling of the situation. My logic is sound. Your word games aren't.

RB said...

Boldly said...
"..Wouldn't it be great if the machines actually could tell if someone had an explosive device on them? That just simply is not their purpose or within their capabilities."

If that is beyond the machines capability then why have the machines?

How could a machine that is detecting residue on your hands on your property possibly tell if you have an IED? Does nobody here really try to understand the equipment or do they all just choose to complain about it? Never mind, I know the answer...

September 4, 2016 at 10:20 AM

...................
In the case of ETD testing, when the machine alerts on so many non-threat compounds then the machine is worse than useless. False alarms take focus away from actual effective security steps. False alarms also build in complacency for TSA screeners. How many times is not finding a threat item going to lead that person to realize that the machine is not alarming on real threats.

Pretty much goes for the Whole Body Imager. A video of the screening area during the Cohen incident shows person after person getting a partial pat down after exiting the WBI and nothing being found. Just more false alarms. Again the machine has a very high false alarm rate. And before Boldy tries to argue these are not false alarms my definition of a false alarm is when no threat item is found.

Now the kicker is that TSA is only authorized to search for WEI. Nothing else and it is clear that TSA is exceeding the law in this respect.

TSA has proven that WBI and ETD are not effective security screening methods.

Dr. Hapgood said...

Doober, I call TSA screeners "officers" because it's their job title. And also because I do not intend to impugn the majority of officers who screen passengers. The majority of officers know, understand, and properly follow procedures; treat both ordinary and "exceptional" passengers with appropriate professional courtesy; and do their best to fulfill the TSA's mission. And they do it day after day despite the disdain so many passengers have for them and their agency, as well as the attitude of superiors who inexplicably seem to believe earning that disdain is somehow a necessary element of "security."

My disgust and disdain is thus directed toward the minority of screeners whose incompetence and/or unprofessional arrogance regularly creates "incidents" like this, and earns the TSA its horrible reputation. I'll agree that these people don't deserve to be called "officers."

I have even more disgust and disdain for the TSA's "leadership," who don't merely tolerate the continuing presence of these "bad apples," but defend them whenever one of their failures creates a public relations problem. And worse, the formulaic defense (as offered here by Bob) only adds insult to injury. It's not enough to say "the TSA immediately investigated itself, and found it did nothing wrong." (Has a "thorough investigation" of one of these "incidents" EVER found fault with any TSA employee or manager?) The formula must blame the passenger for causing the problem, and then imply any reports that contradict what Bob says version are lies. As repeating that formula is one of the few things the TSA does consistently, TSA leadership apparently believe it adequately disposes of any public relations problems a screener's failure creates.

The real message of Bob's numerous posts defending failed screeners is that the TSA have no intention of disciplining screeners who fail, and particularly no intention of changing a dysfunctional culture that allows failed screeners to continue creating "incidents." As RB noted, "TSA Cares" is a band-aid that might help "exceptional" passengers avoid failed screeners. (Presumably, putting the airport's TSA manager on notice that an "exceptional" passenger is due allows that manager to make sure a competent officer handles the screening. Of course, that doesn't guarantee the manager will do that, but it could provide some of the accountability the TSA culture otherwise lacks.) "TSA Cares" would not be necessary if the TSA actually cared.

The presence of incompetent or unprofessional screeners is something that should not be acceptable. But the TSA's consistent official response to "incidents" clearly tells us that it IS acceptable to TSA leadership. And also that TSA leadership considers "incidents" like these (i.e., FAILURES) merely problems of perception that can be corrected by dismissing them as lies.

This all means anyone whose life or health depends on a TSA screener knowing, understanding, and properly following procedures is taking a risk if they fly. "TSA Cares" might mitigate that risk, but the risk remains. And it's completely unnecessary and unacceptable. Unfortunately, it's abundantly clear that TSA leadership do not consider it a problem.

Doober said...

Dr. Hapgood, thank you for using the term "screener" and not "officer" in the body of your comment above. You do know, I presume, that the term "officer" was not conferred until 2006. When the TSA originally began, they were referred to as screeners.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Dr. Hapgood said...

RB, consider the possibility that TSA leadership secretly understand what we all know, that mass screening is basically useless for its stated purpose of protecting aviation from the (devastating but extremely rare) threat of another 9/11. It is still useful though, primarily as "security theatre" that makes (some) passengers feel safe and reassured that the government are protecting them. Security theatre is actually a valuable (and possibly even essential) function. That function could be served just as well with measures that are much less costly and much less intrusive. But the TSA believe a bigger show of "thorough" intrusiveness means more impressive security theatre.

There may also be another secretive agenda at work. Yes, the TSA consistently fail at detecting simulated threats in tests. But they have undeniably succeeded at conditioning Americans to surrender their liberty, privacy, property, and even bodily integrity at demand of federal "officers." Citizens who used to complain about the intrusiveness and violation now quietly accept (and even welcome) treatment that once was reserved for convicted felons in prison. We have learned that "resistance is futile" if we want to fly today.

TSA officials have reason to feel immense pride at the sight of Americans, who used to cherish their freedom, now standing shoeless like a flock of sheep waiting to be nude-o-scoped and patted down, and their property thoroughly searched, in the hope of being granted the privilege of travel (which was a constitutional right before "9/11 changed everything"). Law enforcement have long wished for a populace that will readily surrender constitutional rights that get in the way of maintaining law and order. The TSA can take great pride in the strides they've made toward that goal. That may be the TSA's real "mission" (intentionally or otherwise), which may be why they don't seem to care much about the consistently dismal results of independent testing.

Thus, what we might see as a "false alarm" is a useful part of the TSA's security theatre. When a passenger must endure a "partial pat down" because the nude-o-scope yet again falsely alarms, that lets the TSA demonstrate to a captive crowd just how thorough and effective screening is. It also provides an opportunity for conditioning the affected passenger to accept an extra (unnecessary) pat-down without complaint.

Similarly, a "false alarm" from the explosive detector is the cue for an impressive show of taking apart and exposing the passenger's belongings. It again shows the assembled lambkins just how thorough and careful TSA screening is, while further conditioning them to willingly surrender the privacy and integrity of their belongings.

The "false alarms" may have all the deleterious effects RB noted. But that's less important than the benefits of enhancing the security theatre and conditioning passengers to submit uncomplainingly to the arbitrary demands of uniformed "officers" in the name of "security."

I'll admit all of the foregoing is very cynical. But I think the TSA have earned that cynicism, especially when it explains so much about observed TSA behaviour.

Doober said...

I don't think it's cynical at all, Dr. Hapgood. You have hit the nail directly on the head with every single one of your points.

screen shot

Wintermute said...

You know what they say... sometimes the simplest explanation is correct, and many critics have been saying that is, indeed, the simplest.