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As TSA tries to improve its public image by allowing random passengers to by security scrutiny for the holiday travel season, yet another report of a TSA screener abusing a handicapped traveler emerges. TSA ostensibly expanded their so called Pre-Check program by randomly allowing passengers who were not pre-checked at all, to by-pass the scanners and the obligatory groping that frequently is administered afterward.
As has happened many times over the past three years the screener refused the passenger’s request for a private screening and proceeded to grope the traveler in full view of other passengers. As usual the TSA responded by repeating the same lies that they have been spewing for years while they continue to harass, humiliate and traumatize the disabled.
Complaint filed against TSA agents at Hagerstown Regional Airport over search of woman in wheelchair – Local News – Herald Mail Media December 28, 2013
The daughter of a Hagerstown woman has filed a complaint about the conduct of federal security agents at Hagerstown Regional Airport after her mother who uses a wheelchair was searched in public prior to boarding a flight to Florida, making her feel “really, really violated.”
Katrina Foster said an official with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration told her that agents should have offered her 67-year-old mother, Florine Foster, a privacy screen or a private room before searching her person and luggage on Dec. 20. “They did neither of the such,” said Katrina Foster, who is originally from Hagerstown but moved to Titusville, Fla., several years ago.
Florine Foster, who has had two knee replacements that likely set off the alarm, said she flies frequently and has never been searched like that in public view without warning. “I’ve never had it happen,” she said, referring to the female TSA agent who conducted the pat-down of her body, including private areas.
“She went to my butt and to my back, and all down the inside of my legs, outside my legs,” Florine Foster said. “It was just wholly embarrassing. “I just was really upset, and she just shrugged it off like it was nothing,” she said. “I just feel like that was really inappropriate. … I think that was uncalled for.”
Katrina Foster said a TSA official told her that if agents had to touch or pat her mother down anywhere, they should have first told her what they were going to do and offered her the option to have it done privately. “My mom had no clue that this woman was going to be doing what she did,” she said. “… I would love an apology to my mom, because she was very devastated.” In response, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said in an email this week that the agency was actively looking into the matter.
“One of the primary goals of the TSA is to provide the highest level of security and customer service to all who pass through out screening checkpoints,” Farbstein said. “Our current policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers, regardless of their personal situations and needs, are treated equally and with the dignity, respect and courtesy they deserve.”
The TSA said Florine Foster was offered a private screening, but she declined. Passengers who trigger an alarm at a checkpoint — which is the most common cause of a pat-down — receive further screening from an officer of the same gender, and private screenings are required to be offered if an officer has to pat-down “sensitive areas,” according to the TSA’s website.
If this were an unusual occurrence it may be excusable, but the fact that his pattern has been persistent for years is indicative of a systemic problem within TSA. Some past examples include the strip search of an elderly woman where TSA spokesperson Kristin Lee told CBS News “TSA screening procedures are conducted in a manner designed to treat all passengers with dignity, respect and courtesy and that occurred in this instance. While we regret that the passenger feels she had an unpleasant screening experience, TSA does not include strip searches as part of our security protocols, and one was not conducted in this case.” TSA was later forced to apologize when evidence of three strip searches that day were confirmed.
When Senator John McCain complained about similar mistreatment of elderly and handicapped passengers at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in October including requiring them to disrobe to expose prosthetics, TSA responded by saying “The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) strives to treat every passenger with dignity and respect. During the screening process, if an anomaly is detected, secondary screening is required to ensure the passenger does not have threat items, such as explosives concealed under clothing. A passenger should not be asked to remove or lift any article of clothing to reveal a sensitive body area or to remove a prosthetic,”
In a similar case a North Texas man said that airport security agents at Dallas Love Field strip-searched his wife and handled her feeding tube. Melinda Deaton has a four-inch medical tube sticking out of her stomach. Deaton frequently flies from Dallas to Minneapolis for treatment at the Mayo Clinic. She said Transportation Security Administration agents strip-searched her and touched her feeding tube Wednesday morning when she was on her way to three days of treatment.
In the Texas case TSA spokesman Jim Fotenos told the Associated Press. “We respect the right to privacy of the passenger in question and will reach out directly to her,” a TSA spokesman told WFAA in a statement regarding Deaton’s complaint.
The fact remains that these abuses will continue to happen until TSA is replaced with professional law enforcement and TSA’s substandard and often criminal workforce is sent back to doing menial tasks where they have limited contact with civilized people.