For disabled fliers, TSA adds insult to injury

By | July 15th, 2012

If you thought the TSA’s reputation as America’s worst federal agency couldn’t get any worse — and after its recent PR disasters, I wouldn’t blame you — you might want to think again.

Last week brought fresh evidence that our airport screeners are working even harder to be reviled by the public they’re assigned to protect.

Both incidents involve young passengers with disabilities. The first one happened to a young deaf passenger traveling to a conference in Louisville. He alleges agents belittled him (I can’t repeat the exact words they allegedly used), stole his candy, and devoured it in front of him.

The second incident involves a cancer patient on his way to Disneyland, having his prosthetic leg screened by a TSA agent. A photo of the search provoked widespread outrage. My colleague Lisa Simeone covered the fallout on the watchdog site TSA News.

The TSA issued a statement on its blog, denying the deaf passenger was mistreated. It said it had the pictures to disprove it.

“After a review of the video, TSA found no footage that matches the information in the blog post, such as Officers removing food during any bag search and eating it, or anything to indicate that they were pointing at and ridiculing a passenger,” it said.

A blog post written by the deaf passenger has since been removed, and the author has asked other media outlets to unpublish the article.

TSA hasn’t commented on the photo of the child being screened. It doesn’t really have to. No one seems to care what the agency has to say anymore.

Related story:   Need a flight? Just Google it

Was that a doctored photo? Was the deaf passenger harassed by agents? What does it matter? They just wouldn’t put anything past the TSA.

Just in case you’re one of the three readers who are still concerned with the facts, here are a few to chew on. The TSA has a long history of targeting the disabled, as I documented in a post last year.


Since then, it’s kept the most defenseless air travelers in its crosshairs.

In May, radio host Laura Ingraham reported a legless Afghanistan war veteran being given a very thorough once-over by TSA agents at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Our vets, she added, “deserve better.” (She’s right.)

A few weeks before, it aggressively screened a 7-year-old female passenger with cerebral palsy, causing her family to miss their flight. The girl, Dina Frank, was waiting to board a flight departing from JFK Airport in New York to Florida, when agents insisted on conducting a thorough search of her and her crutches — this was at the gate, after the girl had already gone through security at the checkpoint.

Elderly passengers with mobility challenges are also a favorite target. Just a few days before they went after the disabled girl, a passenger flying out of Palm Beach International Airport claims agents refused to let her walk through a magnetometer and gave her an invasive pat-down.

Her crime? Using a cane.

“I was groped inappropriately in all strategic areas, hands placed down my pants in a manner I never imagined possible for a middle aged woman with a cane,” she wrote on a consumer complaint site. “The point was very clear; to punish and retaliate against me because I opted out of the non-metal scanner.”

Related story:   Are lax rules slowing down airline ticket refunds?

When it comes to the way TSA treats disabled travelers, is any horror story true until proven otherwise? I can’t fault the flying public for thinking so.

To the agency’s credit, it has changed the way it screens some passengers as a result of recent complaints. A few months ago, the TSA declared that passengers 75 and over could keep their shoes and light jackets on at the screening area. But to many critics, the agency just created yet another class of “special” passenger, which some disability advocates find offensive. Their goal is to be treated like everyone else — no better, no worse.

Pope John Paul II once said that society can be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members. Last week, the TSA added insult to injury for its most vulnerable passengers. And it seems passengers have already judged them for it.



  • “Has the TSA done enough to accommodate disabled travelers?”

    Not according to the Amputee Coalition of America, where 75% of respondents to a survey said they’ve been harassed and disrespected by TSA screeners:
    http://tsanewsblog.com/438/news/passenger-advocate-and-800-number-to-the-rescue/

  • sirwired

    Chris, if the tale of the mistreated deaf passenger was apparently a hoax, then why are you even mentioning it, much less referring to the non-existent incident as “evidence”?  (I would think the author retracting the post would have been a good clue that it likely never happened…)

    I know you don’t like the TSA, and there are indeed an awful lot of things they are terrible at.  Given that there are an infinite number of legitimate things you can point out about their operations, why bring up something so obviously discredited?

  • My point is that things have gotten so bad that people don’t care if the story is true or not. I happen to care if it’s true, and I wouldn’t say the story has been disproven. I think the author didn’t want any additional publicity, and unpublished the post. The fact that TSA doesn’t have any matching footage doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

  • Daizymae

    The story of the deaf passenger certainly has NOT been disproven and has NOT been shown to be a hoax.

    TSA hasn’t found any footage that shows misconduct by its employees? Surprise, surprise! They never do find the footage that shows their employees’ crimes and misdeeds. In what other arena of life do we expect criminals to furnish evidence against themselves and then conclude they are innocent when they can’t “find” any?

    The deaf passenger removed his post so it must have been a hoax? In any other arena this would be considered witness intimidation. The passenger expressed concern for retaliation against himself and other disabled people. In this current atmosphere where TSA can rob, assault, detain, harass, demean, and intimidate innocent people with impunity, is it so hard to understand this young man’s concern?

    Cross TSA and they can have you arrested, charged, and prosecuted (Carol Jean Price and Andrea Abbott). Next time you fly, they can single you out for even further punishment (Stacey Armato). They can even place you on the no fly list or other government lists that will target you for future abuse. Is it really so hard to understand that this young man may have shied away from the blitz of media attention?

    To conclude that this story is a hoax based on the TSA not finding evidence to incriminate itself or on a young vulnerable man wanting to avoid additional abuse from this criminal agency is vile. It makes one passively complicit in the crimes and abuse committed by this agency.

  • ClareClare

    Chris, you get extra points for citing that oh-so-appropriate quote from Pope John Paul II.  Wouldn’t you just love to see Congressmen/Senators quote it to Pistole and Napolitano in a hearing, with media cameras running, and invite them to comment on it?

    You gotta dream, man…

  • Extramail

    Why do I have to keep saying it: THE TERRORISTS HAVE WON!

  • Kotch11

    Golly, Chris hates TSA, doesn’t he?

  • KarlaKatz

    You don’t… enough already.

  • EvilEmpryss

    I’m a disabled vet, though I don’t advertise that fact with a hat or pin or anything.  I just got back from an international trip in which I took my wheeled walker and my cane (once the walker gets gate-checked, I use my cane, so I needed both).  I prepared myself as best I could checking out the TSA rules on bringing assistive devices through screening and did everything I could to make sure I was following the rules, wearing clothes that while not bikini-revealing, made it pretty clear I wasn’t hiding anything underneath. 

    At EVERY screening point I was patted down after wobbling through the metal detector while my cane and walker were both x-rayed and visually examined (yes, both).  Now I volunteered to go through the metal detector without my devices because I thought it would help spare me the pat down.  Other people went through without so much as a second look.  For some reason, at five different airports I was considered suspicious enough to require extra screening.  At three I received a secondary wand screening even though I hadn’t set off the metal detector.

    I will grant that all of the screeners were polite and professional, standing by to assist me coming through the metal detector and offering me a chair during the pat down, and while I find the pat downs inherently inappropriate I was not groped, but still… Why was I double-screened at every checkpoint when others went through with minimal screening?  Are the disabled considered such a security risk that they have to dedicate the time and personnel to double-screening us?

    My life’s rough, but not so bad that I’d end it all taking out an airplane full of innocent people!

  • Not true. I don’t approve of what the TSA is doing. I consider myself a critic of the agency. But hate the TSA? No.

  • Elmo Clarity

    TSA hasn’t found any video evidence?  More like the TSA hasn’t found any video evidence showing the wrong doing that they haven’t destroyed already.

  • cjr001

    The deaf passenger didn’t want the media attention for fear of future backlash. (Although, if you dont’ want attention, you don’t make a blog post about it.)

    So, basically, a government agency has cowed this innocent person into self-censorship.

    I’m sorry, who are the real terrorists, again?

  • cjr001

    TSA cares more about picking on the ‘easy’ targets rather than actually finding terrorists. And, in the end, there are far, far more easy targets than actual terrorists to be found.

    Which is why hundreds of millions of innocent travelers are treated like scum while not a single terrorist has been caught.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Any luck reaching out to the two major political camps about flyer’s rights and the TSA?

    Also: the deaf pax may have deleted his post, but the wayback machine remembers everything.

  • Grant Ritchie

    I am so sick of any lunatic being able to say ANYTHING about TSA and have it accepted as gospel while TSA’s defense of itself is always mocked and ridiculed. Sometimes a nutjob, deaf or otherwise, really IS a nutjob, and a hoax IS just a hoax. Insults and personal attacks on me to follow…

  • I’d say you began your comment with an insult, by implying that the deaf man is a “lunatic.”

  • bodega3

    If this was true I would be upset, but too many people lie, and I believe this story was fabricated.  If this indeed happend, other passengers would have commented on this…that you could count on. 

  • bodega3

    Yes, I found it very easily online.  The whole story sound bogus from the getgo.

  • Grant Ritchie

    And a nutjob, too… don’t forget that! Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, how did I know that you would be the first person to chime in?  God, I love you; you’re sooo predictable. :-)  

  • sirwired

     Lets say I write a blog post saying that I heard my next door neighbor hit his sister.

    My neighbor says his sister was asleep at that time.

    I delete said blog post.

    Does that mean that my original, now gone, blog post is “evidence”?  No, of course not.  A reasonable person could, in fact, conclude my original post was a “hoax.”  Certainly the fact that I removed the post doesn’t even imply intimidation.

  • sirwired

    It’d be nice if we knew the truth.  But calling a withdrawn blog post, backed by nothing, “evidence” of a rather long list of serious crimes, seems to be stretching things more than a bit.  I believe the proper word for it would be an “allegation.” It’s true that the lack of produced video footage doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but it is, of course, impossible to prove a negative.

    You didn’t say anywhere in your post along the lines of “people will believe anything bad about the TSA”, you merely included this incident as part of long list of TSA misdeeds.  I’m saying it should have been left out.  Or, if you wanted to include it, you should have called it by its proper name.

  • If the TSA didn’t have such a long record of lying, perhaps people would be more inclined to believe them.

  • I’ve been covering the TSA since its inception, and what surprises me is that the public is now more than ever willing to believe any accusation (no matter how ridiculous) leveled against the TSA by a passenger. It seems facts don’t matter to the flying public anymore. That’s troubling.

  • We had some site latency issues this morning, so anyone trying to post a comment may have had some trouble. They’ve been resolved. Sorry about the glitch!

  • Daizymae

    Except that the young man expressed his fears of retaliation by TSA against himself and others.

    Did your neighbor threaten to retaliate against you? Is he empowered to rob, assault, harass, and detain you without impunity? Can he use the full
    power of the United States government against you? Did you say that you removed your blog post out of fear of retaliation by your neighbor?

    This young man did say that he was concerned about retaliation by TSA, and the TSA does in fact have the power to retaliate against him. “A reasonable person could, in fact, conclude that” the young man “removed the post” because of his fear of retaliation by TSA.

  • True. I am predictable. I predictably side with victims against their abusers.

  • sirwired

     In the linked-to story, it merely says that the man removed the post because he didn’t intend for it to go viral and that he wanted privacy.

    There is no statement that he was concerned about retaliation by the TSA.

  • sirwired

     The media attention “cowed” him into self-censorship.  There is no mention, anywhere, that the TSA themselves cowed him into anything.

  • Amy Alkon

    Daizymae is exactly right. If there is footage to support the claim that his claim was false, why are we not seeing it? 

  • Amy Alkon

    “Hate” is for 8-year-olds and fascist leaders. Chris has posted reasoned pieces on this agency, why the “security” is merely the pretense of security, and the pointless violations of the rights of all people. The disabled, right off the bat, have a far harder time in life. Indignities are often a part of their daily lives. To have further indignities foisted on them for the pretense of security, and in violation of their constitutional rights is vile and wrong. 

    The correct words to Chris for his posts and his continuing dogging of the TSA: “Thank you.”

  • TSAisTerrorism

    Bingo. This is the problem. The TSA has completely, utterly, and totally lost the trust of not just the traveling public, but the public at large.

    I’d rather get on a plane with no screening than deal with what TSA has become by its own design.

    TSA is its own greatest danger. These stories, no matter how outrageous, are believable because our own personal experiences tell us that these outlandish things actually can and do occur.

  • Fisher1949

    No planes were hijacked between October 2001 and November 2010 without TSA digitally strip searching and groping passengers and children. The notion that randomly fondling the genitals of innocent people is necessary to provide security is absurd.

    This is an unacceptable and sick approach to address a security issue that requires intercepting a threat before it reaches the airport. This agency has become a national disgrace and an international laughing stock of the world.

    TSA seems to be deliberately trying to make a farce of their security theater and striving to keep their status as the most reviled government agency in history. TSA needs to be replaced by a reasonable and intelligent agency that actually understands security and doesn’t waste everyone’s time and money making up senseless rules and harassing people.

  • TSAisTerrorism

    The bigger issue is, if TSA is so innocent after reviewing its own self via video, how in the world did they review 5 days of checkpoint video in 3 days? Are they superhuman or something?

  • TSAisTerrorism

    You clearly haven’t dealt with the TSA at the managerial level. It’s like being the main character in a Kafka novel.

  • bodega3

    But he should be concerned if he is lying. 

    It states in the link Chris provided, that he was traveling with friends.  Where are their stories on this?  I would be shouting from the rooftops if a handicap friend or family member of mine was mistreated in front of me. 

    Sorry, but this is too questionable to believe.

  • It’s also “too questionable to believe” that people are being sexually assaulted by the TSA. Yet they are.

    Oh, well. Whatever. Denial is a powerful force.

  • bodega3

    It isn’t denial Lisa.  It is that nobody else who was with this man is saying anything?  He is young, there is FB, youtube, twitter.  It would be out there.  It just doesn’t ring true. 

  • RonBonner

    The poll asks if TSA has done enough to accommodate disabled travelers.  While I agree TSA has not done so I think that question is the wrong question.

    I think it should read:  Has TSA done enough to accommodate all travelers?

    I don’t think TSA has given the comfort or modesty of travelers one iota of thought.  The current screening process is almost completely comprised of TSA Strip Search Machines or hands on Sexual Feel Down Assault conducted by TSA employees.  Neither process is acceptable to a free people.

    TSA is an enemy of freedom!

  • cjr001

    And why is that, Christopher? Is that really the passenger and the public’s fault?

    TSA is a cancer that continues to reach out and become larger and larger. Many of these stories are true, and yet nothing about TSA changes.

    So, no, I don’t feel sorry for TSA in the least. They deserve every story thrown their way, factual or otherwise, because TSA doesn’t deserve to exist.

  • RonBonner

    Not Chris but one report suggested that the mistreated deaf passenger was concerned about future contacts with TSA and the difficulty TSA could have on him since any TSA employee can impose any procedure at any time. 

    There is no appeal at the checkpoint!

  • You said it.

  • CelticWhisper

    Agreed.  Thank you, Chris, for continuing to make it as inconvenient as possible for TSA to harass travelers.

  • CelticWhisper

    Because Lisa, like many of us, has a conscientious interest in defending the rights and dignity of innocent travelers from the abusive thugs of TSA and other, similar groups.

    Her predictability in this regard is admirable.

  • CelticWhisper

     Why EXACTLY does it sound bogus?  We’ve seen worse happen before.  We know TSA goes after easy targets – the elderly, the disabled, children, solitary travelers without family or friends to provide backup.

    This is the agency that surrounded, screamed at, and threatened the arrest of a four-year-old child this past April.  Cut the kid off from her mother, called her an “uncooperative suspect,” and gave her nightmares all because the kid hugged her grandmother.

    This is the agency that laughed at a traveler as he tried to pick up the ashes of his grandfather – ashes they spilled in violation of their own policy when they went poking around in them.

    This is the agency that arrested a retired USAF officer for reciting the 4th Amendment at an airport checkpoint because it threatened their feelings of superiority and shed light on their violation of the spirit of the Constitution.

    I absolutely believe they would mock and rob a deaf man.  They’ve done far worse in the past.

  • One reason TSA’s defense of itself is so ineffective is that TSA refuses to specify exactly what its search procedures are!  Why shouldn’t we believe the worst, when a direct question from Congress to John Pistole about what exactly is an enhanced patdown gets the answer “I can’t tell you that.”   Either the TSA is deliberately fondling people’s genitals (in which case I’m so disgusted that yes, I do absolutely believe they would steal a deaf man’s candy and pull a chair out from underneath a disabled man), or the TSA is really not sexually abusing people but they want us to think that they are.  I don’t get it, I really don’t.  How can we follow rules that the TSA keeps secret?  How can we defend ourselves against rogue screeners who go too far when the TSA won’t tell us in bright, clear terms what the TSA is allowed to do?  “Just trust us” isn’t a defense.  Neither is “We’re from the government”.   If TSA wants to defend itself, it needs to start giving some answers.  They can start by refuting Jon Corbett’s evidence that a sewing kit can easily defeat their billion-dollar body scanner program.

  • One of my close work colleagues has a pacemaker.  He didn’t want me to know that.  He doesn’t want anyone to know that.  I know it because at an airport checkpoint, he whispered his condition to a sadistic ogre in blue who proceeded to scream at the top of her lungs “PACEMAKER!!!!  PACEMAKER!!!! PACEMAKER!!!!!” while gesticulating wildly at my colleague.  She was determined to alert the entire concourse to my colleague’s private medical condition.  The TSA makes a regular practice of abusing disabled travelers. 

    Oh, but the TSA is there to keep me safe, I forgot!  Of course it obviously makes us safer for the TSA to broadcast details of each passenger’s medical history to everyone within earshot.  How silly of me to accuse the TSA of deliberately humiliating and abusing disabled passengers!  It’s far safer for everyone to know exactly who has what types of medical devices. 

    The TSA are a bunch of pathetic bullies, and the way they mistreat disabled passengers is only one of many clues.

  • TSAisTerrorism

    The spectre of additional harassment from a bully is very effective. 

  • It’s pointless, Sommer. The naysayers and TSA apologists will just claim that your friend is lying. After all, there’s no video proof of a smurf yelling while your friend is going through the checkpoint. So why should we believe him? Why should we believe you? Just ask the usual suspects — bodega3, GrantRitchie, sirwired, etc. — they’ve got the answer: you’re obviously lying.

  • “It would be out there”??  It is out there. Where the hell have you been? And if you want to see comments by friends of his, spend some time on boingboing.

    Then again, why bother? You won’t believe anything they say either.

  • bodega3

    What is the link?  I have no idea what boing,boing…or boring,boring, is.

  • Marc Balson

    “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi

  • Michael Kent Minor

    Chris: You are becoming a broken record. Please continue to monitor the TSA, but be rational enough to admit that some of the passenger compliants exceed reality.

  • Kevin Mathews

    Am I one of the few people that when I’ve travelled have had very few issues with TSA?  TSA’s biggest issue isn’t their lack of Transparency.  Honestly, I would rather them be a little secretive about their procedures because I wouldn’t want a terrorist knowing exactly what security measures are being taken and planning accordingly to counter said procedures.
    What TSA’s biggest issue is their lack of accountability to the Public.  They absolutely should have cameras aimed at absolutely every checkpoint, and their should be a secondary, independent review panal that follows up on each and every complaint.  All Complaints made against TSA should be made available to the public as should the findings of the review board.  This would ensure that accountability is there for both TSA and the Complaining parties.

    And for those of you that think targetting the disabled is just wrong, think about the fact that terrorists are specifically using the disabled and mentally incapacitated persons to carry out their “missions” because:
    1) Sympathy
    2) Easier to hide devices and such in the disabled person’s equipment
    3) Easier to persude someone to kill themselves for salvation if they have “less” to live for.

    While I agree that there are some bad TSA Agents.  That’s going to happen when you pay them as little as they make.  But like any business that deals with that many people each and everyday, we only hear about the bad ones.  You don’t hear about the millions that go through security with no issues at all.  Perspective is a wonderful thing, it’s just too bad TSA could have the absolute WORST PR group in the nation…

  • bodega3

    Duplicate post

  • Joe Farrell

    Why can’t you repeat the words the TSA used in public??? 

  • GeoffDepew

    Having read the original story when it came out, I would suspect it’s because Chris has a sense of decency and decorum which these words go past the limits of.

  • TexanPatriot1

    The worst time I ever had through TSA checkpoints was when I had to fly after an ankle surgery and I had a full leg walking cast.

    They forced me to stand for 30 minutes, without crutches, when I should have been sitting or putting nearly 100% of my weight on them.  

    They put me in their glass “booth” until they finally dealt with me.   I was carted down by an airport employee in a wheelchair.  

    To add insult to injury – I was still on Active Duty with the US Armed Forces at the time, a very senior enlisted member with long-term service.   My protests fell on their bureaucratic deaf ears, and think they liked exercising that kind of power.  They were just so focused on my cast, colored green so that it more matched my uniform (I was on personal travel at the time for a family engagement, so not in uniform).

    Since then, not a blue glove laid on me.   I’m not female and attractive, not crippled, not old, not an infant, not foreign — so I don’t meet their criteria of prey.  

  • TexanPatriot1

    It would take an indictment by a Federal Judge to get TSA to tell the truth, and only then begrudgingly.  Look at the amount of property stolen by “agents” every year…iPads being stuffed into pants and such.

  • TexanPatriot1

    You do know TSA has a “list” of unruly passengers, don’t you?   If you are on that list, you will be subject to special screening EVERYTIME you fly.

  • TexanPatriot1

    I don’t hate the TSA either — but that’s simply too much power for the Federal Government to exercise over “We the People”.   I do hate what their employees do in performance of these duties.

    Security is the business of the airlines!   They have an economic interest in preventing an attack on their property and the passengers in their care — and that makes them more motiviated than ANY governmental function.  

    OMB Circular A-76 directs that any function which can be privatized SHOULD BE.  The private sector can do this job better and cheaper.  This is about creating a new nexus of power over the people.

    The Feds are ignoring their own rules and the law.  More importantly — they’re ignoring the 4th Amendment by conducting illegal searches and in some cases seizures.  

    I would have much more trust over Southwest AIrlines employees – or their agents – searching me than the TSA.  In that case…there are ZERO 4th Amendment concerns.  It’s a business contract — and they can search you however they see fit in its performance.  You turn it all over to the airports and airlines….let them run this equipment, even the naked body scanners.   Problem SOLVED.

    The government CAN NOT!

  • TexanPatriot1

    I’m reminded of the video of wildebeests stalking antelope…..

  • bodega3

    Probably like your file that comes up when you go through customs and immigration.  If you have something in your file, you usually will be pulled over for extra inspection.  So in that respect, this wouldn’t be something unusual.

  • RonBonner

    I find this paragraph interesting: 

    “And for those of you that think targetting the disabled is just wrong, think about the fact that terrorists are specifically using the disabled and mentally incapacitated persons to carry out their “missions” because:1) Sympathy2) Easier to hide devices and such in the disabled person’s equipment3) Easier to persude someone to kill themselves for salvation if they have “less” to live for.”

    Can you give us some examples of this happening?  When and where would be helpful.

  • Daizymae

    A federal judge has already declared TSA to be in violation of law that they must allow the public to comment on the body scanners BEFORE introducing them. That was over a year ago. TSA is still in defiance of that judge.

    I don’t see what good it will do for a judge to issue any further indictments as TSA will simply ignore it.

    TSA is a criminal organization that is above the law.

  • Daizymae

    Amen to that, Chris.

  • Daizymae

    Yes, and the wildebeests always go after the old, the sick, the impaired, and the young, don’t they?

    So I propose we change the name of this agency from TSA to WSA: Wildebeests Stalk Americans.

  • Daizymae

    The ignorance and arrogance of your statements are beyond belief! It’s quite clear that you know absolutely nothing about disabled people or any of their equipment.

    A disabled person can be persuaded to kill themselves (and other people too) because they have less to live for? SerIously? Well, why don’t we
    lock them all up in a dark hole like we used to do? Then all the paranoids scared to death of them could “feel” safe.

    Having a physical disability does not turn a person into a suicidal murderer, and it certainly does not make a person have less to live for.

    Most disabled people live very full lives. Believe it or not, they have jobs and pay bills and taxes just like you do. They have families and hobbies. They read , go shopping, and yes, they travel. What a crime!

    They do all of these things while working at it five thousand times harder than you will ever do. And spending way more money than you have to spend just to go about daily life. The courage , determination, and integrity that disabled people display every day just to get through life is more than you will ever comprehend and most certainly does not fit the profile of a suicidal murderer.

    As for all that equipment you’re so frightened of, it’s crystal clear that you know nothing about it. It’s not easy to hide anything in any mobility devises or prosthetics. The idea is laughable to people who are familiar with these devises. On top of that, it’s so difficult for people using these devises to get around, the idea that they’ve strapped abomb onto it and they’re now running around airports blowing up planes is laughable.

    The attitudes of people like you frightens, confounds, and enrages me. We think that society has advanced from the Dark Ages and the mistreatment of disabled people, but then here comes the TSA with its government sanctioned persecution of disabled people and along comes people like you giving it your stamp of approval.

    PS: how do I know about the bravery and determination and true grit of disabled people? I live with the bravest man in the world…my husband.

    He’s severely disabled with MS and uses those frightening mobility devices. He works a stressful full time job, loves baseball and history, and most of all, he loves to travel. He is deeply loved by his wife, children, grand children, friends and colleagues.

    He would never dream of ending his full, rich life, and he would never dream of murdering a plane full of people with a bomb in his walker or his Depends…even though TSA has denied him the right to travel without being molested, harassed, demeaned, and assaulted.

  • sweepergrl

    I’ve had horrible experiences with the TSA when I traveled with a walking boot on. The TSA agent insisted I take the boot off and walk without my crutches through the scanner. I told him I couldn’t put weight on, so he would have to let me lean on him. Needless to say, he called a supervisor because I was being “difficult”. After 20 minutes of pat downs, swabs and discussions I was allowed to go. And the pat down agent never changed her disposable gloves. I almost said something about how repulsive that was, but given that they were already ticked I ‘forced’ them to pat me down, it didn’t seem like it was worth fight.
    The worst TSA experiences I’ve had have all come since my daughter received a service dog. You want to see TSA agents pitch a fit? Watch them try to figure out what to do with a service dog. It’s gotten so bad that I now travel with a full print out of all the information regarding them on TSA’s website. BTW, agents don’t like when you pull that out and show them the rules. At the Atlanta airport, they tired to force me to take everything off the dog (vest, collar, leash, etc) and let the dog walk freely through the scanner. I refused to remove her collar and leash, which the agency website says is required to be on the pet at all time. The agent said if I didn’t, my disabled 12 year old would be forced to go through a “very, very thorough” screening. I chose to walk the dog through myself and dealt with the pat down. The agent actually told me “if you had just listened, you wouldn’t be doing this”. Another disabled passenger behind us had the same experience. I emailed TSA about it and had the supervisor contact me personally asking for all the information again. She said the agents would be “retrained”, so obviously they found the videos and realized their agents were way out of line.
    Gee, it’s a good thing they are protecting us from threatening service dogs that are trying to hide weapons in their 1/2″ wide collars. I mean, I suppose she could have tried hiding weapons in her fur, but given that she’s a lab, that would probably not be real successful.

  • cjr001

    I think it’s obvious by now that bodega is angling for Blogger Bob’s job.

  • cjr001

    Notice how the TSA defenders never respond to those who offer first-hand experiences with TSA?

    But hey, as long as they don’t have to experience such abuse themselves, it’s all good, right?

    (And before anybody points out how recently this story was posted, there are plenty of others on previous threads that have gone ignored by those who also choose to ignore their rights.)

  • Grant Ritchie

    And the Rush Limbaugh of the left is heard from yet again.

  • pauletteb

    Your bias is showing . . . yet again!

  • My bias? Are we reading the same site? I have never been anything but biased toward the cause of consumers like you. I wish the TSA would start behaving — then these critiques would be unnecessary.

  • bodega3

    Abuse?  Hardly.  Ill trained, probably.  Mistakes get made, and most of us acknowledge that.  But it isn’t ‘them’ against ‘us’.

    In a college science class, we were each given a bag with an item in it.  We were all to take this home and bring back to class, a written description of what was in the bag.  What we didn’t know was that we all had the exact same item.  Yet, when the professor read each description, they were completely different from the next.  Bottom line is that we all view things differently and depending on the light, the angle, the attitude, the description and view will be different.  

     

  • Michelle C

     That is similar to my post last week.   If I travel alone I just walk through with no issues, no pat down, and no naked scanner.    If I travel with an infant, I get patted down, and everything gets swabbed.   That includes the bottle my baby was finishing off.  Apparently I’m going to feed my child explosives and why would it matters there was less than a tsp left by the time they did the sniff test.

  •  Do you have any response to the substance of my statement?  Why does the TSA shout about passengers’ medical conditions at the checkpoint, and why is this not seen as a serious violation of our dignity that serves absolutely no security purpose?  My husband is a physician who could face serious financial and even criminal penalties for disclosing someone’s medical information.  Why aren’t TSA screeners held to the same standard?

  •  The pacemaker issue actually is a serious one, since being wanded or going through a metal detector can interfere with the pacemaker and potentially be fatal. Other agents should be warned about such an issue.
    Yes, privacy is important, but I think that not dying is a bigger issue in this case.

  • IGoEverywhere

    I had the horrible experience of being abused by TSA this past week 3 times. They outright suck! Follow that man in purple, me, if you want to wait longer, do you have something suspicious in you carry-on, only 4 bags of Whole foods steel oats. But they did miss the nail clips and pocket knife htat were in the carry-on pouch. They are miserable mean, untrained oafs!

  • bodega3

    NOthing from his traveling frfiends that I see.

  • bodega3

    I get your concern as it is one reason a family member refused to fly with their hidden from view medical condition.  They didn’t wish to face embarrassment.  This is something TSA should be better at and more sensitivity training wouldn’t be a bad thing. 

  • Daizymae

    Keep up the good work, Chris. We need a voice crying in the wilderness.

  • Daizymae

    Good one!

  • Daizymae

    Yes, and that’s exactly why the screener yelled out “Pacemaker”…out of concern for the passenger’s safety and well being.

    Now, about that bridge I have for sale in Brooklyn….

  • bodega3

    Who or what is Blogger Bob? 

  • GeoffDepew

    “Blogger Bob” is Bob Burns, a member of the TSA and their most prolific poster on the TSA blog.  More information can be found here: http://blog.tsa.gov/2008/01/meet-our-bloggers_29.html

  • Tina Bellamy

    I voted “No.” Simply because it will be extremely interesting when and if I go to fly again. I say this because I am disabled, and have a toddler… and currently pregnant with my second child. I’m going to love the screening process since I can not take off my shoes and I’ll be carrying a toddler on my lap in a wheelchair while my husband will most likely carrying a newborn baby when we go to fly.

  • I agree that it’s important to protect the passenger’s safety.  But medical professionals are held to a standard of protecting BOTH a patient’s safety and privacy, and the TSA should be held to those standards as well.  The TSA is deliberately violating the medical privacy of its victims, among its other abusive actions towards innocent people.

  • Wow – you have a family member who’s refusing to fly because of a legitimate concern that the TSA will publicly humiliate them – and yet you defend the TSA in this forum?   I would think anyone would side with his family member over an incompetent and oppressive bureaucratic failure like the TSA, but wow, just wow.   You’re okay with your family member being essentially banned from air travel for no good reason, and you’ll still look at those facts and defend the TSA? 

  • Both major political camps have voted as a bloc to keep paying for the TSA’s filthy abuse of the traveling public. Both major political camps intend to do absolutely nothing about the TSA’s flouting of several laws including the Administrative Procedures Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

    I’m voting for Gary Johnson, because neither the Ds nor the Rs have any interest in protecting me from sexual assault at the airport.  I had switched my party affiliation to R so that I could vote for Ron Paul in the primaries, but without him in the mix Gary Johnson is the best candidate for an anti-TSA voter.

  • I could get on board that the deaf flyer’s complaint should be referred to as an “allegation”.  

  • I hear your comment that “It isn’t them against us.”  But I think you’re in the minority in that opinion. 

    It is most distinctly and assuredly them against us, meaning TSA against travelers. In fact, it’s TSA’s mistreatment of innocent travelers and our subsequent antagonism that is itself the biggest security failure. 

    I recommend Bruce Schneier’s masterful final statement in the Economist debate – it succinctly details all the measurable harms that TSA’s approach has imposed on all of us. http://www.economist.com/debate/days/view/822

    Yes, it really is them against us. The TSA decided to treat travelers in a way that would assure that.  If TSA thinks we ought to be on its side, maybe TSA should stop rubbing our genitals and transmitting nude images and blasting ionizing radiation at us.  I’m not usually on the side of a stranger who’s forcing unwelcome sexual contact on me.  I’m not usually on the side of strangers who put their hands down my pants.  These actions constitute an intentional sexual violation, and are totally unforgiveable, especially when children are among the victims.  Honestly, I’m confused by your suggestion that TSA isn’t the enemy of the traveling public – did you miss the part where thousands of people are speaking out about how they’ve been humiliated, injured, angered, mocked, screamed at, stolen from, and otherwise victimized by these thugs?

  • the F word was part of the alleged remarks.

  • Kevin Mathews, I think you’ve been seeing too many action flicks.

  •  Not arguing with that statement in general, but alerting others to a passengers with a pacemaker really is legitimate and doesn’t necessarily say anything about other disabilities or health issues.

  • Daizymae

    Yes, bodega missed that part. It wasn’t included in the bag in his/her college class.

  • cjr001

    TSA agents to staff UK airports during Olympics
    http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/16/12774422-tsa-agents-to-staff-uk-airports-during-olympics?lite

    Well, we knew that somehow, some way, TSA would be inflicted upon the rest of the world.

    I’d ask how this is even legal, but this is TSA we’re talking about, where most of what they do is entirely illegal.

  • judyserienagy

    I don’t get it.  I make 6 to 8 flights a year, domestically and internationally.  I have a new hip and a new knee.  I use a cane.  I have NEVER had a problem with TSA, not one single problem. 

    Are we sure all these stories are true and factual accounts of what really happened?   Are all these “victims” treating everyone at an airport with respect and good manners?   Are they cooperative with all the (often weird) rules and regs of flying today? 

    I think that bashing TSA is alot like bashing smokers. There are alot worse smells than cigarette smoke but everyone starts screaming when a smoker appears. Everyone seems to start screaming when going through TSA security … it’s the thing to do.

  • I guess I’m still not understanding what you’re getting at.  There are obvious parallels to similar concerns in medicine; for instance, a certain patient has an allergy to a common drug or needs special handling of their infectious blood, but somehow doctors manage to handle such patients without disclosing their medical conditions to strangers not involved in that patient’s care.  The TSA has just as much a responsibility to safeguard sensitive medical information while also not endangering passengers’ lives with their security theater.

  • In this case, the invasion of privacy is justified simply because the risk of passing through a stray magnetic field is not small and the consequences are so serious. It’s as if all agents present are involved in the patient’s care.
    Think of it as someone with a severe peanut allergy on an airplane – they will (and should) announce that they have a peanut allergy at the start of the flight, just in case someone would open a bag of peanuts or get served them.

  • Elmo Clarity

    I think what Sommer is trying to get at is it is fine for the agents to pass the information along among themselves.  They should not be shouting it out where the other passengers can hear.  By them shouting the condition out, they are in violation of HIPPA.

    As for the peanut allergy example, it’s fine if the individual shouts it out.  It is not fine for say the FA you mentioned it to to shout it out that you have the allergy.  They could announce *someone* has it but not point out who.

  • MsSgt3

    WOW…I’m sorry, but in light of 9-11+, they don’t do enough!!! If handicapped/children, etc are to be treated differently than anyone else, then we really are a ‘dumb’ nation.

  • WIncredulous

    The TSA continues to hire substandard cretins to run checkpoint security. I and my ID were scrutinized because had lost a lot of weight between my picture and my last travel. A snarky comment was made. My husband went through the Naked Scanner and a female TSA agent coming from somewhere said, “Thanks, you made my day.” A classmate of mine was extra-scrutinized for her insulin pump. Who doesn’t know about insulin pumps!? The answer: the TSA!

    What a joke they are.

  • Tacmarine1

    TSA is an agency that needs to go…..

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