An investigative report by a local news team at KPRC in Houston has revealed almost 800 complaints filed against the Transportation Security Administration between Jan. 1, 2013 to Jan. 1, 2014. The news station had to wait nearly a year for the agency to return a Freedom of Information Act request.
The report documents complaints logged by the TSA at both Bush International and Hobby airports. KPRC reports that many of the complaints were raised by travelers who found a notice of inspection in their luggage only to discover that they were missing valuable items such as laptops, jewelry, cash, or prescription drugs.
I recommend reading or viewing the investigative report in its entirety, but here’s an excerpt of some of the more egregious complaints.
One woman describes an encounter in which she presented officers with a card explaining that she had tissue separators that would show up on the machine. She complained that officers humiliated her after asking her to take off her shawl in order for officers to do a pat-down.
“They wanted to do the screening in front of everybody but I asked to have it done privately. I felt really exposed and humiliated. I am very concerned that these people didn’t even understand what my card was stating. They touched me where my wounds were … I was in tears by the time I made it across,” she said in her complaint.
Two other individuals passing through Hobby airport on their way to MD Anderson for cancer treatment complained of similar experiences.
Diabetics with insulin pumps complained that TSOs would not let them skip the body scanner and opt for a pat-down screening.
One woman complained that officers at Hobby made her walk through the scanner twice and it caused her pump to malfunction, resulting in a diabetic coma that sent her to the intensive care unit.
This sort of behavior by the TSA is par for the course. We’ve reported on many occasions of TSA agents physically or sexually assaulting air travelers. In April of this year our own Brian McWilliams reported on TSA agents in Denver gaming the system in order to allow a male TSA employee to fondle the genital areas of attractive male passengers. And over three years ago Lions of Liberty Podcast host Marc Clair had his own unfortunate encounter with a TSA agent.
Reasonable people understand that this sort of behavior is not acceptable in a civilized society. In the investigative report video posted on the KPRC website and embedded below, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) states the transgression can be reduced or eliminated with more training. Rep. Jackson Lee claims, “We’ve got to ramp up the professional development training. They’ve got to be at the level of, might I say, the CIA the FBI.”
In bureaucratic fantasy land everything can be solved with more “developmental training.”
Employees being disrespectful of travelers’ medical constraints? Sensitivity training.
Employees stealing from customers? Criminal justice training.
Employees sexually assaulting customers? Sexual harassment training.
It is not surprising that Sheila Jackson Lee believes the TSA can be fixed by increasing the level of training TSA agents receive. After all, she’s a bureaucrat. Buzzwords and training are the lifeblood of the bureaucrat. However, these comments do expose her to be completely out of touch with reality.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand why FBI and CIA agents need more intense training than TSA agents. Obviously, they are dealing with much more intense situations while performing their job. It should be apparent, even to the casual observer, that TSA agents have very little overlap in job description with CIA or FBI agents. For Rep. Jackson Lee to suggest that TSA agents need this same level of advanced training to stop them from assaulting and stealing from passengers is an insult to the intelligence of her constituents.
They don’t need more training; they need to be disciplined, fired, or charged with a crime. In some cases, all of the above!
The Transportation Security Administration has no incentive to cleanse the scum from their ranks. Who cares if some customers complain about theft or sexual assault? They can’t take their business to another airport security firm and they can’t go to the police to report a crime. The current airport security system has essentially legalized sexual assault by TSA agents.
The TSA will continue to trample on the rights of citizens as long as there is a TSA. Airport security will only progress towards a more humane model when true competition is permitted and criminals are no longer permitted to hide behind blue government issued shirts.
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