TSA two-fer: Agents manhandle child with leg braces, greenlight drug runners for cash
posted at 11:26 am on April 26, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
Busy, busy: That’s the Transportation Security Administration, which is back in the headlines for a change. This time, airport screeners at New York’s JFK Airport showed they are all business by brusquely handling a 7-year-old with cerebral palsy and—as a bonus—causing her family to miss its flight. Meanwhile, a continent away, at LAX, agents again demonstrated their business acumen by allowing drug couriers to pass through security in exchange for a cut of the proceeds.
Another Outrageous Invasion of Privacy
CBS DC reports that on Monday, Dina Frank and her family approached the security checkpoint at JFK. Joshua Frank, a Long Island pediatrician, explained that his daughter, who walks with the aid of leg braces and crutches, is also developmentally disabled and hence frightened by pat-downs. Having flown before, the Franks requested that the agents take the time to introduce themselves to the child and exercise restraint in their contact with her.
The response was essentially “nothing doing.” After inspecting the little girl’s crutches, agents subjected her to a full search. To add insult to injury, the procedure took so long that the family missed its flight.
Joshua Frank is quoted as saying:
They’re harassing people. This is totally misguided policy. Yes, I understand that TSA is in charge of national security and there’s all these threats. [But] for her to be singled out, it’s crazy.
The TSA has issued a statement in response:
TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that our officers followed proper screening procedures in conducting a modified pat-down on the child.
That’ll teach little girls from being born prematurely and with bleeding on the brain.
More Crooked TSA Agents
A screener at Los Angeles International Airport is in hot water after not only failing to prevent a man with 8 pounds of methamphetamine in his carry-on from passing through security but for making sure the courier got through unimpeded.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
The screener, John Whitfield, allegedly told the man to get to the back of the line so he and his luggage would get to the X-ray machines when Whitfield’s shift started. That way, he would be the one watching the meth show up on screen; and in exchange for $1,200, Whitfield allowed it through, according to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday.
Authorities filed trafficking and bribery charges against Whitfield and three other current and former Transportation Security Administration screeners, alleging that they received thousands of dollars in cash bribes in exchange for turning a blind eye on drugs packed in suitcases.
A 40-page indictment details a half dozen incidents between January and July of 2011 in which the screeners greenlighted drug couriers, unaware that the couriers were undercover federal agents carrying out a sting.
The TSA has not yet issued a statement indicating that its “officers followed proper screening procedures” in selling out to dope pushers, but I expect one is forthcoming.
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