Entries in Security Screening (2)


TSA Made Wounded Marine Remove Prosthetic Legs, Congressman Claims

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- A Marine who lost both legs to a bomb was "humiliated" at a TSA security checkpoint in an Arizona airport when the agents insisted he stand up and was also told to remove his prosthetic legs, a California congressman claims in a letter to the TSA.

A TSA spokesman, however, told ABC News that the agency has reviewed the surveillance video of the incident and insisted the Marine was never asked to remove his prosthetics.

The alleged encounter occurred on March 13 when several Marines who were recovering from wounds were passing through Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport security en route to San Diego, Calif. One of the Marines was in a wheelchair because he had lost both legs in a bomb explosion and had "limited to no mobility," according to the letter from Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.

After entering the security checkpoint, "a TSA officer asked the Marine to stand and walk to an alternate area.... With numerous TSA officers sitting and unwilling to assist, an officer then made him remove his legs, then put them back on, only to advance to a secondary screening location where he was asked again to stand, with extraordinary difficulty, while his wheelchair was examined for explosives," Hunter's letter said.

"The Marine, whose prosthetics were exposed, was 'humiliated,' according to accounts," the congressman wrote.

Hunter's office said the letter is based on eyewitness accounts, but not from the Marine himself, who has not yet been identified. Joe Kasper, a spokesperson for Hunter, told ABC News that the Marine is still on active duty and isn't going to talk because his command won't allow it.

Hunter's letter said he had "visual reference" from the scene, but his office did not make them public.

TSA spokesman David Castelveter said the tapes of the incident have been reviewed and at no point did the Marine ever remove his prosthetic legs. He also said the eight minute long video showed nothing out of the ordinary and said the screeners who performed the screening are military veterans, including one who was a Marine.

"The screening was done cooperatively," he said.

The TSA said there was no official complaint filed. Kasper said the congressman's office advised the Marines to make the incident known through Hunter's office instead of with the TSA, claiming it would be more effective in changing the way wounded veterans are treated at security checkpoints.

"It's not the first time, nor will it be the last time vets and war wounded have a similar experience," Kasper told ABC News. "The bigger question is how do we use this and other situations to improve the process for screening people — wounded service members specifically — who don't notify TSA ahead of time. Congress cannot legislate common sense and decency, a lot of what's lacking in the screening process, but we can try to make the procedures a lot less burdensome for our vets and wounded service members."

On the TSA website there are several pages dedicated to the treatment of people with disabilities.

"A passenger can be screened without standing, walking, or being required to transfer out of a wheelchair or scooter; however, a passenger should inform a security officer of his or her ability before the screening begins," it reads.

As screening relates to prosthetics, according to the site, "Passengers with prostheses can be screened without removing them. The way screening will be conducted depends on the passenger's level of ability and whether or not he or she voluntarily chooses to remove his or her prosthetic during screening."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


TSA Chief Explains Intel on Thermos Threat and Extra Screening

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- TSA Administrator John Pistole Thursday disclosed that intelligence information was obtained on December 23, 2010 that Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was seeking to make a bomb using insulated drinking mugs and thermoses, leading to the extra check in security lines over the holiday.

Pistole also advised the public to expect additional screening if they travel with the thermal mugs and thermoses.

“In the near future if you want to take your thermos with you just be aware that your going to be subject to more physical screening," the TSA head said Thursday.

At an event sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security, Pistole provided details about a security bulletin issued by TSA on Christmas Eve that warned TSA officers to be alert about insulated drinking cups and thermoses and discussed how quickly the Department of Homeland Security acted on an intelligence tip.

“This plot was that they would use TATP [triacetone triperoxide] around the cylinder of a thermos; put it on either a passenger or a cargo plane and how ever the initiation or the detonator, they didn’t describe," he said. "So that’s general intelligence, what do we do about it? We put out an alert just making sure that all of our Transportation Security Officers, our TSOs, are alert to that and do additional physical screening in addition to the X-rays.”

Pistole also said intelligence indicated that the devices were being devised by AQAP’s master bomb-maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri a.k.a: Abu Saleh who was behind last fall’s cargo bomb plot.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio