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TSA Humiliates Marine

http://ktla.com/2013/03/22/tsa-makes-marine-remove-prosthetic-legs-2/#axzz2OOFzmHmI

A U.S. lawmaker from California wants answers from the TSA, after reports of a double amputee Marine being humiliated by security screeners at a Phoenix airport.

Toran Gaal was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan back in 2011. He lost both legs and fractured his skull.

“He’s really been through an awful, awful lot,” said grandfather Jim Gaal. “For them to put him through that was not really right.”

His grandfather is disturbed by Gaal’s claim that TSA agents made him remove his prosthetic legs during pre-flight screening at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport.

“Without his artificial legs, he’s pretty much limited to crawling around on the floor,” Jim Gaal says.

A volunteer escorting the group of Marines was outraged when he says one of the agents made Gaal get out of his wheelchair and walk. That part of the incident was caught on tape.

“He cannot stand up by himself and I tried to explain that and they don’t want to hear it,” Jim Phillips explained.

“And then, I said, ‘I’m sorry that has to happen to you,’ and he just goes’ ‘You know what? Get me the F outta here.’”

Cameras were rolling during the pat-down. But Gaal was out of camera range when agents allegedly made him take off his prosthetic legs.

The story made national headlines after Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA 50th District) fired off an angry letter to the TSA.

But the TSA is denying that its agents ever forced Gaal to remove his prosthetics.

They released this statement: “TSA works to facilitate the screening of injured and wounded service members with dignity and respect.”

Gaal’s grandfather talks about the emotional impact of the alleged incident.

“I just know him, and it probably really bothered him when it happened, but once it was over, he he put it out of his mind and he’s not going to let it hurt him… he’s been hurt enough.”

Gaal is currently recovering at a rehab facility in San Diego, and, depending on his progress, he could be released within the next year.

Ex-TSA agent: We steal from travelers all the time

http://rt.com/usa/news/tsa-stealing-from-travelers-358/
Ex-TSA agent: We steal from travelers all the time
Published: 01 October, 2012, 03:23

agent-security-luggage-travelers.n[1]

A TSA agent convicted of stealing more than $800,000 worth of goods from travelers said this type of theft is “commonplace” among airport security. Almost 400 TSA officers have been fired for stealing from passengers since 2003.

­Pythias Brown, a former Transportation Security Administration officer at Newark Liberty International Airport, spent four years stealing everything he could from luggage and security checkpoints, including clothing, laptops, cameras, Nintendo Wiis, video games and cash.

Speaking publicly for the first time after being released after three years in prison, Brown told ABC News that he used the X-ray scanners to locate the most valuable items to snatch.

“I could tell whether it was cameras or laptops or portable cameras or whatever kind of electronic was in the bag,” he said.

Brown often worked alone, screening luggage behind the ticket counters. He was frequently told the overhead surveillance cameras, installed to prevent theft, were not working.

“It was so easy,” he said. “I walked right out of the checkpoint with a Nintendo Wii in my hand. Nobody said a word.”

With more electronics than any one individual could need, Brown began to sell the stolen items on eBay. At the time of his arrest, he was selling 80 cameras, video games and computers online. Brown said the theft was comparable to an addiction.

“It was like being on drugs,” he said. “I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ but the next day I was right back at it.”

Brown was finally caught after selling a camera he stole from the luggage of a CNN producer. When he sold the camera on eBay, he forgot to remove the news networks’ logo stickers.

“I got complacent,” he said.
TSA’s culture of theft

But while Brown believes he might have been one of the worst thieves at the TSA, he imagines the agency’s culture makes it easy for others to do the same. Many officers don’t care about their work and complain about low pay and being treated badly, he claims, which prompts them to steal. To make it even easier to get away with, TSA managers also never search their employees’ bags.

The agency says it has a zero-tolerance policy for theft and terminates the contracts of all thieves within the TSA. In the past ten years, almost 400 TSA officers have been fired for stealing, 11 of which were fired this year.

ABC’s interview with Brown highlights the extent of the dilemma passengers face when traveling with valuables. Brown is just one of many officers caught in the act of stealing goods worth thousands.

In February, 2011, two TSA officers were arrested for stealing $40,000 in cash from a checked bag in New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. Using an X-ray machine, the men found that the bag contained $170,000 and removed some of the money.

In the first two months of this year, a TSA baggage screener in Orlando was arrested for stealing valuables by hiding them in a laptop-sized hidden pocket in his jacket and selling the goods on Craigslist. And, a New Jersey-based agent stole $5,000 in cash from a passenger’s jacket as he was going through security

While in April, a Texas-based TSA officer stole eight iPads from checked bags, while another officer stole a $15,000 watch from a passenger at the Los Angeles International Airport in May.

“It was very commonplace, very,” Brown said, describing the frequency of theft within the TSA.

“TSA is probably the worst personnel manager that we have in the entire federal government,” said Rep. John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation Committee. “It is an outrage to the public and, actually, to our aviation security system.”

TSA claims Congress has no jurisdiction over it

TSA claims Congress has no jurisdiction over it; refuses to attend hearings

Friday, November 30, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) When officials who head up a federal agency created and funded by Congress no longer feel obligated to appear before the congressional committee charged with overseeing the function of that agency, a situation of genuine tyranny exists.

Enter John Pistole, the Obama Administration’s head of the notorious Transportation Security Agency. He is not only refusing to appear before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, but he’s even gone so far as to declare that said congressional committee possesses “no jurisdiction over the TSA.”

That’s more than just arrogance; that’s a dangerous precedent to set.

We don’t answer to you or anyone

According to the committee’s website, Pistole was requested to appear before the panel’s subcommittee on Aviation Nov. 28, to provide testimony at a hearing titled, “How Best to Improve Our Nation’s Airport Passenger Security System Through Common Sense Solutions.”

Chaired by Rep. Thomas Petri, R-Wis., the focus of the hearing was to “examine the impact that the regulations and policies of the Transportation Security Administration have on aviation passenger experience and the free flow of aviation commerce,” according to a summary posted on the panel’s website.

Despite being requested by a duly authorized congressional committee, Pistole, via a statement issued by the agency on its website, refused to comply:

By U.S. House of Representatives rules which state that the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has no jurisdiction over the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), no representative from TSA will be present at the Subcommittee on Aviation hearing scheduled for Nov. 29.

TSA will continue to work with its committees of jurisdiction to pursue effective and efficient security solutions. In the 112th Congress alone, TSA witnesses have testified at 38 hearings and provided 425 briefings for Members of Congress.

TSA also continues to work to enhance security screening measures and to improve the passenger experience including through the expansion of [an agency pre-check program]. As part of its risk-based security initiatives, TSA has modified screening procedures for passengers 12 and under and 75 and older while pursuing a multi-layered approach to security that includes behavior detection officers, explosives-detection systems and federal air marshals, among other measures both seen and unseen.

House Republicans on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have long said the expansive and haughty agency is in need of major reform since its hasty creation in the pandemonium of the immediate post-9/11 era. A section on the panel’s website describes the agency as “a massive, inflexible, backward-looking bureaucracy of more than 65,000.”

“TSA is a top-heavy agency in need of reform,” says the site.

Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/038154_TSA_Congress_hearings.html#ixzz2Dj2Ymcy3

Donald Sussman

TSA now testing drinks purchased in the concourse

As the video shows, TSA is now testing beverages purchased AFTER going through security check points.

TSA Demands Fee Increase

http://rt.com/usa/news/tsa-wants-double-security-517/

TSA wants to double security fees
Published: 29 May, 2012, 21:23

It looks like the TSA finally caught on to how much Americans enjoy having their genitals fondled: the US Transportation and Security Administration wants to start charging airline passengers double on screening fees.

A proposal to double the security fee on flights originating in the United States has been given the go-ahead by the Democrat-controlled Senate and, pending full Congressional approval, could soon be coming to an airport near you. If the hike is authorized, the security fee tagged on to a round-trip airline ticket will double from $5 to $10.

Should Congress approve the additional fees, it will mark the first time that the cost of a security screening has changed in around a decade. The provision has been tacked on to the 2013 Homeland Security appropriations bill.

“Air security is a national security function and it’s something that all of us need to be behind as Americans, and the government should be picking up the cost of that,” Airlines for America spokesman Sean Kennedy tells CNN.

Supporters of the bill argue that, currently, the TSA’s $7.6 billion budget is largely footed by American taxpayers on a whole — including even those who are scared to set foot on an aircraft. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has authored the amendment to the Homeland Security bill and estimates that doubling the security fee would bring in $315 million in funding that would be added to the agency’s budget from taxpayer dollars otherwise.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) introduced a separate amendment that would cut out Landrieu’s proposal and instead rely on cutting federal spending from elsewhere to cover the cost, reports The Hill; that measure lost by a single vote.

Explaining her opposition to Landrieu’s proposal, Sen. Hutchinson explains, “Aviation is already taxed at the highest rate of any industry in the country” and that “The industry’s federal tax burden on a typical $300 round-trip ticket has nearly tripled since 1972 from $22 to $61.” She added that the airline industry is already being hit hard by a ravaged post-recession economy and that doubling fees would lessen the likelihood that some passengers would opt to fly.

Another Republican member of Congress, Rep. Ron Paul, has had other ideas about the TSA. The congressman has been campaigning in hopes of becoming the GOP’s nomination for the presidency by vowing to abolish the TSA entirely if elected.

The TSA could always save a few cents by pawning the roughly 5,700 pieces of security equipment it has in storage that the House Oversight Committee estimates to be worth $184 million. Or, perhaps, they could consider scaling back the recently launched pilot program being tested in Houston, Texas that calls for TSA agents inspecting passengers on city busses.

Rand Paul Continues War On TSA, Groping Of ‘Toddlers And Grandmothers’

Rand Paul Continues War On TSA, Groping Of ‘Toddlers And Grandmothers’

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/rand-paul-tsa-groping_n_1470820.html?ref=politics

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) continued to rage against the Transportation Security Administration on Tuesday, encouraging supporters to join a campaign to get it to stop “groping toddlers and grandmothers.”

“The American people shouldn’t be subjected to harassment, groping, and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane,” Paul writes in a press release. “It’s time to END the TSA and get the government’s hands back to only stealing our wallets instead of groping toddlers and grandmothers.”

The Kentucky Republican goes on to encourage recipients to add their names to an anti-TSA Campaign for Liberty petition.

In a subsequent release, Matt Hawes of the libertarian-leaning Campaign for Liberty says the push is necessary because “the government literally has its hands in our pants.”

Paul has a colorful history of locking horns with the TSA. He and his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), have been some of the most fervent opponents of the agency, which they have accused of violating the civil liberties of countless Americans in the pursuit of airport security.

Earlier this year, Paul was reportedly “detained” at Nashville International Airport after setting off an alarm on a TSA checkpoint scanner. TSA officials denied reports of Paul’s supposed detention, but it didn’t stop the elder Paul from quickly blasting out a statement on the incident to his supporters.

“The police state in this country is growing out of control,” he said. “One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe.”

Paul later wrapped his battle against the TSA into a fundraising plea for his presidential campaign.

Congressman Canseco says he was assaulted during TSA pat-down

Congressman Canseco says he was assaulted during TSA pat-down

http://www.kens5.com/news/local/I-TEAM–Congressman-Canseco-says-TSA-agent-assaulted-him-during-a-pat-down-148756365.html

by Brian New / KENS 5

Posted on April 24, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Updated today at 7:04 PM

U.S. Rep. Francisco Canseco said he was assaulted by a TSA agent at the San Antonio International Airport.

The Texas Congressman said the security agent went too far during a pat-down earlier this month.

“The agent was very aggressive in his pat-down, and he was patting me down where no one is supposed to go,” said Canseco. “It got very uncomfortable so I moved his hand away. That stopped everything and brought in supervisors and everyone else.”

Canseco told the KENS 5 I-Team the agent said he too was assaulted when Canseco pushed his hand away.

According to TSA, neither man was cited.

A week later when going through the San Antonio International Airport, Canseco was once again selected for a pat-down.

“I did not see it as a coincidence,” he said. “I asked them why are you going to pat me down again, so we discussed it further and after discussing it further, they patted me down.”

However, before the discussion was over, San Antonio Police Department officers were called to the security check point area.

Again, no one was cited.

TSA issued the I-Team the following statement about the incident:

“TSA incorporates random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport. Once a passenger enters the screening process, they must complete it prior to continuing to a flight or secure area.”

Canseco said his experience illustrated changes in the airport security are needed.

“It is very important that Americans feel safe and secure as they travel in our nation’s airways – safe and secure from acts of terrorism and all that. But, I also think that TSA sometimes gets too aggressive, and it’s not just about me. It’s about every American that goes through those TSA scanners.”

The I-Team requested video from TSA of both incidents. A TSA spokesperson said our request is being reviewed.

————————————————————————————————-

UPDATE 4/25

TSA issued the following statement:

TSA has been contacted by the Congressman’s office and will respond to them directly. Once a passenger enters the screening process, they must complete it prior to continuing to a flight or secure area.

Family Misses Flight After TSA Gives Pat-Down To Girl With Cerebral Palsy

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/04/25/family-misses-flight-after-tsa-gives-pat-down-to-girl-with-cerebral-palsy/

Family Misses Flight After TSA Gives Pat-Down To Girl With Cerebral Palsy

April 25, 2012 1:32 PM

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The Transportation Security Administration is once again the subject of national scrutiny, this time after aggressively screening a 7-year-old female passenger with cerebral palsy which caused her family to miss their flight.

The girl, identified as Dina Frank in a report by The Daily, was waiting with her family on Monday to board a flight departing from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York headed to Florida.

Since Dina walks with the aid of leg braces and crutches, she cannot pass through airport metal detectors, and must instead submit to a pat-down by TSA agents.

Dina, who is also reportedly developmentally disabled, is usually frightened by the procedure. Her family reportedly requests that agents on hand take the time to introduce themselves to her.

However, the agents on duty at the time began to handle her aggressively instead.

Air travel is difficult to the family due to Dina’s disabilities, but the nature of Monday’s inspection was especially traumatic for the child.

“They make our lives completely difficult,” her father, Dr. Joshua Frank, a Long Island pediatrician, told The Daily. “She’s not a threat to national security.”

Frank taped the encounter, which ended when a supervisor inspected her crutches and let them pass. But agents followed up and insisted upon doing a full inspection of Dina.

Ultimately, the family missed their flight.

“They’re harassing people. This is totally misguided policy,” Frank told The Daily. “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.”

Dina, from Long Island, had recently experienced triumph after Botox and phenol injections helped her to gain control of her legs, enough to take several unassisted steps.

After being born prematurely and suffering from bleeding in the brain, Dina struggled for years to get around, even enduring a double hip replacement to assist in her recovery, CBS New York reported.

UPDATE: The TSA issued a statement defending their decision to pat-down the girl.

“TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that our officers followed proper screening procedures in conducting a modified pat-down on the child,” the agency said.

TSA defends pat-down of 4-year-old girl at Kan. airport

http://news.yahoo.com/tsa-defends-pat-down-4-old-kan-airport-231522461.html

TSA defends pat-down of 4-year-old girl at Kan. airport

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The grandmother of a 4-year-old girl who became hysterical during a security screening at a Kansas airport said Wednesday that the child was forced to undergo a pat-down after hugging her, with security agents yelling and calling the crying girl an uncooperative suspect.

The incident has been garnering increasing media and online attention since the child’s mother, Michelle Brademeyer of Montana, detailed the ordeal in a public Facebook post last week. The Transportation Security Administration is defending its agents, despite new procedures aimed at reducing pat-downs of children.

The child’s grandmother, Lori Croft, told The Associated Press that Brademeyer and her daughter, Isabella, initially passed through security at the Wichita airport without incident. The girl then ran over to briefly hug Croft, who was awaiting a pat-down after tripping the alarm, and that’s when TSA agents insisted the girl undergo a physical pat-down.

Isabella had just learned about “stranger danger” at school, her grandmother said, adding that the girl was afraid and unsure about what was going on.

“She started to cry, saying ‘No I don’t want to,’ and when we tried talking to her she ran,” Croft said. “They yelled, ‘We are going to shut down the airport if you don’t grab her.'”

But she said the family’s main concern was the lack of understanding from TSA agents that they were dealing with a 4-year-old child, not a terror suspect.

“There was no common sense and there was no compassion,” Croft said. “That was our biggest fault with the whole thing — not that they are following security procedures, because I understand that they have to do that.”

Brademeyer, of Missoula, Mont., wrote a public Facebook post last week about the April 15 incident, claiming TSA treated her daughter “no better than if she had been a terrorist.” The posting was taken down Wednesday. Another post said the family had filed formal complaints with the TSA and the airport.

The TSA released a statement Tuesday saying it explained to the family why additional security procedures were necessary and that agents didn’t suspect or suggest the child was carrying a firearm.

“TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that our officers followed proper screening procedures in conducting a modified pat-down on the child,” the agency said.

The statement noted that the agency recently implemented modified screening procedures for children age 12 and younger to further reduce the need for pat-downs of children, such as multiple passes through a metal detector and advanced imaging technology.

“These changes in protocol will ultimately reduce — though not eliminate — pat-downs of children,” the statement said. “In this case, however, the child had completed screening but had contact with another member of her family who had not completed the screening process.”

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, pressed the TSA for more information Wednesday. Tester, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said he was concerned the TSA went too far.

“I am a staunch advocate for effective transportation security, but I’m also a strong advocate for common sense and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans,” Tester wrote to TSA Administrator John Pistole. “Any report of abuse of the power entrusted to officers of the TSA is especially concerning — especially if it involves children.”

In a phone interview from her home in Fountain Valley, Calif., Croft said Brademeyer tried to no avail to get TSA agents to use a wand on the frightened girl or allow her to walk through the metal detector again. She also said TSA agents wanted to screen her granddaughter alone in a separate room.

“She was kicking and screaming and fighting and in hysterics,” Croft said. “At that point my daughter ran up to her against TSA’s orders because she said, ‘My daughter is terrified, I can’t leave her.'”

The incident went on for maybe 10 minutes, until a manager came in and allowed agents to pat the girl down while she was screaming but being held by her mother. The family was then allowed to go to their next gate with a TSA agent following them.

Croft said that for the first few nights after coming home, Isabelle had nightmares and talked about kidnappers. She said TSA agents had shouted at the girl, telling her to calm down and saying the suspect wasn’t cooperating.

“To a 4-year-old’s perspective that’s what it was to her because they didn’t explain anything and she did not know what was going on,” Croft said. “She saw people grabbing at her and raising their voices. To her, someone was trying to kidnap her or harm her in some way.”

TSA screeners charged in Los Angeles drug trafficking probe

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/25/tsa-screeners-charged-in-los-angeles-drug-trafficking-probe/?test=latestnews#ixzz1t6YAEHle

TSA screeners charged in Los Angeles drug trafficking probe

Published April 25, 2012

FoxNews.com

Two former and two current Transportation Security Administration employees have been arrested and indicted on drug conspiracy charges for allegedly allowing large amounts of cocaine and other drugs to pass through security screening at Los Angeles International Airport last year.

Seven people face drug-related charges in a 22-count indictment unsealed Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court. Other charges include paying and receiving bribes by a government official.

The indictment says 30-year-old Naral Richardson orchestrated five incidents where TSA screeners agreed to waive narcotics through security checkpoints. In exchange, some of the screeners were allegedly paid as much as $2,400 for their involvement. The alleged incidents occurred from early February 2011 to July 2011, the release said, citing the indictment.

“This case underscores the unique nature of 21st century drug smuggling,” Briane M. Grey, acting special agent in charge of the DEA in Los Angeles. “Here, the defendants traded on their positions at one the world’s most crucial airport security checkpoints, used their special access for criminal ends, and compromised the safety and security of their fellow citizens for their own profit.”

Randy Parsons, TSA’s security director at LAX, says the agency is disappointed about the arrests but it’s committed to holding its employees to the highest standards.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/25/tsa-screeners-charged-in-los-angeles-drug-trafficking-probe/?test=latestnews#ixzz1t6YcwVi3