August 17, 2013
A few weeks ago, I was returning my 6-year-old granddaughter to Phoenix, Ariz. on a Southwest flight out of Fort Lauderdale International Airport. Prior to going through security, I explained to her that it would ring when I went through security because I had metal in a knee replacement. She understood that I might have to leave the line to be checked further, but that she was to stand on the other side so that I could see her.
She went through the metal detector with no problem. As expected, I set off the system and was asked to come to the side. However, as she was traveling with me, they also asked her to leave the line that she already had gone through and insisted on patting her down as well. She was crying and extremely frightened, to say the least.
I cannot fathom any situation where it is OK to terrify and confuse a young child. It is one thing to ask an individual who does set off the alarms to step aside, but to penalize a little girl — who had already been cleared — because her grandmother had to be searched is inexcusable. I also understand random checks, but on a 6-year-old wearing shorts and a tee shirt with her shoes removed? When does the madness stop?
Ellen Keiser, Coral Springs
Copyright 2013: Florida Sun Sentinel

Another person finally wakes up to TSA abuse

by LISA SIMEONE on OCTOBER 7, 2013, TSA News
. . . Today brings a story at CNN “iReport” from a woman who either hasn’t been flying for the past few years or who hasn’t been paying attention. Regardless, she was bullied by the blue-shirted crusaders at the checkpoint. Unlike Stacey Armato or Peter Greenberg’s editor, this woman’s ordeal didn’t involve breast milk or pouches of baby food; it involved infant formula . . . 
The woman calls herself “Hannah86.” (Please ignore all the nonsense about carry-on and checked luggage, which she calls a “baggage crisis.” If you have to travel with so much stuff, people, don’t blame the airlines for charging fees. Bring less stuff.) You’ll note that even though Hannah diligently studied the TSA’s own rules about carrying baby formula, the TSA ignored those rules, as they often do. Here’s her story.

TSA bullies disabled boy, makes family miss flight

Tuesday. October 8, 2013, by Lisa Simeone
Renee Bergeron's 3-year-old son Apollo suffers from a heart defect. He is fitted with a permanent feeding tube.

Alarm bells right there. We know how the TSA treats feeding tubes. Just ask Melinda Deaton. Or Michelle Dunaj.

Apollo's parents must feed him through the tube with a special high-calorie formula.

More alarm bells. We also know how the TSA treats formula.
Though Apollo's mother had, like thousands of other mothers before her, dutifully read and adhered to the TSA's supposed instructions on carrying bottles of formula through the checkpoint, those instructions were ignored by the TSA and she was put through the ringer . . . 

Oh, and by the way, this isn't the first time the Bergeron family has been abused by the TSA. Chalk it up to "dignity and respect."

TSA Air Marshal Taking Pix Up Women's Dresses
TSA News and the Baltimore Sun, October 18, 2013
Arrested: Adam Joseph Bartsch

Jewelry worth $6,000 stolen from luggage – by TSA?

Recently we received an email from a woman who’s been trying to get compensation for several thousand dollars’ worth of jewelry that was stolen from her luggage by, she believes, the TSA. The TSA rifled through her luggage, which she knows because they left a note behind. You might have seen those notes; not as clever as “Kilroy was here,” but they get the point across. (Then again, TSA agents also leave other kinds of notes, admonishing people for theirvibrators or for their marijuana.) We have permission to use the woman’s name: Michelle Trimmell. Here’s her story. I have edited somewhat for length:

TSA supervisor at Charlotte Douglas fired over theft allegations

Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014

The Transportation Security Administration has fired a supervisor at Charlotte Douglas International Airport after allegations of theft, the federal agency said Wednesday. The investigation is ongoing, Koshetz said. No charges had been filed as of late Wednesday, according to public records. Two airport authorities with knowledge of the theft allegations told the Observer that the supervisor was accused of taking electronic items from the lost-and-found at Charlotte Douglas . . . .

Denver police initiate sexual assault investigation after TSA pat-down

by Lisa Simeone, TSA News, January 16, 2014
. . . Jamelyn Steenhoek, 39, was accompanying her 13-year-old daughter to the gate for the daughter’s flight. Steenhoek “alarmed” when she went through the metal detector. Then her hands were swabbed and they “alarmed.”
What happened next indicates that a TSA clerk wanted to get her jollies:
“At that point she did a pretty invasive search. They are just areas of the body I’m not comfortable being touched in. On the outside of my pants she cupped my crotch. I was uncomfortable with that.”
Steenhoek said the agent repeatedly dug her fingers into Steenhoek’s armpits.
“The part of the search that bothered most was the breast search. You could tell it shouldn’t take that much groping. To me it was as extensive as an exam from my physician — full touching and grabbing in the front. I felt uncomfortable, I felt violated.”
She said when the search turned up nothing, the agent repeated it a second time.
“So it didn’t make any sense. The whole search was done over and more touching and grabbing than the first time.”
To her credit, Steenhoek went to the Denver police and filed a complaint. And, wonder of wonders, the police actually took her seriously . . . .


No criminal charges pursued in Denver TSA assault

TSA Worker Accused of Stealing $8,500 from Checked Bag at O'Hare
by Erin Meyer, January 30, 2014

. . . Angel Velazquez, 59, was still wearing his TSA uniform when his mug shot was taken by Chicago Police. A TSA spokeswoman said the federal agency is moving to fire him.
Prosecutors in court Wednesday said a 48-year-old woman put the cash in her suitcase and checked the bag as she took a flight on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in mid-November. When she arrived at her undisclosed destination, she realized the money was missing.
Prosecutors said that agent Velazquez was caught on surveillance video going through the woman's suitcase. He allegedly found the cash, stashed it in a garbage can and later retrieved it and put it in his own backpack.
Velazquez, of the 3600 block of West Fullerton Avenue in Logan Square, has worked at O'Hare for the last 11 years, his attorney said. He was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony theft.
Prosecutors did not explain in court why Velazquez was not arrested sooner.

  • TSA confiscates woman's license, boarding pass, luggage, illegally detains her, forces her to miss flight,‏ because of pen

    by Chris Smith, The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California
    February 8, 2014

    The Horizon Airlines plane Sheila Montemayor very much hoped to fly to L.A. on Friday morning left without her as TSA agents questioned her about the “weapon” they found in her purse and then summoned a sheriff's deputy.
    Montemayor said the incident was ridiculous, as the object was simply a metal ink pen. But she also found it abusive.
    The Santa Rosa woman and her husband, JP, said they don't mind that the Sonoma County Airport TSA agents viewed the pen as a weapon. They said one agent mistakenly called it a “kubaton,” a small self-defense device that can be carried on a key chain.
    What the Montemayors contend is that the concerned TSA agents should simply have confiscated the pen. Sheila Montemayor said she offered to throw it away.
    But what happened, she said, is the agents took her boarding pass and driver's license, had her baggage removed from the plane and summoned a deputy. She said she felt she was being detained because the agents told her that were she to leave the airport, police would come looking for her.
    She and her husband said a deputy did arrive and quickly concluded the pen was just a pen. But by then, the airplane Montemayor needed to get her to a family emergency was gone.
    When I asked a TSA agent about the incident Friday evening, he said no one there could speak to me about it. Sheila Montemayor successfully boarded a flight that evening, without the disputed pen in her purse.

    TSA strip-searches another victim
    by Lisa Simeone, TSA News, Feb 11, 2014

    In the on-going sordid history of TSA agents bullying, harassing, robbing, and sexually assaulting people, we have a new story, this time about a cancer survivor.
    The man is 36 years old and suffers from an overactive bladder because of a past bout with prostate cancer. Therefore, he wears an adult incontinence garment — a disposable brief — something that hundreds of thousands of people are familiar with in this country, especially with our aging population.
    In the past, according to his wife, he has always traveled with no problem, passing through both scanners and “pat-downs” with no problem. This time, however, things were different:

    TSA harasses, punishes man in Hawaii
    by Lisa Simeone, TSA News, February 16, 2014
    A man named Richard Slaven was traveling from the island of Kauai to Australia . . . “It looks like they want to punish those people who don’t want to go through the scanner,” said the former Navy petty officer who served on board the USS Missouri during the Gulf War. He said security gave him what he called an “aggressive” pat down, and swabbed his fingers three times . . . .

    TSA steals "grenade-shaped" Jimmy Choo perfume bottle
    March 14, 2014

    TSA again denies ID, denies disabled woman

    by LISA SIMEONE on APRIL 7, 2014
    Yet another person, a disabled person in this case, has been abused by the TSA. In Los Angeles last week, Sherry Wright was traveling with her disabled, wheelchair-bound sister Heidi when they approached the checkpoint at LAX. Heidi had a stroke 10 years ago and can no longer speak. When Sherry presented their ID documentation — perfectly valid IDs, as indicated on the TSA’s own website — the nitwit in blue balked. First he demanded that the mute Heidi speak, even after being told she couldn’t; then he denied passage to the women, claiming that Heidi’s expired driver’s license wasn’t valid ID.

    TSA still groping children - video proof

    April 21, 2014

    TSA Supervisor accused of having sex with minors;
    Arrested at JFK Airport
    May 9, 2014
    A TSA Supervisor was arrested at Kennedy Airport accused of setting up a meeting in the Dominican Republic to engage in sexual activity with minors.
    Vernon Lythcott was arraigned Friday afternoon in federal court.
    A judge set bail at $250,000.
    He works as a TSA screening supervisor.
    He's being charged with elicit sexual conduct with a minor in a foreign country and faces up to 30 years in prison.
    Prosecutors allege Lythcott engaged in sex acts with two 15-year-old girls during a January trip to the Dominican Republic.
    According to the criminal complaint, Lythcott used the help of a Dominican man to lure the teens from the beach into a van, promising them money and gifts.
    He's accused of having sex with both girls several times.
    At one point in a hotel, Lythcott and two other men forced one of the girls in a room where they all sexually assaulted her.

    New passenger discovers TSA grope policy
    by Lisa Simeone, May 23, 2014
    Charlotte Ann Kimbrough is a 57-year-old retired law enforcement professional. She worked for 32 years in an administrative capacity with the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and other federal law enforcement agencies. She has two metal hip replacements.
    She told me she hadn't flown in a few years. So she was unfamiliar with TSA procedures. When she went through the metal detector at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport on Thursday, May 22, 2014, she alarmed it. She explained to the TSA agents that she has two metal hips. She thought they would wand her. She was wrong . . .
    "The woman groped my crotch -- twice. She went underneath my dress. I knew I had to be calm for the man I was traveling with, so I didn't say anything. But he could see the look on my face. He started yelling. They got the woman who was groping me out of the way and brought in a boss, who tried to stop the situation from escalating . . . I do have anger at myself, that I let her do it to to me. And the more sh