The recent media attention on the TSA has lead to serious questions about government intrusion into the privacy of innocent Americans. But who knew it would get this ugly?
Recently, horror stories about TSA intrusions have become a nascent presence in popular media. It seems as if almost overnight the TSA went from being a source of security and protection to being outright intrusive and violating our privacy and personal space. Former Governor Mike Huckabee recently called the TSA tactics “humiliating and degrading, totally unconstitutional, and an intrusion of privacy.”
Why the sudden fall from grace? What was the impetus? Well, for starters the recent stories from Thomas D. Sawyer, Sam Wolanyk, and John Tyner have sparked a flame to the undercurrent of growing dissatisfaction and downright frustration felt by American travelers over what they deem is inappropriate and unnecessary behavior by the Transportation Security Agency. TSA stories are surfacing daily and those as offensive and reprehensible as Stacey Armato’s story are like fuel to the fire.
Earlier in the year, new mother Stacey Armato was harassed at a Phoenix airport simply because she asked security agents to not x-ray her breast milk. Ms. Armato’s request complied with TSA guidelines as breast milk is considered a medical liquid and does not have to pass through the x-ray. Apparently, the TSA agents that confronted Ms. Armato were not aware of their own guidelines because she was detained for over an hour for no apparent reason.
In a statement, Ms Armato recounts the disturbing ordeal.
“I called and complained to TSA and was instructed to travel with the TSA breast milk rules printed out and present them whenever there is a problem….. I notice immediately that I was dealing with the same people from the week before. The woman tells me right away that my milk might have to go through xray, and then I tell her I printed the rules. I go to grab the rules on top of my bag and she freaks out and pushes my arm away. Another guy comes over and calls for back up and they put in me back in the glass cage. Standing 50 ft away are the same manager and supervisor I had dealt with the previous week. They will stall for 20 minutes before coming over to me. Meanwhile, one of the guys comes over to me and tells me ‘to be quiet if I know what’s good for me.’”
This is one of the first instances that I have encountered where TSA officials actually went out of their way to harass a flyer. The agents in Phoenix knew the rules– Ms. Armato had gone through a similar ordeal the previous week. It’s just pure conjecture, but this has vendetta written all over it. If revenge or bitterness were somehow the motivating factor for this incident, then it is a despicable misuse of power and trust.
This past Thanksgiving saw a flood of holiday fliers and I’m guessing it will not be too long before we see the TSA in the news again.