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TSA agent unaware District of Columbia in U.S., denies passage to reporter

TSA agent unaware D.C. exists, blocks passage to reporter.
TSA agent unaware D.C. exists, blocks passage to reporter.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

It seems some TSA agents are in need of remedial geography lessons. On Tuesday, The Blaze reported that Justin Gray, a correspondent with Washington, D.C.'s WTB was initially denied clearance at Orlando International Airport because the TSA agent was unaware that the District of Columbia is part of the United States -- something taught to most students in elementary school.

"Agent in Orlando never heard of 'District of Columbia,'" Gray tweeted. "Demanded passport because he didn't believe my drivers license was from US!?"

Gray ultimately made it through security and said in another tweet that he informed the supervisor on duty. TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein told Gray he was personally looking into the situation.

It's not the first time TSA agents have displayed ignorance about the District of Columbia, The Blaze said. In February, D.C. resident Ashley Brandt was stopped by a TSA agent in Phoenix after visiting the Grand Canyon, the Washington Post reported.

“I don’t know if we can accept these,” Brandt recalled the agent saying after showing her D.C. license. “Do you have a U.S. passport?"

Ultimately, a supervisor allowed her to pass and her boyfriend remarked about the incident in a tweet that went viral. Soon, the Post said, stories flooded in from people with similar experiences, having licenses from Puerto Rico or Guam.

The TSA responded, telling Brandt that “a valid Washington, D.C., driver’s license is an acceptable form of identification at all TSA checkpoints.” But it seems that some agents are still unaware that the District really is part of the United States, despite reportedly being shown copies of licenses from D.C. in training.

"Officers are trained to identify fraudulent documents, which can potentially deter and detect individuals attempting to circumvent this layer of security," a TSA spokesman said. But some are questioning the quality of that training.

"They simply have not been either applying or maintaining standards for good personnel," said National Association of Airline Passengers spokesman Douglas Kidd. "It makes you wonder what's going on with their training and their policies."

Sadly, given the state of education in America today, where about one in four do not know the Earth orbits the Sun and about as many do not know the United States separated from Great Britain, it is quite possible the agent was never taught that the District of Columbia is part of the United States.

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