"TSA regrets inaccurate guidance was provided to this family during screening and offers its apology," said an agency spokesperson. "We are committed to maintaining the security of the traveling public and strive to treat all passengers with dignity and respect. While no pat-down was performed, we will address specific concerns with our workforce."
Earlier this month, Annie Schulte and her husband took their daughter Lucy, who is confined to a wheelchair, to Disney World in Orlando. However, TSA screeners at Missouri’s Lambert-St. Louis International Airport singled out three three-year-old, who is confined to a wheelchair, for special security check. (Some speculate that Lucy felt embarrassed after being singled out at the public terminal as a possible terrorist threat.)
The incident resulted in the disabled girl crying for minutes as agents ordered her mom to stop video-taping her ordeal. Footage of the heated exchange shows Lucy imploring her parents that she no longer wanted to go to Disney World. In a strange twist, the TSA screeners then refused to return Lucy’s stuffed animal Lamby even though the toy had passed clearance.
Concerned that the screeners may have violated federal or local laws, Annie Schulte posted a video on YouTube which has generated over 136,000 views since being uploaded last week.
TSA's only response was by way of an apology by an employee. The agency has an annual budget of $8.1 billion and nearly 60,000 employees. Its employees and contractors should be reminded that American taxpayers fund their paychecks and health benefits so they can protect the United States from legitimate threats to national security. Screeners were not hired to harass law-abiding citizens and taxpayers. TSA's human resource department should only extend job offers to those who possess common sense.
Since the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks), constitutional scholars have opposed TSA's thorough checks on airline passengers. One of the most controversial practices involved individuals walking through a massive scanner that produced naked X-ray images for agents.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. constitution states that:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Moving forward, passengers are likely to experience more frustrations with screeners at airports around the country. The U.S. Travel Association is warning that, due to the looming sequestration cuts on March 1, passengers will experience one to two hours of added wait time at terminals in big cities.
On Feb. 20, the association's president, Roger Dow, issued strong remarks for Congress and President Barack Obama about the negative consequences of sequestration on airline travelers.
“Travel has the very real potential of becoming the face of the March 1 sequester cuts. These across-the-board cuts may punish travelers with flight delays, long security lines at Transportation Security Agency checkpoints and multi-hour waits to clear Customs and Border Protection. Travel has led the nation’s economic recovery – generating more than 50 percent of all jobs created since the beginning of the recession. The indiscriminate sequester cuts threaten to derail the travel-led recovery.
“There is absolutely no excuse for travelers in one of the world’s most advanced nations to suffer through a travel process that wastes their precious time and resources. With the launch of the sequester cuts, we will call on travelers to rise up and make their voices heard. U.S. Travel will assist travelers in their efforts to send a strong message to Congress with a new mobile messaging campaign. When travelers text the word “DELAYED” to 877-877, they will receive easy instructions on how to share their opinions with Washington legislators.
“It is time for Washington to solve problems rather than create potentially devastating new crises. The 14.4 million Americans whose jobs depend on travel, the two million Americans who fly each day and the millions more who take to the roads and rails to drive the American economy are counting on our elected officials to deliver results that keep our nation competitive and attractive to travelers around the globe. We strongly urge Congress to take immediate action on the impending federal budget cuts.”
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