TSA issues at Denver International Airport

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by AmericanObserver, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. Here is an exact copy of the letter I sent to the TSA after yet another unprovoked incident with a TSA officer at Denver International Airport yesterday, and their response to me. This is something like the fifth or sixth time in less than five years that I've been mistreated by TSA officers at that airport. I do not understand why these people don't seem to know their own rules.

    My letter: This evening, at approximately 6:20, I entered the Concourse A security area at Denver International Airport. Only two lines were open, as they were employing the use of the body scanners. I informed a male TSA officer of my wish to opt out. In the meantime, another woman in front of me also asked to opt out. Each of us stepped through a metal detector and into an area that was cordoned off, in order to wait for a female TSA agent. While we were standing in this area, the TSA officer (whose I.D. tag said her name was Hook), who was in charge of the metal detector was standing next to us. I turned to her and said that since my carry-on luggage was two lines away, I was unable to see it and was concerned about my laptop. Officer Hook very rudely told me to "keep an eye on it." I repeated that I was unable to see it and she repeated herself. The female passenger next to me rolled her eyes and shook her head at this TSA officer's rude behavior towards me. I said to the passenger, "Yes, we're all made to feel like criminals now when we fly." Officer Hook then sneered at me, "Oh, really?" in a very sarcastic and combatative tone. I replied, "Yes, really." The other passenger then asked me if I had ever had a pat down before. I said yes. She asked me how they were. I told her that some were ok but that one I had had recently felt like a rape because on that occasion, the officer had been very vigorous with my groin area (I wrote to the TSA about that experience as well). At that point, Officer Hook used her walkie-talkie to call for a supervisor and made a big show of it. I asked her, "You're calling a supervisor for me?" I was incredulous. And she said, "You said a pat down is like a rape." And I said, "Someone asked my opinion and I gave it to her. I am entitled to my opinion. Why is a supervisor needed?" Officer Hook said, "An agent may not want to give you a pat down now." And I said, "What?" She didn't reply and called again for a supervisor. In the meantime, one female TSA agent came for the other passenger and one came for me. Officer Hook continued to make a scene by calling the agent assigned to me aside and informing her loudly that I'd said a pat down is like a rape. Fortunately, this TSA officer was quite reasonable and asked me if I wanted a private pat down and asked me what had happened. I told her exactly what happened, we did the pat down without incident and I left. A supervisor never came and I don't know where Officer Hook went. The bottom line is, I am a tax payer and a law-abiding citizen. Flying these days is bad enough without some TSA personnel eavesdropping on private conversations and making mountains out of molehills. At the very least, I expect courtesy and respect, none of which I received at the hands of Officer Hook. I hope she will receive sensitivity training or some discipline over this matter because the way she behaved tonight was an embarrassment. I did nothing to provoke this person and yet she went out of her way to antagonize me. It said on her nametag that she is some sort of a team leader, which, frankly, is shocking to me, as I heard her try to dissuade other passengers from opting out. This was a very disappointing experience and not the first time I've been mistreated by Denver TSA personnel but it is the first time that it has been so blatant.

    TSA response:
    Thank you for your e-mail in which you express concern that you were not able to stay with your belongings during your security screening. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policy requires Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) to reasonably ensure that carry-on items, including disability-related devices and aids, are kept within a passenger’s line-of-sight when a passenger is required to undergo additional screening. When passengers cannot maintain line-of-sight with their property during a patdown or private screening, TSOs have been trained to maintain control and sight of the passenger’s items and to ensure that the passenger is reunited with his or her property once it clears x-ray screening. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regrets any unprofessional treatment you may have experienced. TSA seeks to provide a high level of security and customer service to all passengers who pass through our screening checkpoints. Every person and item must be screened before entering the secured area, and the way the screening is conducted is important. Our policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy. Please be advised that a passenger can always request to speak with the Supervisory TSO or the Assistant Federal Security Director for Screening to address any complaint regarding screening procedures. Because your complaint concerns an incident that occurred at a specific airport we have forwarded a copy of your letter to the appropriate Customer Service Manager. We hope this information is helpful. TSA Contact Center
  2. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    Hi and welcome - please sign up and stay awhile.:)

    It almost sounds like the response letter was computer generated to pick out a few phrases from your letter and give a boilerplate answer. For example, it mentions "including disability-related devices and aids" which had nothing to do with your situation. And the rest is just platitudes. And of course, says nothing about the rudeness of Officer Hook, which I would have seen as your main complaint.

    I wonder if they just have a set of replies: "Hey, send this person the 'I couldn't see my carry-on' letter." ??
    TravelnMedic and Lisa Simeone like this.
  3. AmericanObserver

    AmericanObserver Original Member

    Done! I just signed up...And yes, you're right. I often send these notes to the TSA and get the same automated responses. And frankly, on the rare occasion in the past that I have asked for a supervisor (this has all occurred at DIA), it's like dealing with an inanimate object because most of them cannot even string together coherent sentences. I do not understand why the TSA can't make it a point to hire qualified, intelligent people for these positions. Anyway, I'm glad I read the NYTimes story today about scanning-- the article mentions this site and it's a good one.
    jtodd and Lisa Simeone like this.
  4. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Welcome, AmericanObserver!

    I am curious as to how many other passengers tried to opt-out. Did you notice of they stuck to their guns or gave in to Smurf Hook?
  5. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    TSA website says re: belongings:

    Now we read:

    There's their out: "reasonably ensure"

    Way to aid and abet the thieves amongst them.

    RadioGirl likes this.
  6. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    There've been so many instances of people getting their stuff stolen because of this. The smurfs take delight in ordering people around and yelling at them to "Don't move!" as has happened to me and thousands of others.
  7. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    What do you mean by "the thieves amongst them?" They are all thieves in my book. If they're not stealing our valuablese, they are robbing us of our civil liberties. Just sayin...:mad:
    jtodd and Lisa Simeone like this.
  8. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Small compensation: TSA clerks, when they fly, apparently have to go through the same abusive crap the rest of us do. Let's hope they get the full treatment.
  9. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I doubt it. Anecdotal reports have indicated that friends and family of TSA employees get a pass - like the one report about the TSA employee's daughter being waved through. Not to mention the ones who've bribed TSA employees to smuggle stuff through.

    The entire organization is corrupt, staffed by thieves, perverts, and morons.
  10. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    thank you very much to speaking your mind freely and not backing down, and not just putting up with this abuse. It is likely that if Hook had done the patdown, you would likely have been molested. If more people did what you did, these folks would back off to some decent behavior.

    Hook needs to be unemployed and go back to her old profession which was probably rolling drunks.
  11. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    Did this woman receive a patdown from the supervisor in retaliation for stating that a previous patdown felt like rape?
  12. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Given that gropes are often punitive, it's a good bet.
  13. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    Not only that, it goes on with:
    Even if they were polite and competent and honest, how does the TSA person know which things are yours?

    Recently in ZRH (where they are, IME, polite and competent and honest), my metal hip set off the WTMD. As the screener directed me (politely) to the curtained booth for the (polite and apologetic) patdown, I said "I want to be able to see my things." (I had a laptop, tablet PC, handbag, laptop bag and jacket.) She said (politely), "Don't worry, she (indicating another screener stationed at the end of the x-ray machine exit belt) will watch it for you." I asked, "How does she know which of those things are mine? Does she know I have two computers, and which ones they are?"

    Ah. At last, I saw a light bulb above her head.

    Look, I knew I was going to the curtained booth, I knew the patdown would be painless, and I was 99.9999999% sure that the ZRH screeners were not going to steal from me. But even so, they haven't thought through the concept that someone else might smoothly pick up one of my laptops or my handbag as if it was their own, and by the time I came out of the curtain booth they would be gone. The checkpoint wasn't mobbed with crowds of passengers, but there was a steady flow of people coming through after me.

    To her credit, she then gave me time to point out all my bins, and the other screener moved them out of the way while I had my patdown. But when even a polite, orderly European checkpoint has to be reminded of the potential for theft, what hope is there for a busy TSA checkpoint?
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  14. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    None. But the TSA doesn't care about your personal belongings. "Not our problem." This has been proven time and time again when people's belongings have been stolen at the checkpoints, both by smurfs and by other passengers.
  15. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Although clerks who have been asked about this deny it, I would imagine they use their TSA ID going through security.

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