Congressman: Marine humiliated by TSA screeners

PHOENIX – An active duty Marine confined to a wheelchair after losing both legs to an improvised explosive device claimed he was humiliated by the Transportation Security Administration.

tsa pic

According to a tersely written letter by US Congressman Duncan Hunter to the head of The Transportation Security Administration, several Camp Pendleton Marines returning to San Diego from Arizona on March 13 were treated with disrespect.

In the letter, Mr. Hunter, wrote, “with numerous TSA officers sitting around and unwilling to assist, an officer made him remove his legs, then put them back on, only to advance to a second screening location where he was asked to stand again with extraordinary difficulty while they examined his wheelchair.”

Marla Knox is a recreational therapist and works with wounded military members at Naval Medical Center, where these Marines are in treatment.  Part of Balboa’s community re-integration program is taking injured Marines back into the real world.

“When you lose the capability to walk it does present a tremendous challenge physically and mentally,” said Knox.  “Sometimes it’s embarrassment for service members because everyone’s looking, staring and how they translate those thoughts to something as simple as getting on plane is tremendous challenge.”

Naval Medical Center has no comment on the incident in Phoenix.

According to the TSA’S website, they work to “facilitate the screening of wounded service members with dignity and respect.”

Late Tuesday, the TSA issued a statement saying there are “learning more about the situation, and in the coming days will expand the wounded warrior screening program.”

60 comments

  • Rob

    This just recently happened to me as well. I was returning home from Las Vegas, NV. After Celebrating my birthday with my fellow Marines. Upon returning home I was also harassed by several TSA employees. The first was older lady in her late 40's who stood on one side of the screener and explained to put my belongings in the tray to be x-rayed. after doing so the machine conveyer kept pushing my belongings out causing me to go back and push them through 3 times. on the 4th time The lady yells at me to push my items through. I told her it kept spitting them out and she said she would not do it herself so i need to deal with it. (idiot). the second security officer explains to me to keep only my wallet in my hand while going through the body X-ray. after doing so a 3rd officer grabs me and begins to pat me down in an aggressive manner. I asked him why he was doing so and he stated "because you had your wallet on you I have to check you for explosives"
    At about this point im getting pissed. I am a 14 yr Marine Combat veteran with 4 tours under my belt. The agent takes my wallet without permission and searches through it to see if there is anything in it. Not once was I asked permission to pat search me or to search my wallet. Not once was there an apology or anything for embarrassing me in front of the crowd of people.
    My question is where does the intrusiveness end?

    • USMC Retired

      Sue these low lives. Call your congressman and senators, bring this issue up. It is BS. That's all I can say here, I'll get barred for saying what should be done to them.
      Retired Marine, 3 combat tours.

      • Phxfire

        Read it again, You really think is all that happened, IF it happened? You've see it, been there. You really don't think a bunch of Marines coming back from partying in Vegas were perfect little gentlemen? (Bet he wasn't in uniform, either). I spent almost 20 years around Marines while my dad served from 1945 to 1970, they can be real brats when in a group. Bet you've seen it and know it, too.

      • steffletcher

        That is a really pathetic comment and until you've lost your legs (no matter the circumstance) please do not mock the difficulties amputees face. I do not agree with the current political conflicts and wars our country has decided to either start or enter… and yet, for those who feel they have a duty to be in the military, I understand they made that choice. To be so devoid of compassion reflects such a black heart. I hope you never face the difficulties some have faced because certainly there would be few that would help you out….

      • Proud Marine Mom

        Actually, althought they DESERVE special treatment, they prefer to just be treated as a normal human being – not a side show!!

        As the mother of a Marine & the friend of many (some of which have similar injuries), I find your comment to be incompassionate and in bad taste.

        These Marines (as well as other military personnel) have fought for your freedom, as well as their own. Show some respect.

    • Rob K

      For the cowards that avoid serving the USA in the military, shame on you.You should be standing at attention and saluting these men. You are also a US govt employee, sucking up the great benefit
      program and pissing on the heroes that make your candy ass program possible. Become a real US
      citizen and support our heroes that give SO MUCH.
      Rob K

      • swell_swell

        Some of us are ineligible to serve in the military due to physical limitations, but are appalled at the way the TSA are treating our injured servicemen and servicewomen. However, this is the way we get treated by the TSA. I was required to remove my glasses to go through a scanner then yelled at when I couldn't follow the order to "follow me" because I didn't know who spoke to me – I couldn't see the speaker! I had to ask someone to hand me my glasses three times with the explanation that I couldn't see 6 inches without them.

        EVERYONE who flies should be treated with dignity and respect. NO ONE should be humiliated, groped, or in any other way made to feel violated.

      • Angela

        I am a former TSA agent now working an office job on the Air Force Base. I am a veteran as well. I resent the comments about "uneducated Baboons" etc. None of you understand that the position description and duties performed are passed on to the agents and told that this is how these situations are handled. I don't see any of you willing to sort through crappy underwear and what not to protect you from the disgruntled americans like the soldier that took out his platoon because he was so traumatized by what he had been thru. Soldiers are just as dangerous, and with PTSD…even more because of their training. If this gentleman supposedly works with injured vets to help them back into society…then they need to realize that this is society. They are in these chairs because there was no TSA agent searching for the IED that got them. Well, when you all complain until they disband TSA and something happens on a plane you are on…I don't want to hear about it! Think about it!

    • Phxfire

      You know Rob, I've been to the airport and watch how the TSA treats vets and I find your story a little hard to swallow. It doesn't ring true, sounds like a story. My dad was a career military man, so I almost 20 years watching the behavior and treatment of Marines and others. I would love to get the TSA side of the story, if it even happened, to see how much Las Vegas 'fun' you brought with you and how that effected your behavior.

    • Ugh

      All i have to say is its TSA. We all know that they can search and do what they need to do to keep it safe. They are not hurting you. They are doing their jobs and trying to make sure its safe for everyone else. You can't have it both ways. You can't expect not to be searched just because you are military, but everyone else has to be searched. I don't like that you make your self so entitled. Get over yourself. Yes, your a marine, you served and are still serving our country, that's great, thanks. But that does not make you better than anyone else, nor does it make you deserve special treatment. Get off your high horse. Its military people with attitudes like yours that piss me off. And i don't care how many people i piss off with this statement. Its the damn truth. You chose to join the military. plain and simple. Your a MARINE for crap sake stop acting like a prissy and start acting like a grown man.

  • USMC retired

    The TSA should be sued and their piece if trash employees who took part, should get a reality check from fellow Marines, Marine Corps. No respect for this fine Marine, whats this world comming to? He sacrificed so much for this country and this is the thank you, history is repeating itself once more, Vietnam all over.

    • Phxfire

      If they were returning from partying in Vegas I doubt very much they had their uniforms on and expecting the TSA to treat party boys different, guys who spent time drinking and celebrating, because say they are Marines. Bad behavior, and let's look at the circumstances, doesn't have excuses.

  • Kevin

    25 million highly trained pissed off military members is not something to trifle with, but our Government is really just showing its love for us that served.

  • DaGhost

    What do ya expect for what they're paying these idiots ? They were flipping burgers yesterday, today they get to wear a fancy uniform and get paid to push people around !

      • Rose

        No, a Senator's letter said it happened. The Marines have not said anything to the media, the TSA or the Airport… In this case, I believe the TSA.. and now I feel dirty for agreeing with those slimeballs…

  • Kathie Short

    Nothing but a bunch of rude thugs and thieves. Need to get rid of TSA, put our Military in the Airports, just like other countries.

  • HIRA

    Marinies of all people should understand that this all done to prevent further problems. As things evolve its obvious that bad guyd are everyplace and will do anything to complete their objective. everyday in the news you can read how bad guys have been planted in some company or organization and have benn caught. I dont think the TSA looks to humiliate anybody. they try to help protect. Some people are just not that professional as they should be and I have cruzed with a few marines that are the same way.

  • Mike

    I want to know why this is even legal. Ya the Marine that has a military ID is a threat to a plane. Then the guy that has lost arms or legs for this country is really the threat you should be looking at in the airport. Don't even give that afgan looking collage student behind him a second thought. But lets make sure that Soldier with a Military ID is not going to blow up the plane. I personally have seen these so called agents (more like the scum of the world that cannot get a real job) target and pull Americans out of line and let the afgan looking people walk right by. Why ? Because they cannot profile. So lets let the persons doing the crime walk right by because you might get sued for profiling. But screw the service man that has lost his legs. He is American and has way on the planet to sue the TSA. But that Afgan looking person can sue the heck out of them for profiling if he is stopped and searched in anyway shape or form. Can you say another Government run agency with their head up their butts.

    • Angela

      Actually…it is more and more the fear of PTSD. These men and women are traumatized by the events that have happened to them. No, I don't blame them. I am a veteran of the Air Force. I am also a former TSA agent now working on the Air Force base. But it is completely plausable that sick individuals as well as these traumatized individuals could lose something and use what people like you would let go as a key to the kingdom. Think about it, if you had the intent to take down a plane and you knew that they would NEVER search a disable vet…would that not be the first thing you would try? Think before you speak!

  • guest

    waaah stop complaining – if you're going to fly, EXPECT to be searched – its FOR EVERYONE'S SAFETY.
    jeez take a bus if its bothers you – and don't expect special treatment and maybe you wont be so damn disappointed when you don't get the VIP treatment at the airport – thats all we need is for some terrorist to look or appear to be a marine that slips thru the screening process and blows up or crashes another airline – DEAL WITH IT or take the bus.

    • Stand UP!

      That's the way, Guest! Lick those jackboots and cower for your masters!

      Godwin Note: People like you were the reason the Nazi Party stayed in power in Germany.

    • Urof

      Yeah, Because wounded soldiers, little kids and old ladies are the ones trying to blow up planes. Lets harass them and ignore the obvious threat.

      God forbid you actually use common sense and profile people.

      • Angela

        Actually…it is more and more the fear of PTSD. These men and women are traumatized by the events that have happened to them. No, I don't blame them. I am a veteran of the Air Force. I am also a former TSA agent now working on the Air Force base. But it is completely plausable that sick individuals as well as these traumatized individuals could lose something and use what people like you would let go as a key to the kingdom. Think about it, if you had the intent to take down a plane and you knew that they would NEVER search a disable vet…would that not be the first thing you would try? Think before you speak!

    • David Engh

      Ordinary American citizens should not have to kowtow to anyone to move around their own country. If temporary[1] "safety" has to result in the loss of basic personal liberties, then maybe we've reached the point where the "American experiment" has run its course. Pick a state so we can move all of you apologetics people who think this is acceptable there and mine the border. Remember, ours is supposed to be a government of, by and *FOR* the people. Little-p 'people', not big-P 'People'.

      [1] yes, temporary. Some bad guy somewhere will figure out a way to do something bad if he really wants to. What do you suggest we give up next when it happens?

    • Bob G

      Those who give up their rights in the name of security deserve neither!…. The TSA needs to stop using Gestopo tactics!

  • Barack Obama

    The TSA employees and their bosses need to be tied to the rear of a jet and drugged down the runway.

    • Angela

      I am an active duty Air Force Veteran and a former TSA agent that left only because of an office job on the Air Force Base opened for me. I am enrolled in college, etc. I think you are one of these people that talk before they think! I posted a comment as Angela below that you need to read. You need to think about what the Veterans have been thru! Exactly…PTSD…and with their training do you think it unbelievable that a veteran that lost his legs because of an explosive device could not be angry enough to do something like what he was screened for? For crying out loud Vietnam put explosives in their babies diapers! Be real.

  • Urof

    That's what happens when you employ a bunch of uneducated baboons and expect them to treat people with respect.

    • Angela

      I resent this!! I am an active duty Air Force Veteran and a former TSA agent that left only because of an office job on the Air Force Base opened for me. I am enrolled in college, etc. I think you are one of these people that talk before they think! I posted a comment as Angela below that you need to read. You need to think about what the Veterans have been thru! Exactly…PTSD…and with their training do you think it unbelievable that a veteran that lost his legs because of an explosive device could not be angry enough to do something like what he was screened for? For crying out loud Vietnam put explosives in their babies diapers! Be real and not just an armchair quarterback! And never say that I am an uneducated baboon! I have more going on for me than you do!

      • Eric

        Thanks for the great laugh.

        How many planes are being crashed or blown up by Vets? Kids? Old ladies? Oh……that's right, NONE. It's always the same pathetic excuse for a person; radical Muslim extremists. This isn't Vietnam you jackass.

        As far as the statement that TSA agents are uneducated baboons; it sounds like a perfect description. If they can't get a job with the TSA they wind up tossing french fries at McDonalds.

        They're scum. And you're a dope.

  • tsabob

    Bob here from the TSA Blog. I published a blog post tonight about the Marine Wounded Warrior. After reviewing TSA video (CCTV), interviewing and receiving written statements from all Officers involved, we found that the soldier was not asked and did not remove his prosthetic legs.The screening was done by the book and lasted a total of 8 minutes from beginning to end. Take a look at our blog post for more information.
    http://blog.tsa.gov/2013/03/wounded-warrior-scree

    Thanks,

    Bob Burns
    TSA Blog Team
    Blog.tsa.gov

  • Michael

    "After reviewing TSA video (CCTV), interviewing and receiving written statements from all Officers involved"

    Are you serious? After reviewing materials provided by TSA? After taking TSA statements??? Do you think they are not going to try and cover their wrong doing? Of course they will say we have not done anything wrong. Even if they did! Come on. TSA should be dismantled and let go. There is no need for it. They are just wasting our money and harassing us!

  • pellmm

    Are they going to expand that training before or after they spend millions of dollars on new uniforms while military benefits are cut and other federal employees are furloughed? Nazis. This is what happens when you give thugs a little bit of power.

    • Angela

      I resent this!! I am an active duty Air Force Veteran and a former TSA agent that left only because of an office job on the Air Force Base opened for me. I am enrolled in college, etc. I think you are one of these people that talk before they think! I posted a comment as Angela below that you need to read. You need to think about what the Veterans have been thru! Exactly…PTSD…and with their training do you think it unbelievable that a veteran that lost his legs because of an explosive device could not be angry enough to do something like what he was screened for? For crying out loud Vietnam put explosives in their babies diapers! Be real and not just an armchair quarterback! And never say that I am a Nazis! It is nothing to do with power!

  • Guest

    Everyone needs to understand that for the most part TSA employees are made up of people with below average IQ that have no respect for people. They enjoy humilating people under the cover of so call screening. The Goverment needs to do away with the TSA completely. Elderly people in wheel chairs, wounded warriors and little children are not a danger. This screeners enjoy feeling up little kids and adults. All in all the TSA is another failed goverment program.

    • Angela

      I resent this!! I am an active duty Air Force Veteran and a former TSA agent that left only because of an office job on the Air Force Base opened for me. I am enrolled in college, etc. I think you are one of these people that talk before they think! I posted a comment as Angela below that you need to read. You need to think about what the Veterans have been thru! Exactly…PTSD…and with their training do you think it unbelievable that a veteran that lost his legs because of an explosive device could not be angry enough to do something like what he was screened for? For crying out loud Vietnam put explosives in their babies diapers! Be real and not just an armchair quarterback!

  • Jarhead

    So when can we see the unedited CCTV footage of the incident involving tis MARINE. talk about adding insult to injury you can't even call the man by the title he earned. But then again TSA isnt to bright.

  • Dale Golden

    My Marine nephew was trying to get home for a well deserved leave with his family and nearly missed a connecting flight because TSA told him he was on the "No fly list"!!!! After he had just flown the first leg of his flight home! Even after producing his active Military ID, Driver's license, Orders, etc. They put him through the ringer before deciding he could go ahead and come home on the assigned flight!
    I understand security, but Government incompetence at it's best!

  • Angela

    I am a former TSA agent now working an office job on the Air Force Base. I am a veteran as well. I resent the comments about "uneducated Baboons" etc. None of you understand that the position description and duties performed are passed on to the agents and told that this is how these situations are handled. I don't see any of you willing to sort through crappy underwear and what not to protect you from the disgruntled americans like the soldier that took out his platoon because he was so traumatized by what he had been thru. Soldiers are just as dangerous, and with PTSD…even more because of their training. If this gentleman supposedly works with injured vets to help them back into society…then they need to realize that this is society. They are in these chairs because there was no TSA agent searching for the IED that got them. Well, when you all complain until they disband TSA and something happens on a plane you are on…I don't want to hear about it! Think about it!

  • Jonny

    And this is exactly why I say ALL people ARE idiots until proven differently. Generally when they open there mouths all doubt is gone…but that's another story on another day. TSA agents are a joke. I have family who served in the military and I have a brother currently serving out country in the Marine Corp. If I saw someone treat him that way, I might have to lay the smack down! This is absolute B.S. Where the hell did our country's common sense go? There are too many educated idiots out there and too many suckers taking it all in.

    Semper Fi!

    • Angela

      Shame on you! Protecting our country is protecting our country! Again…I am a former TSA agent now working an office job on the Air Force Base. I am a veteran as well. I resent the comments about "uneducated Baboons" etc. None of you understand that the position description and duties performed are passed on to the agents and told that this is how these situations are handled. I don't see any of you willing to sort through crappy underwear and what not to protect you from the disgruntled americans like the soldier that took out his platoon because he was so traumatized by what he had been thru. Soldiers are just as dangerous, and with PTSD…even more because of their training. If this gentleman supposedly works with injured vets to help them back into society…then they need to realize that this is society. They are in these chairs because there was no TSA agent searching for the IED that got them. Well, when you all complain until they disband TSA and something happens on a plane you are on…I don't want to hear about it! Think about it!

  • guest

    If you all don't like it…don't join the military…become disabled…have kids…grow old…or fly! Just stay home and blog about things you know nothing about!

  • cumshot in mouth

    Needed to post you the very small remark in order to say

    thanks a lot over again relating to the pleasant techniques

    you’ve documented at this time. This has been wonderfully open-handed with you to make freely what exactly some people might have sold for an ebook to make some dough for themselves, notably considering the fact that you might well have tried it if you ever desired. These suggestions likewise worked to become a good way to fully grasp that other people have a similar eagerness just like mine to see a lot more on the subject of this problem. I am sure there are millions of more fun sessions in the future for those who take a look at your website.

  • c j

    Those TSA agents should be dismissed from their jobs at the very least. Few people understand that these men and woman go in to the most terrifying places on the planet, without a second though, to protect the rights and freedoms of the very agents that felt it was nessisary to harass them. And they do it as ordered, even if it means injury or death.
    I myself am a military member, and I see a lot of disrespect toward the military from citizens of this country. If you have a complaint…complain to your government, not the man or woman who was ordered to do a job and did it, no matter the cost to themselves. You may think Hiroshima was horrible, but you can still thank a ww2 vet for making sure you didn’t end up speaking German.

  • mighty raspberry Ketone

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Thanks
    a lot!

Comments are closed.