PHOENIX – Claims that a double amputee Camp Pendleton Marine was humiliated by Transportation Security Adminstration officers going through airport security in Phoenix set off a firestorm. On Thursday, the TSA fired back and they released video proof.
The claims were made by volunteer escort Jim Philips who took a group of Marines to Phoenix for spring training. Phillips said a TSA screener asked the Marine to get out of his wheelchair and walk, then asked the him to remove his prosthetic legs.
“He cannot stand up by himself, and I tried to explain that and they don’t want to hear it,” Phillips said. “Then, I said I’m sorry that has to happen to you and he just goes ‘you know what, get me the f outta here.’”
TSA will not release the video to protect the privacy of the Marine, who is still active duty, but they said the video clearly shows their officers followed procedure and that the marine stood up on his own. And they say the Marine never removed his prosthetics and never filed a complaint.
The allegations came to light Tuesday after Congressman Duncan Hunter, fired off a letter to the head of TSA John Pistole.
“While I recognize the necessity to appropriately screen passengers I am concerned by the lack of situational awareness and respect among TSA officers,” Hunter wrote.
TSA has a program specifically to address how wounded warriors are treated at security checkpoints. It’s meant to make sure disabled military men and women are treated with dignity and respect. TSA representatives confirm that both their officers involved in the incident are retired military servicemen, one from Marines the other Airforce.