11/24/2010

Is TSA the 'Domestic Security Force' Obama Spoke Of?

After watching this, I can't help but remember Obama say on the campaign trail that he wanted a "Domestic Security Force as well funded and well armed as our Military". Could it be that he is having Homeland Security take that on with the TSA as the "Domestic Security Force?" Seems to be a lot of people in the TSA dishing out a lot of fear and intimidation, with the full POWER of U.S. Government behind them.

New Mother Harassed and Threatened by TSA because she requests alternate screening for her breast milk. As a repeat traveler, the TSA singled her out to make an example out of her. She spends over an hour in the "Special Inspection" area and is forced to miss her flight.



I am the brunette in black getting my items ready for screening (you will see me about 45 seconds into the video). I travel every week and bring home breast milk with me through Phoenix Sky Harbor. TSA rules allow for alternate screening (no xray) for breast milk and I almost never had a problem...until the week before this screening. I was held for 30 minutes that week while the TSA manager called to find out the rules. I was told to "pump and dump," asked why the milk wasn't clear, and asked where my baby was if it was really milk (uh traveling, working mom pumping doesn't usually have the baby with her). After begging him to figure it out, they finally let me through. I called and complained to TSA and was instructed to travel with the TSA breast milk rules printed out and present them whenever there is a problem. As my items come through security this time, I notice immediately that I was dealing with the same people from the week before. The woman tells me right away that my milk might have to go through xray, and then I tell her I printed the rules. I go to grab the rules on top of my bag and she freaks out and pushes my arm away. Another guy comes over and calls for "back up" and they put in me back in the glass cage. Standing 50 ft away are the same manager and supervisor I had dealt with the previous week. They will stall for 20 minutes before coming over to me. Meanwhile, one of the guys comes over to me and tells me "to be quiet if I know what's good for me." I have already been in the glass cage for about 8 minutes. My patience wears thin and I start crying. It is hard to see on this video, but real tears wouldn't stop streaming down my face. About 10 minutes into all this, a Phoenix PD comes to calm me down. I explain to him that there is no reason I should be treated this way and I have every right to be upset. He then says "they" (aka TSA) saw me coming, have it out for me (from my complaint against TSA the week before when they didn't know the breast milk rules then either), and I should travel out of a different gate in future weeks. He said TSA wants me to play along with their horse and pony show and if I don't then TSA can have the Phoenix PD arrest me! Well, I wanted to get home to my baby and my flight was 30 minutes from departure so I 'played along.' Three Phoenix PD watched in the background...I could tell they all knew this was a waste of their time but I was happy to have them standing by in case TSA continued to act out of line. One police office actually came up to me later during my second screening asking if I was okay and if he could let anyone in my party know I was going to be late. A class act compared to the TSA actions.
I was patted down, and then I had a talk with the TSA manager. He told me I had to have the milk go through the xray since the containers were too full (not a TSA rule) and the liquid was not clear (hello, it is milk?, and also not a TSA rule). I then begged him to read the TSA rules I had printed out. He read the first form which stated that medical liquids can have alternate screening (no xray). He was quick to say "well this isn't a medical liquid!" So I had him read the second form which says breast milk is to be treated like a medical liquid. He then says, "well, not today." I started balling all over again once he said that.
The TSA manager tells me I can leave security, redistribute the milk into half full containers (his completely made-up rule) and go through security all over again if I want to avoid xrays on the milk. With tears continuing to stream down my face, I did that. I also missed my flight playing along with his ridiculous game. Curiously, my second screening video (another 20 minutes) has been erased. During that portion, I was scolded for not watching the woman test my milk (I would turn my head away to hide the tears), the manager wrote down my personal information on a scratch piece of paper and tucked it in his pocket (who knows where that ended up- TSA could only say their "policy" was to destroy information like that...we all know how "policy" went that day, though), and took pictures of my breast milk for some unknown reason. Southwest put me on the next flight home and, as luck would have it, I was standing in line right behind my Constitutional Law professor from my law school days. At that point I knew I needed to stand up for my rights and help myself and other mothers against the uninformed, retalitory, and harassing TSA employees that help "keep us safe."
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