Last week, I posted a link to this video of one woman’s experience with airport security after asking to have her breast milk visually screened instead of x-rayed (as TSA procedures allow). At the time, I said I’d like to hear the TSA’s side of the incident, as the video appears to show TSA employees engaged in fairly egregious conduct. I also contacted the TSA directly seeking their response to the incident and associated allegations.
The TSA has now responded on the TSA blog — and the response is not particularly reassuring. Rather than provide any detail or clarification of the events on the video, the post acknowledges the woman in question was unhappy with her “screening experience” and “experienced an out of the ordinary delay,” claims the TSA investigated the incident, and reports that “the officers received refresher training for the visual inspection of breast milk.” Really? That’s it? What’s offensive about the video is not the officers’ apparent lack of familiarity with the protocol for visual inspection of breast milk, but the apparent retaliation against a traveler who sought to avail herself of established TSA procedures.
If the TSA really has investigated this incident, it should, at the very least, make the investigation’s conclusions public and report on any disciplinary measures taken (or provide an explanation for the failure to discipline those involved). If, as the TSA claims, it is official TSA policy to “strive to provide the highest level of customer service to all who pass through our security checkpoints” and its “policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy,” then it should be more forthcoming about incidents like this.
UPDATE: It appears the TSA needs to provide “refresher training” about checkpoint photos as well. Although the TSA permits photographing airport security checkpoints, TSA personnel keep detaining people who try to take pictures, as detailed here and here.
FURTHER UPDATE: The TSA denies reports body-image machines were taken out of use for Thanksgiving travel.