Senator: Claims Of TSA Harassment Demonstrate The Need For Passenger Advocates

Following claims by female passengers that they have been harassed while going through airport security checkpoints, Senator Chuck Schumer from New York has renewed his call for the Transportation Security Administration to place passenger advocates in every airport terminal.

The latest allegations against the TSA come from women who say they have been singled out for more intensive screenings by male agents just because they are female.

One passenger recently told CBS that an agent asked her if she played tennis because she had a “cute” figure, while another traveler claims she was made to go through a full-body scanner three times because they wanted to get a better look at her body.

Whether or not you believe these allegations, Schumer believes that the presence of an on-site passenger advocate would help resolve these situations and keep any rogue TSA agents in check.

To that end, the Senator is introducing legislation that would:
*Require the TSA to establish an “Office for Passenger Support”

*Require every airport where TSA operates to have at least one TSA Passneger Advocate on duty at all times

*Mandate every airport where TSA operates to have clearly visible signage explaining that a TSA passenger advocate can be summoned

*Establish best practices to resolve frequent public complaints and conduct training of TSA officers to resolve frequently occurring passenger complaints

*Field advance notification calls from individuals with medical conditions or disabilities to pre-arrange for a screening process at the airport that ensures the safety of the flight without causing undue hardship for the disabled passenger.

“Going through security at our nations airports should not be a humiliating or degrading experience,” says Schumer.

CBS 11 Investigation Leads To New TSA Legislation [CBS Local]

Comments

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  1. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    Texas chicks are hot!

  2. rpjs says:

    Hang on a minute, it’s Tuesday. Sen. Schumer’s weekly headline-grabbing initiatives usually come out on Sundays.

    • kc2idf says:

      This one did. It just lagged a little in getting here.

    • schiff says:

      He did make this announcement on Sunday, lol.

      I’m in favor of some sort of TSA reform. I’m not sure this is the right solution but its a step in the right direction.

    • Marine2531 says:

      He’s such a douche.

      • Lucky225 says:

        I couldn’t agree more, schumer is nothing more than a douche that trys to solve problems by passing headline grabbing legislation. Like trying to make Caller ID Spoofing in and of it’s self illegal instead of just prosecuting people who use it for fraud or harm under EXISTING laws. This is yet another non-answer to a problem, the real solution is to get the GOVERNMENT out of our airports and have the airports and airlines hire their own private security and take responsibility for their airlines and airplanes.

  3. James says:

    Are these advocates going to be employed or managed by a separate agency of some sort, independent from the TSA?

    Hopefully like in Vegas, where the guys watching the cameras don’t fraternize with the staff they’re monitoring…

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      That was my thought as well. If not, this is completely useless. It’s on par with mandatory arbitration when the company employs the arbitrator. They will always find in favor of the company.

  4. clippy2.0 says:

    “Going through security at our nations airports should not be a humiliating or degrading experience,” says Schumer.

    Lies. If you’re not humiliated, the terrorists win!

  5. smartmuffin says:

    Chuck Schumer proposes we solve a government bureaucracy overstepping its power by creating additional government bureaucracy? I’m shocked!

    • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

      He’s simply doing his part as a “job creator” and yet you do nothing but react cynically?

      /s

    • alstein says:

      The best consumer advocacy could be dumping the TSA outright.

      I’d rather risk terrorism from Islamic extremists then American rent-a-cops.

  6. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Two important things missing:

    1) That the Advocate and the Advocate office is not funded through the TSA, nor are it’s fund allocation decided by the TSA

    2) The Advocate Office staff reports to someone outside the TSA infrastructure, such as the Consumer Protection Agency.

    • Tim says:

      1) TSA doesn’t decide its funding, Congress does.
      2) Usually, an office like this would report directly to the TSA administrator. Not ideal, but better than going through the whole bureaucracy of the agency.

  7. sufreak says:

    The TSA should not be responsible for this. While I hate the idea of the TSA, a passenger advocate should be independent of the TSA, unable to have their employment threatened or in question by the TSA.

  8. oldtaku says:

    Great, mandate another fleet of TSA employees. Any ‘consumer advocate’ is going to get coopted by the TSA agents they work with, because they have to deal with them every day and it’s easier.

    Keep polishing that turd by piling more on.

  9. mikedt says:

    Passenger advocate. Would that be like the public advocates many police forces have that side with the cops 99.9% of the time. Why don’t we just save the money, put the TSA under audio/video scrutiny 24/7 and if a passenger complains, go to the tape. If the passenger is right, fire the TSA agent. If your mic fails, you get an unpaid leave.

  10. DarthCoven says:

    Having these “advocates” employed by the TSA is a horrible idea. They need to be employed by a completely separate oversight group that actually has teeth to punish TSA agents that decide to overstep their authority.

    • Coleoptera Girl says:

      That and access to all SSI and classified information pertaining to the TSA.

    • rpm773 says:

      (Sigh). We don’t need yet another oversight group to punish the TSA.

      We just need to give these so-called advocates some bullwhips.

      “Hands off that passenger! *Crack*”

      • Coleoptera Girl says:

        I second this motion! Perhaps we could add a few barbs for especially offensive employees of the TSA…

  11. Murph1908 says:

    Throw more money at it!

  12. Cat says:

    Damn it, Chuck, you’re right. The foxes should be guarding that hen house.

  13. eturowski says:

    No. TSA-provided passenger advocates are like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. To really fix these alleged abuses, you need to address the common cause – the TSA. Reduce or eliminate the TSA, and you no longer have these issues.

  14. ctcatfur says:

    the TSA should have an advocate? Um, no, let’s try someone independent please.

  15. Coleoptera Girl says:

    Ah yes. Exactly what we need, someone paid by the TSA specifically to tell us that we have to do everything the offending TSO says and the reason why is SSI.

  16. Coffee says:

    Stupid hot women, making the government spend even more money on the TSA. How dare you. Also, is that a mirror in your pocket, because I can see myself in your pants.

  17. hansolo247 says:

    So, waste money on the TSA and their abuses, and waste even more for a toothless watchdog drawing a paycheck from the same organization?

  18. Matthew PK says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv04EDe4Dsg

    Hey Ernie, I can’t sleep with that dripping water….

  19. InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

    Whenever I hear about how the TSA is supposed to stop terrorists, it always reminds me of a Bert & Ernie bit from Sesame Street

    (Ernie walks in with a banana in his ear)
    Bert: Ernie, why do you have a banana in your ear?
    Ernie: To keep the alligators away.
    Bert: Ernie, there are no alligators on Sesame Street!
    Ernie: See? It’s working!

  20. ancientone567 says:

    It is about bloody time!

  21. Sad Sam says:

    Hmm, advocate sounds like a good idea, but more than likely they will be toothless and won’t be able to help b/c the TSA has got to keep mixing it up to stop those terrorists.

    Meanwhile in today’s screening check point report, woman had expensive Rolex stolen by passenger behind her (Fla.). In this case it wasn’t the TSA, but I’m not surprised b/c the screening system and TSA agents regularly separate me from my belongings and leave them out in the open while I get groped. I’ve complained many times about this b/c of my concern of theft but they say well its under video at all times, etc. This latest event in Florida shows that it doesn’t matter if its under video the next person can easily steal from you whether they are being videotaped or not.

  22. schiff says:

    The timing of this was pretty ironic…I just had my first issue with TSA security last weekend. They forced me to remove my shirt and proceed through security in my undershirt. It’s not that I was super exposed or anything but I felt sorta violated being forced to remove clothing just to get on an airplane. My full account can be found here:
    http://www.schiffner.com/index.php/2012/02/10/tsa-remove-your-sweatshirt/

    • Mi Poo says:

      Well, that’ll learn ya! Next time they ask if you’re wearing anything under your sweatshirt, just say “no”. Either that, or have a nice, frilly bra on beneath your sweatshirt. That should do the trick.

  23. Mark702 says:

    We just need to KILL the TSA. Ron Paul has lead the fight against the un-Constitutional TSA agency since it’s inception. The Feds are taxing BILLIONS of dollars from us Americans, and all we’re doing is paying for privacy invasion, sexual assaults, and security theater. The TSA (along with the Patriot Act, NDAA, SOPA, War on Drugs, and more) need to be destroyed!

  24. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    *Require every airport where TSA operates to have at least one TSA Passneger Advocate on duty at all times

    OMG – how much would THIS cost, and for what? Can you imagine the lines at the Passenger Advocate office? I bet they’d be purposely slow so people would give up so they wouldn’t miss their flights.

    What a load of crap.

  25. Ed says:

    This will only work if it is a separate agency that Chuck Norris is the head of.

  26. wrbwrx says:

    I have been noticing lately that when i “opt out” of the full body scanner, the TSA agent takes their time in calling for a Male Assist. I have stood by for minutes while they alternate sending people through the metal detector, which should be sufficient. i think they are trying to make me opt in for the xray machine.

    • schiff says:

      I had a similar experience. I do not wish to be scanned seeing as how the health effects are not known nor are the use of the images past screening. I opted out this weekend and had to wait several minutes before being escorted to the floor mat. The agent seemed confused as to why I opted out.

      • Skeptic says:

        You don’t need to give them a reason, nor do they need to understand before they comply. In fact, if asked why I was opting out all I would say is “because it’s my legal right to opt out, and I choose to keep my private thoughts about the TSA to myself.”

        As a frequent flier who as never gone through a full body imager, I’ve opted out many times at airports all over the country, and I agree that there seems to be an intentional delay in finding a same-sex agent to feel me up.

  27. Marine2531 says:

    “while another traveler claims she was made to go through a full-body scanner three times because they wanted to get a better look at her body. “

    “Dude, make her go through the scanner again. X-Ray boobies are way hotter than real-life boobies.”

    That could be one of the dumbest things I’ve heard someone complain about. She doesn’t care about the radiation from the 3 full body scans, but the fact that “they wanted to get a better look at her body.”

  28. coffee100 says:

    Maybe we could hire an advocate to teach Congress to count to four.

  29. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    will the passenger advocate only be there for women who feel harassed or will they also be there to explain to the TSA what an insulin pump is or why a person who is confined to a wheelchair can’t WALK through the checkpoint?

  30. dush says:

    It’s sad that we need protection from our “security”

  31. aleck says:

    Awesome, we need another government agency to watch a government agency.

  32. Fisher1949 says:

    better yet, station State Police at the checkpoints to monitor and arrest TSA screeners when they abuse a passenger.

    Be sure to start building another prison as soon as possible to house the TSA workers who are arrested.

  33. Fisher1949 says:

    better yet, station State Police at the checkpoints to monitor and arrest TSA screeners when they abuse a passenger.

    Be sure to start building another prison as soon as possible to house the TSA workers who are arrested.

  34. swehrung says:

    …Demonstrate the need to fire the TSA.

  35. EricLindros says:

    I suggest we also create an agency to oversee the agency running the Passenger Advocates, to make sure that those overseeing the advocates are overseeing them correctly. And if the abuses continue we’ll obviously need another agency to oversee that overseeing agency.

    Because we musn’t consider that the TSA might actually be a wasteful joke of an organization which has thwarted nothing at the cost of billions of dollars and millions of man-hours in delays, haggles and harrassment sessions.