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Transportation Security Administration

Disturbing Incident in Denver

Thursday, April 16, 2015
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By now I’m sure some of you have seen or heard reports in the media about a pair of Transportation Security Officers at Denver International Airport who were engaged in what can only be described as egregiously inappropriate behavior at the passenger screening checkpoint.

The two were caught because an alert employee noticed something was not right and reported it to TSA’s Office of Inspection Hotline. After a thorough investigation, including a review of closed-circuit television camera footage, the allegation was confirmed and the individuals were removed from duty and are no longer with the agency. They now potentially face local criminal charges as well.

This blatant violation of public trust by two individuals has significantly tarnished TSA’s reputation. Think about it – in an agency that employs more than 50,000 people, the irresponsible and potentially illegal behavior of just one or two reckless employees can severely and negatively impact the operational effectiveness of everyone else committed to carrying out our vital national security mission.

The vast majority of our employees act with the utmost integrity and professionalism every day, but unfortunately the conduct of a few can do significant damage to the entire workforce – and this damage is very difficult to overcome. We are committed to working very hard to prove ourselves to the public we serve in the months ahead to regain your trust.

Our mission requires that we initiate direct contact with the American people millions of times each day. In doing so we must learn from every incident and become better. The lone bright spot in this dark and disturbing behavior is that another employee saw what was going on and did not allow it to continue. Our workforce is strongly encouraged to report illegal or unethical behavior wherever and whenever they see it. Professionalism and integrity are at the core of who we are as counterterrorism professionals, and it is up to each and every one of us to demonstrate this with every passenger at every airport around the country. We must perform our work, for you the traveling public, with honor and pride. Anything less is a disservice and will not be tolerated.

Melvin J. Carraway
Acting Administrator

Comments

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Anon sez - "You're also going to have scandals."

The link you have here pertains to the US Marshals, not TSA.

Chris Bray sez - "Weird that this post has generated no comments at all"

It generated plenty, I just wasn't on duty yesterday.

M. De Marcos sez - "After spending over 22 years in the airport environment and working VERY closely with all levels of TSA personnel, I found/find that everyone I came in contact with at TSA was professional, dedicated and beyond reproach."

Thank you for the kind words.

West
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why are you calling a months-long conspiracy ti abuse your power in order to commit sexual assault an "incident"?

Submitted by RB on

 christine buckley said..

I am so sadden by this, for Denver and our entire workforce. I hope like you said we can move forward and regain the public trust.

April 16, 2015 at 7:42 PM
______________________________________________

TSA cannot move forward or regain the public trust for some very simple reasons.

For starters TSA's leader didn't have the backbone to address what actually happened instead he used words that said nothing.

Next, it's the same people running TSA that have shown time and time again to be ineffective leaders.

It is also the same old TSA policies and procedures that permit TSA Screeners to conduct searches well beyond the limits of an Administrative Search.

And lastly it is the TSA Screeners themselves. Do you think for a minute that no one else knew what was going on. We know that at least one other person knew. Where were the supervisors? Where were the managers? If they had been doing their jobs how could this have even been possible?

No, TSA has lost the publucs trust and rightfully so.

TSA and its employees should never, ever, be trusted again.

TSA, you are done!

Submitted by Lisa Simeone on
Anonymous said...
Thank you for stopping this awful situation that no one deserves when they are traveling.
We absolutely need protection in our skies but violating any human being is horrible.
April 17, 2015 at 10:34 AM

How, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, has anyone stopped anything? If you don't think this kind of abuse goes on at airports every day in this country, I have a bridge to sell you.
Submitted by Anonymous on

I think it will be impossible for the TSA to regain the public's trust. There have been far too many negative incidents.

Every time I get a pat down, I will now be wondering if I should press charges. I don't care what part of the hand the screener uses. He is still touching my genitals and that seems excessive to simply get on a plane.

Also, as long as the body scanner is set to male, it appears that something could be easily smuggled down the front of pants. That seems like a huge flaw in these machines.

Submitted by Chris Boyce on

Melvin,

Tell us again why we should trust you when you, yourself, are ethically-challenged?

http://tinyurl.com/lvq9pvv

"Indiana Panel Fines Sunport Security Chief

The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS— The state ethics commission issued $5,000 fines Thursday against both the former head of the state police and a former state highway commissioner after they admitted violations of ethics rules.
The unrelated cases involved former state police Superintendent Melvin Carraway and ex-Department of Transportation Commissioner J. Bryan Nicol, who held those positions under Democratic former Govs. Frank O'Bannon and Joe Kernan.
Carraway, now the federal security director at Albuquerque International Sunport, admitted removing and destroying three computer hard drives before leaving his state job after the 2004 election of Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels.
The ethics commission's report did not say why the hard drives were destroyed."

I'm making a screen shot that I will save for the DHS IG and the House Ethics Committee. I can't imagine that this post will see the light of day on the TSA blog.

Submitted by Tsaoutofourpants on

I'm glad it's now in the open that the TSA standard pat-down, when done without authority, is sexual assault.

But when they do it for our safety, it's "totally ok."

Submitted by Susan Richart on

Using words like "resistance" when the TSA really meant "genital area" falls right in line with Melvin Carraway's refusal to name this event exactly what it was, a sexual assault, RB.

http://tinyurl.com/lvq9pvv

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why are you calling a series of sexual assaults an "incident"?

Why are you calling sexual assault "inappropriate behavior"?

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA should be banned from doing pat downs.

If TSA thinks a person has a weapon on their person doesn't that make it a law enforcement matter?

Submitted by Anonymous on

1. How could you possibly know that the machines were set for the female sex when you assured us that these machines do not save or transmit images? Read the procurement and operational specs sometime. You have more integrity issues than you have hours in the day.

2. Why wasn't the supervisor officer who allowed this to happen not fired and charged as well?

the color of the screen indicates which sex the machine was set to sccreen.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"They now potentially face local criminal charges as well.

I guess all the experts here missed thjis line...

Submitted by Anonymous on

Dealing with the public is never easy, in the best of circumstances.

I have never felt anything but respect and friendliness from your agents. Thank you for your service.

Submitted by Bob Hanssen on

Mel,

If I say what I really believe, will you take away my PreCheck?

Submitted by Anonymous on

West, why did you cherry pick through all of the critical comments (almost 60 that were allowed through) to find the single one referring to the US Marshalls (part of TSA, right?) and one of the rare complimentary comments to answer?

It's really sick how you ignore and/or delete critical comments about the TSA. Looks like you're just following the lead of your boss, Melvin.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"I have never felt anything but respect and friendliness from your agents"

I guess you didn't get sexually assaulted by one of them, then.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What should a passenger do if they feel they have been improperly touched/sexually assaulted? Should they ask for a supervisor? Should we find a police officer? Can they ask for the checkpoint videotape and will the TSA give it to the passenger?

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...
West, why did you cherry pick through all of the critical comments (almost 60 that were allowed through) to find the single one referring to the US Marshalls (part of TSA, right?) and one of the rare complimentary comments to answer?

It's really sick how you ignore and/or delete critical comments about the TSA. Looks like you're just following the lead of your boss, Melvin.


April 22, 2015 at 3:17 AM
..........
What is even more troubling is how many comments were completely censored and not posted by West or any of the other blog team.

I know I submitted several that did not appear. Seems TSA has no respect for the United States Constitution.

Censorship by the government and its employees is a civil rights violation and West, Bob Burns, Lynn, and anyone else involved with the TSA Blog has violated their Oath to the United States.

Why are these people still on the peoples payroll? Their crimes are no less troubling than that of the two TSA screeners at Denver who were sexually assaulting travelers.

Submitted by RB on

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2015/04/20/tsa-screeners-fired-in-groping-sca...

Seems TSA's attempt to continue trying to cover up the criminal acts by two former Denver TSA screeners (so TSA claims) is slowly being exposed.

The public knows that TSA has delayed reporting the crimes to police, that a TSA investigator stood by and allowed at least one sexual assault to happen, and TSA has refused to release video and other information about the sexual assaults to investigative reporters.

Certainly seems to me that TSA has been complicit in this matter. TSA has bungled the investigation by not obtaining statements from the men who were assaulted, and clearly made prosecution unlikely due to the bungling, accidentally or on purpose.

As reported TSA multiple TSA screeners appear to have been involved in this crime by using Cell Phones and Texting each other while on duty. Information I have suggests that cell phones are not to be used while working the TSA checkpoints so how could TSA Managers and Supervisors been unaware of something going on?

The public deserves a full disclosure of just what is happening to the public at TSA Checkpoints. Based on the statement from Acting TSA Secretary Melvin Carraway who didn't even clearly acknowledge this issue the public cannot trust TSA to investigate and make a full disclosure to the taxpayer.

It is time for an independent investigation of every aspect of TSA screening operations starting at Denver and then spreading out and seeing if similar tactics are being used elsewhere to assault travelers.

Until the public is properly informed no one should trust any TSA employee.



Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...
What should a passenger do if they feel they have been improperly touched/sexually assaulted? Should they ask for a supervisor? Should we find a police officer? Can they ask for the checkpoint videotape and will the TSA give it to the passenger?

April 22, 2015 at 9:07 AM
___________________

Call for police.

If you think you have been assaulted then that is a matter for the police.

TSA screeners are not law enforcement and as has been proven time and time again TSA will attempt to hide TSA wrong doing from the public.


Submitted by Susan Richart on

Regarding the former screener's claim that the sexual abuse in Denver was a "game" and that screeners routinely used their cell phones to communicate, this from an alleged screener in Denver:

"Cell phones are not authorized and are not to be used on the checkpoint, they are not supposed to be seen on the outside of the uniform or in their cases on the belt. It is not enforced.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/24700364-post142.html

Seems like lots of rules are not enforced in Denver.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Chris Bray on

"I guess all the experts here missed thjis line..."

They now face possible charges because the TSA's failures to identify victims didn't work, and victims independently contacted the police. You have a persistent problem with calculated dishonesty and absurd self-pity.

Submitted by Wintermute on

Anonymous said...
"They now potentially face local criminal charges as well.

I guess all the experts here missed thjis line...

Except that line is a lie. The "investigator" failed to identify the victim(s), thus, there is no way to prosecute. So yes, they would be, if the TSA hadn't protected their own by not identifying anyone who suffered from this.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Chris Boyce--

Watch yourself! You're NAMING a TSA employee who was involved in possible criminal behavior (apparently a job requirement with the TSA, especially at the supervisor-and-above levels-- I'm sure they have their reasons).

Naming criminal TSA employees on a website specifically intended to reassure the public about the TSA's accountability and professionalism is against the rules, and Bobby and West don't usually tolerate that sort of chicanery!

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...
Chris Boyce--

Watch yourself! You're NAMING a TSA employee who was involved in possible criminal behavior (apparently a job requirement with the TSA, especially at the supervisor-and-above levels-- I'm sure they have their reasons).

Naming criminal TSA employees on a website specifically intended to reassure the public about the TSA's accountability and professionalism is against the rules, and Bobby and West don't usually tolerate that sort of chicanery!

April 23, 2015 at 5:36 AM
....................
Which raises some interesting questions.

Why would TSA protect the identity of a former employees who are suspected of being a sexual predators?

The names of these two former TSA employees are public record by being listed in the police report.

So what purpose could TSA have to continue to cloud the waters of the sexual assaults on passengers at Denver.

Who else is TSA trying to protect?



Submitted by Anonymous on

The only reason there are any potential criminal charges is because a reporter broke the story. After the story came out, then some victims contacted the police and the criminal charges may actually happen.

Had this story not come out, this "incident" would have been swept under the rug. The two workers would have still been fired, but the TSA wouldn't have issued a statement like this. I wonder how much this happens at other airports each day.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Awww, West, what's the matter?

You and Bobby won't post my comment calling you out on your double-standards about posting? I wonder why that would be? Lack of... courage? Integrity? Transparency?

How about all of the above?

Submitted by Anonymous on

RB said:

Which raises some interesting questions.

Why would TSA protect the identity of a former employees who are suspected of being a sexual predators?

The names of these two former TSA employees are public record by being listed in the police report.


Hey, do you know name of the PHL supervisor who filed a false police report, had a passenger falsely arrested, and committed perjury in open court because he got hacked off that the passenger asked for a complaint form? If so, you didn't read his name here-- West and Bobby are aggressive about censoring comments containing that particular criminal's name.

Of course, the perjuring TSA supervisor's name easy enough to find online-- he's named as a defendant in a lawsuit, and you can even link to stories about him. But don't you DARE utter that name in the sacred comments section of the TSA blog: Bobby and West are meticulous about "protecting the privacy" of their blue-suited brethren, no matter what crimes they commit.

Remember, kids: passengers have no right to privacy, but you had better not post the name of any figure of public interest on this blog if they ever wore the blue suit-- because criminals in TSA uniforms do have privacy rights. West and Bobby have standards, you know!

(Also: don't point out when West and Bobby are lying through their teeth. They seem to enjoy deleting those comments-- or, at the very least, "holding them" in moderation until the discussion has died down. It's not censorship-- it's moderation! Yay for doublespeak!)

Submitted by Anonymous on

Families should be permitted to go thru TSA check together. I was recently flying with my baby, we had precheck but my husband did not.

Unfortunately, my husband had all the baby formula in his bag, but since I had the baby in a separate line (some distance away from my husband) it caused a major problem b/c TSA would not and did not believe that my husband was bringing liquids thru security for a baby since the baby wasn't with him.

My husband tried to explain multiple times to the TSA agents who simply didn't care what his explanation was and threatened him with destruction of the formula (sure that would be a fun flight with a baby) and the ubiquitous "sir, do you want to fly today" threat.

TSA agents seem to get off on making things more difficult, enjoying the opportunity to boss people around and pretend they are "officers".

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Anon sez - "West, why did you cherry pick through all of the critical comments (almost 60 that were allowed through) to find the single one referring to the US Marshalls (part of TSA, right?) and one of the rare complimentary comments to answer?"

Because the US Marshals are actually in the Department of Justice, and their machines were the ones that were found to be retaining images - not TSA.

Anon sez - "If TSA thinks a person has a weapon on their person doesn't that make it a law enforcement matter?"

Not necessarily. Some prohibited items/weaapons require LEO response, but not all prohibited items/weapons.

Anon sez - "I have never felt anything but respect and friendliness from your agents. Thank you for your service."

Thank you! We appreciate the kind words and take care.

Anon sez - "Awww, West, what's the matter?"

The pollen count is high this week causing me to sneeze more often and be "red-eyed" a bit more, but other than that, I am actually pretty content.

West]
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Melvin,

Do not apologize for this behavior! This is just a few jealous people complaining. The TSA Officers in question were doing their job to protect the American people and I'm sure will be given their jobs back with a full apology as soon as people realize that they were patriots doing their jobs!

People need to suck it up and stop whining just because you're a little uncomfortable with something that needs to be done. Nobody likes going to get their teeth cleaned at the dentist but we do it anyway because it's the right thing to do!!

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...

Melvin,

Do not apologize for this behavior! This is just a few jealous people complaining. The TSA Officers in question were doing their job to protect the American people and I'm sure will be given their jobs back with a full apology as soon as people realize that they were patriots doing their jobs!People need to suck it up and stop whining just because you're a little uncomfortable with something that needs to be done. Nobody likes going to get their teeth cleaned at the dentist but we do it anyway because it's the right thing to do!!
April 29, 2015 at 2:50 PM
---------------------
You would really suggest that those two former TSA employees who conspired to and sexually assualted travelers should get their jobs back? Realy??

If you aren't already working for TSA your missing out hanging with the rest of the criminals that so well represent TSA.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

RB, I think the person addressing Melvin was just being sarcastic. At least I hope so.

Submitted by RB on

Susan Richart said...

RB, I think the person addressing Melvin was just being sarcastic. At least I hope so.

April 30, 2015 at 6:31 AM

...............

I would like to think that but with TSA Apologists anything is possible.

Submitted by RB on

Melvin didn't get the President's nod for the top spot. Wonder why?

Submitted by Daryl Davis on

Mendacity piles upon mendacity here.

I remember then-Administrator John Pistole's testimony before a worshipful Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-WV) Commerce Committee (Rockefeller voted to suspend habeas corpus; to retraoctively immunize phone companies for illegal surveillance; and to retroactively immunize CIA torturers and allow admission of coerced confessions by their victims). Pistole told the tame committee that he couldn't demonstrate the patdown procedure in a public forum because it was, "secret." Of course, anyone who ever so much as attended police academy (Full disclosure: I have over 30 years experience in law enforcement) knows how a patdown is done; anyone who ever has been arrested knows how a patdown is done; and if you want to learn how a patdown is done, refuse the body scanner.

TSA exists to inculcate servility in the populace, no more. In DC, they're quite good at ginning up foreign bogeymen on pretext (USS Maine); manipulation (Pearl Harbor); or outright lies (Gulf of Tonkin; Iraq WMDs and nukes). Our rulers then offer to protect us if we'll just support their wars abroad, and surrender just a teeny bit more of our liberties at home. The guns always are pointed inward, though.

I just delivered my wife to the tender mercies of TSA this morning. These days, I give the Regime only as much as it can coerce from me: if I could figure a way to drive across the Pacific, I would.

Submitted by Carmen on

"This blatant violation of public trust by two individuals has significantly tarnished TSA’s reputation"

Hahahha really? Your reputation was tarnished way before this incident.

Get rid of molestation as a "standard procedure" and maybe your reputation can take a step forward.

Submitted by Lance on

As a frequent traveler, I wish I could say that this incident surprised me. It didn't. I wish I could say that this incident was atypical. But it probably isn't. This certainly wasn't the first abuse incident reported (we ALL remember TSA agents sexually profiling and grabbing attractive female passengers). The sad truth is - there is far too much leniency for individual screening agents and immediate supervisors. And far too little management oversight. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Submitted by RB on

When TSA hires a likely pedophile to be a Manager at Philadelphia why should anyone be surprised that TSA hired more perverts at Denver?

The question that remains unanswered is just now many more TSA Perverts are out there?

Submitted by Anonymous on

What was the incident at Denver?

Submitted by Anonymous on

AnonymousMay 5, 2015 at 5:07 PM
What was the incident at Denver?

Two TSAgents gamed the nudoscopes to give them a a false positive, thus giving them pretext for the full grope of specific passengers.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Where is my reply to the May 5, 5:07pm comment? It met blotter rules.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Where are any of the three comments that I made which meet TSA blog guidelines??????

Why are you trying to hide the number of TSA clerks involved in this scandal???

Submitted by Rubyinn on

As of a couple of days ago Denver TSA agents are still doing "crotch seam inspections".May 24 2016 Seems a bunch of perverts working there.

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